Thursday, March 18, 2010

Recommended Reading: Inkling Media & I Threw A Brick Through A Window

If you've joined That's What I Was Going To Say's Fan Page on Facebook, or if you follow @TWIWGTS on Twitter, you know that there have been hints about a new series of posts being launched here today. This post begins a weekly feature, Recommended Reading. Have you ever taken the time to scroll down through all the goodies on the left-hand side of the page here, down to the list of blogs I read regularly? Yeah, didn't think so. Many blogs carry such "Blog Rolls;" many blog readers miss out on them because they stop by, read a post or two, and then are off to the next webpage. Curse this ADD world we live in!

So, beginning today, every Thursday, I'll be featuring a blog from my Blog Roll in a "spotlight post." I've been in the process of contacting the bloggers who pour their heart and soul into these works and getting them to answer five simple questions about their blog and themselves, to give you a little insight into who they are and what their writing is all about. I have only one request of you, Dear Reader: give their blogs a chance. Visit them and read at least a post or two. You just may bookmark more than a few...

Ken Mueller was one of the first people I interacted with when I joined Twitter in the fall of 2008. My beloved Philadelphia Phillies were in the playoffs, headed towards their first World Series victory in 28 years, and I discovered a fellow fan in Ken - in fact, one of our first conversations began at my mention of Bake McBride, centerfielder for the 1980 World Champion Phillies and owner of one of the greatest baseball names ever. Over time and the course of conversations on both Twitter and Facebook, Ken and I learned that we had common interest in other areas: radio, music, and this newfangled Social Media craze. In addition to common interests, we found that we shared a common friend: the same guy who was General Manager of the University of Richmond (VA) radio station WDCE the year that I was Music Director there worked as an assistant to Mueller at a time when Mueller was heavily involved with the Museum of Radio and Television in New York City.

Remarkably, it wasn't until after these connections were discovered that I learned that Ken lives about six blocks away from me. Here is a person who has turned out to be a good friend and a fountain of valuable information and advice as I have begun navigating the Social Network Marketing waters both for my employer and myself, and who is virtually within shouting distance of me; yet without social media, we might never have met.

That Social Network Marketing creates that kind of serendipity more often than not fuels one the two blogs that Mueller authors, Inkling Media. The blog is really an offshoot of his Social Media Consulting business, and is a treasure trove of information and advice for both the novice and the experienced online marketer. What makes the blog a daily read for me, though, is that Ken takes that marketing advice and applies it to life in general. His advice could be (and, on a certain level, is) geared toward basic lessons in how to restore a sense of neighborhood and community in your own world. He has the ability to take situations we are familiar with, from the mundane to the topical, and glean axioms from those situations that apply to both Social Network Marketing and to basic human interaction, present them in simple terms, and all the while make you feel like you're just sitting with him on his fabled porch sharing some neighborly advice and some sweet tea.

Mueller also authors his own personal blog, I Threw A Brick Through A Window, where he writes about his other areas of interest. A bit more eclectic and a bit less formal, ...Brick... isn't updated as often as Inkling Media, but is always a treat when it is. Recent posts there have focused on historic radio broadcasts and broadcasters, and have seldom failed to inspire me to do a bit of Googling on my own to learn more.

In both blogs, Mueller invites reader participation through the occasional weekend music games and, in the case of Inkling Media, turning the reigns over to the occasional guest blogger.

I asked Ken the five questions that you will soon become very familiar with in this series of posts, as a way for him to introduce himself and his blogs to you. Here's how he responded:

What or who inspired you to begin blogging?
KM: Originally it was just a way to give voice to things on my mind. Not sure there was an inspiration. The Brick Through Window blog has evolved quite a bit over the years. For Inkling, it's a way to write about my field and give information to others.

Is there a story or meaning behind your blog or its name?

KM: Threw A Brick Through A Window - from the U2 song...and much of what I blogged about early on could be considered...throwing bricks thru windows...
Inkling - blog and company name came from my love of the literary group The Inklings - consisting of CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, etc.

Which post would you choose from your archives if you had to provide only one that best represents what your blog is all about?
KM: Brick Through Window - I'm On A Porch
Inkling - I Live In An Amazing Community

When you first log on to your computer each day, what is the first site you go to? Why?
KM: I usually fire up Twitter, my G-mail, and my own website. I go to my own site to make sure my blog of the day get's published. Twitter and G-mail allow me to connect with my community and the world.

What one other blog would YOU recommend that you read regularly, and why?
KM: That's a tough one. So many great blogs. I think to keep up on social media stuff my favorite lately has been Social Media Examiner.

So there you have it, a little bit about Ken Mueller and two blogs that he writes that I highly recommend you check out, Inkling Media and I Threw A Brick Through A Window. Read a few posts, and then come back here and let us know your thoughts.

My sincere thanks to Ken Mueller for agreeing to be a part of this series and taking the time out of his busy schedule to share his responses with us.

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We've Lost Alex Chilton

Alex ChiltonImage by Karen Hoffmann via Flickr

"Children by the millions sing for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round
They sing 'I'm in love'
What's that song?
I'm in love with that song..."
-The Replacements, from the song "Alex Chilton"

Alex Chilton passed away unexpectedly last night at the age of 59, at his home in New Orleans, Louisiana.

I had just logged onto one of the message boards I frequent online, one that is not a music-related board. The first thread topic that jumped out at me was "RIP Alex Chilton." I just stared for a moment before I actually clicked on it, hoping perhaps that by hesitating I would increase the chances that it would turn out to be just unsubstantiated rumor and quickly proven incorrect. Sadly, it's true. Alex Chilton is gone.

Chilton's name is perhaps better known in rock critic circles than rock fan circles, and that is truly a shame. However, virtually everyone who has ever turned on a radio or a TV is familiar with Chilton's work.

"Invisible man who can sing in a visible voice..."
- The Replacements

Back in the year I was born, 1967, it would not have been uncommon to hear Chilton's voice growling out of transistor radio speakers. That's his gravelly vocal propelling The Box Top's classics "Cry Like a Baby" and "The Letter." As the 1970's dawned, Chilton had moved on to form the legendary Big Star, and with that band penned many songs that could easily challenge for the title of Best Pop Song Ever. Most casual fans are more familiar with other artist's covers of Big Star's material, notably The Bangles cover of the jangly "September Gurls" and Cheap Trick's reinterpretation of "In The Street" as the theme song to That '70s Show.

In the 1980s, Chilton's solo material received less attention than it deserved, until he was celebrated in song by The Replacements on their 1987 album Pleased To Meet Me. That same year, Chilton had a minor college-radio hit with "No Sex." Chilton continued to record up through turn of the century, and continued to play live shows either as a solo act or as part of Box Tops or Big Star reunions, until his passing.

"If he was from Venus, would he meet us on the moon?
If he died in Memphis, then that'd be cool, babe."
- The Replacements

The Replacements did not accurately predict where he would be when he passed. Though Chilton was born and raised in Memphis, he had settled in New Orleans in the 1980s. His name briefly surfaced in the news in 2005, when he was initially among the missing in Hurricane Katrina. An apocryphal story made the rounds that he was eventually found sitting in a bar wondering what all the fuss was about; in actuality he had simply boarded himself up in his home with enough provisions to last a couple weeks and waited for the storm to pass, eventually being rescued by helicopter.

Choosing a clip to post in tribute to Chilton is difficult - he wrote so many wonderful songs. "In The Street" still ranks among my favorites, and the way Chilton wrote it originally and recorded it with Big Star is a very different reading than it received as a TV theme. RIP, Alex.

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