Share This!According to legend, as Walt Disney was lying on his deathbed, he stared at the ceiling tiles and mapped out his vision for Walt Disney World’s EPCOT, a forward-thinking community where people from all nations could gather together, share their culture and technological innovations, and enjoy classic pop songs performed by comic book characters. Okay, we’re pretty sure that last part wasn’t part of Walt’s original “Florida Project” plans, but that hasn’t stopped the modern-day Disney company from dropping Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Tape Live! into Epcot’s American Gardens Theater to entertain the summer crowds.This is far from the first time that World Showcase’s premier amphitheater has tried to beat the heat with vintage tunes; the Sounds Like Summer cover band concert series ran there for several years before being canceled in 2017. But this time around, Epcot’s entertainment team has cut out the middlemen by building their own classic rock group, and fronting it with two fan-favorite Marvel heroes: Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, and Gamora. The show’s paper-thin premise is that a Xandarian Chamber Orchestra has been sent to Epcot as cultural outreach ambassadors. Star-Lord soon arrives with a sword-swinging Gamora in tow to teach them how to play retro hits from his home planet Earth, instead of their usual atonal alien intonations.Epcot’s new ‘Guardians of the Galaxy — Awesome Mix Tape Live!’ show may be the surprise sleeper hit of the summer.Despite their box office popularity, the Guardians of the Galaxy seem to be developing a history of making Disney diehards hyperventilate. The conversion of Disney California Adventure’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! was bemoaned by many… at least until the reimagined ride reopened, and quickly rose to the top of Disneyland Resort’s guest satisfaction surveys. Similarly, when Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Tape Live was first announced, you could practically hear the eye-rolling from old-school EPCOT admirers, who predicted the show would be the worst shoehorning of an intellectual property into World Showcase since 1994’s Magical World of Barbie.Well, get ready for a twist more shocking than the end of Infinity War, because it turns out that the Guardians of the Galaxy know how to throw a pretty great party. The thematic justification for the venue is vaporous at best, but taken on its own terms, Awesome Mix Tape Live turned out to be far more entertaining than anyone could have predicted. We’re not saying anyone should skip their Soarin’ FastPass just to see it, but if you aren’t on a tight touring plan, it’s worth stopping in for a performance while in the back half of World Showcase.Rocket Raccoon doesn’t appear on stage during Awesome Mix Tape Live!, but you might spot him in the sound booth.Here are six reasons why Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Tape Live is unexpectedly non-awful:1. The SetlistWisely, this show is all about the songs, and the selections include the cream of the crop from both Guardians of the Galaxy movie soundtracks. It kicks off with Blue Suede’s Hooked on a Feeling, whose iconic “Ooga-Chaka” intro is indelibly linked to the first film’s trailer; we were disappointed when the tune wasn’t picked as one of the random options in the Mission: Breakout ride, so it’s great to hear it here. That’s followed by Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” and Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” with “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 capping off the twenty-minute set. Every song is a certified crowd-pleaser, and there are no down-tempo numbers to sap the show’s momentum.2. The MusiciansDisney probably could have gotten away with a glorified meet-and-greet using pre-recorded music (like the Guardians of the Galaxy dance party in DCA), but instead they went all out with a six-piece live band, consisting of a keyboard player, drummer, bass and lead guitarists, and a pair of horn players. That’s more instrumentalists than some Broadway touring companies employ these days. Better yet, this band really rocks, and their energy elevates what could easily have otherwise been cosplay karaoke. Kudos also go to the sound crew, who give the mix just enough bass to make you want to bang your head, without blowing out the vocals.3. The SingersThose vocals are delivered by a lead male vocalist with silvery cybernetic makeup; he’s backed up by a pair of purple females who do the heavy lifting by harmonizing, and occasionally take the spotlight. There are two rotating casts, and their vocal talents range for “pretty good for a theme park” to “why aren’t you famous yet?” In fact, actress Michelle Knight was in the Broadway cast of Jersey Boys, and starred off Broadway in Disenchanted. Legends like Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury are hard acts to follow, but this cast has the professional pipes to do their songs justice.4. The Production ValuesFor a short-term production, Disney apparently invested a surprising amount of money, starting with the wall of supersized LED screens behind the stage, which display adorable new animations of Baby Groot. Then there’s the pyrotechnics, which range from blasts of fog and fire to spinning sparklers and roman candles. And don’t overlook the movie-quality costumes and makeup for the cast and crew. Awesome Mix Tape Live has been dismissed by some as nothing but a quick cash grab, but the superior stagecraft suggests otherwise.5. The ActorsStar-Lord and Gamora don’t sing during the show, and they don’t do stunts, though Gamora gets in some martial arts acrobatics during a girl-power moment. But they do bind the production together with their between-song banter, and these performers do a fine job embodying their character’s cinematic personas. The actors playing Peter Quill have to work particularly hard, since their hairpieces are fairly hilarious – though vastly improved over the wigs used at previous meet and greets – but these guys manage to pull off Chris Pratt’s charming schmuck shtick to a T. And if you were a fan of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, you may recognize P.J. Gajda from his years playing Bill S. Preston in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure.6. The WritingSpeaking of Bill & Ted, you might detect an echo of their banter in the back-and-forth between Star-Lord and cohorts. That’s because new Guardians show was written and directed by J. Michael Roddy, who was a writer for Universal’s parody show during the late 1990s. This show’s style will also seem familiar if you’ve had the good fortune to sail on a Disney Cruise with a Marvel or Star Wars day at sea, since Roddy has helmed the theatrical productions for those as well. Sure, the storyline isn’t exactly Shakespeare, but the dialogue does a credible job of capturing the characters’ voices without becoming inaccessible to viewers unfamiliar with the franchise. And Star-Lord manages to land a couple pop-culture punchlines that made us laugh out loud.Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Tape Live is currently being performed five times each day, and is scheduled to run through August 19. The first show of the day at 1:30 p.m. is the least crowded, followed by the last at 8 p.m. Seats in the front are shaded from the elements, but benches further back give a better view of the screens and stage effects.If you can’t see the show in person, we recorded a livestream of a recent performance that you can replay of below:Finally, if you’re still not convinced that the Guardians of the Galaxy belong in Epcot, our advice is to start getting used to it. Because as you can tell from this photo of their roller coaster’s massive new show building (as seen from the parking lot), you’re going to be seeing a lot more of them in the future.Epcot’s Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster (some assembly required).
14 February 2006A South African consortium has struck a US$1.5-billion (R9.25-billion) deal to modernise India’s Mumbai airport.The consortium, made up of Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), Bidvest Group Limited and Indian infrastructure company GVK, beat nine other bidders to win the tender.Known as GVK-SA, the consortium will modernise, operate, develop and manage the airport for a concession period of 30 years, with the option of a further 30 years.During that time the Indian government will retain a 26% shareholding in the venture, with GVK holding 37% and Acsa 10%.South African Transport Minister Jeff Radebe welcomed the deal, saying it was “just the beginning” of Acsa’s global expansion. He said upgrading airports and other transport infrastructure to be efficient and well-managed was crucial for development.“This deal is not only important because of the money involved, but also because transport is important for the realisation of the Nepad [New Partnership for Africa’s Development] goals and objectives,” Radebe said.“As government we want to encourage Acsa to embark on more projects such as this, both in Africa and abroad.”Airport know-howMonhla Hlahla, managing director of Acsa, said the company would provide the project with know-how on policies and procedures, IT solutions, quality and environmental management, maintenance and engineering, safety, service standards, capacity planning and master plans, project management, route and traffic development, ands stakeholder management.Acsa will also provide technical exchange programmes as part of its skills transfer initiatives within various functional areas.“However, I must hasten to mention that the learning experience will be a two-way process for Acsa and the Mumbai International Airport employees,” Hlahla said.“Through these initiatives the company will gain invaluable experience from exposure to the Indian environment. This transaction will enrich all employees and partners involved.”The deal will also create jobs within Acsa, as seasoned professionals are to be regularly posted to Mumbai.She added that Acsa could also earn money for the Indian government through other commercial activities, as the company was positioned to “realise an all-encompassing commercial transformation for Mumbai International Airport”.The “remarkable” growth of commercial revenue has contributed significantly to Acsa’s financial success over the years.It has grown by 364% in the last eight years at a rate nearly three times that of the company’s air-transport revenues, Hlahla said.She explained that GVK had been chosen as a partner because of the company’s commitment to the deal and experience of various infrastructure projects in India, such as in the power sector, toll-roads and urban infrastructure.GVK has also had successful partnerships with credible international partners such as the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, its ability to raise debt finance in the Indian market, its approach of an equal partnership with the South African consortium and its shared values of corporate governance.Source: BuaNews
Hong Kong Airport has been forced to close for a second-day reports NBC.NBC said that “all check-in services at Hong Kong airport’s main terminal shut down for a second day on Tuesday after protesters blocked the entrance of the building.”Arriving flights are not impacted.“Terminal operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted as a result of the public assembly at the airport today,” the airport announced in a statement sent to reporters it says.All check-in service for departure flights were suspended at 4:30 p.m. the airport authority added. Other departure and arrival flights for the rest of the day would continue, it said.It told members of the public not to come to the airport.The shut down will cause massive knock-on disruptions for days particularly for Cathay Pacific Airways which will have many aircraft and crews out of position.The disruptions will also have a significant impact on forward bookings with intending or booked passengers changing plans to avoid Hong Kong.Hubs such as Singapore and Seoul and their airlines will be major beneficiaries.
The Alabama Department of Revenue has repealed and replaced its apportionment rules for corporate income taxpayers, effective June 25, 2016. The new multistate tax rules are promulgated to reflect the correct LRS numbering format, amendments to the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) rules as approved by the MTC executive committee, technical corrections, and statutory changes. Some of the changes are set forth below.Business income. The definition of business income has been up updated to reflect legislative changes by Act 2001-1113, providing that business income is income arising from transactions or activity in the taxpayer’s trade or business.Payroll factor. For purposes of determining a taxpayer’s payroll factor, a leased employee is an employee of the client (lessee) organization. A leased employee is also treated as an employee of the employee leasing company. The rules also provide guidance for temporary employees by specifying that compensation paid for personal services provided to client companies by employees of temporary help agencies is included in the payroll factor of the temporary agency and is generally excluded from the payroll factor of the client company. Finally, in order to prevent distortions in the payroll factor, the Commissioner may require compensation paid to a related member’s employee to be included in the payroll factor of a taxpayer regardless of which entity actually paid the compensation.Property factor. Intangible drilling and development costs are included in the property factor whether or not they have been expensed for either federal or state tax purposes. Also, for purposes of the valuation of rented property, “annual rent” does not include royalties based on extraction of natural resources, whether represented by delivery or purchase.Sales factor. The rules are updated to reflect statutory changes including double weighted sales and market based sourcing. Special rules address liquid assets. Also, the provision that excludes, from the sales factor, substantial amounts of gross receipts that arise from incidental or occasional sale of a fixed asset used in the regular course of the taxpayer’s trade or business has been removed.Petition for alternative method. Specific guidance is provided for a taxpayer that petitions to use an alternative method of allocation or apportionment. Petitions must be in written form and submitted directly to the attention of the Department Secretary. A petition attached to an original or amended return will not be considered a valid petition. If the department processes a return that uses an unapproved alternative method that does not mean the department has accepted the taxpayer’s proposed alternative method. The department will notify the taxpayer, in writing, that an alternative method has been approved. The taxpayer may then file an amended or original return utilizing the approved alternative method. Proposed alternative methods not approved within 90 days of the post mark date of the petition are denied unless the taxpayer and the department agree in writing to extend the time period. In order to appeal the denial of a petition, the taxpayer should file an amended return using the proposed alternative method. If that return involves a petition for a refund the taxpayer may appeal its denial or deemed denial of its petition for refund either to the Alabama Tax Tribunal or Circuit Court.Special industry rules. The MTC special industry rules, including airlines, construction contractors, publishing, railroads, television and radio broadcasting, trucking companies, and telecommunications and ancillary service providers have been adopted.Rules 810-27-1.01, 810-27-1.02, 810-27-1.09 through 810-27-1.19, Alabama Department of Revenue, effective June 25, 2016
For Hurricane Michael victims, the Georgia DOR grants amnesty for taxes not administered by the IRS, like sales and use tax.Georgia Counties AffectedThe amnesty applies to taxpayers affected by the hurricane in the following Georgia counties declared part of the disaster area: Baker, Bleckley, Burke, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Emanuel, Grady, Houston, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Pulaski, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Treutlen, Turner, Wilcox, and Worth.Taxpayers in counties added to the disaster area later automatically receive the amnesty. Information on what Georgia counties are included in the disaster area can be found at irs.gov/newsroom/help-for-victims-of-hurricane-michael.Qualifying TaxpayersThe amnesty is offered to the following Georgia taxpayers:– people living in the specified counties, if affected by the disaster;– businesses whose principal place of business is in a specified county, if affected by the disaster;– taxpayers not in the disaster area but whose records are in the disaster area;– relief workers affiliated with recognized government or philanthropic organizations helping in relief activities in the disaster area; and– people visiting the disaster area who were injured or killed by the disaster.Deadlines AffectedThe amnesty applies to return filing, tax payment, and other time-sensitive acts specified by the IRS. It applies to:– original or extended due dates occurring on or after October 9, 2018, and before Feb. 28, 2019;– monthly sales tax returns originally due in the months of October 2018 through February 2019;– quarterly sales tax returns due in October 2018 and January 2019; and– annual sales tax returns due in January 2019.Taxpayers who had an extension to file their 2017 return that was set to expire on October 15, 2018, now have until February 28, 2019, to file. However, the payments associated with these extensions are not eligible for the amnesty.Excluded ReliefThe amnesty does not apply to:– International Fuel Tax Agreement interest,– scheduled payments resulting from a taxpayer entering an Installment Payment Agreement, or– payments under a 2017 return extension due to expire on October 15, 2018.Paper Return FilersIf an affected taxpayer files paper returns, they should write “2018 Hurricane Michael” across the top of any forms submitted to the DOR.QuestionsTaxpayers should call the DOR at (877) 423-6711 if they:– need assistance,– have questions, or– are assessed a penalty and believe they are entitled to the amnesty.Department of Revenue Extends Relief to Victims of Hurricane Michael, Georgia Department of Revenue, October 12, 2018, ¶201-222Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.
England have made a statement but India favourites to win series: Adam Gilchrist to India TodayIndia are favourites to win the five-Test series despite a strong start by England in the opening match in Rajkot, says former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.Wonder how Virat Kohli maintains his good looks: Harbhajan SinghVeteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh heaped praises on Virat Kohli’s captaincy and said the India Test captain will take the team to new heights.Don’t expect Ashwin to take five-wicket hauls consistently: Sourav GangulySourav Ganguly wants Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami to lift their game and said India can’t always depend on Ravichandran Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja to claim five wickets on good tracks.Maria Sharapova to resume as UN goodwill ambassador in AprilSharapova became an ambassador for the UN Development Programme in 2007, but was dropped in March after admitting she had used the banned substance meldonium.Neymar shines as Brazil beat Argentina 3-0 in World Cup qualifierThe lopsided victory over Argentina extended Brazil’s successful streak under new coach Tite to five matches, giving the qualification leaders 24 points from 11 matches.
I was recently shopping at BestBuy with my wife, Kirsten. She’s close to the opposite end of the tech-geek spectrum as I am (she uses a computer every day, but mostly for useful things and is not particularly concerned about some of the religious debates around technology and the relative merits of one thing vs. the other. She’s not going to be running out to buy an iPhone as soon as it launches (I likely will be). I’m currently in the market for a new DVD player at home. I’m generally not big on DVDs as I find the whole notion of moving data bits around using atoms organized into shiny disks someone quaint. My parents are visiting us from India, and there are some things they want to watch that are not “in the cloud” somehwere — only on DVD. But I digress. What do you think? How important is a simple name in helpling customers make a decision? So, my question is this: Of the thousands of mere mortals (i.e. not tech-geeks) that will make the DVD player buying decision in the coming months and years, how many times will this story repeat itself? How many people will walk out the door with an HD DVD player simply because they think it’s the “natural” choice”? How many of these decisions will it take for HD DVD to become the prevailing standard not on technical merit, but just because of the name? If we think back to the VHS vs. BetaMax debate, I find a bit of similarity. VHS (when people asked) stood for “Video Home System”. BetaMax didn’t stand for anything. Will history repeat itself? Originally published Jun 6, 2007 10:43:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 So, we are in the market for a DVD player. I’ve been following the HD / DVD Blu-Ray debate for a while — primarily as a curious bystander, because it didn’t really affect me all that much — until now. As I was walking down the DVD player aile in the store with Kirsten, she paused and pointed to one and said “why not just buy this one”. (It was an HD DVD player). I asked her why that particular one had caught her eye. Her response: “Well, it’s an HD DVD player. Aren’t you all over that whole HD thing?” She basically thought HD DVD was what connected to our HDTV and that was that. The whole notion of Blu-Ray with all it’s technical merits never crossed her mind. It just made sense to her that an HD DVD went along with an HD TV. In her mind, Blu-Ray wasn’t even in the race. Decision made. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Marketers and small business owners we speak with at HubSpot often ask how many visitors their site should be getting.The answer depends on several variables including size of company, industry, and the type of product or service the company is selling. To provide a general benchmark, I pulled together some aggregate data on website traffic based on company size and type.The chart below shows the median weekly unique website visitors for 1,324 HubSpot customers for the 7 days ending September 10, 2009. So, if you’re a 6-10 person B2B company and you’re getting 124 unique visitors a weekly you’re about average for similar companies.A few notes on the data: The median was used as opposed to the average since a few sites with large numbers of visitors skewed the average up in each category. Therefore, the median serves as a better benchmark for typical companies in each segment. I broke out the data by size of company based on number of employees and also by whether the site is for a B2B or B2C company. Not surprisingly, companies with more employees tend to have more website visitors. Also, B2C companies have more visitors than B2B companies regardless of size. However, it’s interesting to note that the difference in visitors between B2C and B2B sites seems to be more pronounced in larger companies:• B2C companies with over 200 employees had 203% more unique visitors than the B2B with over 200 employees.• B2C companies with 1 to 5 employees had only 67% more unique visitors than the B2B with 1 to 5 employees.Two groups of customers were filtered out of the analysis:• Customers with less than five unique visitors per week were filtered out of the analysis since those customers often have not fully launched their websites or have not installed the HubSpot tracking software.• HubSpot customers that signed up after 7/31/09 were excluded to ensure that the tracking software was fully installed and functional at the time of measurement. How to Generate Leads for Small Business Originally published Sep 22, 2009 8:15:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Web Analytics Topics: Learn how small businesses can level the playing field and generate leads efficiently by leveraging inbound Internet marketing strategies and tools.Download our Lead Generation for Small Business Webinar.
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Since 1997, the Harry Potter books have been a big part of many of our lives. Whether you were someone who stood in line for hours to be the first to see a new movie or anxiously awaited a book release to find out if Harry Potter would finally defeat Voldemort, you have been a part of the Harry Potter revolution. But this story goes beyond a wizard in a magical world to a strategic approach that J.K. Rowling took when writing the books and marketing them. So as the movie series comes to an end on Friday, think about the marketing lessons that can be learned from Harry Potter. 1. Develop a Strategic Approach When J.K. Rowling first started to write the Harry Potter books , she knew exactly how the characters and story were going to develop. For years, fans asked her how the story was going to end, if Harry was going to die, if Snape had allegiance to Dumbledore or Voldemort. She never said a word, but she told the world that she knew the answers. As a marketer, it is important to develop a strategy. Create goals, and execute your strategy with those goals in mind. You will find that you will have more success with a strategic approach from the beginning until the end than you will if you just make it up as you go. 2. Viral Marketing After the phenomenon began, J.K. Rowling did not have to do much promoting. The fans took over and created many viral campaigns on her behalf talking about the excitement they had over upcoming releases. Harry Potter is often a trending topic on Twitter, Facebook events and page are abundant and thousands of bloggers create posts on their behalf. These promotions are more genuine because they come from the source, the fans, instead of the person who makes a profit. In the same ways, marketers need to utilize inbound marketing to create the same buzz over their product, service or company. Positive reviews and promotions that come straight from consumers are more valuable than content that comes from the company. Utilize the different social media tools that are available online to create the hype that you need to be successful. 3. Multi-Channel Approach J.K. Rowling used multiple channels to reach her audience. She recognized that her audience ranged from young children to adults, and she needed to cater to their interests. In addition to the books and movies, she created an experience through amusement parks like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. She is now entering the social media space by creating Pottermore which will open in October. The Harry Potter trailers reached millions of viewers on YouTube . Marketers should follow her example by using many channels to get their message out. Different parts of your audience are more attracted through different means making it necessary to use a healthy mix of promotional tools. 4. Play Off Your Audience’s Personality After a few book releases, J.K. Rowling knew how to reach her audience. She knew the anticipation of new books or movies, sneak previews and subtle hints made her audience go wild. In the years to come, she used this knowledge to generate more buzz about anything relating to Harry Potter. Marketers need to do a lot of research to understand and connect with their audience. The more knowledge you have, the easier it will be to execute your strategy. If your audience is attracted by a certain channel, use it. If your audience is attracted by a certain message, use it. If your audience is attracted by a certain spokesperson, use them. Having this knowledge about your audience puts you miles ahead of your competitors. 5. Create a Distinct Brand When you think of Harry Potter a few keywords come to mind. They could be wizard, lightning bolt scar, Quidditch, or “the boy who lived.” These characteristics of this book series are recognized by people who aren’t even fans. J.K. Rowling has created a distinct brand for Harry Potter that is comparable to Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola. Marketers need to follow this lead and create specific and identifiable brands for their company or cause. What message does your brand have? What is your brand supposed to symbolize? How will other people connect with your brand? What does your brand mean to your audience? Identifying all aspects of your brand is important at the start of any campaign.What other marketing lessons can you think of from the Harry Potter series?Photo Credit: bibicall Marketing Advice Originally published Jul 12, 2011 5:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Topics:
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack What did you expect, pay-per-clue? PPC Originally published Jan 16, 2012 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: