Search

Updated: Aug 11

Happy Monday,


I hope you're safe and well. This morning, I was running in a new subdivision development. So far, there are only roads laid out. 'Twas a fun run. I listened to "Jordan B. Peterson's Biblical Series: Genesis 1 - Chaos & Order" and did my best to maintain a methodical stride and pace. I knocked out 2-miles at a measly pace. I'm not breaking any records. But, I'm looking to clock in 350 miles this year. We'll see how it goes.


Miles YTD

Presumably, the plots where houses will sit are determined at this juncture. I let my mind run, and I imagined what this development would look like in 20 years. This is the birth of a community of sorts, no? Then it occurred to me. It was a wave of pensiveness and sadness. It's The 2020 Bummer. I was running until the fresh, it-still-looks-sticky, dark asphalt turned into gravel. Development ended. I was curious why the construction was not happening. Where were the crews? Why are there machines in this field and no one there to operate them? Was this caused by the economic fallout we're surfing? Was there a contractual dispute that held up the progress? Was it the weather? It had rained last night, perhaps, and most likely, its the weather. Right? It was the weather.


So, as you may have noticed, we are living in unprecedented times. I remember times back in Cane Valley, Kentucky what my grandmother would say when she recalled her experiences in the Great Depression, and how impactful that was to her. I have been thinking a lot about the culture of the 30s. So, even while navigating a funky, maybe, new-normal, some things will remain the same -- as they always have.

One) Use your turning signal, or you're a turd.
Two) Reliable information should be critically considered.
Three) The development of a neighborhood is the death of a field.
Four) Any good coffee shop will grace your ears with the enchanting music from the beautiful Billie Holiday.

Speaking of Billie Holiday! In the late 1930s, while she was recording for Columbia Records, she was introduced to a track titled "Strange Fruit," a prolific anti-lynching song. If you're like me, you enjoy exciting facts.


Get this: The song was originally written as a poem by a fella named "Lewis Allan." Abel Meeropol was his government name. He was from the Bronx, born to immigrants from Russia. He was a school teacher, songwriter, and CURVEBALL, a proper communist! Like adopted-the-children-of-Julius-and-Ethel-Rosenberg, level communist. They were a couple executed for espionage for spying on behalf of Russia. NUTS! Communism is garbage. He wrote one hell of a song. Okay, enough of that rabbit hole.

So, we're dealing with a new normal. That comes with a heavy dose of difficulty. Many of the challenges we're facing are unique and specific to our current and modern way of life. Luckily, there are things from our American past that we can draw parallels from. Let's continue on my penchant for talking about the 30s.

Have you ever heard of "Black Thursday?"


So, on October 24, 1929, the value of common stock and shares in the U.S. market dropped by a staggering 40 percent. Black Thursday would send the US a massive economic shockwave, debilitating our financial equilibrium, and setting-in-motion a downward spiral to the American way of life. That was the beginning of the Great Depression, a decade-long period of unemployment and poverty. That sounds exactly like, "Nah, I'm good."


Things were bad then, and things are bad now. It is crucial to remember Black Thursday is a symptom rather than a cause. The designs behind a meltdown would look more like an overall decline in demand, imbalances and weaknesses in the economy, faltering demand for housing, and reduced production in the automobile industry. Things got critically bad for a lot of people. The folks that had mortgages had a specific crisis from defaulting on their loans. The overall residential housing market was seeing rising loan-to-value ratios.


I think about what happened in those homes during those times. I think of the music that echoed in their walls. I think of the conversations these families took on when a song particularly moving hit them. Give yourself a gift. Here is a sampling of music from the 30s, it's a collection of your favorite 7 minutes of your day.

Top 20 Greatest Songs 1930-1939 (According to Dave's Music Database)

1. Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland (1939)

2. In the Mood - Glenn Miller (1939)

3. Minnie The Moocher - Cab Calloway (1931)

4. Silent Night - Bing Crosby (1935)

5. Night and Day - Cole Porter and Ginger Rogers (1932)

6. Begin the Beguine - Artie Shaw and his Orchestra (1938)

7. If I Didn't Care - The Ink Spots (1939)

8. Cheek to Cheek - Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers & Leo Reisman (1935)

9. As Time Goes By - Rudy Vallee (1931)

10. Tea for Two - Art Tatum (1939)

11. A-Tisket, A-Tasket - Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb (1938)

12. The Way You Look Tonight - Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers (1936)

13. Wabash Cannonball - Roy Acuff & the Smoky Mountain Boys (1938)

14. Stormy Weather - Ethel Waters (1933)

15. I Got Rhythm - Red Nichols & his Orchestra (1930)

16. Strange Fruit - Billie Holiday (1939)

17. God Bless America - Kate Smith (1939)

18. All the Things You Are - Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra (1939)

19. Pennies from Heaven - Bing Crosby with George Stoll (1936)

20. Mood Indigo - Duke Ellington (1930)

So, when life levies upon you years like the 1930s or 2020, I find it productive to focus your efforts and celebrate small wins. It is important to remember we're all in this together. It is important to remember we must do what is best for neighbors and friends. In many ways, doing what was best for neighbors and friends, America showcased how incredible the American will is when we focus. So, that British fella, Issac Newton had a couple of laws, the third one being: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This rule of reactions can be applied to economics. But, it can also be applied to the human spirit. Let start with economics.


Reaction one: Republican Herbert Hoover, with sharp libertarian sentiments, promoted "Rugged Individualism" during the challenging times, but also, was signing legitimately helpful government programs into law. One of those being the Federal Home Loan Bank Act of 1932 is one of the most potent examples of efficient government intervention during an economic crisis. Originally a system of 12 Federal Home Loan Banks, now 11. It is where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac emerged. This program has provided funding for residential mortgage loans for the better half of nine decades and kept the cost of homeownership within feasible levels. It was one of the main factors that led to the creation of Mortgage Back Securities, which in 2008 was the financial instrument that got us in a mess, causing the recession. At least it all comes full circle.


No good deed goes unpunished. Nevertheless, I really want to talk about good deeds. The human spirit. The collective virtue. Aiming at your highest good. That's what many friends and neighbors did one day in Cleveland, Ohio, for Sparengas Family.


Reaction two: An official representing a "home defense" organization named the Small Home and Land Owners' Federation showed up to advocate for the Sparengas family. The bank foreclosed on their house on July 18, 1933. So, the Cuyahoga County sheriff's deputies arrived at their home and evicted the Sparengas and their four children. That didn't go over so well with their community. That sparked passionate advocacy from their neighbors, and over 4,000 people showed up in protest of the eviction.


In the same sense, many friends and neighbors are showing up to support the music industry! Businesses and livelihoods dedicated to the economy produced by the industry have crippled under regulations required to keep everyone safe.


To be fair, most everyone I've encountered is not sour about the notion of keeping people safe. Simply put, it doesn't take an individual with an MBA to figure out if they can't operate their business, they cannot generate revenue, if they can't generate revenue, they can't pay for life's necessities.

Justin Weatherbee at Tidball's Sounds at Spirits September 29th, 2018.

They say you should look for the helpers. In 1933, it was the Small Home and Land Owners' Federation, and in 2020 it is the National Independent Venue Association. NIVA just formed, has nearly 2,000 charter members in all 50 states. I encourage you to learn more about their massive plea to the rest of America to help #SaveOurStages. The mission of NIVA is to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live music venues and promoters throughout the United States.


They're asking for help for the final push to Congress. It does not appear there will be another opportunity. So, it is essential to learn more about how to support #SaveOurStagesAct and #RestartAct right now. We need those passed in order to keep independent venues & promotors nationwide from closing permanently. Please help us #SaveOurStages now.


Time is short. How can you help?


Small Business Owners:

Sign the letter from Howard Schultz from Starbucks.

The deadline is Wednesday, August 12 at 5:30 PM EDT.

Here is the link: https://helpsmallbusinessesnow.com/


Everyone: We need you to e-mail your Congresspeople and Senators and ask them to please support and cosponsor the #SaveOurStagesAct and #RestartAct.

Check here to find the e-mail address of your Congresspeople and Senators if you do not have them.


Example Letter:

Dear XXXX,

The Live Event Industry has been at zero income since March 13th and will be until well into 2021. The complete lack of income has been and will continue to be destroying the people, the firms, and the industry. This was caused by the COVID 19 crisis and the ongoing forced shutdown of all venues and large gatherings. The original round of PPP was vital and appreciated but that was depleted long ago. It is imperative that Congress provide vital funding to assure that the entirety of the Live Event Industry survives. I kindly request that you support and cosponsor the #SaveOurStagesAct and #RestartAct. These actions must pass immediately as most individuals and firms are long since out of money. This cannot wait another 2 weeks. I would urge you to consider passing the #SaveOurStagesAct and #RestartAct legislation as a clean bill to save American small businesses. I wish to thank you in advance for your consideration and support for the Live Event Industry, and indeed all such affected small businesses.

Thank you for everything you have done for our country, it is greatly appreciated.


Sincerely,


Depression Facts and Figures:

  • From 1929 to 1933, wage income fell 42.5%.

  • The gross national product dropped from $103.8 billion to $55.7 billion.

  • Nearly half the commercial banks in the country failed and home building plummeted 80 percent.

  • In 1933, 25% of all workers and 37% of all non-farm workers were unemployed.

  • Approximately 273,000 families were evicted in 1932.

  • Milk cost 14 cents a quart, bread was 9 cents a loaf.

  • When the Depression started under President Herbert Hoover, his name became a popular part of the cynical everyday jargon, as in "Hoovervilles" a scoffing term related shantytowns for the homeless. Along with calling newspapers used for blankets, "Hoover blankets" and eating wild rabbits "Hoover Hogs"

Popular songs of the Depression often reflected despair and dreams, as in "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" "We're In the Money," "I've Gotta Right to Sing the Blues" and "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams and Dream Your Troubles Away."


Check out our Sounds of the Great Depression playlist to transform yourself back a few decades.



During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincon wrote a letter to offer solace to Lydia Parker Bixby, who lost her five sons in battle. The President said:

"I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom."

Military history is fascinating to me. Perhaps because it showcases heroes with feats of courage that are heralded throughout the echoes of our existence. Throughout history, good leadership provided credit and commendation when due respect and honor were warranted. Commonly, before the 1800s, in Europe, awards were generally only available to high-ranking officers that won their military campaigns, not the common soldiers and sailors that were fighting for their lives and sovereignty. General Washington, in keeping with the notion that in this new land people are created equal, went on to say the...


"road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is…open to all."


Therefore, 238 years ago today, General George Washingon, established the Badge of Military Merit which was created to recognize valorous and meritorious service in action during our Nation’s war for independence. The first to receive this distinction was Sergeant Elijah Churchill, a 26-year-old a member of the 4th Troop, Second Continental Dragoons. Churchill had enlisted in Enfield, Connecticut, and on Nov. 21, 1780, was part of the force that attacked Fort St. George on New York's Long Island.

America's Department of War then developed the Wound Chevron as a replacement insignia for the short-lived Army Wound Ribbon of 1917. This chevron was available all three branches of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps personnel who had been wounded in combat.

The Purple Heart is the oldest military distinction still given to U.S. military members. It is a military decoration awarded in the name of the President of the United States to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 5, 1917. Since that day in 1917, 1.8 million service members have been decorated with America's oldest military distinction.

The first experience I encountered knowing a Purple Heart recipient was my high school pal, Corporal Joshua McKay Moore. We graduated and he went to serve in active duty Army and I decided to focus my efforts to work in Youth Ministry. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany. On May 30th, 2007 Josh, along with Sergeant Bacilio E. Cuellar and Corporal James E. Lundin, died of wounds sustained when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

Today, Whiskey Soldier honors Josh Moore, and the near 2 million other United States Armed Forces service members that have gone above and beyond the call of service and sacrificed their lives, minds, and bodies to protect the citizens and interests of America.

The amazing bravery and heroism of these incredible Patriots are truly remarkable. Along with the men and women that braved the dangers of war and conflict, it is important to remember the Gold Star Families that carry the burden of our Freedoms with the memories of their loved and lost. These beloved Americans are the example of patriotic resolve as they continue to fight to ensure that their loved ones are remembered and honored.


If you would like to take a moment to reflect on the meaning of today, I encourage you to take a listen to a song performed and written by a friend of Whiskey Soldier, Purple Heart recipient, Sal Gonzalez.





FEAR


We have canceled all of our upcoming shows and events. With that said, please follow COVID-19 guidance from credible licensed medical professionals and scientists, particularly the CDC. We're not medical professionals; we're entertainment professionals.

This is a crucially important issue that is complicated at multiple levels of analysis. Unless you're a professional in the medical field, I beg you to please do everyone a favor and point them in the direction where the best and most reliable information is readily available.


I can speak to the societal proliferation of fear. I'm committed to combating this fear. My tone may come across a tad abrasive. That's intentional. Fear is the enemy of hope. I take enemies seriously. So, allow me to unsheath my sword of truth and attack fear:


All around us, people are incredibly concerned about the health and welfare of their loved ones, the economic impact on their livelihoods, the notion that it might be a while before we return to a semblance of business as usual. I know that you're confused. I know that you're hurting. Your concerns are valid, friends. People will, in fact, lose their jobs. People will, in fact, lose their businesses. People will, in fact, lose their lives. Unethical people will reveal themselves during this time of exposure. You already see it in the shithead brothers that hoarded 17,000+ bottles of hand sanitizer and in the folks that looted Nashville after the tornado. Let's call a spade a spade. The threat that we face doesn't have time for distractions and misinformation. We must be exact in our language. So many are experiencing a crippling level of anxiety and fear.


To add salt to the wounds, there are a host of point-blank irrational concerns.

I hate that I have to address this; some people are concerned about a nebulous, coercive government takeover -- conspiracy-level asinine propaganda.

Can we not? Just stop. This is seriously nonsensical rhetoric coming from fear. I'm intent on shutting it down. It is the least productive conversation. Why? As it turns out, your "government" isn't some godlike marionettist, and you, for damn sure, aren't a puppet. Drink a tall glass of Act-Right-Juice and get cozy with reality. You're an American citizen. As such, like it or not, you have an inherent responsibility. You are blessed beyond measure, by the constitution of this great republic, with personal and inalienable sovereignty to employ personal freedom. You're the boss in this society, homie. That's not frivolous, either. In no short order, it is up to you to wield this responsibility or to shun it. Don't act like you can't speak up with your concerns about how municipal, state and federal entities are conducting business. Many choose to simply stay quiet. Others are loud AF behind risk-free keyboards, tossing fairytale spins on government actions. These folks are dangerously peddling fiction and should be ashamed. It is within the realm of possibility that we go full mandatory lockdown because of this virus. If the government does, in fact, require full and total quarantine, these keyboard jockeys will lose their ever-loving minds.


Please, for the love of everything good and holy, do not freak out. They're not going to take your damn guns. Drastic decisions, such as a lockdown, are strictly a measure of prudence for the greater good of society. Some folks don't listen well, and when they don't, in these circumstances, people can be exposed to life-threating interactions. Public Health measures are not a personal infringement on your rights. They are actions to stop the spread of a global pandemic. Let's not be short-sighted, yeah? Let's be kind and neighborly, yeah?

No one wants to read pages of obituaries while mourning alone inside their house.

We must take safety measures IMMEDIATELY for them to work. Drastic, sweeping courses of action aren't your enemy.

There isn't an American alive who is going to take kindly to anyone stripping our freedoms. Relax knowing that your neighbors are in this with you, and (fun fact) your neighbors are the "government." Your neighbors are teachers; your neighbors are law enforcement; your neighbors are city council, magistrates and judge executives. Use common damn sense. How else can we expect this crisis to resolve? COVID-19 is the enemy. Please do not sacrifice common sense and the well-being of your fellow Americans on the altar of political or financial expediency, or just dumb defiance. Take every precaution to be as judicious and proactive as you can. Take a chill pill. If the governing bodies of our society deem it necessary to mandate a full stop in order for this outbreak to fizzle out, they’re maintaining control over the disaster, not you.


Again, they’re controlling the disaster, not you. Again, controlling the DISASTER, not YOU.


This state of affairs is uneasy and unsettling. There isn’t a single soul on this spinning rock that isn't adversely affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. So, we're in this together.


H O P E


Please, folks, address this issue with your eyes front and your shoulders squared. If we orient ourselves collectively toward solutions, we'll achieve positive outcomes. What does hope look like to you? I am a hoarder of hope. I love it. Big fan! I've gotten by in life because of it. Several really neat things can come from solving this crisis. True innovation and development come on the waves of chaos. Call me crazy, but we will see some interesting advancements come from this unique time. People caught off their rockers are forced to be creative. It is suggested that due to the bubonic plague that closed theaters in 1606, Shakespeare completed a lot of dramatic writing, churning out masterpieces such as King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra that same year. Can you imagine what songs we're going to get from this period of convalescence? I'm SO pumped for the inevitable incredible writing that this moment is inspiring. Again, when the Great Plague of London hit in 1665, Cambridge University had to close its doors for a moment. In turn, leaving this feller named Isaac Newton some time alone at home. Well, while he was board he ended up inventing calculus, parts of optic theory and was inspired his thoughts on gravity and the laws of motion. We have a unique opportunity as a society to push the pause button and evaluate things. There is a realness to rebirth in moments like these, let's embrace it. Let’s take get this time to focus on helping locally-owned small businesses and others who are impacted. Watch the mighty hearts that emerge. Recognize the beautiful blessing of additional time back in your home and with your family. Use it for good! Learn a new language, read a book, exercise, teach your kids a new skill, get in the kitchen with some fun recipes, start a garden, go hiking, challenge yourself, take time to focus on mental wellness, center yourself emotionally and spiritually.



We will see clearly who in our society is trustworthy, who can navigate the mantle of leadership in trying times. What do you want in a leader? Let's transcend policy for a second and focus on the moral and ethical charge of leadership. Leadership done right is a foundation of hope. My hope comes from the teachings of Jesus; he is stocked piled full of great leadership. Jesus operates with calmness amidst the chaos. He is "the great healer," able to navigate folks through moments of distress, ensuring that everyone feels at peace. In times like these, we must remember exactly what it is to be grateful and we must recognize the things we need to be let go. Social media can lock people up or upset them beyond reason. I've been there. I hope that during this time we see folks spreading the goodness like wildfire. The advancements of medicine will provide a means to combat the virus sooner than later. The many virtues of our society will emerge victorious as we do away with that which does not foster prosperity for our future.



Lastly, let's all give a shout out to the medical professionals on the front lines, the grocery clerks handling the store queues, the good folks that work in hospitality, the teachers and professors, the athletes and entertainers, the small business owners and everyone else. This has impacted everyone on earth, and will continue to do so; the extent of the impact depends on us. Seek reliable information, don't be a conspiracy turd, keep your distance, wash your dadgum hands, and love one another.

Good things and reads:

1
2
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle

©2020 Whiskey Soldier