Just How Long Does it Take to Make a 6-Second Vine Video?

Abby Armbruster, a reporter for The Daily Record, had the idea to make a Vine to promote the newspaper’s three-day online subscription. It gives readers full access to the website from a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.


So, she began cutting pieces of paper, writing on others, gathering items from around the newsroom and assembling them on her standing desk.

With her iPhone in hand, she began moving the different elements around, repositioning them to get the shot just right.

Then she did it over and over again.

Finally, she got close.

Finally she was happy.

Vine is a video social networking site that allows users to shoot up to 6–second videos. Abby’s Vine is not just a straight, 6–second shot. She took her time. This is her Vine:

And this is the video of Abby making her Vine. It runs longer than 6 seconds. It actually runs more than 4 minutes, however, Abby spent much more time than that in making a 6–second video letting you know that for $1.50 you can have full access to The Daily Record website.

Also, web developers for Dix Communications (the parent company of the newspaper) have made the mobile site responsive to any device. When you go to the website from a mobile device, it should take you automatically to the responsive site. It will look just like an app for The Daily Record.

900 Magicians Appear in Columbus for Magi-Fest

Thanks to the generosity of my friend and magical mentor, Leland Pennington, I had the chance to join 900 magicians from around the world at Magi-Fest in Columbus, Ohio.


Juan Tamariz (seated) signs a poster for Leland Pennington (right) after Tamariz’s lecture at Magi-Fest in Columbus, Ohio.

My regular job is working as a reporter for The Daily Record newspaper in Wooster, Ohio. While I was immersed into magic for the convention, which ran from Jan. 30–Feb. 2, 2014, I did not totally get away from my job as a journalist. However, my stories would not be for the newspaper, rather for the International Brotherhood of Magicians, either its monthly magazine, “The Linking Ring” or its website, Magician.org.

It was an incredible weekend. Magic abounded.

I tried to connect with organizer Joshua Jay, however, he was busy. There were lectures to open, performers to introduce, technical issues to resolves, fires to put out, people to register and people to meet.

I had the chance to see a lot of wonderful magic, especially Juan Tamariz (he is in the yellow sweater in the photo above), and learn about so many aspects of magic. Eric Mead had a touching talk about his friend, the late Tim Conover. Is it possible to become a better magician just by listening to one magician talk about another one? I feel I am better for having been a part of Mead’s lecture.

Michael Weber is well known within the magic and mentalism community, but he is not a common name among the public. Years ago, when Harry Blackstone Jr. and his wife, Gay Blackstone, brought their show to Daytona Beach, I was working at Daytona Magic and, thanks to Harry Allen and Irv Cook, I had the opportunity to meet them. I believe it was Gay Blackstone who said at any given time, the public is only aware of a handful of magicians. At the time, it was Doug Henning, David Copperfield and Harry Blackstone Jr. Weber might not be well-known, but many people know of his work. He was the one who came up with the solution of “taking the legs off” Lt. Dan (played by Gary Sinise) in the movie “Forrest Gump.” The principles he taught will find a spot in my repertoire.

I had the pleasure of spending some time with John Bannon, an incredible card man out of Chicago. One of his fans saw us talking and came up to introduce himself to Bannon and to get some advice on performing a particular move. Bannon spent about 30 minutes working with him and another magician.

Francis Menotti, whose one-man show opened the convention Thursday night, is a creative force. After I introduced myself, he agreed to spend some time with me to talk for a story. It never worked out until after Juan Tamariz’s show and lecture Saturday night, which actually ended 12:45 a.m. early Sunday. By then, everyone is tired. My eyes are showing my fatigue, as was Menotti’s. I asked if he was ready to talk for a couple of minutes, and he said sure. A couple of minutes turned into 15, and I had a great time hearing about how his career unfolded.

Leland told me, “There are a lot of stories here.”

Indeed, and I am grateful I will have the opportunity to share some of those stories here on The Z Section, as well as in “The Linking Ring” and on Magician.org, … especially when I had breakfast with Barrie Richardson.

Oldie But Goodie: @JoshKrajcik Connects with Fan in Deeply Personal Way

Editor’s note: I was reviewing the Top 10 most popular posts on The Z Section, and this one is the No. 1 blog post of all-time here. When I looked at this again, I saw the photo of Josh with Ali and immediately knew I wanted to highlight this one again. Enjoy this blast from the past.

The photo below tells me everything I need to know about Josh Krajcik, a singer-songwriter originally from Wooster, Ohio, who gained national attention with his rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” at an audition for “The X Factor.”


Josh Krajcik speaking with Ali Booth at the Best Buy on the Strip in Canton.

I was in Canton on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, to shoot video for Krajcik’s performance and CD signing at the Best Buy on the Strip in Canton. I was part of The Daily Record team there to cover the event. Living Editor Lydia Gehring was there to interview Krajcik and do a story; Dan Starcher was there taking photographs; and I was shooting video.

Krajcik had just finished his acoustic set and stepped outside for a little break before signing autographs for his fans. On his way back in, he stopped to talk to Ali Booth, who works as a cashier at the Best Buy. The two met earlier in the green room.

What impressed me, and why I wanted to take the photograph, was how Krajcik treated Booth with dignity. He got down on her level so the two would be eye-to-eye when they talked. He could have easily just stood there, towering above Booth, and made some idle chatter before excusing himself. But that is not what he did.

Jane Carmichael is a long-time friend of Krajcik’s mom, Lisa Pim. Earlier in the day, we spoke about Krajcik, the album and how he knows what he wants and is working toward that goal.

Despite the success on The X Factor (he was runner-up) and the record contract, Carmichael confidently proclaimed, “He will never change. Josh will never change.” The context was that fame is not going to change the humble Krajcik.

To see something as captured in the photo above, it makes you think Carmichael is onto something.

Updated info:

The videos below are from The Daily Record’s YouTube Channel, check out the 23 Krajcik videos there. You can check out Gehring’s story, along with photos from Starcher, here. To see another post on The Z Section regarding Krajcik, click here.

Here is a slideshow from the Canton event and videos follow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoy Krajcik performing “Lost at Sea”:

Gehring’s interview with Krajcik, along with him performing his new single, “Back Where We Belong.”

Or, listen to Krajcik’s album on Spotify:

The Good Ol’ Days of Just Walking into Someone’s House

Wayne County Commissioner Jim Carmichael has seen a lot in his life: He spent 30 years with a gas company, rising to management; 10 years as mayor of Shreve, Ohio; 25 years as chairman of the Wayne County (Ohio) Republican Party; eight years as an Ohio state representative; and eight years as a county commissioner.

Wayne County Commissioner Jim Carmichael talking about the good ol' days.

Wayne County Commissioner Jim Carmichael talking about the good ol’ days.

One time, when Carmichael was talking to a group of students about his work in government, one of them said, “You are old, you should write a book.”

Carmichael, along with fellow commissioners Ann Obrecht and Scott Wiggam, recently met with Chief Building Official Ray Zytowiecki about how the Building Department fared in the previous year.

Zytowiecki talked about how the expansion projects at the J.M. Smucker Co. in Orrville have benefited the county (see stories from The Daily Record’s Paul Locher about acquisitions, building projects, new child care facility and more, and new offices in a renovated building).

At that point, Carmichael started reminiscing about his days at the gas company. It was the first day he was reading gas meters on his own, and he was reading them in downtown Orrville, where Smucker’s headquarters are located.

This was in 1961. Back then, the neighborhood was still filled with a lot of streets and houses. When he would go to a house, he would knock and yell, “Gas company!” Most of the time, meter readers would knock and walk into the home.

On the cards the men carried were notes about where the meter was, whether it was through a trap door, on the side of the house and if there were any dogs to worry about it.

It’s always interesting to hear Carmichael talk about the good ol’ days. Maybe when he gets a little older, he might write a book.


Gettysburg Address was 272 Words, So are These 2 Sermons

Today, I had the honor and privilege of preaching at Parkview Christian Church, Wooster, Ohio. I wanted to do something totally different, and with the help of my friend, Ron Maxwell, we did.


Some time ago, I heard the Gettysburg Address was only 272 words. Some consider it the most important speech in American history (see here). President Abraham Lincoln shared his remarks at the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa. His remarks lasted three minutes, and they still resonate today.

Given what Lincoln accomplished in 272 words, I always wondered what it would be like to write and deliver a 272–word sermon. In my mind, I thought about creating something called The 272 Project. I envisioned it as a preaching festival where all of the preachers would deliver messages of 272 words: No more, no less.

Well, this morning I had the opportunity to preach not only one, but two 272–word sermons. I appreciate Parkview’s senior minister, Brian White, giving me the opportunity to preach. He had no idea what I was going to do, and he wanted to be surprised. So, we surprised him.

After the worship team opened the service, we had communion and we took up the offering. I explained to the congregation this idea I had about The 272 Project, then Ron Maxwell came up to present the Gettysburg Address. Interestingly, a woman came up after the sermon and told me she did not realize how relevant the address was even to this day. The praise team played Awake My Soul, and then I preached. Here is the video:

The Parkview Address

A look at The Daily Record’s foray into video via @Storify

This originally appeared as a piece on Storify. I reproduce it here, adding this photo below of Dan Starcher.


Dan Starcher, a photographer for The Daily Record, has helped the Wooster, Ohio-based newspaper raise the level of its video production.

The (Wooster) Daily Record’s YouTube channel continues to log thousands of views each month, and it is surprising to this reporter.

Never-before-seen footage of Josh Krajcik from House of Blues

Before Josh Krajcik stepped onto the stage of the House of Blues Cleveland Aug. 1, 2012, he sat down with The Daily Record’s Lydia Gehring to talk about a variety of subjects: The concert, the then-upcoming record, the recording sessions in Los Angeles and his backing band.

Josh Krajcik sits down with The Daily Record's Lydia Gehring.

Josh Krajcik sits down with The Daily Record’s Lydia Gehring.

Much of the video footage shot that night has not seen the light of day. With today being Josh Krajcik’s birthday, what better time to give his fans a glimpse behind-the-scenes.

Most of the video footage has never been seen before. Some of it appeared with a video that accompanied Gehring’s original story, which you can read here. Here is how she opened her story:

CLEVELAND — Before walking onto the stage at the House of Blues on Wednesday, “The X Factor” runner-up, Josh Krajcik, was “feeling good,” staying cool, calm and collected.

Just before playing in front of a packed venue of his fans who came to see him in only his second local performance since the show wrapped up in late December, the Wooster native and Triway graduate was doing some pre-concert relaxing in his dressing room with close friends and family. He had just had some snacks and completed a sound check.

“I’m the same guy, the same performer, I’ve always been,” Krajcik said of his post-”The X Factor” profession. “I just have better opportunities and more open doors. There are so many more things I can do now that I wasn’t able to do before.”

Today might be Josh’s birthday, but his fans are receiving this gift. Listen to the interview and tell me what you think about what the singer had to say nearly a year-and-a-half ago.

Update: This blog post was revised to include the opening paragraphs to Lydia’s story to give you a flavor of that night.

Blast from Past: Grandmother treks cross-country for @JoshKrajcik

The first time Josh Krajcik performed at McGaw Chapel on the campus of the College of Wooster September 2012, Ida Mae Lasick was there. She traveled from California to Northeast Ohio to see her favorite singer.

Uvs140119-001 Lydia Gehring, editor of The Daily Record’s Living section, documented the 68–year-old grandmother’s cross-country trek in a story. She wrote at the time:

Ida Mae Lasick traveled more than 2,450 miles to hear Josh Krajcik sing live at McGaw Chapel on Friday. The 68-year-old Penryn, Calif., resident had a crush on Elvis, but never wrote him fan mail or flew across the country to meet him. Lasick did both of those for her favorite musician — and more.

Ida Mae had contacted the newspaper wanting to know if she could hire someone on staff to record video of her trip. As much as I would have liked to earn a little extra money, the newspaper was already paying me to be there. Ida Mae wrote me a letter, and we exchanged some messages on Facebook. I kept asking her to give some time, I would get to it and do something with the video. I never did. Until today. Cherish the memories, Ida Mae, and enjoy Josh Krajcik singing your favorite song. The video is done, at last.

Boston Politicos: Up Close and Personal

I had the good fortunes of traveling to Boston twice in 2013. Once for business, the other for pleasure. Ironically, on both trips, I had the chance to meet two Massachusetts governors.

Michael Dukakis

In the photo above, my wife, Wendi, and I are with former Gov. Michael Dukakis. Wendi and I were visiting the Museum of Fine Arts Boston near Northeastern University in December 2013. We were traveling all over town and were hungry. We were heading for a burrito joint near the university, but opted to pop into University House of Pizza.

When we sat down, I looked to the group of three in the table across from us (the restaurant is small, but very good), and I thought I recognized the governor. I told my wife, “I am going to talk to the man over there before we leave.” She wanted to know why. “You’ll find out.”

When I went to pick up our order at the counter, one of the men at the table was settling the bill. I knew I had to act, and act fast. Seizing the opportunity, I stood up, walked to the table and said, “Excuse me, are you Gov. Dukakis?”

He said he was.

When Dukakis ran for president, I liked him. After all, we were both from Massachusetts. I grew up in Revere, Mass. We talked about the presidential campaign, and he apologized, saying if he had done better there would have been “no Bush 1,” and without a George H.W. Bush presidency, there would be “no Bush 2.”

Dukakis was gracious and engaging, asking about where we were living and what we were doing. He told us for the past 22 years, he has been a professor at Northeastern University.

It was a pleasure running into Dukakis and spending some time with him. Incidentally, one of the guys at his table looked like former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. He said he was not.

I was also in Boston earlier in the year. I was honored to receive a fellowship from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to attend the Association of Health Care Journalists convention.

Deval Patrick

On that trip, Gov. Deval Patrick welcomed us to town. After he spoke, I left the room where he was speaking to follow him. I was with a reporter from California, and she was assigned by the AHCJ to cover it for the organization’s blog. When I looked to my right, she was gone.

Thinking the reporter was going to chase down the governor and ask some additional questions, I wanted to get a photo of her interviewing Patrick. When I caught up with Gov. Patrick and his entourage, he was surrounded by local media wanting to press him about potential improprieties by a state worker.

After his run-in with the local TV crews, I was able to introduce myself.

With my job at The Daily Record, I get to meet a lot of elected officials, which is nice for a political junkie.

In the Spirit of George Carlin: Today’s Forecast, Cold

The late George Carlin had a bit about the Hippy Dippy Weatherman. In it, he talked about tonight’s forecast being dark, continued dark overnight and widely scatter light in the morning. Picking up on that bit, today’s forecast? Cold, followed by more cold, with widely scattered cold in the morning.

Dave Mowrer mixing salt with magnesium chloride in pug mill

Dave Mowrer mixing salt with magnesium chloride in pug mill

Today’s (Jan. 7, 2014) edition of The Daily Record is filled with all kinds of weather-related stories. Paul Locher visited Tent City in Wooster this weekend and wrote about how one of the residents there is coping with the weather. Abby Armbruster wrote about organizations, like the Salvation Army, Red Cross and Oasis Recovery Club, offering shelter or a place to get warm. Linda Hall wrote about how the work at the Agricultural Technical Institute continued, including the birth of a new foal.

I wrote about how a number of county offices were closing due to the weather, but I also had a chance to spend some time with Wayne County Engineer Roger Terrill and road Superintendent Ben Saurer. While the engineer’s story, which should appear in Wednesday’s newspaper, focused on the types of materials used on roadways to make them safer and passable, I was fascinated when Saurer and I went out back to see where Dave Mowrer was loading salt into a pug mill in order to mix it with magnesium chloride. The magnesium chloride helps the salt work at lower temperatures, Saurer said.

When you pass the County Engineer’s Office on Old Lincoln Way West, it appears to be a small building, but when you drive toward the back, the building becomes larger and the yard appears to be a city unto itself. There was a lot of activity going on. Trucks coming in to pick up more salt, cinders and grits to cover Wayne County’s roadways, and there were delivery trucks bringing in more salt.

Out back there were piles of stone used in road construction, along with piles of cinders and grit to help improve traction on the roads for drivers.

It was interesting to see everything going on back there, because you would never know it from the road. It takes a lot of people, equipment and materials to keep the roads opened when there is ice and snow.