Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

Although Peggy spent 20 years as an official in world curling, we opted out of Sochi. Aside from the expense, anti-gay bill and reports of horrible hotels, we had an unpleasant experience in Moscow two years ago when traveling for a curling event. Virtually no one spoke English. Signs were in Cyrillic script. An inveterate American traveler called Russia the most unfriendly tourist venue he had ever visited.

On Friday, October 12 my wife, Peggy, and I took the overnight train out of Washington’s Union Station bound for Chicago and the Direct Marketing Association conference and exhibition. The following Wednesday, we flew home: Up at 5:30 a.m.; traffic jam during the taxi ride to O’Hare; hefting our bags to check-in at US Airways; being treated like terrorists by screeners; calorie-laden breakfast at Chili’s with plastic eating utensils; two hours in the crowded waiting room amidst loud cell phone yappers; middle seats in a sealed aluminum tube and hurled at 500 mph across the country for two hours; exit madness with apprehension over the

The City Hall food police are planning to outlaw the use of trans fatty acids in all 24,600 New York City eating establishments, in many cases turning their businesses upside down. It’s possible that new studies will show that trans fatty acids actually cure a boatload of diseases, just as recent research has turned the food pyramid on its ear, discounted the benefits of low fat and vegan diets, shot down vitamin supplements and shown that slightly overweight people live longer. It’s a topsy-turvy, fast changing world we have to deal with. The Good Old Days In business, the only thing I miss more than a two-martini lunch

Jill Goldsmith’s 27-word lead is classic Variety—slightly outrageous and an attention-grabber—and looked too good to miss, especially since we’re considering ditching Comcast for DirecTV. A good headline and lead will get a reader into a story or a memo, e-mail, white paper, book, story, report, blog or letter. The problem most of us have is losing the reader along the way. I’m delighted to welcome an old friend and long-time colleague, Bob Scott, as a guest columnist. Since the 1950s, Bob has been using Robert Gunning’s formula for helping writers make their prose clearer, more coherent and comprehensible. This is a piece you may well want

Readers Respond to “The Decline and Fall of AOL,” published July 13, 2006. I want to share a couple of items to the history of AOL’s success. Jan Brandt left Field Publications as Advertising Director just at the time that Primedia, then K-III Communications, bought Field and included it with the Direct Marketing Group, of which Newbridge Communications (formerly Macmillan Book Clubs) was the anchor. Gryphon Editions was a division of Newbridge. I think the Field acquisition occurred in 1991. I also think Jan went to AOL directly from Field. Newfield, as it was renamed, slowly began to deteriorate. In 1993 K-III’s senior management,

The Heavy Airbus and The Wall Street Journal Lite Nov. 29, 2005: Vol. 1, Issue No. 51 IN THE NEWS Change in Rules Needed for Wake of Big New Jet Airliners may have to fly twice the normal distance behind the new Airbus A380 superjumbo jet to avoid potential hazards from its unusually powerful wake, according to preliminary safety guidelines. --Andy Pasztor and Daniel Michaels, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 22, 2005 Picture this. For you, it's been a solid week of nasty, contentious meetings and sleepless nights in London, Brussels and Paris. Finally, very early Friday morning you take a taxi

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