Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dandy Yankee Doodles

Years ago I concocted a concept called The Dandy Yankee Doodles Project. The idea was to centered around the notion of obtaining doodles (throwaway stuff) from the rich and famous in order to raise money to help disadvantaged youth, so that they do not become thrown away people.

The library had a book with names and addresses of well known people. I sent letters to maybe fifty or so, explaining the project and requesting a doodle. In envisioned mugs or T-shirts or etched glass products that could be sold to raise money for an Internet room at the Central Hillside Community Center here in Duluth. Ultimately, the doodles part didn't get traction, but I was able to work with a grant writer to obtain $11,000 to implement the concept, to set up a supervised computer lab in the old Washington School.

Oh, there were a few responses to my requests. The doodle from Annie Dillard was cool. Julie Andrews' publicist sent a B&W publicity still. And Mortimer Adler's secretary sent a note saying Mr. Adler doesn't doodle. Still, I think the over all concept was pretty cool, though at the time I maybe didn't know how to implement it well. On my personal website my Dandy Yankee Doodles page opened like this:

To most people, doodles are aimless, meaningless scribbles.
To me, doodles can have significant value... if they are redeemed.
Doodles can provide food and shelter to needy people on the fringe of society who often feel that they themselves are nothing more than aimless, meaningless scribbles.


So when I posted a few doodles yesterday, I wondered if maybe the idea of redeeming doodles in order to redeem discarded lives should be re-visited. Here's the The Dandy Yankee Doodles Project as it was originally conceived back in the mid-nineties. Maybe it's worth a second look.

Wikipedia has some interesting information about doodles, beginning with this...

A doodle is a type of sketch, an unfocused drawing made while a person's attention is otherwise occupied. Doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be abstract shapes.

Stereotypical examples of doodling are found in school notebooks, often in the margins, drawn by students daydreaming or losing interest during class. Other common examples of doodling are produced during long telephone conversations if a pen and paper are available.


Here's how the word apprears in the dictionary, the usual final authority:

Can doodles be redeemed and given value? Maybe I'm just another Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Or maybe, just maybe, we can really make a difference. That's my prayer. Will you join me?

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