Houston City Council Reads Last Row!

I only say so because they’re thinking of banning those giant advertising balloons which dot Houston freeways.  The balloons that we’ve blogged about here, “Car Dealerships and their Balloons”.

Here is the story from the Chronicle,
Council vote could deflate advertising practice: City weighs ban on large balloons and similar devices

Here’s the justification for banning these eyesores,

“I call them attention-distracting devices,” said Jeff Ross of the city’s planning commission. Ross said getting rid of them will make Houston more competitive with other cities that have banned them, such as Dallas, Austin and St. Louis.

“They distract the eye, create potential safety obstacles, obscure permanent signage and create visual blight,” said Tommy Friedlander, who chaired Mayor Bill White’s On-Premise Sign Task Force.

Predictably, car dealers are fighting the ban which will beautify our fair city (below). Though, to be sure Lexus dealerships will remain unaffected by the ordinance.

houston

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Zampolits!

From Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising,

If there was anything Alekseyev didn’t need now it was a zampolit!

Exactly a week ago, I had one of those days here at the lab. Of course, to me “one of those days” is everyday for a lot of people with high pressure jobs, yet because this is not the norm I’m quite unaccustomed to them.

Going in that morning I knew it was going to be a doozy, given the fact that I had a full day’s worth of work in the pipe, and that’s OK, that’s what I get paid for and honestly, I enjoy the investigative nature of my work.

What, of course, cannot be predicted are the situations that come up, or spring up that distract one from achieving one’s objectives.

For example, as I sat there elbow-deep in the work cited above, the bane of every busy research assistant’s existence needed a few moments of my time: the life science sales rep.

Immediately, my mind went to the sentiment of Clancy’s fictional Soviet general regarding the political officer (KGB) who had interrupted his work. The rep had become my zampolit, a good man with good intentions but choosing the wrong time to offer potentially helpful, though irrelevant to the task at hand, information.

What must go without saying is that even at the height of our diligence, the rules of charity cannot be thrown out the window. So I was polite to the rep’s entreaties (hard not to do since after all, he is a nice guy) yet my preoccupation with leaving work at a decent hour must have been evident on my face, thus he shortened his pitch.

As for a fellow research assistant who (on this fine day) needed help on how to use a new (for her) piece of equipment, being charitable was a bit more difficult.  Given the fact that while asking for instruction, she wanted to be the instructor.  Ironically enough this dear woman hails from the former Soviet Union, might she have received training to be a zampolit?  Perhaps she came from a line of zampolits?

Car Dealerships and their Balloons

This post is brought to you by the “There are more important things to ponder” tag…

It’s safe to say that most everyone has driven by a car dealership that has one of these crowning the main salesroom,
kong.jpg

I’m assuming that these things are put up there as some sort of sales gimmick. One day you want to buy a car and oh there is just so many dealerships, I know, honey let’s go to that one that has that giant inflatable _____ sitting on top of it.

Are consumers really that gullible? Or is there another reason to explain this phenomenon?

Funny how you’ll never see Kong atop the Lexus dealership.