Fire Station or Station Fire?

Generation Me

The Global Enterprise
I have to remind myself constantly that the world doesn’t revolve around me…though I sure like to think it does. But only by God’s grace can I slay the dragon in my heart that the Bible calls pride.

There’s a good piece from Newsweek that I think we all should read called “Generation Me” which basically discusses the fact that we’re just all about ourselves these days. Here’s a snippet of a key sentence and a link from the article (the whole article is only 6 paragraphs — quick, easy read):

“…as Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell point out in their excellent book “The Narcissism Epidemic,” released last week, we’ve built up the confidence of our kids, but in that process, we’ve created a generation of hot-house flowers puffed with a disproportionate sense of self-worth (the definition of narcissism) and without the resiliency skills they need when Mommy and Daddy can’t fix something.”

Read the full article from Newsweek here.

In a related story, a mom got upset this week when Disneyland wouldn’t allow MTV to film her daughters $150,000 quinceañera. Here’s a quote from the daughter:

“Who is Disney to say, ‘No,’ because we’re paying them,” Kreuger said. “I really want Disney to see the stress they caused. All my life I wanted to have a big quince, and MTV has the big shows and all the drama, and I wanted that too.

I sent in, like, two videos — I was trying really hard, and they liked me,” Krueger continued. “It gets me so mad that they’re not going to do this MTV thing.”

It’s a true story, but if seeing is believing then click here.

Making the Library Cool Again

I mentioned over a year ago about how the Library of Congress (LOC) was putting some of their photo collection online via Flickr and that it was probably one of the coolest things the U.S. government had done in a while. Well I went exploring some more today and found that they haven’t stopped with Flickr. As of today, I found official LOC operated sites on Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube — not to mention their ridiculously cool blog. Below are some screen shots and links of a few notable items I found from our friends in Washington. Funny thing — I always thought librarians were supposed to be mean and “shhhh” you all the time, but it seems like the LOC is doing quite the opposite:

The Library of Congress Blog
Libary of Congress Official Blog
The Library of Congress blog is updated quite regularly with news about current collections at the LOC as well as fun tidbits and insights about history. One post I came across was a link to a 55 minute Stevie Wonder concert that was held at the Library back in February. The full concert footage is available exclusively at their blog. That’s just one reason to make sure to add their blog to your RSS feed reader.

The LOC on Flickr
Library of Congress Flickr
This was the LOC’s first major break-in to social media and it’s definitely been a good one. Starting with some 3,000 images they have now doubled that figure in about a year and the photos just keep getting better and better. Their photo sets make it easy to browse different parts of the collection and one of my favorites is the set “1930s-40s in Color” which has some great shots of the riveters, state fairs, and I even saw a blimp in there. Go see the world of the past at the LOC’s Flickr page.

The LOC on YouTube
Library of Congress YouTube
If Flickr is where the LOC hosts their still frames, then YouTube is now their place for moving pictures. Easily one of the greatest things about the LOC’s new YouTube page is the 42 videos they have of The Edison Company’s early films. Some of the videos are a little strange, but the fact that we now have digital footage of video taken in the 1880’s kind of blows my mind.

The LOC on Twitter
Libarary of Congress Twitter
Don’t have time to read a blog? Don’t feel like viewing photos or watching videos? Well, you can get your bite-size version of the Library of Congress now at their official Twitter page. Though many of their updates are just relinks to their blog, they do however seem to have a real human behind the keyboard because this girl was looking for some “foreign policies” from the Clinton era and the LOC was happy to oblige her with the answer.

Orange Juice and the Immutability of God

If you haven’t seen the new ads or container for Tropicana orange juice, then the following thoughts will make no sense to you. Be sure and view the side-by-side photo here, and the billboard ad here.

The first time I saw the new marketing ads for Tropicana I was honestly upset. The logo looked weird and no longer unique, the new container just looked like a basic store brand — like “Safeway Select,” and I missed the little red and white straw coming out of the orange. In fact, I voiced my opinion to my wife and brother-in-law in the car as we passed a billboard one day, but they didn’t necessarily agree with me. Since I work in the marketing world a bit (with product packaging and design) I figured my thoughts may have been exclusive to me and other design people, but still as a consumer it just wasn’t flying with me. As it turns out — I’m wasn’t alone. According to the New York Times, Tropicana is ditching their new product container design and implementing their old one. Why the sudden change? Apparently enough people called, emailed, faxed, sent Morse code, pony-expressed (you get the point) their outrage over the new packaging that Tropicana decided it would be best to scrap it.

I’m not trying to make more of it than should be made, but I do believe people feel a connection between a product and it’s package. There’s something familiar about it, something consistent, or maybe something special and when it changes so dramatically it actually feels a little wrong. I still remember the commercials where they would stick the red and white straw in the orange and start drinking — I think I even tried doing it as a kid (though finding a red and white straw is tough). Even though the orange juice on the inside is the same as it was before, the change in packaging makes it seem as if the product itself has been altered. Thankfully, not everything changes like orange juice and product packaging — like God. God never changes.

The Bible says God (or Jesus Christ) is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The Bible says God’s Word never changes (Psa 119:89). The Bible says that God’s love never changes (Jer 31:3). And the Bible clearly says that God never changes: “For I the LORD do not change…” (Mal 3:6). Theologians call this attribute of God His immutability. Unlike meaningless orange juice packaging, I never have to worry about the one and only God changing who He is or what He says. It’s for that reason that I can trust Him completely and trust in Him alone, because he’s the only One that is like that. This truth about God could not be more relevant than today. In the midst of great economic uncertainty, constant changing laws and lawmakers, new clothes, new cars, new technology, and even a new look for my orange juice, I can trust in a God who is always certain, whose law is always the same (the Bible), who never looks different, who never gets an upgrade, and who will always be the same for eternity.

America’s Favorite Pastime

“Dad, your Dodgers are pretty good this year,” to which my dad replies, “I haven’t followed baseball since they decided to go on strike!” Well, that may be my dad’s sentiment, but those feelings are definitely not mutual. Baseball’s spring training opens today and I am of course rooting for my home team — the Los Angeles Dodgers. Obviously, no one knows what the season may hold for the Boys in Blue, but we’ll definitely try to make some games this year and cheer them home. If you didn’t know, the Dodgers have a new spring training facility near Phoenix, AZ (click for pics) and I’m sure many from the L.A. area are going to make the rather short 5 hour trip for a few weekend games. But in honor of today’s events, I figured a few pics from America’s favorite pastime would be appropriate. These photos — along with the above photo — come to us straight from the Library of Congress’ Flickr account and should suffice for getting us all in the baseball spirit:

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