Business

You are currently browsing articles tagged Business.

Last week, my family went on a New England road trip and I brought along my laptop and iPhone to stay connected with the office and clients. It is the norm for many businesspersons these days (and not much different from typical weekends). The downside of technology is that you are always connected. Fortunately for me last week was quiet and the digital side was a huge help in managing projects in progress.

I mention all this because my family’s trip was a wonderful educational trip mostly along the coast of New England. It underscored for me how much life, especially working life, in America has changed over our relatively short history. It was humbling on many levels.

The Morgan docked in Mystic, CT is under major restoration but still tourable.

The Morgan docked in Mystic, CT is under major restoration but still tourable.

In Mystic, we had a chance to tour the Morgan, the only remaining wooden whaling boat left and currently under major restoration. On a hot AC-less day, its cramped quarters underscored that a long time at sea was a very long time. Especially at a time deodorant wasn’t invented yet.

The Breakers, the Vanderbilt mansion in Newport, RI, is a glimpse back to the Gilded Age.

The Breakers, the Vanderbilt mansion in Newport, RI, is a glimpse back to the Gilded Age.

With class warfare in full political mode, a visit to Newport, RI and the summer homes of the Vanderbilts and others underscored that at times the gulf between the haves and have-nots was much greater. The American middle-class didn’t exist yet. It is a testament to capitalism and free-enterprise that a middle ground evolved and thrived in the last century. Even if it feels like we are at another tipping point.

The whaling museum in New Bedford, MA tells the amazing story of whales and the men who hunted them.

The whaling museum in New Bedford, MA tells the amazing story of whales and the men who hunted them.

The whaling museum in New Bedford, MA is a treasure chest of knowledge and exhibits about what was New England’s principal livelihood for many years. I learned why every whale hunted was such a vital collection of valuable resources, principally oil used as a fuel for lights, which extended American’s day on average by an extra hour after sunset. However, the hard work and danger to successfully hunt, kill, and bring back a whale was beyond daunting. It must have taken a certain kind of bravado or crazy to sign on for this duty. Ironically, it was the discovery of oil in the ground in Titusville, PA that signaled the beginning of the end for whale-hunting as an industry in New England.

Up close and personal with a humpback whale from the deck of the Seven Seas tour boat.

Up close and personal with a humpback whale from the deck of the Seven Seas tour boat.

Happily, the whaling industry is thriving in a new way now — tourism. Whale sightseeing boats out of Gloucester are doing an amazing job of introducing landlubbers like me to these amazing creatures. On the Seven Seas, we saw a dozen humpbacks during an afternoon voyage off Cape Ann. And as these awesome natural wonders put on a show on the surface of the Atlantic, they are unaware they are helping to support all the shops, restaurants, and motels in the area that depend on summer vacationers. There were close to 150 on our ship, times twice daily, times many other similar tour boats. Talk about an unlikely ecosystem.

A Lowell textile mill reimagined dollhouse size.

A Lowell textile mill reimagined dollhouse size.

On the way home, we headed inland to Lowell, MA for a different take on the New England economy of yesteryear. The once thriving textile mills there are now a working museum run by the National Park Service. They have done a terrific job of presenting the relevant-today story of cheap labor in service of manufactured goods. The Lowell mills were populated by a steady stream of ever-cheaper-to-compete labor pools. Ironically, most were women. First, farm girls from New England. Then, immigrants were brought in, from one nationality or country at a time, always in search of remaining competitive. Lowell went from being one of America’s brightest stories during the Industrial Revolution to finding itself fighting for its economic life, first against other cities in New England, then in the southern US, and finally, in countries around the world. The work in the mill was hard, loud, monotonous, long, and often dangerous. In those early days, there was no OSHA and there were no unions, although both would come later.

The Lowell lesson is an instructive one — if America wants to compete in today’s global markets, we face tremendous challenges in terms of costs, regulations, worker/union expectations, technology, and governmental cooperation with the private sector. With Lowell’s mills closed in the early 90s, the city is now retooling in another direction — tourism. I encourage you to avail yourself of this instructive link to our past (and hopefully, future).

The late great Ron Rotelli (center) helping to manage a Time and Parking Controls seminar at the National Constitution Center.

The late great Ron Rotelli (center) helping to manage a Time and Parking Controls seminar at the National Constitution Center.

My vacation ended on a very sad note with an email from Kevin Elsesser, GM of Time and Parking Controls — his longtime associate Ron Rotelli passed away in his sleep during a family vacation. Ron was a man of many talents, he made friends instantly with everyone he met, and he balanced work with a love of family and a long list of personal interests, especially music. He was one of the least likely people to have his life cut short in such abrupt fashion, which just underscores the age-old Carpe Diem message for the rest of us. That he will be sorely missed by so many was brought home by the endless line of friends, family, and co-workers inside and outside the Donoghue Funeral Home Thursday evening.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My deep-rooted belief in the American free enterprise system, also known as capitalism, has made it harder and harder to enjoy political statements thinly disguised as entertainment from Hollywood, TV, and the music industry because so many movies, songs, shows, and performers are insistent on bashing business and evil corporations as if they were piñatas filled only with ill-gotten profits.  Especially painful is having to balance my love of the music of Bruce Springsteen, a local hero from college days, whose politics seem to lean increasingly far left toward non-existent Utopias of fairness, equal outcomes, and overreaching government control known as socialism and communism.

Bruce Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball" Hits Hard About Lost Work

Bruce Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball" Hits Hard About Lost Work

With the release of Bruce’s ambitious new album  “Wrecking Ball”, I have had my usual concerns whether I could balance any one-sided sermonizing with music and musicianship that is always engaging and risk-taking. I wasn’t encouraged by this interview in Rolling Stone, in which the exceedingly well-compensated New Jersey sons, Jon Stewart and the Boss, spoke unironically  about income disparity in the USA.  Both guys are wonderful examples of the American Dream. They need to stop feeling guilty about their success. Each one is an industry unto himself, employing a long list of people wherever he goes. Bruce especially sells a lot of records, concert tickets, memorabilia, clothing, and concert concessions, all in the name of rock and roll art. On top of that, he is an extraordinarily charitable guy, always giving funds and support and time to national and local causes. He has nothing left to prove, yet he still seems to be bothered about now living in a “Mansion on the Hill”.

When I finally picked up a copy of “Wrecking Ball” at the ultimate evil retailer, Wal-Mart, I wasn’t surprised to hear songs of anger directed at greedy bankers and corporate fat cats. However, upon repeated listenings, I have found myself moved by  another recurring message from Bruce — that work is what gives each of us a purpose (as well as income) and it is an essential thread that holds our communities, states, and nation together.

I encourage you to listen to songs like “Jack of All Trades”, “Death To My Hometown”,  and “Rocky Ground”, in which Bruce eloquently speaks to a middle class devastated by job loss and by the sickening realization that prospects ahead look bleak and bleaker. It does not have to be this way, however. While it is troubling that too many still put their faith in politicians to create and manage commerce, and that others are looking for special favors for their companies or industries (crony capitalism, not to be confused with actual capitalism), the free enterprise system here is still alive and just needs to be left alone to work.  And so that a lot more Americans can get back to work.

Tags: , , , , ,

With each new profile of the late, truly great Steve Jobs (current cover story of Rolling Stone is especially well done), and with each new Apple announcement, we are reminded daily that at least one sector of the economy is doing just fine — the Steve Jobs sector. The man was a one man jobs-creating machine. It is isn’t just Apple (Mac PCs, iPods, iPhones, iTunes, iWantOneOfThoseToo), but all the companies whose ancillary products are made in support of Apple’s, plus the entertainment industry with music, videos, movies, shows delivered to your device du jour. He envisioned products that never existed but that the public will clamor for. Such as the iPhone 4S with a virtual personal assistant named Siri who is a fountain of answers.

One of the Jobs story angles I have found most fascinating and uplifting is his half-Syrian family tree. No one has written better about it than the insightful and eloquent Fouad Ajami (Wall Street Journal subscriber content only, I’m afraid). The news that adopted Steve Jobs’s biological father is a Syrian-American has been resonating throughout the Arab world. It should, and hopefully will, be a constant reminder that with more power and freedom in the hands of people, many more Steve Jobs can blossom and enrich humanity.

Unfortunately, even in the West, there is an inclination to control and manage and central plan the economy via government at all levels, but especially in DC. Hence, the Administration’s heavily flogged jobs bill, which promotes the creation of jobs in the public sector, and will in turn diminish the struggling private sector. We need both, but right now, the balance is badly off and the results aren’t pretty.

Employees Must Wash Hands, a Public-Private Sector Regulatory Cooperative

Employees Must Wash Hands, a Public-Private Sector Regulatory Cooperative

A trip to the Men’s Room yesterday at a Sonic fast food restaurant was a reminder that all regulations, or executions of regulations, are not making life better or clearer, except for providing unintended humor. The obligatory “Employees Must Wash Hands” sign has been upgraded with step-by-step photography, detailed instructions, and bilingual sections. Instead, I’ll take a handwashing reminder and recommendations from Siri any time.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The definition of advertising has gotten stretched in some weird digital ways lately and it is only getting worse.  When I received this e-blast yesterday from IBM company, Coremetrics, my head came very close to exploding in the style of David Cronenberg’s 1981 sci fi flick “Scanners.” There isn’t much that gets my attention in the way of templated assembly-lined e-mails, but this one broke through all the clutter. Unfortunately, it was not in a good way. This isn’t Big Blue’s finest hour.

Coremetrics confuses with this e-mail that has little to do with true advertising.

Coremetrics confuses with this e-mail that has little to do with true advertising.

The word, Advertising, drew me in strictly by way of association, because I am in the profession, and only because it was the largest font on the page. That’s not setting the bar very high. I skimmed the copy to see what Coremetrics was selling. The promise of a free white paper led me to the following instructive title: “Appropriate Attribution: Addressing the Dramatic Inaccuracies Associated with Last-Based Campaign Attribution in Digital Analysis.” Now, I admit I am not an online media metrics wonk, but I know a few and if they were ever confronted with this phraseology, their craniums would self-immolate, too.

Granted, complex tech topics depend on audience knowledge of industry trends, jargon, and conventional wisdom and methods. However, this is the very antithesis of what advertising and marketing stand for — copy and design working together to dramatically and effectively convey a single simple idea. Eventually, if anyone ever gets that far, there is a Voice of Reason web site that explains this e-mail campaign and the Coremetrics value proposition in great detail.

And that in a nutshell is my main gripe with online advertising — it may be measurable, it may be metrics-rich, it may be analyzable, but it is seldom anything I would describe as advertising.  Similarly, Google deserves special derision for naming its PPC program, Adwords. Random search words on a web page do not an ad make. They may fall under a marketing budget and they may generate a lot of revenue for Google, but they are not ads.

As the economy and business continue to flop around on the deck like a fish desperate for H2O, many companies (including some in the Fortune 500) seem to miss basic truths and common sense approaches. I recently saw the chief marketing officer of a large global chemical company proudly quoted about the transformation of his employer into a company now known for science instead of chemicals. The problem is that the products his company manufactures and sells are chemicals. The products that his customers buy are chemicals. He can market science all he wants, and thought leadership is important, but he ultimately risks confusing prospects.

As Coremetrics’ approach ably demonstrates, clarity is in short supply these days. I’ll take the measurability of a revelatory, idea-and-results-driven print or broadcast ad’s two-by-four upside the head Eureka moment over any click-through rate any day.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

52 posts in 52 weeks makes for a minor milestone (or a good excuse for a game of 52-card pickup).  But we’re proud to report that NewtonIdeas.net has reached the one-year mark.  In honor of the occasion, here are a few varied mini-stories of interest. Some even have something to do with marketing.

Even in the Wright Brothers era, advertising was helping to build business ventures.

Even in the Wright Brothers era, advertising was helping to build business ventures.

Advertising has long been the wind beneath business’s wings.

Spending President’s Day weekend in DC was refreshing for a lot of reasons. One was seeing this Wright Brothers era display from the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum. A long time before Burma Shave ever hit the highways, the medium of outdoor advertising was practiced in some pretty creative ways on some remarkable canvases.

Two other reasons were the guided tour of the Capitol (the building itself gives you goosebumps, the prelude film is magnificent, first-rate audio headsets for all, and our tour guide was a polished gem eager to share information, as well as a very energetic senior who is living proof that retirement is overrated) and a cabdriver from Ghana who was this week’s embodiment of the American Dream. He has been driving a DC cab for five years to put himself through Howard University. He is currently studying five hours a day to take the CPA exam.

Back to earth courtesy of the current Congress.

This story from the Washington Post will tell you all you need to know about what happens when the second oldest profession takes on the oldest profession. Upon first seeing the headline about Harry Reid challenging prostitution, which is currently legalized in his home state of Nevada, I was perplexed. The explanations and the instant poll here are revealing of motives and politics (prostitution) as usual.

Softer side, my a@#.

Nothing agitates agencies more than having to do spec work to win business. Unless it is being told by the prospect that they will own your ideas even if you aren’t named agency of record and you won’t be compensated for them. According to Advertising Age, that is what Sears is doing in its current search and why many shops are fighting mad and turning down the opportunity. Interesting business model. I suggest shoplifters come armed with a copy of this story to discuss with Sears store security and ask why they aren’t entitled to something valuable for nothing as well.

Coupled with this news about Wal-Mart and you begin to wonder if there are any intelligent, common sense-oriented adults left in retail management. Two key takeaways from the Wal-Mart story: “Wal-Mart still is suffering a hangover from its overly aggressive effort last year to broaden its base of customers to include more affluent shoppers” AND “Wal-Mart this year has opted to return its marketing and its merchandise to a focus on its roots: low prices on everyday items.” Sam Walton must be spinning in his grave like a gyroscope.

The difference between PR and news.

A LinkedIn group I belong to has had a spirited discussion going this week on “pay for play” PR placements, and whether as a book author has suggested, it is the future model for public relations.  I don’t see it that way, but then a friend independently sent me this link, which amusingly approaches PR from the other direction — from the consumers of news side. Journalism vs. Churnalism. Are editors getting ever lazier and running press releases verbatim? Now, you can test the story you’re reading via this cheeky site. I am convinced we are all being put through a digital blender these days, for better and for worse. And for constant change and status quo challenges. It’s been an interesting first year of agency blogging. Looking forward to many more.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Christmas has mushroomed into the ultimate retail and e-commerce marketing holiday when gift-giving and generosity know no budgetary bounds. Making loved ones happy at any price is a subliminal theme. It tends to dwarf all other holidays. Falling only a week later on the calendar, New Year’s has its own marketing themes, however, from the celebratory (opportunities to push food, drink, restaurants, hotel packages) to the redemptive (better living next year through diets and health clubs).

It's that "new you" time of year again.

It's that "new you" time of year again.

The new year is always a great moment for reflection, and as such an underrated holiday like Thanksgiving. Most of us aren’t in love with the passage of time and are prone to hear the clock ticking, which is a great motivator for resolutions and to make the incoming year really count. Fortunately, most of us are optimists and welcome this opportunity, although execution and tenacity are separate challenges.

Here’s a suggestion for the first morning of 2011. Take a hard look in the mirror. I don’t mean to do a wrinkle count or gut check. That means you are only seeing yourself in reflection. Look harder into the eyes of the person staring back at you. Ignore the red from the night before and see if you can gauge the inner you.  In taking this measure, ask yourself some hard questions.

How about a soul check in addition to the gut check?

How about a soul check in addition to the gut check?

Do I usually put the needs of others before myself? How often do I put myself in the place of others to understand their challenges? How many things can I do on a daily basis to be a contributing member of society vs. a taker? Do I expend most of my energy blaming others when there are many contributions I can make that will make the world a better place? Is my focus of every waking moment to enrich and entertain myself?

Most of the economic mess of the last several years stems from people at all levels of society making bad choices based on always looking out for number one. It hasn’t been a pretty sight. Lots of hard choices lie ahead for all of us, but it begins with being able to make eye contact with yourself and be proud of who is looking back.

Happy new year. All the best for 2011 and beyond.

Tags: , , , ,

This one is wrong on so many levels, I am not sure where to begin. One of the biggest stories of the week is the FDA’s intention to require graphic new warning labels depicting cancer and other bad outcomes on the packaging of cigarettes sold in the United States.
I am all for visceral advertising that packs an emotional wallop to change hearts and minds. A wealth of public service spots carrying this message have been in the public domain for decades. This, however, is not advertising. What this is is a series of well designed, slickly produced package warning labels, each added to a legal product sold to adults who willingly purchase that product. It is hard to believe that any cigarette smoker at this point in human history could possibly be unaware of the harmful effects of smoking.
This is a great example of big government overreach at cross purposes with itself. The FDA’s goal is to get everyone to stop smoking by every means necessary. Is there a more regulated product than tobacco? Tobacco companies are not allowed to use broadcast advertising, because it might seduce new smokers, especially young people. Heavy penalties are in place to discourage retailers from selling tobacco products to minors. Municipal regulations have driven smokers out of public places to the great outdoors to light up (casinos appear to be the exception). Print advertising and packages already carry ominous text-based warning labels. Then, there is the matter of extreme taxes slapped on cigarettes to force smokers to make an economic decision about smoking. The enormous tax revenues reaped by government off a product that the FDA could ban outright suggests enormous hypocrisy and a conflict of interest. Finally, where does Big Brother get off plastering graphic images of disease and death all over commercial packaging. Why stop with cigarettes? How about photos of liposectioned fat featured on the front of Big Mac cartons? Car crash decapitations added to new car stickers? Melanoma posters in tanning salon windows? Many slippery slopes lie ahead.

One of the FDA's tasteful new warning labels.

One of the FDA's tasteful new warning labels.

What bothers me the most about this latest effort, however, is another nail driven in the coffin of civility. Just because the Feds CAN do something doesn’t mean that they SHOULD. Cigarette breath is one thing. This is just in really bad taste.
During college, I went to transfer a car title at the local justice of the peace. In his office was a poster of a smoker whose jaw and lower half of his face were gone from cancer; the poster bore the cheery greeting, “Thank You For Not Smoking.” Once the transaction was over, I left disturbed by what I’d seen, but also alarmed that this man was okay with having this horrible image of disfigurement and impending death staring back at him, eight hours a day, five days a week. Nice treat for his office staff, too.
This new round of warning labels brought back another memory. One Saturday, I was driving through the next town with my elementary age son. Abortion protestors were staging a demonstration and some were standing by the road with incredibly graphic signs featuring images of dead fetuses. Freedom of speech may allow zealots to expose young children to those shocking photographs, but wouldn’t a sense of decency kick in at some point in their protest planning process. A punch in the gut isn’t a winning debate strategy.
At a time when we are looking for ways to reduce big government spending and the growing deficit, I nominate the new cigarette warning labels program to get lopped off by the grim reaper’s axe. How’s that for a graphic image of death?

Update: A preliminary injunction has been granted against the Food and Drug Administration’s new requirement for graphic warning labels. Suit was filed by Lorrilard on constitutional/free speech grounds. Read all about it here in Packaging Digest.

Update: Looks like the Feds came to their senses. I’m sure it was after they read this blog post.

Tags: , , , , ,

Our current news cycle, which closely follows our current economic cycle, hasn’t exactly been uplifting. That is why when the live coverage of the rescue of the long-trapped Chilean miners occurred the other week, people were jubilant. It was a great moment of humanity and teamwork and technology yielding miraculous results. A continent away, it still felt great.
However, reading Daniel Henninger’s excellent commentary on capitalism in the Wall Street Journal made me aware that the incredible nature of those events are a lot closer than most of us realize. Henninger’s economic point, that innovation is what we get from private enterprise, not government regulation, is one we’ve recently made ourselves. His geography lesson is what is inspiring, because two of the companies most responsible for the resecue of the miners are from the Keystone state.

Center Rock made the drill bit that rescued the Chilean miners.

Center Rock made the drill bit that rescued the Chilean miners.

The incredibly tough drill bit that cut through all that hard rock is a product from Berlin, PA’s Center Rock. The rig, and the crews who ran it, were from Schramm of West Chester, PA

Schramm's rig and crews rescued the Chliean miners.

Schramm's rig and crews rescued the Chliean miners.

Much has been written about the smarts, the skills, and the generosity of both companies. And much more should be, because both companies are in-state gemstones in an unglamorous industry that is overshadowed daily by green and digital technology news. Solar, wind, and renewable energy are marvelous goals, but while we are getting there, we need to remember that coal, oil, gas, and nuclear are proven energy technologies that need to continue to sustain us, both in terms of power and in terms of jobs. Here’s hoping that Center Rock and Schramm receive well-deserved boosts to their bottom lines for the roles both companies played in saving the lives of those miners.
In the midst of the Chilean rescue story euphoria, I found myself unexpectedly moved by an even more personal story of technology and perseverance with a Pennsylvania link. Sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, I read a profile about Hugh Herr in the November issue of Discover magazine.

Hugh Herr is an amazing inspiration story of literal reinvention.

Hugh Herr is an amazing inspiration story of literal reinvention.

His story is so personally amazing and inspiring on so many levels that you owe it to yourself to read all about it. It should be required reading for every student in every school in the country. Herr, a PA farm boy and also an avid outdoorsman, lost both legs in a mountain climbing trip that turned into a human survival story. Handed another chance at life, he more than seized it. Formerly a high school student with mediocre grades and no interest in science, Herr mentally, physically, and literally reinvented himself through smarts, passion, and hard work. He went to college and subsequently for advanced degrees at some of the nation’s top science schools in order to teach himself how to engineer truly world-class prosthetic limbs. As if the physical challenges Herr faced weren’t enough, he overcame academic hurdles through ongoing education and a thirst for knowledge. In 2011, his company iWalk will release to the general public the fruit of his labors, the PowerWalkOne, the world’s first robotic ankle-foot prosthesis. Like the products of Center Rock and Schramm, it deserves to be an enormous success. Perhaps it is time to rename the Keystone state, the Diamonds in the Rough State. Be inspired and go out and create your own PA business success story.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

"Darkness on the Edge of Town" was Bruce Springsteen's Epic Follow-up to "Born To Run"

"Darkness on the Edge of Town" was Bruce Springsteen's Epic Follow-up to "Born To Run"

It isn’t often you find yourself transported to an earlier time in your life, but with the opportunity to view that period with the 20/20 hindsight of today. On Thursday night, I caught the HBO documentary, “The Promise,” about the making of Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” It was a fascinating snapshot about the many challenges of being an artist after fame and success have happened, changing life forever.
I remember vividly waiting and waiting and waiting for this dynamic follow-up to Bruce’s breakthrough “Born to Run,” which catapulted him simultaneously onto the covers of Time and Newsweek. I had been lucky enough to catch one of his legendary live marathons in Bucknell’s tiny Davis Gym. The exhilaration of a three-hour-plus E-Street Band show was everything that reviewers raved it was.
In the mean time, I had graduated college, spent the summer in Houston, moved back to Philadelphia, found my first job in advertising, moved to my first apartment, all the while thinking something was missing from my life — it was any hint of any sign of a follow-up record from my favorite artist.
“The Promise” sheds a whole new light on that period. The two-to-three year delay was explained in dovetailed interviews with Bruce, band members, and his manager at the time, Mike Appel. The post “Born to Run” contract that was signed gave Appel extraordinary creative control over Bruce’s future recordings. It was like an alternate pilot episode to “Who’s The Boss.” When the dust settled, legal proceedings ensued, restrictions kept Bruce out of the studio, bills racked up, and pressure mounted. The fame of the moment turned into questions whether Springsteen was a one-hit wonder.
Ironically, the opposite was taking place. Bruce and the band holed up in a farmhouse in Holmdel, writing and playing songs for month after month. Meanwhile, the suit dragged on and sounded every bit as nasty as Beatles vs. Capital-EMI and John Fogerty vs. Saul Van Zaentz. Eventually, a settlement was reached and today, Bruce and Mike Appel appear to be friends again, with both reflecting openly and honestly in the documentary. It really came down to creative control and it only ever makes sense for that control to reside with the artist.
The rest of the documentary tracked the painstaking process of making the new record, finding the right sounds and tone, and not killing each other over the course of a very long time in the studio. Incredibly, Bruce wrote over 70 songs during this period and spent months figuring out which puzzle pieces fit the picture he was carefully creating.
There were clips of Bruce and Steve Van Zandt playing “Talk to Me,” which Bruce later gave to Southside Johnny, of Patty Smith’s gratitude for Bruce handing off “Because The Night” to her, and of John Landau discussing that track and “Fire,” which Bruce shared with the Pointer Sisters. “The Promise,” the title of the documentary is a gem that the band polished for three months, but still Bruce left it off the record. He hints at influences that shaped the album, from the emergence of punk to his first taste of country in Hank Williams.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzS2Vug-esA&feature=related
“Darkness on the Edge of Town” is a terrific ode to the difficult transformation from youth to adulthood. The toll that blue collar work exacts. The respect for his father but the desire to never follow in his footsteps. The longing for a better life amidst the many forces that stand in your way. Bruce Springsteen won that fight when he held his ground back in 1978. Now, I find myself waiting again, but looking forward to hearing those 60-odd tracks that didn’t make the record, many of which will be released on a multi-disc set, including live tracks, the documentary, and related content on November 16.

Tags: , , , , ,

Making lemons from sour lemonade stand story

Making lemons from sour lemonade stand story

Chalk this NY Times story up as a “Things that make you go hmmm?” (Perhaps I’m dating myself, as I vaguely recall that being a song a decade or two ago). Attempting to enforce a license on a 7-year-old selling lemonade is akin to many of the other nuisance ‘laws’ certain municipalities set forth. The ‘Peddler’s License’ (when is the last time you saw a peddler?), for example. Now the media frenzy comes, after the little girl was forced off the complex for pushing her wares (sent away crying, no less), she already has the morning shows lining up to interview her. Will the full-length feature film follow? I just wonder where people’s common sense lies. It’s one thing to have rules and stricly enforce them for the good of the community. It’s quite another to know when to draw the line and ask — Is this endangering the lives of the members of the community? Perhaps you’ll think twice before plunking down 50 cents for a cup of lemonade, even though the young entrepreneur does’t have a license, those who are afraid to try usually keep asking “What if?” I’m willing to risk it.

Tags: , , , , ,

« Older entries