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Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Royal Wrap-up

My Los Angeles Kings* flamed out on their way to the Stanley Cup, so I'm a little down and out recovering from the fool's good that was once the 2015-16 National Hockey League season. Nothing left to cheer for except every team playing the loathsome Anaheim Ducks.

Prince is dead, long live the king.
So instead of drowning my sorrows in a few neat Crown Royal Canadian Whiskys, I'm trying to finish my application to become the social media manager for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (or at least the minion responsible for making these decisions, because I am most certain that she couldn't care less).

And, why not? I haven't seen the Queen since I snapped off a few hundred pictures of the royal family as a youngster in the eighties on a fellowship that I won back in the day. A return to Buckingham Palace seems in order now that they posted a position for the Head of Digital Engagement with the Royal Household.

A Media Guy Original
The Royal Household advertised the job of with a salary of up to £50,000 (that's $71,000 USD for you and me) with the following enticement: “It’s knowing your content will be viewed by millions. It's about never standing still and finding new ways to maintain The Queen's presence in the public eye and on the world stage. This is what makes working for the Royal Household exceptional.”

The basic duties takes me back to the time I applied for that Ogilvy internship: “Whether you’re covering a state visit, award ceremony or royal engagement, you’ll make sure our digital channels consistently spark interest and reach a range of audiences. With an eye to the future, you’ll work to hone and shape our digital communications through sharing best practice, understanding new technologies and stimulating creativity.”

While 5.3 million followers across social media is not on the Taylor Swift or Kardashian scale, you can bet that competition will be still. Maybe I'll stick to making commercials...

...while I was filling out my application, word came through that artist now known again as Prince had passed suddenly. There's been too many great musicians that passed as of late. David Bowie, Glenn Frey and now Prince.

I liked Prince for many reasons. First and foremost, Prince was bad ass and ss I get older, I admire those who don’t give a damn about what I think. What we think. Maybe it’s the ad man in me, trying to reach that niche demographic and drive them to my product or service. He did whatever he wanted. On stage. In the recording studio. With his personal life. You name it, he did what he wanted, when he wanted. Bad ass!

I mean, Michael Jackson was coming off Thriller, only the best selling album of all time,  and Jackson asked Prince if he wanted to collaborate on a song or two. Prince’s reply “No, I’m good.” Bad ass!

That time during his 1990 concert tour where I got a press pass to take photos for the Associated Press. Seven hundred photos later, Prince's people convinced my editor to turn them over to be reviewed. Prince liked then so much he cried copyright violation and kept them. I didn't like it at the time, but honest, that was bad ass!

And then, all of that sex. Prince was all about sex. It’s the straight ahead, uncompromising sexual nature of his music. When you listen to Dirty Minds, it’s intentionally shocking and musically all over the place. He ruled the airwaves in spite of it all. He was a singular music talent whose impact resonated far beyond the radio. Here's a few snippets of what people who actually know what they are talking about wrote of him:

The New York Times Obituary
Across a career of more than 35 years, Prince released 39 albums while being lauded not only for his songs, but their visual presentation both onstage and on camera. His 1984 film “Purple Rain” is widely considered one of the best and most influential music films ever, while its accompanying soundtrack spawned the No. 1 hits “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Rolling Stone (1983)
All cocky, teasing talk about sex, that's Prince. Forget Mr. Look So Good; meet the original Mr. Big Stuff. He's afraid of nothing onstage: ready to take on all the desires of a stadium full of his lusty fans, ready to marry funky black dance music and punky white rock music after their stormy separation through the Seventies, ready to sell his Sex Can Save Us message to anybody who'll give his falsetto a listen.

GQ Spends Six Days In Paisley Park
Like his records, like his stage shows, Prince’s Paisley Park headquarters is a monument to this system of beliefs. It’s a strange place, even to visit. Something in the water, as Prince once so memorably put it, does not compute. It’s not anything physical, not the two doves in their cage or the purple galaxy painted on the boardroom ceiling or the obsessive cleanliness. It’s something more intangible, and you see it in the faces of the people who work there. They’re like students taking a long, perplexing exam, trying to work out what the question means before they can start writing.

Prince Guest Stars On 'Muppets Tonight'

Time to drown myself with a royal cola...

RC Cola had some no-so-great sexist ads...more on that another day.
Not every underdog story ends well. In the case of Royal Crown Cola, every sign pointed towards an eventual victory over Coca-Cola. RC Cola started in the basement of a grocery store. They won a crucial lawsuit that kept Coca-Cola from having a monopoly on the word "cola." They were the first to introduce the public taste-test, canned soda, and crucially, diet soda. But one study, largely funded by the sugar industry, cast a false pallor over RC's artificial sweetener of choice: cyclamate. The controversy led to RC changing their formula, which fell flat with the public. RC then made a serious of bad business deals — buying furniture companies? — and now they've since become the proto-PBR of the soft drink industry. Read more on Mental Floss...


Game of Thrones has a history of eliciting rather strong reactions from viewers. From its premiere in 2011 to last year's season five finale, this show has been all about shock value. From its gratuitous rape scenes and brutal deaths to incestuous affairs and mind-blowing plot-twists, the HBO fantasy drama may have generated the most WTF moments of any show in the history of television.

So, in case you've forgotten, here are the 30 most WTF moments from Game of Thrones, and all the deaths from seasons one through five:

* - Remember when the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2014? I do...