What Would You do for Your Local Small Business?

Do you have a favorite local business that you go to all the time? They know your name, they know how you like your coffee, they know about your family, they know what you watch on TV and at the movies. How do they know so much? Does not matter what kind of local business it is, they know things about you because they ask. They engage in conversation. They like you and respect you. Sure they sell you stuff, stuff you could get anywhere and possibly at a lower price on the internet, but a local business (if they are any good) will engage you as a person first, customer second.

Now what would you do if the business that you have been going to for years (and your parents went there, and you may bring your kids there) was gone? For me it would leave a big gaping hole in my heart.

So what would you do for a local small business in a time when they need you most? Saturday was “Small Business Day” and I made a it a point to shop local. I am not saying Wal-Mart and Amazon do not have a place in commerce, I buy many things at both, but those stores do not personalize your existence unless they are offering something else that you may want to purchase. When a local business that I frequent was sponsoring a blood drive, I went. When they needed volunteers to create a “Captain America Human Shield” I said:”I’m in.” Wait, what?

So when I saw that comic book publisher, IDW, was sponsoring a contest to see if you would die for your local retailer I said: “I’m in.” Wait, What?

If you watch the original Star Trek, the guy with the “red shirt” was more than likely going to die. The contest is to write 300 words on why you would die for your local retailer. The “winner” will get their likeness on the cover on a Star Trek comic wearing the “red shirt” taking a phaser to the chest in the name of saving your local store.

Here is my entry in an open letter to IDW:

Star date 07.16.2011: I found myself awake early on a Saturday morning. My local comic book store, Double Midnight Comics, was sponsoring a project called the “Human Shield” (Captain America Shield). Double Midnight stated that they would donate $1 for every person that participated All I had to do was stand in a baseball field holding a red colored piece of paper. The donations were given to the Wounded Warrior Project. Getting up early on the weekend, standing in a field, is the least that I could do for Double Midnight.

If you knew only half of what Double Midnight brings to the community of Manchester, NH, you would have been standing next to me, and you would have been happy to do so. Double Midnight provides the community with sponsoring blood drives, promotes young reader programs and helping libraries build graphic novel selections (among others). Some would call this a “corporate responsibility” for a business to give back to the community, but Double Midnight gives back because it is the right thing to do.

When I go into Double Midnight I feel like “Norm” from Cheers, “Sean!” is the greeting, and it makes me feel good. The thing is that they do that for everyone who comes in. Double Midnight has created an atmosphere where everyone who enters is a welcome friend (how do they remember all the names?).

I would gladly wear the “Red Shirt” and take a phaser, photon, bullet, arrow, cannonball, or anything that was hurled in Double Midnights general direction. They have earned my respect and the respect of the larger community. Double Midnight does not need to be saved; they need to be protected because there is not enough small business around like them.

Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam! (Klingon for “today is a good day to die!”)

So what would you do for your local small business when they need you most?

 

SeanSpeak

 

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Who Would Win in a Fight…Richie Rich or Scrooge McDuck?

Hi, my name is Sean, I am 39, and I read comics. Why would a thirty something year old be reading comics? They are fun, escapist reading enjoyment. When I was a lot younger I remember reading comics. I could not tell you the first one but I would enjoy reading them. The ones I remember the most were Richie Rich, and Scrooge McDuck (Huey, Dewey and Louie). The stories were enough to get this little kid excited for the next. Sure compared to comic’s available now the story and art does not compare, but as a kid try and take them away from me.

As I grew older my comics changed. I would read Justice League of America for the latest adventures in the super hero world. I would read Tintin, these were fun because I remember the adventures being very grand and exciting, with what appeared as real danger. Tintin would one day be on a boat, the next a hot air balloon or going through the mountains on a train. I liked Tintin because he did not have super powers, and was a kid who appeared to have a lot of bravery and courage.

As I continued growing (and growing) my tastes changed and I began reading Mad Magazine and Cracked. The parody element in these titles always (and still does) bring a laugh. In Mad Magazine I could not wait until I got to the end, I always read the book first, to see the picture of what appeared to be a generic innocuous scene, but if you read the directions and folded the page so arrow a touché arrow b and arrow c touched arrow d, a secret picture would appear. I do not remember a specific picture but it was always something a little edgy, I would laugh and if my father would ask what I was snickering about I would say: “nothing”, and make this my own secret or my own inside joke between me and Alfred E. Newman.

All of those books were great for the story and pictures and adventure, but there are other things that those books offered that “modern” era comics do not offer: X-Ray Glasses.

The ads at the end of the comics were almost as exciting as the book itself. I think I remember reading those ads as much as the books and created just as much imagination out of the ads too. What if x-ray glasses really worked? Can I really grow my own Sea Monkeys? (real sea monkeys not stupid brine shrimp) And yes I did buy something from those ads, even though my dad said those ads were just selling “crap”. I bought a switch blade comb. When I got it I felt I was the coolest thing on two legs, until it was taken away at school. Then I think it broke, proving my dad right, but I would admit it.

What is great about comics is that it started me young in getting me to have an imagination. It is an excellent way to get young people into reading. Comics are the gateway into creating a love of reading. I do not read as much as I would like but I would say more than most people, and I believe it is because I started with something that I liked and was not turned off because I was not forced into it. There are programs out there, like Free Comic Book Day, which is the first Saturday in May that encourages parents to bring their kids to their local comic shop and get introduced to the wonderful, imaginative world of comic books. My local shop, Double Midnight Comics, is very active with encouraging young readers. They have a large all ages section, and can often be found at a local school or the public library promoting and encouraging young readers.

Today, I am a huge DC Comics fan, Green Lantern in particular. I would say that the books today are geared towards older readers. The publishers recognize that people that are thirty something have been reading comics forever, and I think that they have followed the thirty something age group from tots to now, and have had trouble getting and keeping new readers for any number of reasons.

I do have a collection of comics. I do not keep my collection because I have some delusion that I will be able to retire and live off of the millions that I made in a big sale. That is never going to happen; I have them because I enjoy them and read them multiple times. In the ‘80’s and ‘90’s sure there were a lot of people selling comics for tons of money, this created an inflated demand, due to people buying comics on speculation that they would be able to buy low and sell high. The publishers were then selling millions and millions of comics because people were buying 3 or 4 of the same issue, so the actual number of customers were only a third or half of what they were actually selling. When people were not seeing a return on their “investment” they stopped buying. This in my opinion is where the gap between thirty something readers and gaining and retaining new readers occurred.

There are still some books that are the exception to the rule. In 1938 National Allied Publications (now DC Comics) released Action Comics #1 for ten cents. This was the first comic to introduce a character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, Superman. Action Comics #1 has the claim for having the highest selling price for any other comic. Action Comics #1 sold at auction for $1.5 million dollars in March of 2010. Last year the actor Nicolas Cage had a theft of a copy of Action Comics #1. Cage bought his copy for $150,000 in 2000; the comic was appraised and given high marks for being in near mint condition. The comic that sold in 2010 is said to be in a lower grade condition. Last year Cage’s copy was stolen. With lots of luck the book was recovered in April. The book is now up for auction on a web site during the month of November. The first day of bidding brought in bids for $900, 000 and is currently at $1.3 million. Go check it out for yourself at this auction site. (<–click) I want Nic Cage’s comic! UPDATE:Comic sold 11/30/2011 for $2.16 million.

In the comments please tell me what you are reading; it does not have to be comic related. We can share what is good (and not so good) and hopefully get some great recommendations!

So no winners on last week’s contest to win dinner with me. Not sure if the question was too hard or if no one wanted dinner…with me, but any way the answer of the question of what movie (or series of movies) did the car appear in? The answer is “The Evil Dead” or “Army of Darkness”. If you have not seen these movies they are a mix of horror and comedy. It was said that Sam Raimi (Spiderman, Darkman, and Xena among others) placed elements in the “Evil Dead” and “Evil Dead II” as homage to the “Three Stooges.”

#SeanSpeak

Non Sequitur

Non sequitur is Latin for: does not follow.  I took four years of Latin and do not remember much, but the teacher, Dr. Hussey “Doc”, was one of my favorite instructors, not necessarily for the Latin, but he was one of the most interesting people I have ever met.  Anyway, a non sequitur can be used as a literary device (often times used by comedians) that can be a response that does not follow in a conversation.  (“What am I drinking?  NyQuil, on the rocks, for when you’re feeling sick but sociable.” Mitch Hedberg)

Recent conversation with my wife:

Wife: “the Bruins are winning 5-0”

Me: “Leslie Neilson was an under rated actor.”

It just happened that when she told me the score, I was thinking about, Police Squad and Frank Drebin.  If you watch Police Squad, or any of the Naked Gun movies you will see tons of examples of non sequitur humor.  “Nice Beaver”, “Thanks I just had it stuffed.”

My wife tells me all the time that I speak in gibberish.  I have been accused by some that I have Tourrette’s, or that I have Asperger’s, I am not making fun just trying to translate how I speak sometimes.

I do not speak in gibberish, or have Tourrette’s or Asperger’s.  It is just sometimes I have one hundred thoughts running through my head and sometimes, my inner voice connects with my outer voice and I speak about things that may not appear to connect with the current conversation.  It is obvious to me that they are related but not to others.

   What got me on this subject to begin with was a question that my wife asked me: “Why was it a big deal when Ice-T had the song “Cop Killer”, but not a big deal when Eric ClaptonShot the Sheriff”?  Was it because he did not shoot the deputy? And isn’t it ironic that he plays a cop on Law & Order: SVU?”  As much as my wife does not like the “gibberish” talk, I think after 11 years I am rubbing off on her (but don’t tell her).  This sent my mind racing in many directions.  Should I tell her that Ice-T did not do “Cop Killer” but a band that he was in called Body Count?  Or that Bob Marley wrote “I Shot the Sheriff” before Eric Clapton did a cover? Should I say that last night on Seinfeld the “Bubble Boy” episode was on?  I kept my mouth shut and listened.  Upon reflection, I should do this more often.

               

 

 

                George: Who invaded Spain in the 1800’s?

                Bubble Boy: The Moors.

                George: Sorry, it was the Moops.

As I stated, I usually have a many things running through my mind all at once and they are fighting for a place to go, either to the recesses of my brain, blurt out loud, or doing laps until the queue to my brain has caught up and can be expressed in a logical, socially acceptable way.  Using Facebook, Twitter and this writing space, allows me to get stuff out, be creative, and share.  I do think to my credit, I am not an over sharer.  There are no lewd pictures of me (you’re welcome), and I keep most of my opinions to myself, not that they are bad, it is just people can take things the wrong way about politics, religion, etc.  This blog has been especially good for me due to the fact that I can write on things that I know about.  I have found that writing this blog has been a great release, and have found that I am glad that I took a typing class in high school, because I need my fingers to work as fast as my head.

I want to have a contest.  The winner of the contest can win lunch, with me.  Anyone can enter, but if you want lunch you must be local to my area, lunch will be at McDonald’s (or similar) and cannot exceed more than $5(including tax), and I have to be there.  If you can live with these conditions, please compete, if not, please take a guess anyway.  The contest is easy.

  Tell me, from the picture below, what movie is this car from?

If you know leave it in the comments.  The first one to leave a comment (there is a time and date stamp) that includes the correct answer will win lunch, with me.  I will not give clues, except that it is a movie made during my lifetime, and may or may not have been part of a series of movies.  If you do not know the answer, do not be upset, take a guess, phone a friend, use a lifeline.

Does anyone care that the McRib is back?  It looks like “ribs” from an unspecified animal, but does not have ribs in it.  Is it rib meat? Does it taste better because it comes with pickle and onion?  I have never had ribs (pork or beef) with pickle and onions.  I like McDonalds as much as anyone but have never cared to try the McRib, Shamrock shake, different story.

Twitter is full of people who you can follow that use non sequitur in tweet form.  It is the perfect place for them. One liner’s that often bring a chuckle.  You should follow: @theSulk, @RealGilbert, @SethMcFarlane and @rainnwilson.

Thank you for reading, please leave comments and share with friends.  I get a jolt of excitement when I see comments and that people are reading this space (it’s the little things).

#SeanSpeak