Blog Archives

Seven Years Later & I’m Still Looking to the Storytelling Horizon

After logging into WordPress this morning, I had a new — yet expected — notification:

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 7 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

Seven years ago today, I attended a WordPress conference here in Columbus, OH inside the Ohio Union on the campus of THE Ohio State University. My interest in blogging, which I had dabbled with a bit in the past, took on a whole new dimension and meaning by discovering the online publishing platform WordPress. After listening to a few panel discussions, I immediately went up to the open-aired, impromptu customer service lounge on the third floor of the Ohio Union and sat next to an expert (I knew this person wasn’t a genius because I wasn’t in an Apple store) and asked him to help me set up my blog that would be called Jimmy’s Daily Planet.

One of my first blog posts published here — of which there were two I wrote on July 13, 2012 — was titled ‘Eight Years Later & We Look to the Horizon’ that focused on what would be the next societal game-changer. Hence part of the inspiration for today’s title. The other half of the title will be revealed in the second half of this blog post.

FYI – I explained the name of my blog in a post four years ago today. Here’s that summary.

Paying homage to the greatest (albeit fictional) newspaper of all-time, The Daily Planet, this blog was founded on my love of my favorite superhero and disguised human of all-time: Superman and Clark Kent. The scene from Richard Donner’s 1978 classic ‘Superman’ that showed us Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent walk through the bullpen of The Daily Planet for the first time was the moment I knew I wanted to be a journalist. The chaos, palpable energy, and big city, skyscraper setting flew from the screen and landed directly into my impressionable imagination.

These few minutes showing reporters preparing to get the scoop, watching exciting individual and group dynamics (papers scattered, people typing, talking and moving) and hearing creative storytelling pitches is arguably my favorite journalistic hook.

Plus, my name is Jimmy.

And here’s that aforementioned scene.

This ‘Superman’ clip resonates as much today as it did when I saw it for the first time as a kid.

Breaking News: I’m going to step away from publishing new blog posts on Jimmy’s Daily Planet. While Jimmy’s Daily Planet and all of the blog posts — written about a wide range of topics and current events — will remain available online in its exact current form with this same web address, there are other pressing writing projects that I am excited about that I need to commit more time and energy towards. As a matter of fact, it’s been my self-imposed Monday-Friday schedule of having to come up with and write new content on this blog for so many years that has given me the time management skills and confidence to now apply to new storytelling projects.

I wish I had the time to keep writing my daily blog — I really do — but the inspiration for my future projects will be rooted in and connected, in some way, to my writing style, experience, and association with my favorite headline/title I’ve ever come up with: Jimmy’s Daily Planet.

Here’s TV producer, writer, and storyteller extraordinaire Chuck Lorre with the right words at the right time.

I’ve loved writing Jimmy’s Daily Planet. I’ve had so much fun. And now everything that’s been put into this creative storytelling venture throughout the past seven years will be used to tell new, exciting stories that I hope people will connect with and like as much as I do.

Dr. Ian Malcolm, the fictional chaos theorist in ‘Jurassic Park,’ famously said that perfect turn of phrase — by way of the late author Michael Crichton — “life finds a way.”

I’m hoping that brilliant literary and cinematic adage can be amended to “writing finds a way.”

Thank you to everyone who read Jimmy’s Daily Planet and supported me along the way! 

50 Years After ‘One Giant Leap,’ We Must Take ‘One Small Step’ Towards the Next Moonshot

July 20, 1969: Following a decades-long pursuit of monetary and intellectual energy for a once-in-a-lifetime moment of unrivaled ingenuity, coupled with the bravery of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, the United States successfully landed a man (well, three men) on the moon.

“That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Still an astonishing achievement 50 years later.

As part of the celebration and necessary reminder of that historic journey into the ever-expansive and unforgiving darkness of space, let’s recall the presidential charge given by John F. Kennedy back in 1962.

Interestingly, my parents attended the “JFK Space Summit” at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum on June 19, 2019. One of the panels, “NASA: From the Moon to Mars 7 Beyond” featured Apollo 11 Lunar Command Module pilot Michael Collins. Moreover, Douglas Brinkley signed copies of his new book American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race. My parents bought one of those signed books, which they will hopefully allow me to borrow so I can learn in-depth facts of that amazing journey as chronicled by a New York Times bestselling author.

Listening to President Kennedy’s unambiguous message to Americans is still an astonishingly ambitious — and uniquely American — declaration more than 50 years later.

While there is a long list of awe-inspiring films made about space with a certain reliance on realism– ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ ‘Interstellar,’ ‘Gravity,’ ‘Apollo 13,’ ‘The Right Stuff’ — the documentaries and based-on-real-events’ film ‘First Man’ about the famed Apollo 11 mission take on a different gravity of storytelling.

CNN’s ‘Apollo 11’ documentary along with the July 12th-release of the documentary ‘Armstrong’ that is narrated by the quintessentially rebellious American voice of Harrison Ford celebrates and takes us back to how that triumphant mission came together for this country as well as mankind.

Here is the trailer for ‘Armstrong.’

According to reviews, ‘Armstrong’ does not live up to fellow 2019 documentary ‘Apollo 11’ or the major motion picture ‘First Man’ yet it still provides insights into the man who seemed destined to help perform the moonshot of all moonshots.

On that note, what will be America’s next “moonshot”?

There will be no shortage of ideas in the coming week as we celebrate the Apollo 11 mission that was a giant leap 50 years ago, forever holding a unique space in human history.

Short Film’s Latest (& Mostly) Silent Era

“…on this day in 2006, the company that brought the world the blockbuster hits Toy Story (1995), A Bug’s Life (1998), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003) and The Incredibles (2004) was sold to the Walt Disney Company, their longtime distributor, for a staggering $7.4 billion.”
–Walt Disney announces $7.4 billion purchase of Pixar, History.com

Pixar is an ever-evolving, multi-generational animation game-changer for both in short & feature films. This animation studio, part of Walt Disney, has produced some of the greatest animated movies of all-time. Not all, of course. Let’s not be hyperbolic with no memory of the illustrious past in this industry. However, Pixar’s uniquely subtle style for five to six-minute shorts is something to marvel at with a great deal of satisfaction and happiness.

Bet you didn’t expect that director commentary in the middle of an analysis of Pixar’s animated storytelling techniques. It changes the way you view the whole video, right?

Just call it the eternal magic of movies, real and imagined.

My 5-Year (& Counting) Plan of Steel

“The Value of the Dollar is Rising in the American Restaurant.”

This was the first headline on Jimmy’s Daily Planet exactly five years ago on July 13, 2012. And the purpose of my debut blog post was to shine a light on the burgeoning reality of small bites and, therefore, lower prices per quality food item in American restaurants for still struggling restaurant owners and customers in equal measure.

We live in the era where a bag of skittles costs $1, a trip to the movies forces one to contemplate his or her finances and best of all, a large…I mean a venti, at Starbucks is almost $2.00! Who else remembers, “The best part of wakin’ up is Folgers in your cup.” Making our own coffee…it was a simpler time then.

The point is everyday expenses have skyrocketed well beyond reality. We laugh at our grandparents and parents for speaking nostalgically about getting a $.10 hamburger and an ice cream cone for a nickel…Today, it really gives new meaning to the term “The Greatest Generation.” Fear not, this is not an article about business finances related to the rising costs of food. This is about how White Castle has set the food trend that is here in to stay in America for a long, long, long time.

White Castle is famous for its sliders. Small burgers that alone may not be completely filling at around $.45 apiece, but when ordered in packs of four or more certainly can cure a hungry appetite. This is where we are now. Americans are in the “Slider Era.” I don’t mean that every food item will be a small burger, but the slider concept is alive and well and has taken on all sorts of variations. From burgers to lobster roll sliders, restaurants all over are creatively adapting. Chefs of all kinds have realized more than ever that their bottom line is directly linked to their customers. Eating out together today more closely resembles eating out together as a family going to McDonald’s when the Golden Arches first shined bright in suburban Chicago, Illinois, with the Dollar Menu as one example. To be clear, this is a great thing! We are in this together, and restaurants are stepping up.

From White Castle to a sushi joint to Ed’s Lobster Bar Annex in the lower east side of New York city, people are becoming increasingly aware that sharing a few small plates or appetizers together is more fun (economically and socially) than always ordering a large meal and an expensive drink. Order smaller items, but more of them.

At Yogi Perogi in Grandview, Ohio, each perogi ranges from $1.75-$2.50. With just two or three, that’s easily lunch. That not only could be a new lunch spot, but also an expanded palate, as was the case with me. With all prices relative to its location and quality, a lobster roll slider at Ed’s Lobster Bar Annex in NYC is $5, three lobster tacos are $12 and a lobster burger slider is $5. Again, three of these plus an order of fries ($6, but remember it can be split if you’re eating out with friends or family…and it’s quite a few fries) are sufficient for a meal. This is all especially good when you realize the signature lobster roll alone goes for $27.

Simply put: Less is more.

Has the reality I blogged about five years ago relating to the restaurant industry changed dramatically?

Interestingly, no.

It’s a bit surreal to reflect back to writing my first blog post on this new website I built using WordPress called Jimmy’s Daily Planet, which is a nod to Clark Kent’s human job as a reporter at The Daily Planet. There’s also the simultaneous gentle tip of the cap to Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen and my first name being Jimmy.

I couldn’t even think a couple years into the future, let alone five, to imagine what this personal hobby would or could become. What I do know is that I love writing and communicating in my own style and voice. There’s no point in writing or speaking like other people. And this blog has provided me with the amazing opportunity to engage in reporting and telling stories, as Frank Sinatra would say, my way.

Now, what does the future hold for Jimmy’s Daily Planet?

Much like writing each blog post Monday-Friday, I’ll figure it out as I’m writing and brainstorming new topics and ways to communciate with people with clever twists and, hopefully, a bit of insight.

The gift of the fifth wedding anniversary is wood. Although, steel seems more fitting in this case…but I digress. So, how does wood connect to writing a blog? Well, wood is natural and the instincts for creating and publishing content on this blog are natural and intuitive. In a forest, for example, there are tall trees, short trees, trees with majestic branches and trees with few branches. Some trees may look alike, but every tree has its own unique characteristics. I like to think Jimmy’s Daily Planet is similar to a wooded forest in this regard.

Simply put: Saying yes to a blog has been more rewarding than I could’ve imagined five years later.