Jan 03

A different type of New Year’s resolution

DSCN5007 'Tis the season for resolutions, so I figured I'd share mine.

Unlike many, I have no need to quit smoking, lose weight or tackle new physical challenges. Ice climbing, long distance cycling and stand-up comedy fill those ‘voids’ very nicely, thank you.

My resolution is more of an emotional one. I resolve not to let professional and personal setbacks upset me to the degree they have in the past.

If a significant client cuts us loose, so be it. If a close friend decides to cut me off, c'est la vie. And, if the Mets continue to cut a wide swath through the N.L. East's cellar, that'll be ok, too.

I won't these other pet peeves bother me either:

– The Lexus 'December to Remember' TV commercials. Is there ANYTHING more obnoxious?
– PR awards' programs that allow large agencies to submit countless entries and dominate each and every category.
– Endless NJ Transit train delays.
– New Jersey's horrible image. The real armpit of the tri-state area is Wrong Island.
– Sarah Palin's nonsensical, moronic statements.
– Politicians who refuse to work with one another to solve our nation's ills.
– PR Week's hagiographic cover profiles of chief communications officers (the only thing missing are the halos).
– The latest transgression by a Catholic priest.
– Yet another heating or air conditioning glitch from the fine folks at 470 Park Avenue South.
– Unsolicited e-mails from new business rainmakers, database management experts and a certain Mr. Brown from Nigeria who needs my banking information in order to transfer some $7 million into my account.

So, bring on the New Year and its challenges. I pledge not to overreact to disloyal clients and friends or rude and uncommunicative NJ Transit train conductors.

If I should find myself slipping though, I know I need only schedule a few days of ice or rock climbing with Art Mooney (www.mooneymountainguides.com). It's the single best cure for what ails me and the best way for me to assure I deliver on my 2011 resolutions.

So, how about you? What are your 2011 resolutions?

Aug 26

The Main Event

BUSH-BOXING_s1-2741 Obama boxing1 Jim Lampley: ‘Good evening HBO fight fans and  welcome to what’s already being called the communications fight of the century, if not the millennium. We’re here at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas for the long-anticipated and completely over-hyped World Heavyweight Communications Championship bout between defending champion Barack ‘The One’ Obama and the challenger, former President George W. ‘The Decider’ Bush.

As fight fans know, this special, one-round bout is being co-sponsored by MSNBC and Fox News, and the outcome will be determined by three Supreme Court justices sitting here at ringside.

As always, I’m joined by longtime boxing analyst, Larry Merchant, as well as a very special guest, Former President William Jefferson Clinton. Larry, Mr. President, thanks for being here.’

Merchant: ‘Jim, I haven’t seen this sort of excitement since March 8, 1971, when Ali and Frazier squared off for the first of their three classic bouts. Whether this contest will live up to the drama of that one remains to be seen.’

Clinton: ‘That’s funny, Larry. This sort of frenzy reminds me of my impeachment trial way back when. It’s really got something for everyone.’

Lampley: ‘It sure does, Mr. President. To begin with, who would have guessed just 18 months ago that The Decider would be entering the ring against The One to determine which of the two men is the better communicator? But, since being elected, Obama has made every mistake in the communications handbook, so here we are.’

Merchant: ‘For W, it’s a rags-to-riches story worthy of Cinderella Man, Jim.’

Lampley: ‘It sure is. Because as even the least literate boxing and communications fan knows, W was routinely pilloried for his verbal flubs and guffaws, and ridiculed as perhaps the least literate president in American history.’

Clinton: ‘I’d like to think that William Henry Harrison said more substantive things in his brief one-month stint than W did in his eight years, Jim.’

Lampley: ‘Be that as it may, Mr. President. Obama’s flip-flopping miscues are making many right-wing pundits wax poetic about W’s sophomoric, yet direct, communications style. Some are even suggesting W is the better communicator of the two. Well, that will be decided in the ring in just a matter of seconds. So, let’s go up to Michael Buffer now for the official introductions…’

Buffer: ‘Good evening to the thousands of communications fight fans in attendance here and the millions watching on TV around the world and on The Armed Forces Network. Now, ladies and gentlemen let’s get ready to RUMBLLLLLE! First, the challenger, fighting out of the red corner and hailing from Crawford, Texas, via Kennebunkport, Maine. He tips the scale at a lean and mean 185 pounds, and is wearing all-white trunks with bald eagles on either side. Ladies and the gentlemen, the 43rd president of the United States, George W. ‘The Decider’ Bush! And, in the blue corner, wearing the requisite red, white and blue trunks, tipping the scales at a tight and taut 166 pounds, and coming to us from our nation’s capitol, via Chicago and Honolulu, the defending heavyweight communications champion of the world, President Barack ‘the One’ Obama!’

Lampley: The two men are coming to the center of the ring now for their instructions from referee Katie Couric. Say, is that yet another new hairdo on Katie, Mr. President?’

Clinton: ‘It was all mussed up the last time I saw it. Oops. Wait. Hold on, I did not have sex with that woman!’

Merchant: ‘Jim, both fighters are in amazing shape.’

Lampley: ‘Yup. W’s been doing extra mountain biking on his ranch, while the president’s been playing lots of pick-up round ball games on the White House basketball court. And, there’s the opening bell for this special, one-round fight.’

Merchant: ‘Obama’s off to a great start.’

Clinton: ‘No question. He’s very focused on change. That’s confusing W. And, he’s using that very same ‘change’ punch that floored Hillary on more than one occasion. He looks sharp. Hey, get a load of that blond in section C!’

Lampley: ‘Careful, Mr. President. Man, this place is lousy with Presidents. Wait, there’s been a palpable change. Just like that, Obama seems to be back pedaling?  He looks confused. Larry?’

Merchant: ‘Obama’s confused all right. He’s trying to say do everything at once. There’s his health care backhand. Easily deflected. And, there’s his education overhand. Air ball. And, he just missed badly with his so-called Wall Street wacker. And what’s going on with his Iraq drawdown and Afghani build-up? Nothing is working for the sitting President.’

Lampley: ‘Simultaneously, W continues to throw the same, direct, methodical punch time and again. That’s the punch that he affectionately nicknames his “Yer either fer me or agin me” left. It’s hitting its mark, to be sure.’

Merchant: ‘That last shot staggered Obama. Jim, he looks hurt!’

Lampley: ‘Down goes Obama! Down goes Obama! Down goes Obama!’

Clinton: ‘I feel his pain.’

Merchant: ‘Obama’s up, but he’s on Queer Street. Could be because he never really addressed the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” military conundrum. Either way, this sure won’t help his approval ratings.’

Lampley: “There’s the bell, which mercifully ends this round and this fight. The decision will go to the judges. But first, let’s turn to our two experts. Larry, Mr. President: ‘Did Obama’s early lead pile up enough points to offset that damaging knockdown by W?’’

Merchant: ‘The onus is always on the challenger to prove to the judges that he’s done enough to win. I don’t think W has done that.’

Clinton: ‘I need to meet someone, Jim. I’ll catch you boys later. Go Obama!’

Lampley: ‘Well, let’s find out. We go now to Michael Buffer in the ring for the official decision…’

Buffer: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we have a split decision. Judge Rosa Sotomayor scores the fight one to nothing for Obama. Judge Clarence Thomas scores the fight one to nothing for Bush. And, Chief Judge John Roberts scores the right one to nothing for the NEW heavyweight communications champion of the world, George W. Bush!!!!!’

Lampley: A shocking upset to be sure! Let’s go to Larry Merchant in the ring, who is with both fighters.’

Merchant: ‘Ok, Jim. First, President Obama. What went wrong? You were ahead early with your message of change. Then, all hell broke loose.’

Obama: ‘I went with change. But, then I changed change. Changing change changed my chances.’

Merchant: ‘I have no idea what you just said. But, good luck to you. Now to the victor. President Bush. How’d you do it?’

Bush: ‘Smoked him out, just like bin Laden!’

Merchant: ‘But, you never smoked out bin Laden.’

Bush: ‘Doesn’t matter. I’m the decider. Mission accomplished.’

Merchant: ‘Mr. President, would you consider giving President Obama a rematch?’

Bush: ‘Shucks no. I want to take on that feisty momma from Alaska. Now that would be a communications brawl. The English language won’t know what hit it.’

Lampley: ‘All right. There you have it. There you have it. A big George W. Bush upset. Clearly, The One wasn’t the one tonight. Bush now holds the heavyweight title for best Presidential communicator. Regardless of whether he entertains a rematch or takes on the woman who can see Russia from her front porch, be sure to join us next month for the world’s middleweight communications bout. It’ll feature Carly ‘The Confuser’ Fiorini and ‘Big Bad’ Meg Whitman (who’s been known to manhandle friend and foe alike). For Larry Merchant and the missing-in-action former President Bill Clinton, this is Jim Lampley.’