Month: August 2017

Grow with Us This Week on Copyblogger

Grow with Us This Week on Copyblogger

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This week, we have three posts to help you grow in various ways — creatively, financially, grammatically. On Monday, Jerod Morris let us know that Digital Commerce Academy is now open for new students! This is the resource you need if you want to get a digital business off the ground — or make faster
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August 31, 2017 at 09:05AM

The Pessimist’s Umbrella

The Pessimist’s Umbrella

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The Pessimist’s Umbrella is for those who know that expecting the worst need not be cause for despair. The umbrella has a rainfall print on the inside, along with Seneca’s pessimistic aphorism: ‘What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.’ Made me laugh.

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August 31, 2017 at 07:23AM

Love

Love

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“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.”
– Viktor Frankl

(via Bailey)

Design,Marketing

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August 31, 2017 at 05:34AM

The Power Of One

The Power Of One

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“ESPN Analyst Walks Away, Disturbed by Brain Trauma on Field”

A movement starts with an individual.

I don’t know when our nation moved to groupthink. But maybe it was the anti-disco fervor of the late seventies that was its first visible exponent. When white males got together at Comiskey Park and blew up disco records, they thought they’d won, but beat-driven music survives, more powerful than ever, disco does not suck, it’s the foundation of our nation.

And then came the anti-Iran sentiment of the same era. Our entire nation riled up against a Mideast state, nationalism was evident in a way it was not in the…

Sixties.

I lived through them. Hell, when I was alive they had this program “You Asked For It” and I remember a feature on the oldest living Civil War veteran. Now Holocaust survivors are fading away and it won’t be long before all those who lived through America’s most tumultuous decade of the twentieth century are gone too.

So we woke up one day and we all had crew cuts and our mothers worked in the home and everybody was happy.

And not too long thereafter guys sported long hair, families were torn apart and you went from thinking America was invincible to wanting a war halfway around the world in a nation you’d never heard of stopped. How did this happen?

Through the power of individuals.

People forgotten now. Some remembered, like Martin Luther King. Musicians came last. But everybody who stood up eventually caused more to stand up and suddenly there was a generation gap that could not be breached. This schism led to not only the stopping of the war, but changes in music, style, lifestyle…you see life used to be about questioning precepts.

It’s not anymore.

Except by the techies. Some want to change the world. Most are just in it for the money.

In the former camp we have Elon Musk. GM killed the electric car, they even made a movie about it, and then one guy brought it back. First wealthy experimenters purchased Tesla’s roadster, and then when the Model S was introduced, broad swaths of people bit the bullet.

While the establishment did not stop bitching. You cannot open the “Wall Street Journal” without seeing complaints about government subsidies. But the government pays oil companies and farmers and there’s a long history of inducements to further societal good.

And most people do not understand that electric cars are much more efficient, therefore needing less energy. The same way people keep e-mailing me they buy instead of stream because they’re worried about being out of cell range, about data costs. These doofuses don’t know you can synch thousands of tracks to your handset, as long as it has juice, you’ve got tunes.

And you can credit Daniel Ek. The oldsters keep bitching he’s a billionaire. But he didn’t used to be, he was a guy flying across the ocean in the back of the plane to bring his vision to life. And if you don’t think this vision is beneficial you didn’t read the recent Goldman Sachs report about the skyrocketing recorded music revenues. Spotify didn’t kill music, it saved it!

You’ll realize this.

So, we need leaders, those who will fight the mainstream only because it’s right.

But groupthink pervades. Especially amongst millennials, where fitting in is a way of life. In the sixties you let your freak flag fly, today you wanna be just like everybody else.

So what does it take to go down the other path, to make a stand?

First and foremost a willingness to evaluate issues and make your own educated decision. A skill that’s been lost as America teaches to the test. No, what people need are analytical powers. Unfortunately, these are possessed by the ruling class, learned at institutions only they can attend, and they like the status quo just the way it is.

Second, it’s a decision to do what’s right, damn the consequences. To worry about your heart more than your pocketbook.

Third, a willingness to endure the hate, the blowback. To sacrifice yourself for the greater good.

So Colin Kaepernick kneels for the national anthem and becomes a pariah. It’s only a song! And sitting during the anthem was de rigueur in the sixties. But really Kaepernick was standing up against the cartel. Called the NFL. Old white men who treat their players like slaves. Oh, don’t tell me about their salaries, most are not guaranteed. You get injured and they throw you on the scrapheap.

There’s so much wrong in our country it’s overwhelming.

Oh, don’t load me up with that nationalistic fervor telling me how great the U.S.A. is and if I don’t like it to leave it, I’ve already heard it, from the yahoos saying we had to fight communism in Vietnam. Sure, the U.S.A. is great, but our ethos used to be to make it BETTER! To reduce income inequality, to raise the poor up, but now the best and the brightest want to just leave these people behind. The left is a cadre of overeducated folks who think they know everything when they know so little and the right is all about selling freedom while you lose everything and rich corporations triumph. There’s no one to believe in. Which is how a charlatan like Trump gained power.

But just you wait. Just like Ed Cunningham walked away from six figures a year, did what was right as opposed to expedient, more people will stand up. Just ones and twos, but then many more.

We’ll all be driving electric cars.

We’ll all be streaming.

And if you do your part there will be a roof over everybody’s head and food on the table and peace in the valley.

We just need individuals to take us there.

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August 30, 2017 at 06:36PM

The Paul Simon Exhibit

The Paul Simon Exhibit

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“Paul Simon: Words & Music”

You’ve got to hook ’em with the very first line.

Some things never change. Just like hip-hop is the sound of the streets and rock and roll is overbaked. That’s when Paul Simon turned away from rock to folk, when the former was repetitive and the latter was saying something, important.

And it was sung by the beautiful Baez.

Paul’s words, not mine. Yes, there are some politically incorrect statements in this exhibit, but it was fifty years ago, times were different, but people were just the same.

Waiting for the Yankees to come on the radio, Paul was infected by this record “Gee.” You’d get it if you heard it, and you do in this exhibit. That’s the power of music, when done right it grabs you, when done wrong, it’s ignored, especially today.

So Paul’s father gives him a guitar. This is the early fifties. But in ’64, the same thing happened with the baby boomers, they saw the Beatles on “Ed Sullivan” and all picked up axes and formed bands, the same way every kid on the street corner is now a rapper. You imitate what stimulates.

So Paul meets the vaunted Artie in school, where Garfunkel is famous for his vocalizing, and they parade up and down the New York streets until they cut a demo and a label overhears them and gives them a deal.

The renamed “Tom and Jerry” have a hit. The label even gets Alan Freed to play it. It’s on “American Bandstand.” With the proceeds Paul buys a convertible. Which catches fire with him inside of it, and after his car is destroyed he never scores another smash, and moves to England after dropping out of law school, where no one is paying attention and he can write songs and get paid fifteen pounds for a gig in 1965.

And the truth is, every baby boomer knows the history. But what makes this exhibit so stimulating is the artifacts and the insights.

Stuff like Simon’s summer camp letter to Garfunkel. Talking about being a waiter, and the girls.

The original label contract.

And all the interludes about life and inspiration.

Being an artist… That’s something that’s fallen by the wayside. Today we have commercial musicians and holier-than-thou performers who call themselves artists but live in an alternative universe where they get no traction.

But in the sixties and seventies, artists ruled. Musical artists. And the way you won was by following your muse and experimenting. Constantly changing it up, not repeating yourself. We were oftentimes flummoxed when hearing the new work of our favorites, but we respected them and gave their tunes time. Funnily enough, the greatest exponent of this today is Justin Bieber, who’s constantly working with new collaborators with different sounds, from DJ Snake to Luis Fonsi. The old farts pooh-pooh, but the little girls understand.

But Paul Simon turned into an adult. And explored adult themes. He grew.

And he’s still here.

Oftentimes we venerate people only when they’re gone. But Paul’s still creating. His song “Wristband” is more timely than most of the stuff on the hit parade. The fact that there’s no place for it on today’s Top Forty is not his fault.

And so many of his songs were political, standing up to the dreaded Nixon.

And Clive Davis, who told him he’d never be as famous without Garfunkel. That’s a great label head, disincentivizing his charges to create. If you’re not willing to follow the artist, you should not be in this business, the artist always knows best, never forget it.

And you see the guitars and the handwritten lyrics and you’re brought back to when.

And when you read about the inspiration, the writing of “Graceland”… Today we think being an artist is promoting, getting your name out there, being in the flow. But the truth is you cannot be creative unless you live your life. Which is why so many of the songs are written by old men and women off the scenes. But since they don’t live a life either, the lyrics are vapid. It’s when lightning strikes that greatness emanates.

Like at Elvis Presley’s estate. Simon couldn’t write lyrics so he went to Graceland, and thought it was uninspiring. But when he saw the lines carved into Presley’s gravestone at the end… The song came together.

Just like “Bridge Over Troubled Water”… He was strumming his guitar and the song fell into place, just that fast. You’re a conduit. Not that Simon didn’t rework his lyrics till he was satisfied.

And it’s this edginess, this belief in his own path, that causes him to have a less than likable image. We want our artists to be warm and fuzzy, just like us, but they’re not, certainly not the greats, if you’ve met any you know this, they’re different, oftentimes tortured, always staring into the distance at a destination only they can see.

If you want to know the history, this Skirball exhibit is pretty good.

But if you want to be inspired, put into a space where you too can create, it’s EXCEPTIONAL!

A museum is where we go to get away from society to reconnect with it. When done right an exhibit requires all of our attention, and rewards us for it.

This presentation might look like a victory lap, but in truth it’s a beacon, if you’re desirous of going some place, if you live on creativity, if you’re looking for your inner tuning fork to vibrate, if you can respect someone who did it his way and won.

And is still doing it.

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August 30, 2017 at 06:36PM