Writing samples

By JOHN BRENEMAN

Legendary photographer Ozzie Sweet of York Harbor, Maine, died Feb. 20, 2013, at age 94.

Legendary photographer Ozzie Sweet of York Harbor, Maine, died Feb. 20, 2013, at age 94.

Ozzie Sweet: portrait of an artist

One of the profound honors of working as a journalist is the privilege of peeking into the lives of fascinating human beings.

Showing up with a pen and some paper. Sharing a conversation. Then telling their story.

I spent about three hours with Ozzie Sweet at his home in York Harbor back in 2001. I had never heard of him, but I understood I would be meeting a man who, in addition to his legacy as a pioneering sports photographer, also created images from private moments shared with such 20th century icons as Grace Kelly, Jimmy Durante, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Albert Einstein.

Ozzie was famous for putting his famous subjects at ease – getting them to relax so, in an age peopled with stiffly posed portraits, a true-life image would emerge.

Now my job was to create a picture of him.

A black and white. Made up of words.

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1083_CPLD3.jpgShipyard prison project: The Next Brig Thing

Hey Apple. Hey Google. What would be cooler than locating your new East Coast genius lab in a crazy, century-old prison castle inspired by Alcatraz and featured in an infamous, Oscar-nominated Jack Nicholson flick?

Newsflash: The U.S. Navy is once again looking to lease the magnificent island fortress known as the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard prison. The breathtaking oceanfront site is currently ranked by Triple Action News as one of the top 5 top-secret real estate opportunities in the world.

Long story short, the Navy is looking for a few good companies – anchor companies – so I wanted to put our prison on your radar screen.

In my capacity as self-appointed talent scout slash marketing wizard, please allow me to introduce the first unofficial slogan for this epic economic engine by the ocean.

“Shipyard prison redevelopment: The Next Brig Thing”

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bitcoinsA bit of insight about bitcoin

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably heard the word “bitcoin” and have a vague sense that it is some kind of virtual or digital currency. But really, what the heck is it?

To me, the most fascinating thing about bitcoin is this: Talk to your friends and financial advisers about it, read a few scholarly articles on the topic, listen to some business journalists on TV — and I guarantee you will still not know what bitcoin is.

Here’s how Reuters describes it: “A form of electronic money independent of traditional banking, bitcoins started circulating in 2009 and have become the most prominent of several fledgling digital currencies. … The virtual currency relies on a network of computers that solve complex mathematical problems as part of a process that verifies and permanently records the details of every bitcoin transaction that is made.”

Some say bitcoin is a revolutionary new form of nationless, paperless currency that could reshape the way the world defines money.

Others say it is a mysterious virtual currency wrapped in a riddle wrapped inside a powerfully encrypted enigma.

Still others insist it is an elaborate practical joke begun in 2009 by American actor George Clooney to get revenge on Matt Damon for putting itching powder in his trousers on the set of “Oceans 15.”

Noted bitcoin insiders say the March 2014 collapse of the most prominent bitcoin exchange, Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, only confirms that it is not too late to lose your actual and/or virtual shirt.

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Twitter: @MrBreneman

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