Reaching Inspired Locations

Map with Pins

Find Your Inspired Locations

From Google Earth to the FourSquare location-based networking site, there are numerous examples today to point to our continued fascination with physical locations.

What are the qualities that make a particular place special — the people, the food, the geography, the culture, or some combination thereof?

Without doubt, locations can fascinate and inspire.

I recall reading an interesting TOWN & COUNTRY article years ago that examined the city-inspired lyrics and titles of many popular songs written by some of the world’s most famous musicians.

Rough Guides recently posted a list of the Top Five Places Mentioned in Famous Songs.  And, here’s a recent Sidetracked blog post that highlights top songs written about the state of California.

As the Los Angeles-based Red Hot Chili Peppers sang in Aeroplane, music in general can be “an aero plane” that elevates listeners to another world.  When a specific city or place is called out in song lyrics, the “getaway factor” of the song can rise.

For example, when you hear Paul Simon’s Graceland lyric, “I’m going to Graceland,” where or what do you envision?   Or, when you hear Waylon and Willie sing about, “Luckenbach, Texas,” what is your response?  When Ryan Adams sings about the street La Cienega, does the lyric make you smile?  Every time I hear James Taylor sing “Carolina in My Mind,” I see the streets of Chapel Hill, the location of my college alma mater.

What locations do you think are worthy of commemoration with song?  Which places would make your “Most Inspirational Locales” list?  Give it some thought.  My list would obviously include my SheCave.


Peanut butter, poetry and sticky things

What do you think of when you hear the word, “sticky”?  “Sticky fingers,” or “sticky notes”?  Peanut butter?  Maple syrup?  Elmer’s glue?

According to wikipedia.org, in economics, “sticky” describes a situation in which a variable is resistant to change.

Yes, there are sticky situations in the world of economics and in life in general.  And, what about sticky words?  One direct quotation that has stuck with me over the years was uttered by Pearl Strachan who famously said, “Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.”

How many striking music lyrics do we often recall?  How many lines of a poem?  How many words from a play or a movie have stuck with us over the years?  And, when do these sticky words, stated or written by others, evidence themselves in our lives?  How many of our statements are 100% original, not having withstood the influence of someone else’s sticky words of wisdom?

Without doubt, the words of our parents, of our teachers, of our favorite writers, of our favorite friends, of our favorite loves, often seem to tarry.

Shakespeare is one of the best examples of someone whose words have tarried on and on.  In his Sonnet 116, which is a favorite of mine, he wrote about the stickiness of true love stating:

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds, 
Or bends with the remover to remove: 
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;”

Shakespeare wrote the words in 1609, and, in 1995, British actress Emma Thompson brilliantly incorporated the sonnet into the Sense and Sensibility movie screenplay that was adapted from the 1811 novel of the same name.  Who could forget this scene from the movie directed by Ang Lee?

What are the most sticky words you’ve ever uttered or written?  And who was listening?

Wine, Avacados and Dummies

my "Wine for Dummies" book

One of the most successful book series in recent years has been the For Dummies series that began in 1991.

The roots of this book series are tied to technology.  The first Dummies book was titled, “DOS for Dummies,” and technology-focused Dummies books continue to be in abundance today.  For example, one of my coworkers has co-authored a book titled, “SAS for Dummies,” and currently maintains a blog titled, “The SAS Dummy: a blog for the rest of us.

Beyond technology, I’m amazed by the plethora of subjects covered within the series.  The For Dummies bookstore has titles ranging from “Building Chicken Coops for Dummies”  to “Acoustic Guitar Songs for Dummies,” and the DUMMIES.COM web site is now featuring step-by-step “How to Peel an Avocado” content excerpted from the “Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies” book.  I own one book, “Wine for Dummies,” from the series and reference it from time to time.

Fear of failure can be an especially strong deterrent when one is confronted with learning new things.  From a marketing perspective, I think that whoever originally coined the series name, “For Dummies,” was brave and showed no fear in banking on the fact that a majority of consumers would relate and admit to the fact that they were novices or “dummies” about many subjects.

Without doubt, the “For Dummies” marketing slogan has had broad appeal.  The books are now available in more than 15 world languages.  When it comes to learning something new, it seems everyone is a beginner, and the old saying is true: “you have to start somewhere.”

I think I’ll go acquaint myself with a glass of exotic vino.  What’s the next new thing that you’re planning to try?

You can doodle this…you can doodle that…

Yesterday, August 6, 2011, I tweeted about the fact that Google debuted its latest interactive Google Doodle to its site visitors. Yesterday’s Doodle interactive design celebrated what would have been the 100th birthday of comedian Lucille Ball and featured a TV image containing interactive remote control buttons that aired clips from Ball’s famous, “I Love Lucy!” show.

Seeing yesterday’s Doodle, I remembered previous interactive Google Doodles that I have enjoyed viewing.  I was excited to see the initial interactive Pac-Man Doodle that Google released in May 2010 celebrating the 30th anniversary of the popular video arcade game.  And, I had fun using the interactive Doodle that honored the life of American jazz and country guitar artist Les Paul to create my own “Doodle song.”  Beyond the interactive Doodles, I also enjoy viewing the creative images captured within Google’s standard Doodles.

From a corporate marketing perspective,  I have enjoyed witnessing Google as a company achieve success in maintaining its strong corporate logo and brand identity while simultaneously being “playful” with its corporate logo.  I also admire the fact that Google has created its Doodle 4 Google contest for K-12 kids.

On a more reflective note, the Doodles remind me how an attitude of openness to change, of thinking beyond the status quo and of positivity and even playfulness can have far-reaching positive effects in carrying us forward in both the personal and professional realms.  I wonder how many people who clicked the TV remote buttons on the Lucy Doodle yesterday didn’t smile and reflect on past and future possibilities?  I know that I certainly did.

Apart from all of my positive comments above, I do have some questions about Google. I recently downloaded the e-book, “The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry),” to my i-Phone, and I look forward to reading the book and learning more.

For now, I’m content knowing that, like Google’s logo, I, too, can continually evolve, change and refine my perspective.  To put it in “Google terms,” when it come to my life, I can “doodle” this, or I can “doodle” that.  It’s up to me!  So, how do you like my avatar?
Ruth Dobson-Torres’ avatar

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