Urban Eola

Fight global warming

Fight Global Warming is a collaborative effort between Environmental Defense, the Ad Council, and the Robertson Foundation. In their own words:

Global warming is the most serious environmental challenge of our time. It is more urgent and its dangers are more fundamental than most Americans realize. This campaign seeks to educate Americans about how quickly we must act, and give concrete steps that people can incorporate into their lives to fight global warming.

Read about the myths/facts, dangers, and science behind global warming and find out what you can do about it. Also, check out their powerful TV spot below.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 8:58 PM | | links to this post

MSN lifestyle and city guides

MSN has a first-rate lifestyle site (for men & women) - probably one of the best I've seen. However they do a weak job of promoting it as I just discovered it recently. Regardless, the content is original and entertaining and the layout is easy to navigate. Examples of their content include (on the men's site): 16 Tempting urges that must be controlled, Things not to do past 30, 10 Things you need in your closet. Check out the article index for a link to every article in their archives.

Also, give a look at MSN's Best of the City Guide and Off beat city finds. [via JB]


posted by Michael Tavani @ 2:37 PM | | links to this post

Why 87% of Europeans are happy and we're not

A European opinion poll came out yesterday that showed that 87 percent of European Union citizens considered themselves happy, with a record 97 percent in Denmark.

In contrast, I happened to see an article today on Yahoo with this title: Americans Hate Their Jobs More Than Ever.

Fewer than half of all Americans are satisfied at work. Although this dissatisfaction is strongest among those under the age of 25 (less than 39 percent satisfied), the trend is spreading among all workers, regardless of age, income or residence. It's also no coincidence that Americans work more than every European country in terms of annual work hours and get much less vacation time.

Consider this (from Wikipedia): "In most Western European countries, working time is gradually decreasing. The European Union's working time directive imposes a 48 hour maximum working week that applies to every member state except the United Kingdom (which has an opt out). France has enacted a 35-hour workweek by law. In the United States, by contrast, the working time has actually been increasing."

Minimum vacation time around the world (required)

- European Union - 4-6 weeks, more in some countries
- France - 5 weeks + 2 weeks of RTT (Reduction of Working Time) = 7 weeks.
- Ireland - 28 days, plus 9 public holidays
- Denmark - 6 weeks
- United States - not required, but 7-14 days is standard for most employers.

It's no surprise why Europeans enjoy themselves more

UE take // It all boils down to Americans wanting a BMW instead of a Taurus and a mansion instead of a ranch house. "More, more, more" is the American motto and all it's doing is making us more unhappy. We need to take after the Italians. They take a daily siesta (or reposo) which is a midday break that could include a nap and is intended as time to be spent with friends and family.

This "unsatisfied" trend is even more disturbing considering the one thing we're good at - sports - we're losing ground on as well.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 12:35 PM | | links to this post

The end of magazines

Following my December 2006 post about the magazine death pool comes this blog post discussing the possible end to print. The article reports that twelve of the top 25 newsstand publications saw declines in sales in the second half of 2006.

Another issue the article touches on is the "fundamental inefficiency of the print business. In print most publications are doing well if 40% of the issues they place on newsstands are sold to consumers." So doing the numbers, that's a ton of extra magazines loaded on trucks and planes headed to every newsstand in every city all in the hope of selling four of ten copies.


posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:07 PM | | links to this post

Oscar commercials

Update -- Apple's "hello" commercial is online.

It's really interesting to see Microsoft and Apple battling it out during the Oscars with dueling commercials promoting their latest innovations. Microsoft re-aired their awesome "Wow!"commercial pubbing Vista. And Apple introduced a brand new commercial hyping the June release of their revolutionary iPhone.

What's even more interesting is that they're both pretty similar spots. Both are montages that feature various celebrities saying one word repeated over and over - "Wow!" for Microsoft and "Hello" for Apple.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:40 PM | | links to this post

Shark attack story

An abalone diver survived an attack by a great white shark, which swallowed his head and shoulders before he fought free of the predator. The 41-year-old Australian, who lost oxygen supply mask during the attack reached up and twisted the shark's eyeball while his upper body was in the shark's mouth in order to escape. Watch the video here and his Letterman appearance here. [via JB]

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 5:01 PM | | links to this post

SXSW 2007

South by Southwest 2007, the renowned film and music festival and conference takes place March 9-18 in Austin, TX. This and the Sundance Film Festival (Sundance, UT) are two artistic festivals I want to get around to attending. Now that I think of it, they both should be added to my list of things to do before 30.

Check out bios and downloads/trailers of this year's musicians and films. I definitely want to check out the film "A Lawyer Walks into a Bar...". It looks hilarious - a documentary about ridiculous lawyers, lawsuits, and the famous Californians that have failed the bar exam. Watch the trailer here.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 12:14 AM | | links to this post

Holy Australia

Sydney looks frickin' amazing in this photo

Melbourne doesn't look too shabby either

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:30 PM | | links to this post

The Life is Good story

Life is Good is an $80 million brand t-shirt and apparel maker. I don't necessarily love their products (something about too many pastel colors), but they have one of the best slogans around, which also happens to be their company name, website, and one of the most valuable trademarks ever. You see, you cannot trademark generic terms like "soccer team". "Life is Good" kind of falls under that category but the company was lucky enough to secure the trademark.

Anyway, their company story is pretty classic - two brothers, lots of passion, garage startup, rags-to-riches type story. Here's the beginning of it:

In 1989, Bert and John Jacobs designed their first tee shirt. They knew nothing about the business. For five years, the brothers hawked tee shirts in the streets of Boston and traveled the East Coast, selling door-to-door in college dormitories. They collected some good stories, but were not very prosperous ...

Read the rest here and check out this Inc. Magazine piece on the company.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 9:05 PM | | links to this post

Suburban city centers

Winter Springs (FL) Town Center - proposed

The suburbs piss me off. I grew up in one, and they have many positives, but for the most part suburbs lack the cultural flair, walkablity, well-planned layout, and 24/7 action that cities have.

With that being said, I read an interesting article today about how suburbs are clamoring for town centers -- mini urban areas in the middle of suburbs. Here's some quotes from the article.

Suburban cities where downtowns never naturally evolved are working with developers to mold what they hope will become vibrant town centers.

Even within larger cities, developers are creating commercial centers as a focal point within their communities.

The idea touted behind these places: Live, work and play all in one spot. It's the exact opposite of the type of planning -- or lack of it -- that resulted in suburban sprawl.

The key, experts say, is to strike a balance -- not offer more retail than the market can handle and bring in other attractions, from movie theaters to parks to libraries, that will give people something to do other than shop.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 6:25 PM | | links to this post

Zipper domination

Have you ever taken a long look at a zipper? Most likely, it will have a small "YKK" on it. YKK is the world's largest zipper manufacturer. The Japanese company was founded in 1934 and the American plant in Macon, GA produces 1,500 styles of zippers in 427 standard colors for use on clothing and other items, such as tents or boat covers.

"YKK" stands for Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha, the name of the company. The letters were stamped onto the zippers and eventually became the trademark and official name of the company. Today, the company is so well-known for their zippers, there is even a market for counterfeit YKK zippers. Also, read the history of the zipper. Pretty random, but pretty interesting.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 1:04 AM | | links to this post

DNA, fingerprint art

Check out this badass idea and website. DNA 11 creates personalized and original abstract art from a sample of your DNA or fingerprints. The art starts at $190 for your fingerprint, $390 for your DNA strand or $790 for an illuminated GlowFrame. The art is legitimately good-looking, modern and urban. Give a look at the galleries. [via CW]

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 11:06 PM | | links to this post

Time changes and watches

Last January, I wrote about the sales of wrist watches declining among young people as the reliance becomes even greater on cell phones and other electronic devices. This is a trend I've noticed for a while and always wondered how it might turn out. Turns out, watches are losing ground to cell phones (AP).

Market researchers say more people are carrying electronic devices that also tell time, whether a phone, an iPod or a BlackBerry. They're also finding that young people, in particular, are more interested in spending their money on other kinds of accessories, such as shoes and hand bags.

Anther interesting time-related fact: most of the United States has observed Daylight Saving Time from 2:00 am on the first Sunday of April until 2:00 am on the last Sunday of October, since 1966. But on August 8, 2005, President Bush signed a sweeping energy bill that changed the timing of DST in the US by 4 weeks, in an effort to save energy. Beginning this spring, DST will begin 3 weeks earlier, on the second Sunday in March, and end 1 week later, on the first Sunday in November. This will affect Microsoft Outlook Calendar because it was not programmed to adjust for this new DST schedule and will simply record times as you have entered them. [via RW]

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:10 PM | | links to this post

Chevy spot

This Chevy spot featuring a bunch of different famous songs with Chevy references is pretty cool. Surprisingly between rap, country and pop - the Chevy brand really covers pop culture. Chevy reminds us that people don't write songs about Volvos, they write songs about Chevys. This ad, which aired during the Super Bowl features, among others (in order) Mary J. Blige, Big & Rich, TI and Dale Earnhardt Jr. along with some other non-stars sprinkled in.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 8:29 AM | | links to this post

Dwight Howard's sticker dunk

The Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard, a 21-year-old super freak athlete with a body like a Greek statue came up with one of the most creative dunks I've seen in a while last night at the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk contest in Las Vegas. He started the dunk with a sticker with his mug on it and while in flight placed the sticker toward the very top of the backboard (photos here and here). Pretty nasty. The funny thing is His Airness, Michael Jordan, one of the judges for the contest only gave him an 8 for this dunk.

Here's a couple other insane dunk videos I found on YouTube -- 20 Best dunkes ever by Best Damn Sports Show and a recap of the 2006 dunk contest.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 2:58 PM | | links to this post

Bounce this!

Hilarious that this guy messed with Verizon by writing this $63.27 check.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 6:03 PM | | links to this post

Urine for a long night

New Mexico aims to keep bar-hopping drunks off the road by nagging them at a place they're likely to visit just before getting behind the wheel: the men's room urinal. The state Transportation Department recently paid $21 each for about 500 talking urinal deodorizer cakes to put in men's restrooms at various bars and restaurants.

A New York-based company called Healthquest Technolgies is marketing the products under the Wizmark name. What a brilliant idea because like they always advise when at a urinal - "look straight ahead".

When a man steps up, the motion-sensitive plastic device says, in a woman's voice that is flirty, then stern: "Hey, big guy. Having a few drinks? Think you had one too many? Then it's time to call a cab or call a sober friend for a ride home."

The recorded message ends: "Remember, your future is in your hand."


posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:38 PM | | links to this post

Things not to do past 30

Not long after I posted my list of things to do before you turn 30, I found this hilarious list of things not to do after turning 30. Here's a few examples:

5. Name his "unit" his name plus junior.
8. Ask a policeman, "You ever shoot anybody with that thing?"
18. Jokingly flash gang signs while posing for wedding photos.
27. Choose 69 as his jersey number.
47. Say "two points" every time he throws something in the trash.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 5:39 PM | | links to this post

2007 SI swimsuit edition

Since 1964, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue has been a brilliant idea by Sports Illustrated. The best part is it allows guys to not look like pervs when buying the magazine (by the mailman or the grocery store clerk) because technically it's a "sports publication". That's what makes it great - the Swimsuit issue has nothing to do with sports. Singer Beyonce is on the cover of this year's music-themed edition. The issue came out yesterday, Valentine's Day. No irony there, huh?

I wonder what percentage of men order the $50 magazine subscription purely for this one issue. Check out the SI 2007 online version you "sports fanatics".

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 12:52 PM | | links to this post

Learn about the world in stats

I've covered the World O' Meters way back in the day, but this this site NationMaster has the best and most interesting facts/stats I've ever seen. You could spend hours on it. Their goal is to be the web's one-stop resource for country statistics on everything from soldiers to wall plug voltages. The site also lets you compare U.S. states in over 3,000 ways. Here's a few samples:

- Armenia is a world leader in library members and cinemas per capita.
- The USA has more personal computers than the next 7 countries combined.
- Taiwan and Luxembourg are the only countries in the world where the mobile phones outnumber the people!

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 8:51 AM | | links to this post

Insanely artistic site

When you check out Phylotaxis (read about it here) you have to click on the links about the author, Jonathan Harris. His work is spectacular. You could spend a long time looking through his stuff, and thinking to yourself, "that is freaking awesome." This particular site is a news aggregator that you can adjust dynamically from "science" to "culture." You've got to see some of his stuff, it's nothing but first class creativity: WordCount (about), 10x10 (about), and his personal site Number 27. [via RW]

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 11:08 PM | | links to this post

Apple, Nike go green

Two of the freshest, most original companies in the world (and no surprise - two of my favorites) have made concerted efforts to go green. In the process, they have raised green awareness to their young, hip followers.

Both companies have dedicated environmental sections on their websites.
- Apple // environment
- Nike // environment

Also, check out the Sustainable Style Foundation, a non-profit that promotes sustainable living and design. I like their slogan: look fabulous, live well, do good. But the best part is that SSF's website hosting is wind powered.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:05 PM | | links to this post

Lifestyle (in photos)

Just some good looking photos I've come across in the last couple months. Sometimes nothing says it better.

CWebb back in the Philly days (earlier this season)

Becks in one of the best photoshoots ever taken, kicking into the East River with the bridge named after his son in the background

Funny photo I stumbled upon

The wealthiest man in the world posing with a sweet blue screen

Two of my favorites -- Double E's (entertainers and entrepreneurs) Roca Wear and Sean John

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:39 PM | | links to this post

Slogan's in

Pursuant to the American way, I picked myself above all others. The intentions were good in the first ever UE slogan contest, but when it came down to it, I muttered out the slogan that will be used for a long time on this site (at least 3 weeks). It's pretty solid - short, descriptive, and giving visitors a good feel for the Urban Eola ideals.

Introducing the latest and greatest UE slogan:

urban eola // your lifestyle headquarters.


posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:30 PM | | links to this post

Heineken commercials are beautiful

Check out this Heineken ad (2007) featuring one of my top 10 songs - Snoop + Pharell's "Beautiful". The ad is average, but the song is fresh.

Also, check out what seems to be a European Heineken ad. This one's pretty original.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 3:07 PM | | links to this post

NBA's pads

Has anyone noticed the trend of NBA players wearing thigh pads underneath their shorts? Just like every other trend in the NBA, this one has gone way too far. They started off as a little padding on their spandex undershorts. Pictured above left (click on the photo to enlarge) is Jameer Nelson wearing essentially football thigh pads, which is funny because most NFL players don't even wear them. Looks like Champ Bailey (above right) lent his pair to Jameer.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 1:25 PM | | links to this post

Wow! Microsoft ads one-up Apple

I've pubbed the Mac ads plenty on this site (here and here), but I must give it to Microsoft. Their Windows Vista "Wow!" ad is pretty awesome (watch it below). Any ad featuring Pele and LeBron in the same spot gets props from UE. They kind of remind me of Apple's Think Different ads that came out in the late 90's featuring photos of Albert Einstein, Jackie Robinson, Ted Turner and Mahatma Ghandi among others. I still might rate the HP commercials I featured last August the best out of all of them as far originality.

Windows Vista "Wow!" ad

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 8:29 PM | | links to this post

Put your head on a bobblehead

Bobblehead dolls are awesome. Apparently they were big at Major League Baseball games in the 1950's and 60's. It was not until the late 90's, early 2000's when they became pop culture collectibles again. I can speak firsthand that they were fetching some big money on Ebay. Word on the street is that you customize your own bobbleahead from a picture of your face. I quickly browsed and found 2 sites that'll do it: Whoopass Enterprises and headbobble.com. [via LK]

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 7:43 PM | | links to this post

Tiki's Cadillac commercial

Tiki Barber and wife Ginny met while students at Univ. of Virginia

Tiki Barber is a stud. He's a top running back for the New York Giants and a graduate of University of Virginia. He's a good-looking guy (him and his twin bro, Ronde came in at #17 in UE's best looking athletes list) who dresses even better (oftentimes European suits and windsor tie knots). He lives in a Manhattan condo. He's married, has two kids and writes illustrated children's books. He's also well-spoken and has that Magic Johnson-type million dollar smile.

And at 31 years old, he retired from the NFL at the top of his game. Rick Reilly of SI summed it up best:
Tiki Barber has his money, his memories and most of his cartilage. What he doesn't seem to have is the right to live his own life.

"When I get home from work," says Barber, "my [two- and four-year-old] kids come running at me. They make me get on my knees, and we play tackle football. On replacement knees, that's not happening. I saw this video of O.J. Simpson once, and his kids came running at him and he couldn't even pick them up. So I can see that if I play three or four more years, like everybody wants me to, that could be me. But when I'm 50 years old, and I'm having trouble just getting down the stairs, will they be cheering for me then?

Good for him. And now he'll pursue broadcasting...not just sports broadcasting. Check out Tiki in this Cadillac commercial (scroll down to the first one, but watch all three). It's very urban and right up UE's alley in terms of the beat in the background (the song Ocio by Melikka is fresh) and the style of it.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 12:40 PM | | links to this post

Cheddar Cheese TV

CheddarVision.TV shows anything's possible on the internet. Here's why. A British farmer started the website where you can watch a live video feed of a block of cheddar cheese aging. The site has received 152,000 hist so far. Unbelievable. Nice looking site though.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 8:07 AM | | links to this post

iPod's banned in major cities

Are you kidding me? This guy obviously isn't an urbanite. N.Y. lawmaker hopes to ban iPod use in crosswalks. I'd be shocked if this passes.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 7:30 PM | | links to this post

Get urban

As I'm surfing the web tonight thinking of new slogan ideas, I came across a cool website. It's called Get Urban America - Teaching the Urban Lifestyle to America. This title alone captivates my attention. I read on. The description is right up Urban Eola's alley:
To teach Americans, a predominately suburban culture, about the joys and benefits of city living.
The founder Kyle Ezell, a nationally known certified planner, agrees with UE that there's nothing more unique and fulfilling than living in an authentic urban environment. He especially hates parking lots (read his breakdown of urban parking lots) and travels around promoting the urban lifestyle by teaching "Downtown Living Seminars" and writing books ("Get Urban"). He poses this question to suburbanites: How many people in your metro area?
  • Walk a mile around an indoor mall in the 'burbs and think nothing of it?
  • Consider it out of the question to walk five blocks to the store?


posted by Michael Tavani @ 9:51 PM | | links to this post

Urban WiFi spots

Laptops are taking over coffee shops, bookstores and urban hangouts nationwide. Here's the top 10 cities with free wireless hotspots. In the next couple years, I think more cities will begin footing the bill for free city-wide wireless. It will only help local economies and promote efficiency.

  1. San Francisco
  2. New York
  3. Chicago
  4. Houston
  5. Austin
  6. Seattle
  7. Atlanta
  8. San Diego
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Washington, D.C.
This list is via JiWire, a pretty useful site that has a comprehensive directory of WiFi hotspots nationwide. Very useful for your next trip out-of-town. Or even in your own city.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 9:18 PM | | links to this post

Build your financial warchest

Young people are so busy accomplishing fun and rewarding things before their 30th birthday that they don't have the time (nonetheless the inclination) to think about investing their money. Hand-to-mouth is all too common in Generations X and Y. I have found for myself that the key to learning is keeping it simple. Here's an easy to follow guidebook by CNNMoney.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 11:30 PM | | links to this post

Slogan contest

UE's had multiple slogans, but none have jumped off the page...YET. Now's your chance to put your slogan in lights right under the newly revealed logo. Here's some examples:

  • the freshest stuff out there
  • the online lounge for urbanites
  • the online lounge for fresh thinkers
  • the lifestyle lounge for urbanites
  • the next generation urbanite
  • the next generation yuppie
  • yuppie 2.0
  • it's not a blog, it's a lifestyle
Contest rules:
  • Either pick one of the ones above or drop a comment with a suggestion
  • The tagline should be short, somewhat descriptive and catchy
  • If possible, incorporate the UE themes
  • Contest closes one week from today (2.12.07)
  • Get your creative on

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 11:05 PM | | links to this post

Apple's iPod Picano

Did I say SNL sucked recently? This bit featuring Steve Jobs and his newest line of iPods is pretty entertaining. I want that Invisa.

Also, check out this interesting New York Time review on Microsoft's Vista.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:36 PM | | links to this post

Logo love

It's that time of the year for the Urban Eola logo update. Gone is the way too big logo size and the "city outline" style. In are the colored "city dots" and a web 2.0-ish shadow effect. I like this one a lot better so I'm pretty sure I'll keep it awhile. Whadaya think of it?


posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:52 PM | | links to this post

Motivation by Lance

Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer on 10/2/1996. He was told he had about a 50% chance of survival. It turns out his doctor estimated he only had about a 2% chance of survival.

Nike has capitalized on this inspiration by launching the 10//2 Collection. On that page under "Downloads", you can get these really cool, free desktop wallpapers (below) of magazine ads from the 10//2 Collection.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 5:10 PM | | links to this post

Adidas vs. Nike

Adidas and Nike battle eachother out in most sports, but the rivalry between their endorsed basketball athletes is a great matchup. First off, here's the Nike squad. And the Adidas squad is below.

Here's the lineups:

Chancey Billups
Gilbert Arenas
Tracy McGrady
Kevin Garnett
Tim Duncan

Nike (best of all their sponsored players)
Steve Nash
Kobe Bryant
LeBron James
Amare Stoudemire
Jermaine O'Neal

I agree with the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen's breakdown of the matchup.
For Adidas, you've got the It Takes Five five -- Chauncey Billups, Gilbert Arenas, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

For Nike, you have to choose five from the guys walking around the airport tarmac. We'll go with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Jermaine O'Neal and Amare Stoudemire.

Tough call. Nash is incomparable, but on a team like this, Billups' catch-and-shoot talent makes him close. Kobe gets the edge on anyone, but Arenas is right there. Frontcourt, however goes to Adidas.

So who wins? If you have to double Duncan, McGrady or Garnett, those backcourt shooters will kill you.

So I'll go with Adidas based on the one thing that doesn't show up in either commercial -- passing.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 12:47 PM | | links to this post

The importance of goals

My boss at Major League Soccer taped this inspirational message onto my office wall when I started there. It's now hanging on my computer desk. It's pretty telling and a solid life lesson.

The Importance of Goals

A Harvard Business School study found: 83% of the population does not have any clearly defined goals.

14% have goals but not written down, meaning only 3% of the population has goals that are written down.

The study concluded that the 3% that did have written goals were earning an astounding 10 times that of the 83 percent group.

In addition, similar studies have shown that individuals with written goals also tend to have better health and happier marriages than those without goals.

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posted by Michael Tavani @ 10:41 PM | | links to this post

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