Like there’s no Tom Tomorrow

Yes, I’m a 55-year-old man who still loves reading comic strips. And I’m not ashamed of that at all. (Mainly because I don’t read the crappy strips like Marmaduke. I have more discerning tastes.)

If you think comics are for kids, I suggest you read the book Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud.

This Modern World, a weekly political comic strip by Tom Tomorrow (a.k.a. Dan Perkins), is consistently funny and thought-provoking — a tough combo to pull off.

I used to read This Modern World in the local alternative weekly until budget cuts caused the paper to drop it. Now I subscribe to Sparky’s List, Tom Tomorrow’s subscription-based weekly email that includes the weekly strip as well as some notes about the work and other musings on life. It’s $10 for six months – a bargain at twice the price. If you don’t care to spare the ten spot, you can check out each week’s strip Mondays on the Daily Kos or Tuesdays on The Nib.

Make fun of me all you want for reading the funny papers. I don’t care, I’m still gonna read ’em. You may think it’s a waste of time, but I sure don’t.

This ad is a bit too lively

OK, time for a guessing game – if you saw this photo in the Sunday newspaper (anyone under 40: you’ll have to Google “newspaper” first), what sort of business or service do you think it would be advertising?

Airline perhaps? Vacation destination? Megachurch? Political ad?

If you guessed “cemetery” go to the head of the class… and then walk out of the class and immediately schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist, because clearly you have issues if you see a family jumping for joy on a sunshine-drenched beach and think of death.

But yes, it’s true, that photo was part of an ad for a “burial package” at a couple of Cincinnati-area cemeteries.

Help me understand how you can make a connection between that happy family and a burial package.

The “WE STAND WITH YOU!” line is creating some cognitive dissonance too… no one in the photo is actually standing.

I guess they’re going with the “sell the sizzle” approach. It reminds me of those old print ads for Newport cigarettes.

The headline was “Alive with pleasure!” because that sounds so much more appealing than “Dying of Lung Cancer.”

The cemetery ad has ruined things for me. I love the beach, but now when my kids ask if they can bury me in the sand, I’ll get scared that they really want to bury me.

Beer. Here.

The Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati, just north of downtown, has a rich tradition of brewing beer. The neighborhood got its name from the heavy influx of hard-working German immigrants who started arriving in the mid-1800s. And Germans like their beer.

The neighborhood’s distinctive name comes from the predominantly German mid-19th century immigrants who developed the area and became its early residents. Many walked to work across bridges over the Miami and Erie Canal, which separated the area from downtown Cincinnati. The canal was nicknamed “the Rhine” in reference to the river Rhine in Germany, and the newly settled area north of the canal as “Over the Rhine”.[3][4] In German, the district was called über den Rhein.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over-the-Rhine

Prohibition killed off dozens of breweries in the area. But a few survived. And one of those old breweries is getting a major expansion, thanks to a Cincinnati kid who made his mark selling Boston Lager.

Here’s info from the press release a couple of weeks ago:

The Boston Beer Company and Samuel Adams Cincinnati Brewery announced plans for a significant expansion of the brewery located on Cincinnati’s Central Parkway. The project will be the largest brewery investment in the long and storied history of brewing in Cincinnati.

The substantial brewery enhancement will support the growing demand for products across the Boston Beer portfolio, bringing additional production capabilities to the site, including two highly anticipated canning lines and innovative packing equipment to support brands like Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard, Twisted Tea and Truly Hard Seltzer. Once completed, the brewery will be able to quadruple production in Cincinnati. The project will also add more than one hundred new jobs.

Jim Koch, the founder of The Boston Beer Company, grew up in Cincinnati. His father worked at the Schoenling Brewing Co. building that now houses part of Boston Beer’s local operations. The recipe for Samuel Adams Boston Lager came from Jim’s great-great-grandfather. Now his business is adding more than 100 local jobs.

He (Koch) said the 107 jobs created by the expansion will be the kind of well-paying blue-collar jobs that made up the backbone of Cincinnati’s economy in the days when manufacturing was king.

“When I grew up there were a lot of blue-collar craftsman jobs in Cincinnati, like tool and die at Cincinnati Milacron or General Motors in Norwood,” Koch said. “There were once well-paying union craftsman jobs in Cincinnati, and a lot of them have gone away.”

Koch said he worked with the Teamsters union and the median income of the new jobs being created will be $70,000 a year. The contract covering those jobs is being extended to the 130 existing brewery workers as well.

Text in italics above from this Cincinnati Business Courier article

We need all the positive economic news we can get these days, and this Sam Adams expansion is great news. The supply chain challenges of the pandemic (turns out most PPE is made in China – who knew?) have also made more people realize that we need to make more stuff right here in America. And we as consumers need to “shop local” and spend our cash on those products. Including beer. Cheers to that!

This four-minute TV news feature from 2011 gives a nice overview of Jim Koch’s back story.

Freaky Friday

I loved this recent headline:

Not the part about someone going to prison. I wouldn’t wish that fate upon anyone… well, other than drivers who go one mile above the speed limit in the left hand lane, cable installation schedulers, and the occasional president.

But I didn’t even know that “Hot Pockets heiress” was a thing. A Hot Pocket is just a calzone, right? I’m pretty sure that was invented long ago. Maybe her family “invented” the microwaveable part of the equation, or they patented their famous “cold, spongy crust and roof-of-the-mouth-burning filling” combination.

Then again, if Mean Girls taught us anything, it was that there’s a fortune to be made in still-cold-but-somehow-really-hot convenience products.

I wonder if the Hot Pockets heiress ever dated the Pop Tarts scion. If they got hitched, that would certainly be a marriage of convenience. Instead she paid $100,000 to have someone correct her kid’s admissions exam, and another $200,000 to have her daughter admitted to USC as a bogus athlete.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to invent Toaster Corndogs or a microwaveable Twinkie. Time to cash in.

Advertising 101

If you’re going to create a print ad for a retirement community, don’t choose a photo where the man looks just like Bradley Whitford’s creepy, sadistic doctor character in Get Out:

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that out.

All’s well that ends… and starts anew… well.

I wrote a post about my friend Dale last summer.

So artsy…

It talked about how he was unceremoniously dumped from Landor (the design firm where we were co-workers) after 23 years of faithful service and brilliant designs.

I had lunch with Dale earlier this week… at the same outdoor park where a year earlier, Landor’s Cincinnati boss had broken the news to him that they were letting him go.

Many moons ago, Dale took some great photos of our now-teenage sons in this same park.

What a difference a year makes. Dale has teamed up with a couple other Landor refugees [a suit (OK, “strategist”) and a writer who was let go during the same purge that took out Dale… after a mere 17 years on the job]. They’ve formed a small (some would say “boutique”) strategy and design/branding studio called Holotype. And they’re crushing it! They’re so busy that they’re turning away business, and working on cooler stuff that means more to them because they’re more closely connected to their clients.

Dale’s “commute” now consists of walking 20 feet from his house to the 100-plus-year-old industrial garage out back that he’s converted into his studio.

And a few weeks ago, he married his girlfriend of a decade. Personally and professionally, all is well in Dale’s world. He couldn’t be happier… and I couldn’t be happier for him.

They got hitched in Taos, New Mexico.

The old adage is “leap and the net will appear”…

In this case, it was less like a leap and more like a shove, but it certainly let Dale spread his wings and soar.

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