Helping You Be Contemporary in a Traditional Way

As previously explained, we had been absent from these parts for an extended period tied to the passing of my Mom on May 5, 2017. The days and months preceding and after that day were not conducive to sharing the offbeat we offer. During these serious and challenging times, it did not seem appropriate to […]

Like me, New York Times columnist David Brooks recently saw the new documentary about Fred Rogers, “Won’t you Be My Neighbor”. And like me and so many others, he was moved. The movie, as Brooks summarized it, demonstrates how Rogers’s children’s show got started and how he used it over 30 years to teach and […]

We recently shared with you some words and thoughts about Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America, by James and Deborah Fallows. It chronicles their trips to 49 communities around America over a 4 year time period. They stopped at places large (Pittsburgh, Louisville, Fresno ) and small (Eastport, Maine; Ajo, […]

We’ve been at this for a while now – chronicling the offbeat off the beaten path, overlooked and forgotten. We have gone from sharing places with you to helping empower individuals, communities and those who support smart (community) narratives – i.e. our Journeys into Hidden America (Canada). The trek has been an uneven one – […]

It’s late Summer soon to be Fall – time to hit the road and explore. When heading on a journey of exploration in places previously unknown, I especially enjoy the opportunity to try get acquainted with my new surroundings and get a feeling for what makes a place distinctive. For me it all starts with […]

One of the great success stories of the last few years has been the High Line, the re-vitilization of an old train line running through the west side of Manhattan. Once an abandoned rusting track bed covered with weeds, the High Line offers lessons of vision and persistence. It is a remarkable story that has […]

With the first of this year’s Presidential debates about to take place tonight, we are reading of what journalists, pundits and just plain folks like you and me are hoping to see and hear. Without getting into the candidates , their manner and the issues they stress (because we do not do that here), we […]

Once upon a time, before the G.P.S., folks used maps to guide their travels. Among the “full service” provided by service stations was the availability of road maps. Those maps laid out state and primary roads (before the interstates). But they shed little light on what was at a locale or along the way. More […]

Helpful tips so you won’t feel you’ved missed anything, courtesy of Texas Escapes Magazine ( “These suggestions are for the layperson, historical tourist, curious traveler, or anyone who enjoys the quiet and understated thrills of small town exploration”. This article was first published on

In recent postings we have spoken of James Fallow’s wonderful essay in the current issue of The Atlantic. Entitled “Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed”, it is a summation of James and Deb Fallows’s 54,000-mile journey around America in a single-engine plane. The article appears in the March print edition alongside the cover story, “Can […]

In recent postings we have spoken of James Fallow’s wonderful essay in the current issue of The Atlantic. Entitled “Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed”, it is a summation of James and Deb Fallows’s 54,000-mile journey around America in a single-engine plane. The article appears in the March print edition alongside the cover story, “Can […]

Here is a wonderful essay, Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed, by the incomparable James Fallows. It is a summation of James and Deb Fallows’s 54,000-mile journey around America in a single-engine plane. The article appears in the March print edition alongside the cover story, “Can America Put Itself Back Together?” In it he described […]

We are now posting on the topic “Getting to Your Smart Narrative & Beyond”. Soon we will be heading into the “Beyond” part in a series entitled “Turning Your Smart Narrative into a Journey”. There’s lots of territory to be covered. we look forward to journeying with you. Stay tuned. This article was first published […]

You have stories in your very own midst that are ready to be transformed into smart narratives – meaning stories of authenticity and community that if turned into smart narratives can mean dollars saved and/or new dollars earned. “Authenticity” is a popular word and notion these days. From politics to marketing and everything in between. […]

It is always rewarding to travel – especially because you never know what lessons will be learned and what will serve as a teacher. I recently traveled to Washington, D.C.. Actually, I got no closer than suburban Maryland. It was a quick overnight visit and I wanted to stay somewhere convenient to my event. Turned […]

Finally, the votes are about to be cast in Iowa. All eyes are turned to see what will actually happen. But not many will look beyond the candidates and the caucus sites. In a great feature, Masuma Ahuja of shared with us the work of Cody Weber and Kat Kanan’s website Forgotten Iowa. Ahuja […]

“Main Street is the glory of Canada. If a community has no heart, it has no soul; and its heart should beat faster at the core. For here is the glory of the past, the symbol of stability, the structures that our fathers and their fathers erected, the visual reminder of another time that gives […]

In our last post we remembered Lois Weisberg, who recently died at age 90. She did remarkable work in Chicago helping to create and nuture events, instiutions and relationships. Her works had a profound impact on the Windy City – improving its quality of life (Chicago Blues Festival) and its revenues from the influx of […]

I had never heard of Lois Weisberg until I read her obituary. But it turns out that she was a mentor of sorts for me. She did what I advocate – though our neighborhoods and audiences are very different. A New York Times obituary reports that “A diminutive, energetically sociable woman with seemingly indiscriminate curiosity, […]

NFL Football is on the TV. The score is 31-0 and it is not even halftime. So I have gone to multi-tasking – going through old newspapers while listening to the game. In doing so, I came across an interesting article from last Summer. It’s an opinion piece headlined “We Need Optimists”. In it Arthur […]

Helping you be contemporary in a traditional way. That is our tag line to help businesses, organizations, associations, and individuals make the most of themsleves. We often speak about what we refer to a “traditional way”. In this posting we would like to tap into the contemporary aspect. Eli Amdur has been a friend and […]

My Mom is in her Nineties. She is doing remarkably well for someone her age. She no longer drives, but she still mangaes to enjoy life in her way – and in a contemporary fashion. For example, she recently called to my attention a newspaper article authored by Seth Siegel about his still changing career. […]

Do you think history is boring ? Well, you have not met Lynne Sturtevant, author, a speaker, an entrepreneur and a travel pro. She and the services she provides are anything but boring. They are living proof that the stories of our past, if presented in the right way, can be enlightening, entrertaining and revenue […]

Last time we spoke of the prevalence of disengagement, disconnection, dissatisfaction and disaffection in our world today – how many feel disappointed with and apart from institutions have either turned their back or been inattentive. We also hinted that a change is afoot, at least according to Dov Seidman whose views we respect. It seems […]

There’s nothing like a presidential primary season to send media types racing all over the country. As the whistle stops and stump speeches and straw polls and caucuses continue, we hear about all sorts of out-of-the way places that most of us wouldn’t know about if a presidential candidate didn’t stop there. A side-effect of […]

I offer expertise (through strategizing, facilitation and consulting services) – helping people, businesses and communities “be contemporary in a traditional way” – tapping into the benefit of 40 years’ experience in media, marketing, community, collaborative problem solving, storytelling (“smart narrative making”), and related legal issues so that they can identify, leverage and monetize what makes […]

Forest Gump’s Mama once taught him that life was like a box of chocolates (“You Never Know What You Gonna Get”). We have been thinking of that box of chocolates too, but in a bit of a different way. In this age in which we are all brands (whether we are individuals, businesses, organizations or […]

Have you ever found someone’s valuable and helped them reunite with it? Similarly, have you ever had someone please you by locating and reuniting you with a valuable you had feared lost ? Well, I’m here to tell you that there are valuables just lying there, and they are valuables, if attending to in a […]

Never paid much attention to the television show “Antiques Roadshow”, but I have recently found myself intrigued by the program and its basic premise. In a Public Television version of “reality TV”, folks bring in their stuff (often heirlooms and antiques) hoping to learn how much these items might be worth. In the process, the […]

As mentioned in an earlier posting, our start in these present endeavors was inspired by the late Charles Kuralt. His words and explorations (as well as those of Garrison Keillor) have guided me for over 30 years. I too Like him, I too went ahead and have come to know the way. These words and […]

Frustrated by the notion of fighting traffic and crowds at the Mall ? You know there is another way (in addition to online shopping). Here is a classic shot from Iowa to remind us what it used to be like. Photo Credit: Muscatine Journal This article was first published on

Smart services and strategies for individuals, businesses, travel & lesiure industries, media and communities. “Helping you make the most of what you are and what matters to you”. This article was first published on

“Come along. Come and see. There are sites in this country and people in this country to vanish any gloom you ever may feel, and to fill you instead with wonder. Every road is as good as a promise and the promises all will be kept. And do not worry about getting lost. I have […]

Geico: The gecko, Maxwell the Pig, Dikemebe Mutombo, Ovie…Run simultaneously, selecting a different platform for each, and only using the one that gets the strongest response as s eed for a television ad….Frequency, Quality of content, Level. of ingenuity Native Content: Amps up story’s power – drafted to mimic everything that makes a platform attractive […]

With thanks to a dear friend (not just for this item but for your friendship), here is the elevator pitch they have forever been seeking. It was actually written a while back, but it was not until this infinitely patient and compassionate friend saw it in a recent post that we were together identify it […]

We do not generally write of world events here. We will not now either. But a couple of references in articles dealing with recent events in Paris did strike us for their applicability beyond these current events. A newspaper columnist in addressing the issue of “A religious answer to religious extremism (Looking at the texts)”, […]

In a world short of positive role models, there are still heroes in our midst. Local heroes may be found in many shapes and forms. There is, of course, the war veteran who may live next door; the Eagle Scout down the street or the neighbor on the look for the well-being of an elderly […]

My website does not have a “Frequently Asked Questions” section. If it did (and perhaps it might be a good idea to do so), the first question listed would be, and “Just what is it that you do do”? But I’m not sure there would be enough space to fairly and simply address that question. […]

Now the thoughtful answer this question, with a big thanks to my youngest daughter for her role in helping to make this answer possible. But first, some background. It has been years and years and years that I have worked at answering this question in a smooth, comfortable fashion. I clearly know what I was […]

The corner of Hollywood and Vine is an intersection in Los Angeles – Hollywood to be exact. But it is also a state of mind – a place where dreams are pursued, often by many trying to place themselves at the right place at the right time. Most frequently it was considered a good career […]

As mentioned in a prior posting, social media is a new frontier for me. As with anything new, it is exciting to be able to make acquaintances and friends with those that I would not otherwise be able connect. At the same time, it is also a time not without some trepidation. This whole thing […]

An initiative to help preserve longtime San Francisco businesses through financial incentives was approved by voters Tuesday.With all precincts counted, in addition to most mailed votes, Proposition J won 57 percent to 43 percent.The Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund, crafted by the preservation group San Francisco Heritage, offers landlords a financial incentive to retain qualified […]

In South Toward Home: Travels in Southern Literature, Margaret Eby visits to the hometowns and haunts of 10 favorite authors – including Faulkner, Welty, O’Connor and Wright. In making this journey, Eby premises it on the relationship between the region and its literature. “There is no popular category known as Northern literature’, she stresses. More, […]

We prefer Main Streets to Malls. Walkable sidewalk communtities to endless sterile parking lots on on what were once farms, fields or forests. So, in the days ahead we wil be talking and sharing about Main Strett, Elm Street and Oak Street. And, about community. For now we start with this statement from the folks […]

  <a href=””>Matt Flanders puts a different take on the role of festivals in a piece for the University of Sheffield’s Crick Centre blog.Entitled “DYI: Festivals, Parks and Fun”, he writes:</a> Wimbledon has started, the barbeques have been dusted off, the sun is shining and all our newly elected MPs will soon be leaving Westminster […]

Notions of Main Street, the American Road, and hometown neighborhoods have long had a powerful hold on our notions of self. It was still only recently that Main Street became a powerful symbol to us all – a counterpoint to the excesses on Wall Street. Unlike the symbol of capitalism in New York’s financial district, […]

As we journey together, the journeys are multi-faceted. There is a physical journey – such as a Journey into Hidden America or Canada. But there is an emotional aspect at well. We not only go to places beyond the interstate (whether Main Street or “off the beaten path”) to chronicle interesting activities, places and individuals […]

Savannah, Georgia is on of th prettiest places you’ll ever find. The oldest city in Georgia, it was established in 1733. It boasts a charming downtown area that includes the Savannah Historic District, the Savannah Victorian Historic District, and 22 park like squares, making it one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the […]

“Helping You Be Contemporary in Traditional Way” is a tagline we have developed to describe what we do. It took some thought to get there. I had found that some had thought of our “Journeys Into” explorations of the offbeat, off the beaten path, overlooked and forgotten” as just another look at nostalgia (A sentimental […]

…It’s the Superman Celebration, the 37th annual edition, taking place this weekend in Metropolis, Illinois. This weekend a town of fewer than 7000 people becomes more of a metropolis as some 30,000 visitors from around the nation, and around the world come to visit. Of course, Superman will be there to visit with those fans […]

Perhaps it’s inevitable, a sign of “progress and change”, but we read this morning with disappointment of a report that Canadian towns could see a number of bank branch closures as customers shift away from entering local branches for everyday banking. “As all the banks look at their retail banking footprint in small town Canada, […]

“After a struggle of a season, filled with slumps, spurts and injuries, the Cavaliers enter the finals with a city’s hopes on their shoulders”.An interesting New York Times essay, about basketball, about Cleveland, and about a local’s sense of his hometown.The essayis, John Hyduk, was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2012, and […]

At first glance, they are both admirable goals and non-exclusive of one another. But the Côte-des-Neiges Rd. business section in Montreal finds itself in debate. At the calling of some store owners and residents who have complained for years about a proliferation of signs they describe as either cheap, rundown or distasteful, Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is proposing […]

The old Yankee Stadium and the Montreal Forum were called “Cathedrals” for their respective sports. But a former house of worship in South Bend, Indiana puts the whole relationship between religion and sport in a different context. The New York Times reports on the community’s oldest synagogue building that not too long ago underwent a […]

The study is no longer new (2013) but the principle is still an important that either guides or should.A survey at the time by the Tourism Marketing Council (TMC) showed that about 60 percent of U.S. travelers say they are likely to take a cultural/heritage trip – up from 51 percent in 2009.The survey confirms […]

The Preakness Stakes was an exciting one as American Pharaoh won the horse race notwithstanding a muddy track in the midst of a thunderstorm, setting up a real possibility of a Triple Crown win. There was news off the track as well. The head of the Maryland Jockey Club revealed that the Preakness could leave […]

Many of Montreal’s downtown landmarks can boast of historical or architectural significance. But while thousands of people pass these buildings every day — or even work in them — few are aware of their role in the city’s development. Heritage Montreal is hoping to change that with At the Heart of the City, a series […]

When David Letterman signs off later this month he will also be leaving a neighborhood that he helped sustain. Now the neighborhood is a very different one than the one that existed when Letterman moved into the Ed Sullivan Theater. The show brought a new buzz and vitality to the neighborhood, improving the business environment, […]

To some Walmart has long represented a challenge to Main Streets and downtowns. Many have thought that Walmart has been one of those who have drawn shoppers away from the traditional core to sprawl outside. These days Walmart is being connected with and being congratulated for its role in a successful downtown story. That story […]