Tuesday, May 31, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 5 North American Craft Beers to Cool off with

Since summer is almost upon us, and a lot of people do enjoy a nice cold beer, B.A.F.F.L.E.D. would like to highlight a few North American made brews to cool you off! 

1. Unibroue Maudite

The title may mean accursed in French, but there is nothing unlucky about this strong amber red-ale. It features complex and bold flavors with a distinctive citrus and hoppy nose. It's also 8% alcohol by volume (ABV), which means one may be enough to have you pleasantly buzzed. 

2. Goose Island Summertime

This Chicago favorite is a K├Âlsch style beer with a light and fruity smell and easy drinkability. Goose Island starts selling it in March, but being a seasonal, it is only available until August, so get it while you still can! For an even more "authentic" Goose Island, try one of these fresh off the tap at one of the Chicago Goose Island Brewpubs! 

3. New Belgium Somersault

Colorado craft beer maker New Belgium runs one of the cleanest beer operations in the world  along with some of the most popular and delicious brews from the US. Most people are familiar with their Fat Tire amber ale, but there is a lot more to New Belgium than that; case in point: the Somersault. This summer seasonal is easy to drink, yet has a little bit of complexity and hoppiness, coming mostly from the ginger and citrus notes. It should be fairly easy to find in bottle form and on tap, probably until the end of the summer. 

4. Ommegang BPA

This Belgian style pale ale comes from the Cooperstown, NY Ommegang Brewery. A faithful interpretation of the Belgian Style beer, the BPA (which stands for Belgian Pale Ale) has a little kick to it (6.2% ABV), but had a refreshing citrus and floral taste with a hint of hops lingering in the background. This beer is very balanced and   readily available year-round. 

5. Bell's Oberon

Bell's Brewery, located in Galesburg, Michigan has an impressive lineup of unfiltered craft beers, and is mostly regional. One of their more well known is their Oberon, a summer seasonal. It is a spicy and refreshing wheat beer, and is available in multiple forms (bottle, draft, mini-keg). To experience it at its most quenching and crisp, either try it from a frosty bottle, or get it straight from the tap. 

Even though summer has not officially started, it's never too early to seek out one of these tasty beers. If you are having trouble locating any of these, many of the websites associated with the beers have a beer locator, or you can email m@thebaffledblog.com, and we can help you find what you are looking for. Either way, happy drinking and remember to enjoy responsibly! 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Today B.A.F.F.L.E.D. celebrates the many soldiers from our nation's military who have laid their lives on the line for our many freedoms.  We are forever indebted to them, and honor the courage they have in protecting America.

Thank You Veterans, Prisoners of War Missing in Action, Active Duty Members, Honorable Discharged Members, and all men and women of the United States Armed Forces.

You are appreciated.

Friday, May 27, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Technology

So There's Trouble in the Tablet World...

Recently, tech giant Apple sued Samsung under trademark infringement for allegedly copying the style, look, and feel of their beloved iPad and iPhone to create the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy X phones.  Just the other day, a motion to expedite discovery was filed, requesting Samsung offer up samples of their Galaxy S2, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Infuse 4G, and 4G LTE or "Droid Charge".  The request includes not only products, but packaging and inserts as well. 

Apple claims the products are confusingly similar, with icons and interfaces strikingly similar on the Samsung devices.  Are the items/brands confusing you?

Let's figure this one out...

A little bit about trademarks:
  • They never wear out as long as you keep them in use.
  • With reasonable care, they can be a perpetual asset.
  • They become more valuable with use.
  • They cannot exist or be protected apart from actual use.  Without use, the mark cannot perform its function of identifying the products or services of a particular source and differentiating them from the products or services of others.  Their function is to drive business.
Selection of a trademark or service mark:
  • From a legal perspective, coined or "fanciful" works, such as EXXON or KODAK, form the strongest marks and are entitled to the broadest scope of legal protection.  
  • Ordinary words applied to unrelated goods or services are also strong marks.  For example, "Apple" computers!  No relation of fruit to technology, so the novel title sticks and markets well.  
  • Marks describing a quality or element of the goods cannot be protected unless through extensive use, the relevant purchasing group has come to associate the marks with the source of the goods or services.
  • Generic words are not protectable because everyday designations cannot be monopolized.
Testing the mark:
When testing for trademark infringement, courts will look at: Strength of the mark, similarity, and proximity in the marketplace.  
Strength - The Apple "apple" trademark is pretty strong, arguably one of the strongest in the tech market, or any market.  It is easily recognizable, and has a following all its own.  The "S" for the Galaxy products is a good, distinct mark as well, but does not have the following of the apple.  

Similarity - In regards to interface and icons, the Samsung device does have some which are similar to the Apple icons, but we don't believe it would lead one to think they were using an iPhone by the time they began using the device.  However, this leads us to the prong of similarity.  Similar icons is a point of contention when they are advertised on packaging and commercials.  Seeing these icons in commerce could actually lead one to believe it was an Apple-related device, if they were not paying attention, or were not as tech-savvy as others.  This prong will weigh heavily in court.  

Proximity - Finally, proximity in the market.  This prong will definitely raise and answer some questions.  Of course these devices are in the same market, sold in the same places (with the exception of there being Apple stores, but no "Samsung Stores"), and are head on competitors of one another.  When deciding whether or not consumers will be confused, the undeniable proximity of these items in the market will be a major determining factor.  In many cases, sales could be confused, especially based on the look and feel of the devices.  Sales contribute to part of the story; Apple users are finding a suitable substitute, or not-so-savvy users are marketed into the wrong purchase.  The court should have an interesting time weighing these factors. 

We'll keep watching this one to see how the questions of monopoly, perfect competition, and obviousness in innovation are answered.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 8 Causes To Contribute To -

It is always the right time to contribute to a worthy cause if you have the means.  Charity not only benefits the recipients, but the givers as well.  Whether by donating money or time, charitible contributions come in all variations.  You can connect yourself to a great cause, meet other amazing givers, and strengthen the good set to come back your way.

Check out these amazing causes, volunteer, and give--now and/or later :)

This cause is especially close to B.A.F.F.L.E.D. because of its link to some of our supporters.  Please check out this amazing story, and support this down to earth cause to save a life impacted by End-Stage Renal Disease.

This organization is a fave around here.  Bottomless Closet was founded in response to the compelling need for services to increase the potential of women on public assistance and help them achieve economic self-sufficiency.  You can donate time, money, or those fashionable pieces you want to pass on to others.  We sure do!

With heart disease as the #1 killer in America, this organization seeks to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.The heart is an essential organ, and in order to keep it healthy and seek cures through research, AHA needs as much help as possible.

Diabetes is often considered the "silent killer".  This disease not only affects overweight Americans, but minorities, children, and people with the condition running in their families.  In reality, no one is exempt, and no one should be exempt from helping.  Diabetes is far too prevalent, but with the aid of helping hands, we can all work to fight this killer. 

 Unfortunately cancer is a rising cause of death in our county.  It comes in all forms, and affects all segments of society.  ACS is committed to saving lives from cancer and reducing the global threat of the disease. 

This cause is an open group for anyone who is willing to donate a little time and money to help fight breast cancer.  Lead by Real Talk With Felicia, PFP has been a continual supporter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure for some time, and has taken contributing to a new level. You, too can join in the Passionately Pink for the Cure Campaign, encouraging people to have fundraisers and events with a Pink theme (like Purposed for Pink) to raise awareness and funding for the Cure.

HIV and AIDS are often taboo topics of conversation.  Well in raising awareness, it no longer has to be.  The Red Pump Project raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. The mission is to promote HIV prevention through education, and open dialogue about the issues that surround sexual and reproductive health.  Red Pump is a fabulous favorite of ours, and a necessary promoter of health and wellness.

Swish Dreams is another one of our personal faves; pairing education with sports and nurturing children.  Now kids can get their sports fix while excelling academically.  This rising organization is making waves in the sports industry and high recognition among academics.  Swish Dreams seeks to expose children to a "Swish Education", which provides academic, social, and physical enrichment to youth, while integrating the disciplines of Language Arts and Mathematics.   With a summer camp set to begin in June, you should not miss out on enrolling your little one in this great program.  

For more causes, click on our B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Resources.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Green Business

All Clean?

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. is definitely about keeping our environment clean and tidy.  Sometimes, the hustle and bustle of busy schedules make it tough to keep up.

Well, check out one of our faves-- Clean Sweep City Services.  They have all your landscaping and hauling needs.  CleanSweep City Services is a for profit social enterprise that provides complete beautification and renovation services for neighborhoods in need. We are about helping the community and want to battle the overwhelming deprivation of neighborhoods with our remarkable landscaping and hauling services.

This company has an amazing mission and is working to keep Chicago clean, 1 block at a time.  Contact them for your cleaning and landscaping needs!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion

Happy Birthday Blue Jeans!

What was once an item necessary for work during the gold rush is now a staple in every wardrobe.  From $10 "comfies" to $1000+ exclusives, blue jeans have revolutionized over the years.  They've come in tons of colors, shapes, and styles--with a fitting for everyone. 

Debuting on May 20, 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob David were granted a U.S. patent for the rivets used to strenghten their denim pants.  From work gear, to weekend musts, and now even high fashion pieces, blue jeans just might be one of the most fundamental parts of fashion, ever. 

Forever thankful to Mr. Srauss and Mr. David, we say Happy Birthday Blue Jeans!  Many more!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Law

Internet Safety: Hacking and Counterfeiting-

With so much changing in technology- and so quickly, we must be sure our laws are keeping up to date.  Lately, the United States legislature has been working to keep up and keep consumers safe.  It has become unfortunately easy to hack computers, compromise security, and pose merchandise as something it's not.  Government is taking a stand.

Over the last week especially, the federal government has been working on legislation to combat these new trends.  In a summary of about 8 bills detailing the efforts to protect rights of ownership and consumers from fraud, legislators made their intent clear:  “Cyber crime has increased dramatically over the last decade,” according to the summary. “It has become clear that our nation cannot fully defend against these threats unless certain parts of cybersecurity law are updated.

Included in the group of bills is a measure allowing the U.S. Attorney General to serve court orders on internet service providers, search engines, and the like-- forcing them to prevent access and processing of infringing materials.  These orders would protect against the sale of counterfeit goods and help preserve the rights of designers.  “This legislation will protect the investment American companies make in developing brands and creating content, and will protect the jobs associated with those investments,” Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said in a statement.  According to a industry heavyweight, jobs have definitely been in jeopardy because of this issue.  Philippe Dauman, president and CEO of Viacom said more than 140,000 jobs have been lost in the entertainment industry, as a result of online piracy. “...illegal, parasitic websites that steal the hard work of millions and expose innocent users to a spectrum of significant, real-world dangers”.

Technology and fashion industry stakeholders will benefit greatly from these new laws.  Under the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP Act), fakes would be stopped in their tracks.  The legislation gives law enforcement the tools it needs to not only let counterfeiters know Fakes Are Never in Fashion, but also protect unknowing consumers from deception and losing money --especially when it comes to their computers and smart devices.  The law expands the remedies available to rights holders and sends a message to counterfeiters.  The American apparel & Footwear Association has signed on in support of the legislation.  Groups including Burberry, eBay, the Motion Picture Association of America, and Microsoft have even joined forces signing on to a  Memorandum of Understanding.  The MoU sets up a code of practice for policing rogue websites which push counterfeit goods.  It's definitely a unified front by the industry on their stand against piracy.    
We will definitely be watching this legislation until it is officially signed into law.  Follow us on Twitter for live updates as we get them!

For more on PROTECT IP, check out our friend in Fashion Law, Fashion Cloture!   

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 6 Tips for a Successful Business-

Every business is bound to face its challenges, but with these easy tips, you'll be able to stay afloat in a tough economy.

1.  Goodwill and a Solid Mission
When creating and maintaining a business, having goodwill to offer customers is so important.  Making the mission of your company one of generating revenue as well as success away from the money is key.  Being active in the community, reaching out to other organizations, and especially helping youth will keep your business on top.  Nothing like a strong network!

2.  Solid Capital and Revenue Streams
Obviously you have no business if you make no money.  With a solid foundation of goodwill, a successful business will continue climbing when it can prove profitable.  Revenue can come from a number of sources-- whether direct sales or rainmaking.  Determining your definite stream of income early on will allow flexibility in trying new routes in the future.  You'll always have your trustworthy stream to fall back on.

3.  A Defined Niche
Knowing your market is essential.  When defining your revenue stream, it must be done through knowing your niche in the market.  This will be the solid capital you can depend on.  Do you offer a service or product?  To whom?  How?  How often, and why?  Your niche will also help you in reaching your target market, and serving them to the best of your ability.  Services like B.M.M.O. Consulting can help you get the answers you need. 

4. Web and Social Media Presence
These days, nearly everything is internet-linked.  If you don't use social media, you're in trouble.  And if you don't have a web presence at all, you don't exist.  The first thing every consumer does is reach for their smart device or computer to Google any company they come across.  Having a web presence is not only necessary, but making sure your presence is user-friendly, offering everything your customers want is paramount.  Links and gadgets for Twitter, Facebook, and easy sharing are just as necessary as having...well a name for your company.  Be social!

5.  Quality Service...Always
We may be advancing with technology and using new ideas, but this one never gets old.  Quality service is a time-honored tradition, and keeps businesses on their feet.  If you treat your clientele well, they will do the same in return, and keep your business in business!  It seems like a no-brainer, but we all need reminders.

6. Perseverance
No one ever expects tough economic times, especially the magnitude they may be.  But, pushing forward and holding on to the founding principles of your business is a must.  Never let external changes impact the core of your company.  

We hope these tips were helpful, and if you have more....SHARE!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ask B.A.F.F.L.E.D.

Don't forget about our latest feature: "Ask B.A.F.F.L.E.D."  

Our hope is, we are giving you relevant and important information on topics of interest to you- but we know there can often be more to what we post.

**You now also have the opportunity to ask "techie" questions for the gadget nerd in you.  Our friend GuyverV will take questions about anything technology-related, from choosing the best cell phone, to gaming console inquiries, device updates, and more!  Post your questions to him and we'll get them answered!

This feature allows you to post comments, questions, and request more information on our articles and general topics.  We still invite you to use the comment section at the bottom on each post, but this space will be an added feature to make your visits to B.A.F.F.L.E.D. even better!  Never hesitate to contact us at adeptadmin@thebaffledblog.com or m@thebaffledblog.com

Let us know what you think!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Government

Does Your Government Partner With Tourism?

This may seem like an odd question, but the point is very relevant.  As a legislative attorney, I have learned the ins and outs of the process, and the importance of good government.  Government is not only the foundation for creating sound criminal and civil laws, but a platform for less stringent, yet essential issues, too.  Tourism is a fundamental component of government, especially in these unique economic times.  Gaining greater streams of revenue, while highlighting the gems of your state or city can prove beneficial on so many levels.  From swanky hotels and shopping to touring a state capitol to watch session, tourism is of great legislative importance. 

Just this past Tuesday, the Illinois House of Representatives Committee on Tourism & Conventions held a subject matter hearing on the current state of tourism.  The hearing was not only extremely interesting, but provided much needed information to legislators about what is going on in their areas.   Like all legislative committee hearings, testimony was given, questions were asked, and projections were made about the future.  What this hearing, and the many like it conveyed, is the need for connecting entities to the legislature-- to inform, communicate, and plan.

Promoting tourism is not only of interest in Illinois, but should be in all areas having assets to share.  Of course financial constraints are prevalent these days, but with ideas like "staycations" and overnight getaways, tourists can get more for less.  These trips can also keep money local, where it is greatly needed.  

Is tourism being promoted where you live?  What kind of marketing is being done to get people there?  Is your state or local legislature working with you?
Share with us what's going on in your area, and let us know if we can shed insight to help!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Sports

NBA Playoff Recap

This year's NBA playoffs have probably been the most exciting ever.  We've seen a number of upsets, surprises, and plays we couldn't make up if we tried.

For starters, the San Antonio Spurs, who for much of the regular season had the best record, were eliminated by the 8th-ranked Memphis Grizzlies.  After a couple games going down to the wire, and even overtime, the young franchise took down the seasoned, 4-time NBA champs.  To even more of our surprise, the Dallas Mavericks eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers, sweeping them in 4 games.  Many have speculated the wear and tear of long seasons the last 3 years has worn on the team, and they are a bit older than most of the teams still contending.  We may see a totally different squad next year, especially with the potential exit of coach Phil Jackson.

In the east, the Miami Heat are shocking the Boston Celtics, currently leading the series 3-1.  The teams meet in Game 5 tonight, where Rajon Rondo's dislocated elbow will again be tested.   He really showed heart, returning after the tough to watch injury in Game 3.  After an overtime loss on Monday, the Celtics have something to prove.  We'd be remiss if we did not mention our beloved Chicago Bulls.  The team with Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau, Co-Executive of the Year Gar Forman, and MVP Derrick Rose has not breezed through the playoffs as Bulls fans would like-- but their defense and perseverance is keeping them on pace to the ring.  The Bulls lead the series 3-2 with Game 6 in Atlanta on Thursday.  

Clearly all this excitement is working wonders for NBA merchandising, and will do even more for key players in contract negotiations this summer.  Certainly we'll be watching what happens in the collective bargaining negotiations, too.  With all this hype, no one wants a lockout!

What do you think of the playoffs this year?  What will happen in the off-season?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 4 Things Happening in May!

May is not only the month when we honor our lovely mothers, but a month to recognize and be aware of a few other causes, too.  Check out what's going on in the Month of May:

1. May is Military Appreciation Month
How appropriate, after the accomplishment of capturing Osama Bin Laden to continue commemorating the achievements and courage of our armed forces.  Congress designed this event to share the history and pay respect to our Troops.  If you can't stand behind them, stand in front of them.  For more info on the events of this month, click here.
2. May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Too often we treat mental health as taboo when really, it has fundamental importance in our world.  Optimal mental health is the foundation of our well-being, and not only affects us, but those around us.  Having and keeping good mental health is critical to all our other health and wellness components.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness is taking an active role in spreading the word on optimal mental health.  Let's make mental health a priority and not a secret.

3.  Inventors Month
Traditionally, inventors have used the month of August as the time to recognize and share about the art of inventing.  The month was sponsored by Inventors Digest Magazine, to highlight innovation in America.  With the hopes of the month's activities impacting schools and educating children, the U. S. Senate adopted a resolution sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), designating May 2011 as National Inventors Month.  On the heels of updating the nation's patent system through the America Invents Act, the rest of the month will be filled with events to spread the importance of science, engineering, law, and all the essential parts of inventing.  Shedding this light on our youth is sure to sharpen their minds, and plant a seed of innovation for our future.

4. National Women's Health Week
Like all of our health, women's health is important.  May 8-14 is National Women's Health Week, raising awareness and sharing knowledge about the keys to optimal health as a woman.  Often, women get so wrapped up in caring for others, we neglect to keep our own good health at the top of mind.  We must be sure to eat right, exercise, and make regular doctor visits--especially as we get older.  To stay on top of the tips and news, follow us on Twitter (@BAFFLEDblog) and @thefabgiver for more!

Share with us your May Happenings!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Honors

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day began in 1908 by Anna Jarvis, as a way to honor and commemorate the important women in our lives.  After working to promote her own mother's idea, Jarvis encouraged President Woodrow Wilson to make the second Sunday in May a national holiday in 1914.  Since then, Mother's Day has been a special time to spend with Mom, Mommy, Mother, Grandma, Nana, or any person who has been a nurturing figure in our lives.

Love your mom a little extra today-- no matter where she is, and share the love with those around you.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all our fabulous mothers!

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Sports

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