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Never Confuse Activity With Accomplishment . . .

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Smith Publicity

Never confuse activity, with accomplishment, is an edict that I have often preached in my managerial career. It is the litmus test, which when used, determines the overall success of any goal or plan. It is the definitive indication of whether an objective was achieved or not.

Not everyone prescribes to this philosophy, choosing to focus instead on the myriad of activities, and unwittingly deluding themselves that the bustle is really an indication, that they are accomplishing something.

It has been said that experience is the best teacher, but it is always learned at the expense of someone else. Much to my chagrin, this lesson, which should have easily been avoided, finds me added to the list, as an unwilling statistic.

I am the author of an emotional and intriguing novel entitled, “I Apologize”. After have a modicum of success promoting the book on my own, I decided to enlist the help of a public relations firm.

After doing an extensive and exhaustive research, I chose Smith Publicity, based on their reputation, to assist me in my marketing endeavors.

Before going any further, let me state that my intention is not to sully their reputation, they are quite capable of doing that on their own, but to dissuade anyone seeking publicity, not to make the same mistake as I did.

Although, there were telltale signs of Smith Publicity staff’s ineptness, such as emailing me someone else’s contract to sign, blinded by my eagerness to promote the novel, I chose to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Fortuitous for me, Marissa Madill, my account representative, had suggested a six weeks promotion, to gauge the media’s interest; otherwise, I would have been fleeced for $10,000, which was the cost of a three-month campaign.

“A fool and his money are soon parted,” would aptly describe the situation at the end of my six weeks campaign.

I wish I could expound on what results, Smith Publicity achieved for my novel, but as they were quick to point out on numerous conference calls, while they tried in earnest to justified the work they did, the contract clearly stated, they do not guarantee, and are not responsible for any.

Worse, my assigned publicist, Jennifer Tucker sent me a hit list, and indicated that I should use the names and email addresses to “follow up” on her efforts to secure media coverage for my novel.

The list contained over 30 unreachable contacts. When I questioned how Ms. Tucker could have followed up, the office manager, Ms. Knapp, on a subsequent conference call, intimated that something must be wrong with my computer, and I should try reaching out to those contacts again.

Attempts to reach the founder, Dan Smith, to resolve this matter, have proven futile.

I received a call from the president of Smith Publicity, Sandra Poirier Diaz, in which she tried to defend the handling of my unsuccessful campaign. She offered to look at my spreadsheet of unreachable contacts, and returned to me, a revised list with 14 new names and email addresses.

Based on the preceding facts alone, I am quite sure you can fully understand my disdain and sheer contempt, for what I considered an ineffective and disastrous campaign, especially from a supposedly reputable public relations firm.

Heed the warning of a dispirited, and disillusioned purchaser of Smith Publicity’s services . . .

It cost me $5,000 to learn something I knew already . . . when the final ledger is tallied, accomplishment, (the achievement of a desired outcome or objective), can and should never be confused with activity (the appearance of being busy).

In the case of Smith Publicity, the latter is what you get, and they have a binding contract that clearly states as much.

If you choose to ignore this warning, the only advice that I can give you is, learn from my experience, and proceed at your own peril.

Bradley Booth

 

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A Second Chance . . .

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Although I lost her fifteen years ago, the memory of my fiancée still lingers.

She was an aspiring model robbed of the opportunity to grace the world with her beauty. To this day, although her doctor assured me that the two were not connected, I still harbor doubts whether her desire to give me a child did not in some way trigger her cancer.

I can recall her fighting back tears as she looked in the mirror. The ravages of chemotherapy can be most unflattering, but she swore defiantly that she would be victorious against leukemia.

Gone was the long flowing hair, the voluptuous physique, the bewitching eyes, the melodious voice of innocence, and in spite of it all, it was then that the true essence of her beauty was revealed . . .

Her tragic death, and my inability to cope with it, left me despondent. I decided to never let another woman get that close to me again.

Her doctor suggested I join a support group. I had no desire to relive those two years filled with pain and anguish. Instead I opted to shut out the world and bury my feelings.

Luckily a coworker informed me that suppressed emotions were notorious for making their presence known in other ways.

My fiancée’s death rekindled my fondness for writing, and I recalled a desk and an old typewriter my mother had given me in my youth.

I began studying books on writing. I also developed a passion for classical and jazz music, dining at fine restaurants, museums, and late night drives to the beach. Although I was always alone, the prevailing thought that plagued my mind was that I would meet someone and fall in love again.

I started writing poems and short stories. It was a peaceful haven in which I could retreat from all my grief and sorrow.

Several years later, I was walking through Grand Central Station when an alluring young lady asked for directions to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. What came over me that day is hard to explain, but I convinced her that the MET was my intended destination, too, and that we should share a taxi. We sat at opposite ends, and it was my intention not to follow through with my farce, but when we got there, we never left each other’s side.

Our relationship blossomed to the point where I asked her to be my wife. I probably would have never told her about the love I’d lost, but I came home early one day unexpectedly and found her in tears. She asked for my forgiveness and explained that she had found my manuscript while cleaning out the closet.

From that day she has been my staunchest supporter and encouraged me to publish my story. Her tireless and unwavering devotion has illuminated the path from which at times, I seem to lose my way.

I pray each day . . . “May I always be worthy of her love.”

Bradley Booth

I Apologize by Bradley Booth

I Apologize by Bradley Booth Book Trailer

Written by BBooth

April 12, 2013 at 10:30 am

Running of the Bulls . . .

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The Miami Heat should be thankful that the Chicago Bulls ended their winning streak.

Now they can put the focus on where it should have been in the first place and that is in repeating as NBA Champions.

The Heat players seemed to have been caught in the frenzy created by the media’s constant barrage of coverage and comparison to the record of thirty-three consecutive wins set by the 72 Los Angeles Lakers.

Heat’s president Pat Riley, who was a member of that 72 team, avoided commenting on the streak. Perhaps he, like most of us, realized that nothing less than a championship would be considered a wasted season.

The prognosticators got this one right. They predicated that either the Bulls or the San Antonio Spurs had a legitimate shot to end Miami’s streak.

Miami’s coach, Erik Spoelstra, along with members of his staff can now fix glaring weaknesses that have cropped up during the streak. His team’s penchant for falling behind early in games finally caught up to them.

He warned his team of the dogfight they would encounter in Chicago, as the Bulls jumped out to an early lead from the gate. The lead wasn’t  insurmountable when compared to 27 points they were down in Boston,  but the short-handed Bulls simply refused to relinquish it.

“It was never about the streak,” Spoelstra admonished. “It’s about, are we getting better?”

Apparently not, if you take into account that during the streak, Miami played from behind 11 times, entering the fourth quarter. There would be no late game heroics from LeBron James. No mock interviews from Dwayne Wade after the game. No joyful and playful interview interruptions by Chris Bosh.

Losing streaks can be nerve-racking, but winning streaks can have the same effect as well.  Evident by James’ frustration over the officiating and what he considered to be aggressive and unnecessary hard fouls by Bulls’ players.

If the Heat are to hoist another, Larry O’Brien trophy, then they should acknowledge the streak for what it was, just a serendipitous distraction on the way to the ultimate prize.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Affairs of the Heart . . .

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Affairs of the heart, which leads to uncontrollable crimes of passion, can happen anywhere and at anytime.

The insatiable desire to exact a measure of revenge when another suitor has captured your lover’s affections is a testament to the destructive force that drives relatively sane individuals to commit murder.

Although Marine officials have not released an official statement, one can only surmise that when their investigation has concluded, the facts will reveal that there had been a romantic entanglement that destroyed the careers and lives of three promising young Marines.

Why else would Marine Sgt. Eusebio Lopez, 25, of Pacifica, California, throw away such a promising military career by murdering two of his comrades and then killing himself?

The bodies of Lance Cpl. Sara Castromata, 19, of Oakley, California, and Cpl. Jacob Wooley, 23, of Guntown, Mississippi, were discovered together on Thursday night, in a room at the Taylor Halls barracks at Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia.

Sgt. Lopez body was discovered in the same hall, but in a different location than those of his two colleagues.

What drove him to commit such a horrific act?

The Marine Corps will no doubt keep claiming that the investigation is ongoing and they do not know the motive for the double murders/suicide. Everyone else will speculate and arrive at the same conclusion.

A love triangle ensnared them all, and Sgt. Lopez, perhaps not knowing how to control his emotions and no one to confide in, took matters into his own hands.

Quantico Base is known as the crossroads of the Marine Corps, where officers receive their basic training, but in the case of these three decorated Marines, perhaps another lesson would have been more suitable.

Affairs of the heart that goes awry ultimately have a very disastrous ending.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

My Brother’s Keeper . . .

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Jeremy Bush told his brother Jeff that they didn’t have to work today. Little did he know that would be the last time he would see his brother alive again.

The catastrophic events that indelibly have shattered the lives of Bush and his family occurred on the night of February 28. The family had just retired to bed when a deafening noise startled them.

“Right when it happened, said Janell Wicker, “it sounded like someone had just rammed our house with their car going 100 miles an hour.”

Jeremy Bush heard his brother screaming for help and ran to his bedroom. Jeff and all the furnishing in the room were swallowed up by a massive sinkhole, approximately 20 feet wide and 50 feet deep.

“Everything was gone. My brother’s bed, my brother’s dresser, my brother’s TV. My brother was gone,” Bush told CNN’s AC360.”

Bush asked his father-in-law for a shovel, and began digging frantically in an attempt to get to his brother.

“The hole was over my head. I could hear him calling out to me,” Bush cried. “I couldn’t get him out. I tried so hard. I tried everything I could.”

Authorities have given up their rescue efforts and any hope that Jeff Bush is still alive. Demolition crews started destroying Bush’s home on Sunday, giving the family time to sift through the debris for their personal belongings.

The home was completely demolished on Monday, as officials try to determine what they are dealing with.

Hillsborough County is well known as sinkhole alley. According to one state official, sinkholes are created when acidic groundwater eats away at the bedrock made up of limestone and other carbonate rocks. This erosion form voids that ultimately collapses when the weight above can no longer support it.

The giant crater that suddenly caved in under the Jeff Bush’s bedroom floor, and the subsequent demolition of the edifice that housed over three generations has left Jeremy and his entire family despondent and looking for a sense of closure.

A clawed bible, a child’s teddy bear, and the excruciating memory of his brother crying out for help as he dug in vain to save him, are the only things that Jeremy Bush has left.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

In Search of a Diamond . . .

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I took my wife on a romantic weekend getaway. I have tried to plan a different venue each time we do this, but given the proximity of where we live, and our affinity to the history of this particular city, we find ourselves time and time again coming back to Philadelphia.

I normally reserved a corner room at the Hyatt Regency in Penn’s Landing, and a table close to the window at the Chart House, so that from both vantage points, we can take it the breath-taking view of the Delaware River.

Several events prior to the abovementioned weekend prevented me from making reservations, as I had grown accustomed to, and how fortuitous it was, since what transpired led this story.

First, I was unable to get a room at the Hyatt, and second, my wife elected that we should dine trying to unravel a mystery.

I made reservations at the Marriott Courtyard, ensuring that we at least had a view of the skyline, and for us to be guests at the Romano Bistro, where our proficiency as sleuths would be put to the test in solving a murder.

The murder mystery turned out to be anything but, since the clues that were given in no way indicated that the person they claimed committed the murder could have done it. They did however notify the audience that the killer changes with each show.

Needless to say, my wife will not be requesting that we dine at any more mystery murder shows in the near future.

The following morning while my wife was still asleep, I decided a visit to the pool was in order. I noticed a family of five splashing around in the pool as I entered, and decided to spend some quiet time, if possible, soaking in the whirlpool.

As guests came and went, I spent my time between the pool and the whirlpool. Finally settling on the whirlpool, since a gentlemen decided to read the paper and ignore his younger son’s vociferous request to teach him to swim.

I was resigned to the fact that this weekend would conclude with no intriguing events taking place when a stout man came in carrying a rubber rocket toy.

I had been paying close attention to everyone in the area and was quite sure none of the children in pool belonged to him. My curiosity however was abated when a woman and a young boy, perhaps no older than twelve came in.

I took a cursory glance as she approached the whirlpool, and immediately noticed she had two the band-aids. I wondered what kind of injury could she have sustained that would require a bandage on each leg in different locations.

She sat near me and began expounding to herself how hot the water was, and that she had no desire to do anything else but remain in the whirlpool. I smiled and looked at the clock, calculating how much time would elapse before the timer would turn off again.

Her husband and son soon joined her. The father became insistent that his son should go back to the pool, but he seemed intent on enjoying the extreme temperatures and kept diving into the pool and then entering the whirlpool.

The serenity of the moment lost, I decided to vacate the whirlpool before the timer went off, when I noticed a change in the woman’s facial expression. She stared intently at her ring.

Curious as to what had happened, it didn’t take me long to realize that she had lost the main stone in the cluster of diamonds of her engagement ring.

“Honey, what’s the matter?” her husband asked.

She hesitated looking at sadly at the water. “I lost one of my diamonds.”

“Where did you see it last?”

“I can’t remember,” she said, her eyes gazing at the bottom of the whirlpool.

Her husband try to appease her by asking if she wanted the stone replaced. She looked at him somberly, and asked if it could be at the bottom of the whirlpool’s filter.

“Diamonds don’t float,” he edged.

She asked him to look into the filter. He hesitated. She pleaded. He opened the filter, but found nothing.

“Perhaps it fell out in the room,” he said, trying to console her.

No longer content to remain in the whirlpool, she left without uttering a single word.

Overspread on her husband’s face was a look of total bewilderment and helplessness. In what would appear to be one of his wife’s most distressing moments, there was simply nothing he could say or do to right the situation.

I wanted a better vantage point to see what the husband would do, so I went back into the pool.

He stared intently at the bottom of the whirlpool, unaware that his son was beside him.

“Daddy, what’s wrong?”

“Your mother lost one of her diamonds, he answered, his gaze fixated upon the water.

His son shrugged his shoulders and went back to playing in the pool.

The father stepped out of the whirlpool long enough to retrieve his swim goggles. Over and over again he explored to the bottom of the whirlpool.

Exhausted that his search proved futile, he finally rested on the side of the whirlpool.

His son finally realized that something was wrong. He went and stood next to his father. Both stared painstakingly at the water.

I left and related the aforementioned events to my wife.

“How sad,” she said. “The husband’s biggest mistake,’ she continued, looking at her own ring, “was suggesting so quickly, replacing the stone.”

“Why?” I asked, not wanting to appear insensitive.

“It would make me feel,” she said, giving me her full attention. “That you thought our marriage held no significant value, and thereby anything attributed to our union, could easily be replaced.”

Perhaps I did underestimate the woman’s husband. Surely he must have understood the folly of his statement. Why else would he discard the embarrassment of appearing foolish and kept searching the bottom of the whirlpool?

I drew my wife closer to me. Whispered how much I loved her.

“What brought all this on?” she asked.

“Nothing really,” I answered. “I was just thinking how fortunate I was ten years ago to have found my diamond, and how no one could ever take your place!”

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

In My Brother’s House . . .

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All week leading up to Super Bowl XLVI, friends and colleagues were soliciting my thoughts on who would win the game.

“How prophetic,” I answered, “would it be for Eli to win, in the house his brother, Peyton built.”

Perhaps it was idealistic thinking on my part, but my line of reasoning was simply this . . . if Peyton Manning is not going to be a part of the Colts organization going forward, why shouldn’t my last memory of Lucas Stadium be of a Manning winning the Super Bowl.

Much to the chagrin of my friends and colleagues, my perspicaciousness for picking the winning side in ironic situations has been proven once again.

Four years ago, I was the only one among my colleagues and friends admiring the irony of the New England Patriots’ perfect season suffering one Giant loss.

Super Bowl XLVI was a riveting game that had those around me glued to their seats. I on the other hand watched with keen interest at the unfolding irony that was playing out:

  1. The Giants were not supposed to be in the Super Bowl, given the fact that many doubted them, when the team’s record was 7-7.
  2. Tom Coughlin many argued and demanded should be fired for the team’s losing record up to that point.
  3. GM Jerry Reese was highly criticized for not making any offseason acquisitions to improve the team.
  4. Eli Manning should be traded, and he would never be an elite quarterback like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees.

Perhaps all those naysayers and prognosticators of negativity are not true Giants Fans to begin with.

The New York Giants once again have proven those detractors wrong by shutting down the vaunted New England Patriots offense.

A low scoring game dominated by defense, in which the Giants prevailed 21-17.

Eli Manning once again walked away with the Most Valuable Player award. A fitting tribute since he finished the season, the same way he started it, by leading his team on another fourth quarter comeback.

A Giants season filled with trials and tribulations, but through it all Tom Coughlin’s conviction never wavered . . . down 10 to 9 at half time, he simply told his players, “We can play better than this, and finish.”

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

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