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December 30, 2003

Happy New Year

Yes (yawn) the link below leads to an animated greeting card. But this one is actually good!

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December 29, 2003

Fab Pre-fab

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There is a new architectural movement afoot: modernist prefabricated housing.

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December 28, 2003

Micro-loans

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Did you know that you have the power to change someone’s life forever, spending no more money that what you’d spend on a good dinner for two in New York? It’s called “micro-financing,” lending small amounts of money to people in impoverished countries which they then use to start their own small businesses. Opportunity International is just one of many organizations who hand out small grants. The payback rate for these small loans is greater than those made by an actual country. In other words, you are better off loaning money to a Bolivian peasant than to the Bolivian government itself.

Meet Lola Tasuna (see photo above), age 72. Lola and five other people share a shelter constructed from scrap materials. A micro-loan from Opportunity International helped her start a business making kerosene lamps, a necessity in a neighborhood where blackouts are frequent. She buys clean jars at 5 cents a jar, paints the lids, adds wicks, and attaches metal handles. She sells them for 10 to 25 cents, depending on the size. With the help of family members, she can make as many as 300 lamps a day, which net $30.

You can be a worldwide social entrepreneur right from your computer by donating to Opportunity International online.

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December 26, 2003

Alum sighting

Doug Katz. Tekserve on 23rd St. Bio and photo were demanded, and promised!

December 24, 2003

Slow Down, You Eat Too Fast

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Now that American cows are going mad, perhaps this would be a provident time to learn more about Slow Food USA, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to supporting and celebrating the food traditions of North America.

Our century, which began and has developed under the insignia of industrial civilization, first invented the machine and then took it as its life model.

We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes, and forces us to eat Fast Foods.

- from the manifesto of the 1989 Slow Food International Congress

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December 18, 2003

Neilan's Xmas Letter

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The holiday would not be complete without an appearance by Chiat/Day's own ELF, Neilan Tyree. I received a copy of his Christmas letter, a work of such gargantuan proportion it makes Proust's "In Search of Lost Time" look like a Post-It note. Take it away, Neilan ...

Do you hate those neverending letters friends and family members sometime send out during the holidays? Well, brace yourself... because this is one of them. And maybe the longest one ever! So, if you're not keen on such things, go ahead and discard this whole note now. But I hope you won't...

All I wanted was to take a moment to wish each of you a personalized special holiday greeting, but... there are a heck of a lot of you out there I'm thinking of right now! So I HAD to do it in one fell swoop or it would never happen.

Please take a peek at the following. Maybe print it out and stuff it in your briefcase, luggage or backpack. (Or at least glance at it before throwing it away!) But, hey, you might get stuck in traffic or at an airport... so you can read it then! And maybe reading what I've been up to for the last year will inspire you to share your own news with me sometime soon. I'd like that.

As I wrote this on a beautiful, snowy December Sunday afternoon, it occurred to me that I'm fortunate to know a lot of different kinds of people from a lot of different places in the world ­ literally and figuratively. And when I went over my list of names, I thought of a song from the recently opened Broadway musical "The Boy From Oz" about the late Peter Allen. I was playing the new CD of the musical as I wrote this and the opening number seemed particularly appropriate. So I've added the lyrics here as well. Because all of you really do make up "The Lives of Me." Almost a parade, indeed. Not that any one of you are following me around!

As I said: read the following, print it out, discard it immediately. Whatever works for you! But just know that you're in my thoughts and that I'm sending you my best wishes for a very happy holiday season for you, your family and friends.

Happy New Year!

Neilan

If you want to read the entire letter, set aside a couple of days between the holidays and then click on the "Continue reading ..." button.

³The Lives of Me²
From ³The Boy From Oz²
(music and lyrics by Peter Allen ­ partial lyrics follow)

Everywhere I go I'm followed by a lot of people
Such a lot of people
It's almost a parade
And if you could see all the people
They're everyone I ever was
And everyone I ever will be
All the lives of me

Nothing left to hide I come in many colors
Assorted shapes and sizes
Can adapt to your demand
And if you smile at someone
Then I'll just become that one
And throw in all the others for free
All the lives of me

Faults aren't things for hiding on a shelf
And if you like who I am now
That's only a reflection of your self

And if I make you feel good
After knowing all you know is really only all that you see
All the lives of me

And if you could see all the people
They're everyone I ever was
And everyone I ever will be
All the lives of me
All the lives of me...

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2003: Continuing down my own yellow brick road! The last year has certainly been one of enormous change for me – as well, I suppose, for many of you. In an effort to catch up, here are some of the highlights of my year. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to share your own stories with me soon so that this won’t be a one-sided conversation! We can do so by email, through old-fashioned letter, on the phone or – best of all – in person whenever possible soon after the New Year begins! So, without further adieu… my year!

JANUARY

I began 2003 back in New York after commuting back and forth to my historic fabulous home in Alabama – named Locust Hill – for the last several years. (Seemed like a good idea at the time!) By the first of the year, however, I had pretty much completely returned to the city and had put the Alabama property up for sale. My big line at the time was that “it took me 3 years to renovate and 43 to realize that I really didn’t want to live in Alabama. Oops!” But I was very proud of having restored such a historical property to at least part of its original luster.

On a professional note, the year started on a real high note with a major global win for my employer at the time, Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners. Unfortunately, that new job also presented something of a conflict for the fine publishers and editors of Adweek for whom I’d written my popular “Man About Town” column for three years.The magazine itself was undergoing a dramatic change in January so – in a characteristically generous gesture – editor-in-chief Alison Fahey published my final column in the magazine’s last issue before launching it’s redesign at the end of the month. How many times can you say that something was absolutely fabulous through beginning, middle and end? That’s what the column was to me: a life changing delight.That’s why Alison and editor Tim Nudd head up my list of people to be thankful for having in my life –– now and forever.

FEBRUARY - MAY

One big win does not necessarily translate to others, however, as I was soon reminded at the office. But, true to form, I threw myself into my job… with decidedly mixed results. Despite the encouragement of my boss (John Berg… who rocks!) and a terrific new biz team including Michael Carroll, Noelle Weaver and Trish Hamilton, it soon became clear that my dramatically stated “last job in advertising” would probably not, in fact, be my last stop.

I also discovered about the same time that my investment in Locust Hill was far too excessive for me to ever even remotely recoup those costs. In short? I lost my shirt. But (in another quote I used ad nauseum) “it was a short sleeved shirt, so… whatever.” Thus, my exciting era as the proud owner of Locust Hill came to an unceremonious end. However, my pride in what I did and my enjoyment of that exciting effort remains intact.

JUNE – AUGUST

By the 4th of July I was celebrating my own professional independence and had left the agency that had brought me back to New York. I was fortunate to find a wide variety of new projects almost immediately and, importantly, devoted myself to some non-advertising projects as well. I spent much of the summer writing a new one-man musical that I planned to launch in a nationwide tour of major advertising cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. I took the music and lyrics from my favorite musical (Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies”) and rewrote the songs to serve as a satiric and only slightly barbed take on the advertising business. Friends and family who’d witnessed my previous efforts on the stage several years ago (both the highs of my Carnegie Hall gig and the decided lows of my subsequent Off Broadway flop) showed amazing restraint in NOT trying to discourage me from mounting yet another “one-man-band” production. For once in my life, I decided to take a long view of the whole project and not rush into anything.Which, as you’ll learn, was a pretty smart thing to do. “Follies,” indeed.

SEPTEMBER

Although I’d sworn off participating in future Account Planning conferences after a particularly wellreceived reception in DC last year, as Al Pacino said in The Godfather III, “just when I thought that I was out… they pull me back in.” Truth is, I was thrilled to reunite with Karen Proctor of the AAAAs (who were back in charge of the annual advertising conference). Since it was being held in Boca Raton, Florida this year, it also meant that I got to spend some thrilling time with my cousin Jane Tyree Guin and her husband Dan.Their Boca Ballet continues to thrive and I was lucky to have the time and opportunity to brainstorm on some efforts on their behalf that may come to fruition in the coming months.

I also stepped up my support of two other enormously talented friends and collaborators with whom I’m working on some exciting projects.West Coast theatrical maven (and longstanding dear friend) Larry Dusich has spent the last several years writing a brand new, brilliant musical that I’m hoping to help lead to Broadway in the coming years.What’s more, I’ve been extremely fortunate to participate with The B52s’ Kate Pierson on some wildly imaginative projects of her own including the opening of her newly renovated modernist motel near Woodstock (go to www.lazymeadow.com immediately and book yourself a room!) as well as some exciting new television projects she’s developing.

Instead of tearing out “on the road” willy-nilly with “The Wizardz of Adz” (the one-man show I mentioned earlier), I took an invitation from the planners of this year’s Account Planning Conference (the magnificent troika of JWT’s Michael Fanuele, Deutch’s Jurene Fremstad and Hill Holliday’s Carol Costello) to try something else first.The result was a nightclub act of sorts that kicked off the conference at the magnificent Boca Raton Resort & Club. Backed by the hilarious (and wildly talented) Hugh Jorgan’s Dueling Pianos (as well as additional musicians to round out the sound), the evening was…um… one to remember!

My show consisted of numerous tunes from “Chicago” rewritten to skewer the advertising business, a lot of shouting at the audience on my part and (God help me) some writhing around on a pair of baby grand pianos while sporting a rhinestone studded bustier and singing “Vogue” with Madonna’s track. (Some things never change with me, I guess...) You can imagine just how proud and professional I felt when an image of me in the latter get-up greeted conference attendees the following morning. Blown up on a screen as wide as the stage, no less.At 8:30 in the morning.And I wonder why I sometimes I have a bit of a dicey image... Hmmmm… (What’s that about “fools’ names and fools’ faces always appearing in public places?”)

I learned something pretty darn important while mulling over the show after I returned to New York. First of all, I had a ball – and largely because of my FABULOUS musical partners. If you have some huge event coming up for a client, an organization or your own company, go to www.hughjorgans.com and get in touch with Jacqueline Batcha right away to book them for it! They have their own nightclub in Del Rey Beach but I bet you could get ‘em on a plane to just about anywhere! You’ll be thrilled with their professionalism, their hilarious and inventive interpretations of some 35,000 (!) songs and their ability to really get a crowd worked up. I LOVE them! Hugh Jorgan. Lar Jorgan.And so forth!

But secondly and definitely more importantly, I realized that it just MIGHT be a bit of a struggle to devote untold amounts of time, energy, money and effort into a show designed strictly for the advertising community.Truth is, in order to get the crowd of planners fully into gear down in Boca, I felt kinda like a two-dollar hooker working the streets in the meat-packing district in New York at about 4:00 in the morning. Egad. I love all you folks in the business, but you must admit that… um… you can be a bit of a tough audience, eh? Suddenly the idea of putting a show on my back and dragging it all over the country seemed… a bit unwise.To put it mildly. BUT, I had a ball doing the Boca gig and wouldn’t change a thing! (Perhaps some day I’ll reunite with my buddies from Hugh Jorgans – say that fast three times – Dueling Orchestra, but who knows when that will be?)

It seemed a shame, however, for all the summer’s hard work to go to waste. Hell, I’d written an entire new show that I now had no plans to ever appear in. Kind of stupid, huh? That’s when a lightning bolt seared my head. Maybe I was finally smart enough not to embark hellbent on such a fool’s journey. But the same, perhaps, might not be said for my alter ego, Oren Maxwell, whose story I have longed to tell for years.The result is that I’m proud to report that I’m fast at work on “Hollywoodn’t: Life and Death on Madison Avenue.” I like to say that I want it “in every bitch’s beach bag between 42nd Street and Sunset Boulevard by June!” (I used to say June 2004, but that now seems unlikely.Watch for it “in time, my pretties. All in good time.”) And, for those of you who are wondering, it is a COMPLETE work of fiction.The story of a young man who rises and falls throughout an outlandish career in advertising that takes him from a West Coast rebellious agency named Hiatt/Ray to the boardrooms of some of the biggest ad agencies on Madison Avenue. “Fiction, I tell you! Fiction!” (But just in case, I plan to get a good lawyer! Hee hee hee.)

My Christmas card image was originally designed by my beloved buddy Quentin Webb to be a poster for “The Wizardz of Adz” (sans the Christmas tree, of course). It seemed a shame to have all his hard work go to waste once I scrapped the production, so THAT’S why I created such a shameless, vanityfueled holiday greeting. One of my dearest and longest friendships is with New York playwright Richard Alfredo who arranged the photo shoot with acclaimed New York photographer Adam Chinitz. Seemed a shame for that effort to languish unseen as well. If you need a good shoot stylist (Richard) or brilliant photographer (Adam) contact me and I’ll put you in touch with them! Make a note of Richard’s name while you’re at it.And keep your eye out for it in the theater listings before too long!

OCTOBER – NOVEMBER

As I said before, I was fortunate to find plenty of work to keep me occupied this year. Much of the late summer and fall was spent with the fabulous folks at Cliff Freeman & Partners. Like many ad agencies, they’ve had their share of challenges these last few years. But Cliff remains the visionary he’s been for years and I was thrilled to finally meet and work with him. He’s the best and I can’t wait to see what the New Year holds for Cliff and his talented crew. I also had the privilege of working with a number of other talented luminaries this year on some projects that came to fruition and some that did not. Suffice it to say that I loved the opportunity to spend at least some time with a wide variety of smart, fun, capable advertising and marketing folks including Bill Hamilton, Bill Whitehead, Jim Consolantis, Megan Kent, Eric McClellan, Jeanne Meyer (mostly virtual ‘cause she’s SO modern), David Melancon and countless others on a number of initiatives. I never know who’s gonna call, but just love it when I’m either reunited with someone I’ve loved working with in the past or get a call out of the blue from someone new. Heck, I just love my life. As for family, I was greatly looking forward to spending Thanksgiving at my cousin Kelly’s wedding in Houston.

Work,as you’ll soon learn, made that trip impossible so I wasn’t able to join my mom, aunt, cousin Nancy (Kelly’s mom) and others for such a wonderful occasion. Nor would I get to catch up with my buddy (and favorite rising star account planner) Randy King who’s currently in Austin at GSD&M. Nor would I be able to see my cousin Donna’s husband Captain David Buss take command of the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis in San Diego the following week. But… them’s the breaks. For the record, my Aunt Helen single-handedly raised eight children, every one of whom served in the US military at some point, are currently doing so now or married a military man. For all you unabashed “doves” out there, give me a call if you’d like to know why I so unconditionally support the fine men and women of our Armed Forces. I’ll be proud to tell you why I applaud their sacrifices and heroic efforts – during difficult days such as these or in peacetime! Oh and even closer on the family tree, my brother-in-law Mark Froehlich was a Navy pilot and my sister Tinnon met him while serving as a cultural attaché in the Navy. So there! Also, Mark and Tinnon have moved to Cincinnati along with my beloved niece Diana Neilan, nephews William and Quentin and my mother Di Tyree. Needless to say, I’ll be spending plenty of time getting to know the Cincinnati area in the future. Goodbye Jacksonville, hello Cincinnati! Perhaps my cousin Jane’s dear friend Susan Kettering will be kind enough to show me around Ohio! If anybody can do so, it’s her! But a little more family bragging to wrap up this month’s news.The following was about Donna’s husband David:

Carrier Stennis Has New Skipper (From the San Diego Union-Tribune) Capt. David Buss took command of the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis yesterday. He succeeds Capt. James McDonnell, who had commanded the San Diego-based nuclear carrier since November 2001. McDonnell will transfer to the Pentagon. Buss, a former A-6 Intruder pilot, commanded Attack Squadron VA-34 in 1995 and 1996. He also was executive officer of the carrier Nimitz and commanding officer of the support ship Sacramento. Before transferring to the Stennis, Buss was on the staff of the commander of naval air forces.The Stennis has a crew of more than 5,000.

DECEMBER

It was a very important professional reunion that occurred around Thanksgiving that kept me from that Houston trip and it gave me the distinct pleasure of working again with one of my absolute favorite teams: the leaders of Euro RSCG Life. CEO Ron Pantello, N.A. President Diane Harri and New Biz President Lydia Canizares were the same folks I got to work with on that big global January win, so it seemed like the best bookend in the world to get to wrap up the year working with them.As thrilling as it was to roll up my sleeves with them all once more, they’ll always hold a really special place in my heart because they are the ones who introduced me to Paris! It wasn’t just a New York-based effort this time around. It was a pitch in Paris! Yup, so now I’ve gone international and will be setting my sights on Europe for all manner of activity – personal and professional – for the immediate and, hopefully, long-term future.

I’ve spent 44 years bouncing all over this wonderful country (hell, I’ve lived in 62 places in my life – 60 of them since I was 18 years old!) and the time seems to have come to broaden my horizons. Literally. Which is why you can expect to run into me on distant shores in the not-too-distant future. I can’t wait to catch up with my favorite Londoners (is that a word?) Merry Baskin, Mark Earls and Scott Garrett. If they’re indicative of the rest of the nation, I imagine my first visit to the UK (scheduled for early 2004) will be as brilliant as my premiere “tour de Paris.”

As for Paris, I couldn’t have hoped for a more STUNNING welcome from the folks in France. Sheesh! Strangers were singing “New York, New York” to me on the platform of the Paris Metro underneath the Louvre; a taxi driver shouted with delight “You are Jerry Lewis! You are Jerry Lewis!” (as a COMPLIMENT for a change – many folks have made that analogy in the past, but not always in a flattering way…); my sister-in-law (oops, I mean “mon belle-soeur”) Barbara Tyree was a fabulous companion at the Paris Opera for a brilliant performance of the Paris Ballet and we even met a brilliant young Irish poet who’s a bartender at the Café de la Paix (I think) across from the opera house! Hopefully, I’ll soon be able to add “poetry patron” to my list of future accomplishments because I may have the opportunity to help sponsor a Parisian poetry quarterly that Mark O’Brien’s work is to be published in.Take that Harry Crosby and the rest of you ol’ Lost Generation American expatriates from the 20s as well! (For those of you who don’t know, Harry Crosby was my absolute hero during my own roaring 20s and if you want to know why, pick up a copy of the brilliant biography “Black Sun:The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby” by Geoffrey Wolfe.)

Thanks to my “second” family, Edgar and Roberta Schlossberg, son Peter (whom I’ve been best friends with since Tulane!), son Kurt and his wife Laura and their children, I’ve not only enjoyed some of my best times in New York (including Thanksgiving this year!), but will now be relying on all of them for advice about Paris – which they all know and love – in the coming months and years. Finally, I understand what they’ve been trying to tell me for ages! I admit it: I’m a slow learner. But NOW I get it! They were also responsible for my hooking up with the most FABULOUS couple in Paris. Mark and Nicky are, mark my words, going to be my new favorite people.Whether it’s visiting them in their “pied a terre” in Paris or at their new country farmhouse seven hours from the city, they’ve promised to give me some real “insiders’ guides” to life in France! And that’s what I want! Even if it’s only part time! Hopefully, future trips will be with my mom, brother Henry and his wife Barbara or my best high school pal Tamara Jean Mobley Pounders and her husband Townley and magnificent children Ella Grace and Roman.They’re all HUGE Francophiles, so I have big plans for all of us in France in the future!

Finally, I’m wrapping the year up on another few high notes as well. Marty Cooke is one of the partners of SS+K here in New York and FINALLY we’re getting to work together. He was at Chiat/Day and Merkley Newman Harty as was I, but somehow we’ve never had the chance to work with each other before.Those of you who know him can understand why I’m so thrilled about ending the year working on a project on his firm’s behalf. Merry Christmas, indeed!

In case you’re wondering, I have one more international trip in store this year as well. After too many broken promises to count, I am finally off to Madrid to catch up with my dearest and most beloved college friend, Kristi Tietz. She and her glamorous husband Javier de Ferrero and wildly accomplished young sons have invited me to spend Christmas with them, so… that’s what I’m doing! And now that I’m such a madcap, international bon vivant, I’m going to add a solo trip to Barcelona to the holiday excursion as well.

Last Christmas I was working on that big global pitch and had planned to spend my one day off (Christmas Day) in Southampton with my buddy David Hornung who is one of my best pals from the LA days.A blizzard knocked out the city as well as my plans, so I spent the day last year watching “Meet Me in St. Louis” and forging up 8th Avenue for a single, sad Negroni at the only open restaurant in the neighborhood. Pathetic. I kept the receipt and have dozens of copies of it attached to the lovely wreath on my front door as we speak as a symbol of BAD holiday planning. I vowed not to make the same mistake this year (or any other for that matter) so was determined to come up with a magical way to end the year. Consequently, I’ll spend a week in and around Madrid with Kristi and Company and wrap up my visit with them on Christmas Eve.That, as many of you know, also marks the anniversary of my dear dad’s death so the holiday has an even deeper resonance for all my family now.What better time, after all, to think of one’s family and, in this case, particularly my father?

I’ll take my leave from the Ferreros on Christmas morning, however, and will jet off to Barcelona where I’ll be ensconced at the fabulous, fabled Hotel Arts Ritz. (Look it up on the web if you want to seethe with jealousy – I hope you will!) I plan to sport gigantic oversize black bumblebee sunglasses and march around the premises barking “Yes, yes, yes… Feliz Navidad and all that! But I vant to be alone!” at any and all hotel employees or other guests who encroach upon my personal space. (Kidding, of course. Well, kind of…) My days will be spent admiring Gaudi’s architectural treasures and my nights in gaudy enjoyment of the other charms Barcelona has to offer a man of my tastes!

On a serious note, I’ll also no doubt spend my private time reflecting on some of the more important issues we all face. Specifically, I’ll be remembering my cousin Christopher Kent Sleeper who passed away last Sunday night, December 7. One of Aunt Helen’s sons, Kent was only 46 years old and died from a massive coronary that came absolutely out of the blue. His wife Joanne and two children will be very much on my mind and completely in my prayers both now and for years to come. I know what it’s like to lose a parent at this time of the year. But Kent’s children are only 14 and 18, so that’s given me an awful lot to think about. Please add them to your prayers as well.

IN CONCLUSION? HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I’ll ring in 2004 thinking about all of you and being particularly grateful for every one I’ve mentioned by name as well as such other dear friends as Jeff Streeper, Jodi Coppernoll, Christopher Ford and Nancy Hill (along with the aforementioned Larry, Kate, Peter, Richard, Quentin and his partner Craig, and allof my immediate family etc.) whom I see and speak with more than just about anyone else. Believe me, they all deserve special mention here!

But if I didn’t mention you by name? Don’t get all in a twist. I love you all or wouldn’t have sent you such a personal note.

Some of you may be primarily professional friends, some are family members and others are either longstanding friends or relatively new acquaintances like up-and-comers Nick Tarant from Chicago or Yale Gurney here in New York. Or talented folk like my favorite “future famous filmmakers” David Karlsberg and Gary Nardino, Jr. from Los Angeles. Some of you have helped shaped my career for years and continue to offer wise advice (such as Bonnie Lunt, Laurie Coots and Jane Newman) that I apparently only heed sporadically. Or, like Ron and Pippa Seichrist and everyone else I’ve ever met through the Miami Ad School, you’ve let me “be the teacher!” Others of you are far-flung friends from former jobs such as Julia Goldberg, Carisa Bianchi (and festive hubby Pete), Sonja Peterson, Susan Mercy (and groovy hubby John), Rick Atwood, Brian O’Neill, Kate Webster, Denzil Meyers, Karen Polsky, Pam Cunningham, Pen Pendleton, Joe Feldman, Naomi Maloney and Carol Madonna from the West Coast whom I seldom get to see or speak to. Some are local folks I don’t get to see nearly enough of like future Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer Hillary Jordan or Debra Mason and her fabulous husband John,Amy Moorman, Lori Lum, Brian Martin and a host of other groovy NY-based ad folk. Or former cronies from JWT like Bob Jeffrey,Wendy North, Owen Dougherty, John Garland, Drew Vogelman (and everyone at JWTwo),Alicia Tremaine (and her whole gang), Greg McConnell, Cindy Heath, Glenn Schachitano, Danny Goldstein, David Lamb, Marc Capra, Alex Wilcox, Carol Simas or MindShare’s David Marans… oh my god… too many from JWT to mention! Not to mention the ones I met there who’ve headed elsewhere like dennis Ryan, Mary di Salvo, Mary Baglivo, Pat Corry, Brian Heffernan, Catie Marshall (and her dreamy family),Andy Fenning and Chris Jones, all of whom I still revere. Oh… this could go on forever… And then there are all the former Chiat/Day folk? Sheesh! That would take pages if I started listing Steve Alburty, Adelaide Horton (and hubby John whom I owe a golf game to), Rosemarie Ryan and family, Mary Maroun, Hugh Duthie, Jeremy Miller, Mary Cabrera, Sue Sheldon (and faboo hubby Matt!), Dede Dalton, Roseann McNulty, especially Ariane Herrera and… Oh, this is just too much! Others of you from different places are just TOO scattered around the country to try to single out!

Worst of all, I’ve lost touch with too many dear friends like Jeff Dawson over the years. But getting back in touch with a sweetheart like Catherine Shaddix suggests that… there are still wonderful surprises in store. Sometimes you (read: me) just have to make a little effort! Like with some of the most important people ever: R&J. Not Romeo and Juliet.Well, not exactly.

But wait! What about lifelong friends from Alabama like Glyndell and Shelley from SunTrust Bank who helped me out so much over the last few years or the entire glamorous and delightful Anderson clan – headed up by Joel and Carmen – who ALWAYS include me in their New York adventures? Heading the Alabama list, of course, would be Alan and Curtis Flowers and family, Charlotte Tomlinson and Gary and Jeannette Wilkinson as well as the entire John Carter family… not to mention my Aunt Freddie and her whole side of the family who keep the Tyree flag flying in Florence... Or my dad’s cousin Ernest Deal whom I respect more than just about anyone on the planet… Ok.That really is enough… so now I do give up. (Wow. I guess I’m luckier than I sometimes remember!) In any case, I wish you all the very happiest of holidays and pray that you’ll all remember your own blessings – just as I hope to remember mine – in the coming year(s).Whether things go well or rightoff- the-rails with whatever you’re doing, try to remember just how much we all have to be grateful for, no matter what.

So for a million reasons, I’m grateful – most of all – for all of you. Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noel! Feliz Navidad! Happy Hanukah! And so forth and so on. But, most of all: Happy, Happy New Year!

Love,

Neilan

P.S.:This holiday wish is dedicated to the memory of my cousin Christopher Kent Sleeper and with special prayers added for his wife Joanne, daughter Aislynn, son Jordan and surviving siblings Nancy, Rick, Randy, Donna, Christine (his twin), Dale and Todd and all their families and, perhaps most of all to his mom: my dear aunt: Helen Neilan O’Connor Sleeper.

Heck, the reason I wrote this thing is because I’d lost touch with Kent over the last many years and felt bad about having done so.There’s nothing I can do about that now. Except, perhaps, to not make the same mistake with any of you!

December 16, 2003

Meet the Mitgangs!

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Ever since Jay's memorial in SOHO, I have been nagging and nagging Steve Mitgang to send me some photos and an update for the Jay/Day website. The pressure has been tense, but he has finally delivered! Here's what "Mitty" (my pet name for him) has to say ...


Whatever happened to this infamous Chiat/Day NY couple - Ellen Sunshine and Steve Mitgang (Ellen circa 1982 and Steve circa 1984)?
We moved from the NY office in 1988, to the LA office, and then to Del Mar, California, where we began a family and started working with the dark side: client side business and school fundraising.

Some specifics:

Ellen went on to become a mother of 2 (Matthew 13 and Lindsay 9 - Steve’s the dad) and become a mover and shaker in school fundraising. Steve went on to start a successful think tank for Reebok, then was recruited to the Upper Deck Company where he hired C/D and subsequently fired C/D. From there he did a software turnaround for Bain Capital called Jostens Learning, started an Internet business called Sitematic, which he sold to a public company named NetObjects, and from there did another internet turnaround called Keylime which he sold last year to a public company named Overture (which got sold to Yahoo!).

Life’s great, we still look back to our NY Chiat/Day experience as wonderful in every way (except when Ellen got fired), and the friendships we made there were more like family than anything else we have experienced.

Thanks Steve and "Sunshine" for making our Jay/Day brighter!

December 14, 2003

Forget Saddam, look who I found!

One of the joys of running this website is when I unexpectedly get an email from an old friend that I worked so hard with and had so much fun with, the years together seem as brief and blurry as happy hour.

Here she is, ladies and gentlemen, out the blue of the Internet, the girl who put the exclamation point in the word party!

Sharon Teal! (now known as Sharon Teal Conklin)

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Sharon’s history at Chiat/Day began as an A.E. in the Seattle office (yes, we actually had one) in 1977. She transferred to New York in 1982, when we were still at the devil building, 666 Fifth Ave. Perhaps it was that satanic number that caused us to win the New York Air account …

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Evil, evil, evil. That relationship ended in a bitter lawsuit. Sharon says …

Jay made me work on Robert Half as punishment for my sins. I also worked with Jay, Jane and Joe P. I worked on a bunch of new biz but I don't recall ever winning anything.

Sharon now lives in Spokane, Washington (the home town of Steve Alburty and Eve Luppert.) As for the photo above ...

That's a picture of me and the girls taken at our lake cabin last summer. Katie is on my left... she's 12. Chloe is on my lap... she's 8. I refuse to admit my age, but I'm the old bag in the middle. Am also including a photo of my new baby... Jordhi:

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Kurt (my husband) is cracking up. He says he hasn't seen me this excited about my work since, well, since I actually worked!

Welcome back, Sharon!

Saddam Captured

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Saddam Hussein, who ran the Baghdad office for thirty years, but who had fled when asked to resign, has been caputured in his virtual office near Ad-Dawr (Arabic for "Ads Suck.") When seized, Saddam appeared disshelved from having pulled multiple all-nighters as he desperately tried to change his strategy. He was caught with a laptop, on which was found a Powerpoint presentation entitled "BRAND CHANGE: 'bin, Baath, and beyond."

December 10, 2003

Product Design

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Remember when Alka-Seltzer came in glass tubes? Anacin in totable tins? Bayer in baking-soda like boxes? (Oh God, I got two out of three!) Take a little walk down memory lane at the American Package Museum.

Visit

P.S. Who can guess why I chose this particular image for this posting? Could there be an alum out there to whom this product might be significant? Post your answer by clicking on the "Comment" link.

More losts and founds

Found:

Andy Spade
Michelle Violetto (Kemp) [now a mother of three children!]
John Warren [VP Acct. Sup on Nissan in LA from '89-'91]
Andrew Clark [former account planner at Chiat/LA, now at Hal Riney]

Lost! [Mail is coming back as "undeliverable, so if you have a working email address for these people, contact me]

Louise (Dion) Seeley
Bob Zach
Jill Perkins

December 06, 2003

More Xmas gifts for ad folk

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I would be remiss in posting Christmas gift ideas, without mentioning a book called "The Toaster Broke, So We're Getting Married: A Memoir” by Pamela Holm. Says Publisher’s Weekly ...

The author is at her best depicting the strong, healthy relationship with her kindhearted fiancé‚ which will assure readers that Holm has as good a chance as anyone can to make a marriage work, long after the wedding hoopla is over.”

And that kindhearted fiancé? Our very own Denzil Meyers.

Buy

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And Eve Luppert's book, although out of print, is available through Amazon's used book service. As little as $1.50 for a fabulous read. (And notice to whom the book is dedicated!) This is your big chance to have Eve cheap!

Buy

December 05, 2003

Lovemarks

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It’s more than a brand. It’s a lovemark.

According to Saatchi & Saatchi, “Lovemarks transcend brands. They deliver beyond your expectations of great performance. Like great brands, they sit on top of high levels of respect - but there the similarities end. Lovemarks reach your heart as well as your mind, creating an intimate, emotional connection that you just can’t live without. Ever.”

I feel an overwhelming desire to open my kitchen cupboard and tell my can of Campbell's Chunky Soup how much I love the big palooka.

Visit

Xmas gifts for ad folk

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Why We Shop : Emotional Rewards and Retail Strategies by Jim Pooler.

The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life by Richard Florida

An iTunes gift certificate. (You don't even have to wrap it!)

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Moleskine notebooks (favored by the famous journalist Bruce Chatwin)

December 04, 2003

Higgins promoted

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Thank you to Adelaide for filing this report:

Ketchum Names Higgins to Run European Operations

LONDON, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Ketchum, an international top-10 public relations firm that specialises in marketing and corporate communications, today named Jon Higgins, currently partner and chief executive officer of Ketchum's London office, as chief executive officer of its European operations. He will remain based in the London office, which serves as the agency's European hub.

For those unfortunate few who did not know Jon when he worked in LA, he ran our LA PR division, Bob Thomas. Now Jon runs all of Ketchum Europe. This is an example of how far brains, charm, and a great set of teeth will get you.

December 03, 2003

The CEO's new office

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The mayor of New York City? A businessman. The governor of California? A showbusinessman. The prime minister of Italy? A media tycoon.

Anamoly or trend?

An article in Tuesday's New York Times about the effect of big business on Russia's upcoming parliamentary elections says business executives could win more than 20 percent of Parliament's 450 seats. Another 40 percent could end up in the hands of what are called 'hidden lobbyists,' candidates supported by businesses to protect the interests of specific industries.

An article in today's Times reports that three Rwandan news media executives were convicted of genocide for inciting a killing spree by machete-wielding gangs who slaughtered about 800,000 Tutsis in neighboring Rwanda in early 1994.

The backroom power of business in politics is well-known. But have businessmen taken the next logical step, swapping the corner office for political office? When media executives are being convicted of genocide, it gives one, as they say, pause.

December 02, 2003

Who's the turkey?

Here is a story from Vicki Blucher about her Thanksgiving ...

So there I was at Thanksgiving dinner at a new friend's house and Jay's name comes up (NOT by me ). This guy ( not in the ad-game), then proceeds to go on and on about how he's always heard that Chiat (mispronounced of course!) was a real SOB, arrogant bastard, and asshole ... he then turns to me and asks me if it's true?!!!....

What, you may ask, did I answer? I told him that at certain times these descriptions might all be true and yet he was LOVED by more people all over the world, than anyone I've ever known. I told him about this website and how we all get together to remember our times in NY, LA & SF under his tutelage, and how his influence continues in all our lives today- I told him how he could scream at you one minute, making you cry ( from personal experience), and the next day ask if you want to stay at his apartment upstairs from the office ( the old maiden lane office in SAN FRAN! anyone remember THAT pad besides me?)

December 01, 2003

Mama Rose!

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Everybody, in unison, say "Awwwwwwwwwwwww!" Is this the cutest baby you've ever seen, or what? And guess who's the mama: Roseann McNulty! This kid's in for some industrial-strength lovin'! Tell us everything, Rosie ...

I left Chiat/Day in September 1995 after almost 7 memorable years...took a few months off and then joined Adelaide at Wells BDDP where I met my husband Andrew Santamaria...two years later Wells closed...took a few months off and then joined Adelaide at a year-long freelance gig at Messner...bought a house in Scarsdale in 1999...got engaged in 2000...Jay called and asked me to come work with him at Screaming Media...then Jay officially retired in 2001...so I left and, surprisingly, I took a few weeks off and then joined Adelaide at a freelance gig at kirshenbaum bond & partners...got married in July 2001...had a beautiful baby boy named David Joseph ("DJ") in December 2002...the freelance gig at kbp turned into a full-time position as the finance/legal affairs director...am there coming up on 3 years. Life is wonderful...marriage is terrific...and being a mommy is the most fulfilling thing I've ever done!

Missionfish

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Thinking of e-baying last year's Christmas gifts in order to pay for this year's shopping spree? Why not donate a portion of your ebay proceeds to the non-profit of your choice using Missionfish?


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Fan Mail from Desiree

I'm glad to be found! I nearly shed tears when I entered the website. Rosanne is a mom and Jim Reedy is a dad! My days at Chiat were truly amazing. In fact, I still tell everyone how special Chiat/Day was....how smart and talented the people were. I have very fond memories of everyone including Eve, Mary Maroun, Richard Black, Cheryl Gittleman, Lorraine Arado and of course, Jay. Chiat will live in my heart always!

Steve, you rock for creating this unique place.

Love always,
Desiree