Saturday, March 29, 2008

Poster boy

It's good to get out of the house, away from the keyboard and monitor, and meet with folks for some chat and chew, or sip and quip. . . . Friday night, I showed up at the Chamber - Main Street Open House, said 'hi' to hostesses Meredith, Lisa, Megan, and attendees like Councilman Lance Jack and Citizen Hugh Muldoon, Boys & Girls Club Director Randy Osborn, and Sam and Sue, owners of My Favorite Toys at University Mall, which has "toys you can't buy at Wal-Mart."

Of course, I advocated using the internet to promote their business, since (for most businesses, for most situations) corporate media advertising is a waste of money. Been preaching that since early 90's when I got religion, PR style.

Posters are a useful type of print advertising, however. I got one (pictured left) about the Art & Wine Fair on Jackson Street and adjacent lots. Street closed, live music, and . . . I'll post it at Greyhound office.

After an hour of hangin' with the Main Streeters, walked up to Hangar 9 to hear one of my housemates jam with some other musicians, including a few remaining blades of Broken Grass. Robert has amazing blues pickin' skills. He's always practicin' overhead in his room above the kitchen when I'm making coffee. It's nice having him for a housemate, since he's on the road a lot with his regular band.

I also saw my dear friend "Jalapena" at The Hangar with Maggie Flanagan and some other folks I didn't know. A singer herself, she'll be performing at Hangar next week with Robbie Stokes backup.

Listened again to Stoke's classic "All American City" recently (originally released as a 45 rpm). . . . I'd like to make a music video of it -- it's quite an epic composition (penned by his grandfather, and song by Robbie nearly 30 years ago). Apparently, it hasn't yet been uploaded to the audio file, so I must get on that. . . Back in 2004, Robbie and I made a deal for me to sell the 45's and donate $ to the Hurd Brothers Scholarship Fund at Southeastern College, which I still intend to do, although I haven't done much with it since then (one of those forgotten plates). I will transcribe the lyrics for the product description. The entire song is nearly 5 minutes long; it begins (mp3) . . . "The All American City, our history goes back in time here in the heart of Little Egypt land on the good old IC line . . . "

Speaking of 45 rpm, I bought a tuner at a church yard sale (Calvary on Poplar) and a turntable at thrift store yesterday, so my classic vinyl platters can be digitized.

Despite my appreciation for printed posters and tee-shirts, I still could be the poster boy for digital media -- except for not owning an iPhone or Blackberry. It will be a few years before one of those finds itself on a table next to a toaster at a yard sale.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fragmentary Friday

People ask how many blogs I currently maintain: about a dozen. Doesn't take much time if I don't write expansively in every one. So excuse me if I don't analyze the irony of the 76ers turnaround without Iverson, and the Nuggles struggles to make the playoffs; or speculate on how McCain will gain as Democrats and Iraqis continue fighting; or give shout outs to my homies at Graydog's who never read this blog; or bitch about (short list of) local community leaders who continue to retard the local internet scene; or sing the praises of my favorite American Idol contestants; or comment on a recent discovery in the Northwest; or update plans to relocate the ticket office and bus stop at the BP Station on E. Main (BP stands for Bus Place, in this case); or plug tonight's Open House at the Chamber-Main Street offices; or detail continuing efforts to rid my PC of whatever's hijacking the internet connection.

Sometimes it's difficult deciding where to break certain news, such as Jeremiah Wright flap, or the great news I received last night. Two words: Jacob William.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Windfall Wednesday

Keeping with the Alliterative Adjective Day-of-the-Week, theme, Wednesday has several possibilities: Wacky, Weird, Wonderful, Wedding, Wet, Wild and Windy. Still haven't finished drafts of "Monkey Monday" and "Doozy Tuesday" published yet. Been dealing with a virus on my HP Pavilion caused by unwise downloading at The Pirate Bay.

Still keeping up with all my blogs on my laptop, with others in the works: a pop culture blog, and one for people over 50.

My $100 7.0 megapixel camera is working fine, so far. Been video'ing bicycle rides to work and around town for a video, The Way of the Bike, Carbondale-style.

Speaking of bikes, I've got to write a press release for the Chamber director to send to members about Bike 2 Work Day, May 16. I'll try to have it done before tomorrow night's Chamber of Commerce/Carbondale Main Street Open House, 5-7pm. When it gets done, it will be linked to right here.

What else is new? Looks like an Ebay service may be offered in its place when Greyhound moves out in May. People can bring there stuff there to sell online. Also, thinking about setting up a small computer station, say 3-5 computers to teach classes on using different applications in the same space. My landlord Charley Greer thinks people would pay to learn the things they need to know. I know I would. . . .

I need a virus removal class right about now. . . . Firefox opens, but can't connect to anything, and IE7 goes to rogue websites, with pop-ups offering to scan my system. (My system should be obvious: Like cooked spaghetti, throw it on the ceiling and see if it sticks (much easier than spinning plates. ha ha).

Speaking of Greyhound, yesterday was special, as in especially difficult, but eventually we got this desparate couple on the road to California, thanks to the owners of Truley's Country Kitchen, who really stepped up and helped those guys.

Speaking of stand up guys, I snapped a photo of Charley sitting outside this morning. He's always dressed real nice, because he's buys fashionable stuff for his Urban2 store. Don't be surprised if you see me dressed to the 9's someday (at the Carbondale Chamber - Main Street Open House on Friday. I should ask Charley to suit me up real fly for the publicity.

This afternoon I had a super meeting with a business guy who likes this blog. We lamented the virtual retardation of the community leaders when it comes to getting their information of the web timely and accessibly. It's unbelieveable, really, how many people are afraid to step into a blog and begin talking the walk -- people whose business and organizations would benefit from exposure. (For instance, try to find any mention of tomorrow's Open House on the Main Street site. At least the Chamber website has some details.

I guess the saying is true, "You can lead a leader to Blogger.Com, but you can't make them click."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Great Good Friday

Followed by Ash Wednesday, Good Friday is the solemnest day of the year for the world's Christians, because it marks the anniversary of Christ's crucifixion. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia the origin of the term Good is not clear:
Some say it is from "God's Friday" (Gottes Freitag); others maintain that it is from the German Gute Freitag, and not specially English. Sometimes, too, the day was called Long Friday by the Anglo-Saxons.
Hoping for a great Good Friday, today. Meeting Ruby Jung to discuss publishing her late husband's essays as a book -- something I said I'd do at Jim's funeral a year ago. Haven't done much yet, except for retyping his first published essay. Today, we'll choose the other essays to include, selected from the 7 annual editions of his Waterman & Hill-Traveler's Companion. Jim was a fine writer, and his pithy explanations of complex phenomena is unequaled in Southern Illinois nature writing.

Earlier this week, I got together with the guy who introduced to Jim three decades ago. A guy who at the time drove a bus for the transportation service, but now has risen to become the marketing maven of SIU. Guess who? We drank some beer at Pinch Penny and got into a heated exchange about the meaning of the new SIUC image ads, with the tag: There are # stories, what's yours? I tried to find the ad at the SalukiDawgs YouTube, without success.

It's also been a week of meeting Coles: with Brad, the Mayor (about the City's possible participation in a city-wide informational website); and Megan at Main Street about the Town Square art fair this Spring, and Melissa Cole in England, who loves great beer.

The great Meredith Rhodes also met with me last week -- to discuss the Chamber's participation in this year's Bike 2 Work Day. She says she'll ride herself, and publicize the event to members. Since Rhodes is such a Beatles fan, like me, we're thinking this years event can have Beatles theme, and Chamber can provide "Tickets to Ride" at downtown businesses.

Other projects still spin away, and new ones appear. Just bought a new digital camera to replace my trusty Canon Powershot, which has seen better days. Got a great deal on a 7.0 mega pixel camera at Aldi! Will try the video feature today, and upload something over the weekend.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Saint for a day

Saint Barack appeared in Philadelphia today, to preach a 37 minute speech of reconciliation and improvement, to quell the outcry over his former Pastor's anti-American pronouncements. The most important speech of his campaign, already it's been clipped and edited by enemies, who doubt his righteousness, for political opportunity.

Yesterday was another Saint's day, and today, a list of different holy men are honored by the Catholic Church:

  • St. Cyril of Jerusalem
  • St. Alexander
  • Bl. Christian
  • St. Salvatore
  • St. Edward the Martyr
  • St. Anselm of Lucca
  • Sts. Trophimus & Eucarpius
  • St. Salvator of Horta
  • St. Frediano
  • St. Narcissus and Felix

  • Although he isn't Catholic, his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright seems like a saintly man. I wonder what he has to say today? Does he stand by "God damn America?" Perhaps it doesn't matter -- Obama did a brilliant job of putting Jeremiah's invective in perspective, and pointing to a better future for all Americans . . . even the ignorati.

    To further distance himself from Wright, Barack should consider adding his name to the growing list of Roman Catholic converts. This would score some major points with the most influential Catholic in America, and give BHO an excellent chance of achieving official Sainthood following his second term of miracle-working as President.

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Amberer than her

    St Patrick's Day is a big deal in some circles. Being only half-Irish, not so much for me. St. David's Day, the Patron Saint of Wales, is more my thing, since I prefer amber-colored ale to green. But here's to Ireland, in her emerald glory; and to Greener Than Thou, for telling this story.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    City of Carbondale - Organizational Chart

    Look at it. The City paid $25,000 for its web site five or six years ago, and the organizational chart is barely legible -- not to mention other problems with the site. Time for a new improved version -- which happens to be one of the items on the City Council budget agenda.

    . . . To speed the process, accounts have been created for selected City and University publicity people for the Shawnee Net site, so they can post their press releases to one convenient and permanent location, where all local organizations can be represented.

    For it to work, follow-through is needed by people in these organizations. Carbondale has been soooo slow in getting itself wired, and by 'itself' I mean the business and professional community, and by 'wired' I mean interconnected via internet. Besides email, not much intra-city communication takes place. And that's because of lack of leadership. I try to lead from here, pecking and clicking, urging (just about) everyone to blog, but it usually takes personal contact with individuals to get it going.

    Yesterday, through the power of a phone call, Monica Tichenor, Coordinator of Public Information for WSIU public broadcasting, activated an account. It may only be a temporary expedient -- eventually the station's Public Information will have its own home, like SIU News Service -- but it's a start.

    I'm hoping others will follow Monica's lead, and City staffers who currently send out press releases by email will take a minute (literally) to cut and paste them into the Shawnee Net "City of Carbondale" blog. . . . Ditto the Chamber of Commerce, the Arbor District, the Boys & Girls Club, and the rest, who aren't active in the blogosphere.

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    A Month of Mondays

    Usually, a blog post begins with a title, and sometimes a better title is suggested as the post develops. This title has probably been used before. Shall we google it? Appears no one has written a book with that title yet, but there is a band by that name, and bunch of other stuff -- but no book. Here's the concept: two drinking buddies go to 30 different pubs, one per week, for 30 Mondays, sampling the micro-brews from hither and yon. Snap a photo of the building, a few interior shots, and some quotes from the bartender. It's a concept that might work in other venues and other days, such as "A Fortnight of Fridays" visiting restaurants that serve fish. I feel another blog coming on.

    Thursday, March 06, 2008

    CSS Investigation

    Through the power of cascading style sheets (CSS), more color and texture have been added to this blog. The backgrounds are details of Victor DeGraff sand paintings, like this .

    The sand painting textures are only experimental; eventually, something more locally-themed will be used.

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    In like a lion . . .

    The old saying that the month of March "comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb" is half true, so far. Another storm front looms. Not as bad as the first ice storm in February, but freezing rain is in the picture, and more snow on Friday. The weather has not disrupted Greyhound bus service, nor has it set back plans to move the agency office in May.

    Yesterday, I met the gentleman who runs the BP station on East Main St., and we all but sealed the deal. Someone from the DE contacted me, too, but -- until the contract is signed -- the announcement is not official. You'll be the first to know, Bloggee. The tentative opening day is May 1. Maybe we can have a ribbon cutting, you know, something different, like instead of ribbon, cut a length of tire inner tube.

    The Lion-Lamb saying about March is offered as an example of Axiomatic Project Managing by consultant Carl Pritchard, as a way to build professionalism. Carl says we choose maxims which resonate with us and apply them in our daily lives. Safety first is one example. Some might call it a mantra, the thing(s) we tell ourselves repeatedly.
    "If you find a few that resonate with you, they can become your signature. They can become a small component of what you represent. . .
    My mantras are lyrics of Todd Rundgren songs. I think it's good to keep your mantra(s) secret. On the other hand, Pritchard is talking about maxims and wise sayings that have stood the test of time, like Benjamin Franklin's classic Lack of care does more harm than lack of knowledge. About the March saying, Pritchard speculates
    In like a lion... So many projects start that way. Blustery. Confused. Cold. Relationships uncertain. The future looking downright Arctic. And yet, is it not those projects that (because of the investments we make in making them right) that go out like lambs? And conversely, those that we ignore or consider "easy pickings" from the beginning turn into the "lions" at the end?"
    True enough. But with news alerts from Google, unruly blogs can be tamed, easy as shepherd's pie.