Reanna Scimé – a blast from the past

From 1980 until around 2001, I owned a home in Blue Diamond. Nev. I loved it there because it reminded me of some of the small towns in Upstate New York. While I was there, I earned a living as a professional musician on the Las Vegas Strip, got married and got divorced.

I also raised a beautiful daughter, Reanna Louise.

Blue Diamond being as small as it was only had a 2-room school house for elementary students, but many of the scdhool’s activities were community oriented, such as the annual X-Mas pagent, held in the Community Center—literally a quonset hut!

These videos were taken during the 1988 pageant, if I remember correctly, and feature (who else?) Reanna.

Today would have been my mother’s 95 birthday, and I post them in her memory.

Heads of State: How Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on Canadian Maple Leafs over the years

crownThe unchanging British Monarch?

Collectors—or even mere admirers of Canadian Maple Leafs—know that while the reverse of Canada’s official bullion coin may change motifs over different mintages, their obverses are unchangeable: One portrait or another of the currently reigning monarch—since 1953, Queen Elizabeth II—resides on each coin’s obverse.

Canada, of couse, is not alone in this. Coins from Australia, New Zealand, and even the tiny Isle of Man share similar “heads.”

But, how has the Royal Canadian Mint handled the inevitable aging of the Queen over the years?

The Maple Leaf Changes with the timesGeorgeVI_185

With its usual careful attention to detail, the RCM has portrayed on its Maple Leafs, Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy as she appeared during four periods of her reign. It may interest some to note that her immediate predecessor (both as monarch and on official coinage) was Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, the subject of the film “The KIng’s Speech.”

Period the 1st (1953-1964)ElizabethII1953_185

From 1953 through 1964, the regal profile of a 27-year old Elizabeth graced each Maple’s obverse, surrounded by the Latin for “Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, the Queen.”

 

Period the 2nd (1965-1989)

In 1965 the portrait of a 27-year-old monarch was replaced by a more mature 39-year-old, and the surrounding inscription shortened to, “Elizabeth II D G Regina.” This representation continues.

Period the 3rd (1990-2002)

The year 1990 saw the emergence of a 64-year-old, regal dowager, serene and secure in her Majesty and confident in her legacy. The Queen’s portrait, designed by Canadian Dora De Pédery-Hunt’s graced Canada’s currency through 2002.

Period the 4th (2003-Present)

In 2003, another Canadian artist—Susanna Blunt—saw her depiction of a 77-year-old Queen Elizabeth II appear on the obverse of each Canadian coin and paper-currency issue, continuing to this day.

Unlike the United States, which seems to reinvent itself every century or so, the British are proud of—some might say “tied” to—their traditions. And that may be why—although the face of the monarch might change over the decades—their “faces” will always be of Heads of State.

And, as Product Director for Goldmart.com (America’s Low-Cost Precious Metals Dealer™, I am proud to represent the Monarch—no matter her age or visage.

Would Woody Have Approved?

Woody Guthrie "This Land Is Your Land"
“This Machine Kills Fascists”

When Woody Guthrie submitted “This Land Is Your Land” for copyright in 1940, he wrote on the manuscript, ““This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”

I hope he wouldn’t mind if others just . . . I don’t know . . . added to it. After all, rearranging and adapting songs has always been in the best folk music tradition. And, that’s what I did, wrote a couple of additional verses.

But before I get to them, whoever’s reading this ought to know that the song that’s been called “A love song to America,” was just a bit subversive. In fact, Woody penned the piece as a response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” a song for which he had a decided distaste.

Two of the original verses that are usually omitted from school-house songbooks, because of their distinctly political tenors, are:

As I went walking, I saw a sign there,
And on the sign there, It said “no trespassing.”
But on the other side, it didn’t say nothing!
That side was made for you and me.

 In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I’d seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

It is in the spirit of “This Land Is Your Land” that I offer three verses of my own:

On lines like cattle, our hopes unheeded,
We jobless waited, for the jobs we needed;
Wall Street was laughing, and I had to wonder:
Is this land still made for you and me?

 All Wall Street’s power and wealth can’t stop me.
Not its lawsuits threatening; nor its jail cells waiting.
I’ll sing my message—to whoever’s listening, ‘cause
I can still sing for you and me!

 No Plutocrat can purloin my freedom.
I’ve the Bill of Rights and The Constitution.
So, now lets rise up—and stand together. Remind them . . .
This land was made for you and me!

 Maybe it isn’t Woody, but I’d like to think he would’ve approved.

4 Awesome Compliments I Received Regarding My Recent Guest Appearance in a Virtual Classroom*

Roger Scimé, guest lecturerOkay, okay . . . I know I’ve been derelict in keeping this blog up to date. I keep promising to share intriguing, interesting, unique, original, curated, and so-called “remarkable” content, but continue to leave huge gaps.

This time, though, I’m making no promises: I’m just gonna go with the slow and see what happens.

So, then: A few weeks ago, it was my privilege to be invited to be a guest speaker at one of a friend’s online lectures in ethics at The International Academy of Design & Technology. The subject was “The Ethics of Feminism” or some such, and I was to play the part of the archetypal feminist. That was a few weeks ago.

Yesterday, Jerry shared with me a few of the comments he received from students who had either attended in real-time or had listened to a recording afterward. Here they are:

  1. I really enjoyed the guest speakers at the live chat and wish my work schedule would have allowed me more opportunity to attend the live chats
  2. The guest speaker was the highlight of the week; he made the topic “real” and interesting; hope to see more guest speakers like him
  3. The live chat classes were the best, and the most interesting was the guest speaker in week 4 – which I would love to see in more classes. It helps to hear life experiences from others that share your ideas; he was awesome!
  4. Roger in week 4 was our guest speaker. While I could not attend the live chat, I listened and wow! He made it all clear; to hear a real feminist was awesome! I would take the class again just to hear what he and Jerry had to say about other topics. Keep it up!

To say I was jazzed would be a classic understatement. I freely admit that I’m a frustrated academic at heart, and validation like this just makes life a bit more tolerable.

*NOTE: This headline construction is an over-the-top example of link-bait formatting. Of course, the content has to be compelling as well. . . .

Entertaining ideas . . .

My mother used to tell the story of how—at a very young age—I stood up in front of a crowd and, without any prompting, did an acceptable impression of Elvis Presley.

That’s when she knew, she told me, that music and performing were in my future. Accordingly, shortly afterward she bought me my first guitar—a Stella with Black Diamond strings—and thus set me on a course a course for the rest of my life. Continue reading Entertaining ideas . . .

15 (new) things I learned at WordCamp Reno-Tahoe 2011

Roger Scime | ScribeSite.com | Words Music Pictures
My WordCamp Reno-Tahoe 2011 Badge

For months now, I’ve been stumbling around WordPress. Sure, I have a blog, post to it semi-regularly, and have installed enough plugins and widgets to make it somewhat functional.

But, I’ve always known there was more. As websites increasingly migrate toward the Web 2.0 engagement paradigm, it is apparent that WordPress has become the de facto platform-de-jure, for not only the blogs for which it was originally intended, but for entire websites.

During the 90s, I’d been a moderately successful website designer, but some time taken off had put me far behind the curve to the point where I either had to evolve my skills or throw in the towel. I chose the former.

Therefore, it was with no little satisfaction that I learned of WordCamp Reno-Tahoe 2011, a two-day series of workshops being held on the UNR campus, less than a mile from where I live. It was affordable, too!

I hastened to register.

And this morning I packed up my laptop, threw a notebook and some pencils into my backpack, and headed out for an entire day of WordPress instruction. Boy, was it ever worth it!

Not only was there swag (stickers and decals, pencils, buttons, and even a t-shirt), but evangelists as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as any fanboy in the earliest days of Apple Computers. I even learned (much to my chagrin) that there is an active WordPress community here in Reno, of which I’d been woefully unaware—even though I’ve lived here for the past 8 years.

There was even a Genius Bar (similar to Apple’s), where WordPress experts were on hand to help folks like—answering questions and offering solutions. WordPress, after all, is more than a blog, and—for all its ease of use—can be more than a little intimidating.

But, enough preamble. Here are just a few of the things I learned today that will, hopefully, a) make me a better blogger, and b) make ScribeSite.com a better blog Continue reading 15 (new) things I learned at WordCamp Reno-Tahoe 2011

Off Point: Country Music, editing, and me

As some of you may be aware, in addition to being a social media facilitator, search engine optimizer and manager, writer (with a Master’s in journalism), and any number of other things, I am and have been a professional musician for the better part of my life, sometimes full-time, sometimes part. But, always. I also write songs: nothing you’ve probably ever heard, but still . . .

So, this weekend I attended a songwriters’ workshop and evaluation  at the Nugget, so that I might get some feedback from the professional evaluators who were judging.

As luck would have it, KTNV Channel 2 News was on the scene, taping a story for their evening news. They taped a snippet of my entry, and interviewed me afterward.

The question was, “Why are you here today?” and I think I answered it pretty well.

  1. Some people are so familiar with their own works, that they are unable to see them. It’s not that they’re in denial, it’s just that they see what they expect to see. I actually wrote a blog post about this.
  2. Editing yourself can be self-defeating and next to impossible. When I blue-pencil my prose or fiction (or lyrics, for that matter), I generally obsess about it, changing words here and there (wielding my thesaurus like a madman with a chainsaw) to the extent that I manage to leech all of the spontaneity and “juice out if it.

That’s why objective listeners, readers, observers can be invaluable.

What do you think? Are objective evaluations important?

The Creative Companion: A dispatch from Conundrum Canyon

scribe site | Roger Scime | words music graphic images
Creative enough for you? It’s not what you think.

Just to give you an idea of how out of touch and off-the-grid I was between May 4th and the 25th—the time I spent stuck, not it Lodi, but in in the place I’m calling Conundrum Canyon—I actually picked up and read a terrific little book on advertising called The Creative Companion by adman David Fowler.

A book on advertising. . . . me? Who’d’a thunk it?

In my defense, it was only 33 pages long and I figured I could knock it off in, like, 45 minutes or so.

You’ve probably already guessed what’s coming next. I admit it, okay: The Creative Companion is a terrific little book, full of cute and clever insights (but not the precious, cloying kind), and presented with wit and—thank goodness—an economy of prose. Plus, it’s a book that’s perfect for those of us who wonder, on occasion, if we are “talentless schmucks” (as Chris Wall so delicately anoints it in the Forword).

Following are the first three of Fowler’s tips on how to goose one’s creativity (I might add a few more as time goes on and as time permits).

Just saying, though; these are tips on advertising, so some of the rhetoric might be ad-oriented. Oh, and the chapter titles are verbatim.

  1. Get up and go: Browse bookstores, grab a video camera and stalk the streets. Bookstores, as Fowler explains, contain “the sum total of human experience,” while total strangers will offer their opinions on your product—as long as you describe your queries as “marketing research.” He suggests staying away from doing your research on the Web: “You won’t find any real people there to interact with. And you’re still just sitting there in your office.”
  2. Is your baby a monkey? Somebody has rejected an idea you’ve fallen in love with. They’ve called it a “monkey.” Fowler suggests that you listen to the input, and then resolve the issue on those terms. Bring it back, with that new way of looking at it. Or not. It may have been a monkey all along.

    Scribe Site | Roger Scime | words images music
    Is this my baby?
  3. Write a theme, not a line. We all know (or should know) know what a tag line is: it’s shorthand for the underlying theme that drives a product. Fowler tells us that if you can define the parameters of its underlying theme, the line (which he would prefer calling a “theme line” as opposed to a slogan or tag line—it sounds more dignified, he says) will follow from that.

Now, all of this makes more than a bit of sense, even to a right-brain kind of guy like me, and I’m going to go out on a limb and recommend it to anybody who could use a jolt of creativity now and again.

The Creative Companion, in all of its 33-page glory, can be read online at TheCreativeCompanion.com

Related:

How to Sing the Blues: A dispatch from Conundrum Canyon

Athough my memories of the three or four weeks I spent in Conundrum Canyon are fuzzy at best, there is one experience that has left its indelible mark upon my musical soul: a lesson in how to play the blues from a true master of the form (at least that’s what he told me he was).   But, Roger, you’re probably saying to yourself, you’ve been a musician most of your life. How could it be that you need instruction in playing the blues?

I wasn’t that guy

Allow me to explain the seeming inconsistency, young Padawans:

It is true that I am a long-time practitioner of the musical arts; it is also true that, having been exposed to the myriad forms of musical expression, I found the blues—with its immutable I-IV-V progression of chords—to be among the most limiting and (dare I say?) boring.

However, Conundrum Valley, off-the-grid as it is, offered little in the way of amusements or even outlets for one’s artistic muse to run free.

So when—during an interminable week of watching the (admittedly) majestic redwoods grow their leafy limbs ever higher into the azure sky that domed  the Valley—an old man, his skin the color and texture of teriyaki beef jerky (the peppered variety), offered to tutor me in the basic nuances of what he called the troubles (taking a hint from the Irish Rebellion, no doubt), I leaped at the opportunity to acquire such insight at the talented and aged fingertips of the legend known to the world as “Flatulent Willie” Warbuton.

Nor am I “Flatulent” Willie Warburton

I had planned to recount Flatulent Willie’s  blueseloquent insights  verbatim, but was informed by his attorney that they were copyrighted and his intellectual property and were scheduled to be published in book form in the Fall and online and if I repeated, Tweeted, blogged, or Facebooked even a single solitary syllable of his syntactic wisdom he—on behalf of his client—would “sue my plagiarizing ass off.”

So, I went online myself and found the following:

“How To Sing The Blues”

Getting started with the blues

  • Most blues songs begin, “I woke up this morning.”
  • “I got a good woman” is a bad way to begin a blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line, such as “I got a good woman—with the meanest dog in town.”
  • Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that sort of rhymes.