Mindblown: a blog about philosophy.

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  • Carma article in New York Times by Phil Doughterty

  • Don’t Go To Work Today Rev.

    Revision for “Don’t Go to Work Today.” created on 15 February, 2015 @ 17:17 [Autosave] Title Don’t Go to Work Today. Content In 1970, the New York City economy was not so hot and getting colder and the menswear industry was colder than that. Denim was hot, but tailored clothing was not, thanks to the […]

  • A Man in Briefs

      These will be short, short stories containing highlights of my long-winded life. Bob Hope Tony Bennett Rocky Graziano Vladimir Putin Gower Champion Tex Antoine Steve Gordon  Casey Stengel   BOB HOPE In 1967, as executive vice president of an advertising agency (Mogul Baker Byrne Weiss), I hired a one-time Hollywood actor named Roger Anderson. […]

  • The RIP Roarin’ Russian 90s!

    If you ever wondered about how an aging American would dive into a burgeoning “mafiaocrasy” where partners were killed, enemies “taken out”, money easily made and, frequently, stolen and line-tapping was common and lying was a way of life, then, you have come to the right writing. The path that led me to spend nearly […]

  • Highs and Lows

    Intro: Under this umbrella will be shiny and stormy moments, randomly accessed from faulty memory and organized in no particular logical order or significance. Skip around and enjoy. THE EARLIEST DAYS My first eight years were spent living amongst nearly a dozen “lace curtain” Irish: The Byrnes of 1326 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY. Growing up […]

  • Man of All Trades …

    Stories within this site include my life as a Chief Life Guard, Marine, Soldier, Track Star, Salesman, Ad Man, Actor,  Entrepreneur, Visionary in Vision business, Developer of Russian Business, Professional Gambler (Blackjack counter), Real Estate Broker,and, of course, husband and father.

  • Arnold Stream, Esq

    These will be stories of a New York lawyer who deserved his own Boston Legal series. Arnold was my business and personal lawyer through a few dramatic decades. He was also partner of “Bushkin”, Johnny Carson’s lawyer, in Bushkin Gaims Gaimes & Stream. He represented a rather wide array of clients, from ad guys to […]

  • The Secret World of Jay & Day

    This space will carry the story of how one of the most awarded commercial teams in history: 1. Came to be. 2. Created its illusions 3. Produced earth-shattering sales. 4. Lured Christian Cooper to be Jack Byrne’s wife. Here are a few of the thousands of messages imparted by Jay & Day. 19 Casey Stengle […]

  • Upbeat Days Down Under …

    (Note: These will be tales of Mad Ave and Melbourne initiated by a David Mattingly and his associates, Monahan, Dayman and (especially) Philip Adams. They will be  spiced by “heroic” stories of the Great Barrier Reef.) I first met my Australia “connection” in my office at 919 Third Avenue in NYC, home of Jack Byrne […]

  • My brother, the shipper …

    These will be stories of having a protective and combative  older brother all your life who inspired and supported and  then died at least 20 years before his time . I remember him astride Buppo, my grandparent’s German Shepherd, his beret worn proudly and his leggings locked around the patient beast’s belly. I remember him […]

  • Diving for Delight and Danger.

    As intoxicating as cocaine and as stimulating to the brain, my most fulfilling experiences have been those spent a dozen or two fathoms under the surface of the sea. Here, I will tell of memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Some of the more memorable were diving with Skeet LaChance […]

  • King of the Capers!

    This will be the story of helping an apartment building neighbor capture a contract from one of the largest chemical companies in Germany, using an imaginary Board of Advisors and an old Rolex watch. The company was Giulini Chemie Gmbh in Mundenheim, south of  Ludwigshafen. The neighbor was a King.

  • Seaman stories …

    These will be stories of working with Seaman Brothers brothers (Morty and Carl), and about Steve Gordon “10% off for love” commercials, Christian Cooper and Michel Davenport’s radio spokespersons, etc.     (To come) 23 Love Discount 24 Marathon Sale

  • Helping the Government Clear the Air …

    Story of working with the U.S.Department of Health, creating and producing public service announcements with the Johnny Mann Singers  … (to come)

  • “High Quality, Low Overhead…”

    Stories of obtaining and handling the large clothing chain, Robert Hall, highlighting its Spokesperson Team, including Christian Cooper, Michael Davenport, Ted Madison and (name to come) (commercial sample below, story to come) 25 _Rifle Range_

  • Barney’s Has an Award-Winning Cleaning Lady

    Out of 3,000+ entries from around the world, Lucy Landau, Barney’s cleaning lady, helped tip the scales in favor of the rapidly transforming Barney’s brand, when the International Broadcasting Awards Committee selected this Jack Byrne Advertising’s spot, as the very best in its category.

  • 11,243 Wash and Wear Suits

    Only in New York could you find a full-page newspaper ad for a men’s retail store showing a laundromat full of half-dressed men playing chess, and it took Steve Baker and Jack Byrne to dream it up as part of a campaign targeted at creating a new Barney’s after they joined Mogul Williams and Saylor […]

  • Barneys’ Satyrs in the New York Times

    Jack Byrne and his partner Steve Baker in Mogul Baker Byrne Weiss totally transformed the store’s advertising approach to upgrade Barney’s Men’s Store image with unorthodox and inspirational messages such as this full-page ad in The New York Times comprised of ten words and two Satyrs. The words? ” Seventh Avenue and Seventeenth Street. Where […]

  • Does New York need Barney’s new International House

    The art of re-inventing Barney’s utilized a wide-range of mind-altering creative tools. In this case, a potpourri of highly recognized New Yorkers was employed to draw the association with the upscale range of men’s fashions inside the store and to give store the ultimate “New York” image. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svkPjHw_L-g&w=853&h=480]  

  • The birth of Gimbels Market East.

    In 1977, a radio barrage featuring the “Busy Bs” (Jack, Christian and 3-yr old ‘KD’ Byrne) created the biggest store opening in history. (See banner photo). This  will be story of Jack (with a little help from his family) and Gimbels. 31 Opening _My Birthday_ 32 Opening 36 Opening Interviews 4

  • My Daughter, the Mother …

    This is the story of my daughter who grew up to be  the Mother of Many (sexes and species). (Story to come).

  • In the beginning ….

    … there was Henry Beirne (later Byrne) professing his love in a way that shamed all of us that “was to folla”  wearing his genes. Translation of the message: “This is to certify I willingly profess that Ellen Kiernan is the only girl I love, and have ever loved purely and sincerely; and in professing […]

  • You are Pierre La Mure !!!

    This is about a woman who, once  her two boys were old enough to not need her guidance,  went to work as a telephone operator in Curtis Brown Ltd., famed British-owned literary agency. And, with less than a complete high school education,  became literary agent to Pierre LaMure, Ogden Nash, S. J. Perleman and others. Her name? […]

  • Going Gaga!

    This is the story of my younger son, Kareem Devlin and of a father’s pride watching his  work effort lead him to be “Jesus”, lead guitarist for Lady Gaga. (Story to come)

  • The Rich and the Famous

    Here are people I have known well enough to be worth a story. I hope to write about all of them in posts to come: Ray Abruzzi (Bachelor’s III), Joey Adams (Columnist), Debbie Allen and Phylicia Allen (sisters with separate success paths), Woody Allen (sometime clarinetist), Fran Allison (Kukla, Fran & Ollie), Hardy Amies (Designer), […]

  • The Hostile Takeover!

    In 1995, the company I headed, Eastern Holdings International, had two partnerships in the Former Soviet Union. One was headquartered in St. Petersburg, Russia, with agreements covering all Former Soviet Union territories except the Baltic’s. The other was in Latvia with agreements covering the three Baltic nations (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) and was headquartered in Riga, the […]

  • Joe Namath, Tom Jones and me …

    In early 1970, the new advertising agency, Jack Byrne Advertising, moved from its temporary quarters at the Shelton Towers Hotel to 770 Lexington Avenue, between East 60th and East 61st Streets.  One of the benefits of this move was that JBA was now located but one block from Bachelor’s III which had been my favorite haunt from the […]

  • The First Muggee….

    This is the story of interrupting a 40-year record of  non-molestation on one of the U.S. Army’s finest camps. Plus a few highlights of life in Army Intelligence. Fort Meade Md (See last segment of post “I GET A KICK OUT OF HUGH … AND YOU … AND YOU (in Snort Stories))

  • Life is a beach!

    True stories of life as Chief Life Guard of famed New York beach, Jacob Riis Park. Saving lives. Risking lives. Making moves. Making out. The whole Nine Yards. (Many stories to come)

  • My son, the producer…

    This is the story of my older son – a courageous entrepreneur who moved to an Island paradise and created and published every golfer’s dream magazine, the Maui Golf Review, created his own golf TV series, Da Game, and has embarked on a four-month solo bike tour of Southeast Asia and has lived (so far) […]

  • An Intrepid Life in the Incubator ….

    This is a many-part story of the two-decade development of the world’s leading three-dimensional technology that never went to market even while collecting over $30 million in investment money amd equipment during that period. (Stories to come)

  • “Inproooo…In-corp-or-ated!”

    This is the story of acquiring a major project from AT&T and The Bell System (pre-breakup) and the partnerships that were made and broken and the money that was made by all. Project launched AT&T machine-to-machine communications fore-running a hundreds-of-billion-dollar annual business. In 1962, after a decade of clearing my future path through the woods of six advertising […]

  • An Unexpected Departure

    This is a story of Army Intelligence on a lower  intelligence  level. It was late spring in 1950,  at the time of rising conflicts on the  Korean peninsula. Having, as an 18-year old, enlisted in the Marine Corps during WWII, I decided, if I was going to serve during some Korean action, it should be in […]

  • The Art of Buying Real Estate in the FSU.

    This is the story of how Jack bought a prime-location property in Kaunas, Lithuania for $40,000 but paid $350,000 in cash. (Story to come)

  • The Art of Misdirection in Avoidance of Mugging …

    This story starts with my father, James Patrick Byrne, who was rather skilled with his fists and even more skilled in his ways of not using them. Until he got Grace Burke’s acceptance of marriage, he was a young (19) professional boxer who had an early reputation for the flooring ability of his wind-up-and-throw punch called “The Mary […]

  • Bunking The Bankers …

    By the early 1990s, Russia and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) had earned a certain fame, summarized by a certain name for its particular blend of business and politics, it was known by its acquaintances as a mafiocracy. Now, those of us who were living in it, like in any society, hardly noticed the big image, we just dealt with our […]

  • Garbage Disposal: Russian Style

    This will present a few examples (from when Jack was in Russia) of the simplistic way criminals went about disposing of unwanted bodies and parts of same. (See BUNKING THE BANKERS.) (Stories to come)

  • A Bunch of Clucks …

    This is the story of how Jack Byrne Advertising failed to get the chicken farmer’s account even though ten-years later, at Regine’s,  Frank Perdue introduced Jack as “The genius who knew I should do my own commercials five minutes after he met me!” (Story to come)

  • The Cotton Wars …

    This is the story of how the growers and commodity brokers went to war over foreign sales and fought it over the body of the head of Cotton Incorporporated, Dukes Wooters,  and how Jack enlisted the aid of “The Old Timer” to resolve the combat. (Story to come) 61 _The More Cotton The Better_

  • I’ll Take Manhattan Everytime…

    Early in 1983, my partner, Jim Fischbach, and I had just about given up hope for the success of, or even the continuation of,  our new enterprise, CARMA (Casino and Restaurant Marketing Associates). Our big client for whom we were contracted to reposition, redesign and market five casino hotels in Las Vegas (including The Silverbird, the Silver Nugget and the […]

  • Reese’s Pieces …

    Stories of Jack’s ad relationships with child-star Mason Reese and how, as a couple of clowns,  they won the International Film and TV Festival Silver Award in 1973. (Stories to come)

  • “Too tied up to talk …”

    How Jack called Tony Bennett’s agent in a huff and was told by his secretary that she was “too tied up to talk…” Jack was less offended the next morning when he found out the agent’s office had been  in the process of being robbed and she was truly tied up (to her chair) by the […]

  • “Howdy to The Good Folks at Dow Chemical”

    How Jack created a national radio show starring a legendary country music star and how, on the day he presented the concept to Dow Chemical for sponsorship, the press reported the star had “busted his wife in the jaw!” (Story to come)

  • Trumped by the Trumps

    How Jack and his partner son, John, created a brilliant campaign for Williams Island behalf of the owner who had called Jack a “Genius” for making him millions of dollars only to have the campaign rejected by the owner’s teen-aged daughter. (Story to come)

  • Ad Life’s a Beach!

    This is the story of how Jack Byrne and Stan Kovics took their creative challange to Puerto Rico and created an entire 20-ads campaign for Barney’s while playing in the sand, in the casino and in bed,  and then won the CLIO for the best print advertising in America. (Story to come)

  • Cast of Thousands!

    This is story of how Jack Byrne and Rocky Graziano cooked up a scheme to get a couple of thousand “actors” to work 12 hours for a Lee Myles Tee Shirt. (Story to Come with photos by Julius Spedale) m

  • Raised Fist up H.K. Smith’s Butt!

    This is story of Vince Matthews loss of his Olympic Gold medal for his shuffling during the play of the Star Spangled Banner and of H.K. Smith’s reaction and Jack Byrne’s counter-reaction. (Story to Come)

  • Bubka and Byrne Break a World Record.

    This is how Jack’s letter to the New York Times changed Madison Square Garden operations to better suit the needs of the participants in its track meets and helped Serge Bubka produce a World Record in the pole vault. (Story to Come)

  • Vanquishing Vegas!

    The Jack Barnes School of Winning Blackjack has its own book full of stories (See “By Hooker by Crook”, “Qa-Qa-Qadafi!”,”Stossel vs Reasoner”) but its spinoffs have their own books as well. One of these is the story of CARMA. Soon after I started the School of Winning Blackjack, in October of 1980, I received a call from a Jim Fischbach, […]

  • “The most religious experience of my life …”

    This is the story of the break-through wedding of Jack Byrne to Christian Cooper and Bobby Short’s reaction to it.

  • “Stick his pencil in his ear …”

    This is story of getting the Robert Hall account and a tough president who resented an ad columnist, Bernie Gallagher, demeaning his company.

  • Byrne Roams while MJA Burns!

    This is the story of how Jack engineered a family move back to NYC (his hometown) from MJA’s Michigan office and included a tour of 35 nations in the trip.

  • Ya Buncha Crooks …!

    This will tell the tale of Lee Myles Transmission operators stealing engines and how Jack handled the franchisees who were upset (with the help of Rocky Graziano).

  • Bombs Away in Lithuania …

    This will tell the story of how three of our four Vision Express stores in Lithuania were simultaneously bathed in grenades one Monday morning at 1am and how the Mafia group who did the deed eventually apologized and paid for damage repair. When the USSR folded back into its constituent states in 1991, I was already […]

  • Rape Veronica ….

    I was an American running a British joint venture in the former Soviet Union with offices in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and Riga, Latvia. My partners in Riga were all of Russian descent whose parents  had arrived during Soviet occupation of that small and gentle country. After three years of our operation, I discovered that my partners had […]

  • Hot as a pistol!!!

    In the late 1960s, I was an ad man on Madison Avenue and commuting to Stamford, Connecticut. My hours were often quite late and my need for a drink (think drinks) quite strong. One night, returning home on a New Haven Railroad train leaving Grand Central Station at 11:05 PM, I found an improvised Bar […]

  • Nothing but The Truth …

    In Russia, there is a way of embellishing truth, through exaggeration or misdirection or reduction of facts, that is considered an art and a legitimate exercise in daily dialogue and debate. It is called “vranyo”. One is considered very out of line and even rude if one challenges the fabricator of this fabrication. IN 1992, […]

  • Just Wear a Smile and a ………

    In 1961, I was hired by a small but ferociously creative agency named Hockaday Associates, headed by Margaret Hockaday and employees who called themselves “Hockadaisies”. I was hired to help to bring a “Big Agency Image” and “Masculinity” to help solicit an enormous client for the Hockadaisies, bigger in gross annual income than the total […]

  • Knock-Knock-Knocking at my front door ….

    I was an American building a retail business in Russia for an English company. It was only the third year of our very successful business when suddenly, my Russian partner was assassinated. Since we did not know why he was done in, some felt I could be next. I lived in a two bedroom Russian […]

  • Bye,Bye,Byrnee …

    Valeriy Solovyov was honored, buried and toasted. This morning,  we had told “Boris Schmoris” to “Go Fuck Himself” (in proper Russian, of course). We’d just had a few hour nap. Sergey, our driver,  rang our bell at 1:30 in the afternoon. Refreshed from our naps following the meeting with Boris, the abhorrent, Veronika and I […]

  • Home Alone.

    It had been a very busy Friday. In the morning, we (2000 of us) had honored my assassinated partner (“LIFE AND DEATH IN THE PALACE OF CULTURE”). In the afternoon, we had buried him (“THE TSAR IS DEAD”). Through the night, we had toasted him and vowed to avenge his death (“HEAD OF THE TABLE”). […]

  • Boris Schmoris …

    Valeriy Solovyev, my cherished Russian partner,  was kaput. On Saturday morning,  2000 heartbroken employees, friends, business associates and one lover had honored him at the Palace of Culture. That afternoon, half of those at the Palace of Culture assisted at his frozen earth burial in Northern St. Petersburg. That night 600 employyes and partners toasted […]

  • Head of the Table.

    The public mourning was done (See “Death and Life in the Palace of Culture”). The cemetery was now history (See “The Tsar is Dead”). But, Russia was not done with Solovyev yet. His Memorial Meal at Optica lay still ahead. I had instructed my driver, Serge, to take us first to my apartment so Veronika and […]

  • The Wall Street Infernal.

    NOTE: WRITE INTRO TO CONNECT WITH REST OF STORY. IF NEEDED. E. Dean Butler was a man with inside information. He had been inside Procter & Gamble for six years and had risen to a high inside position. The Wall Street Journal had a lady reporter who had been nosing around P&G for nearly a […]

  • I Get a Kick out of Hugh! … and you … and you!

    Tex Antoine was TV’s most famous and influential weatherman. From early in the Fifties, he’d established his presence in New York . He had devised a presentation which utilized his considerable talent at character-sketching and for the first 20 years of his weather career built his weather-casts around his creation, Uncle Wethbee. By the time […]

  • QA-QA-QADDAFI!

    Come on now, how many ad men have ever been asked to help decimate the economy of a foreign nation? Three? Four? No more than a half dozen right? Well, I’m one of them. It started out, not as an ad man, but as an operator of a Blackjack school. And, it wasn’t as Jack […]

  • Show Me da Money!

    Rocky Graziano, middleweight champion of the world, was born New Year’s Day 1921. Sixty-five years later, in December 1986, at about 4:15 in the morning, he couldn’t sleep. Deciding “not to fight it”, he got up, slipped on a pair of sneakers and a raincoat and went out to get an early newspaper. Rocky lived […]

  • No Biz like Show Biz…

    Billy Martin is not the only threat I ever met in Shepheard’s. I mean, New York is not all Lindy’s cheesecake and The Children’s Zoo. The Booking was Christian and the Lions first ever, in Summer of ’78, in the prettiest club on the East Coast,  Shepheard’s, operated by the Loews Hotel Corporation in the […]

  • Billy, Mickey and Me.

    Creativity is where you find it. And the more limited the budgets of your clients, or the more adventurous the levels of impact you wish to achieve, you better find it in places other than the client’s reserve fund. The synthesizing of unrelated elements is often the key process in creative “inventions”. (When opportunity knocks, […]

  • “A JING IS A JOY IN SAVING!”

    Harold Smith, a top buyer for Robert Hall, had left the dying company and decided to open his own chain of women’s specialty shops in the growing market of the middle south. He planned to call them JONNA’S, an anagram of his two daughter’s names. And, he called me and pleaded for Jack Byrne Advertising […]

  • How to Make Money Without Really Trying.

    All right, Class, settle down. Here is the key question on your final exam in Advertising 101: What is the single most important contractual factor in assuring, from the agency’s point of view, that a satisfactory agency/client relationship will exist? No, it’s not the “duration of the contract”. It’s not the “stipulations” of responsibilities. It’s […]

  • The Greatest Impressario since Flo Ziegfeld.

    When I first met my wife, Christian Cooper, she was an actress. My early courtship included shuttle flights between New York and Boston where she was appearing in the pre-Broadway run of Prettybelle, an Alexander Cohen production, directed by Gower Champion and starring Angela Lansbury. However, prior to her acting career, she had been a […]

  • Don’t Go to Work Today.

    In 1970, the New York City economy was not so hot and getting colder and the menswear industry was colder than that. Denim was hot, but tailored clothing was not, thanks to the upward spiraling influence of the freedom-loving Baby Boomers. To add to the industry’s problems, its half-hearted attempts to establish designer names as […]

  • BS from B&S.

    BS from B&S. My first job after graduating from Columbia College in ’49 was with Procter and Gamble as a merchandiser and salesman. That lasted a year. I didn’t have the P&G family spirit. My next step was to attend the NYU Summer Television Workshop. I felt my future would hold the most promise in […]

  • You’ve Got to Know Your Bees.

    In marketing circles, they say Manufacturing is “Strategic” and Retailing is “Tactical”. That makes sense. GM sets the long-term goals in product, markets and pricing and provides the advertising cover barrage under which its dealers fight the regional battles and the day-to-day skirmishes in the daily newspapers, using the most localized weapons such as price […]

  • Even Then He Knew…

    Jack Byrne Advertising was new, hot, and the talk of both the 6:05 and the 7:02 New Haven RR commuter bar cars if not the town. In less than 6 months from its opening on January 1, 1970, it had nailed the biggest plum in food marketing, the Bonus Gifts Coupons account, incorporating funds from […]

  • The Tsar is Dead.

    At 8AM on December 8th, 1993, my Russian Federation partner, Valeriy Solovyev, stepped out of his elevator and was hit with three bullets fired at point blank range.  (See “Death and Life at The Palace of Culture”, “Head of the Table” and …….). The experience at the Northern St. Petersburg cemetary was a rare one indeed …. The hand was […]

  • Death and Life in the Palace of Culture.

    NOTE: Write intro that connects with rest of story. He was cute. Impish. Dimpled. Round. His eager eyes always shone with anticipation and were quick to laugh. He was small for a Russian, perhaps 5’6”. Although he was somewhat rotund in shape, his shoulders-width neck reminded one of his youthful accomplishments as a Greco-Roman wrestler […]

  • That Dirty Daug Mindaugas

    Vision Express had opened three stores in Lithuania, the first in Panevežys which was nearest to our Latvia headquarters in Riga, the second in Vilnius, the capital and largest city, and the third in Kaunas,  close to Vilnius in size and thriving. All three cities met our population and economic criteria, but one Lithuanian city […]

  • The Greatest Little Coupon in the World.

    OK. Here’s a problem for you. It’s March 1970. Your new agency is two months old. You have left your partners at Griswold Eshleman Baker & Byrne, New York and Cleveland. Former partners (Charlie Farran, Jim Johnston, Sidney Matthew Weiss, Milton Guttenplan, Perry Brand, and Norman Cohen) were all behind you now. From the beginning […]

  • Stossel, Reasoner and a pair of Jacks

  • By Hooker by Crook …

    This is a “counter’s-intelligence” story. In June of 1978, Christian Cooper, my wife and partner in Jack Byrne Advertising, determined to re-enter show business with her own act, which would become Christian & The Lions. Since the venues were likely to be casino/hotels as “opening act” or in the cabarets, I was concerned for my […]

  • It’s not Hanes until…

    Everybody in the business of new business solicitation has a story to tell, often tragic, often comic, often both. But, my $100 bill is put aside for anyone who can tell one any wilder than the one I am about to narrate. Let me first set the stage. In April of 1962, a lanky Hungarian […]

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