I write a lot about romance. I love love. I love romance. I also love, “Love your neighbor.”

Some of you are nodding your head. Good. Keep working on it.

Some of you are saying, “I do it, but those guys sure don’t.” That might be true. Keep doing your part.

Some of you put love in a box and say, “I love my neighbor. I just don’t love people who hate other people.” It is easy to love nice people, isn’t it? Loving those who do horrible thing isn’t easy.

You’ll get there.

Baristas and Bartenders

A good barista is like a good barkeep. Keep the drinks and conversation coming. As it with good business: Avoid the nonsense, and be real. Communicate well. Enjoy what you do. Listen. No false claims about what coffee can do (it won’t help me lose weight, grow taller, or make me a better lover). Be congenial and know when to shift gears. Understand the business arrangement doesn’t limit courtesy and kindness.

And… hey, why aren’t you pouring? I said keep the drinks coming.

Coffee stuff.

Personal Branding Needs More Personality, More Truth

Personal branding needs more personality, and with that, more authenticity. I’ve been exploring many social media influencers lately, and I’m disappointed. So many of them are cute 20-somethings or upscale moms. The same smiles. The same figures. The same personality. Did they fit the mold or did the mold fit them? I don’t know. 

There’s a complex ethic involved with this, beyond the sameness. This isn’t comprehensively true, but my point is to emphasize that character development is important, and that the character need to be authentic. This is distinguished from characters in commercials who are more like actors in a play.

Read the rest on LinkedIn.

Brockeim Power Review Power Show Shortlisted for Clio

Clio Awards logo

Brockeim Power Review Power Show receives a shortlist award from Clio. I’m proud of it, and look forward to the next adventure.

A Clio. Advertisers want to win these. Did I win? No. A shortlist award, as I understand, is like an honorable mention. Pretty impressive when I see the competition is incredible.

Did I (as in me) win? That’s complicated. You’ll see below a list of people who made the commercials happen. I wasn’t alone. In fact, I had the fun part. They did all the difficult production and marketing work. There were others not listed here as well.

But… whose name is all over the ad? That’s all I’m saying’, knowhatimsayin’?

You can see the Ziploc brand commercials here.

Agency Network              BBDO

Entrant Company           Energy BBDO

Marketing Company      United Entertainment Group (UEG)

Media Agency   PHD

Production Company (additional)            Flare

Chief Creative Officer     Andrés Ordóñez

Executive Creative Director         Vince Cook

Creative Director             Meg Farquhar

Executive Producer         Matt Scoville

Producer            Sarah James

Client Service Director   Kevin Bogusz

Account Supervisor        Sam Padilla

Executive Creative Director         Michael Nuzzo

Rights & Partnership      Morgan Lathrop

Client Management       Tim Shaw

Client Management Coordinator             Sara Yocum

Associate Director          Jess Rosul

Supervisor         Luke Fowler

Director              Rob Cohen

Executive Producer         Mitch Monzon

Editor   Casey Cobler

Sound Engineer Katy Mindeman

Producer            Jenny McDonald

Clio Awards
The Clio Awards is the premier international awards competition for the creative business. Founded in 1959 to celebrate creative excellence in advertising, the Clio Awards today honors the work and talent that pushes boundaries, permeates pop culture and establishes a new precedent around the globe.

I’d love to help you get your brand out there. Let’s talk.

Seeing Beauty; Seeing Hope

I have been told I see things always brightly, that I see the beauty in everything. If you read my tales, almost all are filled with bliss and hope. Even the saddest ones are bereft of cynicism. I think this is true. I am hopeful, even when my day is low.

I have known difficult days, but what I see… what I wish you and everyone could see, is not just the light shining at the end of the tunnel, but how wonderful the tunnel is.

I wish the world was this way. Around us all are people who like to point out the bad news. Nihilism’s populist messengers are in abundance. Political discussion is often about how awful so-and-so is. Complaints about friends and employers are found more easily than rainy days after a car wash. Woe is me. We’ll never make it. We’re doomed.

We cheer for the failure of our enemy more than for the success of our hero. 

Spray your life free of this.

My writing is mostly about observation. Every sense squints to know what’s in front, whether a color, a sound, a scent, a texture or a taste. The bigness or smallness of any of it, or how they combine. The beauty is always there, and doesn’t need dusting off. I try to see it, and try to write it down.

Never ignore true hardship. See the beauty in the lonely, the homeless and those in need. Give them hope, give them a hand.  And point them toward beautiful, hopeful days.

And smile.

Rereading Rostand: A True Tale of Hasty Love in a Bookstore With Cyrano

French playwright Edmond Rostand in the official uniform of the Académie française (Léopold-Émile Reutlinger)

I am rereading and English translation of Edmond Rostand’s play “Cyrano de Bergerac.” I recently reviewed the 1950 movie, and was hungry for more.

I first read it quickly in an antiquarian bookseller where I am friends with the owner.

His bookstore is like a private library for me. Thousands of books, and more in a dark corrugated metal warehouse in the back. Near the front window is an old round table. Who knows what previous use it had, but now, it stored things. These things were just that, an unorganized menagerie of items that should, but didn’t, have a home. Bookmarks, covers of books they independently published, empty cases of metal type, a pencil cup without a pencil. Why wasn’t it a cup intended for pens? Not here. Pens have no place making new, permanent marks in books older than any living animal.

Not all of his books were old, and not all were valuable in any other way either. Some were just there to fill the shelves and make a few dollars. Most of those, like Cyrano, were overpriced. Let there be no romantic illusion about this quaint bookstore. It was and is a business as much as the largest corporation. The owner knew any customer willing to pay $500 for a pamphlet from 1850 might be interested in an old, but otherwise insignificant edition of Cyrano. It isn’t that he hoodwinked customers. Value is in the eye of the beholder, and this edition had its rustic charm. He made enough to buy a home in the woods for his wife and six children, and a dog, and more books.

Bookstores like his are both in direct competition with, and opposite, all at once. His books are online, but Harry Potter cannot be found. Some is one of a kind, and other books on his shelves, like Cyrano, are probably in any antiquarian shop.

Our lunch plans were slowed when a rash of paying customers came in. Five minutes became over two hours so I read a copy he had I started a couple of lunches earlier.

This wasn’t reading so much as it was soaking and getting soaked. I gulped this wine instead of sipping. It went to my head well enough, and, like a drunk then, I returned. Wisdom stayed away in my haste, but almost a decade has passe. Older, wiser, ready for passion that does not finish before lunch.

Now, like a lover with hours to smile, I kissed carefully as I begun a new reading through of the play. The edition I am reading is translated into English by Bryan Hooker. My copy is less beautiful that most you may have seen, but my comfort comes from our deciduous and delightful conversation, falling in and out of inexplicably blissful moments to ecstatic ones, and again. A book, a play, even the shortest poem must be kissed if it is to be loved, and must be loved if it is to be kissed.

Each night, most nights, I read slowly. The whispers coming only to me. I am silent, listening, trying to see not what José Ferrer or Gerard Depardieu saw, but what Rostand himself saw 100 years ago.

And what is a kiss, specifically? A pledge properly sealed, a promise seasoned to taste, a vow stamped with the immediacy of a lip, a rosy circle drawn around the verb ‘to love.’ A kiss is a message too intimate for the ear, infinity captured in the bee’s brief visit to a flower, secular communication with an aftertaste of heaven, the pulse rising from the heart to utter its name on a lover’s lip: ‘Forever.’

Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 3

reposted from an older blog

romance feeds a beating heart

Addicted to Books

booksI’m a book glutton. Addicted to books, you might say. Are you?

There is no library deep enough to please my innermost’s innermost. One page at a time, I pursue satiation.

The day always ends with reading a book. During the day, I read online. I read for a living, you could say. I would say. I just did. I read for a living. They think they pay me to do other things, but that is what is really going on. Reading. Voraciously. More than you might guess. Triple tasking. Distracted. By articles linked to stories, linked to poems, linked to books online. And back again.

Addicted to books, I am. I love books.

While writing this, I stopped and looked at Amazon. I read reviews. My reviews. Yours. And a few pages. Then I Googled. Anything. Anything showed up, so I read about it.

And the news. President Trump is in trouble. President Obama blames him for pretty much everything. Sears is dying. Jeff Bezos is divorcing his wife to marry a woman divorcing her husband. People are talking about the Golden Globes (and movies I didn’t see), which I didn’t see. I was reading.

And Twitter. See World According to Twitter. I’m quoted in there. And Facebook. Someone had something to say. I wanted to know. I had to know. They wrote something. I read it. Now I know.

I read at lunch. I read when no one is looking. I read in plain view, secretly. I have a book stashed in my satchel. Another might be in the pocket of my coat. It could be I am reading while listening to a lecture… about something else.

My eyes do get tired. So I sleep… and dream of reading.

In my dreams, the book is always good.


Addicted to reading? I have a few great books reviewed.

On Originality

On Originality

originalityOriginality, as we humans know it, is a myth. Correlated with originality is creativity. To be original, someone must create. To be creative, someone must be original.

Short of being the deities of deities, creator of all things created, I am created. Created things cannot be creative.

We use the terms differently than they really mean. Let’s explore the question.

To say I want to be original is practically blasphemous. Do I want that awesome power over all things created? In my most heinous hour, I skirt close to this passion, but, luckily, at that same hour, I am as far from creativity as could be.

What is creativity, in the artistic, less blasphemic sense? Logic mixed with observation.


A chess player cannot be creative. He or she has everything, every possibility is already available and evident. Determining the best move is not about creativity, but about recognizing the course of action that is likely to follow with a given move. The best player, say, Bobby Fischer in his prime, was never creative. He merely did what he was supposed to do more effectively than his opponent. His brilliance was that he saw what the rest of us miss, even though it was in clear view.

A problem exists. What solution is the best? First, the solver recognizes the options. The best solvers do so quickly and comprehensively, while simultaneously screening out less effective solutions.

A writer faces problems with each syllable. A blank page is his first problem. The story, the article, the poem all presume a similar question. The English language writer starts with 26 letters and roughly the same vocabulary as his contemporaries in his genre. Somehow, one writer will combine those letters in such a way that solves the problem better than another.

A writer of a poem asks, “What mood do I want to leave the reader in?” or “What do I want the reader to be inspired to do?” and related questions. Issues regarding line break, punctuation, stanza, meter, and length all become important.

The writer is a combiner, not a creator. He combines what already exists. The combination may not have existed before, but it was logically a possibility. The writer drew from experience and observation, logically anticipating the impact a certain combination of letters might have on the reader. The writer will not anticipate ever reaction, and this becomes the subject of great debate by literary critics. Great writers are not accidental, however, and control much of what the reader comes to understand.

The most ‘creative’ is the most observant. The great chess player sees each piece, each place on the board. Back to Bobby Fischer. Poor players see all of this as well, but what the great player observes are combinations. If he does this, then his opponent will do that, and so on, until the great player feels satisfied the best option is just that, the best option. He will have many options. Some will be bad, good, even very good. Only one is best.

In chess, success is plain. The player either wins or loses. He might find a moral victory in drawing against an opponent deemed better, but the fact is, he did not win. Whatever encouragement he finds in a loss or draw is fine, but he did not win. The player knows whether or not his moves were great (or good enough) when the game concludes.

The writer has no pleasure of victory the way a chess player does. A wise writer knows there is more to a book’s success than good writing, and many of those things he has no control over. Marketing, PR, a snazzy website. It can make a difference if the writer is handsome or beautiful, or has a good presence when speaking publicly. Ugly women who speak with an annoying nasal inflection will have a harder time talking about their book on Oprah than a beauty queen with the speaking skills of a practiced lawyer. It might not be ‘right’ but that reality all writers must contend with if they hope to become rich on a book’s sales.

When the chess player plays, he is re-combining, moving pieces under prescribed rules. The pawn moves up one or two places, depending on of it has moved previously, or straight forward or diagonally, depending on whether or not it is attacking the opponent’s piece. The rules of the game are absolute, and the chess player is forced to play within that context.

E. E. Cummings

The writer has no rules at first glance. Still, if he intends to cause the reader to react a certain way, he is subservient to his reader. Readers expect a sonnet not to start like a sonnet but end like a haiku. The writer might choose that path, but the conventions for poetic forms are strong. E. E. Cummings appeared to refuse to follow conventions regarding punctuation, but the reality is far different. He abides by them completely. If he had not, his poetry would be reduced to anarchic scribbling. Readers who understand the depth of possibilities within punctuation appreciative his deft use of it.

Was Cummings’ creative? No. He recombined. He combined. He moved the pieces around within the meta-conventions of the English language, just as Shakespeare did. His style was previously not known to readers, and can be difficult to deduce into meaning, but Cummings did not create anything. He observed the possibilities, and chose what he considered the best solution.

What is the best solution in writing? One that does the intended job. Anything less is failure, as far as that goal is concerned. Sloppy shots, like in pool, happen, but, like in pool, they most often do not count. A writer can discover some great turn of phrase by accident, but great writers find the phrases through purposed searches into options. The great writer might find that great phrase by accident, like a guitarist picking on his guitar late at night, but, like that guitarist, knows something good when he hears it.

After all, there’s nothing new under the sun.

There are millions of reviewers on None write like Brockeim.

Minnesota Vikings Food Meets Brockeim (New Ziploc® Video)

See the newest Brockeim Ziploc® brand video and find out how Minnesota Vikings fans can help themselves to a better smelling home.

Minnesota Vikings fans celebrate Christmas through Julebord. Basically, that’s a huge multi-day feast. It’s got an interesting history with trolls and other mythical creatures. Check it out.

A traditional dish is lutefisk. Any among you who are Scandinavian know about this. The rest of you, unless you are hardcore foodies, may not know.

Lutefisk aren’t pretty and they don’t smell nice. We in Chicago don’t really know what they are. However, in Minnesota, they are all the rage. What can you do with these stinky bits? Go ahead, eat that stuff, but save it smartly.

By the way, Julebord also involves pork ribs, which I can totally get on board with (see that wordplay?). They call it svineribbe (swine rib).

Go Bears!

Learn about who eats lutefisk.

If you love food, take a look at Babette’s Feast – About Grace, Glory and Goodness

Want to smell pretty? White Diamonds By Elizabeth Taylor For Women, Eau De Toilette Spray – A Scent That Begins Romance