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Starbucks Urges Employees To Talk About Race Relations With Customers

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(PCM) Retail coffee giant Starbucks is now asking customers to #RaceTogether and urges  their employees to begin talking about race relations in our country with their customers. The baristas have begun writing “race together” on beverage cups in hopes of sparking some of these conversations that many people are afraid to have with one another.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz claims that “We as Starbucks should be willing to talk about this issues in America”. After incidents that occurred in Ferguson, MO, New York City, and Oakland, CA, there is a lot of deep emotional and racial unrest throughout the country and these are issues that we should not be afraid to address.  Schultz goes on to say “Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have the answers, but because staying silent is not who we are,”

It is the hope that this new movement will be the catalyst to help people gain a greater empathy, understanding and compassion towards one another.  Stores in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Oakland and Los Angeles have already begin writing “Race Together” on cups, but the rest of the company’s some 12,000 stores are expected to join in with them today.

Schultz feels it begins with “one conversation at a time” to create a more emphatic and inclusive society overall.  While it appears that Starbucks may have had good intentions with the #RaceTogether campaign, it is causing the company to receive quite a bit of ridicule online and on social media, as many feel that it potentially puts customers in an awkward position and could lead to racial stereotyping, just the opposite of what it was initially proposed to do.

Check out Twitter and the #RaceTogether for some pretty hilarious quips aimed at the company. Starbucks still continues to stand by the movement and feels that it is truly worth a little bit of discomfort for the great good.

What do you think?

The post Starbucks Urges Employees To Talk About Race Relations With Customers also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

How To Find Long-Lasting Love

By: Elaine Taylor

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When anyone asks my dignified, stiff-upper-lipped husband, how a guy who’s been an investment banker in financial capitals of the world—London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York—ended up blissfully hitched to a broad from red-white-and-blue Texas, he deadpans in his clipped British accent, “We were channeled together by the spirit of Elaine’s dead lover.”

Hundred percent true; but not as effortlessly mystical as it sounds—even if you’re into that stuff.

I grew up in redneck, white-trash, blue-collar Texas, where a girl was a big fat nothing—less valuable than a good huntin’ dawg.

Terrified to wake up thirty years later and find they were right, I scratched out a role in the corporate testicle festival. By age 40, I earned fat, man-size paychecks. The price? A heart as tough as armadillo hide, and my “love life” a dispiriting trail of relationship roadkill.

Desperate for a peek at my future I consulted an astrologer-psychic who fanned out her Tarot cards, did her California woo-woo thing and assured me I would someday have the kind of love about which stories are written. “But,” she said, “not until you’re ready.”

Sheesh. How much readier could one woman be?

The psychic pointed me down the path of a 1-2-3 Get-Ready-for-Love Plan:

1. Write a Perfect Mate List: Let’s face it: if you’re “on-the-market” you have some form of that list running through your subconscious 24/7, right? And it works! My first iteration, decades earlier, was, “tall, dark and handsome.” Yep. Exactly what I got . . . and pretty much nothing more. This time I went beyond the kind of description found on a driver’s license. Honed and refined that list over multiple years. (Sadly, this was not an overnight process; but isn’t the possibility of a soul mate worth the time?)

2. Define what “love” will look like when it finds me: Seriously? How no-brainer is that? It will be, “Wonderful! Spectacular! I will be ecstatically happy!” Which, of course, was just another lazy variation on the driver’s license list. To my surprise I struggled with this—couldn’t figure out even how to start. Until Emily Dickinson inspired me: Heart, we will forget him! You and I, tonight! You may forget the warmth he gave, I will forget the light.

3. Unload the emotional baggage: No emotional baggage here! OK, OK . . . I was a Peterbilt truck with no side mirrors, hauling a semi-trailer of festering emotional manure that rocked along in my blind spot. Yeah, it probably couldn’t hurt to drop a load. After much mewling and twitchy dithering, I hunkered on my therapist’s sofa, unleashed a lifetime of repressed tears; and summoned the courage to face down all those hurts and betrayals—both those done to and by me. Over time, the volume diminished on the “you’ll never be good enough” sound track that had been hammered into my psyche.
Painful? Absolutely. Emancipating? Beyond words.

Over this years-long process I discovered three critical truths:

  • It is not possible to find long-lasting, deeply satisfying love unless you believe yourself worthy of it. I had to learn to love, and find contentment with, myself.
  • As a woman clawing her way in a man’s world I defined “emotional strength” as all sharp-edges and impenetrable boundaries. I had to relearn that tenderness and vulnerability are the DNA of true emotional strength. When the time came, I used that strength to love a dying man who had once broken my heart. A man who desperately needed to receive love, even as he could not return it.
  • I accepted and found peace with the fact that I might never share my life with the Perfect Mate. So what would I do with all the love my heart yearned to give? I stopped focusing on what I did not have . . . and sought a way to give what I could offer to those who needed it. I began to volunteer at a homeless shelter for families—the kind of place that, but for the grace of God, I might have needed to land in my early, below-the-poverty-level, single-parent years.

My journey through the Get-Ready-for-Love Plan was neither easy nor quick. But it was worth it for the lessons learned, for the woman I worked so hard to become, for the love and respect I feel for that woman.

As it turned out, my reward was exponentially greater. That dying man I loved fifteen years ago? Two years after his death the psychic told me he was sending my soul mate—a lover who would bring “warmth and light” for the rest of my life.

Seriously! She said it. And he did!

That soul mate, my husband, has been my Perfect Mate since 2001. Thankfully I was ready for love—I was ready for him  . . .  when he found me.

Elaine Taylor is a former IT headhunter and Contingent Workforce Management consultant to Fortune 500 companies. When she lived in San Francisco, she was involved with Raphael House, a shelter for homeless families, as a regular volunteer and as a member of the Board of Directors. She teaches Story Structure through OLLI at Duke University. KARMA, DECEPTION and a Pair of Red FERRARIS (May 5, 2015) is her only work of creative nonfiction. Currently she lives with her husband and two highly indulged Weimaraners in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina.

The post How To Find Long-Lasting Love also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Father Refuses To Give Up Baby Born With Downs Syndrome

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(PCM) Samuel Forrest, a New Zealand man living in Armenia, is making headlines after he refuses to give his newborn baby, born with Downs Syndrome, up for adoption.

When the child was born the doctor came out and said to Forrest, “There’s a real problem with your son” and then they took him back to see his son. Forrest responded to the doctor saying “He’s beautiful — he’s perfect and I’m absolutely keeping him”.

However, his Armenia wife had other ideas and informed Forrest that if he didn’t agree to put the baby up for adoption than she was going to leave him.  When he refused, the wife filed for divorce just one week after little Leo was born.

It seems that when a baby is born with Downs Syndrome in Armenia, the hospital gives parents the option right away of putting the baby up for adoption.  Forrests’ wife had already made that decision behind his back without first speaking with her husband.

In the country of Armenia, it is the social norm to be non-accepting of children born with certain birth defects and/or imperfections. The families often feel that an orphanage is a safe option for these children.  Hopefully with more awareness to these types of situations things can begin to change for the better in these areas of the world.

Even, the wife’s family was urging Forrest to put the child up for adoption and he was unfortunately no longer welcome in the family’s home.

Forrest who is a freelance business contractor will take baby Leo and move back in with his family who have agreed to help him out with raising the child.  He has also started a GoFundMe page to help raise some additional funds to assist with baby Leo’s care.

Forrest started out with a $60,000 target and has already well-surpassed that number garnering tons of supporters who were touched by this story across the globe.  Thus far Forrest has raised over $481,000! He plans to donate the additional funds received to help support abandoned children in Armenia and families with disabled children.

The post Father Refuses To Give Up Baby Born With Downs Syndrome also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Could These 36 Questions Really Make Anyone Fall In Love?

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(PCM) With Valentine’s Day right around the corner our thoughts are beginning to focus on all things love and romance.  Many people have their own thought and opinions about the meaning of love and what it takes to fall in love, so do we really think that a set of 36 questions could be the key to finding that true and everlasting love to last a lifetime.

One psychologist in New York, named Arthur Aron, certainly does and back in 1997 he created a psychological experiment using a set of 36 questions that he claimed played a key role in having the ability to make two people fall deeply in love.

The questions start out very relaxed and informal and then progressively become more and more intimate forcing the pair to truly and deeply get a sense of knowing one another.

In the study, Aron paired up some strangers, a heterosexual man and and heterosexual woman, and gave them 45 minutes in the lab together to answer the set of 36 questions.  After completing the questionnaire, they then had to stare into each others eyes for four minutes in total silence.

The results were astounding and by the end of the experiment, the two strangers who never knew one another before, had fallen head over heels in  love with one another and within six months they were married.

Twenty years later a New York Times columnist took the questionnaire with a complete stranger as well and it just so happens that the two of them are now involved in a long-standing romantic relationship as well.

Below we have shared the original 36 questions that are guaranteed to  make anyone fall in love with you. They are broken down in to three sets with each getting a bit more intimate than the prior set.

Definitely a fun Valentine’s activity to try with your partner or if you are single it could make an interesting first date game. Either way, let us know if you give it a try and we certainly want to hear about your results either way!

Set I

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set III

25. Make three true ‘we’ statements each. For instance, ‘We are both in this room feeling … ‘
26. Complete this sentence: ‘I wish I had someone with whom I could share … ‘
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

The post Could These 36 Questions Really Make Anyone Fall In Love? also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Will Fifty Shades Of Grey Be A Box Office Blockbuster Or A Dud?

By: Carla J. Hanna

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(PCM) It’s fitting that a mommy porn fan fiction spawned from the Twilight books and movies will hit theaters in February 2015. As a 40-year-old mother who enjoyed the Twilight series and the movies, I recall the moment of awkward creepiness as I watched the Breaking Dawn, Part 1 sex scene with my group of girlfriends at the 2011 movie premiere. It was then that it hit me that 100+-year-old stone-cold vampire Edward was painfully screwing his warm virgin bride, bringing new meaning to the characterization that he was a cold, hard pr**k. Sure, I had read the scene in paperback, but seeing it made me redefine the Bella character as a submissive—a natural story predecessor to Fifty Shades of Grey.

Breaking Dawn, Part 1 was my least favorite movie of the series and comes as no surprise to me that it ranks #4 in gross adjusted domestic sales out of the 5 films (Eclipse, New Moon, Breaking Dawn #2, Breaking Dawn #1, Twilight, respectively).

Was reading the book and seeing the film that different of an experience to alter the story for me completely? Until I saw that sex scene, I had never thought about the mechanics of HOW old-man vampire and teen girl would make love. While I read the book, my thoughts were “finally, they can get some,” smiling while thinking of doing something romantic with my sweet husband. In the theater, my only thought was “Ouch; poor unsatisfied virgin Bella.” Obviously, E.L. James understood vampire sex and created her erotic tale of domination and submission. What I read as a teen love story changed. Was it because I saw the characters’ uncomfortable sex scene?

Research indicates: yes, absolutely.

A Brief History of the Significant Research

In 2009, researchers at UC California at Davis, Dean Keith Simonton and Anemone Cerridwen found that nudity and explicit sex scenes don’t sell major motion pictures. “Sex did not sell, whether in the domestic or international box office, and even after controlling for MPAA rating,” said Simonton. The biggest blockbusters kept the bedroom door closed.

In 2012, Ira Kalb, Marshall School of Business, USC challenged the “Sex Sells” mantra in Business Insider and explained that sex sells only when the product being sold is related to sex, steering decision-makers away from explicit sex in film and advertising. For non-sexual products including mainstream teen or family films, explicit sex reduced product recall and liking.

At the same time that all this research showed studios the risk of explicit sex in film, the Breaking Dawn, Part 2, movie released on November 2012, concluding the book and film series that inspired an erotica story trend. The Fifty Shades of Grey ebooks were emerging from Twilight fan fiction erotica e-reader shelves. First published in 2011, with the third, Fifty Shades Freed, in January 2012 the ebooks soared in popularity, bringing E.L. James a traditional publishing deal that has sold over 100 million copies and has the potential to sell even more than its Twilight parent.

The world noticed. Surely those 100,000 consumers of explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM) between a 21-year-old college virgin and a 27-year-old self-made millionaire control-freak indicate that they want more sex in everything. The “sex sells” assumption has come back from the dead.

Desperate to grab attention in an over-saturated consumer product marketplace, advertisers and film producers again hype the myth that sex sells all products. Advertisers and indie film producers continue to produce over-sexualized images with minimal success, securing targeted, but limited audiences.

Meanwhile, the top grossing films year-over-year do not contain explicit sex scenes. None of the top 10 films of 2014 have an explicit sex scene. Are consumers buying movie tickets to the sexually clean types of movies they want to see or are studios too influenced from flawed research?

New research presented by Robert Lull at the 2014 meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology working with Brad J. Bushman, Ph.D. Professor of Communication and Psychology, again says that sex doesn’t sell out of context.

Lull’s timely research, conducted with awareness that the erotica frenzy challenged existing data, looks at dozens of previous studies to summarize the research in a specific field. The paper which will be released later this year analyzed both the effects of violent/sexual media on brand memory, brand attitudes, and buying intentions and the effects of violent/sexual ads on brand memory, brand attitudes, and buying intentions. In other words, Lull examined (1) violent/sexual programs in which ads are placed and (2) ads that feature violence and sex themselves and found:

– Brands advertised in violent or sexual media content are less likely to be remembered, are evaluated less favorably, and are less likely to be purchased than brands advertised in nonviolent and nonsexual media content

– Brands advertised using sexual ads are evaluated less favorably than brands advertised using nonsexual ads

– Brand memory, brand attitudes, and buying intentions all decreased as the intensity of sexual ads increased

All Studios Have Eyes on the Theater Seats

As Lull’s work relates to the Fifty’s Shades film’s chance at blockbuster rankings, the questions will be if R-rated moviegoers want to consume an intense sex-story at the local cinema: Will sex sell a sex movie to the audience who read the ebook? Will they evaluate it positively? Will they recommend it to others?

The scene lighting better be good because all studios are watching. Fifty Shades is a relationship story based on sexual acts creating turmoil and plot twists between the emotionally-distant, abusive dominator and his submissive. The target audience for erotic film is those consumers who want to see it on screen, not those who read it and laughed or cringed or whatever compelled 100,000 people to make it an ebook hit.

For all of the moms who said good-bye and thank you to their beloved Edward and Bella and then made its Fifty Shades of Grey offspring a huge best seller, there is a difference between a bored mom laughing about some nasty sex scene with her friends during book club and watching it at the neighborhood cinema in the dark.

Will explicit sex create a blockbuster on screen?

Well, that’s up to you. For me, there’s no way I’m seeing mommy porn. I’ll just continue to laugh about the ridiculous scenes with my girlfriends while we share a few bottles of wine. No, we don’t use them that way! We’ll leave that up to the college student. (More on social responsibility later.) Ewww.

Carla J. Hanna lived in Santa Monica, CA where her children played with the children of celebrities. She mingled with plenty of nannies and a few good celebrity moms. Her award winning books, The Starlet Series, are available through Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and wherever books are sold.
For more information please visit: www.carlahanna.com

Sources:

Box Office Mojo: http://boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=twilight.htm

2009 CNN Yearly Recap: Does Sex Sell Movies? Uh, Not Really http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Movies/12/29/sex.doesnt.sell.movies/index.html

2012 Think Again http://www.businessinsider.com/do-you-think-sex-sells-think-again-2012-4#ixzz3NyQfdEOd

2012 Fifty Shades Series http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bethany-sales/fifty-shades-of-grey-publishing_b_3109547.html

Do Sex and Violence Sell? A Meta-Analytic Review of the Effects of Sexual and Violent Media and Ad Content on Memory, Attitudes, and Buying Intentions by Robert Lull; Brad J. Bushman, Ph.D., Professor of Communication and Psychology, Margaret Hall and Robert Randal Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication, School of Communication, The Ohio State University

The post Will Fifty Shades Of Grey Be A Box Office Blockbuster Or A Dud? also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Chinese Woman Moves Into A 24-Hour KFC For A Week!

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(PCM) A 26-year old Chinese woman by the name of Tan Chen recently went through quite a tragic relationship split and did what many of us only wish we could do … stuff ourselves full of delicious KFC fried chicken and escape the pain for about week.

After the break-up Chen reported in sick for her job and while walking around town trying to get her mind off the split, she decided to go into a local KFC in the train station of China’s Sichuan Peninsula. Chen ended up staying at the restaurant for an entire week!

She claims that she initially had not planned on being at the establishment for so long, as she had only wanted to grab some chicken wings. However, once she was inside and began eating, she reached the conclusion that she also needed some time to think.

It took three days before a KFC employee took notice that Chen had not left the restaurant, as they are a 24-hour establishment and work in shifts. They were unable to ask her to leave since she was technically a paying customer. The employee did check to make sure that Chen was okay, and she again told them she just needed some time to think and then proceeded to order another box of chicken wings and an extra large fries.

Once Chen began to become noticed by the local media she decided it was time to move on from the restaurant. She claims she was tiring of the taste of chicken and made the decision to leave the city and return to her parents home.

We certainly can’t argue with Chen’s reasoning for staying in the restaurant so long as she sadly admitted that her apartment in the city was full of painful reminders of the failed romantic relationship.

Chinese Woman Moves Into A 24-Hour KFC For A Week! was contributed by a Myth

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