Archive for the ‘myStories’ Category

My Mom is great

Today’s the day that we think about our Moms in a special way. We should think about them in a special day everyday.

There will be two posts today, this one for my Mom and another one for Linda, written by both Cary and Ellie.

Sure we could have bought a card, or some flowers but we figured that writing stories about our mom and being there when she got home from Paris would be better. I didn’t tell them what to say, they wrote them on there own and I copied and pasted onto the blog. Make sure you give the other blog a read, I’m proud of my kids for putting their heart into it.


My Mom is great.

She’s Italian by default but so much more. My mom has style & flair(so does my wife, but that’s another story). Rose Marie Campagna Keidel is like no one else I know. She can be loving and sweet and make you feel guilty in the same moment.

My brothers and I had an idyllic childhood in a wonderful neighborhood, ina small town west of Cincinnati.
My parents brought us up to bei individuals, giving us enough rope to hang ourselves and in deed letting us fail and learn from our  failures.

My mom is creative in everything she does, everything. I get that creativity from her and my grandma, Gertrude Keidel. Everything she does is beautiful or delicous. Her pies are a work of art, her cakes put the BonBonnerie to shame. Her house is a treasure trove of wonderful things, each was hand picked and has a story. The lady can cook.

My mom crazy in a good way. Crazy about how things should be when in reality, her instincts are usually spot on. My mom would wish we were like other families when we were really better than those families.


My mom is loving but she doesn’t always show it or say it.

I love you mom,

she knows it. I know she loves me.

So here’s to you mom and all you other moms out there.

We wouldn’t be who we are with out you.

Memorial Day is memory day.

Memorial Day is memory day.

Ahh Memorial Day in the midwest, the first official day of summer. It was my all-time favorite of the triad of summer holidays. Growing up in the small towns of Cleves and North Bend, Ohio, Memorial Days were some of the happiest times I can remember, except maybe for one, so here’s the story.

Back in the day, school was ALWAYS out the week before Memorial Day, always. We didn’t start back to school till AFTER Labor Day, why this changed I don’t have a clue. A union thing, I guess. The level of anticipation leading up to Memorial Day was almost unbearable as you sat in class(unairconditioned), in jeans(no shorts allowed). So much to do, so little time. We had to shop for a new swim suit, decorate the bike for the parade, find the sleeping bags, pool toys, coppertone, flashlights.

You see, Memorial Day meant the swim club would open on the Saturday before. 3Rivers Swim Club, a magical place where kids from Catholic schools and Oak Hills meet to hang out with the local riffraff. We got a new swimsuit every year, because last years was eaten up by mass quantities of chlorine and sun. We wore Speedos back then exclusively. We were on swim teams, that’s all we knew. I didn’t learn that this was unacceptable until college, another story. I remember the water was always ice cold, numbing against the early summer sun. We’d get sun burned lobster red that weekend which would turn coppertone tan by the end of the summer. The swim club had it all, a fishing lake, campground, tennis courts, a 3 and 1 meter board. The snack bar had the best fries-crinkle cuts done just right, just the right amount of salt, ketchup on the side. They had frozen 3 Musketeers bars that would bust a filling. Strangely, we ate jello right out of the box, fingers turning the color of the day. It was a glorious place where my parents could dump us for the summer.

Sunday meant a picnic at Grandma Keidel’s house on Porter Street in Cleves, out on the patio where we had planted fresh flowers in the concrete planters, fresh from a Delhi nursery. We ate steaks grilled on lighter fluid soaked briquets, a jello salad molded into something, corn on the cob with plastic corn holders. Dan used to stick me with those amazingly sharp untencils that never lasted the summer. I would decorate my bike after dinner. I had a purple Schwinn Stingray, the envy of the neighborhood. Banana seat, sissy bar, 3 speed stick shift on the bar. I’d doll it up with streamers and of course the baseball card/clothes pin to make the noise. One year it got stolen the night before the parade, I was 12 and tried not to cry, tried. My grandma, GOD bless her, got me a new bike, two weeks later(a Golden Stingray). Captain Jack Renniger said there was a bike theft ring of gypsies in the area. We never locked anything back then. The bikes were ready for the big day ahead…

Memorial Day in Cleves is a sight to be seen. We got up early, hustled down to Cleves, the back way-Mt. Nebo to US 50 to E State to Porter. Mom walked with the Women’s Club, Dad sometimes marched in uniform with Fingers and Fuzzy and Si, until his uniform wouldn’t fit anymore. We’d ride our bikes up to the Kroger Store, parking lot, where we’d pick up the parade coming from North Bend. It had the YellowJacket marching band with fat assed band leader who shall remain nameless, antique cars with veterans and official people like Grandma Hanlon who lost a son in the war. The parade would take its timedown Miami, past Ann’s Tavern where patrons would come to the door but never step out into the sun. it passed Markland where my grandpa, ole Doc Keidel, would be standing, camera at the ready to take a shot he had taken 30 times before. We’d peel off at CT Young Elementary and ditch the bikes at Grandam’s and catch a ride to the Maple Grove Cemetery. There were speeches, someone would read the Gettysburg address and the best part was the 21 gun salute at each war memorial. I remember scrambling for the brass shell casings like they were gold nuggets. You could blow across the top of the casing a certain way to make a ear wrenching, high pitched whistle. Man I can hear that haunting taps done with two trumpeters.

Then we would all go to the Legion Hall for brats and beers and songs. Years later, Fin Harrold would get Cal Collins to play jazz guitar every year, I will never forget the Legion Hall. I drank my first beer there. It was a prelude of things to come. All before noon.

My family went to picnics on Memorial Day and Labor Day ever year with all the families that grew up with my Dad. Most all had nicknames, Big Daddy Don Crow, Fuzzy, Si Sizemore, Lardo Anderson, Fingers Thompson, the Evans’, Bixy, many more. They all had kids my age. It was at a different house every year my favorite being the Crow house with the bar in the basement. The parents would drink cold beer and burn meat and the kids would fill up on pop and chips and sweets baked that day.

But thing I remember most about the greatest generation that my parent belonged to ,was the songs. They sang patriotic songs, in particular, It’s a grand old flag. For hours they would harmonize the beautiful songs about our country.

They loved this country, loved it.

And that’s what Memorial Day should be about, it is for me.

Lucky me.

Hi, it’s March 2nd, 2012, It’s a very special day.

Let me start out by saying that I am a very lucky and blessed guy. I am thankful for it, I thank my GOD for it everyday and only ask for his protection of my family.

Some could say that I have it all.

I cute house in the tony Mt Lookout triangle, a good job that pays me to be creative(and write a blog or two and FB on company time.) Friends that look after me, argue with me, put up with my rants and raves and moodiness and cockiness. My parents still live on Cliff Rd in North Bend. My in-laws are the best that best can be.

But today’s about my partner in life, today’s the 16th anniversary of the marriage to my lovely, wife, Linda. So here’s the story;

A long time a go I lived in Mt Adams row house. It had a great OTR view of Music Hall & Union Terminal, sunsets everynight. It was utopia. Sort of. My neighbor was a Delta Flight Attendant named Polly, we had great fireworks parties together. I’d bring my motley crew of friends, Kegs of Hudy, she’d supply her Delta friends, fresh from the Chicago base. One, in particular was a stunner…always dressed to the nines, totally accessorized, and shoes to die for. She was Polly’s best friend. She was totally out of my league. Sweet but with a hint of reality, she know what she wanted, so I thought. A pretty girl, no doubt a cheerleader, prom queen, heartbreaker, a flight attendant that you can’t help smiling at or flirting with.

I was married, then I was not.

I gave myself a good length of time to get over it. My friends never let me sit still, we partied are ass off back then. I had the Hudy/Schoenling Advertising account, which meant that I had a frig busting at the seams with beers and ales. Debachery.

One day, I asked Polly if she thought that Linda would even consider going out with me. She enthusiastically concurred and then began pushing me to ask her out.

Then, at a Friday Night Club, at Neons, I saw Linda with her friend, Mel(another story, another blog). She knew that I had gone threw an ugly breakup and was getting over it. I told her that I was OK. To this day, I don’t know if Polly told her about our conversation. I asked Linda if she was seeing someone special, she said no, which was a lie.

I called her on a Wednesday for a weekend, I was very nervous, gun shy. I had it all planned out with lots of options about what we could do. So I worked up the courage to ask a beautiful girl, way out of my league, out. My face was flush, heart pumping.

Got the message machine(sigh).

I just went for it right then and there, trying not to sound desperate, I presented my weekend of first date options. I had great seats for a Reds game on Friday, Or. Saturday, Two front row…

The machine cut me off so I had to call back to continue.

Two front row tickets to Tower of Power at Bogarts PLUS a soul food pre-concert bash at Keith ‘n Gumby’s.


Sunday we could go on a top-down Westside tour in my trusty Rabbit convertible.

Then I hung up…then called back to say she could do all activities or group them for a fun filled weekend.

Ask her which one she picked.

Since then, my life has been complete. We courted, we married, moved to the suburbs, had two kids, couple of cats and now an adorable dog. My life is not perfect but i can’t imagine not being married to Linda.

Thanks for calling back Linda, I love you, Happy Anniversary.

Repurposed words of wisdom from my generation.

Before there was gen x, gen y, millennials, whatever else they classify themselves, there was just plain folks. Baby boomers is such bullshit box to be put in. We just are who we are. And we are awesome!. Our lives are living proof.

To those of us born 1925 – 1970. To all the kids who survived the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s… First, we survived.

Being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank ,while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes. Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.. Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank kool-aid made with real white sugar. And we weren’t overweight. Why? Because we were always outside playing…

That’s why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. –and, we were okay.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem..

We did not have play stations, Nintendo and x-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no internet and no chat rooms.

We had friends and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents. We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse. We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given bb guns for our 10th birthdays, 22 rifles for our 12th, rode horses, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little league had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas..

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If you are one of those born between 1925-1970, congratulations!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good. While you are at it, share this with your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were. Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it ?

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves”.
-Abraham Lincoln

NOTE: this text was emailed to me several times, I didn’t write it, I lived it and loved it.

Big enough to say I made a mistake.

I’m big enough to say that I made a mistake yesterday with a post on Facebook. Hopefully, I can remedy that mistake by offering this apology and posting this story.
Yesterdays post:
Shut ‘er down Mr. Speaker. Don’t back down, I’ve got your back.

and then I posted an article about how the shutdown is not really a shut down. You can find that link here:

Where's the Senate Budget Bill, Harry. We passed ours 40 days ago!

Both these posts got the normal right/left bloviation as usual from the usual suspects. It makes for good reading throughout a rather boring advertising day. Poking liberal/progressives with a stick is fun, it’s a hobby.

But sometimes I go too far, I write things without fully thinking out the ramifications of how my words effect the people around be. I can be insensitive, a bully, my family says that I “bark”. I’m working on not being so negative. I’ve stopped posting to the “Party of”. Although I still keep those core values of small gov/personal responsibility.
I got an email for a good friend who works for the government, he let me have it. He’s super smart, conservative and has a serious job protecting us from evil.
He writes:
“Hey Keidel, as a fed, I’ll tell you that everything won’t go on as usual if a shutdown happens. Although you’re absolutely right – This could have all been avoided if the Dems simply passed their budget last year. As someone that is going to be directly affected by this (my family as well and most of the people in DC), I find this infuriating. Governments shouldn’t be so fucking infective that they shut down.”
“In this economic climate, it’s actually quite unlikely that the Republican led congress will reimburse our salaries, especially those voted in by the Tea Party movement. So federal employees, as disliked as we may be by the masses, are being used as “pawns” by the politicians. Personally, and obviously unobjectively, I find it infuriating. We vote those sonofabitches into their benefit-filled positions so they can pass budgets and make laws and they simply don’t do their jobs, but they still get paid, still have benefits. I do my job, daily and I lose my salary and my benefits. And I’m hung out to dry to cover my mortgage, rent, car payment, daycare, etc.”
Double wo.
A shutdown is a big deal. And it’s going to make things a mess. Fuck, if people think that your average federal process takes a long time now, I can guaran-damn-tee you that once federal employees are brought back on from the shutdown, depending on how long that is, it’s going to be a long time before they’re caught up and serving the public in a timely fashion.
Just my two cents pal. How’s everything else by you and your fam? All good?”
Ok, my eyes are wide open. Point taken. I sent back a note that I would cover his mortgage and buy a diaper or two, which I would gladly do. He would never ask though.
My brother Johnny works for the DOD. He’s may to be furloughed too.
I put in a call to him, he’s in Israel, getting the “Iron Dome” working.

Dang, I’m a dumbass sometimes.

So I stand corrected, humbled. The government shut down is a big fucking deal, it affects all the employees that count on getting a well earned paycheck. Most work hard at what they do especially those who are protecting my family.
BUT. My main point stands. The 2011 budget battle that looms large should have been waged last summer, when Obama, Pelousi and Reid had control of the three branches. They punted on passing a budget. They attempted to cement in the HUGE budget raises from the year before with CR’s. It cost some of them their jobs. To this day, the US Senate has not passed a budget bill for 2011, the HR has. What do you think the Tea Party was bitchin’ about. The spending under Obama/Reid/Pelousi/and fucking Bush was insane and is unsustainable.

I'm smarter than you, dawg.

President Obama has not led, rather voted present like he always has. He knows that his policies have nearly bankrupted the nation. Pelousi on the other hand does not, she’s the dumbest person in congress. Reid is a hack. Bush deserves some blame, yes, I said that.  Who’s to blame for the shutdown? Obama, Reid and Pelousi. They need to do their job and put forth a real budget. They haven’t done their job.

I hope they come to an agreement and the government does not close. I DO NOT want the Speaker to cave in though. He’s trying to do the right thing. Let’s get past this and on to the bigger battle, the one to save the USA.

Ryan has put a brilliant plan out there, where’s Obama’s Plan? Where Reid and Pelousi’s plan? Get back to fucking work. Work through the weekend, all of you.
I’ll give you till Monday!~

The “a” word.

Things happen in my professional life that either make me proud or make me cringe.

For those of you that don’t really know me, my name is Michel and I am an advertising creative. My title is Creative Director, I fancy myself as a creative story teller. My discipline was that of an Art Director, I will explain that later.

The two events that happened week were related. Here’s the story…

Be Different

On last Wednesday, I attended the annual Cincinnati AdClub Cannes Awards luncheon, brought to us by USA Today and sponsored by(crap I can’t remember). We had a dude from Bridge Worldwide talk beforehand about his french y french riviera experience. It was interesting and I have to admit some envy, OK a lot of envy, raving frickin’ jealousy, but I digress. The one thing that I do remember because it’s still stuck in my craw like a hamburger stick with the little red plastic crap on the end.

He said there was a discussion about removing the “Advertising” from the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival which they actually did. Henceforth it is now the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. WTF!

When exactly did Advertising become a four letter word or the “a”-word.

On Saturday, I attended the Kilgour Fall Event. They made me feel great by gushing about what a good job I have done over the years on their “graphics.” In my line of work(advertising) it is very rare to receive platitudes or be celebrated and I truly appreciate being appreciated. My pro-Bono work gives me great satisfaction in that respect, because it’s great to be able to give back when I have gotten so much.

But. I did more than just the “graphics.” There’s a concept in there some where.

Splitting hairs, you ask?

In my mind, Advertising is the root/core of what I do. Webster’s defines advertising as 1 : the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements. I would add the word “persuade’ in there and targeted public too.

It’s the concept behind the action above. It starts with the homework of finding out what exactly we’re selling and to whom we are selling to. It involves the emotion of the experience of the brand and how to tap into that emotion to persuade them(whoever they are) to action(buy). I’ve found over the years that there’s only one way to do this well.

Tell a story.

So I use all of these tools to tell a story, starting with a objective, then strategies to reach the objective(s), executions of the strategies using a plethora of creative techniques and concepts, and finally the craft of art & copy to create the thing. I said thing because this works for campaigns, ads, the ugly trifold pamphlets, Outdoor, POP, websites, banner ads, TV spots, tweet campaigns, facebook fan pages, all that voodoo that medo and my friendsdo so well. Why we make it so complicated is beyond me. Confession, I do know why, it’s all about billable hours.

To me, Advertising is the Genus of the species and Branding, Packaging, Interactive, Graphic Design, PR, TV & Radio production, and many others are the sub geneses of the species. All very are important to a marketer to deploy on their brand development. But, the creative CONCEPT has to be KING, all the other stuff is delicious icing on the cake. Mere delivery vehicles. It doesn’t matter who creates the concept! So often I see stuff without a core concept, just snappy or sloppy technique.

When I started my career, thirty years ago, I had two paths from which to choose. One path was to go into te graphic design side of the business and find work at one of the many fine Cincinnati Design Studios. They did mostly packaging work for a huge dualithic consumer package goods marketer and soap maker. The second path was to land a job at one of the local/regional advertising agencies. They work on all the big companies advertising campaigns and that meant my first love TV and second Radio(storytelling). I chose the later. Proudly.

Lately, I have seen the Design Studios become the dominate force of the local creative scene. The advertising agencies have gotten smaller and more scarce. It’s a shame and I don’t like it. Admittedly , ad agencies have caused much of their own demise by over charging, excessive mark-up and blantant arrogance. We made it too damn hard to do business with us by bring impossible to work with. Too much beatdown is not good for business.(Ask any client)

Now, LPK, Landor and the likes offer services that ad agencies used to do, product and market research, branding, packaging, the spinoff were the Digital agencies like Bridge and Hyperquake. They design and create. They craft experiences and content. It’s all good. But what about the storytelling? What about the selling? The persuading? The art? It’s there, but you have to hunt for it.

So what do I care if they take the Advertising out of Cannes or I’m applauded for being a gifted graphic designer. I guess I don’t care all that much, but it’s not me.

I’m advertising artist and storyteller and always will be.

My Last Elementary School Horrah!

Tonight is my final Kilgour Elementary Silent Auction and Bid N Buy.
I’ve been supporting my little excellent, public school now for 9 years running.

Once they found out that I had some skills, I became the go to guy for graphic help. I did this gladly, it is a noble cause which i have trouble saying no to.

But I have some scars, here’s the story.

9 years ago, our boy Cary was in kindergarten with Mrs. Braffman. We love her. Her class was controlled chaos from start to finish. Judy is the kind of teacher that loves her kids, and with who knows how many years, she’s got the teaching down pat. So when asked to do something for her year-end present, I jumped at it. I did a ink drawing of the school and Jen Raabe had a matte made with all the kid’s fingerprints on it.  It was very cool and hangs on her wall to this day.

Now the deal was, that the gift was to be put on the bid ‘n buy table  at our school carnival and the parents of our class would bid it up to make money for the school. We had a new principal, Angela Cook, that year, it was her first carnival, as well. Ms. Cook started bidding against us. She wanted the drawing. It got crazy, we finally out bid her BUT I got corralled into doing another drawing specifically for Ms. Cook. So I did the drawing, made a scan, silk screened 100 prints for the next year’s Bid ‘n Buy and gave the original to Ms. Cook. All was hunky doorey. So I thought.

That class of parents were, shall we say, very enthusiastic and overly involved, and I was sucked into a 9 year project of public school branding project. The old logos were pathetic. We had a Bronko instead of a Mustang. The typography was horrible, the wareables was a mess. So I agreed to take the branding project w with a committee of Kilgour Moms. They kicked my ass….for months…version after version-rejected. The Mustang  was too mean or  to happy. The school logo was too artsy or too plain. Finally the year ended and  Ms. Cook made the final decision on a new school logo and a new sports logo. God Bless her.

From there, it was March Madness t-shirts(which were fun to do), and sports booster newsletters(also fun) and the brand style guides that everyone ignored. I was actually told that my sports tee shirt designs were …well, one mom said “We need to design some shirts that kids(her kids) will actually want to wear”. Zing.

I did a website design for the PTA only to be ripped for being too…corporate.

At Kilgour Elememtary, we have a Spring Carnival. Did I mention that we are a Cincinnati Public School? It’s a real money maker with a 5K race. My designs for it were shitcanned.

Then we moved the Silent Auction to the Fall, four years ago. I, of course, was asked to do the invitation and other campaign materials. It was nice, pedestrian. Very successful. The next year, my friend Amy let me do my thing, no committee, just do it. We were moving back to our newly remodeled school and I did a panorama photoshop number of the new addition. I’m very proud of it. Amy set a new standard for me on all these kinds of projects and I  want to thank her for that. It’s gotten better every year since.

From then on, when asked to do a Kilgour or any other pro bono project, I lay out my rules of engagement, first. I will do the best ______insert project_____ for you that I can possibly do but you have to accept the artwork as is. No committee, no meetings, no presentations. I’ll get everything donated or as cheap as possible. It’s worked out great since then. This is my last Kilgour Event. It’s a little sad.

But that original class of parents that I mentioned before. They are all at Walnut Hills HS, now. They call then the Kilgour mafia because they(we) are taking over. I left my mark on Kilgour, my logo is on the gym floor, on the wall and on the flag.

Don’t forget me, Kilgour.|I won’t forget you and the friends that we made while involved with our wonderful neighborhood school.

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