Sunday, August 7, 2016

Baby Boomers in the Digital Era


IP Addresses

Digital Footprint

Looking Through Facebook

The Data Cloud

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


BB King was a legend, perhaps America's most successful blues musician. He was one of the original players of the blues generation and become a household name long 
before he died. Sadly, when someone like King passes away, history passes along with them. Very little now remains of that remarkable generation. It is now 112 years since the release of “Dallas Blues” by Hart Wand (the first copyrighted ‘blues’ composition) and America has enthusiastically embraced both the music and it's tragic creators. The least of which being BB King.

When I first began this post, the goal was to provide a simple “TOP SOMETHING” list of interesting BB King facts. We have all know about King’s guitar skills, legendary touring schedule, and his hits. However, as I began to study the facts, King’s childhood really began to make an impression. It’s an unforgettable story and it deserves to be told. So before the factoids, allow me to connect the humanity to the man.

A brief history of his childhood.

BB King was born Reiley King to a poor family in a riverside cabin on the Bear Creek plantation in Berclair, Mississippi. He saw his first electric light bulb at the age of 16.

When he was 5, he was devastated by the death of his two year old brother ( Curce King ) who is alleged to have died from eating glass.

King eventually left the delta life and moved to the hill country of Mississippi when he was 8. His parents separated, and his mother, Nora Ella took King with her. Nora wanted to return to the surroundings of her large extended family.

Tragedy again broke into Kings life when he was 9. His mother dies at the young age of 31. Nora is believed to have lost her battle with diabetes.

King now lives with his grandmother where hard work, education, and church become his way of life. His environment is very communal and lacking in basic infrastructure. The town has little indoor plumbing and no electricity, and his school year is based on the planting / harvest seasons. Many of the families in King’s life are sharecroppers and farmhands, and all of the children work the fields with the adults while school is not in session.

“I was a regular hand when I was 7. I picked cotton. I drove tractors. Children grew up not thinking that this is what they must do. We thought this was the thing to do to help your family,”

"I guess the earliest sound of blues that I can remember was in the fields while people would be pickin' cotton or choppin' or somethin’."
Despite his surroundings, BB King managed to gain two great advantages from the dominant church presence in his life. The first came from Reverend Archie Fair, the pastor of his local church. Pastor Fair was a fervent man who lead worship with vitality, playing his guitar during the service. King was said to be instantly fixated by this. He was later given the chance to play on the pastor’s guitar, and it was an obvious fit. The second came from his teacher and church administrator, Luther Henson. Luther taught King to read, be self-reliant, and how to live as a fair minded and responsible man. This would come to serve King well, as he had to begin his adult life at a mere 14 years of age.

By this time, King was alone and given one acre of land to tend to by the farm boos. At one point, King is making $22.50 a week on this plot, but never enough to fully pay back the owner. None the less, he was given a loan by the farm boss in order to buy a guitar and get music lessons. King loved the blues, aka, “The Devil’s Music” and especially enjoyed Sonny Boy Williamson. On Saturdays, his street performances would earn him more than his farming did for the entire week. He was also a regular church performer and a member of the ‘Famous St. John Gospel Singers.’

Eventually, King left Mississippi for Memphis where he was surrounded with a musical atmosphere that he only once dreamed of.

"When I sing and play now I can hear those same sounds that I used to hear then as a kid.”
King was inducted in the U.S. Army during the WWII, but was released after basic training due to his high level of skill as a tractor driver. This skill classified him as ‘Essential to the War Economy.”

Eventually, King made a few seminal performances through radio, and the rest was history.

So with that history, let’s visit:


10. When Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered in 1968, King joined Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy in an all-night blues benefit in order to raise money for Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

BB King had two marriages and fifteen children. He sadly performed for one of his children in 1992. He was performing at a jail in Gainesville, Florida where his daughter Patty happened to be an inmate.

08. King founded FAIRR (the Foundation for the Advancement of Inmate Rehabilitation and Recreation), an organization dedicated to the improvement of prison conditions. Much like Johnny Cash, he played in prisons throughout his career.

07. King was a deejay in 1949. During his time at WDIA Radio ( still on the air to this day ), his nickname was ‘Beale Street Blues Boy.” This eventually shortened to B.B. and the name never left him.

06. King earned 30 Grammy nominations, 15 wins and a Lifetime Achievement award. He was also on Billboard’s R&B charts an amazing 74 times.

05. In the late 60’s, black audiences were moving away from the blues. However, rock musicians in England were beginning to immerse themselves in the genre. Artists like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck brought the blues to eager white audiences. This led to King sharing the stage with Black Sabbath, Santana, Janice Joplin and others.

When asked by Jet magazine if King felt that African Americans were abandoning the blues, King replied, “Anything that we stop supporting and others start, I don't know if you call it giving it away or we just leave it out there and let somebody else have it."

04. In 1969, "The Thrill Is Gone" was released. In 1971 it won a Grammy and became King's biggest hit and a concert standard. It was a hit on both the pop and R&B charts which is still considered rare even by today's standards.

03. King was a licensed pilot, a compulsive gambler, a non-drinker and non-smoker, he also was a vegetarian as he too battled diabetes.

02. King was a relentless showman and performer. Among his touring feats included playing 342 one-night stands in 1956, and on April 17, 2006, he performed his 10,000th live show. Throughout his life, his schedule was always full, averaging 200 shows a year.

01. One evening in Twist, Arkansas, King was performing when two men accidentally set the dance hall on fire while fighting over a woman. Even though King escaped, he ran back in to save his valuable guitar. When he discovered that the woman at the center of the fight was named Lucille, he gave his guitar the same name. He said it was to remind him never to do anything as stupid.

Thank you for joining me in remembering this amazing musician.
I leave you with this indescribable performance:


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Drawn from the Honeywell - The video that had to be

In September a rare opportunity began to unfold. I was contacted by JDA Software in Scottsdale, AZ to help them with storyboarding a series of videos.

In my first meeting with the JDA team, we ran through the current concept and discussed production. In a nutshell, the video would detail the way in which JDA software and Honeywell hardware combine to make the management of a shipping warehouse run smoother.

The head of the team asked me what I thought, and I explained how disastrous the superhero motif can be. Unless superheroes are used in an authentic and contextual manner, it will bomb. I offered some ideas as how to approach the video with this theme in mind.

The next night, I found out that the woman who contracted me as well as the team leader had been laid off. Everyone in charge of decision making was now gone. The man in charge of the video production, Kevin O'Donnell, was supposed to be flying out to Florida in four days. He needed storyboards and a shot list. I needed to know if the project was still a go. Later in the day, I received a conference call from Kevin and an executive from the JDA offices in Dallas. We were asked if we felt ok taking over the project ourselves. In addition to the art, I would need to write the script, dialog, and direct the shots for each scene.

So Kevin and I agreed to take over. Thankfully, Kevin is a top flight talent in production. We both worked together perfectly for the circumstances. He was able to improvise and frame shots while on location that enhanced everything I had in mind for each scene. His direction and final edit with sound and audio was awesome. It was a truly collaborative project.

Moving forward, with no accountability, micro-management, anyone to report to, we produced (what we feel) is some kick-ass and funny material.

We were notified that our video won the Honeywell National Partner Video Case Study Contest.

Here is our homage to everything we loved about the "SUPER FRIENDS," "60's MARVEL COMICS CARTOONS," and good old fashioned fun.

Friday, August 29, 2014

In honor of Robin Williams

I first experienced Robin Williams as Mork in the 70s. To my surprise he was picked to play the role of Popeye, and I would've never guessed that his future would turn into what it did.

Well there may be countless opinions about the fact that he took his own life, there is no debate about how much he gave of his life of the rest of us.

I hope you enjoy this piece. I'm offering prints after much request, please visit:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Guardians of the Galaxy / Rocket Raccoon speed drawing

MARVEL Studio's new film, The Guardians of the Galaxy is fantastic. Having been a fan of that team (in all of it's incarnations) since I was a boy in the 70's, I can say unequivocally that it was inspiring. They obviously let James Gunn get his way and develop a unique and 'unsafe' product. It was worth it.

Nonwithstanding the fact that I have had an amused intrest in Rocket Raccoon since he appeared in 1982...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sherman the original Seahawk

General William Tecumseh Sherman / illustration by Ledeman Studio

When it comes to strategy, Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman has a lot of room to grow. On Jauary 20th, 2014, the Seahawks won 23-17 against the San Francisco 49ers to advance to Super Bowl. In his interview (some call it a wild rant), Sherman made quite an impression on the country.

Here's a clip from CBS Sports:

However, when it comes to a Sherman that backed up his words, nobody holds a towel to the legendary William Tecumseh Sherman!

Here are some fun facts about "Uncle Billy," that you might not have heard from history class:

1. His father died when he was a boy. A family friend raised him until he enters the military academy at age 16.

2. He worked as a bank manager in San Francisco, and became first superintendent of Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy in 1859

3. His first major Civil War action was at the Batle of Bull Run. His actions during the battle got the attention of Abraham Lincoln which resulted in his promotion to brigadier general.

4. While acting commander of the Department of the Cumberland in Kentucky, Sherman overestimated the strength of the Confederate forces, made heavy demands on reinforcements, and was labeled as "insane" by the press. This event led to Sherman being relieved of duty.

5. When Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to command all Union armies, he reinstated Sherman and put him in charge of the Military Division of Mississippi in the Western Theater. This began one of the most famous partnerships in military history. It made Spock and Kirk's friendship look like an episode of Itchy and Scratchy.

"Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other."

6. Sherman was a master of the flanking maneuver. He wrote the standard textbook on the flank and his tactics were greatly feared by the Southern armies. Said one rebel soldier on surrendering to the 103rd Illinois, "Sherman will never go to Hell; he will flank the devil and make heaven in spite of the guards."

7. Sherman is recognized by history as the figurehead of going all out in war. Here are some of Sherman's more notable quotes about conducting a war.
"War is Hell"

"Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster."

"War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over."

"I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no symptoms of tiring
till the South begs for mercy."

"I intend to make Georgia howl."

8. During the infamous "Sherman's March to Sea," there are reports of sheer horror and carnage of unparalleled proportions. Much of these reports are found to be exaggerated, none the less, Sherman's attack on the heart of the South had a profound impact.

Sherman's March created a 60 mile wide path of sheer destruction from Atlanta to Savannah.

In Sherman's famous attack through Georgia, he gave order to treat civilians with courtesy, not invade their homes, or harm by-standards. His troops were to forage and wreck the infrastructure. The goal was to cripple the Confederates' ability to manufacture arms, goods, and supplies for war.

There are certainly examples of some soldiers going rouge, but it was not the policy.

9. Sherman was an otherwise healthy man for his lifetime. However, he died of pneumonia at age 71. In the usual twist of historical coincidence, his death has a deeply symbolic moment. What was it? The Brigadier General of the Confederate forces, Joseph E. Johnston had been fighting Sherman for survival in the west. Eventually, Johnston surrendered to Sherman in 1965 and effectively ended the Civil War. After this Sherman gave Johnston’s men 10 days of ration food. Johnston never forgot this gesture of goodwill and the two remained friends long after the war.

This is important to know, because in 1891, Johnston was one of the pallbearers in Sherman's funeral. While acting in this role, Johnston contracted pneumonia and died shortly after.