Excel: "Don't Fear The Spreadsheet" - A Great Story, Really!: Podcast #1584


Weekend Learn Excel from MrExcel Podcasts allow Bill some greater latitude in topic and means. Today, this Special "Learn Excel / Don't Fear The Spreadsheet"...

Transcript of the video:

Learn Excel from MrExcel, Episode 1584 -- A Great Story, Really!

Don't fear the spreadsheet episode number 22 A Really Good Story.

Hey this is Bill Jelen from MrExcel, it's a Sunday podcast which allows me to go off topic and I have a great story for you today back in early July the NPR did a series of stories on some artist named the highwayman Jackie Lyden was the reporter and there was a story about Al Black, you can go check it out online, now Al Black was one of 26 artist known as the highwayman from the 1960s through the 2000s they painted possibly a hundred thousand paintings, they pretty much defined Florida landscape, they were sold all up and down the east coast of Florida, from Miami up to Jacksonville.

All 26 artists were inducted into the Florida artist hall of fame in the early 2000s and Jackie’s story was about a fellow named Al Black. Al was the salesman for these fellows and he became an artist himself. Now Jackie warned me it, in retrospect listening to the story, she said this is a great quote “Al Black can snatch your breath away and sell it back to you”, also in the story another one of the artists Mary Ann Cara the only female of the highwayman, I guess highway woman, said “he would sell a mosquito a jacket in the summertime”, now this next quote is from my sister, okay, she says “hey check out this this link listen to the story. This guy sounds interesting. You should see if you can buy one of his paintings”. And I was heading down to Florida because I knew I had this big stretch of writing books for Excel 2013 so I was going to spend a week down there chill out and on Sunday, July eighth, I took a ride down to Fort Pierce to see if I could find Al Black.

Turns out, every day Al Black gets up and in the backyard of his Fort Pierce house he paints outdoors under this canvassed head, he paints four new paintings every single day. I pulled up in front of Al's place, he looked me over, I said “hey are you the guy on NPR”, “he's like come on back”. Now this guy is a great salesman he starts out with I don't have any paintings that I can sell you today.

I said well what about those ones you're working on. Well if you have time to wait he says, so I sat down and so began an amazing afternoon listening to Al’s stories from the past 40 years and I watched him paint. Now at one point I said you know Al, I realize you're painting the Indian River and I enjoy kayaking in the Indian River, have you ever have you ever painted a kayak in one of your paintings and he says well that is quite a coincidence, I was about to paint a kayak right here he says, although later on we learned that he didn't know what a kayak is, but he was certainly agreeable and willing to do anything to make a sale.

So here's Al painting a kayak, here's the detail of that kayak, and if you're a longtime fan of the podcast you've seen this kayak before. This is the kayak that I used during that stupid VLOOKUP week promo, where the dolphin swam by. Do you remember that? How cool is this, Al Black, an artist in the Florida artists Hall of Fame painted my kayak into one of his paintings.

Now of course the guy is the greatest salesman in the world so this is the painting now at the condo, but as time went by Al kept trying to make the deal sweeter and trying to get me to spend more and more money and so we talked about the early days, originally Al moved to Fort Pierce and he was a typewriter salesman. Typewriter I said that's wild and I talked about you know what I did that I wrote books and I had this brand new book called “Don't Fear The Spreadsheet”, that's for people who are completely new to computers, people who have never used computers before and AL,  he kind of summoned his bravado, he's like I can sell that book I can sell anything, and before you know it. Al Black had signed up as our new spokesman.

“I’m Al Black, I'm one of the original highwaymen artist. I used to work for Fort Pierce typing company. If you still use a typewriter, try this book on computer by mistake.”

Now Al finishes that promo and he looks at me and he says “I'm famous. Sales of this book, they're going to pop”, and he was also probably thinking “God this guy is a sucker I just sold him all these paintings in exchange for that little video”, I had the afternoon of my life.

So I want to send a shout out to Jackie Lyden for giving me the heads up about this story lots of books published about the highwayman, Gary Monroe has a book specifically about Al Black and, flipping through Gary's book, it's funny some of the lines that Al used on me are right from the book. Also I found a painting in the book where he had painted a fellow in fishing and his canoe, so I'm not the only boat type painting but it seems like Al was very happy you know to paint someone else in, if necessary.

What a great opportunity, if you're ever down in Florida you have an opportunity to pick up one of the these paintings by the highwayman but what a great story and a, just very memorable afternoon. In the presence of this legendary artist Al Black.

Want to thank Al for his help, I'm sure he wants to thank me for walking away with more paintings than I ever intended to but it was a great day.

Well hey I want to thank you for stopping by we'll see you next time for another netcast from MrExcel. This book makes Excel for dummies look like it was written for rocket scientists or as Al Black would say “if you're still using a typewriter check out this book on computers from MrExcel”.

Keywords for this video: Al Black, The Highway Men, Art, Artists, Black Artists, Fort Pierce, Jim Crow Segregation, Segregation, Civil Rights, Alfred Hair, Gary Monroe, American Hist...

This video is current as of August 12, 2012


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