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Posts Tagged ‘Celebrity’

David Ogilvy Continues to Teach Us – We Sell or Die

It still so true we should repeat it at the start of every new year.

Ray Bradbury – The Passing of the Space Age Prophet

Ray Bradbury, Age 91, died peacefully in his sleep June 5. I don’t remember being as saddened as I was by anyone who was not a family member or an acquaintance but I felt as if I knew him well because I grew up with him through his books, short stories, TV shows and movies. He’s finally gone at 91, the last titan of the era when sci-fi fandom was a way of life. The maestros of that tight world were Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein–and Ray Bradbury. You had to put Bradbury in that rank, even though your mom read him in the Saturday Evening Post. That could get embarrassing to those of us in the Sci-fi hard core.

Ray Bradbury was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, IL and used his memoires of this small town for settings in some of his best stories.

So begins a eulogy to Ray Bradbury by Bruce Sterling in the Saturday June 9th Wall Street Journal. Mr Sterling continues; His pedigree was impeccable, though he came from “Lassfuss”, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, a primeval caldron of sci-fi geek culture, founded in 1934. In my own caldron of Austin, our literary mentor, Chad Oliver, came to us from Lassfuss. He told how he and Bradbury and the “Twilight Zone” screenwriter Charles Beaumont would hunt for all-night burger joints, talking sci-fi until dawn.

It sounded so wondrous that we never understood that we were hearing a hard-times story. This was depression-era California and the real Bradbury was displaced from the Midwest to Hollywood like a Steinbeck Okie, one of countless thousands who went West and inadvertently created a big chunk of postwar culture.

Ray Bradbury was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, IL and used his memoires of this small town for settings in some of his best stories. In 1934 his family settled in Los Angeles. There as a young boy he roller skated through Hollywood trying to spot celebrities. From 1938 to 1942 he was selling newspapers in the streets of L.A. He published his first paid work in 1941 a short story entitled “Pendulum” in the pulp magazine Super Science Stories. By the end of 1942 he had become a full time writer. That same year he married Marguerite McClure whom he met at a bookstore a year earlier. They had four daughters and eight grandchildren. He first shot to international fame after publication of his short story collection, The Martian Chronicles which was partially based on an idea from Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology.

His best known work Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1966. The film adaptation by director Francois Truffaut was a major hit starring Julie Christie. Many other novels and stories had been adapted to film and TV as well as radio, theatre and comic books. He wrote episodes for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series. Total literary output is close to 600 short stories, more than 30 books and numerous poems and plays. It’s easy to forget that Bradbury wrote a lot of horror stories, too. Having been  through the Depression and war to emerge in the anonymity of postwar America, how could he not? An emptied world where the smart machinery grinds on, yakking inanely, as the mainstream consumers are nuclear blast shadows stenciled on the outside of their suburban home— a vision from a smiling guy in short pants who spoke reverently of Buck Rogers comics. People elided his dark, mournful side, because his affect was so brisk and boistrous. He was the sharpest of social critics, but never mean-tempered like Orwell or Huxley. He was rather, like that other great portraitist of hard–life Middle America, Edward Hopper, painting horror with an effect of stillness, bleakness, loneliness, bereavement  and deprivation.

He used to speak of a mystical experience: instead of attending a family funeral, he ran off to a carnival. He found a sideshow huckster named “Mr. Electrico,” who told him that he was not a 12-year-old but a reincarnated spirit. He hit him on the head with an electrical wand and told him to aspire to immortality. If it sounds like a half-hour fantasy TV episode, it’s probably because Bradbury wrote so many of those, years later. But as a way of life: departing a funereal mainstream culture to play techno-trips with the tattooed sideshow weirdos.

Mr. Sterling concludes: But if that was Bradbury’s origin myth, it’s also what he became. Wine from Dandelions, lowly yet highly evolved, borne by the wind into the last places,you’d expect to find them blooming. Exotic, yet common as the soil.

In 2004 he received a National Medal of Arts. Also a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An asteroid is named in his honor “9766 Bradbury” and the Apollo Astronauts named a crater on the moon “Dandelion Crater” after his novel “Dandelion Wine“. Many of his short stories were published in PLAYBOY MAGAZINE and even a TV commercial for Sunsweet Prunes ran in the 1960’s. John Huston, a huge fan of Bradbury’s work asked him to write the screenplay for Huston’s film adaptation of “Moby Dick“. He submitted a working script to Huston in early 1954. By the time the film came out in 1956, Huston had listed himself as co-author. Bradbury protested Huston’s action to the Screen Writers Guild and initiallly was successful in having Huston removed as co-author but the powerful film maker had the decision over turned.  

 Ray Bradbury remained productive until the end. He has now departed and the world as he worried in 1979 is a much madder place. More reason to re-read Fahrenheit 451 including the afterword and oppose political correctness with the courage of the master himself.

For an overview on his 50- plus years career read “Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction” published by the Kent State University Press.

The Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Times!

Who Would be on your list?   This list compiled by the editors of FORTUNE MAGAZINE and published in their April 9, 2012 issue lists  their choice of  The Greatest. See if you agree. All information is based on calendar year, 2011.

  1. Steve Jobs/Apple…Sales 108.2 billion…Market Value $546 billion… Employees 63,300
  2. Bill Gates/Microsoft…Sales $69.9 billion…Market Value $30 billion…Employees 255,593
  3. Fred Smith/FedEx…Sales $39.3 billion…Market Value $30 billion…Employees 255,573
  4. Jeff Bezos/Amazon…Sales $8.1 billion…Market Value $84.6 billion…Employees 56,200
  5. Larry Page & Sergey Brin/Google…Sales $37.9 billion…Market Value $203.2 billion…Employees  32,500
  6. Howard Schultz/Starbucks…Sales $11.7 billion…Market Value $40 billion…Employees 149,000
  7. Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook…Sales $3.1 billion…Market Value $75-100 billion (est.)…Employees 3,200
  8. John Mackey/Whole Foods…Sales $10.1 billion…Market Value $15.5 billion…Employees 56,200
  9. Herb Kelleher/S.W. Airlines…Sales $15.5 billion…Market Value $64 billion…Employees 45,392
  10. Noira Yang Murthy/Infosys…Sales $6.0 billion…Market Value $32 billion…Employees 145,059
  11. Sam Walton/Wal-Mart…Sales $446.9 billion…Market Value $316.5 billion…Employees 2.0 million

Total Sales… $796.7 billion

Total Market Value… $1.4 Trillion

Total Employees… 3,063,000

Becoming  an entrepreneur is certainly a worthwhile goal if making a lot of money is what motivates you but there’s no guarantee of wealth and the majority of people who decide to start their own business, frankly do not succeed. It  takes dedication, long hours and a good idea. There are many bumps along the road to entrepreneurial success so be sure to look for advice and help from those who have been successful before. One guide I would highly recommend to  those who would like to own a  business of their own, one  that can be started part-time and is perfect for  those who would like to run it from their home is MAIL ORDER, also known as Direct Response. The internet has been an eye-opener and a game changer for mail order businesses and has helped create MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRES almost overnight. Just about every successful business you see online is a mail order business. Direct Response means  that products or services are sold direct to the public not  through brick and mortar retailers. Companies like AMAZONZAPPOS, FIRST STREET, STAUER, BRADFORD EXCHANGE, HEARING HELP EXPRESS, GRAVITY DEFYER, HABAND…just to name a few of the very successful mail order companies you see advertise regularly in magazines sell their products direct to the public.

As a reader of my blog I  would like to help you get started in this wonderful business  that changed my life and can change yours, too.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available online from AMAZON at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h…..or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for $29.95 plus $3.50 s&h (total $33.45). Send check or money order along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601. Sold on a 100% guarantee of satisfaction or your money back.

Attention! Your Attention, Please! Attention is Key to Success!

Once again I’ve come to one of my favorite newsletters for inspiration. THE INK WELL which offers great service and prices on printing for your personal needs as well as business no matter where you live. Check them out!

It’s amazing what you are able to accomplish when you put your mind to it and focus on the task at hand.

If you’ve found yourself drifting while trying to complete a task, here are a few tips for regaining your train of thought and getting back on the fast track to success:

  • Focus on a single tasking
  • Write down any disruptive thoughts
  • Fuel your brain by feeding an empty  stomach
  • Try aromathrapy for treating mental fatigue
  • Prevent distractions
  • Use relaxation techniques
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Reward yourself

Focus on a single tasking. When you’re working on a high-priority project, devote your attention to one and only one project at a time.

Write down any disruptive thoughts such as appointments you need to make, groceries you’re worried you may forget to purchase, or items you don’t want to forget to pack.

Fuel your brain by feeding an empty stomach. A growling stomach is not only disturbing, but it can also shorten your attention span. Great foods to fuel your brain include high-fiber, whole grains, dairy, and fruits.

Try aromathrapy for treating mental fatigue. The aroma of peppermint oil can increase mental alertness.

Prevent distractions. Turn off your email and cell-phone alerts, so you won’t feel compelled to check every random messge that dings. Also, log out of social-media sites.

Use relaxation techniques such as dep breathing, stretching your neck,a nd taking brief breaks to stay fresh and on target.

Drink plenty of water. Hydration will not only help you feel healthier and more engerized overall, but it will also help you avoid headaches.

Reward yourself with a small treat after completing a difficult project or task. Think of something you like that will make you feel good about your accomplishment. Coffee, lunch with coworkers, renting a movie, taking a bubble bath, or buying a new book are a few possibilities.

We all need help staying focused from time to time. With a little forethought, even the toughest tasks can be tackled successfully.

For related tips, check out www.foodforthebrain.org  or Marbles the Brain Store and their eclectic collection of games that enhance your brains.

There’s nobody who gives better quotes than Ben Franklin:

–“Success comes in cans, not in cant’s.”

–“A hard thing about business is minding your own.”

–“Never mess up an apology with an excuse.”

–“Big shots are little shots that just keep shooting.”

Don’t forget about my special offer on my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. You can buy it from Amazon for $39.95 plus s&h or direct from the publisher for only $29.95 plus $3.50 s&h. Total $33.45. Send a check or money order to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601. Do it while it’s fresh on your mind.

Charles Dickens and his Secret Teenage Lover

Charles Dickens, one of the greats of english literature whose image was that of a pillar of Victorian morality would have been right at home with today’s sex scandals.

In 1953, when future biographer Claire Tomalin was studying English literature at Cambridge, she came across intriguing refrences  to a figure named Ellen “Nelly” Ternan, a young stage actress of minor reputation. In two separate distinguished biographies on Dickens both mentioned “this girl hanging about (the author), and they were both scathing about her,” Tomalin recalls. “She was (described as) this mercenary, who made Dickens’ kids unhappy, but to whom he seemed very attached. I sensed there was a story there.”. Cut to three decades later, Tomalin, then literary editor of the Sunday Times, mentioned her interest in Ternan to David Parker, curator of the Dickens Museum in London. He encouraged her to write Ternan’s biography.

Tomalin spent the next few years piecing together clues in letterrs, address books, diaries and photographs as she traced the arc of the secretive 13-year liaison between the great author and the actress. The result was her celebrated 1991 book, The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens

Ternan met Dickens in 1857, when she, her mother and sisters were actors in a play he was producing. Dickens was 45; Trenan was 18. Anxious to preserve his image as a pillar of Victorian morality, Dickens purchased a house for her near London, where he visited her secretly. Dickens seemed both to revel in and regret the affair. Dickens and Ternan apparently destroyed all correspondence between them but Tomlin says, “there was plenty of material,” including details about Ternan in missives by Dickens children: Both his son Henry and daughter Katey, for example, “confirmed that (the couple) had a child,  and it died.” Tomalin believes that Nelly and the child, said to be a boy who did not survive infancy, had been sequestered in France.

In 1876, six years after Dickens death, Ternan, then 37, married a clergyman 12 years her junior;  they had two children, neither of whom learned of the relationship with Dickens until long after their mother’s death.

Having been rescued from obscurity by Tomalin, Ternan is about to to take center stage a second time; Ralph Fiennes will direct and star in a film adaption of  The Invisible Woman, with Felicity Jones in the title role, shooting is set to begin perhaps this Spring.

Looking forward to this movie and one other  thing I’m looking forward to are your comments on any of my earlier postings. Having your feedback will help me learn what you like and of even more importance what you don’t like so I can continue to make my blogsite a permanent part of your on line life.

One question for you. Do you know anyone interested in starting a businees of their own or perhaps you may be. After all my blog site is HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. If you or someone you know would be interested in my special offer to visitors of this site…my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. Save $10 from its published price at Amazon only $29.95 plus $3.50 s&h. Total $33.45 checks or money orders can be sent to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601. All books sold on money back guarantee of satisfaction.

Death comes to visit the living – Jeff Zaslow’s tragic passing.

This blog post is dedicated to someone I knew only through his writing. Jeff Zaslow was a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. His untimely death occurred Friday February 10. The words are not mine but someone who knew the deceased well, who worked with him, shared good times with him and admired him.

Neil Steinberg is also a columnist for the Sun-Times and a damned good one as was Jeff Zaslow. Since this is my blog and I can post anything I care to, here is Neil’s column from the February 15 edition of the Chicago Sun Times.

Ludwick Wittgenstein’s Tractus Logico- Philosophicus is a list of numbered propositions, each leading to the next. Number 6.4311 begins “Death is not an event in life. Death is not lived through.” For the person who has died, that is. That person is whisked away to whatever reward awaits us after death.

It is those of us who live through death, big time, who must cope with it, particularly accidental death, which radiates outward, sending shock waves, first to those at the scene, stunned to find death intruding onto an ordinary day. Then to the oficialdom who must deal with death regularly and handle the particulars. Then exploding into the lives of family, who suffer the most and, finally the thunderclap reaches the outer world, where people hear it and look up, moved to the degree they knew the deceased.

Jeff Zaslow died in a car accident Friday, as you’ve probably heard. Longtime Sun-Times readers will fondly recall his thoughtful, human and funny advice column that ran from 1987 until 2001, or his best selling books such as The Last Lecture.

I don’t do grief well–I’m self-centered and over-analytical, a bad mix–and no sooner feel loss then immediately start  questioning it, to see if it’s legitimate. Jeff’s death came as a sickening shock, yet I instantly pulled back, certain that I occupy  too distant an orbit among his concentric circles of friends to be entitled to feel awful, which is reserved for his wife and daughters and family, the true epicenter of suffering. Any hurt I feel must be ersatz, overdramatic.

No matter How I tried to focus my  thoughts on others–Jeff’s genius, the key to his life: he was a big-hearted, generous man, a true friend–I kept returning  to my own experiences with him. Memories bubbled up, random stuff. as if my brain were venting everything it knew about Jeff Zaslow, from the fact  that at birth, he was delivered by Dr. C. Everett Koop, the future Surgeon General, to his sister’s hand-made picture frames, to his love of Bruce Springsteen–we once went to a concert together–to the day, almost 25 years ago, Jeff was being given his welcoming tour of the Sun-Times newsroom and I hurried over, curious to discover just what kind of idiot leaves a job writing front page stories for the Wall Street Journal to advise women how to get stains out of a broadloom rug on page 27 of the Sun-Times.

If a Russian novelist tried to create two separate characters to split the spectrum of qualities a writer can possess, might cook up Jeff–happy, concerned for others, frenetic, sincere–and me: melancholy, self-absorbed, shambling, scarcastic. Jeff wanted to help everybody. He held  those enormous Zass Bashes at Navy Pier because he got so many letters from lonely people, and wanted to fix them up with each other, to give each one a shot at the joy he found with his own wife, Sherry. I thought he was crazy. “Jeff”, I’d say. “You’re not a social service.”

When I got the awful news–we have the same literary agency–I dutifully phoned it in to the newspaper. “Do you want to write something?” an editor asked. I said “No.” The planet of my ego is such– think Jupiter–I knew it would be impossible to launch a tribute to Jeff without having it circle back and crash into myself. “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” is the final line of Wittgenstein’s book. Good advice. I wanted to honor Jeff by shutting up, an under appreciated art form.

But silence felt even worse. We Jews bury our own, and standing at Jeff’s graveside, mutely waiting for my turn with the shovel, I stared at my shoes and tried to block out the sound of his daughters weeping. “This is the worst thing in the world,” I thought. “I hate this I hate this I hate this”.

Silence has no utility, it isn’t a sharp enough blade to scrape at the icy loss that Jeff’s death frosts over the world. I wish I could wrap this up tidily, with an inspiring  thought that counterbalances the tragedy in the world and leaves you with a smile. Jeff was so good at that. Alas, he is not here, a hard fact that touches on the often cruel nature of life, one that we lucky enough to have known Jeff will struggle with for a long time.

Thanx, Neil for allowing me to share this with my small group of bloggerfriends. If my mother were still alive and I could have read her this column, she would have said to me in Yiddish “Gut Gazooked”…roughly translated as “Well said”.

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the OWS Protests

That’s the headline to Matt Taibbi’s article in the current issue of ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE. Last week’s post was from a conservative columnist who writes for FORTUNE MAGAZINE. It’s only fair for a progressive view–and there’s few as good as Matt Taibbi. He alone is well worth subscribing to one of my favorite magazines ROLLING STONE. Herein are excerpts:

“I have a confession to make. At first I misunderstood Occupy Wall Street. The first few time I went down to Zuccotti Park, I came away with mixed feelings. I loved the energy and was amazed by the obvious organic appeal of the movement, the way it was growing on its own. But my initial impression was that it would not be taken very seriously by the Citibanks and Goldman Sachs of the world. You could put 50,000 angry protestors on Wall Street, 100,000 even, and Lloyd Blankfein is probably not going to break a sweat. He knows he’s not going to wake up tomorrow and see Cornel West or Richard Trumka running the Federal Reserve. He knows modern finance is a giant mechanical parasite that only an expert surgeon can remove. Yell and scream all you want but he and his fellow Franksteins are the only ones who know how to turn the machine off.

That’s what I was thinking during the first few weeks of the protests. But I’m beginning to see another angle. Occupy Wall Street was always about something much bigger than a movement against big banks and modern finance. It’s about providing a forum for people to show how tired they are not just of Wall Street but EVERYTHING. This is a visceral, impassioned, deep-seated rejection of the entire direction of our society, a refusal to take even one more step forward into the shallow commercial abyss of phoniness, short-term calculation, withered idealism and intellectual bankruptcy that American mass society has become. If there is such a thing as going on strike from one’s own culture, this is it. And by being so broad in scope and so elemental in its motivation, it‘s flown over the heads of many on both the right and the left.

The right-wing media wasted no time in cannon-blasting the movement with its usual idiotic clichés, casting Occupy Wall Street as a bunch of dirty hippies who should get a job and stop chewing up Mike Bloomberg’s police overtime budget with their urban sleepovers. Just like they did a half-century ago, when the debate over the Vietnam War somehow stopped being about why we were brutally murdering millions of innocent Indochinese civilians and instead became a referendum on bralessness and long hair and flower-child rhetoric, the depraved flacks of the right-wing media have breezily blown off a generation of fraud and corruption and market-perverting bailouts, making the whole debate about the protestors themselves—their hygiene, their ‘envy’ of the rich, their ‘hypocrisy’.

The protestors, chirped Supreme Reichskank Ann Coulter, ‘needed three thing: showers, jobs and a point’. Her colleague Charles Krauthammer went so far as to label the protestors hypocrites for having iPhones. ‘OWS’, he said is Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s- clad, iPhone clutching protestors (denouncing) corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over’. Apparently because Goldman and Citibank are corporations, no protestors can ever consume a corporate product—not jeans, not cellphones and definitely not coffee’—if he also wants to complain about tax money going to pay off some billionaire banker’s bets against his own crappy mortgages.

Meanwhile on the other side of the political spectrum, there were scads of progressive pundits like me who wrung our hands with worry that OWS was playing right into the hands of assholes like Krauthammer. DON’T GIVE THEM ANY AMMUNITION! we counseled. STAY ON MESSAGE! BE SPECIFIC!. We were all playing the Rorschach-test game with OWS trying to squint at it and see what we wanted to see in the movement. Viewed through the prism of our desire to make near-term, within the system changes, it was hard to see how skirmishing with cops in New York would help foreclosed-upon middle-class families in Jacksonville and San Diego.

What both sides missed is that OWS is tired of all this. They don’t care what we think they’re about, or should be about. They just want something different.

We’re all born wanting the freedom to imagine a better and more beautiful future. But modern America has become a place so drearily confining and predictable that it chokes the life out of that built-in desire. Everything from our pop culture to our economy to our politics feels oppressive and unresponsive. People want to go someplace for at least five minutes where no one is trying to bleed you or sell you something.

I think I understand now that that’s what the Occupy movement is all about. It’s about dropping out if only for a moment, and trying something new. It doesn’t need to tell the world what it wants. It is successful for now, just by being something different.”

These are only excerpts from Matt’s excellent article in the November 22nd issue of ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE. To read it in its entirety, pickup a copy or better yet become a subscriber. I’ve been hooked on their political reporting for 25 years and with age, year after year, it only gets better.

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