Archives for October 2014

Boo! What Scares You?

By Sam Burns and Jayne Davis, SDI
Public relations is not for the faint of heart. It can be a downright scary business, rewarding only the most stress-hardened and twilight-dwelling souls among us. Take our staff, they excel when it comes to slaying the beasts that roil clients’ souls and threaten to darken their doors. Dedicate a memorial just days after a hurricane AND earthquake? Not a problem. Escort Swedish royals through 17 cities in 17 days?  Nothing to it. Support a client whose founder was ducking enforcers intent on collecting gambling debts (this is PR?)? No biggie. There’s nothing that scares team Sisyphus Deity Incarnate. Or is there?
We asked, “Besides not working at SDI, what’s out there you’d liken to feeling a sudden, swoosh of moist breath in a dark, vacant room?  Whoa. Turns out, witches, goblins and ghosts aren’t what lurk in the shadows of our team’s minds. A banana? Now, that’s worth a cold sweat.
Adrienne  In college, making Easy Mac and having all the hollow noodles stand straight up thrilled me, but not because I was hungry. I’m afraid of holes. Don’t laugh, it’s an  actual diagnosis called trypophobia and it’s very common. Need proof? My sister has  it and she’s very common.  It runs in families. I wish it would just run away. It’s not  just holes but patterns of holes, like honeycomb, swiss cheese or porous bones.   Actually, the phobia has to do with evolutionary survival; lots of poisonous animals have patterns like that. Funny, people always seem to share a shudder with the Easy Mac example.  I wonder if there’s something similar related to ramen noodles.
Alfred Hitchcock ruined my naked ambitions to be an ornithologist. I got over the naked part, but I never got over my fear of birds. I saw the movie, “The Birds,” as a child, and ever since it’s been an immutable truth bore out in experience that birds band Lisatogether against me and plot my demise. An incident at Disneyworld (that’s an unfortunate reference) testifies to that . While I was there with my children, a bird flew out of nowhere straight at me, looked at me with devil eyes and dove for my face on its ghostly wings. “I’ve been hit!”I freaked along with bobbing and weaving, flailing my arms and lapsing into a rendition of a cat on a hot tin roof. (Note to self, get a cat.) Like heat lightning, Disneyland Security flashed before me, no small army of disbelievers, who spared me from the pokey only because my son assured them I acted like that all the time.  Ever since, I’ve been vigilant for rogue swoops and crow’s feet wherever I go.  Want to know something really scary? Part of my work involves tweeting. How’s that for a diabolical twist of fate?
NinaHalloween is really awkward. Weeks before, movie theaters and cable channels start showing every crypt-ridden, psycho-drama and slasher-chilling disasters imaginable. But, they’re not just movies, like we’ve been led to believe. Scary movies are portals that can either suck you into the unknown or deliver your worst fears to your couch, like date night with someone named Chucky, Jason or Freddy. Don’t try to get me in the same room with these guys, I can’t even watch the previews. It’s not just mean-spirited testosterone that creeps me out. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was no homage to accomplishments of the preppy upper class. I tried to exorcise all fright-night entertainment by screaming my way through Scream 1 when I was 13. 13! How unlucky was that?  Needless to say, it didn’t work. I just want to say, scary movies are scary. Hey … anybody hear a chain saw?
What I’m afraid of is transient and ubiquitous, rigid yet giving, quiet at rest but ear-piercing in motion. Ever since I was a kid this shape-shifting lightweight plagued my better senses, sending shivers through me in aching waves of repulsion. It burst into every birthday party, holiday gathering, summer excursion and water adventure. Like nails on a chalkboard, it raises the hair on your neck to where you might be mistaken for the missing evolutionary link. I loathe it in any form, but especially when it arrives in ghostly shapes and in ghastly numbers and jumps uninvited onto your skin or your clothes and rides you around. Styrofoam. It kills me.
I’m a fear multi-tasker. The thought of being locked inside a sauna makes me shiver. Furry flying rodents drive me batty. And frankly, I’m not bananas about bananas. Not only are they radioactive, but with people consuming 100 billion bananas every year, they’re hard to avoid. That’s a real problem when you’re allergic to bananas.



Goodness snakes! My fear is the oldest evil in the book. It’s primal, repugnant. Charmers revere it, but most folks find it repulsive. And unfortunate jokesters like my dad fall prey to the line it’s used forever.`. ‘Take a bite,’ it said to my dad.  He did, and then it bit him back. Think it’s funny to scare your wife with rubber snakes? Think again.
AlizaAllow me to rhapsodize, if only because I’m better at rhapsodizing than rapping. If not for fear, there would be no fear. Fear is what fear does, makes us afraid, no more, no less. The thought of fear unwinds self and encourages a matrix mentality. Are we afraid, or are we afraid of being afraid? Avoiding fear disappoints and cowers the id. Fear is a reduction of will. It’s instinctual, repressed, aggressive.  Fear not, for fear is not, when in conflict with ego.  Of what do I fear? Altering my behavior to feed fear’s lust. And fried twinkies. Because that’s just wrong.


BrittanyI scream, you scream, we all scream at … roaches. Personally, I can’t believe that the universe bestowed on this malignant creature the capacity to out-survive every other living species on, under or above earth. I mean, what do roaches have that golden retrievers don’t? Why can’t the universe do that for my favorite jeans?  The first time I saw a roach fly I thought I was going to die.  Is there no privilege of access they don’t have? Roaches … you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em or outnumber ‘em. Only thing you can do is insult them.  You dirty roach.



I can’t remember when I was first aware of being afraid of not remembering. What was the question?



SusanExtinction. Not mine. Chocolate. I fear malevolent winds will bring a new type of cyber terror that will upset the global balance of power and lead to the ultimate end game: she who controls the cocoa bean, controls the world. A world without chocolate is just vanilla. That scares me to death. On the other hand, what a great PR opportunity to frame the message:  Save the chocolate, save your life.


Jayne   More blog posts like this one.



SamMy biggest fear? Caves. I’m terrified of getting stuck between rocks or having the entrance collapse, trapping me inside. I wasn’t always afraid of them though. Once my grandfather taught me that the proper term for cave exploration was spelunking, I associated caves with the laughter I got from thinking of that ridiculous word. But then I saw the Descent … and spelunking was ruined for me forever. I thought I could be strong, but then I caved.
JudyBroken street lights. It’s not the dark that scares me, it’s the infiltration of darkness into spaces that should be lit. A broken street light invites unwelcome darkness, violates symmetry.  It steals my sense of comfort and security. The power of the darkness offends me, and invites thoughts of unwelcome consequences. Maybe I AM afraid of the dark. Darn those broken street lights.


KristenAnything and everything that’s stereotypically scary scares me . Haunted houses, ghouls, goblins, witches and ghosts are all terrifying; but, haunted hayrides are the worst. Knowing I’d be scared, I went on one once and it was absolutely awful. Hideous farm animals and menacing scarecrows actually came up and TOUCHED me. How scary is that!? And I thought I could handle it; didn’t even have my mom or blanket with me for protection – I was just so naïve in 2013.  Now, I’m dreading all the haunted hayrides I’m going to take in the future. Believe me, if someone is actively trying to scare me, they will succeed.  I can’t wait.

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Things that don’t go bump in the night. We all get used to hearing things that go bump in the night, and if they don’t actually do you in, after a while you figure they’re harmless. But the things that don’t go bump in the night can lie there silently, waiting, biding, plotting, licking their thick thing-like lips …




WASHINGTON (October 29, 2014) – On Sunday, November 2, LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s leading lung cancer nonprofit, and DC community members will join together for the 6th annual Breathe Deep DC 5K. The walk will take place at Sylvan Theater beside the Washington Monument on Sunday, November 2, 2014. Event day check-in begins at 9 a.m. and the walk will begin at 10 a.m. – rain or shine.

Breathe Deep DC was conceived by Jerry Sorkin, a young Bethesda father of two, who as a non-smoker was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2007. In the last five years, the event has hosted thousands of participants and has raised over $1.5 million for lung cancer research.

NEWS4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer will again emcee the walk’s program and join in the walk. Adults and children of all ages are invited to take part. 107.3 All the Hits, the walk’s radio partner, will provide music and entertainment at the walk.  Participants can start a team, join a team, or simply register as individuals. The event will feature music, free refreshments, and a kids’ activities tent. Washington Nationals mascots, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln of the Racing Presidents, will also join in the fun.  The course will be friendly to strollers, wheelchairs, and pets.

CEB is the presenting sponsor of Breathe Deep DC.

What:             Breathe Deep DC 5K Walk

Where:           Washington Monument (at the Sylvan Theater) – The National Mall, 15th Street and Independence Avenue SW 

When:             Sunday, November 2, 2014

  • Check-in: 9 am
  • Program begins: 9:30 am
  • Walk begins: 10 am

 Cost:              Registration fees vary

For more information, sponsorship opportunities, and to register, visit Contact with any additional questions.

Homes for Our Troops to Give the Gift of a Home to 10 Veterans and their Families this Holiday Season


Taunton, Mass. — Homes for Our Troops will give renewed meaning to the phrase “home for the holidays” for the third year in a row, when they give away 10 newly constructed, specially adapted homes to severely injured veterans between Veterans Day and Christmas. Construction is already underway on these homes, which will be presented just in time for the holidays.

Homes for the Holidays is a focused initiative to give specially adapted homes to severely injured veterans at the time of year when being at home means the most. To date, Homes for Our Troops has built 168 modified homes, 19 of which were given during previous Homes for the Holidays events. With the support of corporate sponsors and Americans nationwide, homes will be presented this year to veterans in New Hampshire, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, California and Oregon.

“As Americans, we enjoy the ongoing gift of freedom because of the sacrifices these selfless service members have made. They deserve to celebrate the holiday season in a home that is comfortable and restores their sense of independence,” said Homes for Our Troops President, retired Major General Timothy McHale. “For these heroes, the gift of a home is the opportunity to begin rebuilding their lives.”

Homes for Our Troops is a national nonprofit organization that is committed to building specially adapted homes for the estimated 1700 service members nationwide who have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan with life-altering injuries.

Each specially modified home is equipped with more than 155 unique adaptations designed to give veterans mobility, accessibility and independence. Features like one level, open floor plans, widened door and hallways, roll-under sinks and stovetops, roll-in showers and pull-down cabinets make it possible for severely injured veterans to live independently, provide peace of mind for their families and greatly reduce the risk of further injury.

“A new home from Homes for Our Troops is going to be remarkable. It’s going to allow me to do a lot of things… to be a dad and a husband again,” said Marine Cpl Jonathan Schumacher, who will be receiving his California hoe as part of Homes for the Holidays.

Corporal Schumacher, who suffered the traumatic amputations of both legs and left hand during his second deployment in Afghanistan, is one of 10 veterans who will have a happier holiday season thanks to Homes for Our Troops.

“Having people who actually care about us that much is truly inspiring,” said Marine Cpl Carlos Garcia, who lost both his legs in 2010 after an IED blast in Afghanistan. He and his wife Jacki, along with their young daughter, look forward to celebrating the holidays in their new home. “It’s just really heartwarming to know that there are people out there who truly, truly care.” 

About Homes for Our Troops (HFOT): HFOT is a privately funded 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization building specially adapted, mortgage-free homes nationwide for the most severely injured Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of these Veterans are multiple amputees, paraplegic, quadriplegic or suffered severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).  These homes restore some of the freedom and independence our Veterans sacrificed defending ours, and enable them to focus on their family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives. Since its inception in 2004, over 90 percent of donations to Homes for Our Troop has gone to directly support Veterans.