No Fury Like a Penguin Scorned


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It was only a matter of time. A presidential candidate has finally been bitten by…a penguin.

It turns out Newts and penguins don’t always get along. While no charges have been filed, the undoubtedly savage attach occurred earlier this week at the St. Louis Zoo. A Magellanic penguin bit Newt Gingrich on the finger, spurring a lot of speculation about how penguins lean politically. Many have quipped that the penguin in question must have been a Democrat. Andrew Lieffring, a Facebook commenter on the Politico story, went so far as to say “The liberal bias of penguins is well documented. They are always wearing tuxedos like hollywood elites.”

Agree to disagree. I think this is less a matter of politics and more a matter of taste. Has anyone gotten the penguin’s side of the story? I think we all know this wasn’t Newt’s first visit to the ice enclosure, if you know what I mean. There’s even photographic evidence that Newt’s been spending time with other flightless birds. Newt Gingrich and a penguin

All I’m saying is that there might be more to this story than we first realized. Has anyone considered that perhaps Newt had just offered this penguin an “open habitat” where other penguins could also bask in his animal-loving glory? I for one would not blame the bird for taking a little nip after hearing news like that. At any rate, let this be a lesson to us all:

Hell hath no bite like a penguin scorned.

Mo’ Potter Mo’ Problems


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Just kidding, I’ve just always wanted to say “Mo’ Potter Mo’ Problems.” I actually feel the complete opposite:

Mo’ Potter Mo’ Awesome

According to Reuters, JK Rowling (author of the Harry Potter books, obvi) announced on her website that she will be writing a Harry Potter Encyclopedia!

Am I right in assuming that this is the only encyclopedia any of us will ever willingly pick up or use for anything other than a paper weight/coaster? I thought so. I’m so pumped. I don’t know if I’ve made it glaringly obvious yet, but I’m a huge Harry Potter fan.

I genuinely felt like my childhood ended the second the last movie stopped. Young adults (I refuse to call my self an adult yet) my age are the ones that grew up waiting in lines in bookstores at midnight for the newest book in the series. We are the ones that stayed up all night reading about Harry, Ron and Hermione once we had that new book. We are the ones that went to the midnight premiers. We are the last ones that will have literally grown up with the books. Harry Potter was a defining feature of my youth.

So yes, it’s an encyclopedia, but it’s something. I’ve personally been waiting for it since JK (we’re on a first initials basis, she calls me LE) took an independent U.S. publisher to court over a “Harry Potter Lexicon” that was an infringement on her intellectual property rights. So to JK I say: “About time, girl!”

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor


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NCAA Hunger Games

Two of my favorite things in the world are combining today. Mostly because I’m forcing them to, but they are combining nonetheless.

The first is The Hunger Games. The movie adaptation of the first book premiered last night at midnight. I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t there, but never fear. I will be soon. For those of you who have read the books, you know why I’m obsessed. For those of you who haven’t, go read them right now, or go jump off a cliff. Just kidding. That’s a little aggressive, but so is my love for this incredible, wonderful, amazing book series.

The second fantastic thing occurring today is the sweet 16 Tar Heel basketball game against Ohio tonight. Ever since Kendall Marshall broke a bone in his right wrist during the Creighton game, UNC fans have been a little distraught, but also incredibly supportive. So much so that a really cool social media movement called “PassFir5t” was born. This movement basically embodies not only Marshall’s “team first” attitude, but the Carolina way in general. Support your team and believe.

The idea of PassFir5t is simple. You write a number 5 (Kendall’s jersey number) on your right wrist (the wrist Kendall injured). That’s it. But within a few hours, not only were hundreds of people doing it, they were tweeting about it and taking pictures. There are now Twitter and Facebook pages with hundreds of fans and followers.

So you may be wondering at this point, “Laken, it’s great that the Hunger Games premiered today and the Tar Heels are about to play some basketball, but how do those two relate?” I’m glad you asked. Now, I could go on some tangent where I try to relate the NCAA tournament to the Hunger Games, but that seems silly and kind of obvious. I’m more concerned about hand gestures. That’s right, hand gestures.

Most people have been going with the fist pump when they show off their temporarily tatooed wrist. I get it. It’s in vogue, it’s fun and it’s energetic. But what I think we should be doing is the Hunger Games District 12 salute (pictured above). In the books, this symbol is used in District 12 as a sign of respect and admiration. You place your middle three fingers to your lips, then lift your arm and those three fingers outward. It is how District 12 says goodbye and good luck to Katniss. It is how Katniss says goodbye to Rue. And it’s how we should be sending off our Tar Heels into the NCAA tournament. With respect and admiration – good luck, boys. May the odds be ever in your favor.

The Oscars: A Twitter Review


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This blog post, like so many things in life, starts with a nip slip. J. Lo’s supposed nip slip at the Oscars last night, to be more precise. But while this post starts with a nip slip, it’s not about a nip slip. It’s about the reactions on Twitter.

Not 10 minutes after the incident, J. Lo’s nipple (@JLosNipple) had a Twitter account and was tweeting to the world. It started with “DID YOU SEE ME!?” and has been keeping up with the debates about whether there was an actual wardrobe malfunction or just a close call. J. Lo’s nipple admits that “J.Lo’s not to blame….it’s my fault, I couldn’t breathe,” but she maintains that she’s not sorry it happened. She tweeted:

I have no regrets….I have been confined for years and have never been given a chance to be heard. #nipslips

In regard to the debate continuing about whether she actually made an appearance, she had this to say to a follower. “I was about a quarter inch from being famous…I think I need a publicist.” What she has plenty of, however, is followers. In the 14 hours since the event, J. Lo’s nipple has amassed more than 1,800 followers.

While those are impressive statistics, she wasn’t the only star’s body part to make a splash in the world of social media last night. Angelina Jolie’s leg (the right one, to be exact) also arrived on the Twitter scene after Angie put her on display while presenting an award. More assertive than J. Lo’s nipple’s first tweet, @AngiesRightLeg made it known that she was there to be seen. “Look at me!” she proclaimed right off the bat. Despite only tweeting 18 times, and mostly about herself with a lot of exclamation points (ex. “Behold: it’s me!!” and “I’m over here!!!!”) Angie’s leg surpassed even J. Lo’s nipple in followers, with more than 11,000. Interestingly, Angie’s right leg only follows one account on Twitter – J. Lo’s nipple. Whether these two are rivals, friends or frenemies has yet to be determined.

But now, since this is the Oscars after all, I think it’s time to give out some awards. The nominees for Best New Twitter Account are @JLosNipple and @AngiesRightLeg, each for their work in social media.

And the winner is…..J. Lo’s Nipple! With a sense of humor, a willingness to focus on something other than herself and the ability to admit that maybe she isn’t a star after all, J. Lo’s nipple has stolen our hearts (and caught our eyes) and has us rooting for an actual nip slip sometime in the near future. This is J. Lo’s nipple’s first nomination and first win at the Academy Awards. That concludes today’s blog post. I hope you enjoyed it.

PS – here’s a picture of me holding an actual Oscar. No joke, someone happened to have one in the journalism school one day last year and let me hold it.

"I'd like to thank the Academy"

#PuppyBowl and the Power of Meep


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Apparently I’ve been living under a rock. How has there been a program devoted solely to adorable, adoptable puppies on television for EIGHT YEARS, and this is the first time I’ve heard about it?

Is anyone out there in the same boat as me? For those of you that have also been inhabiting the dark space under and/or behind a boulder, the Puppy Bowl is the best idea Animal Planet has ever had. And this is the network that came up with Meerkat Manor and River Monsters. The Puppy Bowl happens every year on Super Bowl Sunday and is essentially a bunch of the cutest rescued puppies you’ve ever seen all thrown (read: gently placed) into a football-like arena together. Animal Planet makes it seem like the puppies are actually playing some sort of organized sport with help from a very legit-sounding commentator and a telestrator (it’s a real word – check out the definition here if, like me, you thought it was just called “drawing on sports”). This year Puppy Bowl VIII also featured a kitty halftime performance, pig cheerleaders, hamsters in an aerial blimp and, my personal favorite, a bird named Meep who live-tweeted the whole thing.

I really don’t need to go into much detail about how many ooohs and aaahs this show solicited from me over the course of a few hours. It’s a bunch of puppies playing with each other. Enough said. What I would like to talk more about is Meep and his incredible knack for social media.

Meep is an “Animal Planet employee” that happens to be a tweeting cockatiel. He live-tweeted throughout the event and covers all things Puppy Bowl and cute via his Twitter, @meepthebird.

Meep tweeting with celebrities and retweeting fans and relevant info

When asked how long he’s had his Twitter account, he responded “I’ve been naturally tweeting all my life – I joined @twitter a few months ago.” Despite being fairly new to the game, Meep already has more than 21,000 followers and some celebrity admirers, including such names as Jodi Picoult, Zooey Deschanel, R.L. Stine (who knew he tweeted?), Aziz Ansari and Sophia Bush. There are even rumors that Meep is meeting up with the Bronx Zoo’s Cobra (@BronxZoosCobra) for lunch next week…

Meep is not only the best tweeting bird I’ve ever encountered, he’s the funniest. I could write out his entire Twitter stream here for you, but I thought I’d just offer some highlights instead. He referenced the Kardashian sisters, asked that no one give away what happened in Downton Abbey and called parking at Animal Planet Stadium a “HOT.MESS.”

When asked how big the stadium was, Meep said “big enough for 50+ puppies, a handful of pigs, dozens of kittens and my ego. So…pretty big.”

Meep did a great job throughout the event responding to questions, providing live updates, retweeting relevant info and making awesome pop culture references. For example, he tweeted the following about one of the canine players.

FACT: Aberdeen is great at football but terrible at Words with Friends. #PuppyBowl

But all of this great tweeting the day of his big event has me wondering, what will happen to Meep now? Will this Twitter trend-generating ave disappear like so many other one-tweet wonders before him?

Never fear, Meep has big plans. Although a little unprofessional, Meep asked Animal Planet when he would get his own show and made it known that he’d love to be a regular on the Today Show. As for his Twitter account on non Puppy Bowl days, he says “I’ll talk about what I had for breakfast and the hotties I’m dating.” I personally will be following him with bated breath, waiting for his next witticism. And, above all, trying to fulfill my new life goal of being retweeted or responded to by Meep.

So there you have it, ladies and gentleman. An entire blog post devoted to a tweeting bird and one of the best uses of social media I’ve seen in a while.

My Inaugural Blog Post

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for joining me in this, my blogging adventure. Although I set up my blog earlier this year, I have yet to post anything. That’s because I was fretting about what to write.

Should I stick to one topic? That seemed boring. And what if I ran out of things to say? Should I choose a new topic every week? It might confuse people. I asked friends, family and roommates what they would want to read about, but that wasn’t always what most interested me. So what to write about? A decision must be made.

And luckily for you, my readers, one was made. Call me crazy, but I think I’d rather keep you on your toes than try to extract nuggets of entertaining information where there is none to be had. So, in this, my inaugural post, I want to let you know that I’m going to write about whatever tickles my fancy. I love PR. I love to read. I love to paint and cook and travel. There are so many things I love, why not write about them all? So that’s what I’ll do. It’s not like there’s a right or wrong answer to the question “What should I blog about?” Hence, I’m going to play it by ear. So, here we go. Please fasten your seat belts, make sure your chair is in the upright and locked position and locate the exit nearest you, because this flight is about to take off.



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