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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

 

Does Winning Really Take Care of Everything?

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Tiger Woods hits a ball 1.68 inches in diameter towards a hole, which is 4.25 inches, and 4 inches deep.

He has won 14 majors and 77 PGA Tour and trails only Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead respectively. He became a global icon and one of golf’s most celebrated athletes.

His smile, his boyish grin was infectious.

He married Swedish model Elin Nordegren, and it seemingly appeared that Woods had it all; but the brighter the picture, the darker the negative.

The illumination of the Wood’s dark side came on November 27, 2009 when he crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant. The resulting backlash of where Woods was going at 2:25 a.m. led to the discovery of his infidelity with at least a dozen women.

An epic fall from grace as the media pounced, castrated him, and his sponsors moved quickly to distance themselves from him.

Through it all one sponsor remained loyal to Woods albeit preferring to stay in the shadows. It would appear as if their loyalty has been rewarded since Woods has returned to his winning ways and is currently rank #1 in the world.

“Winning Takes Care of Everything” is the new Nike Ad that has received polarizing views from the media and critics.

The ad depicts Woods analyzing a shot with the aforementioned overlay caption.

This has created a firestorm for Nike, which their marketing department should be please with due  to the amount of media attention the ad has garnered, since most people are associating the caption has a vindication for Wood’s past misdeeds and transgressions.

Coupled with the fact that he and Lindsey Vonn are dating. It would appear that Woods is on top of the world in is professional and personal life.

Kate Fagan on ESPN, The Word, stated that we like to live vicariously through our athletes.

Perhaps she was speaking about herself. Her statement gives credence to the fact that one should keep one’s mouth closed and exude the impression of being inept as opposed to opening one’s mouth and removing all doubt.

Admire Woods for his steely determination, his fiery competitive spirit, his unrelenting quest for perfection, and his unwavering composure under pressure.

Qualities that no doubt have enabled him to excel on the golf course, but in no way idolize him, make him a role model for your children, and worse live vicariously though him.

In the final analysis, Woods is merely an athlete, who through his prowess on the golf course provides us with a form of entertainment. To hold him to a higher standard because of this is ludicrous, especially when no one is absolved from shame in his or her own private life.

A wiser man said it best . . . “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast the first stone . . .”

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Let The Punishment Fit The Crime . . .

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The outpouring comments calling for a public lynching, to metering out the same cold-blooded execution, in order to save taxpayers the expense of housing two teenagers, who brazenly shot to death a 13-month-old baby, is a very fiery and divisive topic.

One cannot argue that the crime committed by these two teenagers is not heinous, and that the punishment administered should be of equal measure, but our system is one of due process, where an individual is considered innocent until proven guilty.

If we are to subjugate thoughts of retribution, we need to let our justice system, no matter how imperfect we think it to be, run its course, and after all the facts have been presented and examined, whatever verdict and punishment is rendered by the court, is what the accused should have to contend with.

Once we allow ourselves to entertain the notion of dispelling due process and exacting revenge for nefarious acts of violence, are we any better than the perpetrators, when in the guise of being law-abiding citizens, we trample and ignore their rights?

Sherry West was pushing her baby Antonio in his stroller when two teenagers accosted her and demanded money. When she refused and insisted she had no money to give them, the elder of the two, whom she later identified as De’Marquis Elkins, threatened to shoot her, and her baby as well.

West wrestled with her two assailants. Neither could snatch her purse. Miffed by their futile struggle, Elkins allegedly carried out his threat. He shot West in the leg; another bullet grazed her head, and then with depraved indifference shot her baby between the eyes.

Would the outcome have been different if West had just given Elkins and his 15-year-old accomplice, Dominique Lane, her purse?

The coastal city of Brunswick, Georgia is appalled that such a ghastly incident could have occurred in their small close-knit community. Witnesses tipped police that Lane was seen in the backseat of a car driving away from the scene of the shooting.

Police using West’s description that her attackers were African-American teenagers, concentrated their investigation on the surrounding schools’ absentee records, and by going door to door. West identified a mug shot of Elkins out of the twenty-four she looked at, unbeknownst that the police already had him in custody.

Although his aunt, Katrina Elkins, stated that he dined with her at breakfast, which was an hour before the shooting occurred, Brunswick police spokesman, Todd Rhodes, says authorities have sufficient reasons to charge Elkins.

Verdell Hunter characterized her grandson, Lane, as a baby himself, not a baby killer.

West’s mournful depiction of what happened to her and Antonio will no doubt sway public sentiment that our judicial system should be abolished in this particular case.

Derisive comments querying if President Barack Obama had a son, would he likely to be of the same temperament as Elkins, only serves to fuel hatred and propagate racial discord.

There will be no winners in this case.

The parents of Antonio Santiago demand justice. West’s says she can never forgive her baby’s killer. “I hope the shooter dies,” she cried. “A life for a life.”

One can only hope that justice will truly be served.

A long drawn out battle is brewing, with Elkins’ lawyer proclaiming his client’s innocence. Lane’s mother, Brenda Moses, claims that her son is a victim and doesn’t know Elkins.

In the end we should not rush to judgment, but ensure that these are the individuals, who tried to rob a mother and ended up killing her 13-month-old son.

When these allegations are proven in the court of law, and not by the court of public opinion, then by all means let the punishment fit the crime.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

An Act of Cowardice . . .

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Self-preservation is the core of humanity’s existence. It is this natural instinct that allows us to flee whenever we perceive danger.

There is however an unnatural trait, in which we sacrifice our own safety for the sake of another.

Whether this trait is learned or overtakes us instinctually is subject to debate, but one thing is abundantly apparent, those who possess this redeeming quality are labeled as “heroes”.

This is not the case of the person, who convinced or was swayed to partake in a lascivious encounter in the bushes.

Sharai Mawera and her boyfriend were copulating in the village of Kariba, near Mahombekombe primary school in Zimbabwe when a lion approached them. The unidentified fisherman realizing the lion’s presence ran off leaving his girlfriend behind.

He turned around long enough to witnessed Mawera being mauled. No one heeded is impassionate plea for help. Most thought he was deranged since he was attired with only a condom.

He was finally able to convince local authorities about what happened. When they returned to the place where he and his girlfriend had been having their sexual encounter, all that remain was Mawera mauled body.

Mawera is dead because the person she gave herself to cared more about saving himself, rather than dying with honor as he fought to protect her.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Human Error . . .

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Whenever and wherever a tragic accident has occurred, more often than not when the investigation is concluded, the underlying cause is on account of human error.

This simple yet confusing premise is at the heart of so many unnecessary, regrettable, and grievous mishaps.

By all accounts Dianna Hanson was very knowledgeable about exotic big cats, and yet she was all alone cleaning out an enclosure pen, when a 4-year-old African lion named, Cous Cous, killed her.

Her father, Paul, characterized his daughter as a “fearless” lover of big cats.

Was it this fearlessness that led to her death?

Hanson was a two-month intern at Cat Haven in Dunlap, California. She began working at the wild cats sanctuary in January, and hoped and dreamed this would be a stepping-stone to her ultimate goal of working in a big California zoo.

What is inexplicable is why would she have been in the enclosure alone?

A coworker claimed to have been speaking with her moments before the fatal attack. Their communication abruptly ended and when contact with her could not be reestablished, the coworker decided to see what had happened.

By the time the employee arrived, Cous Cous had already mauled the 24-year-old intern.

Cous Cous was shot and killed when attempts to lure the 500-pound lion away from Hanson were unsuccessful.

The coroner at the conclusion of his autopsy determined that Hanson died from a fractured neck. His supposition is that the animal may have blindsided the young intern and swiped her neck with its paw, killing her instantly.

What were the real circumstances that led to her death?

While the authorities investigate what caused this unfortunate and tragic event, there are still puzzling questions that may never be truly answered:

  1. Was the lock to the gate faulty or was it inadvertently left partially unlocked.
  2. What was Cat Haven’s founder Dale Anderson’s great rush to reopen the sanctuary? Hanson died on March 6, and yet the park reopened on Sunday March 10.
  3. Was it proper protocol for a young intern, only two months on the job, to be in a lion enclosure by herself?
  4. Did Hanson’s coworker distract her when they communicated via walkie-talkie? Although other reports claimed she was talking on her cell phone.
  5. What is the outcome of the necropsy on Cous Cous?
  6. Has Cat Haven taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the public and its employees as well?

This disastrous incident when looked upon in its simplest form is one of human error . . .  Someone just got too close to a lion.

 

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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