Anniversary of The Edmund Fitzgerald’s Demise

Nov 10, 2010 by

In my mind’s eye, I’ll never for get Nov. 10, 1975 standing in our living room at 208 Fortress on K.I. Sawyer AFB and my mom talking about the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald.

The winter storms in Northern Michigan are some of the fiercest ever.  The ones out on the Lake before they come ashore have claimed countless lives over time.   At times, sitting at Presque Isle in Marquette, you’d never guess that Superior could be so timid and so violent as well.

I was almost 10 when the Fitzgerald went down.  When Gordon Lightfoot released his song about the ship, radio stations in the UP played it probably more than any other song ever has been played on the airwaves of the UP.

Today marks another anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  And in my own way, I’ll always hold this day as a sad one.  Obviously, I never knew any of the hard working and brave men on that boat, but their loss of life lives on.

This past summer on our Traverse Adventure to Northern Michigan, my girls got to see the big ore dock in Marquette and see the massiveness of the ships that brave the waters of Superior year round so that we can have steel.  Countless unsung heroes have done this work for a couple hundred years.  But there are 19 who now live in song. And memories of those who can still remember that fateful day.

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Chevrolet & Nintendo; Two Brands Getting Social Engagement Right

Nov 9, 2010 by

This past weekend in Dallas was an active one when it came to being a blogger and working with internationally recognized brands Chevrolet and Nintendo.

Through the power of Twitter, over the past two years now I’ve developed an online friendship with Donna McLallen of Chevrolet.  You might know her at @GMTexas and now @DrivePower on Twitter.  (If you don’t, I encourage you to reach out to her.)

As you will recall, back in April I went out to Texas Motor Speedway for the first time in living in the DFW area for almost 10 years.  It rained that weekend so the races ultimately were run on the weekdays, but there came the promise from Donna that I’d be invited back in November.

Well, the weather Saturday was perfect.  I received tickets to go to the special tented area Chevrolet had set up at the track.  I got to take a pit tour.  And then I got to drive one of about 50 Silverados around the track with a driver standing up in the back.   Then I got to go to great seats in the grandstand and watch the race.

But in the midst of all that was the subtle exposure to the new like of Chevrolet cars and trucks.  We all know I’m a huge fan of the Traverse (see

It was a completely positive experience.  There was no push.  There’s not even a push to write this post.  It was that comfortable of an event.


Sunday afternoon proved to be a great experience with Nintendo and their partnership with the American Heart Association.  At the Four Seasons in Irving, I got the opportunity to meet new people, check out the Wii Sports Resort product, and then have a very nice, (and healthy) lunch, and hear from inspirational speaker Hank Wasiak, and three health panelists from the DFW area. (I’m reading Wasiak’s book Change The Way You See Everything now and a review shall follow shortly.)

After a question and answer session, we were invited back down to the display room and were free to play some more before being given a goodie bag filled with a Wasiak’s book, a Nintendo shirt, and a copy of Wii Sports Resort.

Again, the push wasn’t on the products being sold.  The push was on having fun getting fit and a focus on the seven things you can do to get your body healthy that are recommended by the AHA.

Before leaving, we all were encouraged to write a letter to ourselves that will be mailed to us at some future date.  In my letter to me, I encouraged myself to keep moving forward, to keep my focus, and to keep working hard to eat better, exercise and hopefully, live a while longer as a result of doing such.


I provided some clues as to what about all this really worked for me, but I’ll refresh.

1) These brands were featuring their products, but there was no heavy-handed “car salesman” push to get me to buy anything.  That makes the experience less stressful.

2) The events were fun and positive experiences.  One got me outdoors and walking (From my Nintendo PT Walking pedometer I walked about 6.5 miles on Saturday at TMS), and the other got me doing interactive exercises in my living room, and provided me with a stimulating, self-motivating book, which is just the sort of thing I read, re-read and then apply.

3) They provided me with new contacts, gave me an opportunity to meet new bloggers and friends, and already have led to some very promising business opportunities.

Over on my business site, we talk about the social impact, innovation and invention tactics we use to help clients expand their reach and build strong communities around their products and services.

From the activities this past weekend, I have two new and incredible examples of brands that are getting it right.

Disclosure: I received access into TMS, a Chevrolet t-shirt, was fed and drove around the TMS track one lap while at the TMS event.  Through the Nintendo event, which was arranged by Brand About Town in LA, a contact I made through the Modern Media Man Summit, I received a lunch at the Irving, Texas Four Seasons, a copy of Hank Wasiak’s book, a copy of Wii Sports Resort, and a Nintendo shirt.  I have not been paid in cash by either of these companies to write this piece.

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Tonight’s visible Moon Ring in DFW!!!

Oct 23, 2010 by

Here you go fokes.  I caught it just before it got too big for my lens.  I wish I could have had a little more time to play around with apertures and shutter speeds.   This was shot at 10 seconds, F/10 with an 18 mm lens. Anyone else get a shot?  You can learn more about Moon Rings here.

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On “Creepy Glen” of Mad Men; Matthew Weiner only you can fix this

Oct 20, 2010 by

UPDATE: @CreepyGlen sent me this link further explaining that it was actually Matthew Weiner who walked in on a woman named Peggy and asked her for a lock of hair.  Even @CreepyGlen, Marten, told his dad he was weird.)

UPDATE:  An I apologize for the formatting issues.  WordPress has been doing this a lot lately and I’m not sure why.

I’m not sure if you saw The New York Times transcript of the recent interview with AMC’s Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and the discussion about his casting his son, Marten, as Glen Bishop, (@CreepyGlen and @Glen_Bishop on Twitter) but Weiner’s response I find more and more puzzling the more I think about it.  Dave Itzkoff asked him about the amount of time we saw of his son, who got a lot of air time in Season IV, almost exclusively in dealing with Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka), and on two occasions, Betty Draper (January Jones).

Q.We even got to see more of Glen Bishop this season. What does it say that you cast your son Marten as this creepy, off-kilter character?

A.  I know people use the word creepy, I don’t understand it. I don’t find him to be off-kilter. I’m very proud of their conversations, because anyone who has seriously eavesdropped on children, that is the way they talk to each other. Glen’s always going to be defined by the fact that he asked [Betty] for a lock of hair and he walked in on her in the bathroom, and I know that. But we have a delusion, I will say, in this country, that children are not people. People forget the thoughts they had when they were 6 and 7 years old, and how much of them was in there already.  As a dad, the anxiety I have is that he’s going to get some public retribution for being a peculiar person, and he’s not like that at all. He’s got very big eyes and very thick black hair and that may be part of why people think he’s so intense. But he’s a doll and he loves doing it. My worst fear is that he’ll read some of the [things] that people write about him on the Internet, which he never will. That’s all I care about.

Why is Glen (Marten) considered Creepy?

But let’s stop a minute and think about who really has helped create the perception that Glen, the character is creepy.

The answer: His father.

This youthful character has done some fairly odd things.  Weiner says they’re more normal than not, but sleeping over in the neighbor’s doll house, asking for Betty’s lock of hair, (even creepier, her giving him one), walking in on her in the potty, this season, he broke in and vandalized the Draper/Francis home, and then there is just the way he acts.

Contrast that with the lines Sally has in her interactions with him.  She’s more talkative. Lighter. Glen is almost always probing, more knowledgeable.  A few times this season I felt like he was going to slip Sally the tongue or something else. Would you rather be called Creepy by the world or a Doll in the NY Times by your dad?

If he’s the “doll” his dad says he is, (I think if I were Marten I’d rather see people calling my character Creepy than my dad calling me a doll in the NYT), then maybe in Season V, Weiner gives his kid some lines and opportunities to show he’s not so creepy after all.

He’s clearly a very perceptive character and knows much for a boy his age back in the early to mid-196os.    Of course, my suspicion is that since the Francis family has moved so far a way, it’s going to be hard to write Glen back into the Sally interaction script unless he begins taking after Sally and boarding trains and buses.

And it’s clear that while Sally might send Glen postcards because she “knows his address,” no mail Glen sends to Sally ever is going to make it into her hands.  It’ll either be thrown away on the spot, stamped return to sender, or put into a special drawer for Betty to savor out of her jealousy of Sally and Glen.

But back to real life for a second.

Weiner says: “My worst fear is that he’ll read some of the [things] that people write about him on the Internet, which he never will. That’s all I care about.”

The only way that happens is if Marten stays back in the 1960s before Al Gore invented the Internet.  My own kids read this blog, which at times I wish they didn’t because of the topics I deal with, but to say that your kid is never going to see people calling his character “Creepy” on the Internet is just bizarre.   If there are jokes on the Mad Men set that a countdown begins for a female character when she becomes tied to Draper, is it not logical to think that Sally, Bobbie, or someone isn’t going to say something to Marten about people calling him Creepy?  After all, if, as Weiner says, you’ve ever “seriously eavesdropped on children,” (mildly of creepy) you’d know, this is just the sort of thing they’d talk about.

In summary, Matt Weiner, if you want your kid to be able to play much of anything in the future besides “Creepy” Glen Bishop, you probably need to change the way he’s thought of in Mad Men or more than likely, professionally that’s all it’s ever going to be.  And he probably is a very nice kid. But stereotypes in Hollywood are hard to break out of, particularly for children actors.

Matt, as his dad, shouldn’t you do something to fix that?

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Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros Bringing Me Back to Me

Oct 12, 2010 by

I’m 44 years old and I got home this morning at 3:34 a.m.

I had not a drink of alcohol. (I’m not a drinker.)

But last night I began a new chapter in my life, where instead of being a guy whose forgotten what it is to be who he was 20 years ago, I stepped back into the life of adventure and lived a little.

And I’m here to tell other moms and dads, who moved into the responsibility of parenthood a few years ago and thought they had to leave behind living on the edge of adventure, that there is still life out there, if you’re brave enough to go and find it.


As you might know from reading here on, I came across this band, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros totally by accident in July when I was in Austin for an event with Gillette. After I got home that night, I downloaded their songs and got hooked. Their debut album, “Up From Below” is a fine collection of tunes and jingles that immerse themselves into your consciousness and refuse to let go.

I play this album frequently, even months after first hearing it.  There are a couple songs on it I’m not real wild about, but the ones I am, well, I’d drive three hours from Dallas to Shreveport to hear them late at night, (Their set began at 10:30 p.m. and ended around midnight.) And so that’s what happened last night.

I’ll write more about the event in the days to come, but I wanted to share this video with you tonight.  And share the great photo I was able to have taken with me and band leader, Alexander.

Yes, I was about five people deep from the stage.  Yes, I sang along with them.  Yes, I was part of this very alive show, and there’s not a thing anyone can do or say to me to regret a single second of it.

But instead of getting into that tonight, here’s the video I shot using my iPhone 4, pulling the video clips into Aperture 3, and then importing them right into Final Cut Express without having to convert them at all.  Then it was just a matter of adding bumpers, some commentary, and I doubled the audio track because it recorded in a mono track.


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12 Miles to @edwardsharpe

Oct 11, 2010 by

That’s all there is between here and Edward Sharpe.

Except there are two accidents in front of me on Interstate 20 just west of Shreveport and nothing is moving. Literally. I was going to get there on time.

And now it looks like there is an accident in the other lane heading back to Dallas.

I don’t see being clear of this in the next hour and a half.

Personally, I think I’m gonna miss the show.

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Heading to See Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros Tonight!

Oct 11, 2010 by

I’m looking forward to tonight.  Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros are going to be at The Collective in Shreveport, LA, and by gosh and golly, I’m going to be there.

My hope tonight is that before things get going Ebes and Jade are going to be mixing about outside like they were in Austin back during the summer when I first learned of this band.  Because I was down there for a Gillette event, (not to mention ESATMZ didn’t want us in passing out razors) and because the event supposedly sold out in 30 minutes, we didn’t get in to see the show.

My fascination with this band has all been from watching them in YouTube videos, playing their disc Up From Below about a zillion times, and then of course, anytime Ford runs a Fiesta commercial and they play Janglin, (Um bop, um bop, bop pa pa da bop,) or I saw yesterday that even the NFL has a sport running to buy your favorite team swag and Home was playing as the jingle.

That’s really rare that a band releasing it’s first album has two songs turned into high-profile jingles, but it speaks to the goodness of Up From Below.

This is what love sounds like

As you know, a couple months back I wrote a piece called, This is what love sounds like, based on the way Ebes and Jade sing to each other, and from the video I’ve seen of them.   Before the show tonight, I hope to get to interview the two of them and ask them more to help tell this very soul-mate sounding story.

Wish me luck.

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