Friday, November 18, 2011

The World Comes to Orlando

For the 13th consecutive year, my third week of November included a trek to IAAPA Attractions Expo, our client IAAPA's global gathering of more than 25,000 professionals in the world of theme parks, water parks, zoos, aquariums, family entertainment centers, museums and other attractions.

This week our team worked with reporters from the Associated Press, Central Florida News 13, Fox 35 Orlando, USA Today, the Orlando Sentinel and MSNBC (among others) to report from this big business event.

A couple of years back an Olympian was on the tradeshow floor, and though no Olympic competitors are here in 2011, we did find a nice Olympic surprise in a recent book by Ripley Publishing -- "Strikingly True" -- in which the colorful text features Ripley's - Believe It Or Not! factoids about several Olympic competitors as well as other five-ringed trivia. It is worth a look-see on your next trek to the bookstore, Nook or Kindle.

Infographic via

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Family Circus and the Olympics

My maternal grandmother introduced me to "The Family Circus" during the late 1970s.

Tacked to a metal kitchen cabinet, wedged between family photos, magazine-clipped recipes and other ephemera attached to the door with magnets, was a Bil Keane cartoon showing a little girl standing on a tennis court, holding up a can of Pringles potato chips mistaken for a can of new tennis balls. The brother-sister pair in the illustration resembled my sister and I.

Though I don't recall the caption on that cartoon, I do recall several of the clipped Olympic-themed editions of "The Family Circus" cut from the funny pages and mailed with letters to college or my new home in Atlanta (some turned up online tonight, now included with this post). It was always fun to read these enclosures and other Keane creations over the years.

Sorry to read this family-friendly cartoonist's obituary this evening, and of the death of Olympic champion Joe Frazier earlier this week.

Cartoons located across the Web are copyright Bil Keane Inc. and distributed by King Features Syndicate or

Monday, November 7, 2011

Darrell Hammond on "Fresh Air"

Driving home tonight, after posting about the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, I heard an extremely moving interview on "Fresh Air" -- the second time in as many months that Terry Gross kept me in the car listening to someone balling their eyes out.

In Gross' sites tonight: Darrell Hammond, the "Saturday Night Live" star and author of a new book aptly titled "God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked."

Sheesh! This interview was raw. Almost as raw as the September interview with Emmy winner Margo Martindale. I don't know now Gross can keep her own composure during these conversations.

The only Olympic connections I could find for Hammond is his impersonations of NBC Sports' Bob Costas, as well as Olympic gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi. From the "Fresh Air" interview and new book, it seems Hammond would likely be on the medal stand if surviving child abuse turned into an Olympic sport.

Photo via HarperCollins

London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay

The Associated Press gave a little love to the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay with an international wire story updating readers on plans for next year's run.

The Olympic flame will trek about 8,000 miles but almost entirely on British soil during 70 days next summer, according to the article.

Additional details are available at the official site for the Olympic Torch Relay. Of course, part of the Torch tradition will also take place in Olympia, Greece.

The destination list for the flame looks good to me. It would really be something to see the flame at Stonehenge, for instance.

I did not yet look closely at the route yet, but in case they did not think of it already, consider this my Olympic blogger suggestion that the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Team at LOCOG, as well as Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung, recreate the "Chariots of Fire" opening sequence by carrying the Olympic torch down the beach made famous by the film's director, Hugh Hudson, and Vangelis (in case you missed it, Hudson answered questions about that famous scene during a film festival in Atlanta, and his comments are available via this post).

Photo via LOCOG

Friday, November 4, 2011

London 2012 Unveils Official Posters

Today the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) unveiled the official posters for London 2012, including six Olympic and six Paralympic designs.

Check out the full press release (including artist bios) and links to the designs!
Building on an Olympic arts tradition spanning several decades, the LOCOG-commissioned works by 12 leading U.K. artists highlight competition and athletic themes of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Looking at the collection, I am enthusiastically drawn to the work titled "Big Ben 2012" by Sarah Morris. The poster features a modernized view of the Clock Tower in a framework reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright windows. Beautiful! I want this poster in my apartment!

Another poster titled "Divers" -- created by Anthea Hamilton -- is also appealing with vivid color and silhouetted legs and Olympic rings in white.

The third and poster of note, however, sort of made me think, "Huh?!"

The work titled "Swimming" by Howard Hodgkin is described in LOCOG press materials with the following note: "The fluidity of the brushstrokes perfectly captures the movement of water and the sensation of swimming."

Not so much.

For this blogger, it sort of captures the movement of child's fingers dipped in finger paint.

Though to Hodgkin's credit, the painting did also remind me of a favorite R.E.M. song titled "Night Swimming" so I guess the poster is OK, just not for my walls.


Like Athens 2004's terrible selection of official posters, the rest of the London 2012 official poster series leave a bit to be desired. For instance, the illustration of two birds appearing under an inspiring message was to me, well, inspiring, yet better suited for the cartoon collections of The New Yorker magazine.

The other workz juzt make me zort of **yawn** zleepy ... ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz ...

I guess my Olympic official poster tastes are influenced by the dazzling array of memorable official works created for LA84, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996. LA's official works, including artists Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Martin Puryear, are just tough to beat. Javier Mariscal's 1992 designs, and the 1996 posters by Howard Finster and James Rizzi, stand out as exceptional.

Other favorites Olympic poster works include designs by Jacob Lawrence, David Hockney, Andy Warhol and (official or not) the works of Dallas artist Bart Forbes are personal favorites (his works for several U.S. Postal Service stamps are tops in my book).

I'm sure the London 2012 official posters will be quite popular in spite of my remarks. Would love to hear which London 2012 Olympic posters are most liked -- or disliked -- by readers of this blog, and I will send an official 1996 Atlanta Olympic Opening Ceremony postcard of Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic cauldron to the person(s) who post the most colorful comment(s) during the next three days.

Disclosures: LOCOG and the IPC/Paralympics are clients of Edelman, the agency where I work. Photo credits: London 2012/LOCOG website.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo -- The Olympic Marathon of Creative Writing

Until 10 minutes ago, I never heard of NaNoWriMo.

But at first glance at a brief description, it looks like the creative writing equivalent of running an Olympic marathon.

According to this blog post (which introduced the topic to this blogger), NaNoWriMo is a tradition started about 12 years ago, challenging writers to crank out a novel -- about 50,000 words -- in just one carpal tunnel syndrome-inducing month.

NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month.

In case you are wondering, carpal tunnel awareness month is in May (well, sort of -- I guess some NaNoWritMo folks could have rallied for that during recovery mode after November, but they were too sore to type a petition).

When I was a kid growing up in Edmond, Okla., we had a colorful neighbor who lived in the "Pizza Hut House" (nicknamed for its flat shingled roof and dark red paint that looked like, well, a Pizza Hut). This neighbor was known as a friendly yet somewhat reclusive single woman, and neighborhood lore among the kids was that one day a soccer ball got kicked into her backyard, and when it was retrieved by a boy daring enough to climb the fence, the woman was spotted sitting naked at her typewriter, oblivious to the soccer ball retrieval (and impromptu window-peeking) in progress. For the record, I am NOT the kid who chased the soccer ball, but I am the kid who later introduced himself to the woman (selling candy bars for school fundraiser) and got to know her as "the lady down the street who writes books."

That woman was/is Hugo Award winning science fiction novelist C.J. Cherryh, and through a conversation shared with my dad, Cherry and yours truly (when I was about eight), we learned that C.J. worked hard to write a minimum of 10 pages a day. 10 PAGES!

So when I heard that there is a national month celebrating 50,000 words (about six pages a day) I got to thinking that C.J. is probably somewhere chuckling to herself, "I scoff at your meager six pages!"

Anyway, that's my 10 minutes of stream of conscientiousness typing (DRAT! Only a few hundred words!).

For those participating in NaNoWriMo 2012, good luck -- with some advance prep, I may try to join in 2012.

And if C.J. (or her agent) is out there reading blog posts noting Cherryh's work, I'd love to get back in touch; after all, she got me started writing!

Illustration via NaNoWriMo

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