Friday, October 31, 2014

Just When You Thought You Heard It All News (11-1-2014)

Every now and then I like to share. I'm a man of many layers. If you peel back one layer you might discover that I love sushi. Peel back another, and you might find out that I am huge fan of Blackploitation movies, ("Avenging Disco Godfather"). Peel back just one more layer and you might even discover that I sometimes like to take a hot bubble bath while listening to spa music.....don't judge me!

 Everybody has their thing but some people are just freak'in weird!

Hello Kitty, the precious little feline with no mouth but a great bottom line, has shown the business world how to take a brand and stretch its appeal across generations. Without question, the 40-year-old character has a cult-like following that includes everyone from preschoolers to grandmothers who find the fictional kitten simply irresistible.

"Wait! Stop right there. What do you mean 'she's not real?'" asks Jann Berman, a 70-year-old super-fan who attended the first-ever Hello Kitty Fan Convention  being held in Los Angeles this weekend to commemorate Sanrio's 40th year producing the universally loved cat and the 50,000 or so products she has spawned. All 25,000 tickets to the four-day event that opened Thursday at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA have been completely sold out. Fans are scouring eBay hoping to score admission.

Berman, a principal of Berman-Singer Public Relations, has been a Hello Kitty devotee since almost the beginning. As parent company Sanrio likes to say, Hello Kitty appeals to "everyone from four to forever" and post-60 women are a large part of that customer base. Berman is a perfect example. She walks around decked out in Hello Kitty jewelry -- Swarovski crystal necklace, bracelets, earrings -- shoes, purses and headbands. She owns Hello Kitty artwork, eyeglasses and footed pajamas. She sleeps with a Hello Kitty cuddle pillow, eats toast seared with Hello Kitty's image from her Hello Kitty toaster, and her waffles are in the shape of Hello Kitty's head, made on her Hello Kitty waffle maker.

Both her Brentwood and Maui homes are museums to the Japanese bobtail cat with the trademark red bow; the homes overflow with Hello Kitty pillows, sheets, towels, kitchenware, and artwork. She has a Hello Kitty television that streams the cute kitten's image across the screen whenever you change channels or adjust the volume. Berman's BMWs are tricked out with Hello Kitty seat covers, steering wheel covers, floor mats, decals and dangling Hello Kitty dice. Her license plate holders proclaim her love of the cat. Her phone and tablet cases are Hello Kitty. She sports Hello Kitty pins, key chains, silk camisoles and jackets. Some of her Hello Kitty jewelry is so expensive it needs to be kept in her safe. Her toilet seat cover and bath mats are all Hello Kitty. And at the VIP convention preview we attended with her, much time was spent admiring the Hello Kitty toilet paper in the restroom. Yes, they have toilet paper too.

We asked Berman to explain her obsession with Hello Kitty.

"She just makes me feel happy. She is so sweet and simple and pure. How can you not be happy when you see her?," she replied, reaching for her Hello Kitty hand sanitizer. Whenever Berman's husband is in Tokyo on business, he stops at the Hello Kitty store and texts her photos of the latest merchandise. "For $200, he can be my hero," she says. And everything is relative, she says, noting that she has very wealthy friends who sport-shop for $15,000 watches. "This isn't Tiffany's, you know," Berman says. "It's my way of treating myself." Berman notes that she has always given generously to charities and makes no excuses for her Hello Kitty passion. "This is my thing."

Uber-fans like Berman are a big part of the Hello Kitty audience. Last year, Sarrio saw $8 Billion in retail sales of Hello Kitty products globally, $2 billion of that was from North America.

This is a dream come true for a carnivorous foodie like me. BUT UNFORTUNATELY IT'S ONLY IN JAPAN!! 

 Burger King Japan announced its annual all-you-can-eat Whopper promotion is returning for customers who purchase an $11 meal.

The restaurant chain announced customers at select locations will be able to order a challenge set meal Nov 4-13 for $11 and those who finish the meals -- which consist of two Whoppers and a medium fries -- will be treated to as many free Whoppers as they can eat for 30 minutes.

The annual promotion, which began in 2010 has become known as "B" King, a play on Japanese buffets' use of the word "Viking" to describe the all-you-can-eat model.

Burger King Japan said locations are selling "advance tickets" for challenge set meals priced at just over $10, saving diners nearly $1.

In Urbana, Maryland, people scrambled to grab money what seemed to raining down from heaven. It could've been an act of God that caused the armored truck's door to burst open, who knows. After all, he does worked in mysterious ways.

Maryland State Police say a lock on the truck seems to have malfunctioned, causing the door burst open Friday morning. A bag of cash fell onto Interstate 270 near Urbana and the bills flew in the air.


Police say a number of drivers stopped on the interstate and grabbed what cash they could before a fire department vehicle arrived and turned on its emergency lights.

Responding troopers were able to help the truck's driver recover about $200. It's not known how much cash was lost.

Police urge the drivers who took the cash to return it to the state police barracks in Frederick, or else face charges of theft if they're found.



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