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Tom Walker Tishey

I knew him well.

We worked together on all my favorite recording sessions. It was always a awesome, belly laughing experience when you had Tommy behind the mic. He brought so much joy to producing a commercial. My friend, John Murray and I would just roll tape and get every ad lib, just to laugh at later. Click to play this spot from my D&E demo:

LaRosas’ Italian Lesson

Tommy could have been a excellent stand up comic, but he was so much more than that. He could sing, he brought character to every voice over. And the characters themselves used to make us laugh for hours.

But Tommy was a great friend. Always. I might not see him for years but when we see each other it was always like we just did a session yesterday. I had the pleasure to shoot quite a few rounds of golf with Tom, it was always the highlight of the week.

One story that I remember vividly was on a golf trip to Myrtle Beach. I drank too  much Jager the first night. Tommy gave me some memorable advice, Michel, all you need is time. I went to bed early, felt shitty at the tee off the next day, buy the end of the day and a few beers, I was back to 100%. Time. Click to hear One take Tommy at his best.

Star64 Drinkin

I wish I had more time to hang with all my old friends, Tom, Curt, & John. It was a great foursome. The time we spent together was priceless. Family life takes over those carefree days. I never lost touch with Tom but I didn’t get to spend the time I needed to catch up, laugh and just hang out with someone so extraordinary.

I wish I had more time to spend with you, Tom.

The Friday Night Club story

I’ve been asked to give the story about the FNC many times. Since this blog is all about stories, it only seems natural that I tell it again, with pictures and naming names.

It all started here

The Friday Night Club was born at a tv commercial pre-production meeting in thr mid 80’s. I don’t remember what we were shooting but the central players were Jameison Fuller, Producer/Director of Jameison/James Productions, Richard Craig/Copywriter, D&E, Jerry Donadio/Jay Gilbert Productions and me, Michel Keidel, AD/Producer, D&E. We met at the now defunked bowling alley, Glenn Schmidt’s Lanes in Newport, KY. Now we could have met in my office or J/Js office, but it was Friday and we usually did happy hour anyway, so we cut out early and went bowling. The pre-pro discussion lasted all but 5 minutes, we bowled and drank and talked about how boring the local watering holes had become. A lot of agency types went to Ogden’s in an alley downtown, it was clicky. I worked at a small up and comer ad agency and the Sive and Northlich crowd wanted no part of me or my peops.

So on that Friday, we decided to find some new places to meet after work. Our quest was to find distinctive dive bars, neighborhood juke joints and local legendary bars, close to downtown.  They had to have three distinct qualities; cheap & cold bottled beer, some sort of musical entertainment- a good juke box or band playing later, and finally- something to do, darts, pool, dual flash bar bowling, shuffleboard.

We would call it the Friday Night Club and everyone was invited, everyone. Marketing folks, creatives, long lost friends, family.

We found lots of places.

At first we just called each other, on Friday, decided where to go and went. I’d call you and 5 others, you would call your friends and boom, it’s a party.

So let me back up a skosh, I’m an art director, an artist actually. With the help of my talented coworkers, Ann Small, Steve Weinstein, designer friends, Keith Beckelheimer & Gumby Umbinhour and donated strip tac sticker paper for Libby Remley, we made beautiful stickers so we could identify who was with us. They were stored in an old cardboard 2.25 film can, which I still have. Thousands of stickers were designed and hand cut and stuck in bars across the city. The stickers were the only perk, very collectable and came to be the essence of the FNC spirit.

So we did this every Friday for year or two. D&E had a postage meter, we had just got our first Macs and laserwriters, we assembled a list and started sending out post cards. They were very creative, we took turns doing them. We decided to go to an every-other-Friday schedule, to cut down on odds of DUI trouble. The core group ebbed and flowed, the group started dominating the bars we went to. We widened the circle to the far reaches of the metro area. A few hearty souls went to my hometown of Cleves, twice. We were routinely asked to come back and several bars wanted us every Friday, we resisted. So many good times were had. John Murray and I would play a game of darts for a round every FNC. It was a hell of a ride.

I landed the Hudepohl/Schoenling beer business off of the experience. My Mt Adams apt was stocked with beer for years. So many bars to remember, luckily Steve Weinstein and I went to the top 50 or so and took pictures for full page Enquirer ad to promote Cincinnati. The headline: Cincinnati, a great place for a cold one.

After 10 or so years we slowed down to once a month. It made it more special. As a group, we were only ejected from of two bars, City View for throwing cake and cussing and Mulligans for cussing or something. The FNC record was 98 folks at Frie’s with Cory’s a close second at 96.

So what happened to the FNC? I got remarried & had two kids. My lovely wife, Linda, flies for Delta and leaves on Friday, comes back on Sunday. So I had to stay home on Fridays. I tried to pass it off to the next generation, it takes work and dedication to keep it going.

So we took 15 years off.

Last month I asked Linda if I could have one Friday a month to go out for a beer, she knew why. She will be flying to Paris this Friday but will definitely make the next one.

The future of the FNC is this. We’ll go month to month, starting this Friday, 11/4 at Fries. No more post cards needed because we have Facebook and Tumblr. Join me for a beer or two after work this Friday. Get a sticker or two, bring your friends and ask them to like us on FB. Take pics and post on the Facebook page & Tumblr site. Who knows where this will go but as long as everyone has fun, drives carefully and get’s home safe. we’ll give it a go.

Is Civility the new Censorship?

OK, it’s been over a week since the AZ shooting spree. I wanted to write about what happened after the news broke. I waited a week.

My heart goes out to all the families that have lost or have injured loved ones. This was a heinous murder. The shooter was a loon and deserves the death penalty. How can there be any reasonable doubt that he did it? He did it. He’s guilty.  He should be advised to plead guilty to stop the pain on the families that he has reaped havoc upon. He is crazy, but so what. It’s no defense in my book.

What happen within hours of this attack was equally heinous.

The blame game started immediately, it was particularly vicious. And all one sided. Left blamed right, right defended itself, left pushed harder, right hunkered down. It was butt ugly. The Sheriff was dead wrong in his assessment and had no proof that there was no connection to anyone on the conservative side, but he shot his mouth off any way. Facebook erupted with teeth mashing and hand wringing. One friend posted that he “knew this would happen”. WTF.

I posted that I’d rather play angry birds than try to defend the conservative line. Looking back, it was all such bullshit.

This was and is no connection to
A/conservative talk radio,
B/ Sarah Palin, Rush, Glenn, Fox or anybody but the shooter
C/the leadership of the POTUS was called onto the carpet and again I was disappointed by Obama response

I’m getting tired of being painted as an extremist just because I vehemently disagree with the Democratic/Progressive policies.
And I have to say, the shit I see on TV and see on the internet about hatred and crap from my side–I don’t see it that way and my story today is to explain why. First some facts about me:

I’m conservative first.
I do vote mostly Republican.
I am a proud Cincinnati Tea Party Member.
I watch Glenn Beck every night, I DVR it. I like Glenn.
I watch the O’Reilly factor on Fox every night.
I like FOX news, it is fair and balanced. It is damn it.
I read Rush Online, WSJ online, DRUDGE, Townhall, everyday.

So I feel that I’m an expert on all of these people because I actually watch, read or see it from the source.  That does NOT mean that I’m brainwashed by them. I occasionally watch MSNBC, John Stewart, Mahar on HBO, Nightline , just to get my ire up. During the election I watched both conventions and challenged my friends to do the same, they would not. I have asked my progressive friends to watch Fox or Glenn, they will not. They get their talking points from third party sources that are colored with their brand of propaganda. I have a problem with that.

To quote Pete Rose, “If you haven’t tried Gold Star, how can you get in on the talk or even form an opinion.” If you don’t get your info from the source, you’re just getting here-say, third party, tainted, quotes about what is said.

So let me take each one separately.

I went to all but one Cincinnati Tea Party event. In saw no hatred. None. Sure there were some signs that were questionable, mostly funny, but no hatred. There were no arrests, no crime.

Glenn Beck is honorable man. There’s no hatred or any call to violence on his TV show. I don’t listen to his radio show, the TV show has been nothing but inspiring. He encourages his watchers to do their own homework, to question with boldness, to make a connection their GOD and to be non violent. The lies and distortion about Glenn Beck have been directed by George Soros and his band of ugliness. Glenn has proved that Soros tentacles have no boundaries. Again, if you don’t watch the show, your opinion is invalid. If you can prove him wrong with facts, do it. Real facts not bogus Media Matter bullshit. The left so hates Glenn they end up slobbering all over themselves. They want him dead.

O’Reilly is the Ted Baxter of Fox news, he’s a major blowhard BUT he plays the fair and balanced game better than anyone on TV news. The Factor always has both sides to the story, always.

Fox News is a force to be dealt with and the left main stream media hates it. It not only lives up to its fair and balance tagline, but personifies what TV News will be from now on. The ratings speak for itself. If you are getting your news from NYT, Obama approved, Huff Po, you are not getting news, just hateful rhetoric. Plus Fox has the smartest and most beautiful newscasters on the planet. Who else compares?

Rush is rush, I don’t listen to the show but I love his website. I go there for the links, same with DRUDGE. Rush is not afraid of either side and tells it like it is. I don’t read or see the vitriol or hatred, sometime caustic and opinionated but not threatening or violent.

The ugliness, vitriol and hatred came from the left last week, it really pissed me off. Their policies have been debunked and proven to be a complete failure again and again. They so what to silence the right by attempting place blame and project their hatred. The majority spoke in November and they are desperate and sometimes despicable.

I sure hope this blame game comes to an end. We need to fix our economy and the government cannot do it. It’s up to the individual to make it better by bettering themselves. Small businesses need to be unleashed, unregulated.
Sniveling must end.

The quest for my inner positivity.

I’ve been told that I’m negative. I put off negative vibes, I’m pessimistic, ornery, that I bitch too damn much, I’m a complainer, whiner, narcissistic, the power of no and all that.

Well, it’s time for that to change.

But I have questions that need to be answered first.
Like if I disagree am I supposed to keep my mouth shut?
What if I’m being asked to go against my principals?
Am I not allowed to dislike something?

I’m not a hateful person, at least I don’t think I am. I don’t hate you. I don’t hate Obama or Olberman or Oprah(I don’t like them much, though). I’ve been told that if the idea wasn’t mine that I thinks it sucks, sometimes… I just want to improve upon it. Is that bad?

I think that that is my core problem, I want to make things better. And my better may not be the same as your better. I don’t like stupidity or goofyosicity. I don’t like meanness or selfishness or righteousness. I’m guilty of all of this from time to time.

Another problem I have is that I have trouble saying NO to a noble cause. I’ve gotten better at it by applying some basic rules of engagement for my non-profit-do-it for-free projects. Simply put, let me do what I do and I’ll do it for free. If it’s work, you have to pay for it.

I’m not a bad guy, I think I’m a good guy. I worry about what people think of me and what I will end up being when I’m done being. I worry about taking care of my family. I worry about my business and my career and how it plays in the scheme of my life. I like my life but want it to be better. I like where I live, my city, state and zipcode. I want it to be better too. And if there’s anything I can do to make you better, just ask.

I realize that being positive has to be balanced with a wee bit of the neg. Otherwise, I’ll just be annoying.

So what do I do? How do I become the Mr Positivity that I want to be? But do you want me to be Mr Positivity? Really?


Halloween. It’s all about the candy. I like candy.

Instead of ranting about the midterm elections of next tuesday, I thought I’d share a few stories about my favorite non-religious holiday.

I love Halloween….candy.

My fav

Back in the day, in my neighborhood, we were all about the tricks, soaping’ windows, throwing corn at houses, canning cars. It started about two weeks before the big day. I lived next to family of six kids, with another family of six kids next to them(irish catholic families/of course related). The Keidel’s had three boys, me being the middle, misunderstood creative kid.

Anyhoo, we would start raiding the local corn field of rock hard corn on the cob, each of us filling up an old pillowcase of ears and hoofing it back to my neighbors basement.  The Graham basement was the gathering place for the whole neighbor hood. They had a pool/ping pong table and lots of room.

Corning was guy thing. We would shuck corn off the cob till our hands were worn raw. Then we would go out in the early autumn darkness and throw it at houses till the grownups came out and yelled…we’d run like scared dogs. Ocaisionally someone would give us a chase which was always bad idea, because if we knew anything, we knew the neighborhood, and we would lead the chaser into a briar patch with hidden escape routes, that only we would know. Cursing would follow.

Soaping was a total clan event, usually saved for the Halloween weekend, we would soap only cars, not houses.One year we did every house on the the street except our three houses. Stupid kids. Even stupider was the idea of using canning paraffin. We all got in trouble, don’t remember the punishment.

Canning was even more insidious, it involved a coordinate group effort.  We would tie coffee cans on a length of rope, both ends which was laid across the road. A car would come up over the rise and with a kid on each side of the road we would  raise the rap to snag the car. The car would drag the cans dow the road, we would run like wild dogs, laughing, chases inside, briar patch, cursing, aughter in the woods. We lived on a street with a sheer cliff on one side and houses on the other. Not once did we think of what happened if a car went over the cliff. Stupid kids, public school. Whatever.

Then on Halloween proper, we’d put on our costumes and beg for candy from the very people that we corned, soaped and canned. At my house there was no store bought costumes, you were a hobo or a ghost. It was the 60’s so the sheets were always bright colors.

Older kids would lead the pack of the motley crew, taking a protection portion of the younger kid’s stash. Again. pillow cases were used for the booty. My friend Cary, would save his candy till friction’ Easter. Dan, John & I would have ours down to the bare wrappers in a day or two. they were big bars too, none of these smaller shit they have now, full Mounds bars, Butterfingers and Charston Chews. Some moms gave homemade popcorn balls and apples. Homemade caramels. Hot pennys.

Now we celebrate with our kids, nobody’s every soaped me, canned or corned me. Linda has three full boxes of halloweenie stuff.. We carve a lot of pumpkins.  As I look back, those were the days. But today’s also full of good times and, of course, candy.

I like candy.


911 Thoughts and memories

On the eve of the 9 year anniversary of the heinous attack on my country by Islamic terriosts, I feel like we have learned nothing about these crazy people. They hate our guts and the only way to deal with them is to kill them.

I remember the day vividly, I was at work at FSD, a Cincinnati ad agency on 6th & Main, right across from the Federal Building. Donna, the production manager, said that the World Trade Center was burning and everybody was watching the TV in conference room. We all put down our mouses and filed in to the horror of the images on TV. People were jumping to their death by then, the commentators were confused. Was it an accident or not.

I remember thinking, how could it be.

Then the other plane slammed into the other tower. We all gasped. Shocked that we just witnessed mass murder. I know that I could not take my eyes off the TV. I don’t recall a lot of discussion, just shock. Then fear.

Thank GOD Linda was not flying that day. I called her and she told me about the skies being cleared and that more jets were missing. We had good friends flying back from Europe. They got stuck in Canada or Iceland.

When the first tower collapsed, I had had enough. No more creativity for that day. I had a strong desire to gather my wife and kids and hunker down in my safe den in Mt. Lookout. I came home to find noone, just an empty house with a cat that doesn’t particular like me. Ellie and Linda had gone to pick up Cary at Kilgour School and it kind of freaked me out. I sat in my living room on a comfy lazyboy watching the carnage and the second tower crashing down, it was gut wrenching(a word my facebook friend described today).

I watched Rudy’s documentary just the other day on cable, it all came rushing back, the gut wenching feeling, the pride in the New York people and their courageous mayor. I’m sure the Nat Geo special will be on tomorrow, I will watch as they again debunk the conspiracy therories of an inside job(stupid truthers)

Back to my original thought, what was this all for, why and how can people hate us so? On the days after 911, the country came together to morn like never before. I’ll never forget how 911 made me feel but I will also never forget how 912 and the day after made me proud to be American.

Stories are my life…and yours.

For my initial entry, I want to talk a little about stories.

Once upon a time, in a place not far away, this ad geek decided that doing my job the way everyone else was doing their job, was clearly not an effective way to be different or persuasive.

The sisyphus-like process of writing a headline, finding a photo that fit, making the logo small and hard to find, and then emailing it off to a client so they could tear it apart and resuture all the little pieces back together again with their own, hideous additions, wasn’t satisfying as a creative and didn’t do a good product justice.

Instead of watching suits and committees bastardize beauty, I decided it was time to bring back the era of crafting a telling and intriguing story for a product. It’s time to once again tell a simple story that enlightens the consumer about a product. End result…getting them to happily swipe their debit card to make a purchase they feel they absolutely need.

In honor of this approach to advertising, I decided my new blog is going to consist of war stories from my 30-year career in advertising. History lessons from my childhood in North Bend and Cleves, Ohio. And opinion stories about politics (oh do I have opinions).

So come back, get in the talk…as Pete Rose said in the spot he did for Gold Star, “you can’t get in on the talk or even form an opinion if you haven’t tried Gold Star,” and “Gold Star Chili…dem dawgs are good.”


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