My Point Being

My Point Being: Some Kinda New Year

It’s the morning of New Year’s Eve. Tomorrow, the date changes to January 1, 2019. Sure, this is all arbitrary. We could call it August 10, or April Fools’ Day or Cinco de Mayo. It’s just another day, except that this one is loaded with our emotional baggage around the passage of time. Birthdays and anniversaries are the same way. So be it. The biggest impact for most of us is that we’ll probably forget at least once and input “2018” for the year on whatever form we’re filling out instead of “2019.”

There are some rituals that go with this arbitrary change of the calendar. One is resolutions. I don’t do those anymore, because, well, why? You can resolve to do something any time you want. Another is looking back at the past and forward to the future. I don’t really go for those, either, since the only time I control is now. Besides, the future is determined to an extent by what’s happening now (barring the occasional future black swan – again, out of my control). So I woke up this morning and felt like talking a little about now. I feel like I know something about it, at least from my perspective.

I was going to post this on LinkedIn, but I don’t know that anyone there would understand, or care. So it’s here. You can take or leave it. Here, in no particular order, are my observations.

Chickens are still coming home to roost

We continue to fulfill Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting something different to happen. We want more, waste more, and keep waiting for the next big thing. Meanwhile, we ignore the little thing that is this moment. with all its dangers and opportunities.

While we pretend – that the things we think we’re recycling are actually being recycled, that debt (public and otherwise) will somehow take care of itself, that we can wish all our risks away without managing them – the chickens keep on coming home to roost.

Still crazy, after all these years.

Most of us are the slaves of fear

There’s a little walnut-sized doodad in the back of the human brain called the amygdala. It’s where a lot of fear and pleasure impulses sit. When stimulated the amygdala triggers emotions like wanting to fight or run. Under normal conditions, the brain’s frontal lobe steps in to moderate the impulses. But when your amygdala is bombarded by fear-mongering messages, that moderating process gets overwhelmed.

In an age of information, information is a weapon and stoking fear and anger is like the nuclear option, going straight at the old amygdala. Advertisers and politicians have been playing these war games with us for generations. Now, with social media, we can wage information war with each other if we choose. We’re creating a culture like the one James Michener described in his book about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. It’s one in which all the living and many of the dead are incriminated through fear and shame. There’s no secret police doing this to us. We’re doing it to ourselves, and to each other.

I think I finally figured out Donald Trump

Yes, the 800-pound orange gorilla in the room.

Since Mr. Trump became something more than a real estate speculator and reality TV huckster, I’ve been trying to understand him. First, I thought he was just crude. Then I thought he was the Antichrist. Then I thought it was like that episode of Star Trek where aliens kidnap Captain Picard and substitute a replica who acts stranger and stranger so the aliens can see what it’ll take to make the crew mutiny.

Now I liken the president to the San Francisco Bay Area anti-hero protagonist in the Steely Dan song “Kid Charlemagne.” He found the magic formula to hook enough people on what he was selling to corner the market.

“Didja feel like Jesus?”

Even as they depended on him, though, he also became dependent on them. In the end, there won’t be enough of them to sustain him as he wants – needs – to be sustained. Now, he’s hogtied by the contradiction in terms he has made of himself. He cannot be “Mr. Art of the Deal” and “Mr. (I alone can) Fix It” at the same time. The only question that remains is whether he will go all-in and try to take over the world, or whether (and how soon) he will meet Kid Charlemagne’s fate:

“Is there gas in the car?

Yes, there’s gas in the car!

I think the people down the hall know who we are.”

Is there hope? Of course, there is! We can start now. After all, it is always now, and it always will be. Happy New Year.


Update: Week of December 31, 2018

The first update I want to share with you is that I’ve decided to drop “what’s happening” from the title of my weekly updates and simply call them what they are: updates. That’s the first of several changes I’ll talk about in this post.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been saving stock music to drop all at once for the new year. This includes three new intros and the better part of an entire collection of music/loops for meditation and relaxation. I’ll begin submitting them to Pond5 either this evening or tomorrow.

I also plan to re-organize some of my podcast intro collections. My podcast intros and loops specifically for business will now be found exclusively in my “Corporate Podcast Intros” collection instead of my main collection of intros. Likewise, my rock intros will be only in the rock intro collection. The main collection will include things for news, politics, society and culture and novelties. I plan to complete that reorganization early in the new year as well.

Finally, I think I want to scale back or eliminate my presence on certain platforms. For example, it no longer makes any sense to me to even be present on Soundcloud. Soundcloud now appears to be a hip-hop dominated platform, and the music I do just doesn’t fit that. So I think I’ll be leaving Soundcloud early in the year. While I’ll continue to have a YouTube channel, I won’t be spending a lot of time and energy pushing it either.

Here’s the thing: I’ve come to the conclusion that these platforms are geared to people who want to become famous (and maybe rich in the process). What I want is to have my work heard and used by the people who could best benefit from it.

There’s more that I’m contemplating, but I’ll talk about it when I think the time if right.

Featured Stock Music Item

With the holidays all but over (time to pack up my little Christmas tree!) I’m resuming my regular schedule of featuring weekly stock music items. This week it’s Fun Upbeat Retro Intro (30 Second), a cheeky little number that’s perfect to introduce light content or for game show parodies.

It’s also available in :15, bumper and loopable versions, if that’s what you need.

It’s a new year, and I hope yours is fruitful.

Dayton Triangles Writing

Dayton Triangles Championship Year: 1918

As I continue my research with the goal of writing a history of the Dayton Triangles football team, I’m struck by 1918. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangles’ “championship year” that saw them acclaimed by consensus as the best team in the Ohio League. But it was also a strange, and in some respects tragic, season. I’ve taken to calling it “the year of the asterisk”.

As summer wore on, it wasn’t clear that there would even be a season in 1918. The war in Europe still raged, and many of the best players were either “over there” or in training to go. That meant a shortage of talented players. Making matters worse, to conserve fuel for the war effort, the Federal Government had mandated cuts in long-distance travel and local driving on Sundays. The restrictions would crimp attendance at Sunday games.

It was not just players who were in short supply. Triangles coach Nelson “Bud” Talbott was serving as an artillery commander. Fortunately, Triangles business manager Carl Storck did not have to look far for a replacement. Cincinnati Reds outfielder and multi-sport star Earle “Greasy” Neale had signed a short-term contract to play some games in the Triangle company baseball league. Neale had played and coached football and so was the perfect choice for the job. He also played fullback and handled the kicking duties for the Triangles that year.

Storck had also faced an uphill battle to find and schedule teams. The three companies that bankrolled the Triangles team were willing to operate at a loss, as they reportedly had in 1917, but they didn’t want to go to the trouble unless they could have competitive games. As October rolled around, though, more teams were making the decision to play.

No sooner had the Triangle Athletic association made the decision to move ahead with games, than the influenza pandemic of 1918 hit.

The viral infection we call “the flu” had been been around for some time, and people called it by different names. Some people used the French name grippe. The name that eventually stuck came from the Italians, who blamed the disease on astrological factors – “the influence of the stars” or l’influenza delle stelle.

By late 1918, a very bad strain of flu that had been prevalent in Spain was spreading around the world. Reaching America that fall, it set off a major public health crisis. Cities around the country moved to ban public gatherings in the hope of limiting the spread of the disease. In Dayton, for example, public health authorities closed schools, churches, saloons, pool halls, reading rooms – virtually any indoor place where people might congregate. The flu also wiped out much of the fall boxing schedule that year.

The Triangles’ season might have ended then and there, except that local authorities exempted outdoor sporting events from the ban, believing that the virus could not survive in open air. However, other cities extended their bans to all public gatherings, indoors or out. Several college and semi-pro teams in Illinois and Michigan had to cancel or postpone games that year.

Between the war and the flu, several of the top teams in the Ohio region did not play the 1918 season. This actually worked to the Triangles’ advantage, as they were able to pick up players who would otherwise have played for rivals, such as the Cincinnati Celts and Pine Village, Indiana. The powerful Canton Bulldogs were also sidelined that year. The Triangles attempted to sign Canton’s top star, the legendary Native American athlete Jim Thorpe, but were unsuccessful.

Even with the personnel advantages the Triangles enjoyed, Manager Storck and Coach Neale found it difficult to keep a stable lineup at times. Starting right end Dave Reese, a dentist by training, was called to medical duty with the military in Georgia. Reese’s backup “Piggy” Collins was ready to step in, but his wife suddenly passed away three days before the Triangles were to play against a team from Wabash, Indiana. Pearl May Collins was only 22 years old. It seems likely that she succumbed to the flu or pneumonia caused by the flu. Storck scrambled and was able to sign Chuck Helvie the night before the Wabash game. Helvie played well that Sunday and became a mainstay of the Triangles for some years after that.

The Triangles posted an 8-0 record in the 1918 season, outscoring their opponents by a combined margin of 188-9. The closest game they played all season was a hard-fought 13-6 win over a team from Hammond, Indiana that was rumored to have a number of “ringers” – highly-skilled college players who were playing semi-pro ball for money on the side. The Triangles played, and easily won, a rematch with Hammond late in the season. Other teams the Triangles defeated that year included the Toledo Maroons, Detroit Heralds (twice) and the Columbus Panhandles.

Although the Triangles were – for the first and only time – the consensus Ohio League champions, circumstances in 1918 left a cloud over their achievement. The Cincinnati Celts, Canton Bulldogs and other major teams did not play that season, and the competition that did come to play was not very strong. This is why I’ve taken to calling 1918 the “year of the asterisk”.

For Earle Neale, this was neither his last championship nor his last asterisk. The following year, he hit .357 for the Reds in the 1919 World Series, winning another championship that was tainted – this time by the infamous “Black Sox” scandal. It took 30 more years, but Coach Neale eventually proved his mettle, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to two NFL titles – fair and square.


What’s Happening: Week of December 24, 2018

Tuesday in the U. S. A., we’ll celebrate Christmas. I want to wish everyone who does celebrate it a happy one. I also want to offer seasons’ greetings to those who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus (for the rest of us). Whatever and however you choose to celebrate, even if it’s only another Tuesday, may it be a joyful one for you.

This week I’m featuring the last of my seasonal-themed stock music items for the year. It’s Auld Lang Syne (Gospel Blues), a slightly different take on the traditional New Year’s Eve tune.

It’s also available in a loopable version.

I’m continuing to work on new stock music that I hope to make available through Pond5 early in the new year. I’ve put together another ‘ambient relaxation loop’ item and another ‘meditation drone’ item for my planned meditation and relaxation collection that I discussed last week. I’ve also put together a new intro, which I call ‘high energy intro’ – it has :30, :15, looped and bumper-stinger versions. Here’s a preview:

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m doing research for a book I hope to publish on the Dayton Triangles professional American football team on or before the 100th anniversary of the first National Football League game which they played in on October 3, 2020. This year (2018) is the 100th anniversary of the 1918 season in which the Triangles were the consensus Ohio League champions, although under dubious circumstances. I spent some time last week compiling notes from that season (as will as 1915-17), and it makes for quite a fascinating story. Therefore, I plan to publish another of my draft excerpts to document the highlights (and low spots) of that season, which I’m calling ‘The Year of the Asterisk’. I throw a link to the post on Twitter once it’s finished, and I hope you’ll check it out.

So, happy holiday! May your days be merry and bright, and may all your plans be nefarious.


What’s Happening: Week of December 17, 2018

As I write, I have an item (“Smooth Romantic Groove”) in curation at Pond5 that’s been there for awhile, so I’m in no hurry to submit anything new there. However, I am working on music for a new stock music collection I plan to introduce at Pond5 around the beginning of 2019.

The new collection will consist of tracks and loops intended for meditation and relaxation. So far I have three pieces I call “Meditation Drones” that run in five or ten minute lengths. They’re generally a little less deep and scary than the items in my “Dronescapes” collection. I’ve also put together a couple of loops for relaxation or to play in the background behind relaxing scenes. Here’s an excerpt from one, which I call “Ambient Relaxation Loop 1”.

In addition to those items, I plan to include my three existing “Ambient Mindfulness” loops.

 Meanwhile, Christmas rolls on . . . 

In keeping with featuring items from my Christmas/holiday collection, this week’s featured stock music item is Deck The Halls (Brass Arrangement, 60 Second Version).

This is the last Christmas item I’ll be featuring this year. Next week’s featured item will be my quirky take on the classic New Year’s theme.

That’s that for me this week. Thanks for stopping by.


What’s Happening: Week of December 10, 2018

I hope everyone is getting into the Christmas mood.I’m continuing to feature Christmas-themed music on my Twitter page during the season. This week, my featured item is Festive Christmas (:15 Edit). It’s kind of a fanfare-ish thing with lots of bells and such. I also sold a license for it last week at Pond5. (Thank you, buyer!)

It’s also available in sixty second, thirty second, logo/bumper and looped versions. If you want to create an air of holiday magic, this may be just the thing! I hope you’ll consider it for your project.

In case you missed it, I added some new items to my portfolio this week, all at Pond5. If you miss any of my new stuff, you can always check out my latest Pond5 items by linking to my New Music Tracks Collection there.

Speaking of Pond5, they have a new collection of Christmas-themed royalty-free music tracks just in time for the Christmas season, called Holiday Hits. I’m honored that they included my track ‘Holiday Hustle Bustle’ in the collection. I hope you’ll check it out if you’re looking for music for your holiday video.

Finally, looking ahead to Valentine’s Day, I have a new item in the pipeline. It’s called ‘Smooth Romantic Groove’, and features a smooth jazz, R-n’-B vibe. When it’s available, I’ll be posting it on my Twitter feed, so stay tuned.


What’s Happening: Week of December 3, 2018

This week, I can talk about the old, the new, and the really new.

First, the new

I’ve just received word that my latest item is approved and online at Pond5. It’s called ‘Positive Atmosphere’ and it features a breezy, even ambient guitar vibe. It’s available in multiple versions, all of which you can hear and link to license on the Positive Atmosphere item page. Check out the 60-second version here.

Next, the really new

My latest item is so new, I can’t even access the upload to put in meta tags yet. I call this ‘Gentle Uplifting Corporate’. It’s soft background music for business positive videos and presentations, and it will be available in full and bumper versions. Here’s a 30-second snippet for you.

Stay tuned here and on my Twitter feed to find out when (and if) it’s available to license.

The old: Weekly Featured Item

Finally, in continuing with featuring Christmas-themed items, this week’s featured item is Swinging Christmas Intro (Full). Although I originally put this together with podcasting in mind, you could use it for other media uses too (hear that, Saturday Night Live?) It’s also available in short and logo-bumper versions.

That, as they say, is that musically this week. I’m also working on my football writing project and you can link to my notes and excepts on that from the site menu. May you have a wonderful week.

Stock Music

Positive Atmosphere

Here is a light, breezy guitar driven groove for multiple media applications including business and travel. Use this music anywhere you want to create a cool, easy-going vibe. Key is D Major. Tempo is medium (100 bpm). This item is available in full, :60, :30, :15, bumper and loop versions.

Full Version

60-Second Edit

30-Second Edit

15-Second Edit

Bumper Edit

Loop Version