Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reflections from the North Woods - vol. 4

- In the area of Minnesota where we are vacationing, the presence of Paul Bunyan is felt everywhere. There is the Paul Bunyan Trail, Paul Bunyan Motors, and Paul Bunyan this and Paul Bunyan that. And, whether Bunyan is real or fiction, the ownership of this giant lumberjack, and his companion, Babe the Blue Ox, is something which this state takes very, very seriously. You see, the state of Michigan declared Oscoda, Michigan as the official home of Bunyan because it had the earliest documented, published stories of the legend. In Minnesota, Bemidji, Brainerd, Ankeley, Shelton and Westwood all declare themselves to be Bunyan's home or birthplace, and Kelliher is home to the Paul Bunyan Memorial Park, which contains what is purported to be Bunyan's grave. Not to be outdone, Wisconsin also weighs in with Wahoo and Eau Claire claiming ownership of Bunyan, and Wausau also has a Bunyan gravesite. There are many stories about Bunyan's feats but two of the more colorful are these--the Grand Canyon was created when Bunyan dragged his axe behind him, and the Great Lakes were created by Bunyan because Babe needed a hole big enough to drink from.

- Speaking of Minnesota, the latest issue of Money magazine has its list of "best places to live." Taking the top spot is Eden Prairie, MN, which is cited for "plenty of jobs," "very low crime," and "lots for kids to do." The Minneapolis suburb is downgraded, not surprisingly, for the "long, cold winters." Local Kansas and Missouri cities which made the list are Overland Park, KS (#7), Shawnee, KS (#17), O'Fallon, MO (#26), Lee's Summit, MO (#27), Blue Springs, MO (#49), and St. Peters, MO (#60).

- Is anyone else getting tired of the whole topic of "your personal brand?" It seems every magazine I pick up these days has a story on this subject and it's a hot topic for many self-help conferences and seminars.

- Justin Bieber appeared at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO tonight. This is one of those times where I'm glad I don't have pre-teen children.

- The hottest campaign in the U.S. right now--the Old Spice body wash work--is also heating up sales of the product. Nielsen reports that sales of the product rose 11% over the past 12 months, and over the past three months, sales jumped 55%. Old Spice is now the #1 brand for body wash and anti-perspirant/deodorant. The brand turnaround of this line of products, formerly associated with men my dad's age, is truly one of the more dramatic, recent brand success stories.

- When last we reported about American Idol, it was to inform you all that Chris Isaak reportedly had discussions with Idol executives about taking over Simon Cowell's judge spot. Now, rumor has it that the same execs are speaking with Jessica Simpson. Seriously!? Simpson is one of a very few replacement possibilities who could make Paula Abdul appear articulate.

- It's amazing what competition will do. Amazon unveiled the new Kindle today. It has a 6" display, similar to the last version of the e-reader, and a newer E-ink display. But, the biggest difference is in price--the new model will be sold for $139 (Wi-Fi only version.)

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