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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

Elves and Ogres and Babies, Oh My!

Filed under: Editorial, Personal

Hi Everyone!

I’ve always been a glass-half-full kind of girl, both philosophically and alcoholically. So in the midst of so much negativity — bad economy, sagging industry sales, swine flu pandemic, pending laws that can wreak havoc with the industry — I’m choosing to get my Pollyanna on and highlight the positive.

1. We’re not Iceland. I recently read an article about the economic crisis in that lovely country in the April issue of Vanity Fair magazine and came across this gem: “Alcoa, the biggest aluminum company in the country, encountered a problem peculiar to Iceland when, in 2004, it set about erecting a giant smelting plant: The so-called ‘hidden people’ — or, to put it more plainly, elves — in whom some large number of Icelanders sincerely believe. Before it could build its plant, Alcoa had to hire a firm to certify to the government that the plant site was elf-free. As one government official explained, the process of ‘certifying the non-existence of elves can take at least six months — and be very tricky.’ ” [Click here to read the Vanity Fair article about Iceland]

Elves? Really??? Lest anyone question why Iceland fell into financial ruins, it’s clearly because they’re operating under the assumption that they exist in Middle Earth. There’s no doubt that we have issues in the U.S. that require a Herculean effort to fix. What we don’t have, mercifully, is a population and a government willing to let leprechauns, fairies and the Trix rabbit control business policy.

2. Not all doctors are lemmings. Am I the only one who’s had it with the power-tripping dictators at PhRMA riding roughshod over its members? I’ve always been curious how one self-governing body can impose regulations on its members that can be most charitably described as “goofy.” I went to my doctor, a spitfire named Christine, not too long ago and asked her if —  when presented with a pen, mug or notepad imprinted with the name of a drug and its logo — she’d be swayed to then write prescriptions to her patients for that drug. She looked at me as though I just offered her a bong hit. “No,” she said archly, “because, you know, I have a functioning brain.” She resents being strong-armed by “a somewhat useful, though oftentimes archaic and cranky” (Christine’s words) governing body. I don’t blame her. If anyone needs a big, logoed bag of “STFU,” it’s the ogres overseeing PhRMA.

3. New blood.This week, I celebrated my 12-year anniversary with ASI. (Tim Andrews, our president/CEO, is never far from a witty, Oscar Wilde-esque bon mot and noted that “it seems like 20 years for the rest of us”). Sometimes, I get that “been there, done that, know everyone and seen it all” weariness. Then, completely randomly, I meet someone new in the industry — someone who makes me remember why I love the people in it so much — and I just get giddy. On Wednesday, I had a 90-minute conversation with Nicole DiTrolio Standley, president of The Perfect Swag in CA (asi/293508) and a blogger in her own right (www.LaDolceSwag.com). I’ll say this as clearly as possible: I Love This Chick! She’s whip-smart, wicked funny, uber-creative and my new industry BFF. She GETS IT, and has reminded me how — when distributors are innovative, eccentric, brave, brash and love their suppliers — they truly can kick ass. Read more about Nicole in the brand-spankin’ new May issue of Advantages in the “What’s Your Story?” section.

The writer Hunter S. Thompson repeatedly said, “Crazies always recognize each other.” I am convinced this is now the basis for my friendship with Nicole — together we’ll be sugar and spice and everything vice. See you at the SAAC Show, Nicole — cocktails at the Chateau Marmont on me! ; )

4. Oh, babies! Now here’s some life-affirming, happy news: ASI vice president Dale Denham’s wife Kim just gave birth to twin girls. Woo Hoo and congratulations!!!

The babies’ names are Kyleigh Anne (7 lbs; 15 ounces) and Kira Michelle (8 lbs; 4 ounces).  “Mom and babies are doing great,” Dale says.

5. Summer lovin’. Twenty-eight days from today will be the start of Memorial Day weekend, and I’ll be on the way to my beloved Avalon for the summer — reveling in the sun, cavorting with old friends and disgracing myself like a haggard rock star. Can. Not. Wait. 

More next week!


— M