What Strange Language Is This

October 24, 2008 -

John Heald



I thought I spoke English and that my command of Her Majesty’s language was pretty good. Certainly there re a few words I don’t understand, but unless I am talking to a man with a beard about quantum physics or a woman with a beard about the internal organs of the lesser spotted Mongolian fruit bat.

However, during the last hour and a half, I have sat round a table listening to a language as strange and as confusing as Mandarin Klingon…………..it’s called marketing speak.

Here’s how it works.

Each of the people round the table expresses their opinion on a particular subject, and each of these opinions is completely different. Then, after you’ve drunk a cup of what might be coffee, but could be beef soup, a Prada-clad woman — and it’s always a woman — says: “Well, we’re outside the box here with a new kind of hybrid venture and we can’t know what the result will be until we’ve run the flag up the flagpole and seen which way the wind’s blowing.”

Plainly you want to argue with this, but as you draw breath to speak you realize that what she just said didn’t make any sense. And anyway, she hasn’t finished.

“It’s mission critical that we use blue sky thinking and that we’re proactive, not reactive. So, let’s have a walk through and discuss streaming communication. Then we can analyze triage PR issues and dig in. We need fluidity for this to be a success and bring the people to the event during the crescendo moments.”

I looked round the table at all the old hands, the sort of people who whip out their laptops every time they’re at an airport and know what a Wi-Fi looks like, and they’re all nodding sagely, so you stop yourself from actually saying: “I’m sorry but what the hell are you on about?”

However, there was one statement which really stood out ………….”Reach out.”

“I am going to reach out to Mr. Martin in Philadelphia.”

“I will reach out to our director and see what he wants to do.”

I listened to this and asked Stephanie who speaks fluent marketing what this meant. Apparently “reach out “means to pick up something called a telephone, press a few buttons and the person on the other end will answer.”

So, why not say “I am going to call our director. “……………well, apparently it’s illegal to do that and now you have to “reach out” instead. This statement was used so many times I wanted to reach out and poke the next bugger who said it in the eye.

Good Evening everyone and it certainly has been quite a busy 24 hours. First of all, we arrived in Dallas yesterday and are staying at a beautiful hotel called The Joule. It’s uber modern with remote sensor lighting and a weird-shaped sink. The bed is huge, the décor bright and cheerful yet it’s the toilet that steals the show. I am not sure if the bathrooms here at this five-star palace were designed by Sneezy, Grumpy or one of their mates because unless you are three-foot nothing, it is impossible to sit down without needing a block and tackle for the maneuver.

Honestly, its just a few inches from the ground. And when you have finished the only way for me to get off is to slide the two inches off the pot onto the floor……………slide across to the bathroom door and use the handle to pull myself up again.

Then there is the mood lighting. OK, I can see that this could be useful if there is a chance of some rumpy pumpy, but why the hell do you need mood lighting in a toilet? There is nothing sexy about what I do in there and my number two’s certainly look no better in the soft glow of a neon light. However, the hotel has kindly placed a selection of magazines in the bathroom.

This includes one called The Robb Report which has lots of photos of private planes, seaside mansions and artifacts with prices I couldn’t believe. In fact, reading this magazine on the toilet is a good thing because when you see how much some of houses and cars are……… you sh*^ yourself.

Anyway, the hotel is very nice and the people from Arnold our new advertising agency really are brilliant. OK, I may not have understood a word they are saying, but I know enough that they have worked so very hard to make Sunday’s event very, very special.

The place is called Pegasus Park. I have to admit that in my mind’s eye I pictured this park to include hundreds of acres of trees, parkland……….maybe a lake …………… ummm…….it’s not. It’s a town square with maybe four trees and is no more a park than an Aston Martin is just a car. It will though be fine and this is what Sunday will involve.

9 AM – JOHN MEETS BLOGGERS FOR COFFEE

So far approx 150 people have said they are coming. Some of you from the Dallas area, some from a long way away. I have no words to describe how humbling it is to know that you are giving up your valuable Sunday to come and see me and to be part of this event. I will give you all a behind the scenes tour and we will have live video for those who cannot attend.

Then at around noon we kick off the events with me introducing a band, some games and inviting everyone for free ice cream and hot dogs and pretzels. There will be something called a Fun Booth which will allow you to send a karaoke thingy and an e-card thingy to people at home………..should be lots of fun. Now, those people who want to be part of the commercial shoot will have to sign a waiver form which promises you will not sue us if you see yourself on national TV and in turn promises you that Carnival will only use your image in the filming of this commercial and not use your image on programs like America’s Ugliest Cruisers.

Everyone will receive a “Fun for All and All for Fun” wrist band and, once the filming is over, everyone will receive a free t-Shirt. We are also giving away five cruises on the Carnival Ecstasy where guests will stay in very special accommodations …………it’s called the Owners Penthouse and it is quite honestly ……….absolutely fabulous.

So, the beach ball is 35 feet in diameter. We have a cast of 400 extras who will be ………..well……..I don’t really know what they are doing but we have closed off one of the main streets for the day. The director of this shoot is a very established commercial and film director and I will be interviewing him for the blog tomorrow. It’s going to be great.

Now, just to make sure that no other sod has actually had a bigger beach ball than the one we are using on Sunday an adjudicator from The Guinness Book of World Records will be coming along to measure it. If he says it is the biggest we will have an entry in the next publication. I bet the adjudicator has a beard.

Remember, all of this will be captured live on the blog so I hope some of you will take the time to stop by and have a look at us all becoming record breakers and when you see the commercial on TV you can all say that you saw the making of this event ……………. some of you will actually be able to say you were there in person.

I will write more about this tomorrow.
OK. Let’s do the news.

We start with a big hello to our sister companies who are all jumping on the blog bandwagon. Let us start with my mate Peter Shanks from Cunard. Peter has told me two brilliant pieces of news. Firstly, a magazine which I am a regular reader of called Cigar Aficionado has listed a voyage on the Queen Mary 2 as part of the editor’s Marv Shankin’s Bucket List. This magazine used to be all about cigars but over the years has morphed into an affluent lifestyle magazine. I read it to remind myself how lucky I am that I can’t afford a Bentley or a house in the Hampton’s.

Anyway, on this prestigious bucket list are the Great Wall of China and a trip on Richard Branson’s new venture which as you may know is a space ship. I’m staggered that only 21,000 people have applied for a place the Virgin Galactic space ship. Of course, with each ticket costing around $300,000, the price is high. But the vast majority of those who can afford such a sum will be at the height of their powers, facing nothing but a steady spiral into incontinence and phlegm. So why don’t they sign up and go for the ultimate thrill. A ride into space. 

It can only be a fear of death that’s holding them back, but what do you want instead? Apparently it’ll be no more risky than early commercial jet flight which, if you remember the Comet, means it’ll be extremely dangerous and very many rich people will be killed. 

But once we’ve buried what’s left of Elton John and Bill Gates, the economies of scale will kick in and soon poor people will be able to die in the freezing radioactive wasteland of space too.

So, for the Queen Mary 2 to be mentioned in the same breath as a trip to outer space shows you the pedigree of this incomparable vessel. Yes there may be bigger ships now but none will ever ooze the sophistication and grandeur as The Queen Mary 2. Here is the article.

Also, have you had a look at the videos on the www.wearecunard.com blog? I think you should………go on ………..have a look now. I will wait for you here.

Welcome back. Congratulations to Cunard and it looks like their blog is going to be a massive success.
As you can see, I have also included a permanent link to the Seabourn blog as we all gasp in wonder at the building of the new six-star Seabourn Odyssey. So now we have Holland America and Eurodamnews, Seabourn, Cunard, Costa, AIDA and tomorrow I will be introducing you to the British phenomenon that is Ocean Village. So, we just need Princess and P&O and we have a full set.

Jaime, I want to say a very big thank you for the continuing insights to life onboard my old home the Carnival Splendor. We all appreciate this so very much and it proves what a great writer you are and that you have absolutely no social life…………..just like me.

Here is her next installment.

October 24, 2008

Dear John,

When the thrusters awakened me this morning at 4:30 am, I actually couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief because this meant we would ready to start at 7 am when debarkation for tours are supposed to begin!

All of the entertainment staff got news from the shore excursion manager that the immigration officials in Athens don’t start until 7:30 am, meaning by the time we would receive clearance it would be at least 8 am, which means a longer wait time for our guests.

Luckily, right before we started explaining to the guests, the customs officials showed up early and gave the ship clearance at 6:58 am! From that point forward, the morning was smooth sailing (which is weird, because we were in port.) The only other challenge of the morning was the two other ships that were both in Athens, so our buses were in competition with guests’ luggage for space on the pier. Who would have guessed, the Carnival team came out victorious and guests were off in a timely manner to enjoy their day in Athens!

Anyway, this is the last time the Splendor will visit Athens and since I have not been there before, my desired destination was the Acropolis. Lawrence and I disembark the ship to accomplish this mission, and the first taxi driver we saw offered us a ride to the Acropolis. Now, I didn’t think I had written “take advantage of me” written across my face this morning, but apparently it I do because the driver he said it would be a 45 Euro charge for the taxi ride there! Thank goodness for Lawrence who knew that the train ride to downtown cost only about one Euro!

It was only a matter of finding the train station, the correct train, and the way to the Acropolis from there, but that is all in a day’s work! I know John would have some great story here about how it was the most uncomfortable 45-minute walk of his life, but really I found it quite enjoyable.

Among the people we asked for directions was a lady at Starbucks and a security guard at a church. Luckily for us, they understood the word “train” and were able to point us in the right direction, or else we would have had a lovely tour of the port of Piraeus.

Once we arrived at Thisio, we immediately spotted Acropolis. It was amazing! You will see from the pictures =). We walked almost a mile uphill, and it was quite a tough walk, but so rewarding in the end. My legs were quite tired, and Crocs was probably the worst shoe choice known to man, especially once we got to the slick marble walkways. No matter how long it took, it was most definitely worth the trek.

Only two years ago I was in my arts and humanities classes at school course learning about the Theater of Dionysus, and today I stood there! We walked around the entire area and saw the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and we walked around Reopagus Hill. It was a great afternoon.

Lawrence and I returned to the ship with great pictures, fun stories, and my green Crocs — which I refuse to throw away because they really are the most comfortable shoes known to man (no traction, though!). I was able to host two bingo games tonight and have a great deal of fun. Tomorrow we visit Katakolon for the first time – it’s where the Olympics were originally held. I will share those stories with you then.


Acropolis on the hill from afar


Acropolis Theater


Dionysus Theater


Temple of Athena & Posideon

Have a great day =)
All the best,
Jaime

It seems that there was immediate interest in my suggestions for two more Bloggers Cruises next year. So, let’s move this a stage further and Stephanie will now talk to other people who speak that strange marketing language to see if she can reach out to someone to make this happen. So, leave this with me and I will get back to you.

This morning I replied to 40-plus comments. I am sorry for the delay and I will answer the next batch tomorrow as time allows. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you by marking the comments…..John, please Reply.

Tonight the marketing, advertising and agency team are all going out for a big dinner. I am not. I am not feeling myself. Yesterday, I let my sugar level drop a little low and I also have a bit of a cold…………again. So tonight, it’s a movie and room service ……………….. I have I told you how much I miss Heidi.

There are many things that I look back on that were turning points from being a teenager to becoming a real man. My first beer, receiving and spending my first pay check, my first rumpy pumpy and my first rumpy pumpy when I wasn’t on my own. I look at these as things that marked me as a man………………however there is one thing more than anything else that changed me…………..having your heartbroken for the first time.

I remember so well the first time I was dumped by a girl……………her name was Denise Belcher……..pronounced Belcher not Belcher as in what I just did after drinking a Diet Coke. She called me on the phone and said I was too “square” and that was that………….I was dumped. I recall vividly that after the phone call I went straight to my bedroom and tried to break the 33 1/3 single which was our song. It was by a Canadian rock group called April Wine and it was called “Just Between Me and You.”

By the way, you cannot just simply snap vinyl. You have to bend it many times…………it takes ages…………and completely takes away the effect of storming upstairs to your bedroom screaming “bitch” at the top of your voice and then having to sit on the edge of the bed for 30 minutes trying to break the record.

My mind was in torment. Would I ever get to see a pair of breasts again……………would I meet another girl with questionable eyesight? I was girlfriendless and more importantly boobless. It was time to draw the curtains and sulk in my bedroom until I realized that my mate Alan was also without a partner so I called him and we sulked together.

My parents decided that it was not right for a 15 year old boy to be sulking in his bedroom so they decided I should do something with my life and made me join ……………..a brass band. I am not sure if I have mentioned this before but I play the trombone…………OK…………….when I say I play the trombone that’s like saying Paris Hilton is a serious actress. Anyway, my Dad suggested that I needed some serious after school involvement and so I joined the Tilbury Brass Band. This was tedious because it meant I had to practice and that I would be shouted at by the bandmaster.

He was a chap called Don who never liked me and had the unfortunate disability of spraying streams of spit while he was conducting. One day I persuaded the entire trombone and cornet sections to come to band practice wearing rain coats……….he was not impressed and fined me 1 pound.

There was one good thing about the band though……………..there were girl players as well………including a young lady called Helen.

One weekend the band was taking part in a music contest and while we were waiting for our turn to play Helen and I went backstage and found a cupboard………..now Helen was in my mind gorgeous and the fact that she wanted to kiss me with tongues made her my first true love. Unfortunately we were discovered by one of the judges and we were both told to leave the band………..but it didn’t matter………..I had touched a breast and not one in a magazine……..a real life breast. I was in love.

I called her the next day and the next and then suddenly she told me I was not the boy for her and that she was dating my friend Carl…………..and for the second time in one year……….I was dumped, heartbroken and breastless.

Over the next few decades various rites of passage would happen to me. Moving in with someone. Having your first mental breakdown as you try to put together your first flat pack from IKEA. Whatever the rites of passage, men are tested and when the testing comes we try to rise to the occasion.

OK, time to relax for a bit and watch the History Channel. I love history. In most Sopranos episodes, my mate Tony was always watching the History Channel. Right now they are playing a program about the inventor of the microwave oven Percy Spencer.
To me, he is the greatest inventor of all time.

Forget Einstein and his hair…………this guy invented something which meant that real men no longer had to make a complete hash of trying to cook a meal and drizzle Au Jus on a piece of Tofu. We no longer had to suffer in silence when the wife was away and be forced to eat a bar of soap. Now we had a machine that nuke a meal in 30 seconds and we wouldn’t have to miss the Heat game on TV.

OK, time for a quick breath of fresh air here in Dallas. So I am going to the drug store for some cold medicine. You know, I can’t stop thinking about the show Dallas now that I am here. We all remember the main characters….JR,Sue Ellen and the poisoned dwarf…….can’t remember her name…you know the blonde one. Then there was Bobby. He used it to drive around Dallas in a Mercedes being unfaithful. But then, one day, another character from the show used his car to run him down.

This made him very angry and he spent the next two years in the shower. Then there was the joke of the show Cliff Barnes. He was in the oil business just like his father……….he was a bit of a joke and became known as a bit of a loser on the international stage. Thank goodness there is nobody in real life from Texas who is anything like Cliff Barnes …….oh……….bugger.

Goodnight
Your friend always
John

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.