Ghost tours are a great way to get out into a city a learn a little about its history that you wouldn't hear on a normal historical tour. They tell some great stories about often unremarkable buildings and locations that make them into more than what they appear to be. "So and so was depressed and killed her family with a hatchet and then was mauled by her Doberman … you can still feel a cold spot where the blood pooled"…you know…that sort of thing. Growing up, everyone had that run down house out in the woods that was supposedly haunted or the weird stories about the murderer who killed a bunch of people under a local bridge in a bunny suit, and even those that completely don't believe in it can convince themselves to be creeped out when visiting these places. Tell a remarkable story about an unremarkable place and all of the sudden you have kids going out of their way to go there at night to scare themselves. It's similar to the idea behind Seth Godin's "All Marketers are Liars," tell a remarkable story about your product and it will become an attribute of the product.
Archives for July 2006
Krissie and I have adopted a dog (Bailey [pictured above]), so we've spent the past two days getting ready for it. We started our shopping at Petco (where the pet's go) which seemed ok until we stopped by Petsmart across town. It is amazing how much better Petsmart is. They have things set up for new owners, the staff was helpful, they have a vet office on site, and they offered a much better selection of pet stuff at lower prices … which got me thinking … how can two big box pet stores that are more or less the same concept differ so much? If someone from Petco just took a walk through Petsmart I think they would immediately see what they are doing wrong. Just an example of company people getting too close to their world to be able to step back and see the obvious. Although maybe it's just the two stores near me and not a sign of the entire chains.
This is the picture on the side of the cage box:
I've never seen a dog look more imprisoned. Additionally, I can't believe that humans have transformed a proud animal like a wolf into that.
Gnarls Barkley meets Star Wars. I probably wouldn't like this song nearly as much had I not seen this.
With the college football season getting ready to stir from it's sleep and begin looming (its soon, but not quite soon yet) I've started thinking about seasons past and the US World Cup soccer team which reminded me of a concept that I heard about from Jim Alderson over at The A-Line last year: The Weauxf Gods (or some people just spell it Woof). I'm not usually to much of a believer in the metaphysical, but participating in internet sports message boards and college football over the last hundred years has made me a believer in this concept. The idea is simple:
The Theorem, in a nutshell, states that in any given athletic competition (team, individual, amateur, professional), the team/player who is the most over-hyped/over-praised by his/her/its fans/supporters is likely to LOSE the competition. Weauxfing itself, for those unversed in some of the old flame wars on the Usenet group rec.sport.football.college, is defined as any outlandish, outrageous, inflammatory, ridiculous, unsupported, sophomoric, or otherwise brain-dead commentary or predictions regarding a specific team, player, or athletic event. It ain’t too hard to find examples on most any message board.
As the number of message board loons has increased exponentially, so has weauxfing. Each and every message board out there has become overrun with clowns posting such as the likes of, ‘Are you kidding me? My Canes will beat Virginia Tech by three touchdowns. Tech has no chance in the Orange Bowl. Mark it down,’ ‘Carolina’s a joke. State will wax them by at least thirty’ or ‘My Sooners are going to show those nancy boys from Southern Cal how football is REALLY played. I guarantee it.’ The Weauxf Gods are always watching.
Being all-powerful, the Weauxf Gods see and hear everything. Caulton Tudor of the Raleigh News, Observer and Tar Heel Daily once weauxfed a column following Mack Brown’s departure from Carolina for Texas. Tudor claimed that Mack wasn’t that good of a coach, anyway. According to Caulton, Carl Torbush was the real brains of the operation and would take the Heeliban to the next level. At the time, the ‘next level’ for Carolina meant something more than a 6-6 season. NASCARL was going to make Carolina fans forget all about that basketball guy. The Weauxf Gods are still laughing about that one.
You will almost never hear coaches weauxf. The last time Vanderbilt beat Tennessee Jimmy Carter sat in the White House, but listen to Phil Fulmer the week of the Vandy game and you most definitely will not hear him say, “Vandy sucks. A high school would give us a better game.” Bob Stoops will never exclaim, “Baylor again? Boy, this is going to be ugly. At least our walk-ons will get some playing time.” Coaches will go to great lengths to avoid either providing bulletin board material for the opposition or provoking the Weauxf Gods.
Coaches will often employ what is known as reverse weaufxing, praising some stiff to ludicrous levels in the hopes of diverting the Weauxf Gods. They don’t buy it. When Frank Beamer says, “That JMU crowd scares the heck out of me. They have some players” the Weauxf Gods will see right through it. KJ being flung against a Lane Stadium wall and spraining a wrist was the retribution.
Think about your experience with sports, and you will find this to be true … and slightly funny. The Weauxf Gods are always watching, and thus this theory is always accurate. Please see Oliver's Woofing Theorem for the complete rundown. It could help to explain a recent, very painful loss by your favorite team.