Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ushering in 2010

Ah New Year's. Ushering in 2010. The celebrations, the bowl games, the first long weekend of the year. Tired of the usual? Here's what "The Muse" is reading, watching, and seeing, as the decade closes down and the "tens and teens" decade dawns:

What "The Muse" is reading:

1. Perhaps one of the most important books of this decade, "The Muse" is re-reading Naomi Klein's, No Logo: 10Th Anniversary edition. Her tack on the corporate culture and the branding of every available space continues to be a must read for anyone in business, arts, or education. With a new, smartly written introduction, the title should be on every manager's bookshelf.

2. "The Muse" is really taken by the journalist Simon Houpt, who writes a weekly column called per.sua.sion for the Globe and Mail. Houpt's focus is on marketing and advertising. A recent article here, is on new and slightly edgy recruitment campaigns by Universities and Colleges. Sharp, witty and well written, Houpt is well worth checking out each Friday.

What "the Muse" is seeing:

1. Up in the Air. This movie, starring George Clooney as a charming hired staff terminator, is a timely flick in this age of cutbacks and layoffs. One wants to be canned by a Clooney type, but it usually doesn't go that way. Still, the film is charming, with a strong cast and a tale of lost life and love. Worth a viewing.

2. Woodstock: Directors Cut. Watching the Directors cut DVD of "Woodstock: 3 days of peace and music, "the Muse" remembers cursing his parents for not birthing him earlier in time to attend in person. Forty years on, this film captures the spirit of community, positive thinking, and and a large dose of naivety, that the world will be a better place. Great performances as well. It wraps up the sixties and reminds us that 1969 was a watershed year of change. The belly of America was sliced open, and 40 years on, some of the sutures have yet to close.

3. CBC DocZone. It may be Canadian, but don't let that put you off. Some of the best, award winning, documentaries, are through DocZone, and they can viewed online. Besides an interesting documentary on what will happen to the British Monarchy after Elizabeth II passes away, many may be interested in the recent debut: "The Secret World of Shoplifting" . It is a fascinating look at the shoplifting problem, focusing on professional shoplifters, and how retailers in the US are trying to combat a growing problem. The National Retail Federation, recently mentioned theft as one of the top problems retailers face, so worth checking out, and assessing the tools that you have at your store to address this bottom line loss.

What "the Muse" is hearing:

1. Sirius / XM Radio. Although "the Muse" has had satellite radio for a couple of years, it never ceases to amaze with what interesting, and fascinating, radio shows can be found. For $10 a month, "The Muse" gets access, not only to a wealth of music, but a huge variety of compelling talk radio. NPR is the favorite, with interviews by Bob Edwards, CarTalk, This American Life and more. Business programming covers the gamut from Wall Street discussion to fascinating topics on the business of Entertainment. All for far less than a cable subscription. Once you get hooked, it's hard to give it all up.

2. Miles Davis / Sketches of Spain. You can buy it still on vinyl, CD in multiple formats, and it remains one of the most beautiful pieces of music in the last 50 years. A giddy blend of jazz trumpet with orchestra, this disk continues to be a "spa treatment on disk". The perfect antidote for preparing for, or recovering from, the upcoming semester start.

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