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Jerry Tarkanian – Tark the Shark

Maybe we can blame Steven Spielberg for creating “Jaws.” Maybe it’s our fear and lack of understanding. We just don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling about sharks. Most people don’t feel badly at all if a shark dies. Today is different, for me anyway. Jerry Tarkanian, “Tark the Shark,” has passed away at the age of 84.

Here’s my take on Tark.

He was like the “Rodney Dangerfield” of basketball coaches. He never really got the respect he was due, until near the end when he was elected into the Hall of Fame. Imagine winning 729 of the 930 college basketball games you coached, but being known and remembered for your ritual of chewing on a wet towel, and battling the NCAA.

Tark wasn’t an angel in the City of Sin. He never claimed to be. But he was a winner every bit as much as the house usually is in the Las Vegas Casinos. He won at Long Beach State. He won at UNLV. He won at his alma mater, Fresno State. In the end, he won vs. the NCAA.

Jerry Tarkanian was also a true rebel. The way he ran the basketball program at UNLV put the Runnin’ Rebels and the university on the map. He created a dynasty going 509-105 in 19 seasons. I’ll never forget the amazement in the arena as his team put a dominating beat down on Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils to win the National Championship in 1990.

Tark’s success built the Thomas and Mack Center. He earned the statue which is there. In the land of glitz and glamour, he produced one of the most popular shows and toughest tickets in town. For years, a courtside stroll down “Gucci Row” showed you the real stars and the real players in Vegas.

When I began one of my favorite TV positions as the Staff Reporter for a nationally syndicated show, “Billy Packer’s College Basketball,” one of the first stories I elected to do was a piece with Jerry Tarkanian. I already knew there was more to the coach, the man, than met the eye. Here’s some examples:

  • Tark’s teams were known for how great they were on offense. But Tark himself loved to talk about defense.
  • Year after year he’d bet on kids the more established college basketball programs didn’t want or considered losers. Many of them were JUCOs, junior college transfers. Some of them were from projects. Some of them were real projects. Tark turned them into teams of winners.
  • He and his lovely wife, Lois, often made their family seem like family to these kids who were far away from their own homes, and in the new foreign worlds of college and Las Vegas. Let the impact of that sink in.
  • Ironically, the Tarkanian family resided on Justice Lane in Las Vegas. Eventually, Jerry got his justice, $2.5 million dollars worth from the NCAA. But the damage from his battles over the years had already run down the ultimate Runnin’ Rebel.

I saw on Twitter today, his son Danny called him the greatest man he’s ever known. Speaking of greats…maybe now that he’s gone, Jerry Tarkanian will finally be remembered by the public where his record in college basketball says he belongs…as one of the all-time greats.

The fight is over. RIP #CoachTark

by Thomas Baldrick

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8 Great Tips for Video Production Virgins

How to Be a Successful Video Producer

This is a guide for how to do high quality video production. It is not about having sex on camera. The title is an example of how you can use a creative hook to grab attention for your video productions.

So, rock on and read on if you’re doing research. You’ll be rewarded for your effort. This comprehensive content will help you as a Video Production Virgin. You‘ll be ready to produce your first quality video creatively and effectively. (If you’re a novice or student who has done videos but wants to do better, come along. You’re in luck, too.)

Here’s an ironic twist. The goal of delivering 8 Great Tips for Video Production Virgins is actually quite the opposite of sex. Here’s why. I’m an Emmy Award-winning TV Reporter/Producer who turned to Internet Content Development to be the single parent I need to be. By sharing quality information and advice based on my professional experience and expertise, I’m hoping it will serve as “safe protection” for you from 2 common socially transmitted issues:

  1. Getting screwed by bad video production services.
  2. Feeling like you did it to yourself because you were lazy, cocky, or clueless.


Did You Know?…

There are nearly 5 Billion video views on YouTubeevery day!

As a Video Virgin, this one statistic shows you video is not a luxury. It’s now a necessity. If you’re not doing video, you’re behind the times, and your competition. 5 billion YouTube video views today, and at least 5 billion for all the tomorrows tells you all you need to know about the growing power and potential you’re now exploring.

Here’s more good news.

You’ll have this power in your hands when you produce and post quality videos.

Now here’s the bad news.

This power of video won’t work, or will actually work against you if you don’t use it properly.

So, because you’re a Video Virgin or novice, now is not the time to simply lay back and enjoy. Nope, not at all. Sit up. Get dressed if you must. Get focused. Engage. Learn. Take notes. Brainstorm. Bookmark this page. Or better yet, do all of the above. Let’s go.

8 Great Tips for Video Production Virgins

#8. Preparation in video production acts like a GPS. A “winging it” approach acts like a DUI.

Knowing what you want to accomplish in video production acts like a GPS. It takes you right where you want to go as a content producer. It also takes viewers right where you want them to go. Know what message you aim to deliver. Decide how to do it. Put well-spent time and effort into a script, or at least an outline or plan. If others are helping with your video production, make sure they are in on the plan.

Winging it is like driving under the influence. You’re taking an unnecessary, foolish, and costly risk. The good thing is with video you won’t injure or kill others. You’ll just bore them to death, or annoy and disappoint them by wasting their time. You’re the one who gets hurt. You’re the one who gets busted in public by producing lame videos.

Surely you’ve seen how people look and act when they’re under the influence. It’s not pretty. Do you want to be taken seriously with your videos? If so, you don’t want to come across like a fool who doesn’t know where you want to go or how to get there.

Think of video viewers like passengers. They won’t want to go anywhere you’re trying to take them unless they have confidence in you.


#7. This just in to the Newsroom. Rambling is NOT a Plan.

The top of your head is a great place for a hat. It is not a great launching pad for effective videos. As a professional on-camera talent, I can ad-lib well because of my experience, and because I prepare myself. Great ad-libbing doesn’t happen overnight. Video Production Virgins would be wise to prepare to create on-air success.

Remember the annoying line from your parents. Just because other people jump off a bridge doesn’t mean you should, too. Look out. Here it comes again.

Just because millions of other people ramble endlessly on YouTube or in other online videos doesn’t mean you should, too.

Viewers (especially potential customers) running for the exit is the last thing you want in video production. Less is more. It’s better to give viewers the right amount of content, or have them wanting more from you. Too long is too long. Your viewers exit, taking all possibilities with them. You’re a viewer, right? So, use your own experiences to guide you. If your video production feels too long it probably is.

Have a message. Have a point. Deliver them clearly and concisely. Know what to say and how to say it. This empowers others to see and hear you know what you’re talking about, and invest their time into you and your entire videos.

Now keep this in mind. One of the factors in YouTube ranking is the amount of time your videos are watched. If viewers are bailing early on your videos, the YouTube Ranking Gods may bail on your videos, too. Double whammy.

#6. Quality Content is King.

Yeah I know. There’s a lot of talking points here. I’ll take that chance delivering quality content I know will help you.

Give viewers value. Give them something they can use whether it’s guidance, direction, entertainment, or just a sense of who you are.

#5. Think in Pictures, not just Words.

Win over short attention spans and viewers wanting instant gratification. Think visually to be successful in video production. Is the background pleasing or distracting? Move the shot. Change the shot. Add footage, photos, and graphics when possible and appropriate. Keep viewers engaged by what they’re seeing, not just what you’re saying.

#4. Looks and Lighting Count.

You’re human. People judge you on how you look. Own it. Deal with it. I suggest honesty and a mirror as a great starter kit. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I wear makeup on camera. Any professional will tell you makeup makes a world of difference.

Viewers will notice if you look tired or bad. They won’t tell you. They will judge you. Look your best for the best results.

Lighting is important. In simple terms, always try to have the light balanced on your face. This means have your face to the sun, the lamps, or any light coming in from the window.

Having dominant light behind you makes you backlit and washed out. No style or beauty points here.


#3. Picture Your Audience in Video Production.

It’s not about you. Video production is about reaching your target audience. Give viewers what they want. Yes, you should tell your story. Have a purpose. However, try to deliver using ways your audience will want to receive it.

Identify your ideal audience person. What does she or he want to see and hear? Why would she or he be watching your video? Communicate directly to her or him for the best results.

#2. Editing Elevates Everything.

“Fix it in post.” This is a common saying and mindset among video production and television professionals. “Post” is short for post-production editing. Magic happens here. It’s where mistakes are covered or minimized. It’s where fresh new ideas are born. Editing is the quality kitchen where audio and video spices and finishing touches are added and mixed for serving to the public.

BONUS: If you plan on editing, you can plan for editing!

Your video productions can be easier. Rather than having to get everything right in one take, or make sacrifices in quality along the way, you can get things done in small chunks, one section at a time.

Editing elevates everything in video production from the quality of your work to your confidence doing it. Editing can raise satisfaction levels of viewers, and ultimately elevates your image and the rewards you receive.


#1. How and When to be Smarter than a Smart Phone.

I love my smart phone camera. You probably love yours. It can get the job done but not always as well as you’d like. “Selfies” work in certain situations. But if you’re on the way up, or your looking to impress high end clients, consider hiring video production professionals. This should make everything better, from the look to the lighting, audio, and even your performance.

If you value your image, and think others might, too, working with a reliable professional video production service is smarter than using a smart phone. Do multiple videos in a single session to be more effective with your time and money.

If you want to look professional in video production, it makes sense to work with talented, creative professionals. It’s like having an image and communications doctor on call.

Now it’s time for Lights! Camera! Action! Right? Wrong.

Prepare. Then turn on the lights, camera, and take action. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

By Thomas Baldrick

Thomas Baldrick is an Emmy Award-winning on-camera talent and producer/writer based in Arizona. From script to screen in video production services, he helps companies, organizations, and individuals across the country to achieve the success they and their target audience want.

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Personal 9-11 Do’s & Don’ts

September 11, 2014     By Thomas Baldrick     #azstrong


WTC. The World Trade Center. WTF. September 11, 2001.

This is personal. If you ever wanted to read someone’s diary without feeling guilty or being ripped for it, here’s your chance. What to do with 9-11 memories? I don’t know. But every time the future brings September 11th to the present, it seems like my duty to share the past. Yeah, strange but true.

I don’t want to remember what I do about 9-11. But I don’t want Americans to forget.

If you feel the same way, you can share this with others

My heart still hurts for the many victims and their loved ones. I’m just a guy who lost part of himself that day and replaced it with other stuff. I covered the 9-11 tragedies for more than 6 weeks straight as a television journalist with ABC News. My sensitivity on the job helped greatly in some ways, hurt deeply in others. First, I was in New York City. Then, weeks later after I asked to quickly sneak home to Philadelphia for clean clothes one night after a scary bomb scare at Newark International Airport, I wound up being sent to Shanksville, PA. From New York City to there, you can’t experience more of a night and day difference in America than that.

Since the horrifying day Osama Bin Laden and his band of misguided Al Qaeda assassins (let’s call them asses for short), each anniversary has been less than pleasant. Each one has been different. #ThankYouArizona for the sun shining today.

So here goes. My brain and heart are sharing my good, bad, and ugly inside in the form of personal… “9-11 Do’s and Don’ts.”  

DO: I do get touched deeply by the annual September 11th Moment of Silence.

DON’T: I don’t think my neighbor’s yappy dog knew or cared about it this morning.


DO: 13 years later, I do remember. I remember sights and sounds. I remember smells, thoughts and feelings.

DON’T: I don’t wonder for a second why many men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces have PTSD. I also don’t understand how these brave yet battered wounded warriors been so mistreated by their fellow Americans at the Phoenix VA Hospital.


DO: I do remember September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday.

DON’T: I don’t believe I can still hear Brian K. from the ABC News Bureau saying to me, “Pack a bag! We need you!… Oh by the way, can you come?”


DO: I do admit to having a love affair with the World Trade Center. Every time I saw those magnificent twin towers from New Jersey, I always got excited to be returning to New York City.

DON’T: Despite a beautiful photo in my home, I still don’t have the ability to think of those buildings without seeing them on fire and smoke rising to the heavens above the 5 boroughs.


DO: I do vividly remember standing near a bearded man in a turban as we both tried to use a pay phone. We said nothing to each other. We didn’t take our eyes off each other, or turn our backs on each other.

DON’T: I don’t deny judging him and wondering if he was Al Qaeda, wondering if I should just kick his ass before another act of terrorism happened.


DO: I do know I’ve kept my word since 9-11 and have been forced to act on it, never letting fear get in the way of some idiot possibly taking me and others down on an airplane.

DON’T: I don’t understand why more American passengers aren’t this way.


DO: I do remember being absolutely terrified on 9-11, literally thinking the world might be coming to an end. I know others were thinking the same thing.

DON’T: I don’t think there’s any way to measure the power of that fear, or the extraordinary acts of bravery, courage, and patriotism which shined in spite of it.


DO: Honor and thank #FDNY, #NYPD, the great people of the Greater New York City area for their kindness, courage, and leadership.

DON’T: Fail to include honor and thanks to the Shanksville Fire Department, the super people of Shanksville, PA, former Pennsylvania Governors Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker for their kindness, courage, and leadership.


DO: I said that day and many times since 9-11 how not only is tomorrow promised to no one…but neither is later today.

DON’T: I hope you don’t ignore what I just wrote. Tell people you love them every chance you get.


DO: I do admire New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for becoming Superman after 9-11, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

DON’T: I don’t think you can underestimate how he also rose to be part Gandhi, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Captain America, Statue of Liberty, and Humpty Dumpty. Really.


DO: I do remember using my journalistic skills to reach the Newark Airport Terminal just hours after United Flight 93 took off and was hijacked.

DON’T: I still don’t know how at least one of the dozen or so police officers who were so scared and angry that day didn’t pull an itchy trigger finger on their shotguns all pointed right at me.


DO: I do know 9-11 brought out the goodness inside many people.

DON’T: I don’t know if you can comprehend what a small town the Big Apple was for a while after September 11th.


DO: I do know being blessed to serve as host of those life-changing retreats for children who lost loved ones in the World Trade Center was one of the greatest, most incredible honors of my life.

DON’T: I don’t want to believe any of the rumors about the Todd M. Beamer Foundation, the amazing people, and the mighty heroic mission I knew.


DO: I do know there were many victims who were lucky to escape with their lives on September 11th, 2001. I do know there were many heroes such as those from FDNY Engine 40 Ladder 12 in Manhattan who knew they were going to their deaths at the World Trade Center…and went anyway.

DON’T: I don’t know if I could ever be as brave as the heroes on 9-11 or admire them enough.


DO: What I can’t do yet is forgive. What I can’t do yet is forget.

DON’T: I don’t know if I ever will.


DO: I do have many more 9-11 Do’s & Don’ts memories to share.

DON’T: But I don’t want to do this anymore right now. Thank you for caring enough to read.


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Don King – Promotion with Commotion

MMA has kicked its butt in recent years. But the sport of boxing is still around.

Boxing has kicked Don King’s butt in recent years. But The King of Promotion with Commotion is still around.

As Don King has said thousands of times, “Only in America.”

Today is Don King’s 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday Don. Not bad for a convicted felon who once told me he never expected to make it to 50. Penitentiary he said changed his life.

You would be amazed at the long list of VIPs around the world who have posed for photos with Don King. The old photo above is me with him in Las Vegas. It’s one of a few photos I have with him from my television career.

Unfortunately, the best picture I have of being with Don King is only stored on the hard drive in my mind. I didn’t have a camera with me at the time. The classic photo opp took place before the smart phone era. This was back when dinosaurs and film cameras roamed the earth.

So picture this…

It’s a Saturday afternoon in summer. I walk off the Atlantic City Boardwalk into the closed theater at the Boardwalk Regency Hotel. I’m working on a TV concert series and B.B. King is performing for the cameras that night. (What a pro.) Standing alone in the lobby before me are two famous kings enjoying ice cream and conversation…none other than B.B. King and Don King. I joined them for a few minutes in what seemed surreal even at the time.

Don King had his share of friends. You would be amazed at the long list of VIPs around the world who have posed for photos with him. What’s equally amazing is that Don King had more than his fair share of enemies in the brutal sport of boxing. It’s a miracle he thrived. It’s a bigger miracle he survived.

His was arguably boxing’s greatest promoter. He was definitely his own greatest promoter. Every Don King promotion always sold tickets by having him creating commotion. We all got sucked in for a ride on his marketing machine every time.

Don King was also one of boxing’s most unique personalities. Now that is saying something. His hair and his mouth were known around the world. King is one of the most talented talkers I have ever met. You can’t always understand what he’s saying. You can’t usually get him off his message and get him to be relevant to your interview questions. But you can always count on being entertained and yes, even mesmerized.

Don King has always been a one-man show.

In the above photo I remember getting in a word with him and saying, “I’m guessing you’ve never come across a word you didn’t like!” Thankfully there was a camera around for that gem.

Don King promoted with some of boxing’s all-time greats. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and many more back when boxing packed a punch. Growing up in Philadelphia, Smokin Joe Frazier was one of my childhood heroes. It was always a thrill for me going to his boxing gym as a TV guy. God rest his soul.

Smokin Joe was also hard to understand. But his telling the story of driving in the limo with Don King to “The Thrilla in Manila,” and King leaving him to drive in Big George’s limo after Foreman took Frazier’s heavyweight title is truly a timeless classic.

Don King had the power to get rising fighters and champions to fall in love with him, and more importantly the money he could make for them. In most cases though, the fighters claimed to take a financial beating from King. The fallout from the breakups of those relationships is the stuff legends are made of. Tales of Mike Tyson and others wanting to kill King made what goes in the ring look like shadow boxing. Really.

Amazingly on his 83rd Birthday, not only is Don King is still around.. he is back on top. He is now promoting a new heavyweight champion, Bermane Stiverne. (Yeah, I’d never heard of him either). Marketing, promotion, and reputation management professionals should study Don King. People lost millions with him. People lost lives with him. He’s been knocked down, kicked around, but somehow still not knocked out. Only Father Time will get him for sure, like the rest of us.

Maybe somewhere today someone will be able to get Don King to stop talking long enough to blow out a whole bunch of candles on a birthday cake and enjoy more ice cream. Like the man says, “Only in America.”

By Thomas Baldrick   Google +

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Bad Writing is like Bad Breath

“Bad Writing is like Bad Breath. Most people won’t say anything to your face about it.” — Thomas Baldrick

It’s bad news if this comes as breaking news. Telling your stories well is important in business and in life. What is the quality of your writing? Does it help you or hurt you? Do you know or just hope? Bad writing could be hurting you and your business.

“Bad Writing is like Bad Breath. It could be turning people away, and keeping them away.” 

You can always learn. You can always improve. Yes, this includes writing. I had written hundreds or thousands of hours worth of content which aired on TV. I also authored two books among my many other writing projects. Still, a few years ago, I had the gift of working closely with “Radar” Roy Reyer. and the legendary Joe Sugarman (creator of Triggers). Their input, advice, and criticism made me a better writer, much better. Plus, I now enjoy writing more than ever. Thank you sirs. I’m forever grateful.

Back to the business at hand. If you want to stop bad breath right now…I suggest Listerine or Altoids. If you want to stop bad writing right now…here’s a hint not a mint. I suggest you take a look at these 12 Tips for Writing Success. I hope one or all 12 of these I’ve come up with may be of assistance to you.

12 Tips for Writing Success

12.  Think about your audience. Who is going to read your writing? Who is the ultimate end user or ideal customer? Think about this person. Picture this person in your mind. Write to this person. Write for this person.

11.  Focus on benefits. What does the reader want? Why are they reading your writing? Why do they care about the topic? Appeal to the benefits they seek. Benefits. Benefits. Benefits. This will get you the best results.

10.  Most people don’t read in groups. Most people read as individuals. Most people use the internet as individuals. Why try to write for the masses? Write to your ideal end user or customer for ideal results. Hopefully, you’ll reach the masses.

9.  Use shorter sentences. They are most effective, especially for the internet. Think instant gratification. Think short attention span. Think of “hooking” readers.

“Bad Writing is like Bad Breath. People won’t appreciate it or you.”

8.  How do you like THAT? Take notice the word “that” is a dead word. It is overused on the internet. You’ll learn quickly it can often be removed from a sentence without any loss of value.

7.  We all make mistakes. “Check before Send” is a wise motto which prevents showcasing your writing mistakes.

6.  I enjoyed a long successful career in television. If I missed writing deadlines but made excuses I’d have quickly become yesterday’s news.

5.  If you can, find your own writing system and stick to it. By writing system I mean how you write, where you write, when you write, etc.

“Bad writing is like Bad Breath. People will remember, and won’t want to get too close to you any time soon.” 

4.  When is the best time to write? Any time you can. Any time you are inspired. Writing gets easier with practice. Relax. Every writer gets “writer’s block.” If you don’t wait until the last minute, you’ll give yourself time to brainstorm, and time to walk away from writing if necessary. Doing something for fun or to relax often clears your block and helps you focus on great writing.

3. You don’t want to waste your time writing. You don’t want to waste anyone else’s time either. Give your readers accurate content with real value.

2. Don’t dare plagiarize. Unlike having bad tuna breath, people will call you on it.

1. Find your voice. Take pride in your writing. Like it or not, you sign your name to it.

“Bad writing is like Bad Breath. It’s bad for your personal brand. It’s bad business.” 

Leave a comment. Add one of your writing tips. Write on My Friend! 

By Thomas Baldrick  Google +

Emmy Award-Winning Writer, Author, and Passionate WordSmith.

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Innovation Arizona Summit 2014

I like being the best-looking person in the room. I like being the smartest in the room, too. I also like having the most powerful positive attitude in the room. Having said all that, tomorrow I am quite positive I have little to no chance at accomplishing all of these posted goals. You see, I’ll be one of many who is attending the Innovation Arizona Summit.

August 14, 2014. The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts will be packed with people and bursting at the rafters with brain power. The one-day event boldly explores the ever-changing lifecycle of innovation. This runs the gamut from inspiration to commercialization. And of course, somewhere or everywhere along the way in the innovative process, (especially in the Arizona heat)…there is perspiration.


As one of the world’s greatest innovators, Thomas Alva Edison, so brilliantly stated…“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

And how. The Innovation Arizona Summit is presented as a joint collaborative effort by the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona SciTech Festival, and the MIT Enterprise Forum Phoenix. I’d like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to these organizations for their vision, as well as their efforts in making this happen.

Summing up the Innovation Arizona Summit

In a word it’s all about STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

It’s truly loaded with information about innovation. Attendees can choose from about 20 different educational sessions. They’re organized in tracks highlighting the areas of innovation, workforce, culture, SciTech, and STEAM (innovative ways to integrate science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

Roughly 60 different exhibitors will be showcasing themselves. Another 1,000 or so attendees round out the field which proudly embraces diversity. There will leaders representing industry, investing, business, education, communities, government, and NGOs (non-government organizations).

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out this coming together at the Innovation Arizona Summit 2014 makes for a powerful formula. There are networking opportunities designed to empower collaborators to enhance and expand their networks and resources. It’s just the right stuff for creating even more entrepreneurship and innovation.

Registration for the Innovation Arizona Summit is closed. If you can’t make to the event, be sure to check back here at AZ STRONG news/blog section. I’ll plan to come up with interesting content to share with you.

If you are attending the Innovation Arizona Summit 2014 version… and would like to collaborate and connect, be sure to look me up. We can meet and explore your marketing, messaging, and promotional needs. It could be improving your website and reach, video production, writing, photography, and more.

You can call me at (602) 535-2320 or email me. If you’d rather find me in person, just take another look at my photo above, or the ones on the AZ STRONG website.

I’ll be the good-looking, smart guy. Hopefully, I won’t be perspiring too much.

by Thomas Baldrick  Google +

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Down Memory Lane with Jacobson Elementary Kiddos

(Photo: Dr. Rosemarie Tipton at 9-11 Wall of Hope dedication. #Thomas Baldrick, Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker seated behind her).

Look out! I apologize. If you’re cruising down Memory Lane, I’m the guy who just went speeding by you…in reverse. There’s no one to blame, only plenty to credit thanks to the new Jacobson Elementary School traffic video we just produced at AZ STRONG.

Before getting to the present and future, I’ll quickly explain this relevant piece of my past. It’s hard to believe the 13th Anniversary of the September 11th tragedies is coming up. It’s hard to believe it’s also been more than a decade has flown by since my first book was published.

“Kids’ Rule! The Hopes and Dreams of 21st Century Children is now out of print. In my research for the book, I had over 10,000 kids across the country and around the world tell me what was most important to them. My job was to share it with readers.

Doing my first book was a long and winding labor of love. It was the cause of much laughter, and sadly some tears as little ones trusted with their hopes, dreams, and realities. I’ve never forgotten how enlightening the sacred journey of that book was for me. How could I?

Still, producing the new video about the traffic flow changes at Jacobson Elementary in Chandler, Arizona gave me the most powerful reminder I’ve had in years of this chapter of my life. I’m grateful.

Truth be told, I haven’t really allowed the memories of my work as an author and recognized “Champion for Children” to see the Arizona sun. My bad. The life choices I made including what led me to move to Arizona pretty much packed away much of my past. For years, I’ve had all of my heart, head, and hands full focusing on another sacred journey. This one centers around one amazing little boy, and doing my best day and night as his “Go To Guy.”

Videotaping dozens of Jacobson Elementary students on Friday brought my rear view mirror right in front of my face. They continued all weekend as I edited the video with their funny little lines and precious little personalities coming to life. From the kindergarten kiddos to the 6th grade rising stars, I couldn’t help but have flashbacks to how much I enjoyed blending my professional television/video and writing skills with my genuine enjoyment of kids being who they are…where they are at that early stage in their development.

Speaking of driving, a few weeks ago I almost drove off the road when I caught myself telling my son, “Someday Daddy might write more books.” I don’t know if I will. I don’t know when either. In the meantime, maybe I’ll look to do more video work at AZ STRONG like the video about Jacobson Elementary School traffic flow changes.

What I do know for sure is this:

– I’m grateful I allowed the idea of doing the video to pop into my head and out of my mouth at a recent Jacobson Site Council meeting.

– I’m grateful for Principal Susan Powell, the staff, and many parents to trust me in working with their Kiddos.

– I’m grateful to all of the students for their time and effort in making the video a success.

– Finally, I’m grateful right now for honoring my feelings around use of the word, “Kiddos.”

The word always reminds me of the late, great Dr. Rosemarie Tipton.

She was the amazing woman and educator at Shanksville Elementary School. Rosemarie guided, nurtured, and passionately protected her “kiddos” every single day, including September 11, 2001. That’s the unforgettable day when heroes battled terrorists and crashed United Flight 93 in a rural Pennsylvania field just missing Shanksville Elementary School.

I miss you my dear friend. My work with the Jacobson Elementary School “Kiddos” has me thinking of you.

by Thomas Baldrick Google +

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Arizona Rainbow Reminder

This is a true story. In fact it just happened. See how an Arizona Rainbow serves as a reminder for you that anything is possible in business and in life.

The state of Arizona has an abundance of beautiful views. There’s the awe inspiring Grand Canyon. There are amazing sunrises and sunsets. There’s countless photo opps of mountains, cactus, palm trees, desert landscape, and many lakes, too. Finally, there are millions of beautiful human examples of eye candy. I was told the best-looking people in the world reside in the state of Arizona.

Based on the wide range of beauty options, Arizona Rainbows aren’t even needed. But we do have them, and they are beautiful. They are breathtaking when you take in the background as well.

The most Spectacular Rainbow I ever saw…

It was years ago while producing a documentary about the Big Island of Hawaii for the Discovery Channel. I was standing waist deep in the Pacific Ocean near Hilo. I saw with my own two eyes why Hilo is known as “The City of Rainbows.” I felt the magical, mesmerizing effect, too.

It was late afternoon. I was with the guys from one of our camera crews. This particular rainbow stretched across the skies as far as the eye could see. If you were trying to capture it in a panoramic photo on your iPhone you would have gotten tired by the time you reached the end. This rainbow was that wide. I will remember that moment for as long as I live.

The most timely rainbow I ever saw…

It was last Saturday evening, August 2, 2014. Around 6:00 p.m. I was driving my son Julian and a pair of our little neighbors. I’ve chauffeured this trio before of ages 8, 6, and 4. We were on our way to a swim party at the marvelous Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center in Southeast Chandler.

This wasn’t just any party. It was a farewell. My neighbors were moving from Arizona as the family’s Big Daddy got a great job offer in Boise, Idaho. Storms coming in from the northwest caused concern about the swim party. But it was sunny in the direction we were heading.

The kids wanted to hear the Kermit the Frog sing “The Rainbow Connection” song sung by Kermit the Frog. Soon everyone was happily singing along. At the exact moment the song ended, we made a left turn onto Riggs Road from McQueen Road.  We were looking east.


Up in the sky there suddenly appeared a beautiful Arizona Rainbow.

The kids looked out the window with wide eyes. They were simply amazed at the timing. I was right there with them, amazed at this unique and shocking Arizona Rainbow Connection.

The kids said in that moment they would remember this rainbow forever. I suggested they always remember it as a sign anything in life is possible. I made a point of saying the same thing to myself specifically about business.

I joked with the kids how I was relieved they didn’t request hearing “Frosty the Snowman.” Naturally, they did. While I was able to play the song from YouTube, I didn’t have the power to make it snow in August in hot and sunny Chandler, Arizona. Maybe it will work next time. After all, anything in life and business is possible. You just have to believe.

Get creative. Think about what you want to create in business. Right now, it might feel more possible, especially when you compare it to having to manifest an Arizona Rainbow.

By Thomas Baldrick  Google +

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