Here is something I was thinking about the other day:
We live in a world of advertising. There are ads everywhere. You can’t leave your house without seeing some kind of advertisement for something, whether it be on billboards or banners, in newspapers or programs. According to this site, we see somewhere between a few hundred and a few thousand ads a day.
Yet there is one place I’ve never seen “sell out”. I’ve lived in apartments for a little over a decade and never have I seen apartment buildings called anything but “Building A-Z” or “Building 1-99″.
Why don’t apartment complexes rent out the name of their buildings to companies? This seems like a match made in capitalistic nirvana.
The apartment complex wins because they get free income for renaming areas that are not really attached to their name. Bonus points if they keep the advertisers in the alphabetical order as the apartment buildings.
Building A: The Albertsons Building
Building B: The Best Buy Building
Building C: The Costco Building
Building D: The Dominos Building
Building H: The Home Depot Building
Building M: The McDonalds Building
Notice the type of companies there. There are all places or products apartment residents would frequent or purchase. Therein lies the benefit for the companies buying the space. The residents are a captive audience to the ad. They have to say the product name, because it is where they live.
For example, imagine this casual conversation:
“Hey Bob, why don’t we watch the game at your place?”
“Sure, you know my complex, right? I am in the Budweiser Building.”
“Whoa, speaking of, do you want me to pick up a case?”
“Sure, sounds good. Just make sure you make it here before kickoff.”
Did you see how the Budweiser brand automatically inserted itself into the conversation? It was almost like magic.
If high rise, downtown, skyskraping condominium buildings can sell their naming rights, why can’t apartment complexes? They could even package the advertising real estate on the side of the building to the company buying the name. That would cost extra, of course.
Although I don’t think apartment complexes would be so kind, this may be a way to help control rent inflation. I’ve never lived in a complex that didn’t raise their rent every year. However, if a potential annual rent increase drove most of the resident to consider moving, the complex could nix the increase to residents but still making their money by upping the cost of advertising, shifting the cost from the resident to the advertiser.
How could this not work? I think it is foolproof. Unfortunately, I don’t own an apartment complex.
Everybody likes to talk about how social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are changing the way we communicate. We now have access to anyone we are friends with or following, or lurking, or trolling, or monitoring, or stalking, or whatever the case may be.
One thing I haven’t seen much of however, is people tying these new web tools with traditional blogging.
(It just dawned on me that blogging can’t really be that “traditional”, can it? It’s not like it’s been around that long.)
So, in an attempt to blend my Facebook Fan Page with this blog, I decided to have a multi-part conversation/interview with the world-famous Cowbell Kid, fan extraordinaire of the Tampa Bay Rays. I’ve known Cowbell for a bit, so I knew he would be game. What I did was I sent him a question and after he answered it, I sent him another. The fun part was that because it was on Facebook, other fans could see our discussion and comment on my question and his answer, which did happen a few times.
Jordi:So Cowbell, how do the Rays look this year?
Cowbell Kid: Words can’t describe the excitement I am feeling when I look at the roster and realize how much talent we have. The pitching staff (in my opinion) is better than it’s ever been. The defense is solid! And everyone knows that this team can score runs & LOTS OF THEM!
Not too mention the numbers, It’s our 13th season and we have lucky number 13 in left field. “It’s our Season”
Jordi:Hey Cowbell Kid, what Rays player are you most looking forward to watching in 2010?
Cowbell Kid: I am excited to see what Bossman Junior is gonna do this year! He got a Big contract ($3,000,000); he struggled leading off last season but think he will be just fine and put up career numbers this season.
Jordi: Yo Cowbell Kid, what new Rays player do you think will have the biggest impact?
Cowbell Kid: Rafael Soriano is gonna be a huge factor this season and with the departure of Akinori Iwamura I believe Sean Rodriguez is going to make an immediate impact as well. This is quite a team we have, our new catcher Kelly Shoppach is also a huge addition to the roster.
Jordi:Yo Cowbell Kid, who are you looking forward to heckling this year? Any new targets?
Cowbell Kid: Well, Kevin (I cant ignore Cowbell) Youkilis is at the top of my list as usual. He doesn’t get the fact that if he would just ignore me I would leave him alone and his life would be a lot easier. My favorite are those who take it personally (i.e. Nick Markakis, Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Alex Rios). These idiots seem to come unglued and get frazzled. then of course there are those who respect my attention and play along Vernon Wells, Adam Jones, Joba Chamberlain! You know you got the juice when Joba , Adam, Vernon come trotting over to the fence to talk to you every time they see you in the stands … I mean every time too.
Someone once said to me, “OMG, Joba Chamberlain just came over and started talking to you”. I replied “So what?” They were like, “That’s a pretty big deal when high profile players from visiting teams come over and talk to you like they know you.” I answered back, “They do know me”, lol.
Jordi:Hey Cowbell Kid, who is the most famous person to ring a cowbell with you?
Cowbell Kid: Well I have had Rick Baker (St Pete Mayor); Fisher and Boy 97X, they even dressed up in my costume; Virginia Johnson from Bay News 9; BJ Upton wore my blue fro; Todd Kalas (FSN); and many others that shall remain nameless.
Jordi:Cowbell Kid, I heard a rumor that I have to ask about. I heard you weren’t going to be at as many games this year as in the past. Any truth to that? And if so, do you have substitute Cowbell Kids ready for those days you can’t make it?
Cowbell Kid: I am gonna be giving the Rays my full support, but it will be from a somewhat less visible forum. I am working a lot more nights than I was the past few seasons, so to the untrained eye it may appear I am not at the Trop as often. However I am going to be holding bigger and better Rays parties at my new job.
For example, if you were unable to get a ticket for Opening Day 2010 don’t have despair cuz ……. I am gonna be throwing one whale of an opening day party at Big Mike’s in Largo (999 Missouri Ave.), in fact we will be helping Tampa Bay to get amped during every game this season. It’s a business endeavor that was birthed by our own bench coach Dave Martinez and former Buccaneer Jerry Wunsch. And trust me we will be doing everything we are able to do in an effort to get the emotion and excitement of this Tampa Bay Rays season burning bright and hot!!!!
Jordi:Cowbell Kid, what’s new on the video front? Any new clips we should check out?
Cowbell Kid: No new clips but I am working on a new concept for a sports televsion pilot. “Cowbell TV”. I am currently developing this project and will get you an exclusive look when it comes to fruition.
Jordi:Ok Cowbell Kid, one more tough question. What’s your take on the stadium issue? Do you think we will see the team move anytime soon? Are they going to Tampa, staying in St. Pete, or moving to Vegas?
Cowbell Kid: I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with the TROP. There are some folks however, that have an obsessive need to de-value it. I don’t think in the next 5 years that they are going anywhere. And definitely don’t think they are going to Tampa. All those people that are making excuses saying, “I would go to more games if they played in Tampa” are doing just that, making excuses! If the team moved to Tampa they’d be the 1st to have some other excuse as to why they weren’t attending games.
Jordi:Hey Cowbell Kid, didn’t you invade Boston and Yankee Stadium last season? Any big trips planned for 2010? Are you taking over Toronto, Baltimore, and the rest of the AL East?
Cowbell Kid: I did I invaded and conquered Yankee Stadium, Fenway, Citifield, Citizens Bank Park, and Camden Yards. This year we are going to Durham, the ATL, & Miami. Last year’s road trip was of epic proportions! But I am raising the bar! I sent $100 to Vegas on the Rays winning the World Series this year. It was only 11 to 1 odds. So basically everyone including the oddsmakers already know that the Rays are gonna win it all!
Jordi:Hey Cowbell Kid, before I wrap this up and post it on my site, is there anything in closing you would like to say to all the Rays fans out there?
Cowbell Kid: This is possibly the best baseball team ever put together! Now is the time you gotta believe! I see the Rays winning the championship this season!!!!!! So please come to the TROP and show your support, be a part of the magic that is and gonna be the best team in baseball this season!!! Go Rays!!!
I’ve been to South Dakota. It’s a really beautiful state with a lot of rolling hills and a bunch of other naturific things going on. It is the home of Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. It is where Tom Brokaw was born.
I bet you knew all that already.
(Except for the fact that I went to South Dakota. Unless you know me personally, in which case you are half of the people who read this blog.)
However, here are a few things I bet you didn’t know about South Dakota:
Sorry I am a little late in writing this, but did you know The Battle of New Orleans took place two weeks after The War of 1812 ended?
What do you mean, that was 200 years ago?
Last Sunday on a gorgeous day in sunny Viera, Florida, I saw “The Next BIG Thing” Stephen Strasburg make his second spring start as the Nationals squared off against the St. Louis Cardinals. I was impressed as were the Cardinals.
To be honest, I was a bit surprised by Strasburg’s wind-up. Having never seen him pitch before, I pictured him as more of a straight up and down, standing tall pitcher – a la Mark Prior – but his wind-up reminded me a bit of David Cone, except with only one arm angle.
Unfortunately, the Capital City Messiah only pitched three innings. Then the Nationals featured a litany of has-beens, never-will-bes, and future insurance salesmen. The only names I recognized were Livan Hernandez and Ron Villone.
Of course, the Nationals lost.
Fortunately for me, I didn’t mind. As cliche as this sounds, I was there to have a good time. I met up with fellow BusLeagues writer Will, made friends with the Nats Tiki, heckled Mitchell Boggs of the Cardinals, saw former Mets manager Davey Johnson (now working with the Nationals in some capacity), bought a cheeseburger, almost met Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com, talked blues with a random stranger, and saw people wearing some awesome jerseys, to include a Don Drysdale, an Ozzie Smith, a George Foster, a Johnny Bench, and one that just said “Funk”.
Unfortunately (yes, again), my day at the ballpark almost didn’t happen. Even though I was told there were plenty of seats inside Space Coast Stadium, there were no tickets being sold outside the ballpark.
That’s right, it was a sell-out.
Thank you, Mr. Strasburg.
Fortunately (again), I found someone scalping a ticket. 30 bucks for a 17 dollar seat! For a spring training game! Where the main attraction is only in 1/6 of the action!
I am seeing this more and more every spring. When I was a kid growing up in Central Florida, I used to be able to go to the ballpark right before a game and buy a seat in the bleachers for less than 10 bucks. Now the only team you can do that with is the Pirates.
I know it makes me seem old and crotchety, and maybe I am, but I miss those spring training days. Before teams realized they could capitalize on spring match-ups. Before tickets were 30 dollars each (as they are to see the Yankees).
My long-time interest in the “Who Shot Mamba?” project and similarly long correspondence with screenwriter Brian Spaeth has definitely raised my interest in independent films and supporting those who make them. So it was with great interest that I attended the Gasparilla Film Festival Saturday night to see a movie highly recommended by Tampa social media maven Julia Gorzka entitled “Let’s Rob the Cheese Shop“.
Written and directed by New Orleans filmmaker Sean Gerowin, “Let’s Rob the Cheese Shop” is the story of three college students and their foolproof plan to take mad cheddar from a local muenster merchant.
Along the way, however, things don’t go exactly as planned.
The movie starts by introducing us to college buddies Alex and Vance. Alex is the square, buttoned-up nice guy and Vance is the outgoing, slackerific ladies man, albeit with a bit of a drug problem. To be honest, Vance reminded me of a cross between Jay from the Kevin Smith movies and Jim Morrison of The Doors. He also reminded me of a few friends I’ve had through the years – minus the coke habit.
Like most college students, Alex, Vance, and their friend Daphne are broke. Apparently between the three of them, they have just enough money to buy Bonnaroo tickets. Unfortunately, only one of them has a job. So, again like most college students, they start brainstorming on how to make some quick cash. Although they first consider robbing a bank, the idea is quickly tossed aside for a more practical notion: to rob Daphne’s workplace – the local cheese shop.
(I totally related to this scene. Longtime fans of my work may remember when I came up with the idea to liberate Rhode Island because, of course, it’s not an island. Then there was the time my roommate and I called the campus police department to ask if we could throw a non-alcoholic beer keg party in the dorms. Must be something about college that fries the brain.)
With everyone finally on board, the three friends begin to calculate and contemplate, hypothesize and strategize, and dream and scheme how to make the plan a success. Of course, they don’t consider what would happen if they got busted, or if Daphne lost her job (which she is shown to be not very good at, by the way), but such is the innocence of youth.
Speaking of innocence (or lack thereof), while the friends are contriving their nefarious plot, we learn that Vance and Daphne used to be lovers and now Alex has a crush on Daphne. This sets off a continuous backstory of love, lust, and why girls don’t like “nice guys”.
(Of course, this is totally true. In no real universe could two guys and a girl just be friends; someone has to be involved with someone else. It’s nature’s law. By the way, for a great read on “Nice Guy Syndrome”, check out this post: Why “Nice Guys” Are Often Such Losers, it’s a phenomenal read.)
Slowly but surely the scheme starts to disintegrate. Some people get cold feet, some people start thinking with their heart instead of their brain, and still others choke down handfuls of random pills, making them completely useless as a potential accomplice.
Before the plan goes completely up in smoke, however, Vance meets the woman of his dreams. And she is not the kind of woman to keep him on the straight and narrow either. Quite the opposite. She is the cowgirl from Hades and just the inspiration Vance needs to dust off the friends’ scheme and attempt to be Clyde to his new love’s Bonnie.
Will he succeed? Will the cheese shop be robbed? Will Alex get lucky?
For the answer, you have to see the movie.
Overall, I really enjoyed “Let’s Rob the Cheese Shop“. It’s a fun movie that definitely brought back memories of wild and crazy college days. There is no doubt “Let’s Rob the Cheese Shop” lives up to its claim of containing “a fair amount of Sex, Drugs, & Cheese”. It was definitely funny, although some of the humor was very subtle – like when Alex attempts to get close to Daphne and she repeatedly slides away. Finally, as the movie was filmed in New Orleans, there is plenty of good music and, of course, lots of drinking.
(Coincidentally, I spent most of my day prior to going to the film festival converting hours of my own drunken escapades from VHS to DVD. So by the end of the night, while the rest of the audience shockingly watched Vance drink his life away, I felt like I was right there with him. Minus the coke habit, of course.)
At the same time, he (Hugh McGuirk, head of T. Rowe Price’s municipal bond group)expects concerns about the health of state and local budgets to increase over the next year, so he has been tilting T. Rowe Price’s municipal bond portfolios away from direct government bonds in favor of essential service revenue bonds issued by water and sewer authorities and utilities—entities with stable revenue streams.
So perhaps what we are seeing is investors shying away from putting their (or your) money into established municipalities. Entities that probably won’t go away anytime soon. But they could go bankrupt. They could overspend and not have enough income. Then, what we could see is them cutting back services. Either that or selling established services to private companies. Companies that will be so ingrained in our social fabric, they might as well be government. And democracy will only be in the hands of the shareholders.
But I’ll make a few bucks on the dividends.
* Yes, I do some investing. Don’t laugh. I have mad cash invested in Disney.
The Gasparilla International Film Festival was held at Tampa’sCineBistro, a small, up-scale theater that also features a gourmet restaurant. Customers order food or drinks prior to the film and the waitstaff brings it out before the movie starts. A bit high-priced and not something I would do all the time, but a fun experience nonetheless.
CineBistro is not the only place in Tampa that does the food-movie thing. Other theaters in town feature full bars, pizza, and of course, the normal array of candy, popcorn, and soda.
What I have yet to see, however, is any food offered for the health conscious among us. Those who don’t want to nosh on nougat or munch on Milkduds are out of luck at the theater. With our health food craze entering its second or third decade, I am flabbergasted as to why no one has done this yet.
I don’t think it would be too difficult to for a smoothie place to affiliate themselves with a local cinema. Instead of candy, why not offer protein bars or trail mix? Even the head of Sony Pictures, Michael Lynton, recently suggested theaters should offer a healther menu, with items such as “fruit cups, vegetables with dip, yogurt, granola bars, baked chips and unbuttered, air-popped popcorn”.
Yet no one has offered an alternative. It should not be that difficult. If I can get a margarita, I should be able to get a strawberry-banana smoothie with a heaping scoop of ginseng, ginko biloba, amino acids, protein, or whatever else I want in there.
Come on movie theater people, I want smoothies at my movies.
I am a big fan of performers who venture outside the proverbial “box”. Those who don’t sound like you would expect, or those who don’t quite fit a given label.
Guitarists Rodrigo Y Gabriela are two such performers. Creative Loafing Tampa called them an “acoustic rock duo“, and that’s about as much as you could say without spending hours having to explain them.
On Sunday, March 21, 2010, they were in Tampa and I was there.
The show at the Ritz Ybor started with rock/jazz band the Alex Skolnick Trio. Longtime metal fans might recognize Alex Skolnick as the lead guitarist of Testament. With the Alex Skolnick Trio, Skolnick has infused his metal roots with a jazz flavor, to include a wicked drummer and a stand-up bass. The results are freakin’ awesome. Here is a video of “Western Sabbath Stomp”, which was one of the first songs they did and probably my favorite.
Now back to Rodrigo Y Gabriela. They may be two of the best guitar players I have ever seen. And I have seen Buddy Guy, Slash, Eric Clapton, Robert Randolph, and Metallica. But comparing Rodrigo Y Gabrielo to any of those would be like comparing Randolph to Metallica. You can’t do it. Rodrigo Y Gabriela have created a style of complex, Spanish-themed, Irish-influenced, metal-based rock so unique, it crosses almost every genre and fanbase.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s extent was obvious by the crowd as well, as there were guys in Metallica shirts standing next to folks who looked like music majors or even professors. All to see a band whose big number was a tribute to Dimebag Darrell (who I have seen as well).
(Quick note on the crowd: I am not sure if it was sell-out, but by the end of the show the Ritz Ybor was packed. I think the size of the crowd even surprised the performers, who admitted they didn’t know how well they would be received outside of the major city circuit of New York, LA, Chicago, etc.)
Anyway, although I am sure there will be videos of the Rodrigo Y Gabriela Tampa show on YouTube soon, here they are performing Metallica’s “One” in San Francisco in 2008.
If you get a chance to see them, do so. They get the Jordi Seal of Approval.
Yet another cameo for you to check out. Like I said before, I’ll be doing my thing over at BusLeaguesBaseball this season, talking about minor league baseball. My area of expertise is the Class A-Advanced, to include the California League, the Carolina League, and of course, the Florida State League.
So like the big leaguers, to warm up for the season I’ve been attending some Spring Training contests.
Last Sunday, I had the joyous pleasure of meeting the Nats Tiki and also seeing Stephen Strasberg, last year’s number one draft pick and the predicted next great pitcher in big league history.
I also ramble a bit on the increasing cost of spring baseball.