Welcome!
Billy Dees - Writer, Podcaster, & Media Enthusiast 

I am Billy Dees and I am thrilled that you stopped by my website!

This website is a collection of my editorials and blog posts. The site also features many of my podcasts and videos.

Social issues, politics, and pop culture are among the topics featured. I am not an ideologue. I try to objectively examine issues and hopefully present a unique perspective to the reader and listener. Thank You.

My most recent podcast, an episode list, and live podcasts will appear here:

Listen to "Billy Dees Podcast Show" on Spreaker.

Saturday
Mar042017

Is the Customer Always Right?

I do believe that customers are entitled to every effort and beyond to ensure that their investment in a given purchase is honored diligently by those selling the goods and services. There have been times when I have fallen on the sword at a loss to make sure that a customer who came to me in good faith was not disappointed. This is the right thing to do and at times is a cost of doing business overall. Customers must get what they paid for and it should come with a certain graciousness from the merchant. After all, customers are the reason our businesses exist.

Additionally, there are times when it is simply more practical to appease an unhappy camper than it is to spend too much time dealing with the situation.

However, there is an old adage in the consumer market place for the “buyer to beware,” and at the same time I would suggest that this applies to the seller as well.

The rules of the free market apply equally to both sides of the business counter. Yes, customers have the right to take their business elsewhere if you cannot satisfy their needs. At the same time, a private purveyor of goods and services is under no obligation to match unreasonable prices or agree to high demands as part of a sale.

There are customers masquerading under such seemingly innocuous terms such as “value seekers” and “deal getters” who more accurately are malcontents who will suck the blood right out of your business. They destroy the morale of your staff and steal your company’s resources from your otherwise loyal and repeat customers.

This may sound like sacrilege to the business-seminar loving, latte sipping, customer management gurus out there; but the truth is that some customers are just not worth having.

This is especially true for retailers who are often asked to match prices from various sources on the internet.

“I can get it for less on the internet but I’d really rather deal with someone local like you,” are not words coming from someone who is trying to do you a favor.

The translation of, “I’d rather deal with you…” is:

“I want to ask fifty million questions about the product to a trained sales staff, I want to demo the product in a brick and mortar store, and I want to be able to return the product to a reputable and known establishment if it doesn’t work. However, I still want the same cheap internet price.”

One way of heading off this type of situation is to decide what kind of business you intend to be.

I get criticized for saying this but I have often maintained that you can gear your company to be a price leader or to offer customized service and support; but you cannot do both. There may be a few exceptions for large companies that can split their brand identities and there are times when we have to be flexible, however, as a general rule I do not subscribe to the notion that all business is good business.

To be a price leader you need to move volume quickly and that is hard to do when you are also offering service and support. By the same token, if you are set up for customized service and support, price shoppers devour your time trying to negotiate deals over flaky projects that you should not want to be representative of your company’s services from the start.

When it comes right down to it business relationships are very similar to friendships or love interests. The best relationships are two-way streets. Do exceptionally right by your customers and expect fair compensation and respect in return. Stand up for who you are and don’t get bullied into serving some abstract ideal about pleasing customers if it ultimately comes at a loss for you.

Saturday
Mar042017

Have You Ever Noticed?

Have you ever noticed that the people screaming about their right to free speech never listen to anyone else?

Have you ever noticed that “Breaking News” now means, “We still do not know anything more than we did an hour ago?”

Have you ever noticed that “beware of the dog” signs are usually posted in front of houses that you know damn well do not have a Godforsaken thing in them worth taking? Walking through the house would be an exercise in avoiding big piles of crap; some of which might actually belong to the dog.

Have you ever noticed that in order to legitimize any pseudo medical disorder all you have to do is attach the word “syndrome” to it? If you experience a painful itch in your groin area after working out then you may have “sticky tickly genitalia syndrome.”

Have you ever noticed that if you are not completely sensitive to the latest “syndrome du jour” or “the latest hip affliction everybody now has” trending on social media you are labeled a hater?

Have you ever noticed the sultry women whispering with a breathy voice in the Viagra commercials probably have had more experience with men suffering from premature ejaculation than erectile dysfunction?

Have you ever noticed those commercials are just a bit too short to enjoy to the fullest? Oh sorry, wait a minute let’s move on…

Have you ever noticed that electric cars need plugged in to charge? Where does the electricity come from much of the time? Mmmm, burning coal and other fossil fuels maybe?

Have you ever noticed that emailing has become on par with texting? “I emailed you the PDF over an hour ago haven’t you read it yet?”

Have you ever noticed that some posts just aren’t much focused and not worth clicking on?

Please notice that I am sorry.

Tuesday
Jan172017

Winter Blues? Cold Isn’t Really Much of an Effervescent Thing

I start dreading winter on July 4th. So, if you are not a fan of winter I get it. If it helps you feel better remember that cold isn’t categorically much of a real thing.

Hot and cold are not really opposite and independent entities as they are often referred to in common speak.

When someone asks you how hot it is on a summer day and you answer “eighty degrees,” you are telling them how hot it is outside. When someone asks you how cold it is on a winter day and you answer “fifteen degrees,” you are still telling them how hot it is outside. The thermometer is gauging how much heat is in the air in both cases. The only difference is that fifteen degrees is not comfortably warm for people.

Heat is generated by some type of energy. Your furnace burns gas or some other type of fuel source to produce heat. By contrast, an air conditioner does not produce cold. An air conditioner removes the heat. A refrigerator also removes the heat albeit from a smaller space. Cold is simply an abstract term that we use to describe the absence of heat.

Temperature measurement is important in terms of determining heat because it is an objective quantifier.

I love a hot and humid 90 degree summer day and might describe it as a great day. Other people not so much.

Not only do human beings have different opinions about what is hot or cold but our own body temperature can interfere with our senses. Let’s suppose we have a room that is 50 degrees. Inside of the room is a smooth piece of metal and a folded blanket sitting on a table. If you touch the metal and then the blanket which one will be cooler? The answer is that they are both 50 degrees. However, the metal will feel cooler to your touch because it is a conductor of heat. The metal draws the heat out of your hand giving you the sensation of cold. The blanket, by contrast, is an insulator of heat giving you the sensation of added warmth.

If we could survive a state in which there simply was a total absence of heat beyond any practical measurement, you might say that we were nearing absolute zero. (Scientists attain temperatures close to absolute zero in laboratories, a point where matter exhibits “really cool” quantum effects.) Absolute zero is the lower limit of the thermodynamic temperature scale which equates to about −459.67 degrees Fahrenheit.

I would say that is really cold. No, I mean completely cold in the most out-and-out sense of the term.

I can guarantee you our winter will not be that bad. So, why not cheer up and try to generate some heat once in a while?

Monday
Jan022017

My Fan Experience with George Michael

Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries2016 was a bad year for losing some great musical artists. Prince, David Bowie, and Glenn Frey are among the many notables who past away and were also some of my personally favorite musicians.

One of the other deaths that hit me was George Michael. For me, he was more or less in his own category. Prince and Bowie also helped redefine the image of masculinity but Michael brought a special sensitivity that seemed to resonate with me more as I matured myself. 

I was very young and just getting out into the world of real responsibilities when “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” came out by the duo of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in the group “Wham.” The album “Make It Big” was released the latter part of 1984 and churned out hits through 1985. (Michael was the principle producer.)

George Michael and I were about the same age and “Wham” was all over the radio and TV that year. My 20-year-old self was getting the early stages of a sound business together while at Kent State. I was working with mostly rock bands and doing some of my first voice-overs and DJ work. When I mentioned “Wham” to some of my contemporaries the standard remark was, “You mean you listen to that little f*g?” I’m not sure that "term" was in reference necessarily to Michael’s sexuality (at that time little was known about it) but it was the standard pejorative used by many of my hard rock buddies toward all famous men who did not bite the head off of dead animals or brag about how many women they laid in one night.

My answer to that rude and awkward question was that I was interested in radio and I had to be aware of all types of music. By and large that was true, much of the music I was exposed to through working in the sound business would not be on my personal playlist at home. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” was part of a wider group of songs to me at that time, however, “Careless Whisper” was already on my radar as an indication that something more was coming from George Michael.

When Michael’s solo album “Faith” was released in ‘87 & ‘88 my days of minimizing my status as a George Michael fan were over. He was a couple of years older and so was I. I had matured to the point that I was no longer going to back away from the things that I liked or the people who inspired me.

“I Want Your Sex” exploded onto the dance charts. The controversial video actually spelled out the message “explore monogamy” on the bare skin of a model.

As the hits kept coming from “Faith” it became apparent that Michael was more than a typical pop star. 

This is especially true when you consider the pop scene today. I don’t want to sound like the typical older guy who says that they just don’t make them like they used to. Objectively, yes there are a lot of talented people out there today. However, true artisans in the wide venue of pop culture are rare. I would caution current recording artists not to rely too much on technology. One thing that dates a song is relying on the technology of the time to carry the tune. No pun intended. Great vocals and writing, by contrast, are timeless.

“Father Figure” is a good example of an awesome song. It could almost be described as a ballad mixing elements of pop and gospel with rhythm and blues sensuality. At this point George Michael became a crossover artist of enormous significance in numerous genres. Michael wrote and produced the song. It is one of the first major pop hits that I am aware of that deeply explores the complexity of an intimate relationship; in this case a suggestion of erotic exploration and role playing by consenting adults, done with sensitivity and affection. Michael’s soulful vocals just float over the mix.

Let’s just say that we don’t hear songs like that every day. 

I particularly like the part of the song that goes:

If you are the desert
I'll be the sea
If you ever hunger -
Hunger for me
Whatever you ask for
That's what I'll be. ..

So when you remember the ones who have lied
Who said that they cared
But then laughed as you cried
Beautiful darling
Don't think of me…

Because all I ever wanted…

George Michael’s active reign as one of the biggest stars in the world may not have lasted as long as some others, but he helped open the door to a new style of male pop star. In this way I feel that I matured with him. He made it cool to be sensitive and passionate. He also had a fervent respect for the process and discipline of creativity in one’s work. Now, after his death, stories are surfacing of his wonderful generosity. The stories come as no surprise to me because the human side of him was apparent in his work and in the various interviews that I followed about him over the years.

For being thirty years old the video stands the test of time fairly well. It has somewhat of a cinematic and story-type feel to it more so than a series of flashes and quick edits usually present in music videos. However, like most great songs the video in any case is almost a distraction from Michael’s lyrics, the soulful sound of his voice, and his emotion in the singing. I would recommend listening to the song on a fairly good set of speakers if possible.

Friday
Dec022016

Time to Mix it Up with Our Tyrant Comparisons 

Seems like everybody is another Hitler these days.In the rhetoric of today’s political world, it seems as though that we have no shortage of Hitler comparisons and contrasts.

As I have often maintained, as a prerequisite to being able to apply a Hitler connotation toward someone who you don’t like, you must first and at least be able to identify the Axis and the Allied powers during WWII.

The response all too often to this point is, “Axis who? Is that like the Axis Hollywood show?”

Yes, for many Americans their knowledge of tyranny throughout the history of civilization is limited to, “Hitler was bad.”

This is likely why we have such of a lack of creativity in regard to all of our “dictator gone astray” inferences. Shouldn’t we be more inspired?

So, please allow me to make a few suggestions for the sake of originality regarding our continuing totalitarian hyperbole.

“He has about as much tolerance for his opponents as Vlad the Impaler.”

“He has the same veneration for women’s rights as King Henry the VIII.”

“His tax plan is going to screw us up the ass like Caligula did.”

“He wants to run foreign policy like Genghis Khan.”

And maybe…

“He has the same culturally revolutionary philosophy as Mao Tse-tung.”

So come on, the Hitler thing is so passé!

Mix it up a bit and have some fun with the nostalgia of our favorite despots from times gone by.

…And remember, you are only as good as your last autocratic cliché.

Wednesday
Nov232016

President-Elect Donald Trump and Where We Are Now

When editorializing politics I always feel the need to post a little disclaimer about the fact that I am not a partisan. With that being said, I wasn’t going to be thrilled with the outcome of the election of 2016 no matter who won. 

Now that the election is mercifully over I do believe that it is time to move on. It's one thing to have your voice heard in a changing Washington. However, too many people continue to protest in a way that promotes unrest while others try to challenge the election process after the fact. These activities will not serve the country well. 

I’ve been snagged in a few social media threads by some of my Democratic friends. Frankly, they cannot concede that Hillary Clinton lost for any reasons other than Donald Trump is a bully and the people who voted for him did so because they are “uneducated.” Ideologically driven Democrats in particular cannot understand that these attitudes are exactly what contributed to the defeat of Hillary Clinton. 

Referring to people who do not support your candidate as “uneducated” is a strong pejorative. It will not win any influence with the voting base that you should be trying to win over. In fact, it will likely fire them up against you, which is exactly what happened. 

Concurrently, Democrats did nothing to invigorate their voters. I have been told over and over by Democrats that Trump did not really bring out Republican voters in large numbers; it’s just that former Obama voters did not show up for Clinton. They say that if Obama voters had come out for Clinton she would have easily won the popular vote and the Electoral College. Uh yeah, that is called losing. 

Democrats did nothing to invigorate their base. Bernie Sanders, the one guy who did capture the spirit of millions, was shown the door by the Democratic Party. Instead, they chose to ordain a candidate with the speaking skills of a medical examiner. 

The campaign of Hillary Clinton, along with Democrats and other liberals in the media as well as social media, only had one central message. Trump was bad. Trump was unfit to be President. Trump was a hater and love trumps hate. Those were the Democratic Party lines throughout the election. 

Trump accepted the role of antihero. For one, he understood the culture of reality TV and social media. We tuned in every week to find out who would get voted off the stage and if the scoundrel would hang in there for another week. Not to mention what in the world would he tweet next? 

Second, Trump flipped bad predictions about his performance with the oldest trick in the book; managing expectations. What was Trump during the primaries but a clown who would never get any votes? What was Trump after he was the nominee except the bombastic and detestable fool who could never win in the general election? 

This is similar to a common practice in business, which is to lower expectations when leading up to an acquisition. Then, after the deal is done any positive results seem spectacular.

This is what may be happening now as many liberals across the board are setting up Trump to be the worst president ever. For example, as Democrats set up expectations for the new administration that hit marks equivalent to Hitler, their party's favorite autocratic cliché, anything that Trump does short of genocide will likely make his approval numbers go up.

This doomsday strategy by Democrats could inadvertently create an environment where Trump could very well become a successful populist president with only minor changes and achievements in governmental policies. Trump might do nothing other than slap a different brand on the existing governmental package and if he does it better than those who came before the results might well be re-election.

Four years is an eternity in politics and I am not going to make any predictions. However, I want to throw this out there to stir you up. Even just an average presidency from Trump will dispel any fears about him. The millennial generation will be another four years older. 

Ivanka Trump is already secretly admired by millions of young professionals. The dress that she wore at the Republican Convention sold out nearly instantaneously. What Democratic woman currently has that much merchandising power? Ivanka is smart, well spoken, and attractive. 

Don’t discount the notion that Donald Trump might be paving the way for Madam President Ivanka Trump to be in the White House in the not too distant future.

In the meantime, Republicans have the White House and the Congress for the most part along with new governorships across the country. Now is their chance to get some good policies through and be inclusive to all members of society in the process. History is watching. 

Democrats need to have another theme during the next four years other than that Trump is the latest sign of the apocalypse. They also need a fresh candidate who is another version of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama in terms of crafting a positive and viable message that voters can clearly identify. 

It’s going to be interesting. 

Friday
Nov112016

Election 2016 is Over and It's Time to Move Forward

Editorial

For the record I was not a Trump supporter and disliked both of the candidates. I consider the following analysis to be as objective as possible considering it is in regard to a political state of affairs.  

The election is over. It is time to stop campaigning. 

There are two initial areas of concern as we move forward. The first is that the protests around the country are becoming dangerously disruptive. The second is the unwillingness by many to accept the results of this election. 

Both campaigns played the fear card about the opposing candidate, which only fueled the discord in our country. It was a horrible election with divisive candidates. 

Now, after one of the most contentious elections in history, there are legitimate concerns and frayed nerves throughout the country. People need to have their fears allayed. I do believe that the leaders of the federal government should be doing their best to reassure the members of the losing party and America at large. 

So far, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump have been doing this. In fact, Trump commented that he would be seeking the counsel of Obama. 

In the meantime I understand that disappointed voters need time to vent and legitimately protest to voice their concerns to an altered Washington. However, lighting fires and blocking streets is not venting or protesting within the law. Planning to disrupt an inauguration (as some have already suggested) serves no practical purpose other than to disrespect the historical moment for fellow citizens, a proposed action that largely but not exclusively comes from the millennial generation who sure enough demand respect for themselves and get angry when their feelings are not acknowledged. 

I would like to say “not my president” as much as I would like to say “not my hemorrhoids” but it just doesn’t work that way.  

This comes from the same people who read the riot act about respecting the sanctity of the American election process less than a week before the big vote when they were sure that their side would win in a rout. 

The Electoral College is the system for electing United States Presidents. Until we change the system that is the one we have. 

Many disenchanted voters are now trying to undermine the integrity of the election by pointing out that Hillary won a slight margin of the popular vote. Imagine what would have happened if Trump had won the popular vote and Hillary had won the Electoral College, and subsequently a disgruntled Trump would have then tweeted that Hillary was not a legitimate president. The outrage of Trump undermining the integrity of the process and fueling unrest and hatred would be saturating the government, social media, and the public. 

There are Pros and Cons to the Electoral College. The nuances of which are extremely cumbersome to navigate but in a possibly over simplistic opinion this is why many are reluctant to change it.  

Let us pretend the majority of the population is condensed into one geographical area. That area might have a climate, an economy, or a set of social mores that are not representative of the rest of the country. 

For example, a small portion of the population centralized in a hot and drought stricken region might have a different attitude toward climate change than a larger one located in a territory that is frozen through the winter. In another case, maybe a very populated area might have an economy that is dependent on fossil fuels and collectively have much less interest in voting for a candidate who champions renewable energy than smaller sections of the country with a different economic mix. I could go on here but you get the idea. 

The old adage about two wolves and a sheep voting about what is for dinner applies to the theory behind why the Electoral College was developed.  

Some may say that the system needs changed. That’s fine but until that happens in regard to future elections, Donald Trump won fairly within the system that we have.  

For those who wish to abolish the electoral voting method I would advise modifying the system within the proper legal constructs and not just because your candidate lost. Changing the system out of being a sore loser could backfire on you. There is no predicting how the political landscape may be configured in the future. 

It may very well be that the next time around your candidate could lose the popular vote but would have won the Electoral College because, let's say, the rural vote for your candidate was not as well represented in the wide vote of the populace.    

Be very careful for what you want when it comes to changing the system because you just might get it. 

At the present time, Trump has been handed a moment in history. The next few months will set the tone for a new era in American politics.  

For many millennials, a group whose nearly entire adult life has been encompassed by the Obama administration, this is the first time they have not gotten their political way. As it goes that is part of the democratic process. You win some and you lose some.  

Four years from now the political perspective could be completely different for the millennial generation, a phenomenon they have not yet had time to experience. Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barrack Obama were all elected with great reservations by much of the public at first. For instance, the equivalent of the millennial generation of the time cried that Ronald Reagan was going to launch a nuclear war against Russia and it would be the end of the world. All of these men ended up being two term presidents.  

Interestingly, Ronald Reagan became so popular that he was able to usher in a third term for his party, an achievement that eluded the likes of the revered war hero Dwight Eisenhower in addition to Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama. This is a rare achievement because after eight years the public wants change. Change was a successful focal point of the campaigns of Bill Clinton and Obama. This is another cycle the millennial generation has not experienced in total as adults.  

We can bloviate all day about what went wrong with this entire election. In my opinion Hillary Clinton’s political demise began with the primaries against Bernie Sanders. The Democrats fractured over his campaign instead of finding a way to include it. The Democratic base was not energized for Clinton. At the same time the Republicans did not take Trump or the unrest in their own constituency seriously until it was too late.   

You may not be happy with the results of this election and that is fine. I’m not thrilled either at the moment. 

On the other hand, we certainly cannot condone unlawful civil unrest. Nor can we undermine our system of government and our election process, the latter of which historically has been a shining example for the entire world.  

We also cannot tout the virtue of love trumping hate with the exception of the times that we do not get our way. Millions of hard working people who have paid taxes into our system for decades voted their conscience and won one for the first time in twelve years. They deserve better. 

We have periodic elections for a reason. If you are not happy your chance will come again. As a matter of fact the midterms are less than two years away. Mobilize now. If things go astray, be ready to vote.

Tuesday
Nov012016

Podcasts Reach a Busy and Active Audience

Originally the domain of disc-jockeys, music promoters, and internet geeks; podcasts have risen from the ashes of obscurity to become a key implement of mass media in the workshop of digital media and content marketing.

2015 was a great year for podcasts. An interview with a sitting U.S. President was done via a podcast and the medium had a reported 24% increase in regular listeners.

Investment in the medium is improving not only with increased funding but with traditional media outlets beginning podcast divisions. Simultaneously, content is evolving for the better both in terms of information and production value due to the talent base podcasting is attracting. Moreover, internet enabled automobiles will likely only serve to expand the base of podcast listeners where almost half of radio listening takes place.

Outside of what we normally consider to be media, podcasts are becoming a source of content in the form of audio information and are not necessarily just an internet radio medium. We do not expect online videos to emulate television shows and podcasts do not need to be stylized as internet radio programs. Investing, business planning, and life motivation are popular forms of burgeoning podcast format categories.

In fact, podcasts have an excellent potential of being forms of standing media content on business landing pages or promotional social media platforms. However, I would not suggest that a podcast is the final answer to anyone’s advertising needs. A podcast is simply another tool of digital content to grab the attention of potential clients.

Podcasts fulfill a unique role in both of the areas of media communication and business marketing because they do not require someone’s complete focus and attention. For example, audience members can listen to a podcast while they are exercising, traveling, or eating lunch. This is important because as the digital marketing world is inundated with content, audiences and consumers have less time to read all of the blog posts and watch all of the videos in their news stream.

We may also wish to consider that the way we interact with streaming devices for audio content and entertainment may change and grow in the near future. We have been asking our phones questions for a long time and the possible applications for this are endless. The Amazon Echo is an example of this new and interactive audio streaming technology.

Want to hear your favorite podcast? Just ask!