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The Devil's Workshop

It’s been said that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. As a retired 75-year-old advertising guy, that’s probably a promise. I’ve been a writer most of my life, first as a reporter, then in advertising where I mostly wrote dry marketing plans, and later when I wrote advertising copy mostly ads and broadcast scripts. I have also written more press releases, op-ed pieces and speeches than I can count. I’m in the midst of a book recounting my time as a Navy officer in Vietnam. From time to time I also contribute an essay to my high school web site. Since retiring a few years ago, I’ve also devoted quite a bit of time to oil painting. I’ve got work in some art galleries and occasionally a show someplace. I’ve also taught a few workshops in the hope of enticing other aspiring plein air artists around my age to pick up a brush in their later years. Some, I’m pleased to report, have been remarkably successful at it. I was born in California near the end of WWII. My dad was stationed in Oakland. I spent my early years growing up in a small town on the Florida panhandle and because my father was then an aerospace space engineer working with the U.S. Air Force, we moved around a lot. I spent most of my growing up years in Jacksonville, Florida, and then attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and then on to grad school at Wharton and the Annenberg School of Communications at Penn. I had designs on becoming a TV producer. But then along came the Vietnam war and even though I’d joined the Navy as a public affairs officer to avoid duty in southeast Asia, guess where I ended up? In Danang, Republic of Vietnam, escorting media around the countryside. I was newly married to Judy, a lovely school teacher. Then, I hopscotched through Navy duty at the Atlantic Fleet command in Norfolk, then the Voice of America in Washington, into television news, then into the world of public relations and advertising back in Jacksonville, New York and Atlanta. I was once the press secretary for Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture. In the agency world, I caught the end of the “Mad Men” era and it was a heady time as a young account guy and later as a partner in a prospering agency in Raleigh, NC. I’ve lived in Raleigh for the past 50 years. Judy and I watched our two sons grow up; one ended up a sports writer for a local newspaper, the other is a lawyer in Colorado. We have a wonderful grandson in Crested Butte. Leaving the crazy ad agency world behind, I slowed down in the consulting field for about a dozen years before heading out to pasture. In addition to a downsized residence in Raleigh, we have retreats in Taos, New Mexico, and another in Amelia Island, Florida. My intention in starting this blog is twofold. I hope it fills a niche for folks like us who are growing older and it’s a workshop for my dangerously overactive mind. It’s my hope, too, that it can be an outlet for others of this golden age who have something to say when no one else seems to be listening. So, devil-inspired or not, bring it on.