How A Veteran Fights Back With Art

(The following post is about a friend whose work I admire.)

L.D. SLEDGE

SLEDGE ART

LD SledgeA lifelong desire and passion of author, fine artist, Veteran, cancer-survivor and Doctor of Jurisprudence L. D. Sledge, has burst its boundaries and come alive… and is doing well!

80 years old and brimming with renewed passion and vigor, Sledge has begun a new career, which he calls, “The Art of Imagination.” The artist is sharing his work with as many people as possible, giving them pause to look at worlds he has envisioned.

Sledge Art is rich with hand-hewn tapestries of beauty, color, texture and form that celebrate the raw elements and beauty of Earth, Fire, Water and Air — seen through a kaleidescope of this gifted artist’s creative points of view.

Using combined hues and tones mixed with handcrafted multi-graphic images, Sledge pushes his viewers into amazingly vibrant worlds of dreamscapes, visionscapes, landscapes and air- and waterscapes purposefully untitled, “… To let each viewer add his or her own imagination.”

You can’t escape co-creating your way through each journey by L. D. Sledge!

Signed & Numbered

Each Sledge Art canvas is a Limited Edition, unframed and unmatted print of 100 only, which can be sized and customized. Each arrives with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by the artist and guaranteeing its number. (Framing and matting are optional and available separately.)

I invite you to see and experience the beauty that is SLEDGE ART on display now through October 31st, 2015, in the gallery space located at 305 North Fort Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, Florida 33755.

The gallery is open daily, seven days a week, from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. All attendees will be able to meet and greet the artist and his lovely wife Grace. There are plenty of pieces on display, and refreshments served.

Sneak A Peek

For a sneak peek, visit the artist’s web site.

 www.artimaginationbysledge.com.

©2015 by Ronald Joseph Kule. Reserved.

(Parts of this blog have been used by courtesy and permission of Grace Sledge.)

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Redux: The Most Interesting Man In The World

(This blog post is a guest article written by a friend who knows market research inside and out.)

The Most Interesting Man In The World

“I was 18 and researching which university I should attend when I stumbled across that most trusted source of information for male adolescents at the time… Playboy Magazine.

“It’s true. If I ever run for public office, you can leak this to the press.

“While some of my more intelligent classmates knew exactly where they were headed in life, I, frankly, didn’t have clue.

“As one of America’s most inspirational philosophers, Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

“And so I did. As I cast about for ideas, Playboy published an  article ranking the top 10 party schools in America. Arizona State was #1. But San Jose State, a mere hour’s drive from my home, was #2.

“Bingo.

“The school lived up to its name and, may the gods forgive me, I did what I could to push it to #1. I have grandchildren now so the details will have to await my autobiography, if I ever write one, but there is one vignette that may be of interest.

“On Spring break of my junior year, four fraternity brothers and I piled into a dilapidated ’55 Cadillac with a fractured grill and one blinking headlight, and headed south of the border. Everyone was either a board surfer or body surfer.

“We crossed into Northern Mexico at Mexicali. From there we headed to the West Coast and then due South. When we got to Mazatlan, which was not the tourist destination it is today, we staked out a plot of ground in a park 50 yards from the beach.

http://www.galeriamazatlan.com/galerias/playas/pics/BALNEARIO%20PLAYA%20NORTE.jpg

“A Mexican kid would come by in the morning, sell us some fresh oranges and then shinny up a coconut tree and knock down some coconuts. We would machete the tops off of the coconuts and enjoy the meat and milk and the oranges for breakfast.

“There was a palm-frond-covered cantina right on the beach in front of us. We would surf all day, break in the afternoon for fuel at the cantina – tacos and beer – and head into town after the sun melted into the Pacific. The beer drinking carried over into the night.

“The nightlife in Mazatlan in those days was like something out of a Sergio Leone movie. Let’s call it… rustic.

“It was in these seedy saloons, where I was introduced to a slender, dark companion – the dusky colored Mexican beer named Dos Equis. I liked the pungent flavor and even then, perhaps as a harbinger of things to come, I liked the brand itself.

“We later traveled South to San Blas, lived on the beach next to an Indian village, spent a night in a hotel full of bats and scorpions and eventually headed back to San Jose [as] sandal-wearing, brown-bodied surfers. It was a cool look in those days.

“The hedonistic days faded when I began taking school more seriously and eventually taught at San Jose State. Beer and study for graduate school exams did not mix. While I saw the Dos Equis brand occasionally over the following years, I hadn’t really paid it any attention for decades.

“So it has been a real delight and a trip down memory lane to come across the brand from a professional point of view and marvel at one of the most creative ad campaigns I have ever seen. Look what happens when creativity is brought to bear on in-depth market research.

“Dos Equis is now the top selling imported dark beer in the United States. But it hasn’t always been that way, not by a long shot. How did this happen?

“It started with market research – a lot of it. According to the ad agency (Euro RSCG), the research revealed “… that the greatest fear of young, male bar goers is to be thought of as boring.” 

“The agency’s account director, Mary Perhach, noted, ‘We had a tremendous amount of research that showed us… Drinkers wanted to be seen by their friends, and by ladies, as interesting.’

“So what did EURO and Heineken (the owners of the brand) do with this research?

“Take a look:

“There is a 30 second commercial here. And if you want to enjoy some advertising genius, click the others right below it. http://adage.com/lp/top15/#mostinteresting.

“In fact, there are dozens of these spots all over the ‘Net.

“This is advertising brilliance built from the foundation of deep market research that found a single “Button” among beer drinkers – they did not want to be seen as boring.

“The result? Dos Equis soared from being a second tier beverage player, to the #1 imported dark beer in America.

“I say, ‘Long live the Most Interesting Man in the World,’ because when it was his time to go, he told God he’d take a rain check.

“Oh, and if you want to become the most interesting brand in the world, give us a call. We have the research team and creative associates that can propel your brand to the top of its category.

“As one of our clients said:

“’We live, as you know better than most, in a world where information is the rising currency of real value. Your information, provided by solid, yet unique and innovative research technologies, thus becomes great wealth.'”  — JB, President.

(This blog article was written and originally posted by Bruce Wiseman, President of OnTarget Research, a friend and fellow author.)

http://www.ontargetresearch.com/2015/07/03/the-most-interesting-man-in-the-world/

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How to Avoid Depression-Era Income

I’ve been wandering around from project to project, looking for a route out of the depression-era income stream that has found its way to my doorstep.  While I’ve done so, I’ve wondered about your condition, and about the condition of our nation.

Like it or not, we rise and fall upon the same ocean tides of Life and living together.  We are only as good as our collective and individual best or worst actions.

Do Something.

Yet, the wrong thing to do is nothing.  Next comes doing without understanding what we are doing, and the consequences of our actions.

In times of tough economics it is easy to second-guess our moves.  Many of us are prone to question why what worked before – only a few years back – is not working now.  Yet, not all that happens around us or to us is because of us, albeit we have on some level probably asked for it!

In light of that notion, I consider it best for each of us to forego invalidating ourselves in the attempt to discover what is wrong; instead, why not validate what is right about us? Why not consider what we do have that can be mustered to fight the good fight, to win against all odds?

Life is a game.

Games have winners and losers. And on any given day set-backs can occur. On any given day sudden windfalls may come our way, too, even unexpected ones. So, roll with the flow, as some say; better yet, CREATE your flow! Take your destiny in your own hands and persist. Never take no as an answer, never accept defeat. The journey is as important – maybe even more important – as the outcome.  Overcoming obstacles makes us adapt and grow… and keeps our integrity intact as individuals and as a nation.

Add to Your Know-How

Add know-how to your intention and persistence to win.  You need to know your stuff, to learn what applies in your field, what works.  And you need to practice, practice and practice until you rise like cream to the top of the fluid stream of life and games that is your chosen arena. Overnight success is actually the culmination of long, at times hard, struggle and sacrifice.

Nothing earned easily is as valuable as hard-won success.

In the end, your best friend – perhaps your only everlasting friend – is YOU. SPLURGE on YOU! Never let YOU go! Make you the best you can be. And, remember, you are always a work in progress.

After all, wherever you go, there you are!

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Poetic Justice~Carolina Baseball 2012

(excerpted from the eBook and book by Ronald Joseph Kule)

Poetic Justice~Carolina Baseball 2012

(The Historic Run for the Three-Peat)

http://amzn.to/1AlIFXX

Cocky thrills Gamecock Nation on Opening Day

“At the end of the year, or the end of the job, if the cumulative effort is good enough, you get a chance to go to the postseason, and that is where it all starts.”  — Head Coach Ray Tanner

“… the 2011 Gamecocks annihilated opponents.

As a team South Carolina in 2011 finished with a 1.31 ERA in 10 NCAA Tournament games.  The Gamecocks’ bullpen finished 6-0 with five saves and an incredible 0.53 ERA in 33.2 innings of work in the NCAA College World Series Tournament games.  They did not allow a single, extra-base hit during the entire tournament.

Freshmen – fresh men – would take their places.

Despite the loss of key veterans, Tanner’s vision for 2012’s recruiting class and veterans remained upbeat, even confident.  He knew by the numbers that a lot of veteran players with outstanding performances under their belts, those who stayed, would continue to perform at high levels.  Veteran senior, Friday-night ace and All-American Michael Roth stayed on this year, as did All-American, junior closer Matt Price.  Nolan Belcher; Ethan Carter; Colby Holmes; Adam Westmoreland; Tyler Webb; Patrick Sullivan, Logan Munson and Hunter Privette… stayed.  Forrest Koumas, who made the SEC All-Freshman Team and finished at 6-1 with a 2.96 ERA in 19 games and 12 starts, stayed.

The biggest question in the minds of Garnet & Black coaches and fans was whether the new infield would gel into a working unit early enough in the season to give them a chance at the end — to get back to Omaha would be a lot to ask of freshman players, but they would work on it.

Coach Tanner set out how right from the start, “It is not easy playing for me as a newcomer.  There’s an initiation.  You have to earn your stripes.  You don’t just roll in here and have anything given to you.  You have to earn it.  Sometimes there’s a step back, but you understand quickly that it’s not about you.  It’s about listening to the guys that have been here; learning all you can and learning to respect the game and the program.  As long as I’ve coached and as long as I get to coach, that’s not going to change.  That’s how it’s supposed to be.”

Excitement generated by the Gamecocks’ two, back-to-back national championships helped recruiting coach Chad Holbrook bring in an outstanding recruitment class.  By September 2011, he possessed the best class in the country.  He and the other coaches had every reason to feel they would be working with players they could fashion into another brilliant team and season.  They would just have to coach patiently and perceive what surfaced.

Among the new recruits were 16 freshman and five college transfers.  Whatever else, the 2012 Gamecocks would have a balanced makeup, because there were talented freshmen, recognized junior college players and national-champion veterans among them:

Evan Beal, a right-hander ranked as the No. 2 best high school prospect in state of Virginia by Baseball America, went 8-0 his senior season with a 2.41 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 65 innings.

Connor Bright, an infielder rated the No. 4 shortstop in South Carolina, batted a .485 average, seven home runs and 10 doubles.

L.B. Dantzler, an infielder and MVP of the Florida Collegiate Summer League helped lead his team to the FCSAA state championship and the 2010 NJCAA World Series in 2010.

Tanner English, an outfielder rated the No. 3 best high school prospect in South Carolina by Baseball America, hit .412 his senior season with seven home runs, 23 RBI and 28 stolen bases.

Grayson Greiner, a catcher/first baseman rated the No. 5 best high school prospect in South Carolina by Baseball America; also rated the No. 1 catcher in the state and No. 6 best high school prospect by Diamond Prospects, hit .442 his junior season in 2010 with nine home runs, 39 RBI and .420 as a sophomore in 2009.

Jordan Montgomery, a left-hand pitcher helped lead Sumter High School to the 2011 AAAA state championship and was 11-0 on the year with 114 strikeouts in 74.1 innings and a 0.38 ERA.

Joey Pankake, an infielder, was rated No. 1 shortstop in South Carolina and No. 3 best high school prospect by Diamond Prospects; No. 4 best high school prospect by Baseball America.

Chase Vergason, an infielder, in his sophomore year in 2011 at Brevard CC batted .294 with six doubles, five triples, 18 runs scored and 18 RBI.

Coach Holbrook’s network knew what they needed long before the 2011 NCAA trophy was handed over to the Gamecocks last summer.  The active roles of college baseball recruitment play out well in advance of the needs of one upcoming season.

On the other hand, having won a national championship and then another, makes it hard to not think about keeping the string alive and unbroken when a bulls-eye is painted on your collective back.

The first day Tanner gathered the new players inside of the club’s locker room in early fall of 2011 and he made his way clear to the new recruits:  “The pats on the back you had in high school or junior college… that’s not here.  The focus here is on emphasizing what we have to do today.  I’m not a coach that sits down, brings my team together to put a lot of goals on the board and talk about down the road and end of the year.  We talk about what we are doing right now.”

New and veteran players then mingled, left to work out their weight-training and health programs with assigned staff assistants who would prepare them for battle…”

© 2012, 2015 by Ronald Joseph Kule and KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in books about baseball, books about sports, books by Ronald Joseph Kule, Gamecocks baseball, Gamecocks sports, non-fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Avoid Your Next Failed Ad Campaign

(The following guest blog post is from a friend with a real company that provides help services to companies and ad agencies, which has accomplished real stats since 1987.)

*****

A Closer Look at the Wedding Crashers

By

Bruce Wiseman

“Wasn’t it yesterday that Y2K was going to turn all of the computers on the planet into a techno-version of Planet of the Apes, and civilization was going to implode into anarchy of zeros and ones?

“Hard to believe we are 15 years into the 21st century.

“And in case you have been traveling off-planet for the last decade or so, marketing has changed.

“So, here’s your April 2015 marketing exam:

“What is the preferred mode of marketing communication to consumers these days?

“That’s right – email. That wasn’t so tough.

SURVEY SAYS…

“A survey conducted by Marketingcharts.com reveals that email is the preferred communication channel by a wide margin.

MarketingCharts

“Here’s the next question:

How often should you send emails to your list?

“The answer is not more than once per week, and ideally a bit less frequently than that. Almost three quarters of respondents wanted to receive emails from brands once a week or less often.

MarketingCharts2

“And, most importantly, what should you say?

“You promote a discount or make an offer that would be interesting to your prospects. That’s right: while the world has morphed into a cyber-cacophony of zeros and ones, your customers and prospects still want an old-fashioned deal, a “discount.”

MarketingCharts3

“But exactly what discount or offer do you put into the subject line?

LET’S MAKE A DEAL

“Ah, that’s where we come in. We conduct surveys of your public to find out exactly what would motivate them to open that email, read your offering and click on through to your site.

“You don’t need me to tell you it is a digital world today. But it is your customers and prospects that will tell you what offering they need and want and consider valuable.

“Surveying customers and prospects can often turn up information that will surprise you. For instance, what days of the week get the highest open and click-through rates?

Tuesday Becomes Friday (Night)

“Conventional Internet marketing ‘wisdom’ has long held that Tuesday is the best day for response to email marketing promotion. But this same Internet marketing study by marketingcharts.com, which cites a survey by Experian Marketing Services, revealed that highest open and click through activity occurs… on the weekend. That’s right. Saturday and Sunday out-perform the more traditional ‘workdays’ when it comes to opening and responding to email marketing promotion.

“Not a surprise when you think of it, as office pressure subsides on the weekends and people have a bit of quiet/personal time to read and respond to emails.

“Yet, the reality is that email, and other forms of electronic communication, have so blurred the line between office hours and off duty hours many find themselves “on post” 16 hours a day.

“In fact, a survey conducted in May of 2013, by GFI software, of 503 U.S. employees found that 81 percent of them check their work email on weekends.

“And, 55 percent of those surveyed check their work email after 11:00 p.m..

“Hey, get some shut-eye!

http://www.gfi.com/blog/survey-81-of-u-s-employees-check-their-work-mail-outside-work-hours/

“But it doesn’t stop there. Oh no. If you saw the romantic comedy Wedding Crashers with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, who play a couple of divorce mediators who crash weddings to pick up women, you know where I’m going.

“If you haven’t seen Wedding Crashers, get it on Netflix or Hulu. It’s very funny. Not to give away the plot if you haven’t seen it, but there is a point where Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn’s characters have a falling out. And Owen goes to see the “Godfather” of wedding crashers, Chazz, played by none other than Will Farrell.

“And Chazz has evolved. Chazz is no longer crashing weddings to pick up chicks; he’s crashing funerals.

“Which brings us back to our story, because the survey of 500+ U.S. employees found that 10 percent of the respondents admitted to checking work email at a child’s school event; nine percent at a wedding; and, in a tip of the hat to Chazz, six percent checked their emails at a funeral.

“But emails have trumped even the mighty Chazz, because six percent of the respondents said they logged into their work email while… their spouse was in labor!

“Dude, get a life.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

“I digress. My point is that you don’t fully know how your prospects might behave or what they consider to be important until you ask.

“And how you ask is important. There is a technology to this, and we will design the survey questions so you get real, gut-level answers.

“The point is, why guess? Why spend precious marketing dollars without knowing for sure? Ask your prospects what they want.  They’ll tell you.

“In summary:

  • By all means, use email marketing.
  • Don’t send more than once a week.
  • Conduct some surveys to find out what your public really wants from you and craft a special deal or discount around that.
  • Try sending your emails Friday evening so your prospects can read them over the weekend.
  • Monitor your results and compare them to previous offerings.
  • Fine tune as needed.”

© 2015 by Bruce Wiseman. All Rights Reserved.

(NOTE: Bruce Wiseman founded On-Target Research in 1987, a leading Los Angeles-based market research and survey company serving international corporate, profit and non-profit clients and ad agencies.)

Contact information*

(*via this blog’s author)

By Email: researchtargetgroup@gmail.com

By Phone: 727-215-2125

© 2015 by Ronald Joseph Kule. Reserved.

Posted in blog posts, endorsements, how to communicate, market research, non-fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment