I bought a fancy Japanese umbrella by Mont Bell.

Fabric? Polkatex! I love the name – it brings a smile to my face. However, it might not communicate “strong waterproof fabric” in America like it might in Japan.

Sadly, when the user opens the umbrella, each strut has to be snapped into place – a small hassle. But it’s comforting to know that the waterproofing will last a long time!


It’s that season

Elections are coming up in America. Our mailbox provides abundant evidence. A flyer from one political candidate or another comes just about every day. Sadly, most of the ink is spent on saying how bad their opponents are.

I wish there was an “opt out” button.


American excess

A local bakery / restaurant from a well known chain throws out four huge trash bags of perfectly good bread and pastries every night at closing time. Some nights, very kind people pick up the excess and bring it to homeless shelters or similar. Most nights, it goes into the nearby dumpster.

This chain has ten stores in the Denver area alone. That amount of waste is mind-boggling.

I do not fault them.

Who is at fault for this kind of waste? The American consumer. The manager of the store told my friend who makes those charity bread runs, “If we didn’t have every single item in stock, we’d get complaints from customers who missed being able to buy their favorite item at the end of the day. Then we’d lose them as customers. They would go to another shop.”

We are guilty as a country.

Solution? The years I lived in England, stores would regularly finish their stock near the end of the day. Customers would just buy a different item – or go to a different store. No one would get upset. I would propose that we simply lower our darn picky standards – at least in this case. How would this happen? I don’t have any idea. Do you?


What is naughty?

Volvo wants you to think that they are.

It’s a classic case of re-branding. For decades, they have been known as the safety leader. They were the first on the market to have airbags (maybe). But now they want to grab your attention and say, “We’re not boring!”

They have had their less-boring side for a while. I drove a 1995 850 T5R with a friend (who then worked for a Volvo dealer). We had massive fun. Somewhere deep in my basement is a video of that speedometer screaming toward a speed maybe a bit higher than the legal limit.

Interestingly, their campaign still focuses on safety. Their precept is that you can move a lot closer to the edge – and still be safe.

Will their “naughty” re-branding work? Time will tell.

Lest you think I am obsessed with Volvos, I really do like Hondas and BMWs better. And I thank Volvo for the great photo of their newest “naughty” car – the S60. I would like to drive one.


PodCamp Denver 1, follow-up

Denver’s first PodCamp is history. I enjoyed leading it – with lots of help.

My single negative comment is that I was not able to attend all of the hour sessions! Humanly-speaking, I was only able to be in one place at one time. And before the next one, we’ll do better promotion to allow more people to come out who would have enjoyed the event.

I’ll quote Kia: All the sponsors were generous in allowing this event to take place and I would like to thank them in no particular order – Greeblemonkey, Human Business Works, Metzger Associates, Colorado Native Lager, Manmade Media, Que Publishing and name.com. Please support them and their enthusiasm to help our community grow, engage, and improve.

Besides the sponsors, I’d also like to thank Kia, Brent, Terry, Marcin and Andrew. Their contributions before and during PodCamp helped make it great.

I’m looking forward to the next one!

(The weird panorama photo is courtesy of Photoshop’s Photomerge filter.)