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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What could you do with a roll of tape or a used map?

Some people race through life rarely seeing anything that's not right smack in front of them. 

Others wander around noticing little details and dreaming of the possibilities of transforming everyday objects into something new and innovative.  

I'm in awe of the creativity of people who repurpose rolls of tape, spools of thread, used maps, stubby used pencils and other commonplace things into stunning works of art. 

That's why Creative Greed may be my new favorite website. Everyday the site features works of art created by artists who inspire me to look differently at the world around me. People like Amsterdam artist Max Zorn who uses utilitarian packaging tape for much more than wrapping or repairing. Zorn transforms tape into extraordinary pictures.  

Then there is artist Ed Fairburn who sees more than roads, rivers and cities in maps. He creates detailed portraits from the hidden typographical features. Think about that the next time you're figuring out the shortest route between two places.

For this new year, I plan to recycle stuff into more creative objects rather than tossing away in the big gray recycle bin.  

What creative outlet are you going to explore in 2013?

~ Paula

Monday, January 21, 2013

Click ‘Like’ If You like Cute Kittens

How many times has a picture of kittens, or something like that, popped up on your Facebook page? A cute kitten or the darling video of a baby laughing – who can resist?

And how can there be any down side to just showing your friends that you have a soft heart? What could possibly be wrong with that? Well, before you click ‘Like’ on your Facebook page again, here are a couple of things you should know.

First off, Facebook fan pages can be changed or renamed. You can also pass ownership of your page to another. So what's wrong with that?  How about if it changed from the “I Love Kittens” page to the “I Love Hitler” page? Overnight you’ve gone from loving kittens to Hitler.

But it even gets more interesting. Let’s say you are a new business and you’re convinced that the path to success is with a Facebook fan page.  You set a goal to have a Facebook fan page with half a million fans by the end of the week. Impossible? Not if you do what any capitalist would do – you buy it. Yes, you buy an existing fan page and make it your own. One owner/creator of a fan page with over 800,000 fans was reportedly offered $13,000 for his page.  So just as easy as changing the “I Love Kittens” page to “I Love Hitler” page, it can become the “Acme Pizza Company” fan page.

So you might want to think twice before you click ‘Like,’ and perhaps check your Facebook page to see all the fan pages you’ve liked in the past. You never know, you might find Hitler smiling back at you from that list.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The News Diet

Are you a nibbler, a grazer or someone who likes to sit down and have a full course meal? Sounds like I’m talking about food but what I’m referring to is the way Americans are consuming news today.

The perception is that there’s an influx – an overflowing of news coming at you through multiple channels: newspapers, magazines, online newsrooms, social networking sites, television, radio, text messages, emails, blogs and mobile applications. But what does it really look like for those of us who crave in-depth, factual news?

In the past years, the rise of digital media has remodeled the media landscape with many newspapers shrinking their staffs and moving subscriptions to online. The result is a nibble/graze menu that doesn’t allow for in-depth news coverage, and not surprising, results in reduced news consumption because of the lack of options for local and comprehensive news.

But for news hogs among us, there some refreshing news. Aaron Kushner announced that he’s expanding the Orange County Register because there’s value in journalism. During a time of technology saturation, it’s a defiant move and something I hope to see succeed.  Interestingly, I do appreciate that people are continuously finding new ways to get the news to you, like the one where the Associated Press will provide news updates on restaurant receipts. Goofy or brilliant? What do you think?


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Less is more in 2013

It’s January 9th already, and if you are one of the few still sticking with your New Year’s resolution(s), stop showing off chances are it involves eating a little healthier. And judging by a recent AP-NORC poll, most people understand that unhealthy diets stem from a constant onslaught of advertisements and cheap fast food options, but are pretty uncomfortable with what role government plays/will play in promoting healthy lifestyles. 

Overall the breakdown is pretty even: a third of people say the government should be deeply involved in finding ways to curb obesity, while another third say government should play no role whatsoever. The rest lie somewhere in between.

  • 8 in 10 support physical activity in school along with nutritional guidelines to help make smarter choices
  • 7 in 10 think menu labeling is a good idea
  • But 6 in 10 oppose taxes on unhealthy foods (soda etc.)
  • Almost 75 percent do not agree with the ban on super sized sodas in restaurants. Really?
While I agree it is important to always consider government’s place, and whether or not it is infringing too much on our lives, I do not see the correlation between that and banning super sized sodas. If you really want 64 ounces of soda, just buy two 32 ounce sodas or get what is most likely a free refill. But by banning the beyond-belief over sized soda, it makes us think twice about doubling or tripling our consumption before we even take a sip, especially for children who are the most heavily targeted by the soda industry.

Nobody’s taking away your right to drink soda, just using different tactics than the soda companies to guide your decision making. While the soda industry wants you to consume more, government and those hoping to increase the health of our citizens want you to drink less and are trying to make it a fair fight with the soda industry which spends an astounding amount on advertising. It’s still up to you how much you want to consume. 

When a soda prohibition takes place, that’s when you can start carbonating in your basement and fighting the good fight. Until then, understand the difference between a guide to a healthy lifestyle and a tyrannical government. New New Year’s resolution: find something to complain about that actually hurts our society in 2013.

Read more about the junk food poll here

What do you think?