[lit-ideas] Happy New Year

We're back. Still caught up in a whirl of private and family indulgence.
Yellowstone in winter is awesome. Tromping through the snow around the
geyser basins is serious exercise and the air is astonishingly fresh. Must
be mellowing with age, but I actually enjoyed the company of Ruth's brothers
and their wives. The only sources of tension were two sulky early teens, who
didn't want to be there. But that wasn't our problem.

Did I say serious exercise? Daughter Kate talked Ruth and me into
participating in her power pilates class at Gold's Gym. My quads have never
been so stiff and sore as they were when I woke up this morning. But a
morning of romping and reading with grandson Keegan has finally loosened me
up a bit. Keegan is, by the way, a fine object lesson in the nature of the
basic human material that informs politics: At two-and-a-half he has
discovered the power of "No" and of saying "What?" or asking "Why?" to
deflect authority. At six months, granddaughter Fiona is still
pre-political; unless, that is, you count flashing an infectious smile as a
way of engaging attention as a basic political maneuver.

More family stuff: Kate baked me "Aunt Gertrude's fruitcake," using a recipe
passed down to her by my mom, for whom baking the fruitcake was a regular
holiday ritual. Son-in-law Pat carefully saved one bottle each, of the
microbrews from the Beer of the Month Club that I bought him for his
birthday, so that we could have a taste, too.

Like everyone else, Ruth and I have no idea what the new year will mean for
our business; but at least the year will start with a bang. One of my
distractions this holiday season is the final corrections and proofreading
for the first ever Japan Interactive Advertising Annual. There's a back
story here, in which my research on the social networks of ad contest
winners connected me with book producer Matsunaga Mitsuhiro, who turned to
The Word Works for the English translation for what will be a bilingual
annual celebrating, among other things, recent wins by Japanese work at
Cannes, Clio, and One Show, as well as the winners of the first six Tokyo
Interactive Ad Awards competition. For being cooperative (not demanding too
high a price), we have been rewarded with a full page about The Word Works
in a book that lots of people in the Japanese ad business will be looking
at. So if there is business to be won this year, we should stand a pretty
good chance.

All these domestic joys are, of course, the icing on the cake to the
election and impending inauguration of Barack Obama as the next President of
the United States. The challenges that face him and us in the new year are
enormous. But the fact that a year ago, this was a guy being written off as
not having a chance is enormously encouraging. A reality-based approach
informed by clear vision, situational awareness, and carefully focused
strategy seems very promising, indeed.

Best wishes and a happy new year to all.

John

-- 
John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324
jlm@xxxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.wordworks.jp/

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