Thursday, April 19, 2007

An Open Letter to Ray Ban: Sponsor Me

Dear Luxottica (owner of Ray Ban),

Audrey Hepburn did it in Rome. Tom Cruise did it (once, we think) in his underwear. Even Michael Jackson is guilty as charged.

Yes, there is no denying that by wearing Ray Ban sunglasses, these celebrities helped make Ray Ban an iconic brand. But as brand ambassadors, these celebrities -- especially the dead one -- are untouchable and irrelevant to your day-to-day consumers.

That's where I come in.

I'm a pretty cool gal, and for as long as I can remember I have only worn Aviator sunglasses. I wear them practically everywhere and for all occasions. Most people don't know that Ray Ban first brought this model to the market in 1937, but I do and I recognize you to be the market leader and authority when it comes to Aviators.

As a marketing executive, I also know that you're trying to bring the Wayfarer back, and that this push is taking up a lot of your marketing budget. I completely understand. Therefore I propose an inexpensive and effective initiative to keep you from neglecting your Avaiators:

Sponsor me.

That's right. Sponsor my life and all the things associated with it. Ray Ban will benefit from this sponsorship in the following ways:

1) Not to brag, but I am an effective guerilla marketing tool. I know a lot of important and influential people, even though they tend to have a hard time remembering me (Luke Wilson, I thought we were BFF??). Not a problem, though, because though I am hard to remember, I am ultimately impossible to forget. Consumers will never forget seeing Aviators on my smiling face. Come to think of it, maybe that's why they don't remember me when I'm not wearing the sunglasses... they don't recognize me! Which of course leads to one logical conclusion: I should never take them off. Wouldn't you like to sponsor someone who never takes of her Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses?

2) I am an accessible individual with a clean record. Unlike celebrities like Michael Jackson, I actually go out in public. Children and parents are not scared of me. I will reach your common, everyday consumer. I frequent Krogers, coffee shops, concert venues, international airports, and Brick Store Pub. I promise to tell everyone I know how much I like Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses.

3) I only take pictures in aviator sunglasses. Well, not always, but most of the time. Please see Blogger profile picture to the right, as well as this evidence:

In Italy... Austria... no, Australia... er, actually the Zoo...

... and in Austin, with some flag-waving pirates... yarrrg!

The best part of all? This sponsorship comes with a pretty cheap pricetag. All I want is some free sunglasses and $5.75 for every hour that I wear your glasses. Need be, we can forgoe the hourly rate for a pair of Wayfarers.

My faux Aviators from the thrift store keep breaking and scratching, but I know that a pair of Ray Bans will hold up like none other (look at that -- I'm already telling people how good your product is!).

So in conclusion, cheap sponsorship = great every-day exposure.

I look forward to speaking with you about this initiative, and can be reached at



PS -- It would also be a good idea to get me a bumper sticker that says "Sponsored by Ray Ban" so drivers know what's up. A t-shirt would be nice, too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pax Syndrome: Must-Read for the Ladies

This is Wikipediawesome and a must-read for my female friends. Stephen Colbert should talk about this on his show... he loves Wikipediawesome things.

Pax Syndrome

Pax Syndrome is a social-psychological condition used to describe an adult male who is emotionally dense and, though he seems harmless, is dangerous when put in relationship building scenarios with women, particularly ones that smart, attractive and accomplished. Such women are secondary victims to Pax Syndrome.

1 History
2 Symptoms
3 Causes
4 Criticism
5 Treatment


The term "Pax Syndrome" was first coined by two scholarly women in Atlanta, GA, in 2007. "Pax," meaning "peace" in Latin, describes the male's desire to be loved by everyone, particularly members of the opposite sex. Yet the "X" symbolizes mixed signals exuded by the male when it comes to his intentions with the opposite sex. He often feels the need to make peace with these women by showing them continued affection and attention. "Pax" is also the name of Angelina Jolie's newly adopted and renamed son from Vietnam. The poor child is four years old and must be very confused; so are women affected by Pax Syndrome victims.


Does your boyfriend, cousin, or friend exhibit any of the following behaviors?

--Devotes much free time to developing romantic relationship(s)?
--Develops unhealthy fantasies about marriage; becomes withdrawn when confronted with reality?
--Lies to friends and family about female companions?
--Readily and eagerly displays affection towards women but maintains stoic fear of any sexual contact?
--Spends much time and money to impress women, later bailing on the investment?
--Complains he is too "nice" to attract women?
--Displays mixed emotions toward any woman he does attract?
--Uses highly-developed intellect and deep conversations to detract attention from any of his baffling behaviors?
--Will jump into sudden relationships without changing behavior?

If so, it is likely Pax Syndrome.


Although scientific studies are (so far) inconclusive, most specialists believe that Pax Syndrome is caused by an allergic reaction to extremely intelligent, beautiful, on-point women. Some studies suggest that an over-developed Machoman Gland is at fault. Others blame upbringing, particularly in loving households where mothers teach their sons to
respect women and stay far away from them, but to bring a good one home. One controversial 2007 report claims that the condition known as Pax Syndrome is really a symptom of a larger disorder--Narcissism.


Critics of Pax Syndrome have often cited two arguements against it. First, that men are allowed female friends and these female friends may in fact be misreading signals. However, as Harry once said, "Men and women can never be friends because the sex part gets in the way." Ladder Theory, a concept developed in 1994, further discredits this first arguement.

The second arguement ofted cited by Pax Syndrome critics is that many women share the same symptoms as men suffering from Pax Syndrome, and therefore it should not be a disease reserved for the male sex. Pax Syndrome researchers and advocates argue that these women really should be classified otherwise as "teases."


Pax sufferers may distance themselves from awesome women to relieve symptoms; however, 98% find that their symptoms return. Physicians specializing in Pax treatment have recently developed a 13-step program behavioral therapy program. Women affected by Pax sufferers are recommended to pick up a copy ofHe's Just Not That Into You.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just Between Friends: Conversation between Denison Witmer and Rosie Thomas

There's a great Frank Zappa quote displayed in the back hall of our office regarding rock journalism:

"... People who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read."

So when Philly-based singer/songwriter Denison Witmer and Seattle's Rosie Thomas played Paste's SXSW Party in Austin, we left the "journalism" up to the artists themselves...

You can hear these long-time friends (and collaborators) interview each other on the most recent (free) episode of the Paste Culture Club podcast. Among the questions:

- What else would you do if you weren't playing music?
- If you could be an animal, what would you be?
- What was Rosie really thinking when she went to record songs with Denison and "Suf" (Sufjan Stevens)?

It's a real treat to hear two artists talk to each other off-the-cuff as friends, with breathing room to laugh and discuss creativity, music, and caring for other people.

Get it here for free.

And speaking of Rosie Thomas, when I was in Italy I heard her song "Since You've Been Around" playing in a bakery/bar... it was comforting to hear something familiar and unexpected in a foreign place. More to come on my Italy trip soon...


Monday, April 02, 2007

Ciao from Italia, Day 1

Walking along the Arno River today, a foreign man in Pumas and a track jacket grabbed my sister's butt and said, "Hey, where you goin' -- McDonalds?"

That's when we realized... we're not in America anymore.

Sruthi and I (2/3 of the Snap Crackle Pop Trio from MoCo) traveled through the Inferno (i.e. an 85 degree Lufthansa 747) to Italy today, via Frankfurt, where we were walking-zombies and I was mistaken for a German multiple times.

Pros and Cons of International Travel on Lufthansa:

Free wine
Free Baileys and Cognac (which we passed on, thank you very much)
Ben Stiller movies
Cute baby with 'fro

No air conditioning
Broken seats that didn't recline
Cute baby who's mother changed him on the plane (poo!)
Teenager who listened to music louder than me

So all in all, not terrible... not great, definitely sweaty... and very long.

Now we are in Firenze, where my sister is studying. After some more walking-zombie moves around town, we ended up at the Duomo, where we ran into the Thorpedo herself -- Mrs. Thorpe, a huge Penn State fan who was kind enough to chaperone our high school trips to Europe. Also there was her daughter, Julie (who I used to travel with on those high school trips), and her husband. Always comforting (though baffling) to see familiar faces in foreign places.

I've tried to use as much Italian as I know (ex: "Calme!" = "Easy, tiger!"), but I really prefer using my newly-acquired French skills (ex. "C'est une voiture!" = "It is a car!"). I will also spend an entire day using a British accent as a sociology experiment... who gets harassed worse? British girls or American girls? I think I know the answer: the Indian-American I'm traveling with. (They don't know what to make of her)

Tomorrow my sister has assured us that we will walk the 490 steps to the top of the Duomo... take that, Stairmaster... we've got a nice view from here.

Ciao for now.
CK, Sruthi and the Tron