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A Quick Program Note (RE: Delano Rose)

A few kind folks have asked why the links to episodes of The Delano Rose are broken. They were removed from my feed due to copyright issues.

Each episode of the show was a soundscape intended to recreate a lucid dream of star-travel and weird memories mixed with random, sometimes freely-associated ideas. I used music in transformative ways, clips from television shows, news items, and commentary. My belief was that its status as a transformative use for my personal, educational, and non-commercial ends would be sufficient to give it a pass.

It did not. A soulless algorithm flagged the shows and they were removed.

I understand the reasons and, while I make no money from my podcasts or blogs, the protection of intellectual property must be honored.

Sorry, folks. I deleted the automatically-generated posts from my feed.

The Dinner Date: A Writing Exercise in Dialogue for Audio

AMB: A FORMAL RESTAURANT, LOW RHUBARB, CLASSICAL MUSIC TO SIGNAL “CLASSY” JOINT.

Becky: Before our date, what were you doing?

Peter: Is this an icebreaker question?

Becky: Very good. What were you doing?

Peter: Work.

Becky: What kind of work?

Peter: If I told you, you might think I spiked your drink with Nyquil. Best I tell you what I was doing before I had to work.

Becky: What was that?

Peter: Watching a two hour documentary on YouTube about the history of toilets.

Continue reading “The Dinner Date: A Writing Exercise in Dialogue for Audio”

The Lack of Yellow Ribbons

Back in the 1970s, around the end of the Vietnam War, the pop group DAWN, featuring Tony Orlando performed a song that was really about a man hoping his girl was still waiting for him after a three-year stretch in prison. In his letters, he tells her he’s coming home and asks her to tie a yellow ribbon around a tree near the bus stop to indicate she still wanted him. The singer can’t face coming home to rejection so the ribbon is his sign to either get off the bus there or keep on going.

According to one of the songwriters, L. Russell Brown, the song was inspired by a story about a Civil War soldier who asked his wife to wear a yellow scarf to indicate her loyalty to him in his absence. If he saw her without it, he would assume she had moved on and he would, too.

We don’t see a lot of yellow ribbons anymore. In fact, the ribbon has taken on many colors to indicate support for one cause or another and it is hard to drive anywhere without spotting a ribbon of come kind on the back of another vehicle. You may have one or more yourself.

Back at the start of The Gulf War – remember that small war George Bush led against Iraq to “liberate Kuwait” which resulted in a second war and occupation we pay for still today? Well, back then, we were a nation that still believed in the concept of going to war, fighting it to win, and bringing the troops home as soon as possible. The yellow ribbon motif was very popular around the country. Ribbons were tied around trees and affixed everywhere to show we supported our troops and wanted them home, preferably all at once with the parades and celebrations we failed to give our troops for their service in Vietnam.

It was a nice psychological exercise when the Guard and Reserves “kicked ass” and came home. It was a televised demonstration of American power and we brought home our troops, leaving behind only enough to keep our enemy under glass, growing, and plotting for a decade.

We showed off our yellow ribbon pins and stickers and kid-crafted signs in big displays of love and support. I don’t see them much any more, but the war continues.

I’m not saying we no longer support our troops. In fact, not supporting soldiers is the third rail of social conscience. You have to SAY it. You don’t, however, have to do anything that indicates it other than give a little money to a charity and send your hopes and prayers. Maybe keep posting memes about how patriotic you are because you love American soldiers and consider them saintly and honorable.

What I’m saying is that our country has given up on that last part and we took down the ribbons not because we don’t support our troops, but we’ve accepted that the war they fight will never end. We don’t expect them to come home to a big parade. We expect them to rotate out, retire, and come home whenever. Plus, that happy, cheesy tune doesn’t quite scan after thirty years.

An early Internet protest song for Gulf War 2

Maybe we took down the ribbon because five American Presidents have presided over our wars and occupations, but none of them have ended them. Bush the First left a monster in power and made Iraq a prison. Clinton did nothing to end the no-fly or promote regime change. After the radicals brought our war back to our shores on 9/11, Bush the Second struck back, toppled the government, and set up a puppet regime that we still support, built prisons that deny prisoners a speedy or fair trial and kept us in Afghanistan long after it was clear Osama bin Laden wasn’t there. Obama got bin Laden, but failed to close Gitmo as promised and remained in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Twatgoblin can’t even find those countries on a map.

NONE of these Presidents, nor anyone who served in Congress bothered to make good on their commitments to the troops by fixing the fucking Veteran Affairs system or ending the god-damned war. They have made it clear that, after an entire generation, we will have ALWAYS been at war with Middle-Asia.

That’s my entire adult life. I started with Yellow Ribbons thinking that we had a plan, objectives, and an exit strategy. My children have all grown up during this war and I don’t think anyone seriously thinks we will ever return to a state of piece.

The Yellow Ribbon is more about the song now because it is a story about individuals. A soldier comes home. Does his family still know and love them the same way despite how the war has changed them? Better, will the country still want them and care about them with proper reintegration services, benefits, educational opportunities, and medical care?

Again, I don’t see many Yellow Ribbons anymore.

NEVER FORGET?

NEVER FORGET…

…that it took longer to provide basic lifetime health and hospice coverage for the first responders on 9/11 than it did to build a new tower over the ruins. And that had problems.

…we are still at war and those who were born when we went to war are now adults, so they have never known an America that was not at war with “terror”. An entire generation in our country is being raised with a normalized state of war.

…we still live in a world where people cry tyranny over face masks to shop but never marched or boycotted over having to take off our shoes or submit to a body scan to fly in a plane.

…trillions of dollars were diverted from education, infrastructure, public health and safety, and other services to pay for this war now headed into its third decade.

…that despite promises to eliminate it, we still manage a prison at our naval facility in Cuba.

Never Forget means learning from our experience.

I remember drinking to get drunk with a man who returned from New York a few months after the attacks. He went there to volunteer and described being assigned to a shorting machine and conveyor belt to look for remains and objects that might identify victims.

“They had me looking for fingertips,” he said between shots. He had heard rumors of bonuses if they found rotting remains that helped identify someone. He recalled seeing people pocket jewelry and other valuables hour after hour on the line. He remembered being exhausted and sleeping on cots every few hours as more debris arrived by boat, coughing up dust that was likely cancer-causing but clearly toxic. He talked about medics responding to other volunteers coughing up blood after inhaling fine glass into their lungs despite using respirators and using the on-site showers.

He found rotting meat on the conveyor belt but it was so badly decomposed or shredded that he had no idea what it came from, but he reported it as required. He turned over personal effects, everything from pocket change, pieces of wallets and clothing, identification cards, badges, reflective stripes from safety vests, glasses, prosthesis, and charred and torn photographs.

The thing about this story is that I cannot verify it. I wouldn’t doubt the man’s story, but I know enough now about America’s willingness to believe or reject information. If I told you this to remind you of the horrors of 9/11, people would respond differently than if I asked you to consider it when voting to increase health care for workers like this. A simple shift in my “ask” would change this cautionary tale of a patriot into a socialist agenda to enslave such people to government servitude.

The same shallow, knee-jerk society exists now between surrendering your liberties to fly and wearing a mask to protect our fellow citizens.

It’s all how you wave a flag over it.

On the Weaponization of Dead Babies, & Other Political Tricks

A few days ago, 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant was shot in the head and killed by a monster. This monster was soon arrested, is now in prison without bond, and will likely die there once justice is done. This is how the system is supposed to work every time whether a white man shoots his wife or a Samoan mass shooter murders 20 Cannons in a classroom, or a robbery between a Hispanic and Muslim ends in murder. We cannot prevent all crimes so the system exists to do exactly what it did for little Cannon when we fail to stop the monster.

But every few pages of social media tells me I should be outraged for little Cannon. I should stand FOR Cannon and demand justice. It’s not that these people asking me are unaware of developments in the case. They’ve shared with me the photo of the monster in jail and links declaring police are now moving into a phase where the justice system is taking over.

So what am I supposed to be protesting? That he wasn’t killed in police custody? That he wasn’t lynched on his way to jail? Is that the dog whistle? Because I don’t see that the police and justice system CAN do more than they are.

So let me respond to this request for herd rage directly.

Monsters come in all shapes, sizes, genders, creeds, and races. Funny how this is when the pundit media is so concerned with the death of a child, crying crocodile tears over it like they ever really cared. The pundits don’t interrupt their blistering oratory and fearmongering to announce every Amber Alert or to share the shocking news that a child died of starvation while locked in his shit-covered bedroom because his white, Christian parents couldn’t care for him but enjoyed collecting the welfare payments his suffering earned them.

Did that seem oddly specific?

Do you remember them? No? Google the Tutko family of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and remind me where your Internet outrage was then for that child and his siblings. Where was Tucker Carlson’s grand bag of lung farts when that tragedy broke?

If you want to cherry-pick this case to imply this monster represents all black people, I can share the tales of white monsters all the live-long day that I’m pretty sure never even made it onto your radar. And you will be ashamed and sickened by the horrors they visited on innocents. But will you care enough to have the real conversation about the gap between rich and poor, the corruption and rot that grows in people denied any opportunity to live among us modest “haves”?

Let’s say you get your wish and the monster is lynched. What have you solved? Jack and Shit.

Let’s say the BLM movement fulfills your wish that they just shut up and go away. What does that solve? Is that your idea of “justice” for Cannon? Are you thinking that it means no more children will die from homicide? You know it won’t. You only want silence and for the loud people to suffer in it for your convenience.

You just want to repeat that the entire debate comes down to a white child murdered by a monster who happens to be black. I’m outraged because it happened at all. I’m outraged because millionaire shit-gibbons like Tucker Carlson, along with most people, wouldn’t give two shits and a salute about Cannon Hinnant even if the shooter had been his own father. Some of you living truck-nuts might even vomit up the old chestnut that “its the price of freedom!”

“Oh what a tragedy, his dad was aiming for the liquor cabinet and hit his child “by mistake. We hope people can give this family time and privacy to grieve.”

But to the conservatives who love to say liberal media doesn’t share news that doesn’t fit “the narrative” this fits the conservative one quite nicely doesn’t it? For a group of people who claim to be so firmly in the know about how the real world works and understand exactly how biased and skewed “the media” is, you sure enjoy this flavor of Kool-Aid, so much that you’ll politicize a child’s corpse to try to score a point you can’t even make without exposing the deep racism at its core.

Fucking stop it. You are better than this.

Rather than focus on the needs of the one, remember that BLM and other movements for civil rights are a response to the kind of tyranny conservatives LOVE pretending to stand up against. Only, it seems you love this form of tyranny because you stand with the tyrants. Your guns are safely locked away as masked gunmen pull citizens into unmarked vans and released only with a legally binding promise to relinquish their First Amendment right to protest further.

Face it, folks, we’re the ones out here, mostly unarmed, defending YOUR freedom and I only see you guys gunned-up to bitch about having to wear a mask. If you’re so fucking brave, why the Kevlar? If God’s going to protect you from a bug, surely he loves you enough to stop bullets, too, right?

Anyway. I get it. You don’t see the injustice in a group of people you know nothing about, refuse to interact with, and routinely refer to as inferior. Your life is not perfect, so why should someone else get to complain? And I know that some days the only thing that holds your dignity intact is the illusion that you are somehow superior because you were LUCKY enough to be born in America and white.

Unfortunately, we have bigger problems than your world view. You can ignore those problems and focus on the looting and the violence, throw pictures of a dead child in our faces, but history consistently files your behaviors in the “this is who they overcame” section of the narrative. Don’t be that guy whose entire life is immortalized by a photo of him in a suit smiling as he helps hold up the corpse of a beaten black man who dared use active sentence structure in front of a white man.

When This is Over, A Reckoning.

If you take the position that you won’t wear a mask or observe basic safety precautions during a pandemic, I can’t convince you otherwise, but I can say this:

Every time a sport cancels a season,
Every time a school has to close up because of an outbreak,
Every day a business remains shuttered,
Every time someone loses their job or business,
Every time something you enjoy stops operating,
Every time a party in defiance of the guidelines leads to new cases,
Every time a preacher, politician, or businessperson exposes puts citizens at risk with lies designed to protect their own coffers,
Every extra week we have another spike in cases,
Every hospitalization,
Every intubation and induced coma,
Every hospital bed filled that would have saved another’s life,
Every family that has to deal with a loved one with COVID, fatal or not,
Every death…

…it won’t be the fault of people who did everything they could to get us through and beyond this situation.

When the house is on fire, you can choose not to help put it out. But when the fire is extinguished, people will wonder what could have been saved if you just got over yourself and pitched in.

Teachers and Kids: When Sent to War, Prepare for the Worst

Teachers and students are going back to school. While unions fight to protect them, teachers will return because it is their job. Many teachers will be teaching online while others will spent their days between classes sanitizing their rooms desk by desk so they and their students will be protected. It’s their profession, their passion, even their calling to be an educator and – once again – we treat them like disposable labor.

They did not sign up for exposure to a pandemic. But like our police force, they are being assigned more responsibilities every year. They are urged to arm themselves against shooters, intervene in violent exchanges between students, act as social workers and counselors, and now – medical professionals.

Many of them are at-risk individuals who have been in education most of their long lives and all they want to do is teach but now, society puts this additional responsibility and risk on their shoulders even while a majority of citizens REFUSE to take on the simple extra effort of wearing a mask.

Think about that the next time you want to denigrate a teacher for having a well-paying part-time job with a fancy summer vacation.

Meanwhile, our failure to deal with this problem effectively means we’ve run out of time for back to school season. Crowded buses, hallways, cafeterias, gymnasiums, restrooms, locker rooms, and classrooms will bring together hundreds of kids every single day. And these places are not designed or equipped like hospitals to mitigate risk. Because the world we live in so desperately wants to pretend things are back to normal, it falls on the shoulders of students and parents to do whatever they can to follow safety procedures to protect themselves.

It’s basic math. How many people do you see on a typical day at work or at school? How many people will they see? How many opportunities to spread the virus will one child have before getting back on a crowded bus to bring whatever they picked up home to their families? And then, what will those families take to work with them? Repeat five days a week until the holidays and again in the spring.

It will take an outbreak for leaders to reconsider these decisions. Whether or not they will be held accountable for their short-sightedness is irrelevant because other people, children, teachers, administrators, and the general public, will suffer for it.

An old man once told me, “When you’re getting sent to war, prepare for war.” If you have no choice but to go where you’re sent, it is up to you to prepare for the experience.

Cover your faces. Wash your hands. Keep your distance.

Don’t be a dick to show off how cool you are that you’re not afraid of getting sick. And it’s all fun and games until someone gets a plastic tube is rammed down their neck.

Don’t be PROUD to be Patient Zero unless you’d be proud to see your victims die.

The (Almost) Complete Business Plan (BUS106)

Business Plan

Millstone-Derry Escapes, LLC

PO Box 1701-D Harrisburg, PA 17111

717-555-2020

June 14, 2020

Jay Smith, Principal

This document is confidential. (Not.)

Table of Contents

Business Plan. 1

Table of Contents. 2

Executive Summary. 3

Vision/Mission Statement and Goals. 5

A. Vision Statement 5

B. Goals and Objectives. 5

C. Keys to Success. 6

Company Summary. 7

A. Company Background. 7

B. Resources, Facilities and Equipment 8

C. Marketing Methods. 9

D. Management and Organization. 10

E. Ownership Structure. 12

G. Internal Analysis. 13

Products and/or Services. 14

Market Assessment 17

A. Examining the General Market 17

B. Customer Analysis. 21

C. Industry Analysis. 22

D. Strategic Alternatives. 23

E. Strategic Implementation. 23

Financial Plan. 28

A. Financial Projections. 28

B. Contingency Plan. 29

APPENDIX ITEM: CONCEPT MAP OF MILLSTONE-DERRY RESORT GROUNDS (minus Administrative Campus) 30

 

 

Continue reading “The (Almost) Complete Business Plan (BUS106)”

“But Did You DIE?!” – The Latest Lie About Pandemic Risk

It baffles me that people seem to think the remote likelihood of dying from COVID is the only factor in assessing what is an acceptable risk. It is as if getting sick and being hospitalized with a curable disease are acceptable risks for themselves, their children, coworkers, and everyone else.

Given the fragile state of the economy, people out of work, facing eviction and other financial stresses, it is the height of selfishness to ask others to put themselves at risk of being hospitalized without insurance, paid sick leave, or any other safety net that is required to survive even a week in the hospital or 2 weeks in quarantine. If you believe this is about getting the economy flowing again, remember that the economy will only recover if people get through this in some sense of financial stability. People can’t buy cars, houses, or other make other purchases that are established signs of a strong economy if they can’t pay on what they currently own.

I know what it costs to go to the hospital for small things and I’ve also seen Volumes 1 and 2 of a long-term life-saving care program for something as “simple and common” as a road accident. People who can’t afford a basic doctor visit won’t report their symptoms and will continue to report to work.

I’m not a socialist and I don’t believe that people need to have their responsibilities handled by the government. I do know that the free market only lives when currency moves through its veins. Billionaires and small business owners are terrified more that we can’t swipe our plastic money as much if not more than the health of the person doing the swiping. And collectors have no interest in how you incurred your hefty hospital bulls, only that you open your wallet and pay what’s owed.

Qui Bono?

When someone tells you it’s okay to go out and spend money again, remember that it’s your money they want, not the protection of your freedoms or rights. If you don’t have money (or credit) you are dead to them anyway.