Friday, September 29, 2006


Raffle What!?!?!, Part Deux

I know I've beaten this to do death in the past couple of weeks, but the "W" Association Dream Tickets drawing is officially open. If you buy a ticket, you and a loved one (I volunteer myself) go to Glendale, AZ to watch the Buckeyes play so poor schmuck team for their second National Championship in four years. You get a two-night stay and car rental. Plus, I'll even wear my AJ Hawk jersey when you take me with you. Only 200 tickets are being offered. The proceeds benefit the OWU Athletic Department.

Let's review: for $100, you get a chance to watch the Bucks win the National Championship, do whatever people do in Arizona for two nights (I hear there are many lizards and cacti there), and get to hang out with me (when you take me). That's not just win-win, that's win-win-win.

The website for this dream vacation is

I'm still looking for that one person to buy all 200 tickets at one time.

Marketing News
I found out this week that Ohio Wesleyan is the midst of a branding movement. This means trademarking the Bishop and other stuff like that. For example, you won't see the Bishop leaning on just the "W" anymore:

Instead, he will be leaning on the "OWU." (In a moment of irony, I could not find a picture of the Bishop leaning on an "OWU").

Personally, I like the "W" more, but then again, I'm just the Assistant Director of Annual Giving and sometimes I can't tell black from dark green (as my co-workers will attest), so my opinion is nothing. I do think we should trademark his frown and get rid of the Smiling Bishop (see last week's blog). Also, from now on, when I use the word Bishop®, I will be using a registered trademark symbol (the circle with a "R" in it).

What brought this on? Well, a couple of weeks ago at the football game, an entrepreneurial student had made shirts of the Bishop® in a jock strap that said "Ohio Wesleyan Athletic Supporter" on the back. I'm not going to say anything except that I would like one of those shirts, but only for an example of what not to do.

In related news, I will be trademarking Floyd, The Annual Fund Garden Gnome later this week. Don't even think about using him anywhere without paying me.

On Tuesday night, in between my econ and stats classes, I went to buy a Coke® when I looked in the food vending machine and I saw a candy bar-sized Bit-O-Honey®. I couldn't believe my eyes- I hadn't had a Bit-O-Honey® since I was, like, 6 and I remembered loving them. I have absolutely no idea what they're made from, but I remembered they were great. And they were never the size of a candy bar; no, they were small morsels of manna from Heaven.

I bought this giant Bit-O-Honey® (later- as in Thursday- I realized that thing has probably been in that vending machine for approximately 5 years. I doubt Bit-O-Honeys® go bad) and tore into it. I had forgotten how chewy they were and how impossible it was to get the wrapper off of them; no matter what, when you eat a Bit-O-Honey®, you eat some paper, too, because it is impossible to get all of the paper off (just like it is impossible to eat Cap'n Crunch® without cutting the roof of your mouth). Because of the sheer size of this gigantic Bit-O-Honey, it took me the entire class time to finish it and I kept interrupting the class with my battle to get each portion out of the wrapper.

After I was finished with my 5 pound treat, I felt sick to my stomach for a couple of days. I think eating a Bit-O-Honey® is like swallowing gum- I won't be able to digest it for 7 years. But it was worth it.

Oh, was it worth it.

And Finally
Because it is Friday and this blog was late, I will give all of a special treat: a picture of me. I'm sure all of you are wondering who is Wordsmith that writes the Best Annual Fund Blog® ever. Well, here you go. This picture was snapped a couple of Fridays ago when I was leaving from work a little early- I may be hard to see because I am camouflaged as a tree (in my off time, I moonlight as a Ninja®).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


A Smiling What...!?!

Ohio Wesleyan's football team is 0-3 following a close game against Bethany this past weekend. On the season, OWU has lost those three games by a combined 22 points, or 7.3 points per game. All the losses have been to non-conference foes, meaning that the Battling Bishops can still make good on the preseason prediction of finishing at least second in the conference. I know the team and the coaches are doing everything possible to figure out how to turn this ship around, and they will.

Don't worry, fans- I know what the problem is and it has nothing to do with the coaching, players, or facilities. No, Battling Bishop fans, the problem lies in the revamped Bishop. This year, in order to stop scaring small children when taking part in the Delaware Fourth of July Parade, OWU introduced a new family-friendly Bishop. As you will see in the picture below (the Bishop is flanked by Mark Shipps '70 and John Kercher '63), the new Bishop comes complete with red hair, big blue eyes, and a smile.

Yes, that's right. A smile.

Now, this is just my humble opinion, but the new Battling Bishop does not intimidate me. In fact, I do not see him stomping on an ant, let alone running a linebacker over on the 1 yardline for a score. The word "Battling" is not drawn from this sweet, sensible-looking character my mom would like.

Now the old Bishop (see below), he would take a magnifying glass and burn ants, laughing with glee. He would take the new Bishop's lunch money and then steal his bike. The old Bishop would shed a double team from two 300 lbs. offensive linemen to blow up the running back for a 6 yard loss. He was angry, he was impatient, he wanted to win. And there was no smile. No, there was a scowl.

It's a little known fact that teams with smiling, happy-looking mascots never win championships in football or baseball. Take, for example, the Cleveland Indians. Many people blame the trade of Rocky Colavito in 1968 for the Tribe's bad luck when in reality it is Chief Wahoo's fault. The innocent wide-open eyes, the big smile. All of this says "Hey guys, we don't mind losing. Want to come to my house for some cookies after the game?"

You never see the Florida State Seminole smiling. He looks like he could kill somone.

Nor the little Notre Dame guy. He looks ready for a drunken brawl.

Mount Union doesn't even have a mascot, and they win all of the time (8 national championships and the longest winning streak in NCAA history). Do you think they would have won all of those games with a smiling, happy-go-lucky Purple Raider? I think not.

A case could be made for a smile as long as the eye brows are furled; that way, the smile looks sarcastic or, at the very least, saying "Bring it." But not a full-blown, eyes-wide-open smile.

"But Jason," you may be thinking, "I have you. What about Brutus Buckeye and the 2002 OSU National Championship?" The one exception could be Brutus; but let's not forget that he is a giant poisonous nut with a body that can stand on his head and do push-ups. That is ridiculous. There was a buckeye tree at my elementary school growing up, and no buckeye I ever saw did anything like that. Occasionally I would throw them at girls I liked, but that was my actions, not the buckeye's.

Bring back the old Bishop. Do it for OWU. He's worth a good 7 points a game. Denison will not be intimidated by the Smiling Bishop; neither will Wabash, Wooster or any other NCAC opponent. We need to scare the opponents and if we scare some kids on July 4 along the way, so be it- it's all in the name of winning an NCAC championship. Besides, being scared builds character. That is what my dad always told me.

Don't forget Team OWU (that is my Annual Fund tie-in for this blog).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Raffle What!?!?!

To support Team OWU, Ohio Wesleyan is again offering the chance to win tickets to the BCS National Championship game (aka "The Fiesta Bowl"). The winner of the tickets will be determined by a raffle drawing, with 1 person selected out of 200 tickets, meaning every ticket has a .5% chance of winning. Raffle tickets will cost $100. The game tickets will be located somewhere between the 15 and 30 yard lines, and the package includes a two night stay and car rental in Phoenix, AZ.

If you really want to go to the game (keep in mind that the Large School Down South has won 3 out of the past 4 Fiesta Bowls), I suggest someone stepping up and buying all 200 tickets. Think about it: not only do you support Ohio Wesleyan Athletics, but you also ensure yourself of a raffle victory. If that isn't win-win, then I'm not sure what is.

On a side note, I'm sure the Ohio State will run the table this season- I've never seen a OSU offense move at will like this year's does. After watching the Bucks dominate Texas on Saturday (funny how the cameras quit cutting to Matthew McCauh-(however you spell it) after the second quarter) and attending the Browns game on Sunday, I'm pretty sure that OSU could beat the Browns right now. That bodes well for the Raffle. Of course, last time I commented on a team I followed in this blog, they promptly imploded and the season was lost (thank you, Cleveland Indians).

Face of Terror
Today in Mowry, we had an emergency. We ran out of coffee and, in a haze of deceit and exhaustion, someone mistakenly made decaffeinated coffee. Can you imagine the horror felt throughout this office? We almost drank decaffeinated coffee! I can't believe that those two words exist together: decaffeinated coffee. Nonalcoholic beer. Fat-free potato chips. Tofurkey (which is meatless turkey- and no matter what anyone says, it does NOT taste like turkey). Sugarless gum. Lean Pockets. We might as well throw in Moneyless Annual Fund (there is the AF tie-in).

Decaffeinated coffee, I scoff at the idea of you. I don't drink coffee for the taste. NO! I drink it for the results. A jolt to my system, to recharge my batteries, to move me forward. "The Darker the Better" is my rally cry! I don't want to drink the coffee, I want to have eat it with a spoon! I want my coffee to be so strong that I have to chase it down, just like the caveman chasing a mighty mastodon, an Apache warrior chasing Buffalo, Captain Ahab chasing Moby Dick, Rosco chasing Bo and Luke Duke! Yes. YES!

Stupid decaffeinated coffee. I spit in your decaffeinated beans.

Another quick side note
I was accused today of not knowing the difference between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees by Ericka, a woman of many talents in the Public Relations office here at OWU. Yes, many talents, but one talent she cannot claim is that of "Brewmaster of Mowry," which has been bestowed upon one Jason Robert Thompson. And with that title comes great responsilibity, one of which is knowing that difference.

Anyway, Ericka decided to lambast me with the following e-mail. You, the reader, can decide who has a coffee problem in this office:

Oh, Jason. If no one told you it was decaffeinated, you wouldn't have noticed. You'd be like one of the college students "they" allegedly conducted a study on in the 1980s --"they" gave a bunch of college kids NA beer, but didn't tell them it was NA. Yet the kids still acted drunk. I could see you being that way. There goes Jason beer and he is tipsy!

Anyway, thank Larry. He brought in a big can of coffee from Kroger that I am about to go open. Ah...the virgin can. I love the first time you open a can of coffee and get that huge coffee smell.

So Larry the Researcher saved the day. This office is a scary place without caffeine. A movie is in the works to retell the story of Larry's exploits today. In fact, the movie poster is already out. Check your local listings for movie times.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Participation vs Dollars

In college fundraising, especially the Annual Fund, there is a question of what is more important: alumni participation or total dollars raised. In a small school, such as Ohio Wesleyan, it is impossible to focus on both in a given year. There are too few staff and not enough resources to be able to completely focus on both at the same time.

What is the difference between the two? Participation means the number of donors that give to the annual fund divided by the number of people that are marked as "solicitable" in the OWU database. For OWU, this number is 32%. This number is then submitted to various publications and is put toward the rankings of schools.

There are two inherent problems I have seen with participation and rankings:

1.There is no definitive way that schools decide upon what a "solicitable donor" is. How OWU determines what a solicitable donor is defined as is completely different than some schools. So to compare two schools can be deceiving.

2.When the rankings come out, if a school is not ranked as high as some donors believe it should be, they quit giving to the school until the ranking rises, which is ironic because the one way that a donor could immediately help to improve the ranking would be to give.

Total dollars means the total amount given to the University. The Annual Fund is budget relieving, as in the University relies on the Annual Fund to reach it budgetary needs. OWU has needs $3.8 million from the Annual Fund to balance the budget, otherwise the University faces a shortfall.

So what is the answer? Here is my solution: I need 4 donors to give $1 million each and then everyone else (all 25,000+ of you) to give $1. This way, we surpass the goal, jack participation up to 100%, and raise the ranking. It would also relieve a lot of stress around here. If all of this can be completed by the end of September, that would be great. That would raises all around and I could blog all day long, which leads me to the next section.

On the Prejudices of Philosophers
Last week’s blog drew this comment on the message board:

what is the purpose of your blog?
are you paid for doing anything productive?

I love it. Excellent questions.

The first question was covered a couple of weeks ago in another blog, so not much needs to be said. However, we can unfurl the second question together. When searching for truth (truth being in this case: am I paid for doing anything productive?), Friedrich Nietzsche says we have to ask "Who really is it that here questions us? What is it in us that wants 'the truth'?"

In this case, "Who" is Anonymous. And the "What", well, I can’t really speak for Anonymous- that would be to assume, and my dad had a dirty axiom about that. What drives anyone to truth? It is already a long story- yet does it not seem as if it has only just begun? It has been suggested that the truth is just a bunch of half-truths anyways, so what is the point? And finally, what does "productive" mean? If I am defining productive, the fact that I make it to work almost every day relatively on time is productive.

But I am even more productive than that: I maintain relationships with co-workers and constituents, I make the best coffee in the Mowry Alumni Center, and my golf swing is improving (which will help me raise money in the future). And those are just the beginnings of my responsibilities.

Besides, sometimes I mask bad news in the blog, but people are more forgiving because of the credibility established earlier in the writing or because they don’t catch between my stories about killing bats and gender-bending frogs.

What OWU should do is take the new streaming site ( and follow me around for a day. That way, everyone could watch me write a blog live. Now that is entertainment.

Division III Football Stat-of-the-Day
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but in the past two years, Capital has outscored Wittenberg 111-7 in football, including a 57-7 drubbing on Saturday. I know that has absolutely nothing to do with OWU in any way except that Wittenberg is in the NCAC and Capital is in the OAC, but I just thought everyone should know.

And Finally...
Before anyone asks, the answer is "YES, as a matter-of-fact, I am going to the Motley Crue/Aerosmith concert at Germain Amphitheater tomorrow night." (I couldn’t get those 2 little dots to show up above the "o" on "Motely." Trust me, I tried.)

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