“Don’t Fear The Spreadsheet” – A Great Story, Really!: Podcast #1584

“Don’t Fear The Spreadsheet” – A Great Story, Really!: Podcast #1584


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”.

7 thoughts on ““Don’t Fear The Spreadsheet” – A Great Story, Really!: Podcast #1584

  1. I've spent alot off hours under that tent he taught me to paint and I hang on every word he said he would have told you anything to sell that picture but you have a one and only treasure it sir

  2. Your right he always puts a boat in there but you have the only kyak mine has me fishing in the boat he painted it with the colors I was wearing

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