Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ear Cleaning: Nothing Much Happened Again Today In Vietnam

CLEAN YOUR FRIGGIN' EARS OUT! Today, I engaged in my weekly pleasure of having my ears cleaned. Ears cleaned you say? With Q-tips? No. I have my ears cleaned by a professional technician, probably with a Ph.D. in ear cleaning, and have come to not only enjoy it but to consider the process necessary as well as therapudic.

It takes aro
und 20 minutes, costs just over a dollar and happens in a barber shop. The technician straps a miner's style light to her forehead, drops my barber chair into the reclining position and proceeds to descend into the deep dark recesses of my ear canal – armed with a trusty toolear cleaning, tools, vietnam, wildwildeastdailies, wild wild east dailies, Saigon, Vietnam, ear cleaning, ear wax cleaning, ear cleaning scope David Everitt-Carlsonkit of little picks, shovels and probably trussed by a cable tied to the back wall. The sensation of the procedure following is just positively liberating. Sinus passages clear, hearing becomes cleaner and a general weight feels lifted from ones head. It's finished off by little spinning brushes and a cleaning foam that just makes the inside of your ears feel shiny and polished. Click on the photo and see the tools involved. Now let's talk some shit. As the procedure is underway, the technician will take the deposits she has unearthed and wipe them on your forearm. And let me tell you – no matter what sort of shit you thought you heard the previous week, the stuff you see on your arm will just absolutely scare you. As my ear canals go I seem to get much more shit delivered to my right ear than to my left. Should I have sold you on this procedure, and you're not in Vietnam, I'd direct you to your local Vietnamese neighborhood barbershop in the country of your residence.


Today we're entering a two day holiday in Vietnam called Reunification Day. It's the day the North Vietnamese Army stormed through the gates of the Presidential palace in Saigon to accept the surrender of the South.

From Wikipedia: The Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975 – which ended the Vietnam War – prompted the first large-scale wave of immigration from Vietnam. Many people who had close ties with the Americans or with the then Republic of Vietnam government feared promised communist reprisals. So, 125,000 of them left Vietnam during the spring of 1975. This group was generally highly-skilled and educated.

This resonates with me in remembering 75 because I had acted as a big brother to a Vietnamese guy in my university days at the end of that year. This was an association engineered by my church and unfortunately I cannot remember the man's name. I do remember he was an attorney in South Vietnam and was determined to become one again.

We visited an Andy Warhol exhibition at the school and I taught him how to say beer and cigarettes. That's about all anyone would have needed
to have gotten along in America in 1975, right?


My walk home tonight included an encounter with the Olympic torch in Ho Chi Minh City – and if you haven't heard about it's Vietnamese Tour, that has been entirely intentional. As China has leaned on it's neighboring countries in Asia, especially the Communist ones, to keep the protests down to nothing, the situation has been tightly controlled. The torch's previous location was in North Korea and you can bet that CNN was supplied with nothing but smiling faces on that tape. Here, maps of the route were entirely secret and all the major dailies each reported
different and slightly obscure stories regarding timings and exact locations. As I hit downtown and noticed the throngs of people it dawned on me, "Hey this is the start of the Reunification Holiday", until I ran into a friend and he told me about the torch run. Fearing the pickpockets and general mayhem of downtown during any public gathering I altered my route and made it quietly home. I didn't see the torch but wasn't about to venture into a crowd that stretched for any number of kilometers for a chance to see something that might have already passed. Once home I did find that I would have missed it by being where I was at the time I was. But that's ok. I was closer than I have ever been to an Olympic torch and there must be something to be said for that.


Not that the rock world is falling out of it's chair when a 27 year old band releases a new record, but today I was able to get a torrent of the new REM album "Accelerate" today and I must say, that band is alive and well. Only two listens now but my impression is that's it's a powerful, tight, terse and almost punkly delivered disk that probably over-delivers on even the glowing reviews I have already heard. This will definitely get a few listens this holiday.

Probably good I started by having my ears cleaned out today.

For more in the "Nothing much happened" series, check below:

VIII People Are Just Dieing To Get Out of Here
VII The Hair Job
VI Happy New Year! Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!
V The Vietnam sNews
IV At The Center of Miss Universe
III My Walk in the Park Today
II The Stevie Wonder Post
I Ear Cleaning

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sweet Dreams: Interpretation please?

As my last post illustrated, I had an issue with demons this week. No, not the satanic kind but the more garden variety kind – people doing things and behaving in ways that make you pinch yourself and say, "Did I just hear what I thought I heard? Did that person just do what I thought they did?" People doing things that were more Machiavellian, more calculated – just less than nice. And I became afraid of that. That's where the fear post came from. n Come mid-week I had the feeling that I wasn't sleeping particularly well because of some depression over this. I had the need to take a nap on Thursday and decided to do so, but with the express goal of only dreaming of enjoyable things. The following dream illustrates those things. Should any readers have any insights to dream analysis, please make a comment or send me a note. n White Huskies in a beautiful white landscape. Beautiful powdery snow and low drifting berms. I wanted to see them closer, but didn't want to scare them, so I crept in the snow for a better look. I felt no chuskies for adoption, huskies, siberian huskies, washington huskies, huskie, huskies puppys, how tall are huskies, siberian huskie, alaskan huskies, washington huskies football, uw huskies, uconn huskies, white horse, white lion, snow, white, snow, huskie puppiesold. And then there were two and more. They ran perpendicular to me but came closer on my horizon and then began to run away from me in the direction from which I had come. As they ran further behind me I turned and began to run after them, as white horses and white lions joined them. I ran at a jogging pace to admire their running beauty as they collectively kicked up a beautiful white mist and vanished from view, far in the distance as I lost pace – and slowed to a walk. Looking at my feet I now saw them imbedded in sand – and a Coney Island sort of amdymaxion car, dymaxion, buckminster fuller dymaxion car, dymaxion house, dymaxion car design plans, dymaxion chronofileusement stood off to my left. It seemed my arctic fantasy had finished. Walking through the amusement park and looking for a way out I encountered one of those spinning rides, a space capsule sort of affair with multi-colored rotating pods on arms inside a spherical frame that continually blocked my passage. After a while I realized that I could stop them with my hand, and move them out of my way. They were quite light, really. Upon exiting the amusement park I boarded a kind of Dymaxion car, only this one without a roof and for just one person. It moved, effortlessly onto the highway, and seemed propelled by a magnetic force that kept it ofsoviet architecture, stalinist, russia, soviet unionf the ground – and it made no sound. We sped on a beautifully landscaped highway towards a distinctly Stalinist construction of fairy tale proportions – my car moving at much faster speeds than others and avoiding collisions by means of a sensing device that automatically adjusted to the presence of other vehicles and made the appropriate adjustments of breaking and acceleration, eventually overtaking them. It was exhilarating. It was fast. n And then it was over. We never reached the building of Socialist Classicism. My exit had come. And I woke up. n Post Script: My dog as a child was a white Husky/Spitz mix named Mickey. Mickey was my favorite pet. I had also been to Coney Island as a child and am familiar with eastern seaboard parks. In 1990 I was fortunate enough to have attended an art exhibit in Paris that featured the art and never built architecture of the Stalinist era. And, even though the car in my dream was not even close to Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car, it behaved most closely to the way I would believe a futurist car to behave, given the technologies I understand are available today. n

For more Sweet Dreams Click below:

VI: I Woke Up Drunk Today
V: Homecoming
IV: All In A Mouse's Night
III: Fragmented Fermentations
II: Strange Dreams
I: White Huskies: Interpretation please?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fear Is My Friend...

n Couple of demons rose up this week  and I must admit, they sidelined me for a couple of days. Betwix, between and totally out of sorts. Until I sorted it out. And oddly, as it may fear of the dark iron maiden, dont fear the reaper blue oyster cult, tears for fears, fear factory, fear, no fear, ray herrera fear factory, fear factor, iron maiden fear of the dark, don't fear the reaper, fear factor recipes, fear itself, fear factory demanufacture, fear factory soul of a new machine, fear before the march of flames, dont fear the reaper, the six basic fears and how to eliminate them, fear and loathing, fear and loathing in las vegas, tears for fears lyrics, fear factor nudity, fear factor stunts, primal fear, cape fear community college, tears for fears mad world, fear of the dark, fear of heights, cape fear, fear of flying, fear of elevation, no fear logo, tears for fears mp3, keane hopes and fearshave been, Hillary Clinton was my clincher. She played on the fear of voters by saber-rattling over Iran and that just massively irked me. But it worked for her, sorry to say.n Oh, those insecure Pennsylvanians. (Guns. church, whatever...) Wouldn't do well out-of-country. But in my case things were a bit more personal, and close to the heart. The evil-doers have yet to face the judges on what I believe were their misdeeds. But I now have a strategy. Fear is my friend. n And I'm gonna grab it like a god. I'm gonna love and kiss it and fucking choke it to death in front of it's own bleeding heart. n Because I can. Because I own it. n Took me awhile to realize, fear does not own me.n In other news, imagine a man on a bicycle, but this bicycle's got a cart mounted to it in front making it a three wheeled sort of affair. In the cart is enough gravel to fill 5 or 6 wheelbarrows - maybe 10. Since it is very heavy, there is another man on a motorbike, riding alongside. This man keeps one leg extended out and placed on the hub of the rear wheel of the bicycle man's cart. Together they will get this load of gravel down the road. They may repeat this trip 10 or 20 times in a day. This is the sort of thing one sees everyday in a country where skyscrapers are sprouting up faster than mangroves. n There is an amazing spirit of just doing things here. To catch up with a developed country there is virtually no end to the work. It goes on 24 hours a day. n

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm a terrorist! Are you?

Courtesy of Mike Kirby...the following ad:

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This, just in from a reader:

Hello Brother Dave, Love ya babe! – Mismanagement and Greed (Lies for profit) have left our “Leave it to Beaver” life so far behind it is incomprehensible to vast majority of “Drones” left out there thinking that all they have to do is “live” to the age of Social Security and everything will be ok. Since the age of “Personal Awareness” we have become the idiots of “Blame”. It’s always “Because” someone did something when in reality, “None” of us have done anything except become complacent. Guess what? The existing process is “Not” about to change… so… either we shut the fuck up or do something about it! How hard is that?

Friday, April 18, 2008


You've gotta be shitting me!
Is your pecker really that tiny?
That's totally sad...

American Foreign Policy since WWII

Go ahead. Take me out back and shoot me. I'm at a loss for words. And that ain't nomal, is it? Watch the video. It's a snippet of my current life as done by Sam Kinneson and Rodney Dangerfield.


We loose wars because we don't give a shit. We're basically in it for the money. But military mite never beats a nation's natural patriotism. We need to get back to our roots. Paul Revere and Thomas Payne were insurgents. Thomas Jefferson was a participating enemy of big government.

I graduated High School in 1974, the first year of no draft – so my impression of Vietnam is very different from that of someone just a few years older than me. Today, a host of vets and journalists still live here and I have spoken with many. This mo
Dangerfield, Kinneson, Shit, Vietmam, End of the Vietnam War, Terrorist, Terrorism, News,  WWII,  Sovet Deaths, Cold War, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Payne, nth marks the 33rd anniversary of the end of the war. The last American helicopter departed from Saigon on April 15th, 1975 and by the end of the month, North Vietnamese tanks had stormed through the gates of the presidential palace. Having lived now both in South Korea and in Vietnam, America's two primary post WWII theatres, I've come to wonder if the Cold War was just the result of a business deal gone bad. The accompanying chart illustrates WWII deaths by country. Considering that our ally, the Soviet Union, lost nearly 26 million people, or 14% of their population, and America lost less than 1/2 a million, just .32% of it's population, one might wonder if the Soviets expected more spoils for their efforts after the war and if the actions in Korea and Vietnam were just past business partners fighting over assets in the divorce.

For more in Political Satire and Satire see:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My friend just died...

My friend Bob died, recently.

And you know what? He's not dead. (and his name's not Bob)

Bob lives in Chicago and he was my financial advisor through Leo Burnett, Leo Burnett Korea and my own company CarlsonCreative, in Korea and more recently, in Vietnam.

But Bob is now dead.

Not physically.

Bob has allowed his brain to die.

For me, I have lost a friend. A person I liked. All about music and finance and new ideas and seeing the world for fun through eyes that didn't have our wallets attached to them. Or the SEC.

I miss the Grant Park Music Society (Chicago Symphony Summer Series). I miss the big hats on our dates. I miss him whinging about all kinds of shit. I miss Nintendo. I miss him not knowing fuck all about Nintendo or IT and still letting me buy AOL in it's IPO stage. I miss buying into AOL at $27 and selling the last of my lot at $175. I miss teaching him about Silicon Va
lley and Siliconmunist Valley and the silly shit in Redmond, Washington. He didn't know fuck-all.

Here's a picture of Bob's home. Overlooking Lake Michigan, in Chicago.
Chicago, Dead, friend, Why,  Dominick, Leo Burnett,  Lake house, Michigan, Leo Burnett Korea, CarlsonCreative, David Everitt-Carlson, Wildwildeastdailies, wild-wild-east-dailies, Dominick Vetrano, Lake Michigan
Nice place, if you work at home all day.

But worthless if you work in a shitty office – like Bob does. (sorry, no photo of crap office)

I miss divorcing my wife.

I miss him being my friend and helping me through that.

I miss seeing him in Michigan at my lake house.

I miss his mom being an illustrator for the Smithsonian institute (and drawing birds) and him being a complete financial geek, but getting it totally. I miss the way he related this to me but totally rued me when I become low on cash.

Absolute dichotomy.

He walked from me because the Patriot Act. SEC bullshit, and my lack of "Million-dollar client " status. I suppose he walked because he was never really a friend. His new wife didn't like me either... Told me I couldn't afford his $275 an hour rate for advice anymore...

He was fun when I had money.

I miss him.

What are friends worth?

I sort of wonder what ever happened to friends. It's as if I may never come back.

Who knows.

I miss you BOB.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Stream Of SubConsciousness...

O Dashboard comes with a pre-set agenda. Do the work, Dave, do the work. 87 itty-bitty icons begging for my attention. We're going to try something different today. This is all going to be written SOS – stream of subconcsiousness – with nary a break. Come back tomorrow and it will have changed. O Hugh IM'd me last night. All about writing books, and the pressures of such. Gotta tell cool guys to stay cool. So farkin' happy. O I was drunk. Way drunk. But had put in a hard weekend so felt the need for speed and a bit of a break. Doc ordered that ticket. Albee dee gee such more and all the mardee farts go blore. O And what. Yes, I'm back. Minimalist drivel. O Vietnam. Hungry as they go. Starting to figure out they want to be somebody. Hungry like the Koreans but stronger – more confidant. Koreans – weak. Still pissed at us they couldn't win their own war. Vietnam already kicked our ass and doesn't need to gloat. Koreans: Surface. Vietnamese: Deep as a Cuchi tunnel. Americans? O I live in a computer. No girlfriend. Can't fuck the computer but couldn't much the wife either. Same. Stoned. Etherwingethewayoutofaday O


I love the grace of
a silk line on a sharp hip
or a wide-brimmed hat on a fair skinned lass.

I love the grace that comes with age making pale the brashness of youth
or the grace of gentle breeding that allows a person to know more than others
yet not behave that way.

I love the grace that rewards substance over style
because making that decision can some
times be very unpopular.

And I love the grace that grows between couples
when attr
action has grown into adoration
has grown into comfort has grown into fulfillment
has grown into unspoken and complete confidence.

Grace can be acquired but not taught.
It can be given but not taken.

Grace can dry tears and calm fears.

Grace is
the only virtue that spreads itself evenly
throughout the generations
choosing only to reside in those pure of mind and spirit
oblivious to past sins.

People c
Hugh MacLeod, Stream of subconsciousness, Whatever, Giberishwishes, blogger, poetry, poems,wildwildeastdailies, Grace, Wild Wild East Dailies, Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam Advertising Association,ould use a whole lot more of this. Sum jerks today. I was kool. O Authority: 3. Technorati rank now 2,461,872. Feeling better. That's nearer to top 2%. Gotta get under a million. O And something else that's driving me a little batty today: When you need to put your age into a web-form they have this little drop-down menu that gives you a list of dates. Usually up to 100 years or so. Well, getting to 1956 is getting to be a real bitch. The numbers whizz by so fast I either overshoot it or undershoot it. Damn. Geezer syndrome. O Army Intelligence. Plastic Glass. Vietnam Advertising. The list of oxymorons goes on. O I have saved the Google search term "Vietnam Advertising" in my news finder and sparingly get news alerts for stories. None of them are any good. The local press writes shite and nobody else writes anything else. Most of what I get are Asia Pacific business listing sites with NO references to agencies at all. You know those Nasa photos of the earth at night with the lights on? And Mongolia and North Korea are black holes? Well, if you took a photo of the Vietnam advertising business on the web, Vietnam would be a black hole. Embarrassing. Try searching the terms "Advertising Agency Vietnam" in Google and see what you get. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch and double-zilch for Vietnamese agencies. They're invisible on the web and I almost wonder if it's intentional. 20 of the world's largest agencies are in town and the Vietnam Advertising Association lists 5000 companies in the business. They're all busy fighting for scraps of a $1 billion dollar market. At 15% commission that's only $150 million to go around for all. The multi-nationals control 80% of the market so that leaves $30 million for the locals. Let's see: $30 million divided by 5000? That's $6000 per company. Per year. Nasty shit goin' down here. Even I couldn't live on that. They're all busy fighting for scraps and I'm somewhere in the middle of the fracas...writing a blog...WATCHOUT! Left hook coming... And just when I got on a rant about the situation in this market, I get the following mail from a reader: O "Brother Dave, I read your April 15th blog entry. I thought as much about Monday night, I can relate. Life here in the good ol’ USA is driving me crazy. I call it “living in the age of entitlement where everybody gets a trophy” sux. Attitudes are piss poor as well and good ol’ regular folks are getting fucked by the government incompetence. I want to get me and my wife outta here but more importantly I want to get my daughter outta here. Things here are bad and gonna get a “lot” worse! Math and economics don’t lie. Money is hard to come by and for the most part income is static (fewer opportunities) and the cost of living is going up at exponential rates. Governmental mismanagement has created a vortex that is sucking the life out of its Tax Payers(cash cows)/Citizens. It’s all upside down. As challenging as your situation is in VN at least your living. I know the feeling of “being alive again” when I’m in VN. My creative juices begin to flow again. Take heart, you are somewhere where what you do really matters. Here we’re all just another number with very little impact on the lives of anyone or anything. I like the part in your blog about 1956. I’m a 1955 model. I can relate. Your comments about the “black hole” is in part what I have up my sleeve to work on in Vietnam. You know, they have a “real” shot at this global thing if they do it right. I would like to be in a position to work on that. It “WILL” come, just a matter of how and when." O Time to bookend this one. It's pretty cool. I started, not knowing where it was going and getting into a bit of a funk on things and then got the mail from the US reader. It's easy to see all the political news from the States as some sort of cartoon, but sometimes, being here, we forget that there's real shit going down. O I'm going to end this all on a high note with the following wisdom from the Stooges of Three. Just when you need a little Larry, Curly and Mo...there they are! Thanks to Carol and her Boomer Generation Stuff site for this one. Inspired. O

My Hallmark Moment with Paris Hilton

hallmark, paris-hilton, cards, satire

For some less subtle greetings check:

These Farking Cards

When you care enough...

I miss Hallmark! For Paris with a brain click here.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Fold-in World!

very-short-list, mad-magazine, al-jaffee, mad fold-in, mad-mad-mad-mad fold-in worldIt's impossible to know when I first fell in love with Mad Magazine but the love affair has never ended. Even a year ago when a friend was coming to visit Vietnam from the States and asked me if there was anything I wanted, very high on my list was a copy of Mad. Throumad-fold-in, al-jaffe, mad-magazine, satireghout my teens, and well into adulthood, the art, wry humour and not-so-subtle satire of the thing has been always the ticket. As a kid, it taught us that one need not take the whole world so damn seriously, and that even political subject matter could be funny. Remember, we were growing up in the middle of the Vietnam War and that was a war that needed the edge taken off it for those of us who would soon be nearing draft age.

Upon graduating university, having been the first year of American youth not to have participated in the draft, I entered the advertising business. And within
mad-fold-in, al-jaffe, mad-magazine, satiretwo years, had a budget that allowed me to hire Jack Davis, one of the cartoonists, to do an illustration for a client of mine. Somewhere, buried deep in a box, I still have the brown paper wrapper the illustration came mailed to me in with my name written in Davis' signature style by he himself. So cool. My name written by one of my idols.

Later I coerced my wife into attending a Halloween party as Spy vs Spy, with she as the white Spy and myself as the black. We did manage a Best Costume award for that but I am conv
mad-fold-in, al-jaffe, mad-magazine, satireinced it was the true reason for her divorce filing, after spending some time with a therapist and thinking it may have negatively affected her self-esteem. But through it all I've remained a fan. If anything, the magazine has lasted much longer than the marriage.

So now through maybe the most unlikely of sources, The New York Times, comes a web 2.0 version of Mad's famous rear cover fold-ins. A fabulous killer-app that allows you to digitally fold the covers in and see the resulting punch-lines and images. Al Jaffee, the original creator is still at large at the age of 87 and he hasn't lost a lick of wit.

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear and give the big NYT a click. It'll be well worth the 15 or 20 minutes you waste and you probably already have one of those spreadsheet decoy screens you can implement should the boss saunter by.

Happy folding!

American Airlines: What Have I Done For You Lately?

For a creator in the advertising business, the question is always, "What have you done for me lately?", or to put it more succinctly, you're only as good as your last ad. You can be the talk of the cocktail party or the "He's the guy who did...blah, blah, blah..." guy – or, yoAmerican Airlines, Bozell-Jacobs-Kenyon-and-Eckhardt, Aadvantage, Lenier Temmerlin, Temmerlin-McClain,Bob Crandall, Bob Dole, DOT, Elizabeth Dole, Flights cancelled, Robert Crandall, Safety, Flying Trashcan, Patrick Scullin, Geof Kernu can be an absolute nobody if any of your famous stuff is over a year old. Whenever I have a spot on the air or an ad in a magazine I am always acutely aware of how people react to the work when they don't know I'm the creator. I watched a man on a plane once spend more than 30 seconds with one of my print ads and was positively thrilled. He actually read the copy! It's a little bit like being nearly famous because nobody really, outside the industry, except your wife and parents ever knows who makes this stuff. Ad people don't exactly get guest spots on Leno or Letterman – and Donnie Deutsch is too busy being famous himself to let anyone else in the business share his spotlight.

But this week, by shear force majur I received the chance to trot out one of my old ads, and regain just a nano-second of my 15 minutes of fame. This week, over "3000 American Airlines flights were cancelled" because the Airline had failed to conduct the necessary safety checks on electrical and other mechanical functions. The government put the hammer down and a lot of airlines, not just American, were levied some pretty hefty fines – yet American Airlines shares dropped by only 4%.

The ad you see below was created in 1987 (Oh dear, 21 years ago...) and run in everything from Time Magazine to the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune and all the major news dailies in Chicago, New York, L.A. and the country. It was part of a series highlighting airline safety at the encouragement – and I use that term humourously – of Elizabeth Dole, head of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and wife of Bob Dole, a former Senator and Presidential Candidate.

But the way things like this happen is almost as interesting as anything happening at at all.

In 1987, I work for Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt in Dallas, Texas and American Airlines is our client. Bob Crandall, then President and CEO of American, was known to be a hard charging, hard smoking and hard running CEO. He loved to smoke, but he loved to jog as well. He was a "bull by the horns" sort of guy and brought you things like the Hub and Spoke System and frequent flyer miles. Many say he single-handedly reinvigorated the industry during the Reagan, post deregulation environment.

One Sunday morning, Bob is up – at 5am – jogging when his phone rings. On the other end of the line is Elizabeth Dole, not exactly known for being a softie herself. "Bob", she says..."We've got a problem. Flights are late, the planes are dirty and people all over this country are complaining to the DOT about it. You've gotta tell me how we're gonna fix this". She went on to exAmerican Airlines, Bozell-Jacobs-Kenyon-and-Eckhardt, Aadvantage, Lenier Temmerlin, Temmerlin-McClain,Bob Crandall, Bob Dole, DOT, Elizabeth Dole, Flights cancelled, Robert Crandall, Safety, Flying Trashcan, Flying Trash Can, Patrick Scullin, Geof Kernplain that she had a bit of an idea herself and related to Mr. Crandall that the airlines themselves could figure out how to fix it or the government could send a few inspectors by to help.

The message could not have been more clear.The phrase, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help", continues to rumble the most hardened of business types and Crandall was no exception. Within minutes he was on the phone to Lenier Temerlin, our CEO. The job? Get him an advertising campaign he could take to Washington the next day to explain to Mrs. Dole how he was going to "fix" things. A multitude of phones began to ring and then, eventually, mine. By noon that Sunday, nearly the entire creative department of the agency was in a mass jam session to satisfy our boss, his boss, Bob Crandall and finally Elizabeth Dole. Only possibly because I created this particular ad, and a number of others in the series, I don't recall much of the other work produced for consideration that day – and I doubt Crandall does either.

The whole idea of telling an airline that they should run a picture of a flying trashcan with the words "plane is a mess" in the headline and their logo attached, isn't the kind of shiny, happy people holding hands stuff the airlines usually buy – but this one hit Crandall right where he lived. I remember his comments directly on the areas of industry leadership, honesty and taking the high ground and you've got to admit, it's ballsy stuff we made together – the logic being, if the cabin's not clean do you really want to look in the engine compartment? Seeing it double-spread in Time Magazine was pretty sweet.

My contributions here were the concept, visual and headline. Patrick Scullin was my co-creative director and Geof Kern the photographer – and yes, that's a photograph. Anyone who wants to know how and why we did it this way can email me with questions. Nearly 100 million dollars were spent running this campaign and within six months, with appropriate changes in daily operations, American held the top spot in the DOT's customer service rankings, which were published monthly in all the papers. Cheers, Mr. Crandall, wherever you are...

For more in the 'What Have I Done For You Lately Series' check here:

(I)WHIDFYL I: American Airlines
(II)WHIDFYL II: Nintendo
(III) WHIDFYL III: Charles & Ray Eames
(IV) WHIDFYL IV: Heartbeat Vietnam

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Letting go....

Il de wigee balock,com And all the arbeldee gook be thuy, Are the? WTF? Answers arebedoodlin by re Ajdavid-everitt-carlson,wildwildeastdailies, wild-wild-east, gibberishwishes,nday, Evervescebtarbitration of, Thurdsay, Twitter mybycrobloggingass, Gibberishwishesand.............................streamofsubconciousness...............................................................

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Art Walk - Perspective IV: The Little Things

Today is so right and so ready.

Did anyone die today? Did you make a million dollars? Was there a tsunami in your part of the world?


In truth, nothing happened today. And that's, oddly, where we all got it wrong. A whole lot happened today and maybe people were just too stoopid, dim or unaware to have seen any of it. It pisses me off. Because I saw a whole bunch, and I'm chirping mad to know why nobody else saw it. Here's the list:

A week's worth in one day: (Click on the pics to make them bigger)

In a previous post, I mentioned my insistence and pleasure in walking in Saigon. I know, it's farking nuts. Leave me alone. Today I walked home from a client and passed many of the shops that produce the kind of art you can buy at an art exhibit at the Holiday Inn in Bentonville, Arkansas - art for everything from trailer homes to McMansions. You know, copy Mona Lisas and the like. And honesBuckminster Fuller, DaVinci, Gapingvoid, Hugh MacLeod, Hungary, Keith Haring, Ralph Steadman, Russia, Southern Illinois University, Warhol, art, painting, news, opinion, vietnam, ho-chi-minh-city, saigon, colonialist-architecture, walk, Afghan-technology, the-little-things,hanoitly, some of them are quite nice. The Vietnamese, for the record, already got their colonialist lesson in how to paint in the style that the intruders liked - and they're absolutely crack at it. You can get your hands on a Warhol, DaVinci, Steadman (No shit...Fear and Loathing!) and anything else you like for maybe thirty bucks – better if you live here. So I know the routine on the locals pickin' off tourists to pay way-the-hell-more than they ought to for a damn nice copy.

My cost on a crack Patek Philippe watch is $14. Take it to your jeweler dude, and then give me shit. But back to the artist.

The walk I took is a mix of motorbike repair shops full of 60's Vespas, garbage Hondas and rubbish what-evers from Russia, Hungary, Korea and... art galleries. Go figure. I can aBuckminster Fuller, DaVinci, Gapingvoid, Hugh MacLeod, Hungary, Keith Haring, Ralph Steadman, Russia, Southern Illinois University, Warhol, art, painting, news, opinion, vietnam, ho-chi-minh-city, saigon, colonialist-architecture, walk, Afghan-technology, the-little-things,hanoilmost see the well-healed New Yorkers, Parisians and Abu Dabbers traipsing this odd turf in search of the next Keith Haring. Fat fucking chance. This bit of the Wild Wild East is mine and I'm the sheriff. That's why I get to walk home on this street – and do anything I fucking want.

So I hit the shop. Another shop – like any one would be any different from any other. There must be 1000 versions of a sultry Vietnamese farm woman, baring a bit of a breast, and pouring water from a jar with a forlorn look in her eye. Yeah, every rice farmer's got a copy of that one – right over the Harley in his garage – the only place his wife will let him keep it. C'mon ... Vietnamese don't buy this stuff.

But this artist must have known something – whatever gallery owners know when a prospective buyer walks in the door: "Is he newly divorced?", "Looking for something to match Buckminster Fuller, DaVinci, Gapingvoid, Hugh MacLeod, Hungary, Keith Haring, Ralph Steadman, Russia, Southern Illinois University, Warhol, art, painting, news, opinion, vietnam, ho-chi-minh-city, saigon, colonialist-architecture, walk, Afghan-technology, the-little-things,hanoithat Crate and Barrel sofa?" or "just another stiff off the boat? " Come in...

My guy doesn't go there at all. Instead, he walks me up to a painting that I don't like very much at all. It's an original of a butterfly hovering over a plant of some sort. Wretched. But I'm nice enough and have an art poker face that works in all the major markets – so he begins to explain the piece: The tuft of a willow sort of bit is an eyebrow. The butterfly, a Buckminster Fuller, DaVinci, Gapingvoid, Hugh MacLeod, Hungary, Keith Haring, Ralph Steadman, Russia, Southern Illinois University, Warhol, art, painting, news, opinion, vietnam, ho-chi-minh-city, saigon, colonialist-architecture, walk, Afghan-technology, the-little-things,hanoinose. Another bit of a flower, the lips and the stem of another unseen flower, the outline of a female face. It's an incredibly innocent concept, but one he presents to me as his own. His idea. And I am floored. The idea is to see the positive images in reverse and that will reveal the face he has really painted. It works.

But of all the guys, and dammit - white guys - that he sees in his joint everyday, did he decide to show me his "thinking" instead of his copies? I am in love.

And no, I will never buy this painting. But I'm in love with the idea that no matter what we have to do to pay the bills, that some of us will still gravitate to what lives deepest in our hearts our ideas. Because life goes on. Nothing really happens. Except when we think.


Do not come to Vietnam to walk. Not in the city at least. Like I said about the Afghan technology in their roads, it gets no better on the sidewalk. The sheer number of steel rods sticking out at inopportune times, shifts in pavement height and general disregard for anyone who walks is appalling. Got it?


The cacophony of houses in Saigon is absolutely artful. The minute you are charmed by a fadinBuckminster Fuller, DaVinci, Gapingvoid, Hugh MacLeod, Hungary, Keith Haring, Ralph Steadman, Russia, Southern Illinois University, Warhol, art, painting, news, opinion, vietnam, ho-chi-minh-city, saigon, colonialist-architecture, walk, Afghan-technology, the-little-things,hanoig French Colonial masterpiece, you'll be blown away by some new bit of urban blight that puts the term "McMansion" to shame. Shit, they don't even have McDonald's here so how the hell would they know? In any case, the dichotomy in urban housing is masterful. Mansions next to certified shotgun shacks and that's how it's going to stay. And all because of Ho Chi Minh.

With the communist takeover of the south in 1975 there shortly came a grand re-appropriation of real estate. The spoils of war. And those southerners who were rich and now Buckminster Fuller, DaVinci, Gapingvoid, Hugh MacLeod, Hungary, Keith Haring, Ralph Steadman, Russia, Southern Illinois University, Warhol, art, painting, news, opinion, vietnam, ho-chi-minh-city, saigon, colonialist-architecture, walk, Afghan-technology, the-little-things,hanoion the loosing side? Well, they became the famed boat people we had so artfully framed in the US as poor Vietnamese farmers who were driven out by the evil empire. And who were they really? Well, lawyers, doctors and other professionals who had had the misfortune of befriending America when we had pretty much abandoned ship here. You have no idea how much it cost to buy even the most unseaworthy of craft at that time. Farmers? Hardly.

I know. I was part of a church "big brother" program in college to help a Vietnamese family relocate to the US in 1975. My little brother was 28 and a former lawyer in Vietnam. I Buckminster Fuller, DaVinci, Gapingvoid, Hugh MacLeod, Hungary, Keith Haring, Ralph Steadman, Russia, Southern Illinois University, Warhol, art, painting, news, opinion, vietnam, ho-chi-minh-city, saigon, colonialist-architecture, walk, Afghan-technology, the-little-things,hanoiwas 19 and an art student. We had to teach the family how to use Levelor blinds and electric can openers but my brother, despite his lack of language skills, was determined to become a lawyer again. I'm sure he is today.

Yet, however horrendous the takeover – and yes, you can find plenty of unsavory stories on the internet, the dust settled and peace became – and the houses were reassigned. The little house you see today, next to a mansion, may have been that of a driver or mechanic of a victorious general. The driver still lives there. And somehow, that's all fair. Everybody gets along.


That means, "Would you like a ride on my motorbike?", the modern day Vietnamese equivalent of a taxi driver having his light on. I am accosted by this statement/question at least 20 times a day as I ply the city. My friend and I used to joke that the national slogan for Vietnam should be "Motobike, Marijuana, Boom-Boom!" Because that is precisely the order in which street hawkers will try to sell you the three things they think a foreigner is most ready to buy: Transportation, pot and sex. Why do I think they are more right than wrong?


He didn't mean to make art but he did. The man who will sell you a new muffler or tailpipe for your motorbike has a limited amount of street space – because his shop is in the back and the other vendors own squatting rights to the sidewalk in front of their TV repair joints, restaurants and other shops. So the muffler guy simply put all the mufflers and pipes he could fit into a shopping cart and wheeled it out next to the curb. Everybody knows what that means. It's a sign that says, quite clearly, "Muffler guy, here". Now, should you buy a muffler, that will change the art – a deceptively calculated part of the performance, I suspect.


You'd think the shit had already hit the fan in this place. Old Citroens, a few Mustangs and a mess of other stuff that is just what junkyards out to be. I fucking loved Buckminster Fuller, DaVinci, Gapingvoid, Hugh MacLeod, Hungary, Keith Haring, Ralph Steadman, Russia, Southern Illinois University, Warhol, art, painting, news, opinion, vietnam, ho-chi-minh-city, saigon, colonialist-architecture, walk, Afghan-technology, the-little-things,hanoithis place. And it was just down the street from what routinely sell as million dollar plus, 20 ft wide, three storey, street properties. Today, a fully functioning Komatsu tractor is raking the joint over. My junkyard is gone. I used to come here for meditation. To see the visions of the past that had now come to call this part of urbana their home. Shoot. Now I'll have to go to a park or church like other people. I won't like that near as much as I will miss this.

# 4,446,976

I slapped out at my friend Hugh MacLeod recently for wanking about his Technorati ranking. Gapingvoid.com is #409 and Hugh just signed a book deal with Penguin, the same people who published Seth Godin's "Purple Cow".

And then I found my ranking. It's like - a million-sumthin'.

Doesn't look immediately good. Until you realize that Technorati claims to rank over 112 Million websites – and that puts me well inside the top 5%. So " f " off, anyone who says I ain't shit. I'm in the top five percent of shit apparently.

On a sidebar, the website Wild Wild East, which is my book site and not the fun or active one, ranked in at # 2,910,025. That's top 3% and better. And that's a 75 + page site with no breaks and basically one post. Go figure.


Is blogging obsessive/compulsive? Are we all just digital wankers? Probably yes , but we're not even close to holding any records. That one, and one not likely to be eclipsed by any blogger, goes to R. Buckminster Fuller, creator of the geodesic dome, the Dymaxion car, the modern FIFA soccer ball and former Professor Emeritus at my alma mater. He is dubiously credited with having the most documented life in modern history – owing to his having kept a journal, to the minute, throughout his life.


See all that rubbish at the bottom of the post. Wanna "Digg" this or "Mixx" that? If anybody knows what the hell all of that is please feel free to click away and Digg, Mixx, or Spooge this article to your liking.


Buckminster Fuller, DaVinci, Gapingvoid, Hugh MacLeod, Hungary, Keith Haring, Ralph Steadman, Russia, Southern Illinois University, Warhol, art, painting, news, opinion, vietnam, ho-chi-minh-city, saigon, colonialist-architecture, walk, Afghan-technology, the-little-things,hanoiMy Brazil campaign is kicking butt and here's the map to prove it. Brazil loves me! Read the post and you'll get it. And all because I reached out to them. Brazil is now on the map but watch out – India is still the house favourite for a surge. Wait until I decide to go after Mongolia. Brutal is the only word I can think of.

DIRTY WORDS:See any lately? Around here they're becoming de rigeur – and I wonder, should I be concerned? A friend of mine was fired recently, from the most prestigious university in town for comments she made on her personal blog in relation to Vietnamese women. Let's just put it this way, think of all the words that equate with "money for sex" and that was the analogy she was making – probably not in a literal or truly antagonistic way but it didn't come out well for her. She was turned in by a fellow worker who took offense at her opinion.

So where does one draw the line? Do you stop at saying the "F" word or does it go further? Does it go to the heart of your matters? For me, I'm not going to get all motherly about the use of certain words but I will keep a mind about how and why I use such words – and the ideas they, combined with the clever crafting of other words around them, communicate the heart and spirit of ideas. In short, I may be terse, blunt, pointed and theatrically profane but I will not be a nasty bastard. No point.

TO SEE:One day, on the walk out of our office in Korea, I stopped to examine the bark on a tree. The molting of this particular tree bark created a three dimensional pattern that I had neverseen on a tree before. It was a big flowering Korean tree but I'll be damned if I can tell you what it was. Seeing me fascinated with the tree, my staff, Nam Mee-Hyun, remarked, "David, you're the only person I have ever seen pay any attention to that tree at all". And honestly, I didn't think twice about the attention I paid to trees, or old cars, or anything. It's simply the beauty of walking more than most. You see more than most. That tree, that day was at least worth this story.


Maybe the beauty of little things is you never really know what is little or what is big unless you look at the little. A lot. What's big is just so fucking obvious that we should really regard it all as an illusion. Texas. A Lincoln Navigator. The ocean. Maybe there's nothing there.

But there's a million little things – everyday. If we look.

Today, my friend just opened a si
to celebrate the life and little things of her son, Colin , who is no longer with us. Buckminster Fuller, DaVinci, Gapingvoid, Hugh MacLeod, Hungary, Keith Haring, Ralph Steadman, Russia, Southern Illinois University, Warhol, art, painting, news, opinion, vietnam, ho-chi-minh-city, saigon, colonialist-architecture, walk, Afghan-technology, the-little-things,hanoi

Today a million little things mean everything. They are simply, what happened.

Today is just so right and so ready.

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D a v i d E v e r i t t - C a r l s o n
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