David Bruce:


• Gay and lesbian activists sometimes have to fight scary battles. In the 1960s, some members of the American Nazi Party wanted to cause trouble at a conference of ECHO (East Coast Homophile Organizations). The gays and lesbians banded together to keep the American Nazis out of the auditorium where the conference was being held by locking arms and forming a human barricade that refused to let the American Nazis through. Among the activists barricading the door was Nancy Garden, lesbian author of Annie on My Mind.

• Many people read and enjoy J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the good guys’ fight against the evil of Mordor. Some of those who read it in college are activists. One campus cut down a pleasant grove of trees to make room for an ugly “Cultural Center” made of concrete blocks. Students detested the cutting down of trees, and on the ugly building someone wrote, “Another bit of Mordor.”


• Advertising copywriters can be very good writers. In 1919, 18-year-old Lillian Eichler was assigned the task of writing advertisements for Eleanor Holt’s book Encyclopedia of Etiquette. Ms. Eichler came through in a big way. Her ad showed a guest spilling a cup of coffee on a tablecloth — the copy read, “Has this ever happened to you?” The ad was very successful, and 1,000 copies of the book were sold quickly. Unfortunately, most of those copies were returned just as quickly, as the book was old fashioned and hopelessly out of date. No problem. The publisher, Doubleday, figured that if Ms. Eichler could write advertising copy as well as she did, then she could rewrite the book well. She did rewrite the book, which was given the new title Book of Etiquette, and the book sold at least 3 million copies over the next 30 years.

• To get a job in advertising, it helps to be creative. Chris, the brother of author Beth Lisick, created a resume that included a photograph of him seated at a baby grand. It also included a photograph of celebrity John Tesh seated at a baby grand. The resume compared the careers and lives of Chris and John Tesh. For example, Mr. Tesh courted celebrity Connie Selleca at the exact same time that Chris was being dumped by a girlfriend. And when John Tesh released his album Sax by the Fire, Chris was being heavily criticized for failing to meet the dress code of a restaurant. Chris was hired, and he became a success — he wrote these words that were spoken by a Chihuahua in a series of Taco Bell commercials: “Drop the chalupa.”

• An effective advertisement need not be long or even have an illustration. When Sir Ernest Shackleton needed men to go with him on a trip to the South Pole, he placed this ad in London newspapers in 1900: “MEN WANTED for Hazardous Journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success — Sir Ernest Shackleton.” The copy of the ad was frank, and the response to the ad showed that it was effective. Sir Ernest said, “It seemed as though all the men in Great Britain were determined to accompany me, the response was so overwhelming.”


• In his sketch “‘Party Cries’ in Ireland,” Mark Twain tells of the conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. Commonly, according to Mr. Twain, Irishmen would cry out either “To hell with the Pope” or “To hell with the Protestants,” depending on the religion of the crier. This became so common that a law was passed attempting to stop the custom by imposing a fine and court costs on anyone found guilty of giving a party cry. One day, a drunk was found lying in an alley, shouting, “To hell with! To hell with!” A police officer found the drunk and asked him, “To hell with what?” But the drunk replied, “Ah, bedad ye can finish it yourself — it’s too expinsive for me!”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: Robertas Semeniukas — “Brownsville Blues”


Music: “Brownsville Blues”

Artist: Robertas Semeniukas

Artist Location: Lithuania


Aleksandr Belkin – vocals, slide guitar 

Robertas Semeniukas – acoustic guitar

Price: €1 (EURO) for track

Genre: Traditional Blues


Robertas Semeniukas on Bandcamp


“Brownsville Blues”


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