2012 Lions Seafood Festival Dates Announced

2012 Lions Seafood Festival Dates AnnouncedMark Your 2012 Calendars for the St. Augustine Lions Seafood Festival to be held March 16 to 18, 2012.

This three day event draws over 22,000 visitors and is a favorite throughout Northeast Florida.

The Seafood Festival includes tons of delicious seafood just about anyway you could want it, outstanding bluegrass, folk and country music and more than 100 affordable arts and crafts. There is truly something for everyone so bring the entire family.

Festival grounds are at Francis Field at 29 W. Castillo Drive in St. Augustine, next to the Visitors Center garage.

All net proceeds go to benefit Lions Club charities. Visit www.lionsfestival.com or call (904) 829-1753 for more information.

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The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island Celebrates Fall with Meet the Farmers Dinner

Farm to Table Menu for October 7 Fall Celebration

In a second installment of the Farm to Table Movement, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island,  is gathering a group of local farmers, growers and seafood purveyors to celebrate the fall harvest with a a reception and dinner.

SearchAmelia was honored to be invited to the first event earlier this year, when Executive Chef Thomas Tolxdorf introduced some of The Ritz Carlton’s farmers and purveyors to a very appreciated host of guests.

When a 444 Suite Resort like the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island puts its influence behind a local supply of quality and sustainability of food and beverage sources, it supports the claim that every economy is not only local, it can also weather the economy much better when times get a bit tough.

The next upcoming dinner is scheduled for October 7 and begins with a 6:30 p.m. reception with the farmers.  The reception will have passed (butlered) hors d’oeuvres and craft beer tastings presented by Ben Davis, Brewmaster of Intuition Ale Works. The reception provides the ideal environment for guests to meet the farmers who supply The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.

Chef de Cuisine Garrett Gooch inspects baby eggplants

“The culinary team toured the fields and greenhouses to see the crops and learn about their farms and growing techniques. The pride, care and hard work that go into Florida family farming is inspiring. Traditional family farming is about working in harmony with nature,” says Chef Garrett Gooch, Chef de Cuisine of Café 4750.

The dinner begins with a lavish appetizer bar showcasing fresh from the boat Mayport shrimp, smoked flounder, deep fried soft shell crab, local cheeses, breads and Florida honey. The main course will include Atlantic white shrimp in variations, Trigger fish, two selections of Florida beef, farm fresh vegetables and house-made pasta. Recommendations for beer and wine pairings will be made tableside.

Executive Pastry Chef Sheldon Millett

The dinner will conclude with Executive Pastry Chef Sheldon Millett presenting a trio of desserts of apple cinnamon Beignets, chocolate mousse and vanilla beer float.

The price is $79 per adult, plus gratuity.  More information and reservations are available at 904-277-1100.

Amelia Island Festivals and Events Left for 2011

See you for Pétanque in November

For almost 18 months we had been prepping for the first Amelia Island Blues Festival and then it came and it went and we’re already working on putting the second one together for next year September 14,15 and 16. Yes, three days of Blues and BBQ at the Beach instead of two, as the organizers were collectively attacked by an unguarded moment of masochism while celebrating the success of the first event.

And so we have officially moved from Summer into Fall, and in shock I realize that we’re only just a few events and one festival away from another year sent off into history.

This weekend starts the week long Amelia Island Jazz Festival with the last Sounds on Centre of the Year today. We’re already looking at the third edition of the Petanque America Open in November, yet the first one held in 2009 is still lingering fresh in my digital storage banks.
Philip Boets, owner/operator of Pétanque America, has almost exponentially grown the event from 80 teams in 2009 to 140 teams this November, with players coming in from as far away as Europe, Israel and Southeast Asia.

The traditional French Sport, with a name nobody locally could pronounce just a short couple of years ago, now sees playing courts sprout up in private backyards and residential developments across the island. The local club founded last year has dozens of members who come out every Wednesday evening and Saturday Morning to play the game, that could very well be France’s favorite pastime.

Here is the official list of Events, Festivals and Celebrations for the remainder of 2011

Today September 30 – SOUNDS ON CENTRE with Les deMerle (Centre and 3rd) 6-8pm

October 2-9   – AMELIA ISLAND JAZZ FESTIVAL (All over the Island)
October 8-9   – REDFISH TOURNAMENT (Downtown)
October 8-9   – AMELIA ISLAND AUTUMN FINE ART FESTIVAL
October 13-16 – ATLANTIC COAST TRIATHLON (Beaches)
October 15    – 8 FLAGS CAR SHOW (Historic Downtown)

November 5    – VETERAN’S DAY PARADE (Centre Street)
November 12   – ROTARY SUNRISE’S AMELIA CHALLENGE
– Carshow at Quality Health of
November 11-13 – PETANQUE AMERICA OPEN TOURNAMENT (Waterfront Downtown)
November 25   – P.J. PARTY on BLACK FRIDAY (Downtown)
November 26   – CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY (Downtown)
December 3    – PARADE OF PAWS
December 3    – REINDEER RUN
December 10   – LAND AND SEA PARADES (Downtown)

Does anyone share my Pet Peeve?

We all agree that Amelia Island has a very active calendar of events every year. Possibly the only month we’re kind of slow is January, but as soon as February comes along the Festival Season starts with Book and Film Festivals and doesn’t stop from there until the middle of October.
Since the success of many events and festivals depend on sponsor contributions, donations and/or ticket sales, I do wonder why so many events are scheduled on competing dates. The Animal Support organization RAIN planned a major fundraiser on the Saturday of the Blues Festival. Rotaries, Kiwanis, Humane Societies, Micah’s Place and many other organizations and groups on the island often unwittingly organize fundraisers on competing days with each other, instead of spreading them over the available weekends. Of course this does not always mean that the same groups of people are targeted, but take for example the second weekend in November is proclamated by the city as Petanque America day, hence the International Tournament. Lots of local people will actively or passively attend the event, yet Rotary Sunrise organizes on the same Saturday their Amelia Challenge, while Quality Health of Amelia puts up a Car Show with all the trimmings. In contrast there is nothing organized in the weekends of October 22 -29 or November 5th except for the Veteran’s Day Parade which already brings people to town, ready for more action than just a one hour parade.

We have noticed on many occasions throughout the year how events splinter attendance and good hard work of organizers goes to waste, because of poor attendance.  Considering a continuous slow economy and tight money policies it would be smart for many organizing committees to plan their event timing away from directly “competing” events and a central register of ALL published events would be a great start. Maybe just a thought for next year.

Giant Tiger Shrimp Caught by Fernandina Shrimp Boats

Giant Tiger Shrimp Caught by Fernandina Shrimp Boats

Click to Enlarge

Fernandina Beach is the birthplace to the modern shrimping industry, a dying industry it appears if you count the few shrimp boats left in our harbor.

Recently, giant tiger shrimp have begun showing up in local nets. These are an aggressive and invasive species that is causing alarm for wildlife experts.

Native to Southeast Asia and Australian waters, the flavor of these invaders, when cooked up by local fisherman, were sweet tasting, like lobster, but could wreck havoc to our popular, local white shrimp.

What could happen if these shrimp populations continue to grow in our local waters? One marine biologist we spoke with said, “This could change the shrimping industry as we know it. If this is an aggressive and invasive species, it could take over the population of the local shrimp you are used to.”

How Shrimpzilla (coined by Gary Patrick, a Georgia fisherman who caught a foot long tiger shrimp on September 15, 2011) found its way to Fernandina Beach is not known. One report suggested they may have washed out from an aquaculture farm in the Caribbean during recent hurricanes.

After speaking with local shrimpers, it turns out they have caught these monster shrimp occasionally over the years, but they have never been seen in such abundance. One source told me that captains have been bringing in Shrimpzilla as far north as Myrtle Beach.

While this article said, “Scientists at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory are asking you to report any caught,” I have personally made numerous attempts to contact scientists at the University, with no response.

Stock Dividends – the Rodney Dangerfield of the Investment World

Rodney Dangerfield RIP

Stock Dividends Can't Get Any Respect

An often overlooked aspect of successful stock investing is the importance of dividends. In bull markets, investors tend to focus on price appreciation, meaning, they look solely for stocks that can increase in price.  Like the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who often complained, “I get no respect, I tell ya,” dividends are often underrated or even ignored by growth-oriented investors.

In heady times like the late 1990s, investors feasted on stocks that would double or triple in a matter of months. Watching a stock go from $20 a share to $40 or $60 a share is exhilarating and makes for good cocktail party chatter. On the other hand, watching a stock sit at $20 a share for several years while you collect and reinvest a 3 percent dividend is rather boring and not worth sharing on the social circuit.
However, just like the old story about the tortoise and the hare, the slow and steady growth of dividends plays a very important role in making money grow over time.
The past 10 years is a great example of how dividends have helped improve the returns of an otherwise disappointing stock market. Here’s the data:
• For the 10 years ending September 23, 2011, the S&P 500 index had a positive average annualized return of 1.3 percent excluding reinvested dividends.
• For the 10 years ending September 23, 2011, the S&P 500 index had a positive average annualized return of 3.6 percent including reinvested dividends.
• As shown above, receiving dividends and reinvesting them added 2.3 percentage points per year to an investor’s return compared to the return generated by price appreciation alone of the underlying stocks in the S&P 500.
Sources: Morningstar, Yahoo! Finance
In today’s environment of low returns, finding a way to possibly eke out an extra 2.3 percentage points of return per year is attractive.
Over a longer period, receiving dividends and reinvesting them has accounted for one-third of the total return of the S&P 500 index over the past 80 years, according to Standard & Poor’s.
Standard & Poor’s also points out the following benefits of dividends:
• Dividends allow investors to capture the upside potential while providing some downside protection in the down markets.
• When bond yields are low, like they are now, dividend paying stocks might be a way to enhance an investor’s current income.
Just like any other investment, though, you need to figure out how dividends fit within your overall investment strategy. Are you looking for dividends to provide stability, income, or growth within your portfolio? Or, perhaps it’s some combination of all three.

October Events at the Local Chamber of Commerce

October Events at the Local Chamber of Commerce

Speaker at the October Quarterly Luncheon, Capt. John S. O'Neill

Amelia Island, FL – Coming up in October at the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce:

Island Council
8:30 a.m., Wednesday, October 5
Applebee’s
2006 S. Eighth St., Fernandina Beach

Grow your business by making and strengthening your connections with Amelia Island businesses at the Chamber’s Island Council. This business council meets at 8:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month.

Admission is free; optional breakfast is available for $8.

Yulee Area Council
8:30 a.m., Tuesday, October 11
Café @ The Hamptons
95742 Amelia Concourse, Yulee

Grow your business by making and strengthening your connections with Yulee businesses at the Yulee Area Council. This business council meets at 8:30 a.m. the second Tuesday of every month.

Admission is free; optional breakfast is available.

Member Benefits Breakfast
8:30-10 a.m. Tuesday, October 18
Jack & Diane’s
708 Centre St., Fernandina Beach

Find out how to make your Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce membership work for you at the Chamber’s bi-monthly Member Benefits Breakfast. Get an overview of the top five ways to get the most out of your membership and enjoy speed networking during this fun and informative event.

The Member Benefits Breakfast is an ideal introduction to the Chamber for new members and great way for existing members to get up-to-date.

There is no admission charge; special breakfast is available for $10, includes gratuity and drinks. Cash only.

Business After Hours
5-7 p.m. Thursday, October 20
Quality Health of Fernandina Beach
1625 Lime St., Fernandina Beach

Network with up to 150 Chamber members at Business After Hours, Nassau County’s biggest networking event, sponsored in October by Quality Health of Fernandina Beach.

Business After Hours is a great way to meet other local business people and make contacts that will help grow your business. There is always great food, drinks, door prizes and, of course, networking!

Quality Health of Fernandina Beach is a long term care facility where peace of mind for residents and their families is the priority. Quality Health has been an important part of Amelia Island since 1984 as the only skilled nursing facility on the island. Quality Health strives to provide comprehensive care to meet the needs of our growing community. Quality Health’s location on gracious, historic Amelia Island harmonizes with the comfort, continuity and dignity it offers residents. Quality Health knows it is important to be able to stay in your home town, where you can continue to be cared for by a local doctor and have your family close by. Quality Health works closely with other healthcare groups on the island to provide as many local services as possible for its residents.

Admission to Business After Hours is $5 for Chamber members, $25 for nonmembers.

Quarterly Luncheon
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, October 25
The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach
4700 Amelia Island Parkway, Amelia Island

The Chamber’s final Quarterly Luncheon of 2011 will focus on “The Economic Impact of Kings Bay on Nassau County.” Our speaker will be Capt. John S. O’Neill, commanding officer of Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, the east coast home to the Navy’s Trident submarines.

Admission is $18 for Chamber members, $25 for non-members, and includes lunch. Reservations are required by Friday, October 21. Cancellations must be received 24 hours in advance or charges will apply. Cash or check only at the door; Discover, MasterCard or Visa accepted in advance. RSVP to (904) 261-3248.

For more information about any of these events, contact the Chamber at (904) 261-3248.

The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based association of businesses, professional leaders and individuals working together to sustain a favorable business climate that enables existing and new businesses to prosper. The Chamber will provide leadership that aggressively promotes responsible economic growth, employment opportunities, responsible government, excellence in education and quality of life.

Facebook’s Search for Relevancy May Embarrass You

Beware how Facebook spreads your interests across the internet.

Facebook may be the 800 million pound gorilla in cyberspace, but the Social giant’s share of the search engine market is almost non-existent. As a matter of fact, it’s not even worth measuring compared to search leaders Google and Bing. This means that Facebook is leaving a lot of gold nuggets on the table, considering that Social Search is the future of all marketing and communication. Growing a College Kid’s dream into a serious company, Zuckerberg and his advisors must have been a bit frustrated with this shortcoming, having 800 million users, yet are a non-entity in the search market? The reason: private data.

Since day one, Facebook has had a lot of data, but it has been mostly private. You could only see a person’s wall posts, for example, if you were friends with them. The limitations of private data made Facebook a weak search engine and subsequently resulted in very little usage.
Last week Facebook made a string of announcements that makes it clear Facebook is making it a priority to solve this problem. Facebook has made changes to users’ profiles to empower users with different sharing options. Now, on a message by message basis, users can select if they want an update to be shared with only one person, all of their friends, or the entire PUBLIC. That last option is huge. It makes the available pool of data and results available for Facebook search much greater.  For Facebook, to stand any chance in the battle for search engine usage, it has to encourage more users to share public data. And that’s what Zuckerberg tried to get across during his “show” in San Francisco, by implying that personal data should be available, after all we have nothing to hide. Or do we?

More ‘Likes’ Are Critical to Leveraging Facebook for SEO

One of the best default functions of Facebook is that data for business pages is public and open to everyone by default. However, there is more to leveraging Facebook for SEO beyond simply creating a Facebook Business Page.
Social search is really about more personalized search engine results. By analyzing information that your friends, followers, and connections have looked at online, search engines can not only provide better recommendations for a keyword you entered, but it can also tell you that a certain connection found this content valuable.
Because search in the future will be personalized and results will be based on social recommendations, it is important to start building reach today. Sure, all businesses want more people to like their Facebook page. These Likes are worth far more than vanity in a popularity contest between you and your competitors. Likes are also your pathway to getting more people to see and recommend your content. More importantly, in the world of social search, Likes are the new inbound links and will help search engines recommend your content to more people attracting new visitors and leads to your website.

Social Search Is Only Getting Started

Social search is young. It can’t even crawl yet. A lot is going to change as Google, Bing, Microsoft, Twitter, and companies that we haven’t even heard of yet battle in the years to come. One thing that won’t change is that search is only going to continue to get more personal. Social media will be the major source of data that drives search personalization.

Learn how your Facebook use can embarrass you.

In general I would say I don’t hide much of who I am and what I stand for, quite in contrast to my younger years. With the arrival of the internet in the rearview mirror almost 2 decades ago, I realized that privacy was a thing of the past and it would be better to dust off the skeletons in the closet and open the door ajar. There is a parallel between a fugitive hiding in a big city and people burying their privacy in an onslaught of information. The shear quantity of information available is a natural protection barrier until you stick your head out of the cornfield. And the new Facebook has a feature that may just do that for you unwittingly. Yesterday Pete Cashmore gave a clear warning on Mashable you will want to familiarize yourself with.

If you don’t have the time to read his entire essay, here is in a nutshell what you’re facing. Going through Yahoo News this morning I clicked on a picture of Demi Moore, being in the news now that her husband Ashton Kutcher has taken over Charlie Sheen’s role in the CBS hit series “Two and a Half Men”.  Rumors of a split between the two are imminent, kind of like Will Smith and Jada with a reference. Three clicks later I’m looking at pictures of Demi Moore in bikini on a Jacksonville beach while filming the 1997 blockbuster G.I. Jane.

Here is the clincher, if I would have left my Facebook “add to timeline app” on, my Facebook friends and the rest of the world would know what I was reading and looking at this morning. In my case quite innocent, because I never knew that G.I. Jane was filmed in Jacksonville (my keyword), but you and the world out there may have thought I was just another “dirty old man.”

Fernandina Beach Included in Worldwide Photo Walk

Worldwide Photo WalkScott Kelby announces the fourth annual Worldwide Photo Walk and it includes Fernandina Beach. We have amazing photographers here in our community, I hope some of you find the following information interesting.

TAMPA, FL – On Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2, the whole world will be walking again with Scott Kelby, president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and #1 bestselling computer and technology book author, in his Fourth Annual Worldwide Photo Walk the world’s largest global social photography event in the history of photography.

This year, the Photo Walk will take place over two days in October giving more photographers from around the world a chance to participate. In 2010, more than 30,000 photographers walked in over 1,000 locations taking 6 million images in just one day. We anticipate that this year’s Photo Walk will be one of our biggest events.

This year Fernandina Beach is included in walk locations with a walk scheduled for 6pm on October 1 starting at the Marina. For more information, visit worldwidephotowalk.com/walk/fernandina-beach-fl-united-states-marina/ where you can also sign up to participate in the Photo Walk.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyb7MQLSdk4

The Photo Walk is free and open to anyone who owns a camera. More Photo Walk details are available at: worldwidephotowalk.com or visit the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk Facebook page.

The 2011 Photo Walk is co-sponsored by Adobe. Additional sponsors include Wescott, KelbyTraining.com, NAPP, Peachpit, Mpix, Wacom, Manfrotto, onOne Software, Tamron, Tiffen and B&H.

About NAPP
The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) is a dynamic trade association and the world’s leading resource for Adobe® Photoshop® and Photoshop® Lightroom® training, news, and education. An award-winning team of Photoshop and photography experts, authors, consultants, and trainers lead the association keeping its members on the cutting edge of Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography techniques and technology. With 72,000 members in 106 countries, NAPP is the largest digital imaging and graphics association worldwide.

Visit www.photoshopuser.com for more information.

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Existentialism and the Attraction of Sliding Glass Doors

The Trainwreck Parallels

Wall Street has been laying the tracks to our Train Wreck

I have lived most of my life being attracted by opportunities that come from slipping through quick moving sliding glass doors. And as the plots of my life have been unfolding I realize more and more, essentially because numerous people keep pointing it out, that I have done a lot more than most people do in a lifetime. As plots unfolded quickly over the years, some more interesting than others, some more mysterious, more frightening, more crazy, more fulfilling, it was not until the recent economic downturn that I have been able to step back from daily distractions to observe unfolding dramas and recognitions in the world we live in. I admit that I had some help figuring it out reading Paulo Coehlo’s 65 million copy novel the Alchemist, as we walked parallel roads through life.

Now that I am no longer quite so young, I have become more acutely aware of events that can send anyone’s life in a tailspin or… an entirely new direction, filled with new priorities that trump all that came before it. Love, disease, tragedy, opportunity, change; there are many unexpected, uninvited and unwanted events that come up in a lifetime; many of which could have been controlled and adjusted if there had been a plan, a script of some sorts. No I’m not talking about a plan that smothers, neither am I talking about tragedy striking or a deadly disease. There is no plan for that. I’m talking about unwanted pregnancies or having the opportunity to get a college education or a sporting career slide by, because puppy love gets in the way, or mom’s cooking is wonderful. Don’t laugh…I have met thousands of people whose lives never unfolded because there was a short term attraction that stood in the way, when the time was right to spread their wings or slip through a sliding glass door.

As a child of the sixties, sandwiched between two super powers in a Cold War I became intensely aware early on that life always inevitably will morph into a process of incremental downward grinds, leaving an existential nothingness. With that in mind I have always scripted my life to be a rousing adventure of sorts that has taken me around and across the world many times over. Besides of course travel and experiencing culture at the roots level,I always enjoyed the added benefit of meeting many interesting people, seeing breathtaking sceneries and panoramas and being a participating witness in some historic moments on various levels.

When I read French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre in my early high school years I knew that my life would follow the road of existentialism, without realizing the unintended “victims” I would leave behind as I moved at top speed around the world. Victims mostly, who could never adopt, let alone adjust, to the essence of this school of thought. Loosely translated existentialism portrays that, bad health and accidents that can strike anyone at any time aside, we are the actors, authors, producers and directors of the lives we ultimately live. Consequently I have always put emphasis on the next scenes of my life. How do I want them to play out and what can I do to accomplish that? And yes words like egocentric and egotistical have been thrown at me on more than one occasion, mostly by companions with a nesting gene.

Excessive amounts of money or an abundance of toys were never part of my life’s equation, because in my early experience, when I had ready access to both, I quickly learned that both slow you down. And you can not be slow when a sliding door to opportunity quickly opens and closes. Watching TV, playing games, being glued to other people’s lives as they unfold, was never part of my scenery. Because of that I have never given it much thought why so many people cast themselves as walk-on characters in their own lives, and not as the lead.
Is it fear, is it laziness, is it comfort zone behavior, is it being locked up in a closet of our own doubts and lack of confidence? Is it because by the time we get around to thinking such thoughts, we are already so hidebound by past experiences that we can no longer dream of more interesting roles or paths to follow?
Over the years I have met so many people engaged in a private dialogue along the lines of, “I have tried to learn another language and failed, so that’s not for me.” Or, “I’m too old for something that radical, I’d rather play golf on my Sundays!”  or… or…  The ability of humans to create reasons to avoid action is literally infinite.

Over the years I have come to accept that some people supposedly envy me for my travels and experiences, because they never had a good enough reason to change. Deep down however, most people are happy with the way things are in their lives. Having been in business for myself over the past 31 years, I have heard thousands of people, friends and family talk about making changes, but when it comes time to take action, nothing ever happens. They resolve themselves to hunkering down in a ditch of their own making, hoping against hope to muddle through until the passage of time fills the ditch in, usually with them in it.

Yes, I’m older now and happy where I am. Amelia Island is Paradise for those who see its beauty and its community for what it is. I grew up in the hills of Southern Holland near the German and Belgian borders, a respectable distance away from the ocean, but very early on realized that water was my lifeblood. Not a lake or a river; only that vast powerful ocean would do, if not on it, than at least at view’s distance. I need to see the water, hear the surf, taste the salt in the air and feel the ocean breeze coming from thousands of miles away. I need to feel the fine sand between my toes. I had to travel thousands of miles across oceans and land and work hard for many years to get there. And that’s where I come to the essence of this essay.

I recently asked my partner Judie in our Monday morning meeting, how she felt about the economy and where we’re heading and she simply said: “We’re heading exactly where you and Ric (I miss your analytical research brother Ric) have been writing about over the past 3 years or so. It’s going to be real tough here for a long time.”
I asked her that question because we agreed a long time ago that we would respect each others opinions, even in writing, which cannot always be easy for her because I am a grass roots libertarian (no not liberal dumbwit!) whose beliefs, views and actions are deeply anchored in the sanctity of the individual, light years ahead of the political aberration called “the greater good” syndrome that seems to be prevalent these days. I am convinced that the future of our civilization hinges on the right of individuals to pursue their lives in decency and elective support of each other, rather than commanded support. The greater good syndrome that is strangling the sanctity of the individual comes from people who prefer to follow status-quo life scripts – scripts of such stark simplicity and fear, that they can be readily summed up on their tombstones – a kind of muddling through to the final scene, exit stage down. And for those who still have no clue about the oncoming trainwreck that started on Wall Street now 3 years ago, I’m sorry to say, muddling through in the next two decades or more is not going to be easy and not for the faint of heart. Are there answers? Of course there are…always, but they may not be on your doorstep or at the edge of town.

While for the old and weary it may be too late for a complete rewrite (take it to the limit one more time), it’s not too late for the young – especially here in the US where dissolving expectations about the American Dream affect whether a young person views themselves as successful or not.
The latest census data last week showed just how those expectations are being dashed. A Forbes article on the topic said:

“In record-setting numbers young adults struggling to find work, are shunning long-distance moves to areas of opportunity to live with Mom and Dad, delaying marriage and buying fewer homes, often raising kids out of wedlock. They suffer from the highest unemployment since World War II and risk living in poverty more than others – nearly 1 in 5.
New 2010 census data released last week show the wrenching impact of a recession that officially ended in mid-2009. It highlights the missed opportunities and dim prospects for a generation of mostly 20 and 30-somethings coming of age in a prolonged slump with high unemployment.”

If there was ever a time to toss life scripts involving the whole “just getting by” story line into the trash, it is NOW. No matter your age, you need to be thinking in terms of living the life you really want(ed), because at this point there are few if any safe routes to follow.

Again, that’s not saying there aren’t opportunities, but rather that it’s going to take more effort – probably a lot more effort – than was required during the long economic expansion following World War II. There were a number of reasons for that boom – technology, a downtrend in taxes, an inexpensive work force, education, an opening of global markets – but for the last decade or more, that boom was increasingly fueled by explosive levels of government spending, creating massive credit dependency and enormous sovereign debts around the globe.

The story of the next decades will be one of unwinding excess and not through the honest action of default, but through inflation that strikes a knife in the economic heart of the nation – the formation of capital that is so critical to future growth. Simply, it will be a period of decline and the paring back of the American Empire. We have been writing about the signs on that wall for quite a few years now.

As always however throughout history, for those willing to act boldly, to roll up the sleeves in much the same way as the early explorers and movers did upon arriving on the North American continent, it usually is also a time of great opportunity. That opportunity may have to be captured in a different area of the country, a different field of knowledge, or even in a different country, but that should be just a detail. Success or survival will largely depend on the ability to acquire an appreciation for cultures and customs; an appreciation that comes natural to those of us who slip through a sliding glass door once in a while.

Micah’s Place Observes Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Micah's Place Observes Domestic Violence Awareness MonthMicah’s Place will observe October 2011 Domestic Violence Awareness Month by placing their banner above 8th Street in Historic Downtown Fernandina on Tuesday, October 11 through Monday, October 17. Also the community is invited to participate in the following events. These events will help bring awareness about Micah’s Place services and educate our community regarding domestic violence prevention. Please show your support by wearing a purple ribbon or the color purple throughout the month of October.

    • Saturday, October 1 from 9:00 am to 1:00pm. Visit our booth at the Fernandina Farmer’s Market. Purple ribbons and Micah’s Place awareness materials will be available. Also, volunteers will be selling our famous, “A Savory Place Cookbook” at a pre-holiday price of just $20.
    • Saturday, October 1 from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Visit our booth at the Treasure Chest Shop in Callahan. Purple ribbons and Micah’s Place awareness materials will be available. Also, volunteers will be selling our famous, “A Savory Place Cookbook” at a pre-holiday price of just $20.
    • Week of October 3 and October 10. Display of Micah’s Place ribbons and awareness materials at Prosperity Bank.
    • Thursday, October 6 at Noon. Sponsoring the Greater Nassau Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting at the Pig Restaurant in Callahan.

Micah’s Place is a Certified Domestic Violence Center and the only one serving Nassau County, Florida.

Cat’s Angels Rescue Me Fundraiser

Cat's Angels Rescue Me Fundraiser Tickets are now on sale at the Thrift Store for Cats Angels 4th Annual “Rescue Me” Fundraiser. The fundraiser will be held on Sunday, October 16 from 5 PM – 8 PM at Kelley’s (Pest Control) Warehouse, 1235 S. 10th Street. Tickets are $20.00 and include a BBQ Dinner (there will also be a vegetarian entree). One glass of wine or beer is included with your ticket price and wine or beer is available at the cash bar. Iced tea is included with dinner.

The Macy’s will be providing entertainment, so wear your dancing shoes, and a Silent Auction will include a variety of items for you to bid on.

Recue Me also plans to have a dessert table with treats like cookies, brownies, and cupcakes, something that can easily be shared without cutting or utensils. There are wonderful bakers in this organization as witnessed at the Cats Angels Bake Sale during the Nassau County Animal Expo, which has gained quite the reputation for variety, quality and deliciousness! If you would like to bring a sweet treat to the “Rescue Me” fundraiser, it would be much appreciated. Simply bring what you like to bake or eat in whatever quantity you would like to bring.

Please tell your friends, family and co-workers about this exciting fundraiser and bring them all!

Amelia Island Jazz Festival Ready to Swing

Amelia Island Jazz Festival Ready to Swing Jazz fans will get a pre-festival treat at this year’s final Sounds On Centre concert on Friday, September 30, 6PM to 8PM, when the Les DeMerle Jazz All Stars, featuring vocalist Bonnie Eisele, hit the stage at the corner of 2nd street and Centre. This show, which will also feature TGIF, the U.S. Navy Dixieland band, will mark the first island appearance for DeMerle and Eisele since their recent return from a three month engagement on the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship in the Mediterranean which took them through multiple stops in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. “We played every night on the ship and jammed with several of the natives in some very remote locations, so we are definitely warmed up for an exciting Jazz Festival week,” said DeMerle, the event’s Artistic Director.

The 2011 edition of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival, scheduled for October 2-9, will officially kickoff Sunday with its traditional free concert in Amelia Park, presenting VIP, the hot 9-Piece U.S. Navy jazz unit. Jazz at the Movies will take place Tuesday evening, 7PM, at the Hampton Inn at the Marina downtown and will screen the classic concert documentary, JAZZ ON A SUMMER’S DAY about the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, which starred Louis Armstrong, Anita O’Day, Thelonious Monk, Chuck Berry and many more.

Blues returns to town Wednesday night for Red, White, and Blues, a combined show and wine tasting at Sandy Bottoms with the torrid jump blues combo, Toots Lorraine and the Traffic, who will be making their Fernandina Beach debut. The band has amassed a strong regional following based on a focused blend of classic West Coast Blues, Blue-Note Jazz and Swing. “Toots really knows how to deliver that energetic jump blues and an overall foot stomping type of show,” said DeMerle. The newly expanded St. Peters Episcopal Church courtyard setting will be the backdrop for shows beginning on Thursday, October 6, with Latin Night, a concert and dance presenting ever popular Jacksonville rhythm masters, Impacto Latino, in a tribute to Tito Puente and Santana. For those who enjoy working out on the dance floor, this show is a must.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhRlSXenDE4

On Friday, critically acclaimed songstress Nicole Henry and her 8-piece band’s performance will follow Gypsy Rendezvous, a set by the Dynamic Les DeMerle Band featuring Bonnie Eisele with special guest, Virgin Records recording artist and much heralded violinist Doug Cameron, performing music in the style of the late great fiddler and Django Reinhardt accompanist, Stephane Grapelli. A veteran of the Los Angeles studio scene with eight highly rated cds to his credit, Cameron has recorded and performed with a wide range of artists, including George Benson, Doc Severinsen, Tom Petty, Cher, The Allman Brothers, and Dionne Warwick.

Grammy Award winning Zydeco artist Buckwheat Zydeco will take the main stage for a big Louisiana style party on Saturday, October 8, in a full evening program that will include True Blue, an all-star tribute to jazz organ great Jimmy Smith, with Scott Giddens (organ), Barry Greene (guitar) and Don Zentz (sax) opening with 2010 AIJF Scholarship winner, vibist Nathan Skinner & Good Vibes, featuring the 2011 AIJF Scholarship winner, John Sheard on saxophone.

The festival will close on Sunday, October 9, with two special Dixieland Jazz brunch seatings at the Beech Street Grill featuring music by the Spare Rib Six.

Additionally, during this past week DeMerle and Eisele have been presenting jazz education programs for seniors at Savannah Grand and for students at several middle and high schools in Yulee and Fernandina Beach. “We get a big kick out of sharing our knowledge of the genre with so many interested kids. It is very gratifying and loads of fun,” DeMerle noted.

Tickets for all shows may now be purchased at The UPS Store – 1417 Sadler Road (Next to Publix) 904/277-0820 or online from the AIJF website: www.ameliaislandjazzfestival.com

A not for profit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival distributes proceeds toward a scholarship program to fund college educations for aspiring jazz musicians.

For more information, please contact the Festival Hotline at (904) 504-4772.

2011 Final Sounds on Centre

2011 Final Sounds on Centre Our final Sounds on Centre for the year will be this Friday, September 30th, at the foot of Centre Street near the waterfront in historic Fernandina Beach.

The regularly scheduled date for Sounds on Centre has been changed to celebrate next week’s Jazz Fest and with the Amelia Island Jazz Festival about to kick-off, what better way to enjoy a pre-festival concert than with the Les DeMerle Jazz All Stars, featuring Bonnie Eisele at Sounds on Centre?

Grab your chairs and put on your dancing shoes and join your neighbors, family and friends at this great event! The fun begins at 6:00 PM and it is FREE and fun for the entire family!

Brand Loyalty often Misunderstood

Social Search is ready for take off

Social Search for Personal Branding is Ready for Take Off

Having Brand Loyalty is a hugely important advantage when you’re in business, but often misunderstood. Loyal customers are a business’ lifeline in tough economic times. But brand loyalty is often wrongly attached to the product or service. A typical example is a TV product called Two and a Half Men, which faced that reality last week when most of the record 27.7 million viewers of the revamped show with Ashton Kutchner replacing Charlie Sheen, came to the conclusion that Sheen-acting-Sheen was probably the entire attraction of the show, in spite of being surrounded by a myriad of funny actors playing off his persona. Of course we will give Chuck Lorre’s writers another chance or two before switching to another channel, as brand loyalty will slowly reveal that it is not the product but the person delivering it, that creates the loyalty. Charlie Sheen’s brand on Cable channel Comedy Central in turn commanded an aggregate 10 million viewers that same evening with the Charlie Sheen roast, making it the most-watched roast on the Cable network ever, and the most watched show of any kind with the targeted audience of viewers between the ages of 18 and 49. That’s brand loyalty for Charlie Sheen, who apparently still is “winning”, settling his $100 million lawsuit amicably.

Marketing experts have known for a long time that people were never really loyal to individual products or services, even though they often say they are. It’s the brand that they are loyal to and the brand is always the person that represents the product or service. Service companies have known this for a long time and through non compete clauses and other tricky legalese tried to restrict their top people when leaving the company. To the customer they are the brand. If you drive Ford or Chevy for many years it’s most often the dealer who is the brand’s face. It has always been like that and to prove it just think how easily we claim “ownership” of people that do something for us with the phrase: my handyman, my gardener, my mechanic, my dentist, my postman, my webmaster, my doctor, my financial adviser or my broker. We don’t become “possessive” with the use of the word “my” unless there is a degree of loyalty involved.

Corporations know this. Communications and Insurance companies, Grocery stores and Supermarkets, home improvement giants like Home Depot, Lowe’s and even Wal-Mart have turned their branding efforts to people.

You are a Social Search Brand

So here is a suggestion for all of you out there who have websites. Pay very close attention to where video shows up and will show up in the next 10-12 months. Brands are moving much more rapidly through video !
For example, when you order that Best Seller on your Kindle or iPad watch what changes are coming your way! It’s likely that you’ll see a new “Special Embedded Video” edition rising up. What does this mean? It’s an amazing version of the entire book with multiple embedded videos scattered throughout the pages. Research Dave Ramsey’s book “EntrePreneurship”. Right on iTunes you’ll find a Special Embedded Video Version, which brings you even closer to his brand…. which is essentially, himself.

And the changes keep coming…
As I have watched Apple roll out their iAds it’s become quite obvious that we could literally be entering a time when there will be no use or need for web browsers as we know it, even though Facebook’s changes last week were all aimed at becoming a player in SEARCH. But think this through… if you’re on your iPad or Smartphone it’s not likely you’ll even USE your browser like you might have if you were on a laptop or desktop computer. You might start browsing Facebook on an App, move over to Hootsuite to check your Twitter feeds, mosey over to read a book and if you do need to use Google, it’s most likely you’ll do so through….. you guessed it, an app! And you’ll do it following people, messages, personal contact… not products or services! It’s called Social Search and the term was coined in 2009, waiting for the technology to catch up on what people want.

Things are changing and it’s so important that you not only begin to understand, prepare and ACTIVATE for these changes, but you need to get your brand’s message right. Mobile marketing demands even more now than ever that your BRAND be wrapped around who you are and what you do.

Plain English? People want to see YOU and YOUR face and what you stand for on their mobile devices, not a glorified overly done flashy website.
When thinking through your brand, it’s important to ask yourself “Who Am I?” but remember, the answer to this question must lead to what people view you as. This might be a bit different than how you see yourself!
If you’re a professional and are used to being called “Dr So and So” or “Vet So and So” that is not going to work with branding. What you DO for people is where the focus needs to be.

This information will be hard for some to swallow but your college education, degree and investment into that Ivy League University means NOTHING when it comes to your brand, long term.

What does matter, what is BIGGER than that, is what do people want YOU for ahead of all others?  Do you make people well quicker? Do you make them money. Is your advise helpful in their custom circumstance?  Can you improve their health, their skills, their lives, their happiness, their income, their self confidence? This is part of your brand. If you’re a naturo-physician or therapeutic masseuse, do you treat people breaking all rules of traditional medicine? Than this would be a great brand-leading message. What result do you bring people? What are YOU an expert at? This is your brand. This is what people will know you as and remember for. Before the world wide web, you could not afford any profiling like this, but today it is at your fingertips or smartphone camera.

It’s important to not wrap our brand around our product or service. Always remember that people are never loyal to products or services. To get your brand into the minds and the hearts of the right people, my friends… wrap your brand around Y-O-U. That is why Facebook last week announced a number of ground breaking changes that all deal with emotional attachment at the center of the issue. Social Search is the Word of the Year. Watch Google’s Matt Cutts explain the essence of real content and in the process become the Face of Google.

Financial Markets Tied in Knots as Fed Does “The Twist”

Operation Twist on Search Amelia

Twist long enough and you're left with half a dollar

In a much anticipated action dubbed “Operation Twist,” the Federal Reserve announced last week it would reshuffle its balance sheet by selling $400 billion of shorter-term Treasury securities and use the proceeds to buy longer-term securities. Although broader financial markets were not impressed, the Fed said it hopes the action will lower longer-term interest rates and, “contribute to a broad easing in financial market conditions that will provide additional stimulus to support the economic recovery.”

Regarding interest rates only, the Fed’s action has worked. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond declined from 3.2 percent the day before the Fed’s announcement to 2.9 percent just two days later, according to data from Yahoo! Finance. That’s a rather dramatic decline for such a short period.

Unfortunately, the stock market failed to respond positively to the Fed’s announcement as the S&P 500 index lost 6.4 percent for the week. The market’s drop, though, went beyond disappointment in the Fed’s action. The following also contributed to the market’s red ink:

•    Increased fears of a Greek default.
•    Rising concern of a world-wide financial crisis, with sovereign debt at the epicenter.
•    Growing signs of sluggish economic growth in China, which had been one of the few countries immune to economic turmoil.
•    A 13 percent drop in the price of copper on Thursday and Friday of last week, which is concerning because the price of copper is often viewed as a proxy for worldwide industrial growth.

With the market’s blood pressure rising, it reminds us of what flight attendants often say. “Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign. We are now crossing a zone of turbulence. Please return to your seats and keep your seat belts fastened. Thank you.”  In the event of a financial water landing, though, will your seat cushion be enough to keep you afloat?

Sources: Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Bloomberg

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