Rhapsody in Blue | The Most Perfect Music I’ve Never Heard

George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” is the first music that really moved me, as a child. I heard the Mantovani/Julius Katchen recording on our old stereo, back in the late ’50’s. Over the years, I’ve heard many different versions, some better than others. One of the best “flawed” versions was at the Peabody Book Store in Baltimore, performed as a solo piano piece by a guy who was a natural (but eccentric) performer.

I’ve never heard a perfect performance of the piece, however. That’s because the music itself is as perfect as I can imagine. We mere mortals can only approach what the composer ended up settling on, in his final revisions. When Gershwin first performed the piece with a jazz band, he actually improvised some parts. Since there was no recording of the performance, we’ll never know what that first attempt really sounded like.

The piece was first imagined on a train ride to New York. The rhythm of the train on the tracks inspired Gershwin, and he had most of the music in his head by the time he arrived. The absolutely original composition was for two pianos. He gave the music to an arranger, who scored it for a jazz band. Later arrangements included one for a symphony orchestra. The 1942 arrangement is the one most of us are familiar with.

Below are three versions I favor. The first is the Mantovani/Katchen version; the second, a loving arrangement for solo piano by a Russian (!); the third is the most popular version (featured in Woody Allen’s “Manhattan”). The first two videos come in two parts, the final one is a complete 16-plus minute recording. If you listen to all of them, perhaps you’ll see what I mean: none are perfect, but together, they are purely transcendent.

Harrisonburg Web Design | Vision Studios in Northern Virginia

Mike Vanderpool of Vision Studios (540.746.7009), a Harrisonburg, VA web design firm, does more than just make pretty websites. As a LinkedIn member, I’ve had the chance to exchange ideas with him and learn about his commitment to excellence.

Naturally, a web design firm better make pretty websites! However, the key to a successful business website is how workable and usable the site is for customers, prospects and web-surfers. Along with a good user experience, the website client needs a responsive website creator and maintainer who understands business and marketing.

web design northern virginia
Vision Studios Web Design Harrisonburg, VA

As media consultants, Vision Studios can create and deliver “brands, websites, mobile applications, and videos”. This means benefits for clients that go far beyond a cool Web page with spiffy graphics.

If you’re looking for a one-stop marketing resource, these guys can deliver. They also do print media, graphic & identity design, consulting and social media work. Oh, yes, they also offer SEO services, for those that hate doing it themselves.

When I asked him what his Mission Statement is, he replied, “Ours is simply, “Service is everything!”” Since I feel excellence belongs in every Mission Statement, he opined that he prefers to hear EXCELLENCE from his clients. Nice!

Those of you that know me know that I do not suffer fools gladly, nor brook any nonsense when it comes to Internet Marketing. Mike Vanderpool is no fool, nor does he indulge in nonsensical thinking.

When I prodded him about the appearance of his website (dark, with light type), he made a telling point: “consumer buys are heavily based on your appearance”. If you don’t look like you can do cool graphics and present a stunning appearance, you won’t get past the first five seconds a new prospect for your design services will invest in your Web page.

If you’re in the Northern Virginia area, check out this Harrisonburg-based Web Design firm: Vision Studios. Call 540-746-7009, and tell ’em Vince Runza sent you!

P.S. I don’t make a dime off of referrals and wasn’t paid to write this, either.

Personalized Christmas Gifts and Favors | Engraved Holiday Gifts and Favors

Every holiday season, folks worry and fret over how to give something memorable without breaking the budget. You spend your hard-earned money on things for other people and hope that they’ll appreciate what you gave.

“Gifting” and “re-gifting” have become verbs in popular parlance. Personalized holiday gifts and favors are a great way to “gift” without the underlying worry that what you gave will be “re-gifted”.

In fact, something as simple, classic and timeless as an engraved pocket watch:

Engraved Silver Pocket Watch

Engraved Silver Pocket Watch

can surprise and please a hard-to-buy-for man for under $25. With a little thought and a selection of reasonably priced gift items, you can turn holiday shopping into a fun, affordable and memorable experience.

CreateAFavor.com is just the place to start your search for the best holiday gifts and favors. With a broad selection of gifts and favors, you can create unique and memorable holiday items for those you want to please.

One great benefit to you is that personalization and engraving by CreateAFavor.com is done for free. Along with a broad array of themes and designs you can choose for free, custom logos and designs can be done for you with a modest setup fee.

As you continue to think about it, personalized favors for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years parties might be a great idea for you to offer your holiday guests. These affordable mementos can become the right touch for enhancing and reminding your guests how much you value them.

Take a moment now and go to http://createafavor.com/ or call 1-866-FAVORS2. Get started on your holiday planning with personalized and engraved gifts and favors from CreateAFavor.com.

Emergency CRM Support Los Angeles | F1 Solutions 888.256.8913

If you’re having a CRM emergency, you may be kicking yourself for not having prepared for it before everything went South. According to Cedrick Holmes of F1 Solutions in Los Angeles, most folks don’t come to him until there is weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. He’d love to be able to provide managed IT services, CRM solutions, project management, custom reporting and custom programming in advance of his clients having urgent problems.

Unfortunately, too many business owners delay that decision. It’s something that they’ll do when they get around to it.

Emergency CRM Support Los Angeles

Emergency CRM Support Los Angeles

Fine. Here’s “A Round Tuit”. Print it out and stick it on your wall. You no longer have that as an excuse.

Seriously, the whole matter of getting yourself out of a bind is no joke. Chances are, if you found this blog post through a search engine, you’re in need of help. How urgently you need that help depends on how badly things have gone wrong.

If, however, you’re just researching CRM, managed services, IT support, project management, custom reporting and custom programming, you’re in luck! Take a look at F1 Solution in Los Angeles. Have a chat with Cedrick Holmes.

You’ll not only find an effective source for your needs. You’ll get the best possible solution in this area for what you want: managed services that help you increase your profit, no matter what the state of the economy is.

Discover how good it is to deal with your sales and customer service process in advance – before everything blows up in your face.

Colorado Springs Web Design | Bracewell Web Works 719-632-1340

I’m contacting Colorado Springs Web Design and Web Development companies in advance of relocating to the shadow of Pike’s Peak. The time I spent actually exploring Colorado Springs was mostly for possible housing. Finding colleagues has to be done via my favorite pastime — Internet research.

That research yielded several possibilities, but one stood out — Bracewell Web Works. That’s because Michelle Bracewell’s business did surprisingly well in being “findable” in the search engines. It’s no surprise to my Internet Marketing colleagues that “Web Developers” tend to be fixated on programming and layout, with SEO and backlinking an afterthought at best. This Web Diva knows her stuff and supplies good content on Web marketing for prospects to peruse.

My only quibble with her approach to Social Networking and Web 2.0 implementation is that it’s so two years ago. In the realm of SEM/SEO as a blood sport, being that far behind is deadly! If I or my colleagues were to depend primarily on MySpace and Facebook, with a nod to Squidoo lenses and blog comments, we’d be dead in the water.

Our competition would be putting out SlideShare.net presentations, YouTube videos, HubPages.com Hubs, WordPress blog posts with powerful keyword tags, Craigslist.org and Backpage.com classified ads and hefty, optimized Squidoo lenses. Then they’d get serious about getting backlinks from high Page Rank websites run by colleagues and Joint Venture partners.

Of course, for local search, that kind of massive overkill we Direct Response Internet Marketers use is only for the most competitive local niches. You know, like getting a WordPress blog post for Colorado Springs web design. 🙂

McFarlane Sports Figures | Sports Picks from a Fanatic

McFarlane Sports Picks was just a long-tail keyword to me, when it was first mentioned to me earlier today. I was familiar with SPAWN, the creation of Todd McFarlane, but knew little else about him or his companies.

McFarlane Toys produces some of the most detailed, well sculpted action figures in the world. Naturally, such figures have a fanatical following among those who love to collect. Sports figures, in particular, are a big market, relatively speaking.

McFarlane Sports Picks

McFarlane Sports Picks

Ron Johnson is one of those fanatics. He has a website dedicated to collectors of “sports picks”. However, he doesn’t stop there. It’s possible for you to get a detailed, customized figure made from photographs you send — a service far beyond buying and selling collectible figurines!

If you’re into sports picks, you must check out Colorado Springs’ most avid collector online at http://www.figurefanatic.com/.