Gordon “Gord” Downie passed away this week. It’s OK if you’ve never heard of him. Most folks in the U.S. haven’t. He was the lead singer of a Canadian band called The Tragically Hip… they were beloved in Canada but never really made much of a dent on U.S. radio or sales charts.
Gord was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2016. He could have wallowed in self-pity and shut things down. Instead, his response was to tour… to keep doing what he did best – sharing his art with his fans, his friends. And to continue to support reconciliation with Indigenous people in his home country.
Canada is in mourning over the loss… watch this heartfelt speech from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and you start to get a feel for the impact he had.
Here’s to you, Gord. Not just in the Great White North but across the world, there are millions of folks that appreciate your music and admire your courage.
Confession: I’m 52 years old, and I still read the comic strips first when I get the Sunday newspaper. (Kids, ask your grandparents what a ‘newspaper’ is.)
This past Sunday, there were two comic strips that I found quite profound… tucked in among the usual banal suspects like Beetle Bailey and Hi & Lois.
Pearls Before Swine is consistently very good, and Stephan Pastis really struck a nerve with this one:
Non Sequitur is another standout strip, and this one was outstanding:
You can keep your philosophy books… I’ll take my life lessons in nine panels or less, thank you very much.
This weekend, Cincinnati is hosting BLINK. What’s BLINK, you ask? Well, according to the “About” page on the BLINK website:
BLINK, October 12th to the 15th 2017, is expected to be one of the largest light, art and projection mapping events in the nation. The four-day event will feature large-scale projection mapping installations, murals, urban artscapes, media light and interactive art in Cincinnati, OH. BLINK will span 20 city blocks, from Cincinnati’s Banks to Findlay Market. Food and beverages will also be available. BLINK is free and open to the public – no tickets are required.
That description really doesn’t do it justice – it really is one of those “you have to see it for yourself” things. It basically uses the walls of downtown buildings as giant screens for all sorts of projections, like a mini-movie about the start of King Records:
And it “animates” dozens of murals celebrating Cincinnati’s history and famous citizens. Here’s one of Rosemary Clooney:
All the lighting magic is amazing, but the coolest part to me was the fact that BLINK brought thousands of folks from the ‘burbs to downtown Cincinnati and the area just north of downtown called Over the Rhine. All ages, races, creeds, colors… just enjoying an evening stroll around town with their fellow citizens, checking out the bands that were playing, meeting up with friends, riding the streetcar.
It showed our city at its best, and I hope we see more of it in the future – with or without the light show.
Saw this video earlier this week and it cracked me up. Hope you like it too:
I go to a lot of concerts every year. Yesterday I saw a different kind of rock star. Seth Godin is marketing wizard, a best-selling author, a brilliant blogger and one of the best public speakers I’ve ever seen.
Yes, this guy rocks!
He was in Cincinnati yesterday to give the keynote speech at an event called “Brandemonium” (because all of the good names are taken, apparently).
His presentation was ostensibly about how consumer brands can better connect with customers in the digital age. But really it was about life. About generosity. About art. About connecting. About overcoming fear.
His presenting style should be required viewing for any public speaker. Way too many folks try to cram a bunch of bullet points, charts and graphs onto their PowerPoint slides, and they wind up being a huge distraction to the audience… and a crutch for the speaker. Seth uses compelling visuals (one per slide) and a sprinkling of text to move his narrative along, so you can focus on the story instead of the charts and graphs.
I set up a blog a few years ago, and created a whopping total of about five blog posts in the first 18 months of its existence. Then Seth issued a “blog post a day for one week” challenge via his own blog, and that was exactly the kickstart I needed. (So if you don’t like dubbatrubba.com, blame Seth, not me!) He taught me that if you keep waiting for “perfect” you’ll squander your talent (using that term very loosely). “Ship your product” in Seth’s parlance means creating something and putting it out into the world.
I highly recommend you subscribe to Seth’s blog. You’ll get a daily email containing his latest blog post – most posts take just a minute or two to read, but the food for thought will sustain you all day long.
I know I sound like a fanboy. Because I am. You should be too.
It all started with a Ho.
A few days ago, the guy who played Bozo The Clown on TV in Arkansas during my childhood passed away. I vividly remember watching the show. I even more vividly remember thinking “this is cheesy” even in my not-fully-developed brain. The wacky hair. The obvious scull cap. The goofy “no right answer” questions he’d ask the kids, like “Do you walk to school or carry your lunch?” or “How smart is your mother, 100 or 45?”
Back in those pre-historic days, a tape recorder served as an entertainment outlet for my siblings and me. The first “comedy” tape (using the term very loosely) we ever made featured several Bozo parodies. But watching the tribute segments and reading the obits, I have a newfound respect for Gary Weir, the Arkansas Bozo for more than 25 years. He clearly enjoyed the work, and made sure that the kids felt special.
There’s a lot to be said for giving your all at your job, and focusing on your customers instead of yourself… even if your role is to be the clown.
“Give your product an appealing name”
“Make sure the product photo doesn’t look like dog poop”
Oh wait, guns DO kill people. Especially semi-automatic assault rifles that have been modified with a legal “bump-fire stock” that allow shooters to fire up to 100 bullets every minute. And even more so when there are 23 weapons in the possession of a single person, allowing him to rain down bullets indiscriminately upon an unsuspecting crowd, slaughtering 58 and wounding hundreds.
Yes, more stringent background checks probably wouldn’t have helped in Las Vegas… but they would have in Aurora, CO, Charleston, SC and Washington D.C., and other cities that have experienced this hell. So would banning large magazines, outlawing bump-fire stocks, instituting mental health screenings and terrorism watch list bans, and shutting down online sales and gun shows. And if you believe that a nationwide registry wouldn’t have raised a few red flags when one man purchased 33 semi-automatic weapons and a mountain of ammunition over the course of just 11 months, then you’re delusional at best. How about biometric trigger locks while we’re at it? I’m just spitballing here, trying to save the lives of innocent people who were just trying to enjoy a concert, or a movie, or attending church services, or going to kindergarten. (As well as the lives of hundreds of kids who die from accidental shootings each year, and perhaps some of the 21,000+ people who use a gun to commit suicide.)
There’s a huge gulf between “I own a handgun and a hunting rifle” and “I own weapons designed to mow down dozens of human beings in the shortest amount of time possible”… Can we find some common ground in that chasm? Use some common sense? If not, these massacres will become even more common.