Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snow stops bus; Show goes on

Got an early morning phone call from Lucy in Vienna that the Greyhound bus to St. Louis won't make its scheduled stop in Carbondale this morning. Schedule 4700 got canceled in Clarksville, KY. That will be bad news to the people waiting at the Amtrak station for the bus to arrive.

In more upbeat news, the idea is still in play to rename the City of Carbondale after Stephen Colbert, Father of the Paducah-Carbondale Corridor -- Colbertdale -- for just one day; I plan to bring it up to the mayor the next time we play golf together (which won't be today . . . or ever . . . since neither of us plays golf).

I still like the idea of selling "I Slept in Colbertdale, Illinois" tee-shirts to benefit the Stage Company which will need a lot of money to help restore the Varsity Theater. The only problem with that idea is that if you didn't sleep in Carbondale on the night when Carbondale became "Colbertdale," then the message on the shirt would not be accurate. Another shirt could have a different message: "I Didn't Sleep in Colbertdale, and Never Will." That should do it.

Another project, the "Washington St. Hip-Hope" Street Fair to benefit the Tuscan Lodge is on schedule for late Spring, early Summer. Date TBA. (The name of the event may be changed, too, since it isn't carved in paper yet.

What else is new? I finally got the Shawnee Net home page fixed. Now all it needs is more content. The local news aggregator is nice, but needs better organization.

Been making progress on my blook. Created promotional widget including a sound-byte by City Councilman Joel Fritzler. Also signed up with LuLu Press to print copies on demand. Now all I need to do is finish writing. It won't be easy.

My "Vegetable House" script is being dusted off to shoot some scenes for a promo-trailer. Last night I met with Lucky Oldload, the Rugby Unit Manager, about shooting the Rugby scenes on April 1, when about 20 schools will be in town for a tournament.

The other scene I want to shoot is a concert at the Shawnee Saltpetre Cave south of Murphysboro, and some local beauty spots.

Although the story takes place in a fictional town called "Karmadale, Kentucky" much of film will be shot here in Southern Illinois. In the film, Karmadale is home of Southern University of Central Kentucky. I'll have Gusto's Van -- the man behind John Belushi's famous "COLLEGE" tee-shirt (from Animal House) -- work out the acronym for a tee-shirt.

The script, while timeless, was written in 1998-99, and the world has changed since then, so the script needs retooling to reflect those changes. More topical one-liners and references. Also, casting the right person to play "the holiest man alive" (as named by 'Steeple Magazine', I'm not making this up! Oh wait, yes I am). Of course no spiritual leader worth his salt would accept such a role. So it will have to go to a comedic actor of great skill to pull it off. Someone like, oh I don't know . . . someone who happens to be in town the day the City is named after him.

If Colbert is unavailable, perhaps a look-alike whose stage name is, let's say, "Steven Coldair." Yeah, that's the ticket.

UPDATE: Do you believe in serendipity? After writing the above paragraphs above, walking on Oak St. to Washington St., I met a Stephen Colbert look-alike headed on foot to Longbranch!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Rocky's" speech wows Wonkette

Wonkette 'hopes' we like Obama's Victory Speech from South Carolina. Posted on YouTube, in case you missed it.

It will be great to hear him speak to us for a 4 year term or two-- as President of the U.S.! (He'll put the "us" back into the U.S.).

If he keeps winning elections and making magnificent speeches, Letterman will have to come up with a new bit (YouTube) next year, and Will Smith can get to work on the biopic.

Not sure which nickname I like better for Barack: "Barry" (like in his HS yearbook) or "Rocky" which has more gravitas and "Yes We Can" winning-against-odds appeal. And the first syllable of "Barry" doesn't sound like 'BAH-rock', the way his name is actually pronounced. Gotta go with Rocky, or 'The Rock', except there's already an entertainer using that name (who just happens to look like Obama on steroids. If Barack is elected, look for an SNL sketch along those lines.)

On to Super Tuesday, where it looks close.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Candles in the 'Dale

There's still some negativity in the Bytelife blog about Carbondale that I don't understand. Like calling Carbondale "Colehell" in the comments, which is neither amusing, nor accurate: Mayor Cole is not responsible for the awful intersection at Mill and Illinois. That problem was caused by City Manager Jeff Doherty. But Cole created Friendship Park, where pedestrians can sit, and red-lighted motorists have a pleasant view of sculpture by Alden Addington. . . . So what is wrong with the City that a little positive thinking can't help? "Better light a candle than curse the darkness," right?

Greg Cook the Portable Warehouse king, and his wife Nancy, just lit a huge candle under the Saluki Way project-- donating one million dollars, announced yesterday. Must be a lot of money in the warehouse biz. Greg is also one of the investors in the newly formed 1187 Creative agency, with offices in Carbondale and St. Louis. He'll probably be at the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner tonight at the Civic Center, which should be a cool event -- with dinner, awards, and music by the Ivas John Band to get everyone up and dancing.

Another candle lighter, Chamber director Meredith Rhoads is not just full of helium when she says (in high-pitched voice): "I wanted to give something back to the members, so we can celebrate the success of the past year." (Where's my digital recorder when I need it?)

Other candle lighters will be at the Chamber dinner, too. "Business of the Year" will go to Dan Terry, for the Newell House restaurant restoration .

African-American Museum directors Corene and Milton McDaniel are Citizens of the Year.
The Leader of the year: Greg Sprehe, Compac International
Bus. Pres. Service Award: Jeff Doherty.
The Regional Business of the Year: Short Enterprises.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Scaled down

This story in The Southern: Build Local Legoland? about a guy wanting to build a Legoland(r) Theme Park got a ton of comments. Mostly derisive. Dennis Smith should think about scaling down his project to something diorama-size. He could have an attraction the size of the world's smallest chapel in Nashville, IL.

The way renaming Carbondale to "Colbertdale" after Stephen Colbert was scaled back . . . to just one day.

I mentioned it to the Amtrak crew this morning, and they think it's a good idea. (Humoring me.)
There'd be a special sign at the Station. (And if the change occurs on a Sunday, no Postal change would be necessary.)

Have you heard about the sculpture being planned for the east-side of the train station tracks? Mayor Cole has asked Nancy Stemper of Carbondale Community Arts and Debbie Moore of the Convention & Tourism Bureau to come up with something. The final design has not been chosen, so I'll suggest a life-size statue of Colbert in the mix. Perhaps Victor DeGraff could fashion one of sand, like in Myrtle Beach, but more statuesque, and permanent.

Some may question Colbert's worthiness, but he is the Father of "the Paducah-Carbondale Corridor" (in conversation with songwriter Randy Newman, a Paducah-Carbondale Corridor specialist. Hear the .mp3 clip).

If the City of Carbondale is too short-sighted to rename itself to honor the greatest living American -- and friend of Carbondale -- to get the famous Colbert bump, then maybe Dennis Smith would like to open the Colbertdale Mini-Legoland(r) in Colp, IL, whose 224 residents might enjoy the boost.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Greenstreet on Main St.

The former Arthur Agency CEO, and founder of 1187 Creative, contacted me today about my recent posts about the changes at the agencies.

I've known Jon Greenstreet from the Dunn-Richmond Center where he facilitated economic development, and from his Bike Surgeon days. A young man who has put his MBA to good use, Greenstreet -- and the rest of the 1187 team -- is moving into soon-to-be renovated offices on the second floor of the Newell House building (Bening Square to old timers). This photo is the view from of the corner office, on Washington & Main, where (by clicking on the image, you can see the Arthur Agency office from out the window to the right.)

Jon was amused that the illustration of him and three other former Arthur employees is still on the Arthur web site. He said all four in the picture (along with five others) have joined 1187 Creative, which is also opening an office in the Soulard district of St. Louis. He said the new agency has many new accounts. He also said some law suits and counter lawsuits have been filed by the two companies. Sounds like a story for Steve Binder!

I better get to work on a substitute graphic, in case Arthur Agency wants to change it -- replacing Jonny G with me. ;-)

In addition to Greenstreet, the founders of 1187 include: Zak Ouart, and Kay Dosier.

The investors in 1187 include: Greg Thompson, Greg Cook, Chase Butler and Rob Vitale

The other team members of 1187: Russ Gruber, Ben Ouart, Sara Holman, Lindsey Cox, Christy Pogorelac, Herb Voss

Applying myself

Yesterday, I stopped-and-popped into the Arthur Agency, on Jackson St. (pictured at left) where Heather, the receptionist, told me some of what has happened since former CEO Jon Greenstreet left the agency, taking some key personnel along, to form 1187 Creative.

Craig Williams, of Pinckneyville, the man behind Community Link, has bought a share of Arthur, and Dennis Poshard is still President, and acting CEO. The 1187'ers took some accounts with them, but Arthur Agency still has the Southern Illinois (Marion) Miners contract.

Even though I don't "do paper" (except for cash & tissue), I took an application home with me in my back pocket. Looking at it now, but won't fill it out. I've known Craig Williams since 1982, when he was with Silkworm, and later when he had an office behind Hair Brains in the mid-90's. He knows my work. I don't need no application. If Craig or Dennis -- or even Jon -- want to hire me, here i am.

P.S. In the graphic posted on the Arthur Agency web site, that's Jon Greenstreet's likeness in the blue shirt walking toward the entrance. Perhaps instead of filling out an application, I should photoshop him out of the picture, and put myself there in his place.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Grin and Colbert it?

Some readers are puzzled by this blog's current obsession renaming the City of Carbondale "Colbertdale," in honor of comedian Stephen Colbert, father of the "Paducah - Carbondale Corridor" and host of the Colbert Report. An anonymous commenter (perhaps speaking for many) would like to see more posts "about what people are thinking, feeling, saying and doing in The 'Dale," adding "Pictures are great, too!"

Yes, and audio-video, also. I'll get right on that.

I hear that Carbondale's Arthur Agency has lost some key personnel to a competing agency called 1187 Creative. Judging from the list on the Carbondale Main Street home page, most of the original Arthur staff -- including the CEO, Jon Greenstreet -- have defected to set up shop on the 2nd Floor of the Newell House building. I should pop in to see if either agency can help sell my blook online.

Speaking of online, it's hard to tell what Caleb Hale, Online Editor at the Southern Illinoisan. is thinking or feeling, 'cause his blog is behind the times. No new podcast since Jan. 4.

And speaking of behind The Times, I read Chris Wissmann's "Four Corners" report in Nightlife today. The headlines:
  • A Change is Gonna Come
Key quote: "In addition, look for canned-food drives to take place throughout the community through Friday, January 25. Donations will benefit area food pantries and banks."
  • More Incoherent Smoke Signals -
Key quote: "Unfortunately, such pious concerns smack of hypocrisy, since those legislators overwhelmingly passed a law that didn't provide for due-process in the first place."
  • Healing Herb?
No key quote. But why the question mark about medicinal marijuana?

Speaking of local newspapers editors, I saw Jerry Bradley at the Neighborhood Coop yesterday, looking happy he was no longer editor of Carbondale Times, where former editor Steve Miller (former editor, longtime writer) is on the job. . . . Steve's a good guy. He also writes reviews as 'Bryan' Miller, and performs stand-up comic gigs. I told him I was a comedian, too. He said he'd heard that.

The thing about being an entrepreneur-comedian -- an compreneuredian -- is folks can't always tell if you're serious or not. Like renaming Carbondale "Colbertdale." Of course, I am serious. Serious about entertaining the possibility. Change the name for one day? How many petition signatories would it take? How much $ would it cost the City? How many "I Slept in Colbertdale, Illinois" tee-shirts could sell, as fund-raiser for the Varsity Arts Center?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Naming right(s)

Can a dumb idea be good publicity? It seems most people think it's silly for the City of Carbondale to change its name. But many other cities have successfully accomplished it!

Why change it at all? The wikipedia sez "the name "carbon" comes from Latin language carbo, coal, and in some Romance languages, the word carbon can refer both to the element and to coal.
And coal is still important to the region

Last year, a Colorado town estimated it would cost nearly $1 million to change its name, according to the Rocky Mountain News: Costly name change considered to alter Commerce City's image. A local poll showed voters preferred "Stink Town" 54% (indicating the unreliability of unscientific polls, or the power of Commerce City's stench.) In March, 2007, the locals voted 890 for a name change and 1980 against.

So, yeah, maybe it's a bad idea to change the City of Carbondale's name. Would changing it to "Colbertdale" be worth a million dollars worth of publicity? If not, how much money would it take to convince the Carbon-ites to change? A billion? Enough to upgrade The Arena, fix the classrooms, and finance The Varsity renovation? Couldn't the City be renamed Cartoondale for that kind of money?

And what about Stephen Colbert? Aren't any nay-sayers thinking of how best to honor the man who gave us 'the Paducah-Carbondale Corridor'? (audio clip) Change a Street name? How about calling the alley that runs from Castle Perilous to City Hall the "Colbert Corridor"? When Stephen visits, the limo can take that route to the Civic Center.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Smoke- free, Blowin' smoke

Last night, I descended to one of Carbondale's oldest watering holes, The Cellar, for a beer with friends. My first taste of Smoke-Free bar -- and it was clearly better than last year's smoke-filled atmosphere, suffusing clothes and skin with smelly smokiness.

Of course, the topic of renaming the City of Carbondale came up. The suggested name that got the biggest response was "Coleville," but my choice is still "Colbertdale," because it honors a great American, Stephen Colbert, whose television show, The Colbert Report, scores high among the demographic market so vital to SIU and Carbondale. No, not the senior retirees being courted by the mayor, but the 18-22 age group.

Undoubtedly, those who hate Carbondale's future progress will oppose renaming it, while those who love the new name will sign petitions.

So far, the petition and survey are bare bones, but businesses like The Bank of Carbondale and Carbondale Cycle should probably be thinking about changing their letterheads.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

C is for Kookie

People are intrigued at the idea of renaming the City of Carbondale to something cooler. But to what? It must begin with "C" so "SIUC" can remain. Might be good to keep the "dale" part, too. Something like "Cooldale" . . . but cooler.

Colbertdale is my choice -- after comedian Stephen Colbert (pronounced Cole-BEAR) since he would then feature "Colbertdale" on his popular tv show -- giving the entire town the Colbert "bump." (If you don't know what the Colbert bump is, I probably can't help you, but this link will explain.)

Other towns have changed their names with good results. If it gets to City Council vote, the City staff will have the facts and figures, pro and con.

Of course, the change won't be made over night. The entire process could take six months or longer -- from the date of this post 'til the new "Haven't You Heard" coffee cups come out with "City of Colbertdale" logo on cup. (After a contest for a new logo.)

Before it's put to vote by City Council, a Carbondale Chamber of Commerce survey and a petition will be necessary. I'll work up drafts of each, to get the cookie rolling, and maybe a new title for my blook.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Transmuting Carbon to Cool

Ever since the writers' strike, it's been difficult for me to come up with things to write and say. Must be subconscious solidarity with the Writers Guild which wants a fairer share of DVD residuals. Even my quips to the bank tellers at Schnuck's have lost their currency.

Nevertheless, my meeting with the Mayor went well. We always have a laugh or two, as I quiz him on 'what's up'. . . . Not much, it seems, except for hiring a new City Manager; hopefully one who's a little more creative than our current one; someone a little more Doc Severinsen than Tommy Newsom, if you know what I mean.

After City Hall, I visited the Chamber of Commerce office across the street to get the latest business news from the Executive Director (annual banquet is coming up -- same night as the Kid Rock concert in Evansville, unfortunately).

Carbondale is lucky to have two dynamic young leaders like Brad Cole and Meredith Rhoads. But what is the duo doing? For one thing they are collaborating on a project that will do more good for Carbondale than a barrel full of Stephen Colberts. They just don't know what it is yet.

Speaking of the writers strike, Stephen Colbert is getting the job done without writers. The critics say his return to the Colbert Report was a "knock out."

Coincidentally, the first page of "Colbert" in Google Images came up the photoshop I did of Stephen and Brad Cole meeting!

Perhaps that could be the big project Cole and Rhoads collaborate on: Renaming the City of Carbondale to something cooler . . . another "C" word, so the initials SIUC would still be valid. Such an effort would put C'dale on the map in a positive and fun way.

A survey, petition and contest would be in order, but not necessarily in that order.

Meredith can whip up a survey; while I drum up a petition; and Brad can contest the findings.

Monday, January 07, 2008

New and Improved

Have you checked out lately? The New and Improved web site has links to blogs, video and audio. And online editor Caleb Hale is blogging and podcasting. His Weekender podcast on New Year's resolutions, got me thinking about what "spectacularly stupid" words he may have spoken to his wife that haunt his marriage to this day. ;-)

Don't we all have things we'd like to unspeak or undo? But since we can't, we move on. As Confucius say "Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

Like the myth of Sisyphus, doomed to push a boulder up a mountain for eternity. When he reached the top, it would roll down again (too bad for Zig Ziglar). Yet, as the author of a famous essay on this myth believed, despite his absurd existence, Sisyphus is "happy."

And one must imagine that Southern.Com Online Sales Manager Shawn Connelly is happy, too. ;-)

Friday, January 04, 2008

O's Iowa victory speech

Obama's victory has given hope to many. Not to too many, though, just enough. If you missed his victory speech in Iowa, it's posted in Sam Graham-Felsen's blog.

Barack & K. Rock

Don't want to make too much of yesterday's Iowa Caucus result, but I must've had psychic dyslexia when I picked a Clinton-Obama dream ticket months ago. Clearly it's Obama-Clinton, or Obama-Edwards, or Obama-and anyone else. The Republican field is so lame, except for Ron Paul. It's definitely time for change! Sweep the White House halls and closets clean of all the cobwebs, ghosts, and skeletons.

Listening to Kid Rock as I write. He's been on TV a lot lately, with a full concert schedule, including one in Evansville this month. Who knew he was so deep? Check out his song "Amen." Been listening to all the songs on his new album Rock & Roll Jesus. I wonder if he backs Barack, who has a messianic message of his own!

In conclusion: Kid Rock rocks, and Barack will roll to victory in November.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back to bussics

It's good to be home. This month the details will be ironed out for moving the local Greyhound office to the BP Station on East Main Street (where Scott guessed in a comment), with a March or February moving date. This will mean the busses can stop at the same location where rides buy tickets, instead of blocks away. The dudes at Amtrak will appreciate that; and so will the customers.

Some interesting people buy bus tickets. Today, a radio personality named Chorsey bought a ticket to St. Louis, and a young woman named Bridget (that's "Bridge with a 't' she said) on her way to Arkansas.

Bridget had me read a poem by Peruvian poet Pablo Neruda (in English translation), a Ode to Artichokes.

Speaking of arty jokes, I read in Bytelife where City Councilman Joel Fritzler thinks Amtrak & Greyhound can share the current location. Is he kidding?!

My visit to Cooperstown

My plan to move to Oregon took another step forward last week, as I visited Portland over Christmas break -- taking an airplane, and leaving Greyhound bus behind for a week's vacation.

New Year's Eve at my daughter's condo, with her friend, and my son and his family. We listened to Ryan Adams Easy Tiger, and stared at Court (soon to be Tru-)TV and talked, until 'round about midnight, when Dick Clark's heir apparent, Ryan Seacrest, rang in the new year at the stroke of 12. I also learned who Hanna Montana was, thanks to my three-year old granddaughter, who had a doll that played the same lyrics when its belly-button was pressed, over and over . . .

If you could see
The other side of me
I'm just like anybody else, can't you tell?
I hold the key (the key)
To both realities
The girl that I want you to know
If only I could show
The other side...the other side
I want you to see
The other side...the other side
The other side of me

Ask me to sing it for you sometime. Or you can see Hannah perform entire song on YouTube.

My grand-daughter is very cute, as you can see by this photo at her tea. But I am biased because I'm not only 'Doodah', but also her agent. Isn't it time for a Minnie Minnesota? a Jane Maine? The SIU cap is her dad's, but she'll endorse other products or candidate for a cup of imaginary tea.

I saw a couple of streaks continue while in Portland, too. On Dec. 30 I saw the Trail Blazers defeat the Philadelphia 76ers, in a game that had a "posterizing" dunk that's already on YouTube. The next day the Patriots won their 16th straight on the TV at a sports bar called Lil Cooperstown.

The entire town of Portland could be renamed Cooperstown, too, because so many people still remember the hijacker D.B. Cooper, who boarded a plane to Seattle in 1971, and sky-dived out with $200,000 before the plane landed . 'Cooper' was the #1 "Where are they now" in Willamette Week's year-end review. Also last week, the FBI released a photo of a clip-on tie Cooper left behind when he baled -- a tie that contains DNA, they say. The case has never been solved. There have been several claimants to Cooper's golden parachute, but none have been accepted (or convicted) by the Bureau, which has re-opened the case.

In addition, the kid who found 5 grand of Cooper's stolen loot buried in the banks of the Columbia wants to auction his collection. (He got to keep half the stash he found; the other went to the insurance company.) The story is given in detail at Yahoo News: Finder hopes to sell '71 hijacking cash.

Speaking of open cases, my own suitcase came back full of music and boxes of Nature's Path cereal (to fill the space where Christmas gifts had been). I got several CDs while in Portland. Instant Karma-Save Darfur (covers of John Lennon tunes); I'm Not There (movie soundtrack; Dylan covers). The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots; Dion, Song of Skip James; Prince, Planet Earth; Blood Sweat & Tears first album Child is Father of the Man, "Raising Sand" a Robert Plant and Allison Kraus collaboration.

All in all it was a great trip. I got to spend time with family; and drink a lot of Starbuck's Americanos. My son and his wife are expecting a boy baby in March. I suggested the name Cooper.