If you can’t join ‘em, scrotum

Every so often you hear about a children’s book that gets some parents’ knickers in a twist because they are afraid of their child getting exposed toScrotum things they don’t want them to (i.e. the real world) through the availability of these books at school.

Usually these books have something to do with same-sex parenting– I understand that controversy, though I hardly agree with it, given in my school alone there are several same-sex sets of parents and very little eye-batting over it.

Now, as aI read in the New York Times, comes “The Higher Power of Lucky,” which some parents- -and librarians– want to keep away from children due to this passage early on in the book, regarding a dog getting bit by a rattlesnake in a rather sensitive area:

“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much….It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”

Now, the use of scrotum of an example of a body part may seem a bit provocative, but it is hardly sexual in this instance– according to the author, Susan Paton, it is used to express a child’s normal concern about anatomy and what various parts of the body are.

But parents that want to ban the book instantly recognize getting bitten on the scrotum as a sexual act, apparently. Tell us more, conservative parents, it sounds like you lead interesting lives…

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Comcast customer service: more cursive, less cursing

I was going to say, “Comcast couches customer service in personal notes,” but I had to make a choice.

For all the customer service horror stories we hear about Comcast and other big companies, I thought I would share this:

Last week I upgraded to a DVR service with Comcast for my new HDTV set, and today, what do I receive but a note with a coupon fora free movie! This after the I had trouble getting the box to work correctly and dealt with a number of quite helpful customer service reps on the phone before deciding I needed a replacement– no big deal, and good service all ’round.

But get this: the coupon came in a handwritten note from Regional VP Paul’Arcangelo. I was impressed.

Of course, asshat that I can be, I must point out the following:

The coupon was for an on-demand movie up to $3.99, while Comcast has just aised the price for on-demand HD movies to $5.99– oops.

The letter looked like a card from my parents, including what appeared to be my Mother’s handwriting. Sorry Mom and Dad, but I have a bad habit of not opening personal mail right away– ok, that’s my quirk.

All in all, an intersting take on customer service though.

On WordPress at last…

Ed Lee can stop his bitching now, I have moved this blog over to WordPress!
I’m still calling it Gischeleman’s Blog, but now it’ll have that nifty-looking Volkswagen logo in the address bar. Just like Scoble!

To all my RSS subscribers: Mom, please upgrade your feed.

What does Gischeleman mean?

Don’t you hate randomly-named blogs? Well, let me tell you what Gischeleman means. It is a word — from the language of the Delaware tribe, or in their language, the Lenape.

Gischeleman means “to create with the mind,” an appropriate term for many of the things I have done in life, from my decade-plus in public radio, to high-tech PR, through the latest social media innovations that have conspired to smush all these past lives together.

I was given this name through a fraternal organization of the Boy Scouts called the Order of the Arrow, which uses the Lenape as an inspiration and its language as its glossary. The OA bestows names on youth (and adult) members who achieve the “Vigil Honor” status. I was given Gischeleman, which was translated in my case as “vision maker,” which I must admit is an even cooler definition than the more common one cited above. It is heartening that name my peers gave me has come to stick through the last 20 years. Amazing, isn’t it?

By the way, while I do not remain active in Scouts for a variety of reason, I do participate in a non-profit organization, called the Key Foundation, which supports Order of the Arrow programs and the local Scout Camps in my original home region of Lowell, MA and surrounding areas. In fact, we are publishing a book about the rich history of our favorite summer camp, Wah-Tut-Ca, the proceeds of which will go to build a new boat house for the camp– information in the previous link but pre-order here if you like (it will be on Amazon as well).

Anyway, that’s why I stuck this unusual word on the name of my blog. Any questions?

Should I restart this blog?

I have long abandoned the idea of a personal blog, as I thought I had nothing interesting to say (witness my early posts below). I had satisfied myself with group blogs, particularly Tech PR Gems and the Garden City blog. Participating in a group of people with similar interests has its continued appeal, and I will do this for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps I should re-think this. Of course, many PR agency people who blog for themselves don’t have an agency blog to contribute to, but what if the aforementioned blogs go away? Do I have to re-build a personal brand from scratch? I think I should get a head start on that, don’t you?

The trick is to have something of value to contribute while not cannibalizing my other efforts.

What got me on this thinking? A post by Ed Lee at Blogging Me, Blogging You. A favorite blog of mine, and a good discussion about blogging and public relations, but also some points about people needing their own individual blogs for their careers.

Hmmm… no one reads this blog– that’s for sure, but I would love to hear outside opinions on this topic.

RIP–Jimmy Smith

I’ve been hearing that Jimmy Smith died last night– this is the loss of a great jazz legend. I have often wondered why there have not been more organ players in jazz. While there are several any jazz fan can name at the drop of the hat (Lonnie Liston Smith, John Patton, Larry young, Groove Holmes), the organ (particularly the Hammond B3) has been relegated to “funk jazz” status in the minds of many fans.

Not that there is anything wrong with funky, or groove jazz, but the organ deserves a better shake– and there has been no better representative of the instument in jazz than Jimmy Smith. He will be missed, especially as he has remained active and vital in the music scene (I am told he has ana lbum due with Joey DeFrancesco).

What’s upsetting is a Google news search turns up nothing as of 2pm ET today. Pathetic.

Music Listening– in the P’s

I have way too many CDs (is ther such a thing?). Anyhow, at some point in 2004 I gave up being selective in packing my travel CD case (ok– I know I haven’t joined the iPod generation yet, but give it time), and just started throwing in my CDs alphabetically (right, that’s completely anal behavior). I am up to “P” now, which means I have been listening to…

Oscar Peterson— great Jazz pianist, but can bore the heck out of you with too much listening. I don’t think he changed his style or made any real innovations over 50 years, but a great player nonetheless.

Best of the CDs I have– Live at Zardi’s, just a great 2 CD set.

Overrated: West Side Story– eh. The jazz trio-playing-a-Broadway-show CD I wish for is actually the Shelley Manne trio playing “My Fair Lady”– not sure if it has ever been issued, but I remember it’s fantastic.

Tom Petty— I always liked Petty, but the Greatest Hits album that covers up until 1993 is enough for me. I loathe the Jeff Lynne-produced albums (as much as I enjoy the Wilburys), so this CD gives me no more than I need of that.

After that era, Wildflowers is a great CD– just Great. She’s the One, not so much, and Echo is alright.

I just want to move back in the alphabet and mention a group I fell in love with a couple of years ago: The Move (speaking of Jeff Lynne). For some reason this band never hit it in the U.S., charting only the song “Do Ya” (which was promptly forgotten when ELO re-recorded it and had a huge hit). This band defied categorization– within the 60’s Brit-pop scheme of things, anyway, and was led by Roy Wood’s zany genius. For some reason I can’t get enough of listening to othis band, whether it’s early songs like “Fire Brigade” and “I Can Hear the Grass Grow” to their late singles like “Tonight” and “California Man.”

There is something about finding a group that none of your friends knows about, then looking smart in front of Brits when you mention them, that I find compelling.


Just starting, so I expect no readers (nor do I ever, thought this a good way to vent or work out thoughts). I will form a more cohesive body of work over the next several posts.