Can You Survive Without the Internet and Social Media?

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The United States currently has over 287 million internet users; that represents 88.5% of the population.

Mobile devices account for 77% of that usage — and the number is growing exponentially every year.

Worldwide, there are over 900 million Gmail accounts.

There are 310 million active Twitter accounts in the U.S. alone.

There are over 222 million Facebook accounts in the USA.

Just survey your own family:

How many mobile devices do you own and use?

How much time do you spend on emails; on texting; on playing games on the internet?

How much of your daily news do you get online?

And, most importantly, what would you and your family do if the internet were suddenly unavailable to you, and you and your family could no longer access any social media?

Hikingware.com thinks it’s important for you to be prepared for any emergency or disaster. That’s why they offer the best emergency food storage and survival kit brands on the market. But they also know that man does not live by bread alone; you’ve got to be able to communicate with others during an emergency. And social scientists currently are studying the effects on children and teenagers of a sudden and total cessation of access to social media. Their initial results show that those under the age of 20 often become frightened, depressed, and even paranoid when they are suddenly cut off from their social media accounts for longer than 48 hours.

Astro-physicists now say that solar flares of great magnitude could knock out our cell phones and wifi in an instant, and it could take months to repair the damage. Hackers are becoming more and more adept at breaking into even the most secure data banks, and in sowing viruses that could virtually cripple the internet for years to come, making it unsafe to use.

Here are some suggestions to help you maintain your family’s sanity and peace of mind in an offline world:

Board Games.

Children need to maintain a sense of play and fun, even under emergency conditions. Otherwise their health can degenerate alarmingly, including bouts of diarrhea, bedwetting, loss of appetite, rashes, and disturbing mental quirks. Make sure you and your children learn to play and enjoy games such as Monopoly, Scrabble, or Yahtze; insist on playing them at least once a week. That way, if the internet becomes unavailable your family can still find a break from worry and maintain a sense of normalcy.

Ham Radio.

A starter kit costs as little as $60.00 — if your cell phone won’t work and you don’t have a landline phone (only 33% of Americans still have a landline phone — and that number is dropping rapidly) it may be the only way to communicate long distances.

Books.

The National Librarians Association says that reading time for both adults and children has dropped to a mere average of 2 hours per week; in 1965 it was at an average of 20 hours a week. With no TV or movies to stream or social media to entertain and inform, a supply of good books can be a real godsend if you are stuck in your home because of emergency or curfew. Insist that before your children can go online they must read a certain amount of time or a certain amount of books. And make sure you set the example yourself by letting your family see you reading magazines and books.

Don’t depend on debit cards and online banking in an emergency.

Your online banking and debit/credit cards could be compromised at any time. Prepare for that eventuality by keeping a few hundred dollars cash in a baggie in your freezer; paper currency is not affected by cold. Do not hoard thousands at home — that is an invitation to theft and home invasion. But a few hundred dollars in cash kept at home is a prudent strategy for any emergency. Make sure you have it noted and insured on your homeowner’s/renter’s insurance policy.

What to Do if You Lose Power During the Winter.

Any number of things can cause a power outage during the winter months. Most probably it is weather-related. If it is caused by the weather, the outage could be wide-spread or it could be localized.

First check to make sure you have not blown a circuit. Check the circuit breakers in your home’s electrical panel. It’s a good idea to always keep a small LED flashlight by your circuit breaker box — because an outage could occur in the middle of the night.

Hikingware.com reminds you not to take your electrical power for granted. Always be prepared for not only a winter-time emergency, but for emergencies all year round.

If power is out in your entire neighborhood, call your local utility company to report the outage. The phone number should be on your electricity bill.

If power is out over a widespread area, it may take a longer time to restore power everywhere.

Here are some things to remember or to do…

    • UNLESS there is an emergency, do not call 9-1-1. That number should ONLY be used if there is an emergency, or if someone is injured or in danger.

 

    • If there are power lines down in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 and call your utility company. DO NOT GO NEAR DOWNED POWER LINES.

 

    • Listen to your battery-powered radio or TV, especially for news at the top of each hour, to find out when the power might be restored.

 

    • Dress to stay warm – wear layers, including a sweater, sweatshirt or even a jacket. You lose heat through your hands and the top of your head. Wear gloves and a knit hat, not just a baseball cap.

 

    • Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible. Food inside should stay cold for hours if the door is left closed.

 

    • If you’re cold, take a warm shower – to increase your body temperature. Your hot water tank, even if electric, will stay warm for a few hours.

 

    • Unplug some of your major appliances. When the power comes back on, all of those appliances can create a drain or power surge. This can harm sensitive equipment. To avoid a power surge when the electricity returns, turn off computers, TVs, stereos and other unnecessary electronic equipment at the power source. Leave a light on so you’ll know when the power is restored.

 

    • If you have a generator, do not connect it to your home’s power system unless it has been properly installed and disconnects you from the main power grid when it is operating. If you do not disconnect from the power grid, you can be sending electricity back down the lines; not just to your home. That could be deadly for power company workers.

 

    • If you have a regular wood stove or fireplace, you can use it for heat. However, DO NOT USE kerosene heaters, BBQs, or any outdoor type heater inside. Such devices create poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas given off by combustion and could kill.

 

    • Check on your elderly neighbors or those who may have medical conditions or use medical machinery that operates on electricity. Make sure they are dressed for warmth. If someone needs to have machinery that operates on electricity, move him or her to a place where electricity is working.

 

  • If you have to go out, drive carefully. Remember that traffic signals may be out during a power outage. Consider each intersection to be a four-way stop and drive defensively.

Bernie Sanders’ Refreshingly Sane Foreign Policy

In his speech last week, Sanders said what every presidential candidate ought to say about ISIS and the Middle East.

Photo Credit: Senate.gov

Bernie Sanders’ economic populism and domestic agenda receive a lot of attention, and they should – he’s a unique and important voice on these fronts. But Bernie’s refreshing sanity on foreign policy gets overlooked far too often. This is especially problematic given the most recent Paris attacks and the renewed emphasis on national security.

Sanders gave a major speech last week at Georgetown University, the central theme of which was democratic socialism. Understandably, much of the coverage focused on Sanders’s efforts to situate his brand of socialism in the broader American tradition. However, Sanders also used his speech to talk about our foreign policy dilemma in the Middle East.

His remarks were what we’ve come to expect from Sanders: honest. Because he doesn’t spin the way other politicians do, Sanders brings a kind of clarity to this conversation, a clarity that’s desperately needed in our current climate. Conservatives will likely dismiss Sanders as a dovish liberal who doesn’t understand foreign policy, but that’s because they don’t want to hear what he has to say.

In the speech, Sanders makes clear that he understands both the crisis and the complicated political realities on the ground. “The United States must pursue policies to destroy the brutal and barbaric ISIS regime,” Sanders said, and we must “create conditions that prevent fanatical extremist ideologies from flourishing. But we cannot – and should not – do it alone.” [Emphasis mine].

The part about not doing it alone is critical. To begin with, unlike most candidates, Sanders concedes that we’ve being going it alone for decades now, with disastrous results.

Our response must begin with an understanding of past mistakes and missteps in our previous approaches to foreign policy. It begins with the acknowledgement that unilateral military action should be a last resort…and that ill-conceived military decisions, such as the invasion of Iraq, can wreak far-reaching devastation and destabilize entire regions for decades. It begins with the reflection that the failed policy decisions of the past – rushing to war, regime change in Iraq, or toppling Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, or Guatemalan President Arbenz in 1954, Brazilian President Goulart in 1964, Chilean President Allende in 1973. These are the sort of policies that do not work, do not make us safer, and must not be repeated.

It’s astonishing how many candidates on the Right in particular simply refuse to acknowledge that our previous encroachments around the world have done more harm than good (For example, our invasion of Iraq created the vacuum into which ISIS inserted itself).

Reminding Americans of our history is necessary, however. It’s a good way to avoid repeating mistakes. This has to be part of the conversation about ISIS. Everyone agrees that ISIS is a threat, and that something has to be done about it. But this isn’t a problem that America can or should solve on its own.

Sanders explains why:

But let’s be very clear. While the U.S. and other western nations have the strength of our militaries and political systems, the fight against ISIS is a struggle for the soul of Islam, and countering violent extremism and destroying ISIS must be done primarily by Muslim nations – with the strong support of their global partners…What does this mean? Well, it means that, in many cases, we must ask more from those in the region. While Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, and Lebanon have accepted their responsibilities for taking in Syrian refugees, other countries in the region have nothing or very little.

We’ve wasted too much money and spilled too much blood fighting a war on terror that clearly isn’t working. We’re in a war, and we have to fight it, but we can’t win it alone. “Muslims must lead the fight,” Sanders declared, because “it is incumbent on Muslim nations and communities to confront those who seek to hijack their societies and generations with intolerance and violent ideology.”

Countries in the region have arguably a much bigger stake in this fight than we do. As Sanders points out, Saudi Arabia (our chief ally in the region and a prolific fount of extremist ideology), Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and others are “countries of enormous wealth and resources” who “have contributed far too little in the fight against ISIS. That must change.”

For too long these countries have sat idle while America has done the heavy lifting – this isn’t sustainable and it’s not working in any case. And yet Republicans insist that America has to play a larger role, that we have to shoulder more of the burden, and that we have to fight the tactic of terrorism without addressing its ideological fountainhead.

Indeed, the majority of Republicans – not all, to be fair, but most – refuse to see the connection between the Iraq War and the present destabilization of the region, without which ISIS would not exist. Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, for instance, are calling for more troops on the ground without any discernible plan to deal with the more fundamental causes of terrorism. Worse still, they want America to “lead the way” which means allowing the countries closest to and most invested in this fight to allow us to counterproductively wage it on their behalf.

We’ve tried this strategy. It failed. It’s time to let the region police itself. That doesn’t mean America doesn’t have a role to play – surely we do. But unless we accept that this isn’t merely an American fight, we’ll continue to create more problems than we solve.

(a tip of the hat to Sean at Salon.com)

The Perfect Idea for Holiday Gift-Giving!

We are bringing back this year the original Old Shoe of the Month Club!

For just $98.00, we will ship to anyone anywhere in the United States one old smelly shoe. Not a pair, but just one.

It’s for the person who has everything, except your affection.

It’s a great ‘gag’ gift — because when they get one whiff of that old shoe they will most likely GAG.

Great for mother-in-laws, ex-spouses, and That Man in the White House.

Just send your money order (no checks or cash) to Tim Torkildson, at

1274 West  820 North  Provo  Utah  84601.

We have been endorsed by no one at all, not even the Better Business Bureau!

The Emergency Alert System

(The following information is brought to you as a public service by Hikingware.com; a company that cares enough to keep you updated with the latest and most accurate information on emergency preparedness.)

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national warning system in the United States put into place on November 29, 1997 (approved by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in November 1994), when it replaced the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), which in turn replaced the CONELRAD System.

The Emergency Alert System requires TV and radio broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service providers, direct broadcast satellite service providers and wireline video service providers to offer to the President the communications capability to address the American public during a national emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information such as AMBER (missing children) alerts and emergency weather information targeted to a specific area.

How does the EAS work?

The FCC works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service to implement the EAS at the national level. Only the President determines when the EAS will be activated at the national level, and has delegated the administration of this function to FEMA. Accordingly, FEMA activates the national EAS, and directs national EAS tests and exercises. The NWS uses the EAS on a local and statewide basis to provide the public with alerts and warnings regarding dangerous weather and other emergency conditions.

The EAS allows participating providers to send and receive emergency information quickly and automatically, even if their facilities are unattended. If one link in the system for spreading emergency alert information is broken, members of the public have multiple alternate sources of warning. EAS equipment also provides a method for automatic interruption of regular programming, and in certain instances is able to relay emergency messages in languages other than English.

 

How can state and local authorities use EAS?

Along with its capability of providing an emergency message to the entire nation simultaneously, the EAS allows authorized state and local authorities to quickly distribute important local emergency information. A state emergency manager can use the EAS to broadcast a warning from one or more major radio stations in a particular state. EAS equipment in other radio and television stations, as well as in cable television systems in that state, can automatically monitor and rebroadcast the warning.

What about weather emergencies?

Additionally, EAS equipment can directly monitor the NWS for local weather and other emergency alerts, which local broadcast stations, cable systems, and other EAS participants can then rebroadcast, providing an almost immediate relay of local emergency messages to the public.

If you live in an area that does not ordinarily receive broadcasts from an EAS carrier, you can still receive local weather emergency alerts and other information from the NOAA by purchasing a special scanner.

Weather radios come in many sizes and with a variety of functions and costs. Many of the radios sound a tone alarm and/or turn on the audio when severe weather announcements or emergency information are broadcast. Most NOAA Weather Radio receivers are either battery-operated portables or AC-powered desktop models with battery backup so they can be used in many different situations. Some CB radios, scanners, short-wave and AM/FM radios are capable of receiving NOAA Weather Radio transmissions. Many communities throughout the United States also make Weather Radio available on cable TV and broadcast television’s secondary audio programming channels.

EAS

 

4 Hollywood Stars Who Overcame Physical Adversity

Hikingware.com invites you to read these inspiring stories of men and women who overcame striking physical adversity to become memorable movie stars.

Emergencies may come and go, and you can prepare for such things with the help of emergency food storage and other survival items. But how would you handle a life-long challenge that never went away?

You can take heart from these celebrities, who realized that life is what you make of it — not what you’re stuck with!

  • Edna Mae Oliver. The perennial aunt or prickly spinster in dozens of major Hollywood movies of the 1930’s, Edna Mae Oliver was blessed with a beautiful singing voice, but when she was asked why she never sang in any of her movies she replied bluntly: “With a horse face like mine? I can only play comedy.” She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1939. Although her face was plain and perhaps even homely, she played dozens of warm-hearted characters. Film critic Thomas McWilliams called her acting style one that was filled with “beautiful droll warmth”.
Edna Mae Oliver
Edna Mae Oliver

 

  • Billy Barty. As an adult, Barty stood only three feet and nine inches tall. He had cartilage-hair hypoplasia dwarfism. His film career spanned the 1930’s through the 1990’s. He was a founding member of the Little People of America, which today has over 2800 members. He is quoted as saying “The general public thinks all little people are in circuses or sideshows; but we are also lawyers, doctors, and just about every other field is covered.” Famous pianist Liberace once said of Barty “He may look like a ten-watt bulb, but when he walks into a room he lights it up like a bonfire!”
Billy Barty
Billy Barty

 

  • Lou Costello. The chubby half of the famous comedy team of Abbott and Costello, he actually was a clown with a broken heart – a childhood bout of rheumatic fever left his heart in precarious condition the rest of his life. His doctors warned him to take it easy, yet he loved nothing better than to perform rough and tumble slapstick in a long string of movies where the physical comedy was constant, and punishing. He rarely used a stand-in for his pratfalls. During World War Two he and his partner Abbott traveled from coast to coast, at their own expense, putting on hundreds of shows to sell war bonds. In 1942, it all caught up with him, and his heart nearly gave out for good. He was restricted to complete bed rest for six months. He never complained of his physical ailment, and many of his co-workers never knew of his dangerous condition until after his death in 1959.
Lou Costello
Lou Costello

 

  • Jimmy Durante. “The Great Schnozzola” was his nickname, referring to his prominent nose. As a child Durante had been teased about it by the children in his neighborhood, so he hid in his room instead of going to school or playing outside. He grew up with very little formal education and earned his living as a singing waiter in a Bowery beer hall, until he was helped by his friends to open a night club in New York City, which led to appearances on Broadway and then movies, where he made a fortune making fun of his own proboscis and lack of education. Durante was known throughout the show business world for his tireless efforts in raising funds for children’s charities. In 1958, he was awarded a loving cup with an inscription that read in part: “for your heart, which is even bigger than your nose!”
Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante

How to Avoid Post-Disaster Scams

Natural and man-made disasters can strike at any time, in any place.

Hikingware.com is your complete survival food supply company, dealing in only the top-rated and proven emergency supplies that you’ll need to weather any disaster.

But after any disaster, there are those who seek to profit from the confusion and breakdown of infrastructure with scams.

Here is a look at some of those scams to beware of, and how to avoid them:

Home Repair Fraud.

Home repair scam artists are known to swoop in after storms, floods or other natural disasters to take advantage of people who are scrambling to make repairs. The homeowner should take extra caution before contracting to have damaged or destroyed property repaired or rebuilt. The homeowner should not succumb to pressure tactics.

Be wary of door-to-door solicitors because many home repair con artists are transients who move quickly into a troubled area. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust. Whenever possible, use established local contractors.

Always ask for references. It is a warning sign when a company fails to provide references when requested.

Never pay in cash, or make a down payment in cash.

Contractors and roofers need to be licensed by the state they are operating in. Make sure you ask to see their license(s) before agreeing to anything in writing.

Phoney phone calls.

After a disaster you may receive a phone call soliciting personal financial information in order to become eligible for aid. Some callers even claim to be from FEMA. Never, under any circumstance, give out information about your bank accounts, debit cards or credit cards. FEMA is not interested in any of that; and neither is any other legitimate emergency/disaster agency.

Charitable donation scams.

After disasters, con artists often pose as charitable organizations to solicit contributions. If you wish to contribute, be wary of the following red flags:

The charity uses a name that sounds like a better-known, reputable organization.

The solicitor cannot or will not answer basic questions about the charity.

The organization uses high-pressure tactics to obtain a donation.

The solicitor insists on payment in cash.

The representative of the organization asks to pick up your donation as opposed to allowing you to mail it.

Always check to see if the charity is registered with your state’s Attorney General’s Office.

Refinancing scams.

Because of the increased costs of confronting an emergency, consumers frequently fall behind in their credit payments or overextend themselves to the point that they must choose whether to pay creditors or obtain basic necessities such as food. Such consumers are often approached by finance companies promising to consolidate the homeowner’s debt for existing mortgage, credit card debt, car loans and repair loans. They then pressure the homeowner to sign multiple agreements without sufficient time to review them or consult with anyone. The negative outcomes of such refinancing schemes include high processing fees, payments to bogus or phantom creditors and loan defaults. The homeowner often cannot pay both the refinancing costs and basic living expenses, resulting in a situation far worse than before the refinancing.
Lower income and minority borrowers, as well as elderly homeowners, are usually targeted by predatory lenders. They encourage borrowers to lie about their income in order to get a loan; knowingly lend the borrower more money than he/she can repay; charge unnecessary fees; pressure borrowers into high-risk loans and use high- pressure tactics to sell home improvements and then finance them at higher interest rates. These predators pounce on desperate people in order to line their pockets.

The best way to avoid all of the above scams, and any others after an emergency, is simple: Think twice and never sign anything or commit to anything until you’ve had a chance to sleep on it and consult a trusted family member or friend.

hikingware

Are You Prepared for a Cyber Emergency?

The cyber domain may offer a new direction in how nations threaten and act against one another.  This threat’s immediacy became clear when China hacked the U.S. Office of Personal Management’s systems last June, leaking more than 4 million sensitive records.

The U.S. government’s only viable response was economic sanctions against companies and individuals. It refrained from escalating the conflict so close to President Xi Jinping’s official state visit. In other words, although some hope that cyberconflict will revolutionize military and diplomatic interactions, governments are confronting this new threat through traditional methods.

The internet now controls a vast portion of our merchandising, banking, utilities, and many other essential services and commodities that we currently take for granted. Hikingware.com is dedicated to helping you and your family prepare for the eventuality of a cyber conflict that could leave you without food, water, power and other basic necessities for days, weeks, or even months.

And since knowledge is power, here is a powerful description of where cyber conflict is right now, at the end of 2015:

What evidence is there about the reality of the cyber-threat? The first step to understanding cyberconflict is to define the domain. Here are 8 things to know about the cybersecurity debate.

1. Terminology is important

Many cyber-scholars have been sloppy in their usage of terms, leading to this rather voluminous definitions document by New America. Since almost anything is now termed as a cyberattack, the term itself is meaningless. Predicting the amount, level  and context of cyberconflict is dependent on how the term is defined, framed  and engaged.  “Cyberspace” is the networked system of microprocessors, mainframes  and basic computers that interact at the digital level but have foundations at the physical level.

“Cyberconflict” is the use of computational means, via microprocessors and other associated technologies, in cyberspace for malevolent and/or destructive purposes in order to affect, change  or modify diplomatic and military interactions between entities.

2. We need data and theories about cyberconflict

We need to develop theories of cyberaction in the cybersecurity field. Without theory, key aspects of cyber-dynamics can be left unexplained, unexplored  or ignored in favor of broad projections.

3. Cybertactics are not used often, as of yet

Only 16 percent of all nations have engaged in cyberconflict.  The most frequent users appear to be China as an attacker and the U.S. as the attacked. Other frequent offenders include states such as India, Japan, North Korea  and Russia, all with ongoing international conflicts, suggesting the context of disputes matters a great deal.

4. Cyber-actions to date have not been very severe

Most cyberconflicts –  around 73 % – between rival states have been mere nuisances or disruptions. This is surprising, considering how widely the media and military are aware of these possible conflicts. It is also perplexing considering these states are active rivals who seemingly are willing to utilize any tactic to harm their enemy.

Given all this, we may actually still be in an era of cyberpeace. But the chances are depressingly good that it will not last much longer.

5. The majority of cyber-incidents are still regional

Regional contexts clearly play a role in cyberconflict, a confounding idea given that these technologies defy the physical bounds of time and place. But as has been seen with China and Russia, that is about to change.

6. Cyber-operations haven’t gotten much reaction

Do cyber-actions have much impact? Overall, cyber-incidents, their methods  and the nature of their targets do not have statistically significant effects on the foreign policy of the United States. Not yet. But depending on who gets in the White House in 2016, that could all change rapidly.

7. Most cyber-incidents should be classified as espionage

An espionage attack is one in which the initiator’s objective is to steal sensitive information from the target government or private sector essential to national security. China is considered the most active cyber espionage country today.

8. Cyber-hygiene is important

Unfortunately in the cyber realm, the target often invites violations by allowing vulnerabilities in their systems. The June attack on the White House and State Department supports this conclusion. A state can only steal what others have allowed to be stolen in the cyberworld. The target is therefore partly responsible for cyberconflict.

States need to be concerned with cyber-hygiene and proper online usage. There needs to be cooperation between states at the international level, but also cooperation between government and private industry at the sub-state level.

(with a hat tip to Brandon Valeriano and Ryan C. Maness)

devil

Marketing the Unlovely W.C. Fields

In 1931 Paramount Pictures was in trouble. Their finances were wobbly; most of their top talent had been poached by other studios like MGM and Warner Brothers; and their new talent was under condemnation by the National Legion of Decency.

Their 2 new stars were Mae West and W.C. Fields. West was hired for her sex appeal, and Fields for his comedic talents. On Broadway they had been huge stars, but in Hollywood they were potential liabilities because of their on-screen personas and off-screen lifestyles.

Mae West was never to escape the wrath of Hollywood censors and blue nose civic leagues. But Paramount managed to turn the louche W.C. Fields into a warm and sympathetic character without smoothing away his rough comedic edges.

Today a Hollywood film can cost up to $200 million just to market, let alone produce. But back in the day, Paramount publicity did it for a few hundred dollars.

How did they do it?  It was pure marketing. The process the Paramount publicity department followed to turn the irascible Fields into a steady box office draw still holds valuable lessons for marketers today.

 

Context is everything.

According to film producer William LeBaron, “Paramount made sure that every W.C. Fields movie had beguiling and sympathetic supporting players. One of his first movies was ‘Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch’, from the children’s book of the same name. Fields was allowed to be as mean-spirited as he wanted in the film, but since it was a children’s classic his character was automatically softened and became acceptable to middle-class audiences. The studio did the same thing several years later with ‘David Copperfield’, where he plays Wilkins Macawber, a cheat and panhandler — but since it was based on a Dickens novel his character became immediately respectable.”

 

The local angle.

Local marketing is a keystone to modern marketing campaigns. And the Paramount publicity department used that same technique in marketing the unlovely W.C. Fields. Fields had been born and raised in Philadelphia, and in just about every movie he made he was scripted to mention his hometown — usually in a comically unflattering way. But it worked. Movie theaters in Philadelphia always announced his coming films with extra fanfare and publicity. And his films always played there the longest.

 

Turn a negative into a positive.

Andrew O’Connor, Director of Search at AmericanAddictionCenters.org says “W.C. Fields was perhaps most famously publicised for his fondness for alcohol. But he never made drinking appear glamorous or attractive. Instead, he demonstrated in a comic way the many pitfalls of alcohol abuse. This kind of publicity made him more authentic to audiences, who knew what alcohol addiction was really like in their family and friends.”

 

Familiarity does NOT breed contempt.

Field’s character was familiar to movie patrons not just from his films, but from the dozens of cartoons that featured caricatures with his physical and vocal attributes. Paramount (which also had its own animation department) made sure that Walt Disney and Looney Tunes were encouraged to include some kind of Fields character in as many of their cartoons as possible. You can still view the unprepossessing Fields in animated epics such as Mother Goose Goes To Hollywood.    

 

Run for president!

In 1940 the publicity department developed a Fields for President campaign, complete with a campaign biography purportedly written by Fields himself. The book is full of profound (?) political wisdom, such as “If the chief executive is not an expert in the art of making resolutions, how can he hope to break his campaign promises gracefully?”  The book was published by Dodd Mead and had respectable sales. But its real value was in boosting Fields’ profile with the public, who were embroiled in the real political race between FDR and Wendell Willkie, and appreciated Fields’ humorous take on the overheated process.   

wcfields

The Second Coming . . . of Breakfast.

The Wall Street Journal has scooped everyone else, announcing the official Second Coming of Breakfast:

McDonald’s Corp. is embarking on its biggest operational change in years as it tries to juice flagging sales, with plans to offer breakfast items all day at its more than 14,300 U.S. restaurants starting Oct. 6.

McDonald’s customers for years have asked the company to sell breakfast items past the traditional 10:30 a.m. cutoff, but the challenges of cooking Egg McMuffins alongside Big Macs deterred the company. In an interview, McDonald’s USA President Mike Andres said it is the biggest strategic move the company has made since it rolled out its McCafe line of coffee and espresso drinks across the U.S. in 2009.

I’m going to have to get plastic surgery done on my mouth, to install a spit valve to drain off all the drool collecting at the thought of those scrumptious breakfasts available to me for lunch and dinner.

Hell, I may just bring a bedroll and sleep inside one of their stores — why go anywhere else, ever, now that I can get breakfast 24/7?

Of course, some people have a problem with the whole franchise/cost-of-production/nutrition thing — but lemme tell you something, you granola huggers; if everyone on the planet started out their day with a good breakfast at McDonalds there’d be no more war or telemarketing.

And I love the way McDonalds officially announced this beautiful scheme. USA Today reported:  The company began spreading news of the all-day breakfast rollout on Twitter by tweeting the news at customers who had previously told them they wanted McDonald’s to expand availability of its breakfast menu.

Now that’s what I call customer service!

 

At long last I’ll have hotcakes as the evening shadows crash;

if only Mickey D’s would offer classic corn beef hash!

Egg McMuffin is the only comfort food I’m needing

when life closes in and leaves me beaten up and bleeding.

Never mind McNuggets or the french fries — though delightful.

Their hash browns as so good they’d make a tree stump grow insightful.