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December Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

22 Dec

DECEMBER’S WONDERS

Earthrise.dec2017

Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968. Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, was entering lunar orbit. As it was circumnavigating the moon, Astronaut Bill Anders took Earthwise, the iconic picture showing Earth peeking out from beyond the lunar surface …. And then poet Archibald MacLeish penned the essay Riders on the Earth that appeared in The New York Times on Christmas Day that year:

“For the first time in all of time, men have seen the Earth … seen it from the depths of space … To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold. Brothers who know that they are truly brothers.” Amen to that.

 

WE ARE FAMILY

Mishpocha.Peanuts.gang.dec2017-USE

mishpocha mish-paw-khuh, –poo kh-uh noun 1: Yiddish. an entire family network comprising relatives by blood and marriage and sometimes including close friends; clan, kin, kindred, tribe.

“We’re all mishpocha here.” The Yiddish word is from Hebrew, literally meaning family. Sure, it can be used that way but it can also mean so much more. It defines the connectedness we feel with others. Around these holidays, we show our appreciation for our own mishpocha. That could be our blood family or the friends we choose to be our family … In the 1960s, the Chase Manhattan Bank had a well-known advertising slogan: “You have a friend at Chase Manhattan.” There was a bank next to one of the Chase branches that posted this sign: “— but here you have mishpocha!” … Friends are the family we make. The holidays are all about celebrating our mishpocha. So I hope you, my mishpocha, will enjoy a wonderful and fulfilling holiday season.

 

THE SOUND OF ART

Kandinsky.dec2017.brighter-USE

Look at this painting. After a little while you can see the music. Wassily Kandinsky made a mission of how colors and forms affect human emotions. Known for his lyrical style, he was interested in the relationship between art and classical music and painted the visual equivalent of writing a symphony. Inspired by a performance of Wagner’s Lohengrin, Kandinsky used colors and shapes to evoke sounds. He even named his paintings as if they were musical pieces, such as Composition 8 (in the Guggenheim’s permanent collection). Kandinsky believed that abstract colors and forms can be used to express the “inner life” of the artist. He was born on December 16, 1866 in Moscow, Russia and died December 13, 1944 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. December is a good time to honor this truly musical artist.

 

SO WHAT!

So.dec2017-USE

so sō/ Adverb 1. to such a great extent. 2. to the same extent (used in comparisons). Conjunction 1. and for this reason; therefore. 2. with the aim that; in order that.

So I was wondering, have you noticed that it seems everybody is starting their sentences with “So”? We’re not talking about the dictionary’s description. In fact it’s so prevalent that it’s being called a linguistic epidemic. An epidemic? But it only has two letters! Pay attention and you’ll hear experts on the morning shows start their answers with it. Is it a tactic to buy time to think up an answer? Or is the person conveying that what they have to say is particularly important so you should pay attention? Perhaps it’s a signal that the interviewee is uncomfortable with the topic or the questions being asked. In a well-known interview with the New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg managed to use “So” to start four sentences in just one response! … This verbal tic and its gratuitous use is just plain annoying. There is nothing wrong with taking a moment to collect your thoughts and then answer the question. It is true that “So” helps start a conversation in an agreeable tone. Hey, comics and storytellers use it to warm up their audience all the time. But consider this. It is possible that its use in this way is ungrammatical or incorrect, but that’s not really it. What is it but a cultural change over time in colloquial speech. One that is growing, encouraged by the next generation, and eventually it will become the norm. Oh! And don’t get me started on its use in place of a period at the end of a sentence, with the person’s voice trailing off. As if there was something more to be said but there really isn’t. That, too, is very annoying.

 

CHEWIE COME! GOOD BOY

Chewbacca.dec2017-USE

Did you know that the inspiration for Star Wars’ Chewbacca was a dog? According to George Lucas, the lovable Wookiee is based on his Alaskan Malamute, Indiana. “…And when I’d drive around, she’d sit in the front seat. Having her with me all the time inspired me to give Han Solo a sidekick who was like a big, furry dog.” …  The name Chewbacca is actually a derivation of sobaka, the Russian word for dog. The character was envisioned as a mix between a monkey and a dog, and his voice comes from bear vocalizations mixed with lions, badgers, camels, rabbits, and walruses. As Han Solo’s best and most loyal friend, the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon sure seems like a dog! (Note: Yeah, that’s right, George Lucas named Indiana Jones after his dog.)

 

DOG NEWS

DogNews.CanaanDog.dec2017

Could these be the oldest images of dogs as hunting companions? Researchers have discovered cave art in Saudi Arabia that dates back thousands of years and possibly shows hunters leading dogs on leashes.  The modern day Canaan breed of dog (top) seems to resemble the ancient hunting dogs of Saudi Arabia (bottom). The image of a man ready to shoot an arrow with dogs tied to him (being led on leashes?) by his side shows their use as hunting partners. If in fact it is proven that these engravings date back to 9,000 or 8,000 B.C., it could possibly show the world’s first images of dogs. But the Smithsonian Institute Museum of Natural History’s archaeozoologists think that the Arabian Desert cave art might be from 5,000 B.C., when physical evidence of pastoralism was first documented. Dogs were domesticated during the Neolithic period as dog bones dating back roughly ten thousand years were found where humans settled. But it’s more likely that dog domestication was furthered by humans who benefitted from hunting with them. So we can conclude two things: that our emotional attachment to these amiable creatures goes back a long, long time; and that my own companion, Barkley, will still never come when I call him.

 

ENDNOTE: WILLIE NELSON

EndNote.blessings.dec2017

“When I started counting my blessings,
my whole life turned around.”

 

WE CAN HELP

CREDIT: Barry G. Schwartz

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and today, is one of the largest in the world. Its mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” This includes animal rescues, adoptions, working with the government on animal protection laws, and so much more. The end of the year is an opportune time to consider making a donation so they may continue to help animals.

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.TPMarquee.dec2017.blurry-USE

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Runnin’ Down a Dream

It seems to me the perfect thing to do is to end the year with Tom Petty singing about his dreams of endless possibilities. Watch the video of this live performance. Then listen to the glorious ovation the band gets as they walk off the stage. I figure the sound of all those people clapping and shouting can be our own everlasting salute to a positive spirit whose enduring music lives on. You are wrapping up our year, TP. May you still be driving into the great wide open looking for something good down the road!

 C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin’
Trees flew by, me and Del were singin’ little Runaway
I was flyin’ 

Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream 

I felt so good like anything was possible
I hit cruise control and rubbed my eyes
The last three days the rain was unstoppable
It was always cold, no sunshine 

Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream 

I rolled on as the sky grew dark
I put the pedal down to make some time
There’s something good waitin’ down this road
I’m pickin’ up whatever’s mine 

Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

 

 

 

Who rescued whom?KEEP-YP+BarkleySo grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
KEEP-Buddha“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Earthrise pic: Earthrise, December 24, 1968, NASA
Archibald MacLeish essay quote: Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth by Robert Poole
George Lucas quote: Wookieepedia
Dog News pic: Science Magazine, November 2017
Dog News facts: National Geographic
ASPCA pic: ASPCA puppies adopted in cardboard boxes, 1970’s
Tom Petty lyrics: Jeff Lynne, Michael Campbell, Tom Petty ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

December 22, 2017
All Rights Reserved

October Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

28 Oct

OCTOBER’S COOL!

snoopy-october-2-oct2016

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.
(George Cooper 1840-1927)

 

TAKE IT EASY

glennfreystatue-oct2016-cr

Well I’m standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see … Why it’s a bronze statue of Eagles founding member Glenn Frey who wrote those lyrics that ended up memorializing Winslow forever. The idea for the statue came from two radio morning hosts on Phoenix classic rock station KSLX to pay tribute to Frey’s impact on Arizona’s history. He is portrayed with his long hair and handlebar mustache, the way he looked in the early 1970s. And of course, there he is standing in “Standin’ On The Corner in Winslow, Arizona Park”Just find a place to make your stand and take it easy.

 

SHERLOCK FEELS NO PAIN

sherlockandpinkfloyd-oct2016

“Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?” The extraordinary actor who stars as Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, joined David Gilmour on stage to sing Roger Waters’s part on Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. It was an unannounced appearance for the surprised crowd at Royal Albert Hall. After delivering the line, “That’ll keep you going through the show, Come on, it’s time to go,” Cumberbatch left, yielding the stage to Gilmour.

 

THE AMERICAN ELM

americanelmtree-oct2016-cr-use

“The calm quiet strength of a tree
Showing anyone near
All the secrets of time
The calm quiet strength of a tree”

In the fall of 1858, the plans for New York City’s Central Park was underway. Land was set aside and plans drawn up to create a peaceful oasis in a busy city. On October 17, 1858, the very first tree was planted. It was the first of more than 20,000 trees now thriving in the Park … Central Park’s American Elm trees that line the Mall (also known as Literary Walk) are cherished and protected. A fence enclosing them has signs that say: Protect the American Elm: Please keep out. For this is one of the largest and last remaining groves of American Elm trees in North America. They were popular in 19th century landscaping (hence all the Elm Streets!), but due to Dutch Elm disease in the 20th century many of them died. Walking under their graceful canopy feels like you’re walking in a cathedral. Still green, the leaves on their twisty branches will soon turn to the fall colors, a beautiful and wondrous sight.

Hermann Hesse wrote about his love of trees: “… when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy.”

 

DYLAN’S NOBEL PRIZE

dylan-nobel-oct2016

“Do you love me or are you just extending goodwill?” … It’s love alright. Love for Bob Dylan who received the Nobel Prize in Literature for the poetry of his timeless, ever relevant lyrics and for the influence his body of work continues to yield. This is the first time a musician has been given this award. Born Robert Zimmerman, he fittingly adopted the name Dylan after the poet Dylan Thomas. Even Joyce Carol Oates notes this is an “inspired and original choice, his haunting music and lyrics have always seemed, in the deepest sense, literary.” And most significant the award acknowledges that the beauty of his words has import and that songwriting is a laudable inclusion in the pantheon of literature.

dylan-timesareachangin-oct2016

 

CLASSICS NEVER GET OLD

oldcellaconcert-oct2016

“I was so much older then I’m younger than that now.” If Dylan said it, it must be true. All these artists are over 70, yet there’s no denying they are forever young. Desert Trip, the classic rock festival in Indio, CA, gathered thousands, 75,000 in attendance each night. Dubbed Oldchella, their songs are invincible and timeless with lyrics that are as important now as they were when they were written in the 60s and 70s. Our collective memory is tied-up in these songs and these artists. Rock ‘n ‘roll is nothing less than life-affirming. We consider their mortality and take the opportunity to worship our heroes while we still can. “May your heart always be joyful, And may your song always be sung, May you stay forever young.”

 

CLASSICAL AND ROCK: “TEAR DOWN THIS WALL”

mikemills-oct2016-use

Echoing President Reagan’s message to Gorbachev, R.E.M.’s bassist Mike Mills and violinist Robert McDuffie are doing just that. They have collaborated on Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra and are touring together with a chamber orchestra performing the six-movement work in opera houses and concert halls across the country. Both are classically trained but went in different musical directions. Working on the concerto, they intentionally wanted to combine the two genres. Says Mills, “One of the main things I like about [the concerto] is that we are trying to break down the walls between classical and rock ‘n’ roll, to show that there are elements within each that translate into the other. Some of the piano parts I wrote for R.E.M. have really small, tiny, little classical elements…” … It’s really cool and joyous. Take a listen to these excerpts.

 

BIGLY: ADVERB

bigly-oct2016-oxford1933

He said what??? Is bigly a word? For many of us, its use in the last presidential debate was the first time we heard it. I looked it up and it is a word. A variation of big, an adverb we commonly use, it means big, in a big manner, largely, comprehensively. The picture above shows the definition as it appears in the Oxford Universal dictionary from 1933. Bigly dates back to Middle English, when it meant in a blustering manner, haughtily, pompously. Lasting until the early 20th century, it has fallen out of use in our contemporary vocabulary … Look, he could be saying big league but swallowing the last g. A term that comes from baseball, players work their way up the ladder from the minor leagues to reach the major leagues, also called the big leagues … Back to bigly! The suffix -ly means in this way as in: largely, hugely, broadly, shortly. So why don’t we say: bigly, longly, smally, littly? There is no reason semantically. I think it’s going to catch on. Bigly is going to be huge. Believe me.

 

PETALS FOR PEACE

yoko-oct2016-grass-use

Yoko Ono’s first permanent public art installation in the US is a giant lotus flower in Chicago’s Jackson Park. The Sky Landing sculpture was constructed near a Japanese garden in an area dedicated to Japan-US relations (Yoko was born in Tokyo). The artwork has 12 large steel lotus petals and mounds that form the yin yang symbol to represent peace. It is a “place where the sky and earth meet and create a seed to learn about the past and come together to create a future of peace and harmony, with nature and each other.”

 

FLUTIST, NOT FLAUTIST

Silver flute on a musical score

I am a flutist (pronounced FLOO-tist) because Jean-Pierre Rampal was a flutist. He was my role model and whatever he did was good enough for me. So why do people ask if I am a flautist (pronounced FLOU-tist)? Although technically, they’re both right, flutist is more right. Nathaniel Hawthorne used flautist in The Marble Faun in 1860, perhaps because it was set in Italy where flute is flauto and a flutist is a flautista. But flutist is the older term, used in 1603! Plus, flutist is an offspring of the French flûtiste, which came from flûte. Voila! Having the historical claim and the more direct lineage, flutist it is and c’est moi!

 

UPDATE: BREAKFAST IN AMERICA

pancakesinparisupdate-oct2016-cr-use

In our September Newsletter we featured Craig Carlson who opened diners in Paris that serve an authentic American breakfast! He wrote about his successful venture in Pancakes in Paris. We have made an impression all the way to the author in Paris! Our wonderful Shirley Struchen sent the Newsletter to Melissa Dixon in Paris, who met the author at his reading event. Here’s what she wrote: “I just met Pancakes in Paris author and he is so lovely! His story is fantastic. He came to Paris with $300 in his pocket. He launched an amazing restaurant. He was happy to learn about Yvette’s blog review.” Here is Melissa with the author. Merci, Melissa. C’est formidable!

 

DOG NEWS

dognews-williammerrittchase-oct2016-cr-use

In one of William Merritt Chase’s most celebrated paintings, The Tenth Street Studio (1880), the dog lies on a rug in the center of the room, head on the floor, one leg stretched across the train of an elegant white dress worn by the young woman in a blue chair. Chase’s (1849–1916) much-loved dogs were a customary presence in many of his works. His white, longhaired Wolfhound named Katti (pictured with him here) appears in several portraits. A renowned teacher at the Art Students League in New York City for 36 years, he furthered American modern art. Catch a major exhibition of Chase’s work now at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

“Before returning to America Chase purchased the beautiful white Russian hound Katti which he used in several pictures. The dog, a fastidious and aristocratic person, was the most considered member of the family. They found him rather a trying guest as he refused to eat anything but beefsteak.” (The Life and Art of William Merritt Chase by Katherine Metcalf Roof, 1917)

 

WE CAN HELP

wecanhelp-aspca-hurricane-oct2016

Hurricane Matthew ripped through the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The storm is over but the region has the lasting effects of the devastating floods. The ASPCA Disaster Response Team is always ready to deploy in natural disaster areas. So far, they have helped and transported nearly 950 animals to safety in these four states and there are still more to be saved. Our donations ensure that the Disaster Response Team has what they need – boats, leashes, medical care – to respond to animals in need.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

soundtrack-vanmorrison-oct2016

The single from his new album, Keep Me Singing:
Van Morrison’s Too Late

Magical and poetic. Mixing rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, soul, jazz, gospel, and Celtic music, no two words define Van Morrison’s music and lyrics better. A new album is always good news. On this Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer’s 36th album of 12 original songs, his inimitable Celtic soul sound is as powerful as ever. And now this Belfast native is a Sir, being knighted for his musical achievement and his service to charities in Northern Ireland. We all love Brown Eyed Girl, Moondance, Domino, and Into the Mystic so let’s take a listen to a new one. Enjoy!

 

Who rescued whom?

whorescued-img_2902-fb-sun-10-23-16

So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr

“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Comfortably Numb lyrics: David Jon Gilmour, Roger Waters ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Peermusic Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, IMAGEM MUSIC INC
The Tree poem: Tom Splitt ©1994
Hermann Hesse’s quote: Trees: Reflections and Poems (1984)
Is Your Love In Vain? Lyrics: Bob Dylan ©1978 Special Rider Music
Joyce Carol Oates quote: @JoyceCarolOates/Twitter
Times They Are A-Changin’ lyrics: Bob Dylan ©1963, 1964 Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991, 1992 by Special Rider Music
Forever Young lyrics: Bob Dylan ©1973 by Ram’s Horn Music; renewed 2001 by Ram’s Horn Music
Mike Mills quote: Rolling Stone, October 19, 2016
Sky Landing pic: Kiichiro Sato/The Associated Press
Yoko Ono quote: AP/NationalPost.com
Flute pic: Sébastien Bonaimé via Getty Images
William Merritt Chase with pet dog pic: Florence, ca. 1911, The William Merritt Chase Archives, Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY, Gift of Jackson Chase Storm
ASPCA pic: aspca.com

February Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

26 Feb

FEBRUARY FULL OF LOVE

ASPCA.ValentinesEcard.cr-use

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED

Beatles.Love.vbb55

“All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.”

A SHINING STAR SHINES FOREVER

MauriceWhite.RobVerhorst-Redferns.Feb2016

Maurice White didn’t focus on one musical genre, he mixed it all up in his band, Earth, Wind and Fire – rock, pop, funk, gospel, soul, R&B, jazz, Latin, Caribbean steel drums, and classical … Just honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys, EWF’s music “naturally appealed across racial and socio-economic lines.” … He was a unique visionary who delivered exuberant, funky music with a mighty message of peace and unity. Inspired by the times of the 70’s, his music and message are even more relevant today.

“Being joyful and positive was the whole objective of our group. Our goal was to reach all the people and to keep a universal atmosphere. All of our songs had that positive energy. To create uplifting music was the objective.” (Maurice White)

YO-YO MA

YoyoMa.Feb2016.cr-USE
A child prodigy, Yo-Yo Ma has been performing since he was five … “I started the violin when I was three. I screeched away and sounded horrible, so I gave it up…I saw this double bass and I said, ‘I want to play that.’…The cello was a compromise. So my parents said, ‘You have to promise that you’re not going to switch again.’ So I kept my promise and I’m still playing the cello.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

MetLogo.old.feb2016MetLogo.new.feb2016
Based on a woodcut in its collection by Luca Pacioli (Leonardo da Vinci’s colleague), the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “M” logo (top) has been iconic for 45 years – suggesting the museum’s great hall with its three square chambers topped by circular vaults or the proportional geometries of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man. Whichever, it has been hailed a classic, conveying what it represents – art, history, and architecture … So what do you think of the new logo (bottom)? Does it look like “a typographic double-decker bus crash” (New York Magazine)? Or Robert Indiana’s “Love” sculpture? Is it clean and modern? Is the red too bold? Does it say: museum? And the two words – did you think it referred to the opera house, also called The Met? Changing a company’s logo generates buzz, even controversy. Will this new logo unify this massive institution’s identity and connect its past to the future, as it is designed to do? Will it endure? Time will tell.

DOG NEWS

Westminster.TimothyA.Clary.AFP.GettyImages.Feb2016

No, the adorable, stubborn, spirited, intelligent, and brave Westie did not win the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show’s Best in Show. That honor went to the German Shorthaired Pointer named CJ. Rumor the German Shepherd, Charlie the Skye Terrier, and Bogey the Samoyed came close. Judge Richard Meen explained, “It’s very important that every dog take me back to what they were bred to do. Pointer CJ never stopped looking, focused in front of him, and he floated around the ring.” … New breeds welcomed in this year included the Bergamasco, Boerboel, Berger Picard, Mini American Shepherd, Spanish Water Dog, and the Lagotto Romagnolo.

DogNews.DavidFrei

Faithful companion. Could be said of dogs, sure, but must also be said of their human ambassador, David Frei. This was the last time he hosted Westminster. But we will still hear his knowledgeable and warmhearted commentary at the National Dog Show … Here he is with Gracie (left) and Angel, for whom his Angel On A Leash organization is named. A human who is synonymous with the love of dogs.

WE CAN HELP

DOgNews.WestminsterPOster.Feb2016

This year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show poster is a 19th century painting by J.M. Tracy, Haunt of the Woodcock: Sensation and Bang Bang. It depicts the Pointer, Westminster Kennel Club’s symbol since 1877 The recipient for the poster sales proceeds is the Warrior Canine Connection. Using Canine Connection Therapy, they help Wounded Warriors learn how to train service dogs for their fellow veterans. By interacting with the dogs from puppyhood to training to adult service dogs, Warrior Trainers benefit from the interaction with the dogs and the veterans with disabilities receive the finest in trained service dogs … By purchasing this poster, we can help bring the healing power of dogs to these heroes.

Soundtrack to this IssueSoundtrack.DowntonAbbey.Feb2016Philip Glass’s Escape! (The Hours OST)

We hear the familiar stirring theme music begin each episode and we know what’s in store. In celebration of Downton Abbey, here’s [hear] something interesting: Downton Abbey’s theme composer, John Lunn, admits he “started out with elements of Philip Glass and I did listen to a lot of English, early 20th century music … But the underlying harmony is actually very simple and perhaps almost a bit like pop music.” … Take a listen to Philip Glass’s Escape from Stephen Daldry’s film, The Hours. Both themes share a similar mood – evocative, moving, and hypnotic.

Who rescued whom?Barkley.WeCanHelp.Dec2015So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
All You Need Is Love lyrics: John Lennon and Paul McCartney ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Maurice White pic: February 1982, Rob Verhorst, Redferns
Producer Wayne Edwards quote: Roger Thompson, NY Times, February 12, 2016
Maurice White quote: Songwriter Universe, March 28, 2007
Yo-Yo Ma child pic: Adelaide de Menil, New York Magazine, January 12, 2016

Yo-Yo Ma quote: New York Magazine, January 12, 2016
Met logos: Metropolitan Museum of Art
West Highland White Terriers at Westminster pic: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Judge Meen quote: NY Times, February 17, 2016
David Frei pic: Ben Walker/AP
Downton Abbey pic: PBS
John Lunn quote: Hollywood Reporter, September 4, 2012

February Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

25 Feb

DOGS TAKE THE LEAD IN FEBRUARY

SoBestInShow1942.westie.Feb2015 it was that the Westie won the 1942 Westminster Best in Show! Terriers have won more than any other group. The wonderful David Frei explains it’s their assertive nature. “Goldens and Labs (both have no wins) are looking at their people as if to say, ‘What are we going to do now?’ Terriers have a little bit more of an edge because they were originally bred to look for trouble. They’re always on their toes trying to find out what’s going on next, and they don’t care who’s behind them.” … Then there’s showmanship. That’s the ability to grab the attention of everyone watching, including the judge, and that’s the icing on the dog biscuit … The Metropolitan Museum of Art got hit with dog fever, too, acquiring a marble sculpture of a Maltese from 1782 donated by Barbara Walters in honor of Cha Cha, her beloved Havanese who died last year. Such largesse (it cost her $300,000) because, “I know everybody feels this, but Cha Cha was the best dog in the world.” Don’t we all feel that way? And isn’t each of us right? Oh, and as for its setting, the Met says: “It does have its place here, at a museum in Central Park, where thousands of dogs take their constitutionals every day.”

JOURNALISTS MAKE THE NEWS

You couldn’t watch the news without hearing about the loss of a newsman, one way or another. Each one DavidCarr.Feb2015maddeningly sad. For me, losing the NY Times’ David Carr is losing that articulate voice I turned to for an unvarnished perspective. His words always moved me, a storyteller telling the truth with invincible wonder, honesty, and humanity. To David Carr, respect worked both ways – to and from his audience. And with generosity ever present … In his penultimate Media Equation column, he wrote about Brian Williams: “I don’t know if Mr. Williams will lose his job. I don’t think he should, his transgressions were not a fundamental part of his primary responsibilities … We want our anchors to be everywhere, to be impossibly famous, globe-trotting, hilarious, down-to-earth, and above all, trustworthy. It’s a job description that no one can match.” … Finally, his colleague at the Times, A.O. Scott memorialized him thus: “He was a collector of personalities and anecdotes, a shrewd and compassionate judge of character. A warrior for the truth.” … Amen.

GRAMMY IS THE WORD

Sam Smith’s Stay With Me which came under controversy weeks before the GRAMMY show when it Grammy_logo.Feb2015was ruled that Tom Petty would receive a songwriting credit because of the song’s similarities to TP’s I Won’t Back Down (see January Newsletter), ended up with four Grammys. In accepting he said, “It was only when I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen.”Stunning. Powerful. Fearless. That would be Annie Lennox whose performance (with Hozier) stole the show … Another show stealer was Tom Jones singing (with Jessie J) the Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’Prince goaded, “Albums, remember those?” Oh yes, and we still have all yours … Through joyful tears, we note Joan Rivers posthumously won the Best Spoken Word Album Grammy for her Diary of a Mad Diva … And honoring Bob Dylan at the MusiCares gala, you might like to know that President Jimmy Carter said, “Bob Dylan’s words on peace and human rights are much more incisive and much more powerful than those of any President of the United States.” Talk about speaking truth to power!

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.AKCHumaneFund.Feb2015Every dog deserves a good home. The AKC Humane Fund protects pets, supports pet organizations, finds forever homes for dogs across the country, rehabilitates dogs with special needs, has domestic abuse shelters that offer safe havens to victims and their pets, and offers aid to animal shelters that provide pets temporary homes during disasters. Donate now so that every dog lives a happy, healthy life.

Soundtrack to this Issue is
Soundtrack.AnnieLennoxNostalgia.Feb2015
Annie Lennox singing
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic I Put a Spell on You
from her new album, Nostalgia

C’mon, sing along:
I put a spell on you
Because you’re mine
Because you’re mine
Because you’re mine

Who rescued whom?Delivery.10.29.14.happiness.cr So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to
Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
IMGP2541.cr.newsltr
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Westminster pic: AKC Archives
David Frei quote: Westminster Kennel Club
Metropolitan Museum of Art and Barbara Walters: New York Times
David Carr pic: Adweek ZUMA Press/Newscom
David Carr quote: NY Times, The Media Equation, February 8, 2015
A.O. Scott quote: NY Times, An Appraisal, Friday, February 13, 2015
Jimmy Carter quote: EW.com, February 20, 2015
Grammy logo: Grammy.com/Take40
Pug pic: AKC Humane Fund
I Put a Spell On You lyrics: Jalacy Hawkins ©1956 Alfred Music/EMI Unart Catalog Inc.

Weird Al Yankovic’s “Word Crimes” Ain’t No Crime!

16 Jul

Hooray! The king of parody sure has a way with words. Count on Weird Al to find a valuable use for Robin Thicke’s hit, Blurred Lines. In his new video, Word Crimes, Weird Al tells it like it is. Annoyed by the manifest misuse of words and phrases, bad spelling, and even worse grammar (especially on social media), he thought up a great way to express his displeasure. And to give everyone a lesson at the same time. Oh yeah, don’t get him started on those emoticons and faux abbreviations.

I hate these Word Crimes Your prose is dopey
Think you should only Write in emoji

I love words and wordplay (see my Lollapalingo.com blog posts). Having fun with words is great – but learn your grammar rules first!

You should never Write words using numbers
Unless you’re seven Or your name is Prince

Grammar is my tool. If you want to get your message heard, make friends with proper grammar.

Good time To learn some grammar
Now, did I stammer Work on that grammar

Weird Al, thanks for the education on punctuation!

WeirdAl.rca.viabillboard.7.16.15

 

Sources:
Weird Al pic: RCA via Billboard
Word Crime lyrics: from the album, Mandatory Fun (2014)

September Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

30 Sep

SEPTEMBER BRIMS WITH HEART + MUSIC

Did you know September is Piano Month? Celebrate the great instrument. Listen to the piano opening on Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water…There’s Yamaha’s new stringless piano. WWVCD. What would Van Cliburn do?…Boston rolled out 75 pianos all over town for people with skill or not, to play on and enjoy…Yoko Ono’s new album, Take Me to the Land of Hell, Yoko.albumcover.9.29.13features Questlove and Lenny Kravitz. The ever peace-promoting Yoko took a NY Times full-page, as is her custom, posting the lyrics to Cheshire Cat Cry. “I’m rolling in your dreams, listening to your screams…Stop the violence, stop all wars.”A Night With Janis Joplin concert musical opens on Broadway…Elton John and Sting released new music…The San Francisco Opera premieres Stephen King’s downright operatic story Dolores Claiborne. “With a Stephen King novel you find a person in extreme situations, and I was drawn to the psychology of that, of how we cope, how we feel,” says librettist J.D. McClatchy…The NY Phil played the score to Kubrick’s great 2001: A Space Odyssey, while the Post.RayChalesStamp.Sept.2013film played on a screen behind the Orchestra…Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, and Bono helped fight poverty at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park…Renee Fleming sang, yes, sang the Top Ten List of opera lyrics on David Letterman’s Late Show…The US Postal Service honors Ray Charles with a stamp, released on his birthday, September 23. Also offered is a CD of his greatest hits. Honor this true music icon, buy his stamp. By the way, the stamp sheet looks just like a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. Very cool…And Cher sang and talked everywhere upon theCher-Closer-to-the-Truth-Album.9.29.13 release of her new album, Closer to the Truth. Cher on Cher: “I’m serious about my work, but I don’t take myself seriously.” The single, I Hope You Find It, is pure Cher – all heart…The good news is Maestro James Levine returns to the Met Opera after a terrible fall which kept him away too long…And at the Met Museum, musicians performed period music that complemented the art in the European Paintings gallery…Alas, there is not good news for the NY City Opera company. This “people’s opera” is in need of money, lots of money, to survive. Losing an arts institution is in no one’s interest. The place Beverly Sills called home needs a benefactor who cares, really cares. In the meantime, there’s a Kickstarter campaign…The One Day University offered classes in Beethoven’s Ninth (The Story Behind the Masterpiece) and Gershwin, Ellington and the Search for an American Sound…Music plays a role in two new documentaries. Muscle Shoals about that Alabama city’s huge musical legacy. And Metallica Through the Never, a concert film. Bring your earplugs…Sir Paul, y’know the Beatle, released the single, New. “All my life, I never knew what I could be, What I could do, Then we were new.” Could it be a (silly) love song?…Finally, noted in the NY Times under In Memoriam: Isaac Stern, July 21, 1920-September 22, 2001, Fiddler.

A NEW FILM ON THE 60s TO LOVE

One man follows his dream and is an eyewitness to a noteworthy decade’s highpoints. Documentary filmmaker Chris Szwedo held a private screening of Eye on the 60s, a mesmerizing view of the sometimes serious, sometimes hilarious, and always very interesting photographer, Rowland Scherman. He started out taking pics for the Peace Corps which led to the Kennedys, then BobDylan-Halo.9.29.13RFK’s campaign tour, the March for Jobs and Freedom in DC, and to Life magazine. Barbara Walters, the Beatles, Mapplethorpe and Smith, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Arthur Ashe. There isn’t a pic he’s taken that isn’t seared into our collective memories. Scherman’s passion, his love, and his curiosity are displayed throughout his work – and all share his clear-eyed view of humanity. Oh, by the way, y’know that pic of Dylan with his hair in a halo, yeah, the pic on the cover of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, yeah, that one? That’s Rowland Scherman and it won him a Grammy. This film is not only a wonderful look at the 60s, with all the pleasures that come with that. It is a document of an artist’s intertwined life and career. Hope you catch it. I loved it.

…AND BOOKS

Although her singing has been silenced by Parkinson’s, Linda Ronstadt’s voice LindaRonstadt.9.29.13is open, honest, and sure in her new memoir, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir. With Heart Like a Wheel playing in my head, her memoir felt as heartfelt as her performance of that song is genuine…Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep arrived. In this sequel to The Shining, Danny Torrance is all grown up. Is he fighting his demons? “Dan didn’t think he’d had such a clear shine inDramaHigh.9.29.13 years. It brought a ghost of delight that went back to earliest childhood, before he had discovered how dangerous the shining could be.”…Michael Sokolove’s Drama High about a public high school’s drama program is “the incredible story of a brilliant teacher, a struggling town, and the magic of theater,” and is a testament to the importance of arts education.

ON DOGS AND LOVE 

We can be heroes. Animal Planet’s Hero Dogs of 9/11 is a tribute to the 300 K-9 DISASTER RELIEF NIKIEdogs who played an important role in the rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero. “They will literally put their lives on the line for us.”…And heroes were in abundance at the annual AKC Meet The Breeds show. From the Irish Wolfhound to a teeny Chihuahua. Beauties with big hearts all. Alas, the Westies were a no-show at the show. But Angel-on-a-Leash.9.30.13.crI had a wonderful visit with David Frei. Host of the Westminster Dog Show, his Angel On A Leash is all about therapy dogs…Along with a new year wish for peace, I leave you with a Rabbi’s sermon on love. It is not what we feel, but rather what we do…When words of likability come cheap, our deeds matter more. When our emotions become a mere mouse click, our tangible actions define true relationship.” Read it, share it, dig it!

ABOUT A BLOG 

Simon&GarfunkleInCentralPk.9.29.13Posts on Yvette Perry’s Blog include lookalike book covers, Neil Diamond’s songwriting process, the Simon and Garfunkel Concert in Central Park, George R.R. Martin’s take on fantasy, and Diana Nyad’s mantra…Also posted there is this newsletter so you can easily share it with your friends. Just click on any of the share buttons below each post.

Cher-The_Very_Best_Of_Cher.9.29.13

 Soundtrack to this Issue is Cher’s Believe,
performed live in concert in Las Vegas.
I believe in Cher.

 Buddha, stay. Good dog.IMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”  (Buddha)

Sources:
Yamaha’s AvantGrand N3: David Pogue, The NY Times
Dolores Claiborne quote: The Sacramento Bee
Ray Charles stamp: Yves Carrère, photographer/USPS
Cher’s I Hope You Find It: The Today Show
Cher quote: CBS Sunday Morning
Eye On The 60s: Chris Szwedo Productions
Bob Dylan Halo pic: Rowland Scherman
Love sermon: Rabbi Benjamin Spratt

August Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts & Trends

29 Aug

AUGUST LIVED UP TO ITS NAME

Majestic, grand, august…The rare blue moon appeared, not to be seen again in these here parts until 2015…The annual Perseid meteor shower peaked mid-month…Film at Lincoln Center’s retrospective David Bowie, Movie Star…In a little bit of book news, little book news that is, Chapter One of Genesis found in a book the size of a ladybug…Hidden in his personal archives for 50 years, Pavarotti’s first-ever recording, an aria from La Boheme taped on August 29, 1961 in Italy, just found, to be re-mastered and released…The first electric guitar patent awarded in 1937. Eric, Jimi, and Pete are grateful…The 50th anniversary of the audio cassette tape. A revolution: small, cheap, and could be played in cars…OwnSteinwayShowroom.8.29.13.useing three Steinway pianos wasn’t enough, billionaire John Paulson now owns more, lots more. He bought the company for $512M…Harlem Week, now a month-long, with food, music, and loads of culture…Prayers to Linda Ronstadt whose beautiful voice is silenced by Parkinson’s…What’s love got to do with it? Everything for Tina Turner who married her beau of 27 years. Her debut single with Ike in August 1960, A Fool in Love, “…the blackest record to creep into the white charts since Ray Charles’…” went to #2 on the R&B charts. No fool, she. Oh yeah, mazel tov!…Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sid Bernstein, who brought the Beatles to Shea in 1964, was remembered for something much more than that at his memorial. His kindness. Amen to that…Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors celebrated Americana with country, rockabilly, SoutherMostlyMozart.8.29.13n soul and rock ‘n’ roll…No mostly about it. The Mostly Mozart Festival’s closing concert led by Maestro Langrée was all Mozart…Could be a story by O. Henry. An acoustic ecologist who searches the world for nature’s quietest spots, Gordon Hempton the Sound Tracker, is going deaf. He’s racing to complete Quiet Planets, a 19-volume set of nature recordings…Left brain logical, right brain creative? New study says hooey. “The artistic network needs both sides of the brain…if art is really about communication about your emotions, if you’re not able to do that, you’re not much of an artist, are you? You always have to use both sides of your brain to be a functional human being.”…Spike Lee using Kickstarter to fund his new film. Is he doing the right thing? Discuss amongst yourselves…Richie Havens’ ashes were scattered over the site of Woodstock, where he was the opening act in 1969…August is Admit You’re Happy Month. Just as research from Scotland reveals links between culture, health and happiness. So listen to music, go see art, read books, see a movie. Find your happiness.

 CIVIL REFLECTIONS

The Butler was dramatic, emotional, thought-provoking, and inspiring, “…In this movie, history is more than a succession of public events, it is individual experience given a full measure of respect.” Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey imbued their characters with dignity and fortitude, taking us through the civil rights movement, Viet Nam, and beyond…About a lifelong hero of mine, I was looking forward to the new documentary, The Trials of Ali.8.28.13.crMuhammad Ali. Having seen all the others, what could be new? With revealing details about his conversion to Islam and refusal to serve in Viet Nam, there were remarkable interviews with his second wife, the straightforward, no-nonsense Khalilah Camacho-Ali and his loving brother, Rahaman Ali. After a long legal fight that ended in 1971, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. Ali was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King memorial award in 1970 after his return to the ring. Coretta Scott-King told Ali he was “…a champion of justice, and peace, and human dignity.” Ralph Abernathy called him “…the living example of soul power, this was the March on Washington all in two fists.” Ali followed his faith, his conscience, his moral compass…Dr. Martin Luther MLK.8.28.13.paintingKing’s March on Washington, which culminated in his I Have A Dream speech, happened 50 years ago. A day of nonviolent protest, a day of speeches, prayer and song. Thousands were there to commemorate it 50 years later. Many who appeared in The Butler and The Trials of Muhammad Ali came and spoke: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Caroline Kennedy, and President Barack Obama. Dr. King’s moral voice and his honorable message memorialized. He lifted us on hope and he is ever with us as we keep his dream.

ART IS THE DRUG THAT I’M THINKING OF

ArtEverywhere.8.14.13.makeartnotwarGreat works of art on billboards and bus-stops all over the streets of London for the Art Everywhere project…“Someday everything’s gonna be diff’rent when I paint my masterpiece.” Bob Dylan’s paintings at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Ties in with his new release, The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 Another Self Portrait (1969 – 1971). Ties in with his tour. An absolute marketing bonanza of tie-ins…Sounds of art at MOMA? Yes, sounds. Carsten Nicolai uses waves, mirrors and projections in exhibit of artists who use sound as their form of expression…Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the first photographer to have a solo show at MOMA, Walker Evans’ pictures of American life in the 1930’s…And using light, color and space, James Turrell transforms the Guggenheim. 

DOGS+PANDAS GET THE MEDIA SPOTLIGHT

PandaTaipeiZoo.YuanZai.crThe first 24-hour channel for dogs, DogTV, launched on August 1…What’s your dog telling you? Learn their facial expressions. Raised eyebrow? Pay attention to me. Left ear back? I’m scared…Sunny, also a Portie, joins Beau at the White House…Did you know that the best bomb detector is a dog? After Boston Marathon attack, demand is up. Good dog, brave dog!…Alert the media! Baby news means Pandacams everywhere…“We have a cub.” The tweet heard ‘round the world for giant panda cub born at Washington, DC’s National Zoo…The first twin pandas born in America in 26 years at the Atlanta Zoo…My heart swelled and my eyes got teary watching the mother and child reunion at the Taipei Zoo, as the mother panda swept up her cub in her arms…And Scotland’s on panda-watch, she may be pregnant…With only 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild, their survival relies on this surge in births, giving us cause to hope, and hopefully cause to celebrate. 

LE BLOG C’EST MOI

WWW.GetShorty.8.21.13We lost Elmore Leonard, but he left us Chili Palmer, Nestor Soto, Cundo Rey, Teddy Magyk, and Richie Nix. Tough guys all, but honest (in their own ways) and big hearted. Read my two tributes to him…Also posted: Glenn Gould on the arts, Patti Smith’s advice (clue: integrity!), Paul Simon’s songwriting method, marketing gone wrong, Stephen King, M&M’s+Meatloaf, before Bono there was Satchmo, and my Summer Reading List. What are you reading?…All this and more on Yvette Perry’s Blog…You can now easily share this newsletter with your friends. I have posted it there. Just click on any of the share buttons below the post…Lastly, yours truly is quoted in the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say just published in video. Look for me at 4:57. My pearl of wisdom? “Listen.” 

DreamOn.8.29.13.iHeartRadio2012.useSoundtrack to this Issue is Dream On from Aerosmith. Check out this version with the boys live at iHeartRadio Music Festival 2012.

 Buddha, stay. Good dog.IMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”  (Buddha)

Sources:
Steinway showroom pic: Steinway & Sons
Maestro Langree pic: Mostly Mozart
Tina Turner quote: I, Tina by Tina Turner and Kurt Loder
Brain Study quote: Dr. Gayatri Devi, CBS This Morning, August 27, 2013
The Butler quote: Richard Brody, The New Yorker
Scott King and Abernathy quotes and Ali pic: The Trials of Muhammad Ali
Make Art Not War print: Bob and Roberta Smith, Art Everywhere (London)
Bob Dylan lyrics: Bob Dylan official website
Aerosmith pic: iHeartRadio

Stuck for an Answer? Here’s a Tip

14 Aug

Y’know when someone asks you a question and you’re at a total loss to answer?

WWW.Stumped.8.14.13 Maybe you’re at a job interview, at a press conference, or in a meeting?

Or maybe you’re in the middle of a presentation or you’re on a panel?

It’s that baffling feeling when you know that you’re just plain stumped for an answer. Well, don’t just scratch your head. Try this:

“The best answer … is the most honest one … taking a deep breath and looking inward …. If a question of any kind ever stumps you, remember your experience and who you are as a person has ultimately prepared you for this moment. Even if you get initially stumped, there is a place inside of you that has the answer you need.”

 

 

Source:
Mary Pat Whaley, LinkedIn article
Pic: Sodahead

July Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts & Trends

31 Jul

JULY IS HOT HOT HOT

That Tree.markhirsch.7.29.13.bTemperatures in the 90’s and 100’s all over the country. An unbearably hot summer. And one that we may have to get used to because, hey, this could be the new norm…JK Rowling wrote a detective story, The Cuckoo’s Calling, under a pseudonym. And it got good reviews! Whew…My fave author, Daniel Silva, published the next account of his superspy Gabriel Allon’s exploits, The English Girl. When we left Gabriel, he and his Mossad team were solving a murder in the Vatican at the Pope’s request. Oy!…On his Facebook Page called That Tree, photographer Mark Hirsch posts an iPhone photo a day chronicling a year in the life of an oak. Peaceful and majestic doesn’t come close to describing his pics. A tree of life indeed…Showtime is on a roll. Rock ‘n’ roll. Another great doc, Beware of Mr. Baker, displays Ginger Baker’s drum chops as well as his idiosyncrasies…Cyndi Lauper performed her She’s So Unusual album in its entirety in honor of its 30th anniversary. Boy is she on a roll. And having fun…Mick Jagger turned 70. What? Yep. And he still moves like Jagger…And dogs and cats were up for adoption at the 15th annual Broadway Barks benefiting NYC animal shelters and rescue organizations. Thank you big time to Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters and the Broadway community for caring! Buy a Broadway Barks 2014 Calendar to support the cause.

 ARTS NEWS

JohnnyCashStamp.7.29.30July in New York means the NY Phil in Central Park. Fireworks ensue…George Lucas, Tony Kushner, Renee Fleming, Herb Alpert, and others were awarded the NEA’s National Medal of Arts. President Obama said, “they create a new space and that becomes a lasting contribution to American life.” An apt description of the arts, Mr. President…Carnegie Hall’s new National Youth Orchestra is now touring the world with Joshua Bell…In Beatles news, Let It Be, the latest Broadway musical of Beatles songs opened… Alvin Ailey made a welcome return to Lincoln Center after an absence there of over ten years…More welcome news from The Met Museum of Art, now open on Mondays! That makes it 7 days of no excuses to miss anything anymore. I will be heading to the Roof Garden. Those splatters of red paint are artist Imran Qureshi’s renderings of shrubbery, angel wings, and birds. Persian ornamental motifs that he describes as “a dialogue with life, with new beginnings and fresh hope starts.”…Back to the NY Phil. Although Maestro Gilbert wore a baseball jersey for the Major League Baseball All-Star charity concert, he was upstaged by Mariah Carey who, well, didn’t. Fur and feather more her thing…Noting his influence from rock and folk to blues and gospel, the US Postal Service honored Johnny Cash with a stamp…When asked by his producer Rick Rubin what he was working on, an ailing Johnny Cash replied, “I’ve been working on using I and me less. Remember? You gave me that comment on the song?” But he wasn’t talking about a song. He was talking about life. A lesson we can all take to heart.

 TECH NEWS

There are people who really rely on Twitter for their news. Y’know what Ezra Klein has to say about that? “I find it a place you go to find, I guess, your barbecued potato chips. A lot of stuff that is kind of interesting, mostly not that good.”…NYC has finally gotten approval for its own domain name: .nyc. You can get it if your primary business residence is in NYC. Watch out Silicon Valley. NYC is on its way to becoming the world’s tech capital…My NY Phil boss, Barbara Haws, is on a mission to fight the Keystone XL pipeline. And in what can only be called the opposite of tech, she carries a sign on her subway trip to and from work every day. Not only effective, she’s inspiring. 

BUSY BLOGGIN’ 

MMM.HumpDay.7.15.13.camel“Uh-oh. Guess what day it is? Guess what day it is.” Who doesn’t love a talking camel? I’ve written lots of posts on Yvette Perry’s Blog. About trends, social media marketing, the latest in music and the performing arts, writing, and more. But no post has been viewed more than this one of Geico’s Happy Camel. I wrote about him because he makes me stop to watch him every time it comes on. And I’m not alone. A memorable ad that makes people smile. Good job…And the Rolling Stone cover of the Boston bomber made lots of headlines. With rock star hair and a guarded direct gaze, it seemed like Rolling Stone was making him into a celebrity. By giving up a coveted piece of rock ‘n’ roll real estate, my question is: Is it still cool to be on the cover of the Rolling Stone?

SlyTheFamilyStone.7.29.13
Soundtrack to this Issue is Hot Fun in the Summertime
from Sly & the Family Stone.

 Buddha, stay. Good dog.
IMGP2541.cr.newsltr
 “…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” (Buddha)

 

Sources:
Tree pic: Mark Hirsch, FacebookPage/ThatTree
President Obama NEA quote: The White House
Imran Qureshi quote: Metropolitan Museum
Barbara Haws: Moyers & Company
Johnny Cash quote: Rick Rubin Interview/The Daily Beast
Ezra Klein’s Twitter quote: The Atlantic
NYC domain: Betabeat
Camel pic: FacebookPage/Geico
Johnny Cash stamp: Frank Bez/USPS
Sly & The Family Stone pic: last.fm

Geico’s Happy Camel on Hump Day

15 Jul

There is a TV commercial out now that always makes me smile. And it makes me happy. It’s Geico’s happy camel on Wednesday, aka Hump Day.

MMM.HumpDay.7.15.13.camel“Uh-oh. Guess what day it is? Guess what day it is.” Who doesn’t love a talking camel? And it really looks like he’s talking! “Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike…” I smile as soon as this comes on. And I stop and watch it. Every time. Wow! That’s one happy camel.

Can a commercial have such a happy effect? This one sure does. It’s one in a series that is all about making you happy. It’s Geico’s “Happier Than” campaign and the brand message? Thanks to the extra money you’ll save by switching to Geico car insurance, you will be happy, too.

A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.”

The great advertising guru, David Ogilvy, said that. And it applies to Geico’s advertising strategy. Geico started out during the Great Depression providing auto insurance to federal employees. It is now the third-largest U.S. auto insurer. How did they get there? They built their brand identity with name recognition and got noticed in a very competitive category. They made their message stick in the consumer’s mind with a compelling message coupled with a whimsical and entertaining approach. By appealing to consumers this way, Geico is standing out in a cluttered marketplace.

The Martin Agency says about its ads, “People can now accept more complex brands with multiple, distinct narratives highlighting various aspects of the brand.” The gecko, the cavemen, the whee! pig. And now the camel. Making all these characters human and likeable while maintaining the brand messaging has been key to their approach.

Another one that makes me smile and happy has Eddie Money happily running a travel agency where he gives his customers, yep, two tickets to Paradise. “I’ve got two tickets to Paradise. Pack your bags we’ll leave tonight.” C’mon, how cool is that?

Applying humor for a product that doesn’t inherently make one laugh (hello, car insurance)? And making it memorable, too? Isn’t that what good advertising is supposed to be? This ad sure is memorable. And not only do you remember it, it makes you smile when you do.

 

Sources:
Camel pic: Geico Facebook Page
The Martin Agency quote: The Financial Brand

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