Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Few Father's Day Facts


1. Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.

2. George Washington, the celebrated “Father of Our Country,” had no children of his own. Researchers believe that childhood illnesses may have rendered him sterile. He did adopt the two children of his second wife, Martha Custis.

3. In Thailand, the King’s Birthday also serves as National Father’s Day. The celebration includes fireworks and acts of charity and honor – the most distinct being the donation of blood and the liberation of captive animals.

4. A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh was based on Robin’s teddy bear, Edward, a gift Christopher had received for his first birthday, and on their father/son visits to the London Zoo, where the bear named Winnie was Christopher’s favorite. Pooh comes from the name of Christopher’s pet swan (of course).

5. Kurt Vonnegut was (for a short time) Geraldo Rivera’s father-in-law. Rivera’s marriage to Edith Vonnegut ended in 1974 because of his womanizing. Her ever-protective father was quoted as saying, “If I see Gerry again, I’ll spit in his face.” He also included an unflattering character named Jerry Rivers (a chauffeur) in a few of his books.

6. Andre Agassi’s father represented Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics as a boxer.

7. In 1950, after the Washington Post music critic gave Harry Truman’s daughter’s concert a negative review, the president came out swinging: “Some day I hope to meet you,” he wrote. “When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”

papa-smurf.jpg8. The voice of Papa Smurf, Don Messick, also provided the voice of Scooby-Doo, Ranger Smith on Yogi Bear, and Astro and RUDI on The Jetsons.

9. In 2001, Yuri Usachev, cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station, received a talking picture frame from his 12-year-old daughter while in orbit. The gift was made possible by RadioShack, which filmed the presentation of the gift for a TV commercial.

10. The only father-daughter collaboration to hit the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart was the 1967 hit single “Something Stupid” by Frank & Nancy Sinatra.

11. In the underwater world of the seahorse, it’s the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies.

12. If show creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz had gotten his way, Gene Hackman would have portrayed the role of father Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.

13. According to a 2005 survey commissioned by TiVo, here are the top ten TV dads of all time: 1. Cliff Huxtable (The Cosby Show); 2. Sheriff Andy Taylor (The Andy Griffith Show); 3. Pa Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie); 4. Howard Cunningham (Happy Days); 5. Ward Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver); 6. Jim Anderson (Father Knows Best); 7. Mike Brady (The Brady Bunch); 8. Tim Taylor (Home Improvement); 9. Reverend Eric Camden (7th Heaven); 10. Danny Tanner (Full House).

14. The Stevie Wonder song “Isn’t She Lovely” isn’t about a woman he’s lusting for; it’s about his newborn daughter, Aisha. If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song.

15. Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons. Rick cannot speak, but using a custom-designed computer he has been able to communicate. They ran their first five-mile race together when Rick was in high school. When they were done, Rick sent his father this message: “Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!” Since then, they have run over 66 marathons and 229 triathlons as a team.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ideas for Press Releases

 A few press release topics:
 1. New product or service
 2. New website or significant upgrade to existing website
 3. Involvement with charity work
 4. Making a charitable contribution
 5. Free shipping offer or change to shipping rates
 6. Releasing findings of new study or research
 7. Helpful tips related to your business
 8. News of the weird (e.g. Coffee shop offers excusive $200
    gourmet drink)
 9. Commentary on or tie-ins to current events
10.  Interesting trends
11.  Starting a new sister company
12.  Receiving an award
13.  Being singled out for an accomplishment
14.  Offering free information: ebook, newsletter or white
15.  Celebrating an important company anniversary (e.g. 50
     years in business)
16.  Opening a new office or relocating your office
17.  Changing the company name
18.  Changing a product name
19.  Signing a large, well-recognized client (make sure you
     have their permission to publish this)
20.  Announcing a media appearance
21.  Inspirational stories of overcoming major challenges
22.  Hosting a seminar or teleseminar
23.  Sponsoring an event or team
24.  Partnering with another business or organization
25.  Hiring a new executive or changing ownership of the
26.  Announcing personnel change: retirement, resignation or
27.  Changing the way your products are made
28.  Changing the prices of your products or services
     (particularly if you're reducing prices)
29.  Developing a new technology or unique procedure for
     your industry
30.  Rebranding your business
31.  Reorganizing your company
32.  Hosting a major contest, sweepstakes or promotion
33.  Making an outrageous claim (be careful not too sound to
     gimmicky or salesy)
34.  Revealing industry scams
35.  Announcing holiday-related sales and events
36.  Making predictions for your industry
37.  Provide expert opinion on important subject within your
     industry (think sound bites when creating quotes in your
38.  Publishing findings of a recent report, survey or poll
39.  Filing of a lawsuit
40.  Responding to being name in a lawsuit
41.  New uses for your products
42.  Receiving endorsements from a major celebrity or public
     figure (make sure you have their permission to publish this)
43.  Offering internship program with local schools
44.  Establishing a scholarship
45.  Hosting a tour of your facilities
46.  New certifications and credentials achieved by your
47.  Providing pro bono work
48.  Responding to accusations against your company or
49.  Setting a major goal
50.  Launching a referral rewards / affiliate program
51.  Speaking at a conference or event
52.  Providing free consultations or a free sample
53.  Taking major steps to go "green"
54.  Debunking common myths
55.  Taking your company public
56.  Discontinuing a product or service
57.  Filing or Being Awarded a Patent
58.  Merger or acquisition
59.  Celebrating an important milestone (e.g. one millionth
60.  Exhibiting at a trade show
61.  Stock offering
62.  Financial or earnings update
63.  Securing business funding or credit (e.g. VC or angel
64.  Tips sheet or feature story (e.g. Top 10 Valentine
     Gifts, Effective Tips to Land a Job in 30 Days, Turn That
     Brown Lawn into a Suburban Oasis)
Keep It Focused
Once you find the perfect angle for your story, you need to
keep your press release tight and focused. Remember, your
reader has only a limited amount of time to view your story.
This means you need to get your message across as quickly
and clearly as possible. Any details that are unnecessary or
that don't add value to the story  ...  get rid of them.
Focus on answering the who, what, when, where, why and how
questions, use good quotes to enhance your story, and let
the reader know why your story is relevant and why they
should care.
If you have any details that don't seem to fit within your
story, you can always publish a separate release later on.
This will allow you to enjoy the benefits of a steady press
release distribution plan, and it will allow you to target
different audiences more effectively with each specific
As far as the actual press release length goes, it varies
depending on the story you're telling. However, keep it at a
single page or less (about 500 words or less) so you don't
lose your reader's attention.