Monthly Archives: May 2011

Celebrity Collectibles Sold on Ebay

When celebrities rise from obscurity, so, too does all of the paraphernalia—on Ebay. In the latest wave of t-shirts, rubber wristbands , trading cards, bottle caps, and whatever else you might think of, American Idol star James Durbin has a host of items up for sale on Ebay in his name.
An interesting article coming from MTV, it appears that this is a common phenomenon for rising celebrities. “It’s that time of year when we make a completely arbitrary judgment on which “American Idol” finalists might end up in the winner’s circle based on the profusion of weird junk being offered for sale under their name on eBay.
Unlike the truly bizarre homemade fan stuff we’ve seen in the past honoring Adam Lambert and Jason Castro, most of the top six remaining on season 10 have failed to garner the same level of crafty goodness in their followers.
Celebrity Custom Wristband
As his status has slowly risen on the show, though, and he appears headed for a possible spot in the finale, rocker James Durbin has clearly laid the smackdown on the competition when it comes to eBay action.
You’ve got your “James Durbin is a Rock Star” T-shirt, with the word “rock” in blood red and the “O” replaced by a guitar. There are other assorted, more-generic shirts among the two dozen mementos on the auction site.
There’s also rookie trading cards, mouse pads and autographed photos, along with devil horn-rocking “Team Durbin” shirts for guys and ladies, a handcrafted silver-tone cross earring (mimicking one of Durbin’s favorite pieces of jewelry), as well as a keychain/button/pin combo for $4.49, and, yes, what appears to be the new ubiquitous finalist ephemera: the “I Love [insert finalist name here]” bottlecap earrings.
Though some are related to the MLB player of the same name, there are a not-so-impressive 18 items in honor of bearded heartthrob Casey Abrams — among them a few T-shirts, one of which reads “Fear the Beard” and another “Casey Abrams is my Homeboy.”
There are also rookie baseball-like trading cards, earrings, autographed photos, bracelets, necklaces, mouse pads and, strangely, white athletic socks with Casey’s smiling face on them.
Country teen Scotty McCreery was a bit further behind with 14 items, including badges, earrings and necklaces with his smiling mug, T-shirts, tote bags, personalized backpacks, buttons, iron-ons and rubber bracelets.”

Track Athlete Gets Support

A University of Washington track athlete has been suffering from thyroid cancer. His team and his coaches are supporting him by wearing and selling custom wristbands designed black and purple. Hopefully this effort can boost his spirits amongst what must be a difficult trial.
On the Official Athletic Site of the Washington Huskies, the story unfolds: “”It just really pisses me off that I always have things happen,” he said. “I try so hard. I do everything right, outside the track, in the school. I try to be a good person. I just feel like, I don’t know where all this karma is coming from, you know?”
He isn’t the only Husky national track finalist to have his career derailed. He and track strength coach Audra Smith co-designed the wrist bands of support UW athletes and students are wearing to support Jeff Gudaitis in the sprinter’s fight with thyroid cancer, a battle I have described in previous columns.
Smith and Taiwo asked Gudaitis what inspired him immediately before he raced, then had the words “Let’s roll” and “Washington” printed on the black-and-purple bands. The track team has been selling them to help with some of Gudaitis’ six-figure medical costs.
Purple Custom Wristband
Taiwo was wearing the rubber bracelet during his historic decathlon last weekend.
“I’ve learned a lot just from what happens in life. Life is what happens when you least expect it,” Taiwo said. “Just listening to Jeff and knowing stuff will happen. And it’s not what will happen later. It’s how you deal in the moment, right now.”

Mangos to Stop Hunger

When you think of a business venture, do you think of starting a Mango juice plant in Sierra Leone? (And in case geography isn’t your forte—that is in North Africa). Well, one Scottish man has done just that, hoping that his plant will help give employment to the people in the area. His mission is sported on his wrist imprinted in a custom wristband : “Make Poverty History.”
IPS Newsbrings us this inspirational story. “The mangos move around a mesh of steel tubes and eventually, as if by magic, a smooth golden nectar pours out from a spout.

For this tiny West African country, the arrival of Africa Felix juice manufacturing company is a momentous occasion, not just because this is a state-of-the-art plant but also because, unlike with the country’s other abundant natural resources, value addition will be happening inside its borders this time round.

Much-needed foreign exchange will be generated as the company targets regional and European markets.

While Sierra Leone’s export diamonds are a mining corporation’s best friend, two-thirds of the population here depend on agriculture. Focusing on a natural resource that is as abundant as the ubiquitous mango made sense for the company’s founder, Claudio Scotto.

“When I came here for the first time, I couldn’t believe how fertile the place was and just how much fruit was available. It seemed like an obvious business idea to use what was here.”

The Swiss-Italian Scotto says that this project has been about more than just setting up a new business venture: “People think you can make a difference in the world by donating to charities. I think you can make a difference by fully engaging with the world.
Make Poverty History Custom Wristband

“My motivation is partly about making money but along the way I know I will be making a difference by creating new jobs for factory workers and farmers,” he says as he fingers the “Make Poverty History” rubber bracelet around his wrist which he has promised himself he will take off only when the factory is a success.”

High School Student Raises Money with Race

Thanks to a diligent high school student, going the extra mile (or, should we say, extra 5K?) on her final senior project, money will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Mary Corry is putting together a 5K race where all money and donations will be given to the foundation. Participants will receive rubber wristbands and t-shirts.
This story comes to us from Barrington Patch.
“Mary Corry will appreciate your participation. So will her brother, who has cystic fibrosis.
Mary is coordinating a 5K walk and run on the East Bay Bike Path as the field work for her senior project at Barrington High School. All proceeds from the 5K will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Cystic Fibrosis Custom Wristband
“I wanted to do a fundraiser where all the proceeds will go directly to the foundation,” she said.
Mary researched fundraising for her senior-project paper and learned that significant portions of all contributions and donations do not go toward causes. The money goes toward administration and other expenses.
“Not this fundraiser,” said Mary.
All expenses are being absorbed by business donations or volunteer efforts. The Shaw’s supermarket in Barrington, for instance, is donating water for the runners and walkers at the halfway point of the 5K. The Bayside Family YMCA is donating orange cones to mark the course.
Runners and walkers will travel the East Bay Bike Path from a starting line near the Shaw’s. The halfway point is between North Lake and South Lake drives, where all participants will turn around and head back to the starting line turned into a finish line.
Both races will start around 9 am. The registration fee is $5 or you can donate any amount above that fee if you want.
The first 30 participants who sign up will get T-shirts donated by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Mary said. Everyone will get a rubber bracelet from the foundation.”

Schools Stand Firm against Wristbands

“Boobies” rubber wristbands has grabbed news attention across the country and beyond. Lawsuits have been filed where students who wore the wristbands felt like their constitutional rights were being removed when they were forced to remove them. But despite the court rulings, many schools remain steadfast in their fight to ban the bracelets.
In British Columba, one such school continues to fight the fight. DurhamRegion.com reports the latest developments: “An Oshawa high school shows no sign of reversing a ban on cheeky breast cancer awareness bracelets after the issue grabbed headlines across the country.
On May 10, Oshawa This Week reported that students at R.S. McLaughlin Collegiate were up in arms after being told to remove rubber bracelets stamped with the words “I Love Boobies” — or face suspension.
’Boobies’ Cancer Rubber Wristband
The story was subsequently picked up by media across the GTA and as far away as British Columbia.
“Teachers think people are just wearing them because they say ‘boobies’, but it’s for breast cancer,” said Dan Guarini, a Grade 10 student at the school. “My great-grandma died of breast cancer … my mom could get breast cancer some day, it’s a good cause.
Andrea Pidwerbecki, a spokeswoman for the Durham District School Board, released a lengthy statement Wednesday defending the board’s position.
“For us this is an educational issue. If the ‘I Love Boobies’ campaign was adopted by a school and included education around the serious issue of breast cancer and efforts to support it, the board would certainly be supportive,” she said. ”
With no educational context, she said the word ‘boobies’ is simply “inappropriate” for school.”

Effort to Raise Money for Cancer Families

The famous Livestrong campaign, which has been promoted worldwide through the use of yellow silicone wristbands , is continuing to raise money and support for those with cancer. In a recent effort, a YMCA group has been considered a finalist.
News coming out of PhillyBurbs.com: “Central Bucks YMCA has been selected as a candidate for the LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project, which was created to bring proven cancer support programs to communities across the country.
Livestrong Wristband
Finalists will be determined through an online voting campaign that began today (May 11), and the organization with the most votes in each region will receive funding to start a program for families fighting cancer.
You can help Central Bucks YMCA get that funding. Follow the instructions below.
1. Go to http://vote.livestrong.org/regions/5/171-central-bucks-family-ymca/
2. Click VOTE NOW for Central Bucks Family YMCA
3. Enter your name and e-mail address
4. Share with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail
5. Vote once a day, every day through May 31 at 6 p.m. EST.
About LIVESTRONG: Created as the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, the organization is now known publicly by its powerful brand — LIVESTRONG. It is a leader in the global movement on behalf of 28 million people around the world living with cancer today. Known for its iconic yellow wristband, LIVESTRONG has become a symbol of hope and inspiration to people affected by cancer around the world. Since its inception, the organization has raised more than $400 million for the fight against cancer. For more information, visit LIVESTRONG.org.”

Controversial Wristbands Serve a Good Purpose?

Choose for yourself, but the latest report on the “I [Heart] Boobies” rubber wristbands campaign is that these silicone bracelets actually serve a good cause—not because they raise money for breast cancer, but because they get high school students talking about difficult topics.
A bloggerfrom Macleans in Canada has this to say: “Teens often come across many scary things once they get to high school: gangs, drugs, and—most menacingly—rubber wristbands emblazoned with the phrase “I Love Boobies.”
Luckily, the Durham District School Board has decided to crack down on the ominous bracelets, threatening suspension if students refuse to remove them while on school property. The “I Love Boobies” campaign was created by the American Keep a Breast Foundation, which is selling the wristbands to raise money for breast cancer research.
I Love Boobies Rubber Wristbands
The Durham board has recognized the blemish on this whole brightly coloured charade, and ruled such manifestations of the word “boobies” to be entirely inappropriate. So fundraise if you must, children, but leave your crude language out of it.
In another, perhaps less authoritarian world, educators could have piggybacked off the popularity of the bracelets to lead classroom discussions about the ethics of out-of-the-box marketing campaigns. Is it appropriate to use a colloquial, perhaps lewd word like “boobies” to draw attention to a disease that is anything but jovial? Is cheeky humour key to lubricating potentially awkward discussions? And where are our “I Love Testes” bracelets?
But instead, the Durham board has decided to act as parent for many of its high school students and silence the discussion by removing the talking points from school premises. Because banning is key when confronted with uncomfortable or oppositional positions, right? The board would be better off guiding students to make up their own minds, rather than making the decisions for them.”

Athletes Running on Placebo

The story about PowerBalance silicone wristbands and their “false” claims to athletic improvement and physical balance has been circulating for months. After the lawsuit in Australia, the company has been under fire for not providing scientific evidence that these wristbands actually do anything.
But, as the Washington Post is now reporting, the Placebo effect may be all it takes—no scientific evidence is necessary. “Star athletes Shaquille O’Neal, Drew Brees, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Ogletree all believe that a little wristband somehow gives them an extra boost.
“I kept feeling something when I wore the bracelet.?.?.?. I’ve been wearing the bracelet ever since,” basketball legend O’Neal says in an endorsment on the Web site of the company that makes the Power Balance bracelet, which features hologram stickers.
Power Balance Silicone Wristband

Meanwhile, Kevin Ogletree of the Dallas Cowboys is one of 22 current and former professional athletes endorsing the Ampli5 wristband, with the special stainless-steel clasp. The company claims the piece of metal helps enhance a person’s natural “frequencies.”
How small bands encircling these large athletic wrists might contribute to their athletic prowess is unclear: There’s no peer-reviewed research demonstrating that effect. Yet according to the companies and sports-oriented retailers, people continue to buy them.
“The placebo effect can be very powerful,” said Joel Press, medical director of the Spine and Sports Rehabilitation Program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and a professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “There is no scientific evidence. But it doesn’t mean you can’t get a benefit from anything you believe in.”

State Promotions Costly but Necessary

If you were to look at an itemized list of where your tax dollars were spent, you may initially be upset to see that your state government was buying koozies and eyeglasses cases. But these somewhat silly items are used in promotional campaigns to urge students to enroll in college and citizens to visit and explore state parks. If receiving a silicone wristband will get people to spend money while visiting a state park, it is probably well worth the investment.
The Star Telegram, out of Texas, has reported their state’s spending. “The General Land Office budgeted $116,516.53 for promotions and spent some of that on key chains, flashlights and magnets to promote a telephone number to call to report an oil spill; brochures, pencils, pens and key chains to promote Veterans Land Board services; and koozies, pens, pencils, brochures and other items to promote beach cleanups, Commissioner Jerry Patterson said. Patterson said most of the office’s funding comes from dedicated dollars — bonds, levies or Permanent School Fund money — rather than general tax dollars.
Texas Silicone Wristband
The state comptroller’s office budgeted $4,724.31 for promotions, planning to distribute bags at some unclaimed-property events and give out key rings at gatherings to promote the state’s Cooperative Purchasing program, spokesman R.J. DeSilva said.
The Parks and Wildlife Department budgeted $82,802.32 for promotional items such as eyeglass cases stamped with “TPWD” and “Nobody’s Waterproof,” silicone wristbands for Archery in Schools, Life’s Better Outside cardboard pens, and hats and shirts to promote the Great Texas Wildlife Trails, said Tom Harvey, a spokesman.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board budgeted $54,169.90 for T-shirts, backpacks, notebooks, flash drives, pens, silicone bracelets, mouse pads, Post-it notes and bilingual materials to promote enrollment in college, said Dominic M. Chavez, senior director for the office of external relations with the coordinating board. He said some of the funding was part of a grant match.”

Soccer Team Teams Up Against Cancer

The St. John’s University soccer team has, in memory of player Jen Leaverton who lost her battle with breast cancer, teamed up to raise money and awareness about breast cancer research. In a campaign that uses t-shirts and silicone wristbands , this team is taking charge to make a difference.
On the St. John’s Red Storm official athletic website, they report: “On March 12, 2011, Joan Leaverton, mother of rising senior Jen Leaverton, lost her battle with breast cancer. In her memory, the St. John’s women’s soccer team began a school-wide “Score For A Cure” campaign to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research and to aid in the fight against this widespread disease. This indefinite campaign partners the Red Storm women’s soccer program with St. John’s Student Life and the American Cancer Society.
All year long, the women’s soccer team will be accepting donations, both online and in person to the “Score For A Cure” campaign. In addition to donations, the team will also be selling pink t-shirts and red silicone “Believe” bracelets, which will be available at all 2011 home women’s soccer games and through the women’s soccer office. The women’s soccer team will also have tables at select 2011 baseball, softball and lacrosse games.
Believe Silicone Bracelet
The pink t-shirts read “Where there is hope, there can be faith, where there is faith, miracles can happen!”