“…Of Course We Have Scampi!” Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant New York City | Cookbookmaniac

Warning! Warning!
Touristy restaurant review ahead
Proceed with caution
Warning! Warning!

Forrest Gump is one of my favourite films. I jumped with unabashed joy when we walked past the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant in Times Square, New York. I had no idea that the restaurant existed and I was determined to dine there. Just to give it a go. Bubba’s dream is alive!

I usually try and stay away from tourist-driven places when on holidays but I couldn’t help but giggle like a japanese school girl when I enter the premises.

The restaurant looks like the Hard Rock Cafe for Forrest Gump paraphernalia. Downstairs is filled with merchandise from the film. T-shirts, shorts, caps, mugs, pens, photo frames are printed with tacky sayings and logos mostly taken from the film.

This is my sister, Bunnifer

The restaurant was a little more tasteful and was themed more accurately to the film than the merchandise downstairs. There is a bar area and some semi-private rooms that are decorated like pergolas.

There is a sign on the table with “Run Forrest Run” and “Stop Forrest Stop” when you flip it. It is used to let the waiter know that you need something.

We ate our way through New York City. We gobbled down NY-style pizzas, bought freshly made bagels from food vans, snacked on NY hot dogs, dined at posh restaurants, devoured cupcakes at the Magnolia Bakery and visited touristy restaurants like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

The “…Of Course We Have Scampi!” left the biggest impression on me. It obviously didn’t have a dusting of scampi, but was instead littered with shrimp/prawns. It was buttery delicious and was filled with garlicky goodness. My sisters and I couldn’t get enough of it. We had to order another serving of it.

I was experiencing major craving pangs for this when we returned to Sydney. I searched website after website for a recipe remotely similar to this but was not successful. After many weeks of trial and error I have come up with a recipe that is very similar to the real thing. Its not exactly the same… but it is good enough.

Everyone that I have served this to has loved it. I have been asked for the recipe numerous times and this is the first time that I am sharing it.

Garlic Prawn Linguine is an original recipe from cookbookmaniac.com

Ingredients
300g peeled raw prawns, tails intact
250g salted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
100g pickled capers, drained
4 large garlic cloves, chopped finely (do not use garlic press)
2 ripe plum tomatoes, diced to 1cm cubes
500g dried linguine pasta
2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

1/ Cook linguine pasta according to package instructions.

2/ Pour dry white wine in heavy bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Boil the wine until the alcohol has evaporated.

3/ Add butter. When the butter has melted add the garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Stir the mixture gently until it begins to boil and add prawns. Allow the prawns to cook for approximately 1 minute and turn the prawns over. Let it cook for another minute.

4/ Add the capers and stir the mixture gently. Add the tomatoes and switch the heat off.

5/ Add the parsley and serve.

Tips from cookbookmaniac
* Make sure the linguine is perfectly al dente. The pasta will soak up a lot of the sauce!
* The more garlic you add, the merrier the sauce! You can up the garlic factor by including garlic bread. Do you have a good garlic bread recipe?
* This isn’t the healthiest of recipes, which is why it’s so good!

Please excuse the amateurish photos of the restaurant. They were taken pre-blog

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant
1501 Broadway
New York, NY 10036-5505, United States

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Photography, film & media – Burning Seed

Info for Non-Crew

(aka photos for personal use of me and my friends)

It can be tempting at Burning Seed to be snap happy with your camera or phone – after all, how are people going to know what a great time you had unless you photograph it? While our core media crew are held to rigorous signed agreements, here are your responsibilities when it comes to taking pictures.

CONSENT!!!!!
You will need to ask for explicit permission whenever you are taking pictures of others. This means that anybody in your lens’ field of vision needs to enthusiastically agree to having their photo taken – all the time, every time. If you only wish to share your pictures from your phone with your friends and family, then that’s fine. If however, you want to upload those pictures to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your blog or any other social media platform, you will need to communicate that intent with those in the photo. This is not like the default world where you upload whatever you like.

Your request will need to sound something like this: “Hey, is everybody okay with me taking a picture right now and maybe putting this on Facebook?” This gives people the chance to opt out, say no or add conditions (like no tags etc.) which you will need to honour.

This stuff is important. Lots of people come to Seed to shake off the digital world and to express themselves in ways that may look different to those on the outside. Many people are gifting their vulnerability and trust and while they may choose to share those moments with you and the people around you, they aren’t necessarily agreeing to share that with you Instagram followers or Facebook friends. Peoples right to exist outside of the digital space is more important than anybody else’s need to take a photograph. Loads of people DO NOT CONSENT to having their photo taken during a Burn. Everybody has the right to be in the moment and to move through their experiences without feeling like they’re being tracked by paps.

Whether you’re a newcomer or not, you might not know what is acceptable until you ask. By asking, you’ll eliminate confusion and foster a tighter, safer community where people know their boundaries are protected and respected. In a world where people are pushing the envelope of their own self-expression, such freedom is only assured by knowing you are safe to do so.

Remember: photographs might seem like a good idea at the time but radical self-expression can look quite different out of its natural habitat and splashed all round Facebook for employers, family members and others to see.

PHOTOGRAPHING CHILDREN
You must not photograph any child without the explicit permission of their parent or guardian. No exceptions.

If you are just sharing your photos with friends and families, then here ends our little chat. But if you’re taking images for greater public distribution including digital media, websites, galleries, exhibitions, YouTube or others, you’ll fall under the professional category and you will need a media pass to be able to do so. See the info on the left.

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Facebook ranks last in digital trust among consumers

Summary List Placement

When it comes to protecting users’ personal information and providing a safe online environment, social network users in the US give lower marks to Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter. According to Insider Intelligence’s annual “US Digital Trust Survey,” LinkedIn is the most trusted social platform overall. We define digital trust as the confidence users have in a social media platform to protect their information and provide a safe environment for them to create and engage with content.

In the 2020 “US Digital Trust Survey,” we evaluated consumer perceptions of the major social networks within five categories of trust: security, legitimacy, community, ad experience, and ad relevance*. We ranked nine platforms—Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube—according to how our respondents perceived them along those five pillars of digital trust. We fielded the online survey of 1,865 US respondents ages 18 to 74 between May 28, 2020 and June 3, 2020, using a sample provided by a third party.

We found that Facebook was the least trusted social media platform regarding data privacy. Nearly one-third (32%) of US Facebook users at least somewhat disagreed that they had confidence in the platform to protect their data and privacy. Just 10% of LinkedIn’s users said the same of the professional network.How Much Do US Social Media Users Agree That Social Media Platforms Protect Their Privacy and Data

“Two years after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, we expect that Facebook’s massive data privacy issues during that time have persisted in public memory and continue to be a black mark on its record,” said Audrey Schomer, senior research analyst at Insider Intelligence. “This is likely driving nearly one-third of US Facebook users to continue to view Facebook as a platform that doesn’t adequately protect their data. Our research highlights the great importance of data privacy protections by social networks to ensure that user engagement data isn’t mishandled or misappropriated.” 

A majority (53%) of US Facebook users at least somewhat agreed that the platform protects their data and privacy, but this was the lowest share of respondents among all platforms we measured. 

“To Facebook’s credit, it has made efforts to give users more control over their data through opt-in and opt-out features tied to what data is shared and what ads they’re shown, as well as by increasing its own transparency into what data is collected,” said Daniel Carnahan, research analyst at Insider Intelligence. “Nevertheless, it appears that these efforts are still having only minimal effects on US user sentiment.”

TikTok and Twitter were the next-to-worst performers when it came to confidence in their user data and privacy handling. About one in five US TikTok and Twitter users (22% and 21%, respectively) at least somewhat lacked confidence in the platforms to protect their data and privacy. While majority shares of the two platforms’ respective users felt confident that their data and privacy was being protected, they were still less confident compared with users of other platforms. For TikTok, intensifying scrutiny from the US government has likely had a negative impact on some users’ confidence in the app. When our survey was conducted, many US legislators were voicing their concerns about TikTok’s connections to the Chinese government. As for Twitter, it had already come under fire in 2019 for sharing some users’ data with advertisers without their permission. It also fixed a bug that accidentally collected and shared user location data.

LinkedIn and Pinterest ranked highest when it came to confidence in their ability to provide security. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of LinkedIn users and 66% of Pinterest users at least somewhat agreed that the respective platforms protect their privacy and data. LinkedIn and Pinterest have each received very little media attention related to data privacy issues, which likely contributes to their more positive perceptions among users.

What the Results Mean

Digital trust is important for brands and advertisers to consider because US social users say it impacts whether they will interact with the ads they see on social platforms. Even if security scandals don’t drive users to stop using social platforms, our data indicates that the trust users have—or don’t have—in social platforms could impact their interactions with ads or sponsored content. In fact, 79% of respondents said whether a platform protects their privacy and data was either extremely or very impactful when it comes to their decision to engage with ads. And 30% of respondents said that whether a platform shows them relevant ads had an extremely or very high impact.

This article was originally published on eMarketer.

Interested in getting the full report?

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The Death of RBG Vindicates My Vote for Trump

Many Republicans, like myself, did not at first jump on the Trump bandwagon in 2015 and 2016. We feared, and not without reason, that Trump would lead the GOP to perdition — and, what’s almost as bad, defeat. A vote for Trump would thus help elect Hillary Clinton.

Not for the first or last time, I was wrong in 2016. I gradually came to realize this. I warmed to Trump, and in the end I voted for him — proudly and without a moment’s hesitation. Many Republicans took the same journey as me.

Why did I plunk for Trump? I did so not because I thought he would win any awards for congeniality. We are all aware that Trump is, to say the least, mortal. He has character flaws. He makes mistakes. He doesn’t always understand the niceties of conventional politics.

Above all, though, I and millions of Americans like me voted for Trump for one simple reason: the barbarians were at the gates, and only Trump could save us, and America, from their ravages.

Liberals — you are the barbarians in this little analogy. Try to keep up.

Simply put, had Hillary Clinton won in 2016, she would have chosen the replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. The balance on the Court would have shifted decisively to the left. The Supreme Court, therefore, which Republicans already view warily, even with a “conservative” majority, would have become far more activist, far more aggressive, and far more beholden to left-wing ideology.

Any conservative can tell you that a Republican-appointed judge or justice is only occasionally a reliable supporter of conservative, constitutionalist principles. A Democrat-appointed judge or justice, on the other hand, is a supporter of “progressive” causes, and the narrow interests of the Democratic Party, 100 percent of the time.

Thus, a liberal majority on the Supreme Court would have guaranteed, in this hyper-partisan era, that conservatives would never again receive a sympathetic hearing there. Anything that the Left wanted would have been approved by judicial fiat. Even the integrity of future elections, which Republicans and conservatives might or might not win, would have been jeopardized, because a liberal Court would simply throw out results that didn’t accord with their wishes.

This, then, was the judicial apocalypse that we conservative patriots believed we were facing in 2016. As it turned out, only one man could save us, and our beloved Constitution, from the coming cataclysm: Donald Trump.

I therefore voted for Trump, in the fervent hope that he would win. I hoped, if he won, that he would build the Wall, fight for trade fairness, reduce regulation, keep us out of pointless regime change wars, and much more. I hoped for these things, but I knew that Trump would appoint new justices to the Supreme Court that would be a thousand times better than the reliable progressives and social justice warriors that Hillary would surely name to the bench.

And so he has.

Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh might not vote all the time the way conservatives would like them to, but they have not corrupted our democracy, they have not shamed the judiciary with legal sophistry, and they have not legislated from the bench.

What’s more, if Democrats cheat in the 2020 election, or in the counting of votes that follows, we can safely assume that a mostly conservative Court will hold them accountable for it. That gives a conservative like me peace of mind.

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, therefore, confirms that my choice to vote for Donald Trump in 2016 was right — even righter than I realized at the time.

For, not only will President Trump hold left-wing judicial activism at bay; he is in a position to tilt SCOTUS even further to the right, further perhaps than at any time in the last century.

For those of us who believe that liberal justices have already taken us much too far down the path of “reimagining” our Constitution, the opportunity to return to first principles, to limit the growth of federal power, to curb judicial activism, and to return many rights and powers to the states and to the people, is like a dream come true.

President Trump, therefore, has exceeded the expectations of many of us who voted for him. That will sound incredible to progressives, but it is the truth.

Democrats and liberals, you see a president and a Senate preparing to dash your dream of a judicially-mandated forced march to the sunlit uplands of a neo-Marxist utopia. We Republicans and conservatives see a president and a Senate about to reverse much of the damage you’ve already done to the country we so love, and about to reaffirm the Constitution, rather your wild fantasies and rigid ideology, as the law of the land.

Thank you, President Trump, for doing what We the People elected you to do.

I look forward to your nomination of an outstanding new Justice of the Supreme Court.

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Learning from Death: How We Change When Losing a Loved One

There is no easy way to write about death that doesn’t risk trivializing it or being overwhelmed by it. Fortunately, I have never suffered a tragedy, such as the loss of a child or spouse or family member before their natural time.

You don’t have to lose someone or face your own death to learn from it.

I have spent a lot of time personally and professionally with people who have had to grapple with the questions that none of us have answers:   

Why did this happen? 

What did I do wrong? 

How can I make this pain go away? 

If I could only have… 

With all the pain of loss and grief, I do like one aspect of what death does to those left behind: it pushes out all the extraneous noise of our lives and forces us to deal with only that which really matters. Most often, someone who has been shattered by a loss is very, very real. It’s almost like you’re speaking to someone on a drug when what comes out is pure, true, and undefended. 

I find such experience deeply grounding, and I enjoy being in an atmosphere of such truth. It is at such times that I understand what might draw someone to work in hospice care. The opportunity to work in an environment where everything is on the line, where there is no point in pretense, where life is stripped down to the bare essentials: it seems to me it’s like a spiritual backpack trip. You have only what you really need to survive; everything else is extra baggage you don’t want to carry. You are reminded of how little you really need, and how simple and pure life can be.

 Sometimes when I’m working with a couple, and they’re sniping at each other over the “he said/she said” of married life, I cut through the static with the following intervention:   

I have them sit across from each other and fill in the blank to the sentence – “If I knew I was going to die tomorrow, what I would want you to know today is…” 

That gets their attention. They immediately drop out of the argument and say things like “I love you” or “I’m sorry I wasn’t a better husband/wife.” 

Why does this happen? 

I think most of the time, most of the day, our ego is running the show. We are concerned first and foremost with the survival of the “I” of the ego. This can take countless forms, but just a few examples to help you know what I mean would include:  

Worrying about what I get out of this situation

How I look to others or wanting to hurt someone who hurt me

Wanting to fend off possible criticism

Needing to be right  

All of the above actions are about the importance of Ego.  

We don’t know what happens when we die. 

Although most of us have beliefs about it. Here’s one of the things I feel relatively sure about: the ego dies with the body.

If any part of us survives our physical death, I cannot believe it is that aspect of us which worries how we look, if only because I see how that drops away in those who have just lost someone. 

Letting death be our teacher, through making us aware of what truly matters, is one of the best ways I know to be truly alive.  

If you knew you were dying tomorrow, what would you do differently today?

If you’re struggling with loss, grief, and death, we’re here to help with Imago  and . We also have Online Couples Therapy and Online Couples Workshops right now!  

 Josh GresselThis blog post was written by Josh Gressel, a clinical psychologist and certified Imago therapist in practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He is the author of  (University of America Press, 2014) and “Disposable Diapers, Envy, and the Kibbutz: What Happens to an Emotion Based on Difference in a Society Based on Equality?” in Envy at Work and in Organizations (Oxford University Press, 2017).  He has just completed a book on masculinity.  

Check out Josh’s website: joshgressel.com

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Facebook wants to know how it’s shaping the 2020 elections — researchers say it’s looking too late and in the wrong places (FB)

Summary List Placement

Facebook was first warned in late 2015 that Cambridge Analytica was misusing data illicitly harvested from millions of Americans in an attempt to sway the 2016 US elections.

It didn’t pull the plug on the firm’s access to user data until March 2018 after reporting from The Guardian turned the breach into a global scandal.

More than two years later — and barely two months before the deadline for votes to cast their ballots in the 2020 elections — Facebook has decided it wants to know more about how it impacts democracy, announcing last week that it would partner with 17 researchers to study the impact of Facebook and Instagram on voters’ attitudes and actions.

But researchers outside of the project are conflicted. While they praised Facebook for promising to ensure more transparency and independence than it has before, they also questioned why the company waited so long and just how much this study will really bring to light.

“Isn’t this a little bit too late?” Fadi Quran, a campaign director with nonprofit research group Avaaz, told Business Insider.

“Facebook has known now for a long time that there’s election interference, that malicious actors are using the platform to influence voters,” he said. “Why is this only happening now at such a late stage?” 

Facebook said it doesn’t “expect to publish any findings until mid-2021 at the earliest.” The company did not reply to a request for comment on this story.

Since the company is leaving it to the research team to decide which questions to ask and draw their own conclusions — a good thing — we don’t yet know much about what they hope to learn. In its initial announcement, Facebook said it’s curious about: “whether social media makes us more polarized as a society, or if it largely reflects the divisions that already exist; if it helps people to become better informed about politics, or less; or if it affects people’s attitudes towards government and democracy, including whether and how they vote.”

Facebook executives have reportedly known the answer to that first question — that the company’s algorithms do help polarize and radicalize people — and that they knowingly shut down efforts to fix the issue or even research it more.

But even setting that aside, researchers say they’ve already identified some potential shortcomings in the study.

“A lot of the focus of this work is very much about how honest players are using these systems,” Laura Edelson, a researcher who studies political ads and misinformation at New York University, told Business Insider.

“Where I’m concerned is that they’re almost exclusively not looking at the ways that things are going wrong, and that’s where I wish this was going further,” she added.

Quran echoed that assessment, saying: “One big thing that they’re going to miss by not looking more deeply at these malicious actors, and just by the design, is the scale of content that’s been created by these actors and that’s influencing public opinion.”

A long list of research and media reports have documented Facebook’s struggles to effectively keep political misinformation off its platform — let alone misleading health claims, which despite Facebook’s more aggressive approach, still racked up four times as many views as posts from sites pushing accurate information, according to Avaaz. 

But political information is much more nuanced and constantly evolving, and even in what seem to be clear-cut cases, Facebook has, according to reports, at times incorrectly enforced its own policies or bent over backward to avoid possible political backlash.

Quran and Edelson both worried that Facebook’s election study may not capture the full impact of aspects of the platform like its algorithms, billions of fake accounts, or private groups.

“You find what you go and you look for,” Edelson said. “The great problem of elections on Facebook is not how the honest actors are working within the system.”

Quran also said, though it’s too early say this will happen for sure, that because it’s Facebook asking users directly within their apps to join the study, sometimes in exchange for payment, it risks inadvertently screening out people who are distrustful of the company to begin with.

“We’re already seeing posts on different groups that share disinformation telling people: ‘Don’t participate in the study, this is a Facebook conspiracy'” to spy on users or keep Republicans off the platform ahead of the election, he said. “What this could lead to, potentially, is that the people most impacted by disinformation are not even part of the study.”

In a best-case scenario, Edelson said the researchers could learn valuable information about how our existing understanding of elections maps onto the digital world. Quran said the study could even serve as an “information ecosystem impact assessment,” similar to environmental impact studies, that would help Facebook understand how changes it could make might impact the democratic process.

But both were skeptical that Facebook would make major changes based on this study or the 2020 elections more broadly. And Quran warned that, despite Facebook’s efforts to make the study independent, people shouldn’t take the study as definitive or allow it to become a “stamp of approval.”

It took Facebook nearly four years from when it learned about Cambridge Analytica to identify the tens of thousands of apps that were also misusing data. And though it just published the results of its first independent civil rights audit, the company has made few commitments to implement any of the auditors’ recommendations.

Join the conversation about this story »

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Lockdowns mean millions of women can’t reach birth control – Nehanda Radio

By Carra Anna | AP |

The callers were in tears. One by one, women in homes across rural Zimbabwe had a pleading question: When would family planning services return?

Lockdowns imposed to curb the coronavirus’ spread have put millions of women in Africa, Asia and elsewhere out of reach of birth control and other sexual and reproductive health needs.

Confined to their homes with their husbands and others, they face unwanted pregnancies and little idea of when they can reach the outside world again.

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In these uncertain times, women “have to lock down their uterus,” Abebe Shibru, Zimbabwe country director for Marie Stopes International, told The Associated Press. “But there is no way in a rural area.”

Eighteen countries in Africa have imposed national lockdowns, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All but essential workers or those seeking food or health care must stay home for weeks, maybe longer. Rwanda, the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a lockdown, has extended it for two weeks, a possible sign of things to come.

Even where family planning remains available, providers say many women fear venturing out and being beaten by security forces and accused of defying the new restrictions.

Meanwhile, outreach services, the key to reaching rural women, have largely stopped to avoid drawing crowds and the risk of workers spreading the virus from one community to another.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation, or IPPF, in a new report Thursday says more than one in five member clinics around the world have closed because of the pandemic and related restrictions. More than 5,000 mobile clinics across 64 countries have closed.

Most are in South Asia and Africa, but Latin America and Europe have seen hundreds of closures as well.

From Pakistan to Germany to Colombia, IPPF members say they have scaled down HIV testing and gender-based violence response work and face shortages of contraceptives.

“They have needs that cannot wait,” IPPF director-general Alvaro Bermejo said of women in a statement, pleading for help from national governments to help provide personal protective equipment to allow for intimate care.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia and death.

In Europe, 100 non-governmental groups on Wednesday called on governments to ensure reproductive health services during the pandemic, saying many facilities have sharply reduced them or shut down.

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A Slice of Facebook With Your Pizza – New Marketing Strategy

pizza

Great things seem to go together effortlessly. Peanut butter and jelly, baseball and hotdogs, Lennon and McCartney – all are terrific combinations. Once again, two popular things are being paired in an effort to create excitement, entice customer participation and reinvigorate a brand. Papa John’s is teaming up with Facebook (pizza and Facebook – likely to be another winning combination) and inviting fans to create the next specialty pizza. After all, who better to create a new, delicious pie than the pizza lovers themselves? ‘Papa John’ himself will select three finalists and the highest selling creation will be declared the winner. This promotion couldn’t have come at a better time. Papa John’s marketing efforts have been somewhat sluggish lately, especially compared to one top competitor. Dominos recently launched a major advertising campaign and, at least for now, its strategy is working. After admitting its pizza was pretty awful, Dominos created a buzz around its new product and people are just curious enough to try its “new and improved” pizza. Sales have increased, but the big question remains: Will this interest last? We’ll just have to wait and see what Dominos does next. Papa John’s is taking it’s own approach to get customers involved. While the idea of soliciting input from fans isn’t original (Mountain Dew is currently holding a similar contest), I think it’s a great idea for Papa John’s. Especially because the not-so-original idea is being backed by a fairly unique strategy – the promotion is taking place entirely in Facebook. No television ads. No radio spots. Not even a direct mail piece. By taking this route, Papa John’s gets increased traffic to its Facebook page and a flood of new fans that will likely tell their friends, post comments and start discussions. This type of word-of-mouth advertising is a powerful vehicle and it’s the reason why so many companies create a Facebook page. On another note, I can only imagine how little this promotion is costing Papa John’s. With Facebook being more popular than – well, anything right now – its likely the company is reaching every relevant demographic through this single medium. When the three finalists are selected, the new pizza creations will undoubtedly be heavily promoted. Will Papa John’s expand its efforts beyond Facebook at that point? Who knows? It may not need to – especially judging by the number of entries already submitted just a few weeks into the contest. The idea of three new pizzas may entice just enough curiosity to get people to try each new pie. And again, as with Dominos, only time will tell if interest lingers long enough to have a real lasting impression. Granted, such a promotion may not work for equipment, but there are certainly ways to incorporate some of the basic principles into any marketing campaign. Maybe you give customers the opportunity to name your newest piece of equipment. After all, everyone has a great idea from time to time – give them a chance to have fun and be creative! How could you make this concept of customer involvement work for your company? Also, what are your thoughts on Papa John’s strategy to promote solely in Facebook – risky or brilliant? What other products would be highly successful in this arena?

The post A Slice of Facebook With Your Pizza – New Marketing Strategy appeared first on B2B Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations | IRONCLAD Marketing.

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Perspective | It’s time we stopped with the phrase “gifted and talented”

By Stephanie Sprenger
@mommyforreal

Last week, I saw two toddlers wearing “Genius” T-shirts. When I saw the first one, I smiled, as I undeniably have a soft spot for ironic baby clothing. But when just hours later the second “genius” came waddling along, it gave me pause. I know these clever shirts proclaiming that our children are “brave like Daddy” or “sassy like Mommy” are just supposed to be funny and cute. Yet I feel slightly troubled by what lies under the surface of our attempts to label our children with myriad superlatives.

The “Genius” one left a distinctly bad taste in my mouth, and after a few days of pondering, I realized why. It was a tiny incarnation of the “gifted and talented” program, which is a concept I’ve been struggling with as a parent.

When I was in 5th grade, I was selected to participate in TAG (yes, talented and gifted), a program that took place during two hours of every Friday afternoon. I recall playing challenging brain games that required teamwork and higher-level questioning, completing independent study projects, on one occasion making a collage about photography (hmmm), and then trotting merrily back to class with my other above-average classmates.

I moved the following year, and was placed in a similar program with a different name: Alpha. Was it, shudder, because we were “alpha students?” It was my first and last meeting. Although I carried straight A’s—aside from my B in P.E.—after a snide comment from one of my fellow Alpha students, I chose never again to participate in a gifted and talented program.

Over the years, I’ve heard it referred to as ULE—Unique Learning Experience—and Exceptional Learners, but where I live now it’s straight up “GT—gifted and talented.” My experience with GT as a parent of non-GT students has been eye-opening.

When my oldest daughter, now 13, was in Montessori preschool, the staff provided a parent meeting where we could ask questions about kindergarten and elementary school options. Hands shot up all around the room: “Tell us more about the GT programs in the district.” “When can we test for GT?” Aside from the occasional inquiry about bilingual education programs, it was pretty much the same: How do we get into the GT program?

My husband and I raised our eyebrows at each other. Who knew that all this time our precocious little darling had been surrounded by entirely gifted students? Over the next few years, acquaintances would ask me when I was getting my daughter tested for GT. “I’m not,” I usually replied simply. The high-pressure program was not something I wanted for my child, who now is a 4.0 honor roll student in middle school. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure she qualified for GT; her grades have much more to do with her personality and determination. But the entire operation left a bad taste in my mouth.

Semantics matter to me, perhaps more than most people. Don’t even get me started on my hang-ups about the word “blessed.” To me, being “gifted and talented” sounds a whole lot like being bestowed with a well, gift, that others were not granted. It’s pretentious, and slightly obnoxious.

However, the value of these programs is undeniable. There are students whose needs are not being met in a one-size-fits-all curriculum: a multitude, and not just the above average variety. It is difficult to comprehend the challenge of teachers who must constantly adapt their learning experience to the diverse group of students they teach. These programs are absolutely essential and provide a much-needed, enriching, stimulating education for the kids who are becoming bored in their classrooms, who are potentially even causing problems because they aren’t being challenged.

The future of New York City’s public gifted and talented programming is now in the spotlight, thanks to the mayor-appointed School Diversity Advisory Group’s recommendation that the existing GT programs be replaced by magnet schools. A group of gifted education teachers have instead called for an overhaul and reform of the system instead of elimination, which they hope may affect other GT programs around the country. But perhaps there is more fundamental reform required than altering the selection process and addressing the issues of economic privilege and racial segregation.

Perhaps what we really need to address is what we call these programs and the way parents conceive of them. The pressure behind TAG, including the language we use to describe it, needs to change. So too the frenetic rush to test our kids, not necessarily because we want to accommodate their learning style, but because of the proclamation that they are gifted and talented and therefore destined for a higher purpose, will lead to a breeding ground of stress, anxiety, and self-esteem issues. And what does it do to the kids who are excluded from this elite group?

I often cringe when I hear someone counter the name of these kind of programs with the sentiment that “All kids are gifted and talented in their own way.” Because it sounds so trite—the equivalent of a participation award. And yet. At the risk of revealing myself as a special snowflake kind of person, I do believe all children are gifted and talented. Whether they are athletic, artistic, deeply empathetic, or bold leaders, or simply themselves. Platitudes be damned, they are all gifted and talented in their own way.

It’s time to change the labels of these advanced or specialized learning classrooms to reflect that. Our children are paying attention, and they can absolutely read between the lines. What kind of message do we want to send them?

Stephanie is a writer, mother of two girls, early childhood educator and music therapist, and Executive Producer of Listen To Your Mother Denver and Boulder.

Image: an actual shirt that was given to one of our editor’s children.

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NASA Mulls Next Steps for Boeing’s Starliner Astronaut Taxi After Shortened Test Flight | Space

It’ll be a little while before we know if the next flight of Boeing’s new will carry astronauts.

On Dec. 20, 2019, Starliner launched on an uncrewed mission called (OFT), which was designed to demonstrate the capsule’s ability to fly NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). Boeing has been contracted by NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to do just that, as has SpaceX.

OFT was supposed to last eight days and feature an autonomous docking with the station. But Starliner suffered a shortly after liftoff and got stranded in an orbit too low to allow a rendezvous with the ISS. The reusable capsule ended up zooming around Earth by itself for 48 hours, then coming down for a picture-perfect landing in New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range on Dec. 22.

The original plan called for OFT to be followed by a crewed demonstration mission to the ISS. And that option is still on the table, despite the issues with December’s flight, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Tuesday (Jan. 7).

“NASA is evaluating the data received during the mission to determine if another uncrewed demonstration is required. This decision is not expected for several weeks as teams take the necessary time for this review,” Bridenstine wrote. 

“NASA’s approach will be to determine if NASA and Boeing received enough data to validate the system’s overall performance, including launch, on-orbit operations, guidance, navigation and control, docking/undocking to the space station, reentry, and landing,” he added. “Although data from the uncrewed test is important for certification, it may not be the only way that Boeing is able to demonstrate its system’s full capabilities.”

Bridenstine also announced that NASA and Boeing are forming a joint team to investigate Starliner’s timing anomaly and figure out how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

“Once underway, the investigation is targeted to last about two months before the team delivers its final assessment,” the NASA head wrote. He added that Starliner is currently being transported from White Sands to Boeing’s facilities on Florida’s Space Coast, where the capsule will be examined in even greater detail.

The latest big Commercial Crew contracts were awarded in 2014. Boeing got $4.2 billion to finish development work on Starliner and fly six operational, crewed ISS missions. SpaceX got $2.6 billion to do the same with its Crew Dragon capsule.

Crew Dragon aced its version of OFT, the uncrewed , in March of last year. SpaceX is now gearing up for a crucial in-flight test of the capsule’s emergency-escape system, which is . If that test goes well, Crew Dragon would be pretty much cleared for Demo-2, a test mission that will fly NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to and from the ISS.

Mike Wall’s book about the search for alien life, “” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by), is out now. Follow him on Twitter . Follow us on Twitter or

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