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"Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth

"Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth

You like great art, right? Me too. When it comes to fine art, Greenville holds its own, especially for a city this size. The Greenville County Museum of Art has impressive collections by Jasper Johns and the late great Andrew Wyeth, among others.

Wyeth died a week ago today at his home in Chadds Ford, PA. Hearing the news reminded me of seeing his paintings for the first time. His portraits in particular struck me for their austerity and reminded me of the mesmerizing beauty of the human figure.

Rilke says, “beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure.” Wyeth endured, all right. In fact, he triumphed. See for yourself when his work comes to town:

“The Greenville County Museum of Art is proud to own one of the most important public collections representing Wyeth’s career. A new installation of the entire collection will open to the public on Wednesday, March 11, 2009. The exhibition will feature the Museum’s most recent Wyeth acquisition, a major watercolor titled Eagle Quill, completed in 2007, a full seventy years after the collection’s earliest example, Under the Live Oaks, 1937, which was painted in South Carolina.”

Blogging for Bones.

From now until February 3, singer Neko Case and her label Anti will donate five dollars to Best Friends Animal Society when you post her new song “People Got a Lotta Nerve” on your blog. So here it is, music and dog lovers. Enjoy.

People Got A Lotta Nerve — Neko Case

If you want to add Neko’s sultry voice to your blog, click here for details.

Know Your Geezerspeak.

Sometimes I speak like an old white guy, according to my girlfriend. The other day I said, “What’s the skinny?” and she berated me, saying no one under 70 says that anymore. I immediately stopped what I was doing—sprinkling moth balls around my place and setting out hard candy—and asked myself: am I so unhip?

Another phrase that starts her smack talking: “What’s on the docket?” (Okay, I can’t rationalize this one. But I try. My grandfather was a judge. I’m guessing my dad picked up the phrase from him, since he used to ask me what I had on the docket for the day. I told you it was a stretch.)

Geezerspeak or not, we all have our little idiosyncrasies that set us apart. Cara calls her dog Mister Twister because of the way he dances. Rodney says he feels like a hundred dollars after eating Chinese buffet. Jami secretly wants to be an Alt-Country rock star. It all goes back to that basic truth of branding: understanding what makes you unique.

If you find yourself noticing recurring words, images and obsessions cropping up again and again, jot them down. Embrace them. Sing them. After all, this is America. Is there anywhere else in the world that celebrates the individual more? Personally I think we could all tone it down a little. Damn whippersnappers walking around town with green hair.

spiderA guy in Australia recently offered this stunning spider drawing as payment for his overdue bill. I knew times were tough, but geez. This is freakin’ brilliant: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=665847

BlagojevichOkay, it sounds cheesy: be yourself. But it’s true. In a world growing increasingly transparent, practicing what you preach has never been more important.

If any single word has dominated American culture in recent weeks (other than the r-word), it’s transparency. Obama has promised transparency to be the cornerstone of his administration. Blagojevich and Madoff are clearly idiots. And sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have made the world smaller and more transparent.

So how does this affect your marketing? For starters, transparency means increased visibility for you or your business. More and more customers are seeking out products and services, not the other way around. Today’s customers want meaningful conversations, not slick marketing.

Some business owners view social marketing as a sort of Pandora’s box, where dissatisfied customers will throw them under the bus every chance they get. It’s true—greater visibility means greater accountability.

But think about the benefits: your advocates have more tools than ever before to help spread the word. Because even in a transparent world, some things never change. People still want to tear down walls and connect with each other and share what they believe.

Why not celebrate this newfound clarity by starting a blog or joining Facebook? Just remember to be yourself. Unless you’re Blagojevich.

Saying Is Believing.

Here are just a few comments I overheard in conversations this holiday season, reminding me once again about the power of advocates: I wouldn’t own anything other than a Samsung. I just love my Tag. HH Gregg is where it’s at.

As a consumer, a range of factors can influence my decision to purchase one brand over another, including word of mouth. Before I bought my Forester, I asked my friends, “How do you like your Subaru?” And what they said mattered to me because I trusted their opinions.

I also read what Subaru owners online had to say. And Motor Trend’s report too. The truth is I wanted to believe them, all of them. I read once that all people are believers, and the more I think about it now the more sense it makes. By the time I reached the Subaru dealership, there was little salesmanship involved.

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