Listen, we need to break for a commercial message.

But when we come back, we’ll hear sages with rhymes for the ages.

This is the Rhyme Games World Series on ESPN,

the Exceptional Story & Poetry Network.

Eat Here Now

Charlene and I, enjoying don’t-think-about-it weather, began walking up the still-sunny side of 2nd Ave. around 5 pm. With complete confidence or perhaps simple indifference, she strolled the clamorous Upper East Side with the same self-reliance that carried her through peaceful Winona, Minn.

A Switch of Regret

With one hand, he grabbed two hands full of brown kibble from the sagging canvas sack. Bobby flung high the catfish catnip, and we waited for it to smash the pond's mirror surface.

Worst Music Video Ever

With Cher’s voice soft over a mellow guitar and timid percussion, the words don’t hurt. They’re blue. Remorseful. But not painful.

Bang Bang, I shot you down.

The better-known Nancy Sinatra cover is even further removed, like knee-high sexy boots at church.

Writing Again. For the First Time.

I attended my first Creative Writing session last week. About 12 students fill the table in an old Victorian house-turned-artspace in Stillwater, Minn., my new hometown. We get assignments each week, and will share our work in class, commenting and critiquing each other every Thursday night. I want to make the class a little bigger. I'm sharing my work in real time here, and would love to know your thoughts. 

“Minneapolis and St. Paul are dynamic business environments, and I’m excited to join a rich scene of publishers, creative agencies and independent professionals,” said Hansen. “My unique background in content marketing, with hands-on experience in publishing, advertising and PR, will help me add value to companies looking to improve communication with consumers and other businesses.”

Don't Steal. Instead, Take Wisely. Or Shoot Your Own.

This post is more than just another rant against stock photography – man that stuff is dreadful. It’s also a cry against stealing images off the internet for use on your blog or website. Photography is an important part of your communication tactics. And anything that’s important takes a little more effort. Check out this guide to finding good photography for your website, your blog and LinkedIn posts.

Do Opposites Attract?

When moving my daughter into college three years ago, I spotted a banner the college had printed and displayed for incoming students. I snapped a picture, and it’s been one of my favorite phrases ever since.

“Gravitate to those who think exactly unlike you.”

I should NOT have photographed the solar eclipse ...

... I struggled to find focus and tape the lens in place to keep that focus. I messed with ISO settings. And when "totality" hit and our small group of family erupted with oohs and aaahs, I was carefully packing away my over-priced solar filter and re-adjusting to get that famed "wedding ring" photo ...

Words First. Tools Second.

Instagram provides a great tool with “Stories,” but what are you saying with that tool. Email automation lets you respond instantly, but does saving time improve communication? Emojis show more facial expressions than we’ve seen in human form, but is there a human ear listening for a response?

Let me be clear, this is not about red or blue, though the graphic above might tell you my subject is the Republican candidate, Donald J. Trump. But I'm writing about only his communication habits, not the issues. This is a case study for business people about staying on message. So how is Mr. Trump scoring considering the stay-on-message target? Let's analyze his recent performance with less than 100 days to go before the vote. 

The Value of Content

If you're tired of hearing about "content marketing," and you wonder about the actual value of content, let me give you a couple numbers. 4 billion. And 1 billion. As in $$.