Oh my Pod!

It’s not my podcast, actually. It’s the podcast that Dave Tellmann and I do… or did, rather. But we’re still hauling in the hardware (“we’d like to thank the members of the academy…”) and reaping the accolades (“none of this would’ve been possible without your support…”).

The latest shout-out came courtesy of Cincinnati CityBeat.

Our “97X Rumblings from the Big Bush” podcast has run its course. (We did do a bonus episode recently after Mojo Nixon passed away.) But maybe a few more fans of the station will find their way to our little ol’ show. Which is the point.

“Rumblings” has a lot in common with a kid’s fort.

You can tell a lot of time and effort went into the construction of it, but it’s still clearly quite amateur. And that’s OK. For the few folks that tuned in, it was a time capsule from a time in their lives when the music and the people who shared it mattered a great deal to them. Those connections still matter.

We appreciate the recognition from CityBeat. Now if you’ll excuse us, Dave and I have to go put on our tuxedos for the awards ceremony.

Stay Creative Classy!

On Saturday evening, instead of watching March Madness, I met up with some old friends for a happy hour that stretched into the wee hours.

Yesterday afternoon, instead of watching March Madness, I provided a bit of constructive (I hope) criticism and writing tips to students who had entered their short films into a college film festival. Yes, me, the man who thinks this is the pinnacle of American cinema:

Last night, instead of watching March Madness, I went to a poetry reading. Yes, me, the guy who struggles to understand anything more complex than The Family Circus comic strip.

(The ghosts haunt me…)

My choices were based in part on the fact that Xavier didn’t make the Big Dance this year. But all three events were certainly more nourishing for the soul than watching a gazillion AT&T commercials. Oh, and let’s not forget the countless minutes of “official review” so the refs can add a tenth of a second to the game clock. Scintillating!

The Saturday happy hour was with some friends from my ad agency days. The traditional ad agency model is in a state of disarray. Too much consolidation, not enough creative freedom. But the folks I met and worked with during my agency days remain some of the most creative folks I’ve ever known. Writers, designers, artists, muralists, musicians. Big Idea generators, every one of them. They bring more beauty into the world. Yes, some of it is in service of commerce, but that doesn’t diminish the beauty… if anything, it makes it more admirable.

The student film festival gave me hope that the next generation of our “creative class” will be just as creative. The tools may change, but the ability to tell a compelling story will always matter.

The poets were folks who went to Xavier in the late 60s/early 70s and bonded over their love of the written word. To be able to portray beauty and convey emotions with an economy of words is a rare talent. And one well worth celebrating.

(excerpt above is from the book Also a Poet by Ada Calhoun)

The rise of technology — especially AI — has some folks thinking that our souls will be superseded by machines. But I know better. Flesh and blood, and human connection, are what will help us not just survive, but thrive.

Stay Classy, friends…. and stay creative!

At Your Service

I don’t spend a ton of time on LinkedIn (or social media in general) but below are two posts from other folks that mean the world to me:

I honestly couldn’t tell you how Jaylin and I first connected… a mutual acquaintance sent him my way more than a year ago. We chatted a few times, I gave him a few editing suggestions for his resume, threw a few companies onto his radar, and made some introductions. He’s a smart, enthusiastic young man, and I’m glad he found a spot to start his career journey.

I’m always willing to carve out time to talk to new/recent grads about career paths. I’m certainly no titan of industry (as witnessed by my checkered career), but even a schlub like me has some advice worth sharing with youngsters who are just starting out.

Matt’s being way too generous by billing me as a mentor. (I think it just means I’m older than he is!) But when we do get a chance to catch up outside the office (usually on a bike ride or a kayaking adventure), it’s great to be able to get beyond small talk and chat about bigger picture stuff. He’s a great dude — those Cleveland boys are the salt of the earth — and always fun to be around.

In the words of former Cincinnati Reds radio broadcaster Joe Nuxhall, I’m “rounding third and heading for home” in my career journey. But it’s nice to know I’ve had some impact along the way.

Man & Woman vs. Machine

I hate winter. But I love this:

It’s a lovely illustration by a lovely person, my friend Damjana. She’s from Slovenia. I’m from Mars (a.k.a. Arkansas). I met Damjana and her friend Mija in Ireland 33 and 1/3 years ago, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since (as also chronicled in this post from 2020).

I can’t help but smile whenever I see Damjana’s dancing snowman. Which is why I’ve printed it out and taped it on a wall of my “home office” (a.k.a. dingy basement). It’ll help me get through the dreary months ahead.

You can see more of Damjana’s illustrations here.

Real artwork, done by a real live human being – accept no substitute. Even in the age of AI.

As a WordNerd™ who has zero talent in the design/illustration department, I’ve always admired amazing artwork. As someone who worked at ad agencies for more than a decade, I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with some of the best artists around.

Keith Neltner. Tommy Sheehan. Rob Warnick. Chris Dye (working with his brother Nathan). Tom Post. Andy Sohoza. Each fantastic in their own right. Each with a unique style.

AI-generated art is nothing more than a synthesis of the handiwork of folks like them, and millions more flesh and blood artists.

If you’re just an inept artist like me and looking for an illustration for your puny little blog, sure, go ahead and use Dall-E 2, Stable Diffusion or Midjourney. But if you’re working on a commercial project, enlist a human being. You’ll get art with heart. Art that creates connection. Art that will make you smile. Totally worth it!

Searching for a Better Future

Did you know you can save the planet, and that it only takes a couple of minutes? OK, perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit, but if you switch your search engine to Ecosia, they’ll plant a tree for every 45 searches you do.

So your searches for the latest Kardashian news could actually be beneficial to society. (Reading up on the Kardashians will still rot your brain, but at least the planet will be healthier.)

Oh, and if you switch to Ecosia, you’ll be stickin’ it to The Man, too! The Man, in this case, is actually the 800-pound gorilla of Google. If you use Google for your search engine, they’re harvesting your data and using it to stick ads in your face… and making money off of it. By using a different search engine, you’re improving the overall health of the web.

The excerpt above is from Seth Godin’s blog post about switching to Ecosia. If you need more reasons, you’ll find them on the Ecosia blog.

I made the switch – it was super-easy, took less than 2 minutes, and I haven’t noticed any difference in the quality of my search results.

To be clear, there’s still money changing hands. But the money for search ads will go to Ecosia – a not-for-profit – instead of going into Google’s fat wallet. And Ecosia uses that income to plant trees. Also, Ecosia doesn’t sell your data to advertisers and doesn’t use third party trackers.

You can switch in seconds right here.

Valley Heat – the hottest podcast in the world!

I’m late to the game on this podcast (sorry, I lead a sheltered life), but Valley Heat is the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

It’s like A Confederacy of Dunces meets Arrested Development meets Fernwood 2 Night…. Doug’s deadpan delivery, a wacky cast of characters, fun music references, the bogus promo spots, and great theater-of-the-mind audio all combine to create a perfect storm of humor. Every element is note-perfect!

It’s a bit tough to explain because the folks responsible for the podcast have created a whole wacky world within a Burbank, California neighborhood. Tosthe protagonist, Doug, ostensibly is trying to crack the case of who is using his garbage can as a drug drop. But really that’s just a doorway to all sorts of shenanigans involving an accident-prone attorney, a house that’s also a nightclub/arcade/pizza parlor/car wash, a mean father-in-law (who also runs a muffler empire), a DEA agent who does stakeouts with his mom, legendary frisbee golf players, mean foosball players, Jan that Movie (listen to learn), and a weaselly optometrist. Speaking of which, here’s Doug talking about his teenage son, who was prescribed transition lenses:

I wound up binge-listening to all the episodes over a weekend and was cracking up the whole time. I don’t know what sort of mind can come up with a Simon & Garfunkel alternate version of the Cheers theme song, but I’m totally here for it!

The Patreon offers bonus episodes, which are equally entertaining. Here’s an excerpt about a new product that sounds perfect… other than the fire hazard:
Don’t just trust my judgment on this, trust Eliza Skinner:

Or my buddy Howard:

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have some Jannie Cakes for breakfast…