Be Ugly in 2007: Find ugly in "beauty"

ABC & Girl, Inc's public service campaign: BE UGLY '07"Ugly is the new beautiful," the theme of ABC's TV show Ugly Betty, is picking up steam. "The fight for female self-esteem gets pretty ugly," reports Ann Oldenburg in an USA Today article about the BE UGLY '07 public service campaign that starts on-air tonight during "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve."

In the article, Oldenburg accurately states that, "The campaign is the latest entry in a backlash to the images of rail-thin models that bombard young women daily."

Girls Inc. president Joyce Roche is quoted as saying the campaign "allows us to counter the messages girls get that they've got to be perfect, be a certain size, look a certain way." Roche is right. It's time for the pendulum to swing back to normal and away from promoting unhealthy lifestyles in order to achieve the anorexic look erroneously labeled as "beautiful" these days.

Roche also is quoted in the article as saying, "I wish there would have been another way of saying it, but at least it will get the dialogue going." We also wish they'd chosen a different theme than "ugly is the new beautiful." It's not the best theme, but it hopefully will get the dialogue going, as Roche says.

Talking the article over with a young woman, she came up with a different theme: "Find ugly in beauty," and by "beauty" she meant the image of beautiful that the media has been promoting for far too long.

Either way, whether embracing "ugly is the new beautiful," or "find ugly in beauty" the idea is the same, find true beauty in yourself. Be yourself! As the BE UGLY '07 campaign proclaims: Be real. Be smart. Be kind. Be honest. Be true to yourself. Visit the campaign's website at http://beugly07.com/.


The Espresso Book Machine: An ATM for books

Illustration of an ATM Book Machine by Aaron Goodman"Buying a book could soon be as easy as buying a pack of gum. After several years in development, the Espresso - a $50,000 vending machine with a conceivably infinite library - is nearly consumer-ready and will debut in ten to 25 libraries and bookstores in 2007. The New York Public Library is scheduled to receive its machine in February." [Emily Baltby, CNNMoney.com]

"On Demand Books LLC. is planning to become the first company to globally deploy a low cost, totally automatic book machine, The Espresso Book Machine, which can produce 15 - 20 library quality paperback books per hour, in any language, in quantities of one, without any human intervention. This technology and process will produce one each of ten different books at the same speed and cost as it can produce ten copies of the same book. ODB has two machines currently deployed (one at the World Bank InfoShop in Washington DC, and one at the Library of Alexandria in Egypt)." [Press Release, OnDemandBooks.com]

The Inauguration of the Espresso Printing Machine took place on April 6, 2006, at the World Bank Infosession. You can see a video of the alpha Espresso Book Machine producing a book in seven minutes by clicking here (requires Apple's Quicktime Video Player version 6.5, available for download here).

After the film downloads, move the marker 1/2 way to get to the part where Jason Epstein, a publisher for more than 40 years, talks about how he sees the Espresso Book Machine as the answer to keeping backlists, the publishers' bread and butter, alive. 4/5s down the presentation is where you see students click the "Order" button and seven minutes later a finished book comes out.

It felt a bit like watching a Star Trek episode where replicators are used to produce items on demand. Imagine, for $5 you can have a 500 page book within minutes. The book comes out perfect bound, with a full-color laminated cover. Amazing, isn't it?

Additional Link: The Future of Books (MIT Technology Review)

Press Inquiries: +1 (212) 446-5100 (Goldberg McDuffie)
Contact: 240 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013


Kudos to Spain for banning underweight models!

image of professor pointing to a skeletonWhat a phenomenal turning point this may prove to be! At last someone has dared proclaim to the world that anorexic-looking models are
not what the fashion industry ought to be parading on their various catwalks. In this case it was The Spanish Association of Fashion Designers who decided to ban models who have a BMI of less than 18. Click to read the September 13, 2006 BBC article.

This is a topic dear and near to my heart because I continue to see the devastating effect that parading size-0 models on catwalks, and displaying their emanciated bodies on catalogues and on TV, is having on a generation of young women...and I now hear it's beginning to take its toll on our young men as well.

How did it happen that the public accepted what the fashion industry offered as "beauty?" when anyone in their right mind could have seen that, as in the children story, The Emperor's New Clothes, the emperor had no clothes? I'm so very proud of the stand that The Spanish Association of Fashion Designers took when they decided to ban underweight models from their prestigious fashion show.

The BBC article quotes Terry Killeavy, of the UK, as saying, "You cannot ban skinny women in the same way you cannot ban fuller bodies women." I disagree. We're not talking body size as much as we're taking health risks. Anyone with a BMI of less than 18 is starving themselves and it's criminal to portray such individuals as something our young people should aspire to look like.

My hope is that the BBC article will be the first of many the media writes as more and more standard-bearers of the fashion world take similar stands. It's time for all of us to cry out with one voice, when it comes to the idea of "beauty" that we've been sold for way too long, that "the emperor has no clothes!"


Olgy's online CUBA eStore!

My two passions in life are all things related to Cuba and all things related to writing. So tonight I worked for a couple of hours and generated a fully stocked online store with all things Cuban.

I'm featuring special products related to Cuba on my Cuban eStore. Top among these is Andy Garcia's film, now available on DVD, "The Lost City." The soundtrack for the film is also available. I LOVED this movie. Andy Garcia's "The Lost City" is the movie to watch if you want to feel what the two million Cuban exiles feel...me being one of them.

Though I used the keyword "Cuba" to filter items in, sometimes that word is used for other than items related to Cuba so you may see articles come up that have nothing to do with Cuba. :-)

Enjoy shopping at my online Cuban store! For every purchase you make, amazon.com gives a referral fee to ChildrenComeFirst.com, the nonprofit educational corporation I manage.

Here's the link for my online Cuban store.

Bueno, esto es todo por ahora, (All for now,)



On Writing: BIC HOK TAM!

bird typing at a computerFor all my writing friends, have you heard of the BIC HOK TAM mantra? It stands for "Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard, Typing Away Madly," and it's the theme song of the BIW, (book-in-a-week) group.

BIW is a program you sign up for free and dedicate one week each month to writing away madly. The idea is to throw your internal editor out the door and write, write, write during that week. Some folks who like to plot (like me!) do all our plotting prior to the BIW time and then we use our outline to write the various scenes and/or chapters we've selected to work on during that week. Non-plotters "write into the mist" as Deb Courtney calls it and they do just as well. It's all up to your writing style which route you take.

It's free to participate in BIW but you do need to sign up/register. Go to the BIC HOK TAM web site, to sign up. You then email the list and tell them how many pages you plan on writing during the BIW week. It's all on the honor system. No one reviews or critiques your writing. This is just a way for you to set writing goals for yourself and have a group behind you to hold you accountable.

During BIW, every day you write the list and tell them how many pages you actually wrote that day. A page=250 words.

Visit the site and, if you're interested, join today and start participating on the monthly BIW challenges (it's always the first full week of every month) and you have to have your goals posted before the challenge starts if you want to participate.

Email me if you have questions. I've been a member of BIW for a while and wrote about it at the CCF site.


Ugly Betty: You-Go-Girl!

On the heels of Spain banning underweight models from the runway, it thrilled my heart to watch tonight's episode of Ugly Betty. The pilot episode aired tonight on abc and I loved it! It promises to be a show that'll root for the underdog... in this case that would be a talented, engaging, professional young woman who doesn't fit the glamour image being sold by Hollywood these days "the" way to be.

If you missed tonight's pilot showing of Ugly Betty don't worry. abc is posting it, and it looks like upcoming episodes as well, to its website. The day after the show airs on TV you can watch it online.

I'm rooting for Betty!!!

Here's the premise the show's based on: "In the superficial world of high fashion, image is everything. Styles come and go, and the only constants are the superthin beauties who wear them. How can an ordinary girl - a slightly plump plain-Jane from Queens - possibly fit in?"

cheerleaderI'm sooooooooooo rooting for Betty!!!

Don't let the s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out stereotypes get in the way of you watching, enjoying, and getting the great message woven throughout this show. I'm from Cuba and the hispanic stereotypes were a bit too blatant for me. But perhaps they need to be in order to get their point across. Even as I laughed at Betty's answer of "I'm flan," rather than "I'm fine" when she had her mouth full of the flan she was eating I also thought about how absolutely delicious that dessert is and how it's hard to eat just a little bite of it. Think Crème brûlée at its most exquisite and you'll get the idea of what flan tastes like.

I found several links at the abc site where video clips of the show were available. You can watch the first 8 minutes of the pilot, and read a longer write up on what the show is about in the "About" link. There's also a video clip with Vanessa Williams in it.

'castAmerica Ferrera plays the role of Betty in the show. During her interview in The View, she tells us that, "the show is not about being ugly at all. More than anyuthing it's just about looking past what you see. Achieving that image is not all that we're on this planet to do."

One thing I would change is the log-line abc is using for the show, "Ugly is the new beautiful." It grated on me everytime I heard it, either between segments of the show on TV or on the various web pages for the show.

Here's to America Ferrera! Here's to Betty! And here's to all who watch the
show and embrace the life-giving message it's bringing to us: there's more to life than trying to fit an image that is only real when PhotoShopped.


On Life: I cannot do everything, but I can do something

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." ~Edward Everett Hale

"We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once." ~Calvin Coolidge

Do you ever feel paralyzed by work and personal deadlines facing you? What helps you out of those funky moods? Inspirational quotes seem to do the trick for me.

Man overwhelmed by paperworkI just came back from a summer of travelling on work and family business and woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed because I do not seem to be making as much progress as I'd like on the work projects and personal life goals that need my attention. My husband came over and asked me how I was feeling and I replied, "Everywhere I look, every aspect of both my work and personal life is demanding so much of my time that, for once, I don't know where to begin."

He asked, "Do you have any control over these things?" And I said, "Very little. They're all important. They each deserve my undivided attention. And there's so much to be done in each of them that I don't know if my efforts will make any difference." He smiled and as he did the lights went on in my head and I replied, "I get it! I can do the little I have the power to do in each of these work projects and life goals...and as I complete the little that I can do, the windows will open just a bit wider and I'll see that I have a little more control over what to do next in those areas. But this will only happen after I've done what I can to begin with."

Key to Success animationSo ...I googled the part of the quote I remembered so well from days gone by, "I cannot do everything but I can do something," and Edward Everett Hale's quote came up. I realize he was probably talking about doing things that would change the world for the better. But that's what I consider a job well done to accomplish. So I'm applying that quote as well as a similar one by Calvin Coolidge to my life. I've decided they'll be my mantra, my key to successfully getting done what needs to get done by me this week as I work to complete:

  • a book contract with a publisher,
  • maintaining the various websites I manage
  • assisting on a graduate level curriculum project,
  • rendering streaming audio/video talks to the university web site I manage,
  • work on my middle grade novel, and
  • continue to exercise and eat healthier

  • Here's to Hale and Coolidge's inspirational quotes motivating me to do my best this week with the time I have been given to get my work done.

    What's your key to getting unstuck and getting moving on what needs to be done in your own life and work? Write and tell me about it!


    Corporate Lessons

    girl drying herself with a towelCorporate Lesson 1.

    A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next door neighbor. Before she says a word, Bob says, "I will give you $800 to drop that towel." After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. Bob watches her admirably for a few seconds and hands her the $800 dollars and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, "Who was that?" "It was Bob the next door neighbor, she replied. "Great!" the husband says, "Did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?" --- Learning from the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

    Aladdin LampCorporate Lesson 2.A sales rep, an administration clerk and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, "I'll give each of you just one wish." "Me first! Me first!" says the admin. clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world." Poof! She's gone. "Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life. "Poof! He's gone. "OK, you're up" the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch ." --- Learning from the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

    Fox Peeking Behind TreeCorporate Lesson 3. A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A rabbit asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?" The crow answered: "Sure, why not." So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. A fox jumped on the rabbit and ate it. --- Learning from the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very high up.

    Turkey With Head On Tree StumpCorporate Lesson 4.A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy." "Well, why don't you nibble on my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients." The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after the fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. Soon he was spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree. --- Learning from the story: Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.


    Watch out for digital dirt

    Steven Rothberg, President and Founder of CollegeRecruiter.com, was interviewed Saturday evening on the NBC Nightly News. The story was about how employers are increasingly using sites such as Facebook for background checking of potential employees. NBC Nightly News reports that "Facebook was meant as a place to share personal information but now it could affect students' future." Rothberg's advice, along with a link back to his blog, can be found at the CCF site under the article "Dangers of Posting Private Info to Facebook."

    It's a sobering fact to realize that once posted your words do not really go away. There's always the WayBack Machine and other internet archives to resurrect what we thought was dead and bring it back. I like Rothberg's analogy, "Posting information on-line is like getting a tattoo. There's nothing inherently wrong with posting information on-line or getting a tattoo, but in both cases you need to be prepared for it to be out there forever and for people to see it whom you may not want to see it."

    How does knowing that your words can come back to bite you affect what you post to listserves, blogs, emails or other digital media?


    Ask and you shall receive

    Today's paper carried an Associated Press story about a man in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who received a $218 trillion phone bill from Telekom Malaysia. Talk about sticker shock! Does the old adage of "ask and you shall receive" still works, especially when it comes to paying your bills. Do you get sticker shock when you see the figure in the "amount due" box? Did you ever wish there was something you could do about lowering that figure? ... short of discontinuing the service in question?

    I discovered this week that calling the company and asking them what they can do to help goes a long way into lowering my monthly bills. As I went thru my pile of bills, I picked up the cable/high speed internet one. $121.18/month... and I don't even watch TV! So I called them and asked if there was anything they could do to lower my cable bill. I mentioned that I'm getting lots of offers from other venues that seem to be a better deal than what I'm spending with cable these days. Their response? They'll cut my monthly bill in half for the next three months and said to give them a call after that to see what else they could do for me. So, for the next three months I'll be paying $52.60/month for the exact same service I've been paying $121.18.

    This week also I dealt with the grandaddy of domain name registrars. A client had been paying $34.95/year to renew their domain names and wanted our company to start managing their domains instead. We charge our clients $33 for a 3-year renewal. So I called the company and started the transfer process. Their response? "We'll let you stay and charge you $9.99/year to renew your domain names." I asked them why they do not list this option on their website. They replied, "It is only available to those who ask."

    In the case of our man in Malaysia I'm sure he's already called his phone company. Have you ever called and asked a company to work with you to lower a specific bill even if there was no error in the billing? I was fascinated to see that companies seemed to have better deals available...but only for those who asked.


    Stupid Girls, new single by Pink

    Just finished watching Pink's new video Stupid Girls. It's awesome! What a powerful message she's sending thru this tongue-in-cheek parody of what our society and culture is trying to do to our girls! I loved watching it and listening to the words and hope millions of girls will watch it and memorize such lines in the song as, "What happened to the dreams of a girl president, She's dancing in the video next to 50 Cents...Where, oh where, have the smart people gone? Oh where, oh where could they be?...I'm so glad that I'll never fit in. That will never be me. Outcasts and girls with ambition, That's what I wanna see!"

    Kudos to Pink for making this music video. You-go-girl!!! I really do hope words such as the ones she's singing in this video will herald a wake-up call for our generation of young girls. They don't have to fit in and should not even try to fit into the unhealthy lifestyles and aimless trends parading in front of them on a daily basis.

    Check out Pink's letter to young people where she shares how the lyrics and message in Stupid Girls are just her opinion and how you don't have to dumb yourself down in order to be sexy. Pretty cool things she's sharing in her letter! :-)

    Pink: I'm not fat!
    Pink's letter talking about her single "Stupid Girls"


    ACLU Pizza

    I've watched the flash movie several times now. First I laughed. Then I giggled. Then I thought about it and wondered how soon before this is actually the way things go for us.