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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 


  1. Tiffany Hinshaw Says:

    Girl— you are high-larious! Nicole wasn’t joking! Your description of her was dead on! She’s the absolute best! How do I sign up to get your monthly/weekly BLOG? Or do I just need to visit freaquently? Looking forward to meeting you during SAAC! I better bring kleenexes when I’m with you two— I have a feeling I will NOT stop laughing— to the point of crying!

    Have a fabulous weekend!

    Friday May 1, 2009
  2. Michele Bell Says:

    Hi Tiffany! Thanks for reading and posting a comment. You can find my blog by visiting http://www.asicentral.com. You’ll see me on the homepage, with a photo that looks nothing like me. ; ) Can’t wait to meet you and the aforementioned Fabulous Nicole at the SAAC Show. You sound “high-larious” too! Take care — M
    PS: Love your name — it conjures up pretty little blue boxes containing shiny silver and sparkly diamonds! ; )

    Saturday May 2, 2009
  3. Michele’s Bestie: Nicole Standley Says:

    To my Bestie Michele…

    Before I need my fix for the Jersey Shore and pack up my Loubies, Missoni beach towel and move in with you for the summer (with or without Coco), I wanted to share with you a special version of one of my favorite nursery rhymes that’s been given a twist in your honor…tweaked a bit to reflect our last conversation, it’s meant to be recited to the rhythm of the classic: “Frere Jacques”

    “Hermes Birkin, Hermes Birkin,
    Burberry, Burberry?
    Nappy bag dilemma: Lulu, Kate or Anya?
    Shopping spree…buy all three ?”

    This Little Piggy Went to Prada,

    Sunday May 3, 2009
  4. Marsha Londe Says:

    Michele, I am NOT a blog follower…except for yours. I thoroughly enjoy your style…as in writing, wit, and perspective. I do have to give Tim credit, however, for his 20 year comment, but however you count the years, you’ve over a decade of caring for and about people and making your every audience laugh…which is the best medicine of all.
    Your fan,
    Tango Partners

    Wednesday May 6, 2009
  5. Michele Bell Says:

    Thank you SO much for the kind words! As you are one of the first (and most awesome) people I met in the industry way back when, your comments mean so much to me… And while I’m glad that I make people laugh, I do a lot of laughing over here too. My BFF Jeremy Young recently recorded me laughing (because he’s clearly a glutton for punishment) in my office, and it can shake the shingles off a house. Joe Haley, our managing editor and star of “The Joe Show,” compared it to “a turkey call,” and used the word “horrifying,” I believe. Click here to listen, but watch the volume because there’s a distinct possibility your eyes will water and ears will bleed. ; ) Thanks again, Marsha! — M

    Thursday May 7, 2009
  6. Jennifer Says:

    Everytime I need an awesome blog read and a smile I know you are my girl! It’s like that mini non-alcoholic vacation in the middle of the afternoon :) Keep ’em coming…
    love ya!

    Tuesday May 12, 2009
  7. dan townes Says:

    was really excited to read your blog. after reading was a little disappointed. i mis read the title. thought it was about elvis and orgies. for a blog not about elvis and orgies, it is really good.

    Monday May 18, 2009
  8. Michele Bell Says:

    LOL!!! Hey there Babycakes! I thank you for your comments — you are my target demographic: the degenerate dyslexic… ; ) Love ya — M

    Tuesday May 19, 2009
  9. TeenDad Says:

    I’m now 19 and experiencing being a dad. I must say although it feels good it’s still hard. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but to be honest, the hard part is having to balance time. My daughter is great and makes managing her never dreadful. -Teen dad

    Tuesday August 11, 2009
  10. Pempriomozefe Says:

    Well I was checking the internet today and I totally freaked out. I really develop my ex-girlfriend pictures on the internet. I have no thought when she did this but my ex-girlfriend was making revealed with some other teen.
    Does anyone be struck by any info on this ex-girlfriend site?

    Wednesday December 23, 2009

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