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    Entries in Holidays (33)


    Holidays, ranked

    NOTE: Re-running last year's Thanksgiving post as the rankings have not budged one bit in the past year. Have a great day!

    I looked through the blog archives with the intention of re-running my 'Holidays, ranked' post today, and could not find one!. Turns out I had not gotten around to ranking the holidays, and since today is Thanksgiving in the US, I had to take 10 minutes away from meal prep and bust out my rankings.

    Two notes about the rankings. One, these are just holidays/celebrations that I personally recognize or resonate with me. So we don't have things like 'Bastille Day' or any of the scores of religious celebrations that are important around the world. So don't take offense if I left off a day that is meaningful to you.

    Second, as always these rankings are unscientific, unresearched, highly subjective, and 100% accurate. Use at your own risk.

    To the list of Holidays, ranked:

    10. Columbus Day - Holds a soft spot for me because in grade school Columbus Day was often the same day as my birthday, which i always thought was cool. Like they were closing school for my birthday.

    9. President's Day - Needed something in the #9 slot. That's about it for this one.

    8. Fourth of July - Hot weather, beach, barbecue, beer, patriotism. Pretty good mix.

    7. New Year's Day - Whether you are shrugging off a hangover or just gearing up for the new year ahead, all-around a good day. Bonus points if the Gamecocks are in a bowl game that day.

    6. St. Patrick's Day - Sentimental pick as my son's name is Patrick and he always loved the idea of having his own holiday.

    5. Labor Day - Great way to unofficially end the summer and take a day to rest up for the Q4 push that many of us deal with

    4. Memorial Day - Similarly, great way to start the summer and to take time to remember and thank those that served and sacrificed

    3. Halloween - Probably overrated at this point, but the kids love it. But if you are an adult getting really wound up for Halloween, you may need to think about some of your decision making

    2. Christmas - The big daddy of holidays. Still strong after all these years. Watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' again soon.

    1. Thanksgiving - A holiday primarily identified by food? I will take all that you've got.

    Of course you could dispute these rankings, but sadly you'd be wrong.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today!


    Fourth of July Rewind: The Best Introduction Ever

    NOTE: Reprising a post from July 6, 2016 - enjoy before you fire up the grill!

    This is the best speaker/performer/sportsman introduction that you will hear all year - maybe ever.

    It comes to us courtesy of the Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest held on July 4th and delivered by Master of Ceremonies George Shea, as he introduced competitive eating legend, and former champion Joey Chestnut.

    Forgive the very shaky quality of the video embedded below (email and RSS subscribers click through), as it was recorded by me with my phone from a DVR replay of the event.

    Trust me, you want to give this a minute and a few seconds to watch/listen.


    Here's the full text of the intro, in case the dodgy audio was tough to decipher:

    Two years ago on this stage he asked his girlfriend to marry him. And then last year one week before the contest the wedding was called off. And then on the 4th of July he lost the title of World Champion. And he was beaten and he was broken and he was alone. And nothing that he owned had any value, and his thoughts had no shape and no meaning. And the words fell from his mouth without sound. And he was lost and empty-handed, standing like a boy without friends on the school yard. But then he remembered that he is Joey Chestnut. And there is a time for pain and there is a time for punishment. A time for doubt and a time for dominance. A time for forbearance and a time for fury. And there is never, ever a time for submission. Ladies and gentlemen, the former champion of the world here to take back what was once his  - Joey Chestnut!

    Did that bring chills down your spine, or what?


    Why write about this, or bring attention to it at all?

    Because it is a perfect example of someone, (Shea), going the extra, extra mile. It is a master class in combining facts, context, emotion, and excitement to make his audience interested in and excited about what is about to happen.

    Because it is an amazing 1:15 showing a person (Shea) at the absolute top of his game. And not for nothing, shortly after this introduction, Chestnut went on to reclaim his Nathan's Hot Dog Champions title, (and Mustard Belt).

    The next time it is your job to introduce someone for a speech or a presentation you'd do well to watch Shea's introduction of Chestnut a few times to find some inspiration. 

    And the next time I get introduced for a presentation, I am going to demand that George Shea gets the job.

    Happy 4th of July!


    Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation #6 - Take care of yourself too

    Wrapping up the Gift Recommendations series today not with a specific item or product, but rather a more basic, fundamental recommendation.

    Which is this - over this holiday season make sure to take care of yourself too.

    My guess is that you are like a lot of people I know - on the grind at work and maybe taking on more responsibilities this year while still having to balance your real life - family, kids, friends, and maybe even a little fun from time to time (if you have time).

    It seems almost everyone is busier than ever. 

    And while that can be, and often is, a blessing, it can also be a tremendous challenge.

    You put your job before you. You put your family before you. Maybe you even put the causes and groups you care about before you. Because that is what you do. And that is ok. But it can be, over time, really, really hard. And maybe even a little unhealthy. 

    You skip meals to work on that presentation for the CEO. You skip going to the gym to make sure you get the groceries for tomorrow's dinner. You get up at 5:30AM because your meetings and calls start at 7AM and that's the only time you have to fold the laundry. And you lay in bed at 11:45PM and like and comment and say nice things on social media on your family and friends posts and pictures. You're exhausted but you do it anyway.

    And you are amazing. Truly.

    And since you spend so much time putting everything and everyone else before you, my recommendation for this holiday season is to take some time, however much time you can find, (or need), for you and you only.

    Sleep in. Let someone else handle the car pool or the vacuuming. Order some takeout instead of cooking. And have it delivered, (GrubHub is awesome).

    Turn off your phone for a day or three. Or at least put it aside for a few hours. 

    Go to the movies, the gym, the salon or wherever it is you want to go and not be in someone else's service for a little while. Call a friend that you never seem to be able to find time for these days.

    Think about what you really want from 2018, personally and professionally. Or just think about nothing at all.

    But mostly, take some time to make sure you are taking care of you - physically, emotionally, spiritually, professionally. 

    Because unless you take care of you, you won't be able to take care of all the people in your life who rely on you.

    You are amazing. Truly. You deserve it.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, thanks so much for reading. It means a lot to me.


    Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation #5 - For the corporate design geeks like me

    We are grinding down to the end of the year pretty quickly, and glancing at the calendar I think this will be the penultimate one of these holiday gift recommendation Friday posts. Then we can get back to the normal important things we do around here like ranking types of food and making even more connections between work and the NBA.

    This week's recommedation is slightly different, in that the actual gift won't be available until the Spring, but once I heard about it and checked it out I had to include it as one of the recommendations. Maybe you can order it for that distant relative or friend you won't actually see during the holidays, but wanted to make sure you did not totally forget them. Or maybe you just want to get this one for yourself (or your favorite blogger), and won't mind the delay.

    Anyway, on to the gift recommendation...

    You may not know Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv by the name of their firm, but you certainly know them from their work. This is the design firm who have created dozens if not hundreds of iconic corporate logos, trademarks, and identity programs. The NBC 'peacock', the US Bicentennial branding, Chase Bank, and the still popular even though the company is no more, Pan Am Airlines are just a few of the images and brands that Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv have created since the firm was founded in 1957.

    To recognize, celebrate, and commemorate the firm's 60 years at the forefront of corporate identitity and design, they have created a new book titled 'Identity: Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv' which features over 100 case studies of their work, including some of the brands I mentioned above, as well as others you know and recognize like PBS, Mobil, and the Smithsonian. The book itself will be fantastic to look at and page through, as befitting the firm's focus and commitment to the image, the book is mostly images - examples of the amazing and iconic work this one firm has produced that has had an outsized impact on workplaces and business over the last 60 years.

    You can pre-order 'Identity: Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv' here and it is expected to ship in May. You can be patient. I am sure the design lover in your gift list will be happy too.

    Why is this stuff important for anyone in business?

    I think this quote from Ivan Chermayeff sums it up - “Symbols don’t make clear what you do; it makes it clear who you are."

    Reminder, I have no affiliate relationships with any of the gift recommendations. I just think they are cool.

    Have a great weekend!


    Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation #4 - The Converse you need in 2018's Color of the Year

    There are few things in life I enjoy more than some new kicks. I am not willing to admit publicly just how many pairs of sneakers I own. Let's just say it is somewhere between 'Man that's a lot of sneakers' and 'Wow, I think you have a problem with sneakers.'

    But my tastes in sneakers isn't like the crazed 23 year-old sneakerhead chasing rare one-off collaborations or waiting for days in front of some pop-up shop in Manhattan to score a new release of Yeezys. I prefer the classics - Adidas Superstars, Chuck Taylors, Vans, and even some newer takes like Nike KDs or Kyries.

    With that in mind, and since our pals at Pantone just announced the 2018 Color of the Year - 'Ultra Violet' - a deep, rich, blue/purple shade, I had to find something for the latest holiday gift recommendation that combines my sneaker aesthetic with 2018's on trend color.

    So here you go - the classic Converse One Star Suede Low Top in a rich purple, almost Ultra Violet colorway.

    Simple, clean, will go with just about anything you try and pair it with. Works for men and women, (and kids) alike. A step up in refinement from a simpler pair of Chucks but still incredibly affordable, (as I right this, they are listing for $64 on the Converse site).

    I own a pair (or two) of One Stars and I can attest they are fantastic looking and exceedingly comfortable. Snagging a pair in 2018's Color of the Year for someone in your gift list, (or maybe just for you), seems like a no-brainer. 

    Ok, that's it, I am out. Go shopping or sledding or something.

    Reminder - I have no affiliation and receive no compensation if you purchase any of the gift recommendation items.

    Have a great Sunday!