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The Importance of Knees

BY LesOverhead / communication, future, kneeling, writing / 0 COMMENTS

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As a competitive basketball player for untold years (48), I know well how important knees are. I would never have blocked as many shots (11) or swished so many countless jumpers (1,393), or dunked in so many opponents’ faces (0), without my knees rising to the occasion time after time. Go ahead and laugh.

But today, knees are no laughing matter. Never have knees been so powerful, so impactful, so important as they are now.

The action of kneeling and the phrase “taking a knee” has taken on a nebulous new significance and meaning. Meaning that's often unclear and misunderstood. Opinions of what it means are all over the map. Arguments erupt, tempers flare, tension boils, and friendships get destroyed.

To me, taking a knee shows support and empathy for people of color who, for generations, have been disrespected, harassed, and more times murdered than we might imagine by law enforcement in this arguably great country.

Kneeling is a humble, non-aggressive, patriotic act designed to call attention to what’s going on in cities large and small, black and white.

But news is fractured with so many sources. People get their information from similar-thinking friends and media outlets (left or right) that mirror their personal views.

As disputes rise, words and sentences get more angry and mean. Extremists get microphones and seats in Congress. The media ratchets it all up for ratings and pundits pontificate as if they are the voice of God. Facts be damned.

Meanwhile, we the people get more and more steamed each day as we approach the boiling point. Frogs? Trolls?

But I have hope. Recently, a relative in the Midwest reached out to me (not me to her) and asked in a courteous manner why, as I had claimed, taking a knee was good for our country. I’m thinking she felt the opposite, and probably still does. But she was sincere and civil. She lowered my temperature. Words can do that (it's some kind of physiological thing). I paused before firing off a reply to her, long enough to tone down my rhetoric.

I’m honored she reached out to understand her wacko relative in Portland a little better. Seems we need more of that – getting out of our silos and walking and talking down paths that lead to friendship and understanding. Kneeling if need be to start the conversation.

That’s the importance of knees, to me. I’m proud to take one. I hope it holds out.

GoodLife Brewing

BY LesOverhead / communication, Creative, writing / 0 COMMENTS

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Package copy for 3 GoodLife brews.

Package copy for 3 GoodLife brews.

GoodLife Brewing in Bend makes some fine beer. I was fortunate to write packaging for three of its finest. Experiential research conducted.

Bus 75: Hidden Portland

BY LesOverhead / Art, crazy, Creative, humor, Roadtrip, writing / 0 COMMENTS

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There’s a line to get in. It’s not long but it’s lively. Everyone is excited for the doors to open. It’s like this every Sunday evening at six o’clock when NWA Blue Collar Wrestling takes the stage at the Eagle’s Lodge on North Lombard. Bus 75 goes right by, within shouting distance. It's performance art of a more physical kind. This is just one of many stops along Bus 75 that photographer Geoffrey Hiller and I feature on our photo/essay blog - Bus 75: Hidden Portland.

To read more posts on Bus 75: Hidden Portland go to www.bus75.org.

Directions to Hidden Portland: Board the #75 bus and get off and on often. Do not take a guidebook. Do not follow the crowd. Discover for yourself the underside, upside, downside and unknown side of our city.

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A MOBILE ONE-MAN CREATIVE TEAM

20 Odd Years In Business

The true, sober story of Les Overhead.

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I was leaving to buy a keg for a party in the mountains outside Missoula when the phone rang. I picked it up in a hurry. A woman asked if I had recently applied for a job with a radio station in Whitefish.

“Uh, yeah, did I get the job?” I replied, anxious to move the conversation along.

“Not yet. Are you available for an interview?” I wondered if she was in town and wanted to meet right then.

“Not for the next 24 hours,” I said. "To be honest, I'm on my way to buy beer for a party in the mountains."

“I meant next week," she said. She no doubt heard me hit myself in the head with the phone. Well, I blew that I thought.

But I was wrong. I somehow landed the job and showed up for work two weeks later, shaven and sober. After a couple years punching out radio copy on a Smith Corona and doing odd jobs like radio play-by-play for donkey basketball games I headed west.

Eventually, I ended up in Portland where I caught on with a series of ad agencies. I got into everything: print ads, brochures, radio and TV spots, creative disputes… Many words were exchanged. Nobody got hurt.

One day in the shower a hair circled the drain and it dawned on me. I should use my head and get off this manic ad agency merry-go-round. Go to work for myself and provide creative help to anyone with a good company or cause.

That day Les Overhead was born. Freelance Creative Director/Copywriter. A man of his word.

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The best way to reach Les Overhead and Tom Vandel is by email (tom@...), by phone (503-505-4723), or by sending carrier pigeon or mail to 1750 NE 57th Portland, OR 97213. Thank you.