Archives for : entertainment

Local Fireworks Displays for 2012

Fireworks from Tipton, IN 2011

Fireworks from the 2011 Tipton, Indiana display

I’ve been doing a some quick research on local fireworks displays for today, July 4th, 2012.

From the chairperson for Walton‘s annual display:

Just so everyone knows………WALTON will have their Fireworks on July 4th. Festivities include Parade at 2pm, Booths DT Walton open at 11am, 4pm Car Show registration at Vol. Fire Dept, Fish Fry at Vol. Fire Dept. & Fireworks at Dusk. Hope to see everyone here!

Sounds like a great time in Walton tonight!

I was told recently by one of the Greentown Lions Club members that they will be having their annual fireworks display at the Howard County Fairgrounds tonight at dusk.  I’m trying to get a confirmation directly from the Lions Club, and any additional information. I’ll update this post when appropriate.

Fireworks are also banned inside the city limits of Kokomo, but the rest of Howard County may use consumer fireworks.

Miami County is still under a fireworks ban at the present time. According to WISH-TV, Peru, Indiana’s display has been postponed until Labor Day.

Tipton’s annual display has been cancelled, also according to WISH-TV in Indianapolis. has a lengthy list of Indiana towns and counties that have announced their plans to cancel or continue. It can be found here.

Be safe, and enjoy your Independence Day celebration!



Not a Reset – A Resolution and Declaration

Back on May 22, I started a 30-day writing exercise. Today, I declare it:

I am a writer.

Great Writers DeclarationWhen I started the 30 days, I described it by saying I was working on improving my writing. This is still absolutely true. But today, I’m no longer calling it an exercise. It’s what I believe I am.

Professionally, I have always been dedicated to communication with various media. All of those media embody writing as their core strength, except for photography. But even my photography is typically part of a larger message that depends very much on strong writing to be successful.

So, up there in the title, I call today’s message a resolution. It’s not a New-Years-resolution resolution. I am resolving the contradiction between writing for other activities and being a writer.

I am also a photographer, video producer, and virtual tour expert. But those titles describe activities. “Writer” describes, I believe more accurately, the calling of a person to be an artist, using words to craft his or her message.

Integrity (and attention to detail) forces me to also note the following: In this 15-day challenge, I will be participating in “15 Habits of Great Writers,” as defined and coached by Jeff Goins. At the conclusion of it, I will determine whether or not to complete the earlier 30-day commitment. I have a feeling it will be an unnecessary formality, but we’ll see.

If you want to join me, it’s not too late. See for the details.

When I started the 30 day exercise, I thanked Erik Deckers and Jeff Goins. Today is different. I thank my sister, Wendy Hoopengarder, for insisting for years that I was already a writer. Thanks, Sis. I guess you were right.


Facebook Users: Time to Shop for a New Pen?

Keep using Facebook, or go shopping for something new?Facebook is your old, favorite pen. You’ve been using it for years. It’s always at your disposal. You’ve been trying to ignore this fact, but increasingly…

Your dear old pen starts to skip. It doesn’t write perfectly when you try to use it. You shake it down, trying to get the ink to flow like it used to. It works again, for now. You keep doing this because you can’t find ink refills for it.

The part of this analogy that’s the most useful for us all is right here: When you have an old, favorite pen, you keep trying to use it while it’s clunky and unreliable – it’s getting in the way of what you really want to do. So, you fail to do what you really should do – look for something else that will work better….

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Marketing Mishaps #1 – Pride and Value

Pay attention to the marketing of others. Learn from their mistakes.
Number One of Two

I was in a coffee shop recently. I realize that’s like saying “I’m still alive,” but just bear with me.

marketing-fail1The shop had a number of beautifully mounted and framed articles from local papers, photos of sports sponsorships, and even an award for “Best Coffee Shop.” from a recent year. These were presented neatly and attractively near an entrance. GREAT. The problem was that they had positioned their news rack right in front of it. The news rack covered over half the display. What’s more, the rack made it necessary to stand back a bit to read the tiny newsprint on some of the articles.

The popular term for this is FAIL.

It’s a great shop, with friendly, helpful people, and delicious products. I’m a fan.

But I counted five (5) other places that the rack, or at least the magazines and newspapers, could have been placed.

Instead, they wrecked an opportunity to make additional “impressions” on some of their clients, new and established.

To their credit, they took care of the situation immediately when I mentioned the problem. And, I thank them for giving me permission to use the photographs and story as a brief “case study” in my blog…

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Top 4 Things You Might Read Here

Ja, det er jo ikke det værste sted at holde pa...

More content is coming soon, that fits one or more of the following categories:

  • fun
  • useful
  • inspiring
  • ridiculous

I just want you to know that I haven’t quit on my blog. I’ve been mighty busy with numerous projects (grateful to God for that), but haven’t spent any of my free time right here. Feel free to post any comment you like. (Please keep it clean.) Thanks for reading! –JR

2011 Fireworks Displays for the Kokomo Area – UPDATED

Tipton Indiana Fireworks

Tipton Indiana Fireworks

Our local paper, the Kokomo Tribune, posted the following times for area fireworks displays yet to happen for the 2011 Independence Day holiday. They are accurate in that I could not find any up-to-date sources that contradicted them, except for the Kokomo Tribune itself. I was able to confirm most of these dates via other sources. UPDATE: Kokomo fireworks were postponed due to weather. Please see red text below.

  • Peru – At dusk Sunday at the town park

  • Burlington – At dusk Sunday at Burlington Park

  • Greentown – At dusk Monday at the Howard County fairgrounds.

  • Tipton – 10:10 p.m. Sunday at Tipton County Fairgrounds.

  • Walton – Monday at dusk, Walton town park.

  • Kokomo – Friday, July 8, 10 PM at Foster Park

It’s our family tradition to enjoy the Tipton County fireworks. The Tipton display will reportedly add a substantial 35% more fireworks to their 20-minute “sky concert” display. Music is provided on the FM country station, WWKI.

Enjoy yourself, and BE SAFE! –JR

MMMM Food For Thought – Making Music

MMMM Food For Thought - Making Music

Food For Thought

It’s Marketing Mercenary’s Monday Morning, and here’s what I’m chewing on.

I recently watched an on-line video featuring a musician I know. He was playing  a gig in a small club, and it was a style of music I had not heard him play before. It was brilliant.

It got me thinking about a musician’s life. Until they’re superstars, wouldn’t most musicians have to try to find constant work (gigs), in order to make a living?

Forgive me for looking at this topic in a “perfect world” manner…I know about the possibility (or certainty) of rejection…not everyone will love your music. But music is a thing that brings joy to the giver and the receptive listener.  Ideally, making a living making music could be a thing that results in a lot of happiness.

What part of your job or vocation could be like making music? Is there some activity that brings you joy every time you do it? For me, it’s video production. I’m very good at it. I enjoy it. My clients for video production give me great feedback. I’m happy to say that video production is growing in my product mix – I’m serving more video production clients. (This is not a commercial, just my example.)

If it turns out well, and it makes others happy, or helps them in some way… shouldn’t  you do more of that?

This week, make more music. ROCK ON, my friends!

Productivity Getting In The Way

Cubs Game Interrupts Productivity Interrupts Cubs Game

Cubs Game Interrupts Productivity Interrupts Cubs Game

Actually, it’s the Chicago Cubs game. I’ve started on my Saturday errands and work around the house. BUT the Cubs game starts in just a little while, and I’ve got a lot to do yet. A list of personal and professional tasks await.

I hate when that happens. Well, I’ll just have to be productive for a few more minutes, and see what the day brings. GO CUBS GO! Have a great Saturday.

(BTW, that’s my photo, not some “Google Images” download.)

Michael Kelsey Performs in Kokomo – Photo Gallery

Michael Kelsey performs in Kokomo

Michael Kelsey at Oakbrook Church

Around 300 folks gathered at Oakbrook Church Friday night. Three aspects made this an usual group to attend a concert by a solo guitar player and singer:

The age group – from under 7 years old, all the way up to the senior years.

The broad response – everyone I could see was enthralled, from the kids’ participation, to the whoops of enjoyment from an older fellow sitting near me.

The dedication – it was my first time for this artist, and I was strongly in the minority.

I’m going to cut to the chase here – I was impressed, enraptured, overjoyed, and will definitely see him again.

You might have guessed that, from the number of photos, or just from the fact that I’m writing about Kelsey’s show. I might be just trying to avoid the part of this review that will prove the most difficult: describing Kelsey’s performance.

His only instruments were his acoustic guitar and voice. To be truthful, he occasionally used an electronic drum pad as well. He also employed a number of electronic gizmos that “looped” the percussive sounds, music, and acoustic textures, and provided reverb, echo, and other effects. But this was not a celebration of technology. Far from it.

He built and morphed and evolved layers and beats and his voice in an extremely organic and acoustic-sounding stew…yes, it seemed more like cooking…or did it? Perhaps I could describe it as a tapestry that doesn’t reveal it’s pattern until it’s finished. No, still not right. I think the musical experience was more like a kinetic sand painting, where the artist develops one image seemingly from nowhere, then uses parts of that image to make the next image in a story he develops as it moves and grows. *Whew!*

But wait – the show was not just sonic textures and rhythms. Sometimes, Kelsey crafted a rhythm section out of vocal samples, thumps and notes on his guitar, and used it as accompaniment. In other segments, he built an orchestra that swirled and danced with his arms, head and legs – he was physically involved in every way – to tell a sound story that he used to touch the minds and hearts of his audience.

After opening with a sensitive cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” his song selection was mostly original. Other compelling covers were “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” All though these songs were extremely good, his original material was most gratifying. My personal favorite was “Bus Driver,”

Priceless Preservation

Precious Memories

Memories are some of our most valuable possessions. Weddings, holidays, family vacations, reunions, birthdays, and many other special occasions are exactly that – special. Sometimes, we are fortunate enough to record these events and other great moments in our lives. And those recordings can be – as the popular MasterCard commercials would say – priceless.

VHS Tape Label

Our memories can last forever, but not on VHS!

“Uh oh,” you might be thinking. “This sounds like a sales pitch.” I guess I would be guilty as charged. After all, I used “the P word.” But I hope you’ll indulge me for a few moments. I’ll warn you, this is a 3-page article – pretty long by Internet standards. However, the  coming paragraphs could save some of your priceless memories from decay and destruction.

Decay and destruction?

The recommendation for long-term storage of VHS tapes is a maximum of 50% humidity and 70° Fahrenheit. Most folks store their VHS tape collection in the basement (higher humidity) or the attic (huge fluctuation in temperature). Even under archival conditions (25% humidity, 40° F), VHS tapes will last about 15 years before they begin to suffer serious degradation.

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