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The Story of Silent Night:

Many of us know the origins of the hymn Amazing Grace but far fewer know the story of how one of our most beloved hymns ‘Silent Night’ came to be. Now this is history I wish we had a video production of and there is a reason why I wished we had video footage! Its because the facts that I’m going to set down here is just one of the stories that’s told about this hymn.

If you really want to appreciate the ‘effects of the oral tradition’ go and read a few of the stories about the origins of this Christmas Carol. More or less the hard facts you find are the same but the way they’re put together varies. Its interesting, really it is.

Silent Night: The Poem

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It was a poem a Clergyman wrote during the few days that preceded one Christmas Eve in 1818. That was 195 years ago and it doesn’t seem its worn out its welcome yet! This Clergyman lived and served in a small Austrian Village, nestled in the Alps, known as Oberndorf.

The Clergyman, Father Josef Mohr took a journey on foot to visit a family who lived in a cabin high in the mountains. Its recorded that as he walked he became very aware of the beautiful landscape. The blissful silence of the snow covered ground. The dark beauty of the Alpines against the very azure blue sky and the music that sang out from the creeks he first followed then crossed as he made his way to the awaiting family.

When he arrived, it was early evening and he was warmly greeted at the door. When he stepped in, the first thing he saw was a newly born babe with its mother in adoring attendance. Since we have no video production to view on YouTube LOL or a viral video to view that was sent to us thru one of the many social media networks, we’ll have to rely on those who’ve suggested that this walk put Father Josef Mohr into a reflective state of mind about the original Nativity scene. There would be no doubt his state of mind since he was in the middle of preparing for the upcoming caroling service that he would officiate Christmas eve.

When he left the family and headed home, it was nightfall and the moonlight glistened from the snow covered hills and gleamed from the babbling brook. It was a silent night and he felt it to be a holy night. All is calm, all is bright. But wait..!

What Went Wrong?:

While he was away, as the story goes, well at least one version of the story, his friend and colleague Franz Gruber, who was also the Choir Master and village music teacher, sat down to the organ to do a bit of rehearsal for the Christmas Eve service. and what do you think happened…why the organ was breathless and that means that no sound came from it! It was broken. This was a disastrous time for this to happen; it’s Christmastime and on Christmas Eve the organ is played while everyone sings hymns together. No organ, no music… but wait because when Father Josef Mohr arrived home, he sat down and penned the poem that was to become one of the most beloved Christmas carols of the Christian world. Even non believers sing this hymn during the Christmas Season and it’s now 195 years old!

When Josef and Franz were trying to figure out what to do about the upcoming service and the broken organ, he showed his poem to his friend, the music teacher. He loved it and said that the very words suggested a simple tune and in his mind the poem was really a Christmas Carol.

The Collaboration:

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Wonderful, don’t you think, that while we don’t even have a video production we can view to prove this to ourselves, we are told that we can rely on the fact that like most music teachers, Franz Gruber played more than one instrument; he also played the guitar. He took the simple loveliness of the beautiful sparse poem now titled ‘Silent Night’, and set it to a memorable melody. The rest is history and most of that is well documented. How the Christmas carol was taken by the organ mender (someone had to come and fix that breathless heap of wood! LOL ) back to his small village and taught the simple song to a small group of children.

The Journey of Silent Night:

Then it ended up in the most famous cathedral of Salzburg, St. Peters. Then it travelled somehow to Paris…then to London and from there it arrived like so many other immigrants, to America. First in the big cities then to the small towns and now everywhere, during the Christmas season, you’ll hear ‘Silent Night, Holy Night.

The First TIme I Heard It Sung In Austrian:

SwaddledBabesI don’t think I shall ever forget hearing it for the first time in it’s original language, Austrian. My friend sang it to me one Christmas Eve. Michele was Austrian and we were both sitting in her new gorgeous A-frame house overlooking Lake Kooteny in British Columbia, Canada. It was dusk, we were seated side by side in recliner chairs that we had pulled up close to the floor to ceiling windows. The Canadian Rockies were, of course, snow covered. The night was clear, cold and the sky was a mix of purple and indigo. It was stunning.

This gorgeous painting we gazed upon, mixed with her obvious home sickness drew the Christmas Carol, Silent Night out of her. I had never heard her sing before. She was 53 and I was 24 or 25. I remember thinking about how she had taken up piano lessons and I wondered why someone so old would do something like that! So in my characteristic and sometimes, though not meaning to be, unkindness, I ask her why she was doing that? Because everything in my mind set, following on from a very industrious and utilitarian upbringing as an American, I factored that it was a waste of time unless you were ( I love this next useless phrase) unless you were ‘going to do something with it’.

I was taken aback when she simply said that she had always wanted to play the piano and this was the first time she could. She was doing it for herself. I’ve never forgotten that. It was a lesson that is still with me. There are so many things that I still want to do and in the ways of the world, if it’s only value is to be measured pounds and pence on a bottom line, well then, these things I want to do are equally a waste of time.

Precious Memories Teach Me Still:

What I most recall about listening to her singing that carol in Austrian and then teaching it to me was the depth of her longing for her homeland. I knew that they had come out of Nazi Germany and immigrated to Canada to escape so much unspeakable sorrow. And her singing that song, on this Christmas eve was particularly poignant since she did not consider herself a Christian.

The belief in God, as she put it, died in the horror of the war.
You have to admit, that the singing of this hymn by this woman would be memorable to anyone. She’s left us now, where we go when we die, I don’t know… but I do know we live because life is deathless by its nature just as light has no darkness by its nature.

Michele was beautiful. She had dreamy blue eyes and blond hair with many curls. She had a noticeable nervous tic that was somehow endearing. Although she was overwrought most of the time and had a profound and noticeable capacity for critical thinking. She introduced me to many aspects of literature and was always interested and impressed about my passionate interest in the Bible and my knowledge of its writers.
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Today is December 11th, 2013. Christmas Eve is soon here – I’ll have to sing to her, this hymn in her mother tongue; I wouldn’t want her to think I’ve forgotten it.

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NIGHT ON THE TOWN

This video was not as easy to produce as it seems! First of all, to get this much excitement out of the two towns it features you’d have to get most of the nightly activity into a couple of rooms, all at once and then pump up the volume!

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Actually all that I’ve put in this video production is true and does happen as featured. I have however, as is the customary way in producing a trailer, I’ve compressed it all together. Leaving all of that aside..if this video made you want to go out on the town then the mission was accomplished.

Something about neon lights, delicious food and colourful drinks bring out the night time crawler in most of us. The company that needed this sells a directory that is constantly updated and posts happy hours, restaurant features, whatever is on stage be it music or a play or the gib screen. A one stop shop on where to go and what to do. Very handy when you think of how much time you’d spend researching all of this info.

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Using the fast jazzy fiddle is my contribution to step it up – joyous! Video production when its well crafted, first locates the specific emotion it needs to action for the sale, stirs it up and directs it towards action. I don’t believe you need to say anything – like ‘buy now’ , first 10 people get 25% off first 5 burgers, or hurry, quick, get two for one!
Most folks are fed up with that sort of pitch. But you can be sure that if it is still in profuse use then I’m wrong and its still working! LOL

I wonder what you thought about the Jazzy lower thirds that were added to spice up the presentation..and the colour palette was also chosen to not overwhelm the subject but to ‘frame’ it as in nightlife. What do you think?

I kept in my mind one idea when I was developing this video production:

  • when folks go out its to shake off what they had when they were indoors;
  • they want someone else’s’ cooking, live music rather than canned, a good story up on a screen that they can escape into, a stage play that is thrilling because the actors are right in the room with them. So I tried with my limited footage and images to stimulate the resonance with the person who really wants to go out on the town! Video is magic that way. Its a delivery system, a promise of what is waiting for you if you respond to the call to action.

Competition for customers be it to a restaurant, bar, theatre, concert, is tougher than ever. If you’ve any doubts about that, all you have to do is drive down the main drag of most any city in America and you’ll see the ‘for sale by owner’, lease to own, all offers considered – that signage is now everywhere. Having watched so many restaurants, in particular have to shut their doors, begs the question: “why open one at all!?”

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It takes constant promotion to keep one open. When you turn the clock back and look at which ones opened and stayed opened, the formula is fairly straight forward and mostly ignored today; I don’t know why. Here it is, as I’ve seen it for anyone who’s listening:

  • small venue – so that folks have to book or stand in line to get in;
  • small menu with a specific signature – call it Branded Cuisine!
  • family run; labour is cheaper and usually more dependable;
  • set hours that limit exposure and cultivate a dependable clientele;
  • someone to go out and publish that branded cuisine! Attend network meetings, develop the restaurant for ‘small group affairs’ And don’t forget the ’bird in hand that’s right across the street, next door or down the road!

That’s what ALWAYS worked. Some of those small intimate dives had movie stars queuing to get in… think about it. Spending less money on the decor and more attention to the menu, now that’s a business plan. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, creating the video… to brand and to publish the good news about a product or service and specifically in this subject, nightlife.

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Well, if it were a sandwich, you’d spend the money on the meat in between the slices of bread and less on the the bread. Same goes with video. Think CONTENT and less about FORM. Get those hand held reviews of ‘what did you think about that meal, or that play, or did you have a good time tonight!? Get those up onto your review page…lots of them all over the internet. Inexpensive to produce, fun, is in and of itself a form of ‘customer care’ and we all need more of that. Creating videos is a form of networking, it is itself ‘social networking’!

If you’ve any ideas or comments to this semi rant of mine, hook up with me and let me hear it – I’d like that.

 

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Roast House Coffee Video

It was a pleasure to begin working with this company and generate videos that would publish some of the lesser known facts that frame out this very important commodity – coffee.

This video production is really a slide show video and is a very affordable way to publish your services and products. The still photos can be taken on your premises and of yourselves, or professional photos that entertain while they inform. In this video marketing tool, I used a little video footage that I had in my archive.

 

When you consider that coffee is the second largest traded commodity next to oil you then realize the power there is in the process that gets it from the farm into our cup. If memory serves there have only ever been two time that the stock market halted trade and one of them was during a crop crisis of coffee.

This video production does nothing to discuss that issue and only offers a brief pictorial insight into the cultivation, harvesting, production line that coffee travels on it’s way to where ever and from whoever it is that we purchase it from.

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My idea in producing this mini video was to at least hint at the many hands it travels through to our coffee pot. I would love to produce a current video that would entertain while it informed those who would enroll, if they knew more, in the politics regarding the coffee plantations – that wide gulf that divides those that farm the coffee and those that deal in the distribution of the crop.

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I learned so much about the now ‘infamous’ ‘green washing’ that complete conceals in the worst, and camouflages in the least the slave labour on the farms and rampant greed in the market place that this precious commodity fuels. In the instigation to implement the sustainable fair trade movement the desire was, put simply, to level the playing field so that the farmer could work and have bare bone sufficiency – place to live, clothes to wear, food on the table and the tiniest opportunity to procure an education for their offspring. BT, as is the nature of those who’s main objective is to increase the profit margin but invest as little as possible – and put bluntly, not give a damn of how that crop got to the market place.

Let’s just say that there are those among who don’t care about how that java ended up in their morning coffee cup…and who may never become aware of the horrific damage that this crop, cultivated in the wrong way, is doing to the earth. i did shoot video footage on this subject but here again, it’s not included in this mini video production.

  1. They may not be aware that coffee, when its allowed to grow where it wants to, does not queue up and grow in acres of rows so that the harvesting machines can get to.
  2. They may not know that it grows in and among a variety of plants it takes on the flavour profile of those neighbouring plants. It prefers to grow under a canopy and this is why you’ll see ‘shade grown’ being lauded on the packaging.
  3. They may not know that their cup of coffee is sometimes the only way some farmers can be in gainful employment, if you can call it ‘gainful’ AND that is is worse paid than the infamous diamond mines in South Africa.

The coffee cultivated on small sustainable farms, picked when ripe and not ‘strip farmed’ pulling both green and red cherries from the branch, can have the taste of chocolate, or vanilla, or berries. Coffee responds to plants and soil in the same way that grapes do and provide flavour profiles to everything from inexpensive ‘table wine’ to very expensive and elegant sipping wine. A better example would be chocolate since they oft grow together and mime each other in the way they absorb the flavours of the plants that they grow alongside of.

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What it grows with, as well as the the soil it grows in, how it’s harvested as well as when THEN the whole process of getting that into the roasting machines…ALL OF IT, affects that final cup of morning coffee.

Oh, my goodness you can see why those who get into this world of coffee are never more seen going into anything else! Its such a rich culture… and those that REALLY get into the politics of it are as easily triggered to become ‘hot under the collar’ as are those who discuss the full spectrum of issues on the Republican ticket!

Speaking of ‘shade grown’ in contrast to those highly disastrous strip farms that move the harvesting machines down a central aisle shaking and striping the branches of everything from the yet unformed coffee flower, the berry in all shades of green all the way up to the ripe n’ ready red cheery…this is why some coffee takes like carmel coloured sludge while other cups of coffee are remarkable. A full bouquet can awaken your taste buds and fill your nostrils and home with a savoury aroma.

Our commercial way of rush – rush to the roaster and onto the shelves has meant that many have never sampled a good cup of of coffee. Seriously. I mean it. I’ve actually been using this brand of coffee that my clients produce, they named themselves simply ‘Roast House Coffee’ and when I’ve brewed it and served it to people who, in my opinion, drink coffee in excess, they have all commented on it’s aroma and its taste.

Great care is taken by Deborah Di Bernardo, the owner, in how she locates these small farmers, works with them and keeps them out of the mainstream coffee market place by paying them. This alone keeps them off of the slave blocks and contributes so much towards saving our fragile planetary balances.

One of the videos I produced for them is called ‘African Coffee’ and this video was shot on 3 continents, one of which was Africa. If you have any doubts whatsoever about the claim, I and others, make that there is at least a concoction of 1,000 chemicals in a single cup of non organic coffee…think again. All you really need to do it consider that when you remove anyone or anything from it’s optimal horticultural preferences, you, in essence, relocate it in a war zone. Predators. Infestations, etc/

Think of it, if a botanical prefers the shade, and you place it under a scorching sun, what’s likely to happen? In short it becomes prey and what would you do if your cash crop was being feasted upon by the foe and fried under the blazing sun?! You’d spray it, that’s what you’d do… repellents, drugs that wold help it endure the sun and not die for want of shade.

Spray. Spray. Spray. Saturate the ground with chemical cocktails that will eventually mean that nothing will grow there. Then, moving on, what is the final outcome of that procedure…?! Well, since those that instigated that ignorant practice will be long gone and onto the next ‘big thing’ will be gone… it’s the people who were worked like slaves that’ll be left to reclaim the land and make it produce again.

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Now I’m going to tell you something that I said I wouldn’t, but I’m going to anyway..(as I’m working up a froth! LOL – no, not so funny) when I went back into an area and visited a few plantations I’d shot video footage of years before and one of the most disturbing visuals was the drastic loss of skin pigmentation on those who, in one way or another, handled the coffee. Big white patches of skin were evident on hands arms and faces. Chemicals are to blame. I suppose that if you, for whatever reason don’t share my concern about this skin condition, you may be interested in considering what this chemical cocktail is doing to your health….and remember, that what the body cannot assimilate, it cannot eliminate either. It will however express this toxic condition without dislodging it. It expresses it through the skin, the malfunctioning lungs, the weakened bladder, diminished eyesight, etc.

Well, if you read down this far, as least you’re awake! Maybe you did not need this wake up call, but I did. I simply did not believe that there that many chemicals in non organic coffee. One thing is on my mind a lot: labeling.

  1. Where on the typical label that sells coffee do you ever see a list of those chemicals?
  2. How do we get that onto a label and what will be the resistance to providing that information to the consumer?
  3. How will it impact the market place and the ultimate cost of coffee & will anyone get on board with doing it?
  4. Now this question is hypothetical: Wouldn’t it be better to get on board with the fight to keeping what few plantations that are not yet poisoned, than to idling sit by and keep score while watching this blood bath?

And, NO! I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic. Remember, this is the world’s second biggest commodity -bought – sold and traded daily in a world wide market place. When I really got my head around that i then understood the passionate statement I heard Deborah Di Bernardo make when she said: “I’m going to help change the world by selling and drinking one cup of coffee at a time.”

Hooray to the David that rises up to slay the Goliath! Hooray to OrganicRoastHouse.com Spokane, Washington – 99207 509.995.6500

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Tibetan Tea – Natural Energizer!

TibetanTeaImage#2png Here is a quote from http://TibetanTea.com that’s the website that has the product I promoted in this video production.

“Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.” Dalai Lama

This was a fun project. Fun for a variety of reasons. The owner of this company, Penny Stafford is one of the most impressive people I’ve met in years. Hear’s why:

She is gutsy and what I call ‘Frontline Authentic’. I mean if she’s pushed to the ‘frontline’ in a battlefield, she’ll hold that line no matter what’s on the other side!

During the production process of this video I learned volumes about the soft drink industry. Penny had no input into the video production and all that I learned does not appear in the video. Still, knowing so much more now means that the information will soon appear in a video production.

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Most of us don’t realize what a warfare is waged to gain and hold point of sale (POS) for the soft drink industry. The college campus is where most of the soft drinks are sold in the USA. I may misquote this, but drawing from memory it’s near 80% ! The Goliath of this industry is of course the world owned by the Pepsi and Coke moguls.

Add to this heated contest, the ‘energy drink’ consumption, also mostly on the college campuses and you have one of the biggest profit machines in the world. It’s like a well managed Mafia. Think of it, how would you bring your product, a soft drink that needs to be chilled, to the market, without one of those soft drink machines you typically buy one from?

Now, what if all the space that was allocated for the drinks machines were pre sold under iron glad contracts to the drinks Mafia?

Here’s the deal, Tibetan Tea is a natural drink- it’s made from natural ingredients that energize the body with nutrient rich food – not chemical speed type of ingredients. Even with the students helping Penny Stafford to acquire her place in this monopoly, even then, the big guy wins.

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We all love David & Goliath stories because we champion those that have the guts to come up against the opposition with an honest product and not back down from the front-line just because the rubber bullets suddenly become the real deal and lethal.

Here are a few other things I learned while producing this video:

  • the glass we think is being recycled, isn’t;
  • for many reasons, the tin can is better than the bottle;
  • the medical insurance companies are already budgeting for the onslaught of kidney transplants and dialysis treatments that will be required due to the damage the harsh chemicals in the energy drinks are causing’
  • cane sugar is better than high fructose corn syrup
  • the reason antioxidants are missing in the bottled drinks;
  • the difference between natural caffeine and the synthetic version of same;
  • the drink moguls, pushing the chemical speed drinks, can become as aggressive as any other street gang to protect their market;
  • there are natural alternatives available for the college students who want them, BUT, no will is available to face down those who run the drinks mafia.
  • I learned that it takes more than a village to get a healthy soft drink onto a college campus, it takes an army!

In this video production, you’ll see the fun we had in making it seem like Tibetan Tea was even found on the moon! The idea for this video was to support the treasure hunt that was intended to publicize Tibetan Tea and force it into the limelight by letting the students be the light shinning on it.

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Currently Penny is promoting ‘crowd funding’ and in her introduction video she informs the viewer that one of the reasons these fledgling companies fail is that they don’t have the money to pay forward a full year of production like the bigger companies do. Crowd Funding is one way to accomplish this..we pool together to produce what we need to do in order to get the product on the shelves.

You’ll enjoy reading all that Penny Stafford is doing and has done to get her product into the market place… she combines, pairs it up, with many worthwhile concerns and projects that need our loving financial attention.

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Oh, did I mention that this is one of the most refreshing soft drinks I’ve ever tasted. If anyone drinks an energy drink, this is one to add to your list of ‘must tries’. Her website http://TibetanTea.com is very informative….and heart warming to learn about what Penny does…. and most importantly, ‘why’ she does it. Besides, you’ll need to go there to find out where David felled Goliath & won! That is to say, where exactly you can find one of these drinks.