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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

11 Money-Making Ideas for a Rainy Day

Marketing Mercenary Money-Making Ideas

Money-Making Ideas

In the context of yesterday’s storms and today’s rain, Marketing Mercenary suggests that you create an attention-getting promotion for you business today!
For example:

Rainy Day Specials

  • Banks offer a bonus service or gift for opening a savings account – today only!
  • Insurance agents offer a gift card or other incentive for purchasing home-owners insurance, or adding a flood insurance rider – today only!
  • Department Stores offer a deep discount on boots (you know, not the high-heel kind – the utility kind)
  • Realtors offer to help prospective client find a new home in a higher, drier area – OK, this may take longer than a day…
  • Remodeling Companies offer a discount on shower enclosures and installation. Get it?
  • Massage Therapists offer a discount to help alleviate the jangled nerves brought on by lightning and thunder and jumbled schedules. Offer discounts to FARMERS that are stressed out from waiting for the weather to clear – today only! Offer discounts to power company personnel that have worked overtime to help the public, clearing downed trees and power lines – OK, offer similar discounts all the time.

Clean-Up Specials

  • Grocery Stores offer discounts on paper towels, floor cleaner, Lysol, etc. – anything needed to clean up muddy and water-damaged areas – today only!
  • Car Washes or Detail Centers offer a two-for-the-price-of-one deal – today only!
  • Disaster Recovery providers – OK, you’re pretty well set. Just sponsor the local radio weather forecasts for the rest of the Spring and Summer.
  • Carpet Cleaning Services offer multi-room specials – through the weekend only!
  • Landscaping companies offer clean-up specials, to remove debris from flower beds and other areas – through the weekend only! (You won’t be doing any mowing for a few days, anyway.)

I hope this got you thinking how you can help folks out, have a little fun, AND bring attention and revenue to your business in a good way. Be safe!

For help with any of these ideas, or with developing unique marketing tools and strategies for your business, contact the Marketing Mercenary!

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,”

Loveless Root at The Social

A little rock, a little blues, a little rootsy, a lot of fun. Loveless Root continues to refine their sound. They opened for Midwest Hype and Twin Cats Friday night at The Social in Kokomo.

Loveless Root

(SEE BELOW FOR PHOTO GALLERY)

Josh Mast, has been with the group full-time for a while now, according to bassist Jesse Bieber. His contributions, both on vocals and guitar, are complementary to Roderick Allen Minch’s more laid-back style.

Bieber also gave props to Eddie Roodvoets, listed on the Loveless Root Facebook page as the guy playing “Alternative Percussion.” If you don’t know how much a percussionist can add to the overall sound of a group, please check out Loveless Root. You can also see Brian Pavey in InsideOut, a local cover band that have previously written about.

Chris Kremer’s sax also helps to gives Loveless Root a full, rich sound not found in most bands you hear in a bar. All three bands at The Social that night have a sax player in the line-up, so the audience got an uncommon treat in my experience.

I have to mention drummer Joey Ray Wills as well. And not because I talked about everyone else. Because he’s the kind of purposeful drummer that puts a solid foundation under the whole performance, even with a couple of tricky timing changes. Thanks for sweating so we could all have a fun evening!

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Great chance to hear original, live music

My friend, Jesse Bieber, has a burning passion for original music. He loves to listen, he loves to perform, he loves to connect with other bands, and even help them find gigs together or alone. In other words, he lives music. I’ve written about hearing his band once before…

Loveless Root at the Mouse Trap

Loveless Root at the Mousetrap

But this article isn’t about Jesse. It’s about the fact that you can hear his band, Loveless Root, tonight at The Social in Kokomo, at 10 p.m.  AND, you will hear two more regional band that Jesse won’t stop raving about: Midwest Hype and Twin Cats.

I have not had the privilege of seeing Twin Cats or Midwest Hype live, yet, so I want you to realize that this is at your own risk. You can get a taste of some of their original tunes from these and other videos on YouTube and the Mousetrap website.

Loveless Root – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzgf5mo9bzo (Some great drumming in this clip!) (UPDATE: This link actually works now.)

Midwest Hype – Something Beautiful – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYneQTTu8Kg

Twin Cats – King Cobra – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY0oZ5RuOFE

The show will go on until 3 a.m., and it promises variety and creativity that will chase away any Winter “blues!”

The event invitation page on Facebook has all the details (via The Social). Click “I’m attending,” and have a blast tonight! The cover is only $5.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/event.php?eid=143850198996676

(Credit for the photo above goes to HiddenRelic.net)

Small Business Spotlight – Comics Cubed OPEN HOUSE

I remember how much fun I had as a kid, growing up in rural Indiana, as I read Fantastic Four, Batman, Green Lantern and Green Arrow comics, to name a few. Local business owner Shawn Hilton is helping us stay in touch with the kid in all of us – he’s opened Comics Cubed in downtown Kokomo a few weeks back, and today is their “Pre-Black Friday Open House!”

If you love comics, check it out. If someone you love loves comics, don’t miss this! The Facebook page will show specials throughout the day (click here): http://on.fb.me/9aht3m

But it’s not just for the “graphic novel” fan. According to the “Comics Cubed in Kokomo” Facebook page, there’s more:

Always interested in selling, buying, trading all things comics, toys, games, and pop culture related.

Owner Shawn Hilton formerly managed Kokomo Comics on 17th Street, and is excited for the chance to grab his share of the American Dream in private business ownership. Hilton has  extensive resources for finding and obtaining the popular or obscure.  This holiday season – TODAY – visit Comics Cubed to find the comics/toys/pop culture items for which you’ve been wishing! 121 East Sycamore in Kokomo is the address.

Note to Parents: I was concerned about the content of some of the comics, with racy images on the covers. The Comics Cubed website contains convenient links to  previews and synopses of many of the comics offered. If you’re unsure, take a look at http://www.comicscubed.com/, and click on the cover of interest.

InsideOut That Night

InsideOut at Mulligans

It had been a couple of months since I had the pleasure to experience InsideOut. The evening they played to a packed house at Mulligans in Kokomo on 11-06-2010 was a pleasant surprise. They’ve got a little tighter, and, at the same time, more relaxed with their time together. In case you’ve not yet seen InsideOut live, they play a number of great rock classics that few cover bands play, with a few “bar band” standards, and a dose of new hits. And they play it all with a commitment to entertain.

We’re right “in between” that show and their next local gig, which will be December 4, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Tom Thumb. You can see their schedule for the next several weeks on their Facebook page. I’ve brought out a few of the photos I shot on what will be remembered as “that night at Mulligans.” Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome InsideOut! (Click “Read More”  to see the gallery.)

Continue Reading >>

How to be the favorite brother/sister/boss/grandma

I finally got downtown to 107 E. Sycamore to visit the new Sweet Poppin’s location. Owner Tashia Johnson-St. Claire welcomed me by showing me the big, new menu board. (I asked her to ham it up a little.)

Tashia is excited that she now has a special copy of  the menu prepared in Braille and in large, easy-to-read type for the blind and low-vision customers.

There’s also a list of great, new flavors that I encourage you to try:

Amaretto, Mocha, French Vanilla, Caramel Latte, Hazelnut, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Chocolate Raspberry, Cinnamon Red Hots, and Pumpkin Spice! I tried Bailey’s Irish Cream flavor while I was there, and it was very tasty. (I gotta add here that Sweet Poppin’s Caramel is the best caramel popcorn I’ve ever had!)

You don’t need me to tell you everything that’s going on with Sweet Poppin’s. You just need to follow Tashia’s business updates  by clicking this link and going to Sweet Poppin’s on Facebook. She continually inspires me by giving all credit for her business success to God. Way to go, Tashia!

Even though Facebook is the best way to follow Tashia’s progress, I will mention that SP has a lot of price-points and packaging options (check out that menu board) for your own enjoyment, personal gifts or business rewards for your customers!

The biggest selection is available at the store, but you can also shop on-line at SweetPoppins.com. Don’t wait to visit the “real” or on-line store…the holidays will be upon us in just a few weeks, and you want to be the favorite brother/sister/dad/aunt/boss/grandma this holiday season, don’t you? Get going!