Over the years I have occasionally purchased products pitched by iconic corporate celebrities including Betty Crocker, Ronald McDonald, Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Paul, Uncle Ben, and Colonel Sanders.
Although I’m not a fan of all their products, none of these peddlers have ever given me any reason to doubt their sincerity, and not one has ever intruded into my personal space or pressured me to buy anything from a burger to a box of rice.
Wouldn’t it be cool if this sextet formed a rock bank? The trio of Mrs. Paul, Aunt Jemima and Betty Crocker could wear knee-high leather boots, miniskirts and halter tops and provide vocals, while Colonel Sanders could sing and play lead guitar with Ronald on bass and Uncle Ben on drums. They could call themselves Betty and The Pot Crocker Rockers.
Anyway, back to the issue.
A mysterious, non culinary newcomer – Mr. Cooper – is attempting to break into to this lucrative genre and is giving fictional product hawkers a black eye. Mr. Cooper, and whatever organization he fronts for, recently purchased a bundle of mortgages from Citibank, which included mine, and is making an unrelenting nuisance of himself. My crack research staff tells me that Mr. Cooper actually represents a company called Nationstar Mortgage LLC doing business as the irritating and infuriating Mr. Cooper.
Unlike the iconic, renowned and trusted gastronomic celebrities, Mr. Cooper contacts me nonstop through emails, letters, and by phone to prattle on about his financial products and services, urging me to purchase them.
Not once have I ever received a call, an email or letter from Betty Crocker or Mrs. Paul imploring me to buy cookies or fish sticks. Aunt Jemima has never called to encourage me to purchase pancake mix or syrup, nor has Uncle Ben ever strong-armed me to buy rice. I’ve never in my life heard from Ronald McDonald or Col. Sanders.
Since the mysterious Mr. Cooper now holds my mortgage I initially opened correspondence from this guy immediately, thinking it was relevant to that obligation. More than 99 percent of it is promotional junk urging me to buy stuff I don’t want.
Mr. Cooper is intent on trying to convince me to refinance my house or take a second mortgage, buy another house, etc. Every morning there’s an email from this Cooper guy in my inbox explaining why I should take him up on his offers. I didn’t receive one this past Saturday and was almost tempted to call and ask if he was OK. Here’s just a few of the subject lines from emails he sent this past week: “We may be able to help your household budget go further.” “Have high interest debt? Have equity in your house? Let’s talk.” “Challenges for second time home buyers.” “We noticed your account isn’t Paperless yet…” “A cash-out refinance could eliminate some of your financial strain.” “Market Trends for Zip Code 32034.” “Have high interest credit card debt?” “Buy or Sell Your Home with Confidence.” “The solutions for rising mortgage interest rates,” etc. It never ends.
I’ve never seen a photo or read a description of the shadowy Mr. Cooper, but I imagine he resembles Robert Mueller, a dark suit-wearing, gray-haired, dour, hunched over, mean-spirited man with crab apples in his cheeks. Instead of Mr. Cooper, they should have more appropriately hired “Mr. Potter” the malicious banker of “It’s a Wonderful Life” movie fame.
I don’t even know Mr. Cooper’s first name. Here’s a guy who holds my mortgage, sends me daily emails, writes weekly, and calls me periodically. You’d think when he calls or writes he’d say “Hey Dave, this is Gary, Fred, or Carl Cooper,” or whatever his name is. But he doesn’t. He’s never shown me pictures of his family, invited me over for a backyard barbeque, or offered to buy me a beer.
Mr. Cooper is a pesky stranger that wants me to provide him with personal, detailed financial information and allow him to loan me large sums of money that I don’t want so he can profit off the interest.
If Aunt Jemima approached me and said: “Dave, honey, we’ve known each other a long time, and over the years you’ve purchased some of my products so I know you trust me. Well, I’ve branched out into banking and have some financial products you might be interested in. Let me cook us up a mess of pancakes and we’ll talk it over while we eat,” I’d listen to her. In fact, if she asked me for a loan, I’d consider that too.
But I don’t make financial deals with annoying, anonymous sales bullies. I had no control over Citibank’s sale of its mortgages to Mr. Cooper. I’m only obligated to send him a monthly mortgage payment. I think it grates at the bothersome Mr. Cooper that it’s at a rock bottom interest rate he can’t match.
Using dazzling aerial shots, a few well chosen descriptive words, unobtrusive music, and no voice over, Fernandina Beach’s Kyle Gray, K2 Media & Photography, has created a stunning two minute six second promotional video for the downtown Hampton Inn that not only entices viewers to want to check into that facility, but will also have them anxiously wanting to pack their bags and enjoy the charms of surrounding Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island.
While the county is dumping $47,000 of tax payer money on the Jacksonville agency Burdette/Ketchum in a pathetic attempt to “rebrand” its image, Mr. Gray, a local Nassau County entrepreneur, did a magnificent piece of work for the hotel, for what I understand was less than $1,000.
OK, I realize that a promotional video and a rebranding effort are different animals. But if the local Mr. Gray and his K2 company can produce a quality product this remarkable for a bargain basement price, why not give him or another local firm, or a combination, a shot at the rebranding chore? Why go to a Jacksonville company that specializes in spewing obtuse and expensive mumbo jumbo at the Commissioners and producing an end result that’s as practical as an ashtray on a motorcycle?
For $47,000 here’s what Burdett/Ketchum has produced for Nassau County:
- A tagline — “True to Our Nature.”
- A proposed new seal picturing a rail line, a spike, and what looks like a pot leaf, shown here.
Now, take a look at what less than $1,000 bought General Manager Bob Ramshaw’s downtown Hampton Inn: https://vimeo.com/267448721/2f72481ef7
The local Mr. Gray produced a video Mona Lisa while the pricey Jacksonville agency gave the County Commission a Kindergartener’s effort of “Why I love my mommy” in finger paints not even worthy of refrigerator posting.
The County Commission or anyone else interested in his work can contact Kyle Gray at www.k2photos.com or www.facebook.com/k2mediaandphotos or 904/545-2988. Oh, I’ve never met the guy, but am very impressed with his work.
Stop Being A Jerk Department: Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Dr. Ronald “Chip” Ross is a smart, articulate man, who does detailed research, and works tirelessly at his job as an elected city official. He’s just got one problem. He’s a jerk. If he stopped being a jerk, he’d get more accomplished because folks don’t like dealing with jerks. I was reminded of this while reading a Wall Street Journal article about the success of the long-running “Simpsons” TV show by Mike Reiss, a writer for that series. In it Mr. Reiss wrote that “team effort” is a factor in the success of any organization. He explained how one irritating or obstinate person can bring the entire machinery of an organization to a halt. He said he learned this long before “The Simpsons” when he worked with a writer who was very talented but also a jerk. He recalled that eventually the boss called the guy in and said: “We love the work you’re doing here, but everyone thinks you’re a jerk. And we’re going to have to fire you unless you can, you know, stop being a jerk.” The guy said, “Let me think about it.” He went home that night and returned the next morning. He said “I discussed it with my wife and she agreed — I can’t stop being a jerk.” I’ve talked to folks who have been treated by our commissioner/doctor at Baptist Nassau and they say he’s a good doctor — professional and personable. Now if he could just transfer some of that “First, do no harm” bedside manner to the City Commission chambers and stop being a jerk, the city and its residents would benefit. If not, then we as voters will have to, you know, fire him for being a jerk.
Moonbeam’s Back: Mayor Johnny Miller who shed his “Moonbeam” mantle temporarily during the debate on the proposed rezoning of American Legion Post 54’s sale of some of its city property apparently is back in full Moonbeam mode, recently defriending folks helter-skelter on his personal Facebook page. He ditched them because they disagree with him on various political issues. He has every right to do that as it’s his personal Facebook site and not his official city one. I was tossed by Moonbeam many months ago but have been sent a number of screen shots by others who were bounced by mad Mayor Moonbeam. You’d think as a commissioner and mayor he’d be open to hearing opposing views. He’s not. They only piss him off.
Run For Your Life! Here Comes Bambi: If you think your chances of being killed by a bear, wolf, alligator, shark, or poisonous snake are greater than being done in by a white-tailed deer or a cow you’d be wrong. A new book by Rachel Levin: “Look Big: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters of All Kinds” says white-tailed deer kill 200 folks annually, mostly in highway encounters. I hit one just outside of Washington, D.C. years ago. I wasn’t injured but the collision didn’t do the deer or my car any good crushing the front end, busting the radiator and sending the deer limping off into a forest. I now know from experience what the expression “Like a deer in the highlights” means. The deer is America’s most deadly animal. And believe it or not, cows are responsible for killing 20 of us a year. Ms. Levin also says whatever you do don’t ever cross a crow. She claims a crow can recognize human faces for years, even if you’re wearing a disguise and have long memories. “If a crow hates you,” she says, “you’re pretty much screwed.”
How Does The JAX Tourist Board Explain This? In 2017 a total of 33 U.S. soldiers were killed in combat zones worldwide including Iraq and Afghanistan while in Jacksonville 137 homicides were committed, with 97 of last year’s victims shot to death, while the others were intentionally beaten, stabbed or run over. Only seven were killed in police-involved shootings and those were all justifiable (attn: NFL national anthem kneeling Jaguar players). It’s obviously safer being in a combat zone than it is walking the streets of Jacksonville, the homicide capital of Florida, which has already seen more than 40 homicides this year. It’s safer for tourists to vacation in Kabul.
Things I Wish I’d Said: “The Left’s idea of winning the Cold War was a nuclear freeze, opposing anti-Communist guerrillas all over the world, opposing the liberation of Grenada, opposing a missile defense shield, and engaging in sweet talk with the Kremlin. They never explained how their plan would work — but the French were impressed.” — Conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: You don’t have to be a registered guest at the award-winning Fletcher Avenue Elizabeth Pointe Lodge to enjoy its dining facility for breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch as it’s open to anyone who wants to give it a try. Linda and I did so this past Mother’s Day and we were impressed with the food, the service and the view. We haven’t eaten there since it changed ownership a few years ago. In fact, the last time we were there was in 2009 when we traveled from our then home of Atlanta for a long weekend. We were impressed then and still are. The buffet brunch offered eggs Benedict, shrimp in an Alfredo sauce over linguini, chicken Marsala, a variety of fresh roasted vegetables, salad, and more desserts than I could count. We chose to eat on the covered back porch, that overlooks the beach and ocean, where we were cooled by an ocean breeze and overhead fans and chatted with some local friends who had the same idea. I understand the chef is a graduate of a well-known European culinary school and he does a magnificent job of refreshing the buffet and putting together a remarkable selection. Breakfast is served Monday -Saturday 7-10 am and lunch 11:30-2 pm. Locals can also have Sunday brunch there once a month. Call ’em at 904/277-4851 to find out which Sunday and for reservations. I couldn’t find a single thing to whine about. Oh, wait, there’s nobody there named Elizabeth and there’s no point. Other than that it gets two thumbs up from me and Linda. However, if you’re more inclined for a wilder and wackier outing then check out downtown’s South 12th Street PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden, which last week featured “Disco Thursday” and proprietor Pajamadave Voorhees wearing lime green bell bottoms and a puffy-sleeved purple shirt. Tuesday’s at PJD’s offers talented entertainer Hupp Huppman and Wednesday is “Wing Night”, but bring your own wings to share as PJD’s doesn’t serve food. But, no matter what night you go there, something interesting is happening at the town’s local “Cheers.”