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.

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! 


Tuesday
Aug232016

Interview with a 40 Year U.S. Navy Veteran (Podcast)

This podcast is an interview with Joe Prusacik, a veteran of the United States Navy who served for 40 years. During this interview we cover JFK, Joe's service during the Vietnam era, and how changes in military culture often relect those in society at large.

This podcast is also available on iTunes and Stitcher under "Billy Dees."

This photograph was taken August 23, 2016 at PerfectMediaProds Recording Studio 

Wednesday
Aug032016

"How to Write and Share Humor" by Donna Cavanagh

Donna Cavanagh has just published a new book, “How to Write and Share Humor.”  

Featured in this post is the book trailer for the release.  

For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, a book trailer is a video about a book that is often stylized as a movie coming attraction. We chose a fairly straightforward approach highlighting the content of the book. Donna has had associates and friends send her pictures of the book from various landmarks around the country as part of her #SummerOfHumor tour. We assembled some of the images into a book trailer that I voiced-over. 

You can follow Donna Cavanagh on Twitter @dtcav and purchase her new book on Amazon

The week of August 1, 2016 I was featured in an interview by Donna on her site HumorOutcasts.com.

You can check out the interview post here. The feedback and support that I have received from staff members and readers has been fantastic and much appreciated. 

Tuesday
Jun282016

Introduction to Podcasting 101

Friday
Mar182016

Podcast 3 18 2016 Competitive Cheerleading as a Sport

#Interview #Commentary #Sports

This podcast is an interview with Marissa, a former avid competitive chearleader and now a coach. In the show she discusses the sport and how competing in the world of cheerleading has affected her life. You can follow or tweet Marissa on Twitter @muhrisah_

Photograph taken March 18, 2016 at PerfectMediaProds Recording Studio

Saturday
Feb132016

“You Don’t Know What It Is Like Because It Has Never Happened to You.” - Are You Sure?

Editorial

How many times have people accused you of not being able to understand their situation because you have never experienced the same thing?

“You don’t know what it is like to be divorced because you are in a good marriage!”

It is true that not everyone is going to appreciate your personal trials and tribulations. However, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss someone who may be trying to relate to your plight in life because he or she has not experienced the same issue. Yes, shared experiences can certainly be helpful to attain a spirit of commonality with another person regarding many things in life. By the same token, I wouldn’t say that a common experience is a prerequisite to a mutual understanding or is even as significant as it may seem.

Presuming the person you are trying to communicate with is a compassionate human being who is genuinely trying to understand your experience, we have to consider two things. The first thing is the capacity of the human mind. Secondly, events happen in a particular time and space. Is there such a thing as a truly identical experience in the first place?

I have never been on the moon but I know it’s damn hard to breathe up there. I do not have to go there to understand that.

On a scale of much superior grandeur, Albert Einstein mentally envisioned a gravitational reality of our universe, which only now is being proven to be true by our best scientific instruments. Stephen Hawking can imagine what it is like in the far reaches of space around the area of a black hole with amazing mathematical accuracy. I would never underrate the power of the human mind to imagine anything.

We must also consider that just because other people have had the “same” type of occurrence happen to them as we have, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they experienced it in the same way. Therefore, there is no guarantee that someone with a supposed common experience as you will have a greater understanding of it than someone who hasn’t. As a matter of fact, they may have less empathy.

“I don’t know what your problem is? I went through the same thing last year and I got through it. Nobody had to help me.”

When people say something like that to you it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a stronger resolve than you. Along a more philosophical measure, what it may mean is that all of our experiences are more or less unique to us.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.” – Heraclitus

If this is true then it follows that no two people can step into the same river twice in exactly the same manner either. We all step into the changing river as different and changing people, in a different spot, and at a very specific instant in time.

Who we are at any given time, where we are at any given time, and the given moment in time itself; all converge in a manner that is totally unique. We can’t duplicate it, and no one else can either.

My take away from this is that although we may share some general similarities regarding our experiences, at our singular core all of our profound experiences in life are exclusive to us.

In this sense, no one has been through what we, as individuals, have been through. In the end, if we are going to relate events that have impacted our lives to other people, regardless of their personal familiarities, we have to rely on their ability to understand that special spot in the universe that pertains to our inimitable experience.

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”-Stephen Hawking

I believe that does make us, as human beings, very special. If we can contemplate our changing selves in a forever-fluctuating fabric of space and time, then I wouldn’t underestimate someone’s ability to fathom the circumstances and emotional impact of your divorce.

Be generous when communicating and let someone try to relate to your experiences.

Saturday
Jan302016

Why Space Matters to Our Society and Economy

"In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation." 

"There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all." 

"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."       

- John F. Kennedy September 12, 1962 

NASA ImageThe above quotes are from the famous speech that President Kennedy gave which set the goal of putting a man on the Moon during the 1960’s. The space program at that time had the backdrop of an early part of the cold war. Space interests in regard to national security and intelligence continue to be serious issues of today. If you review the entire Kennedy speech, you will find that the message is about investing in science and technology as much as it is about exploring space. Additionally, it speaks to a humanity that we all share. 

The resources allocated for NASA are a fraction of the overall budget for the United States and are often tragically limited because of incredibly wasteful general spending. Yet, so much has been brought forth by the investment in space technology for our society in so many ways. It is the one government program that has paid off. 

Here are just a few of the benefits that have been brought forth by the space program either directly or indirectly:

Semiconductor cubing, structural analysis, air quality monitors, virtual reality, aircraft controls, microcomputers (Hello to my friends on mobile devices with GPS!), design graphics, enriched baby food, water purification systems, scratch-resistant lenses, athletic shoes, shock-absorbing helmets, home security systems, smoke detectors, firefighting equipment, flat panel televisions, high-density batteries, trash compactors, food packaging and freeze-dried technology, microspheres, solar energy, weather forecasting, telemetry systems, laser angioplasty, human tissue stimulators, programmable pacemakers, arteriosclerosis detection, ultrasound scanners, automatic insulin pumps, portable x-ray devices, invisible braces, dental arch wire, palate surgery technology, clean room apparel, implantable heart aids, MRIs, bone analyzers, cataract surgery tools, magnetic liquids, advanced welding torches, gasoline vapor recovery, self-locking fasteners, machine tool software, laser wire strippers, lubricant coating processes, wireless communications, engine coatings, better brakes, weight saving technology, improved aircraft engines, advanced lubricants, energy storage systems, along with an array of other things.

Oh no! How could I have omitted golf ball aerodynamics? 

Advancements in space technology have enhanced our way of life, given birth to new products and industries for our economy, and improved the safety of the society in which we live.

NASA ImageIt is also of no small consideration for me that historically all of this progress has been under the umbrella of American leadership for the entire world. Although I am very glad that the world community has an interest in developing space technology, I do find it disconcerting that lately America seems perfectly content to go along for the ride. It is a common cliché reflecting the simplicity of any particular subject to say that, “It isn’t rocket science.” Well, as America’s math and science scores continue to lag behind large percentages of other populations pertaining to the world's largest economies, it seems as though we prefer things not to be rocket science. 

The United States can barely rouse a modicum of enthusiasm for serious space exploration. The space shuttle program is now gone leaving the U.S. to hitchhike rides aboard Russia’s spacecraft. NASA's ability to achieve new space-exploration milestones may very well be limping along because of the government’s disagreements about the agency's priorities. That is a shame because other countries, including China, seem to be picking up the ball. 

During a classic piece of news footage from the 1960s a reporter walked up to a woman in France and asked her how she felt about men walking on the Moon.  Her answer was, “I knew the Americans could do it.” What, exactly, does the world know about us now? What is synonymous with America?

At least there has been renewed American enthusiasm for a mission to Mars. I hope it continues!

I believe many of the social ills we have in our society and around the world are largely because of a lack of an education and an appreciation for the sciences. None of us are composed of a better set of elements than anyone else. We are all stardust and life is incredibly short. If we are lucky, among the billions that the Earth makes, only 80 or 90 some odd trips around the sun is all we get on our life's journey. 

The fragile biology of our bodies is supported by the same air, water, and nutrients that every living thing, which has ever existed on Earth, has thrived upon. Napoleon, Cleopatra, and even Tyrannosaurus Rex walked under the same sun and sky as we do. There haven’t been any new shipments of natural resources to the Earth. We rely heavily on the environment’s natural processes of decay and renewal, a system that we are rapidly beginning to outpace.

The more we know about our earthly home and how it relates to the incredible oneness that we all share, maybe the more likely it will be that we will make the world a harmonious place for all of us to share.

For my money, the scientific benefits for society as well as the economy, the insight into our existence, and the leadership by America of extending humanity’s reach into space, are entirely worth all of the investment into the space program.

NASA ImageExplorers have shaped and mapped our world. However, our world does not end at the top of our atmosphere. The planet on which we live is a product of a vast universe with endless possibilities. Our exploration into our existence is just beginning. 

 

 

“In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.” ― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

 

Sunday
Jan032016

The Ideological Divide in America

Any time that I engage in a conversation with someone who profoundly professes to be a conservative or a liberal, I know the odds of a meaningful discussion happening fall off greatly. I am referring to those who govern their notions and views with a firm and overriding ideology, not by general philosophical points of view. There are merits to an individual having consistent principles, however, being an ideologue is another matter.

As it is associated with social or political movements, an ideology can be described as a body of doctrines and philosophical bases pertaining to a group or individual. Generally speaking, liberals are likened to Democrats and conservatives are likened to Republicans. Philosophical debates have often worked well in American governance as points of view clash, but then get hammered out on specific points in a system of checks and balances provided by reasonable people from both sides.

Different politicians such as Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neal managed their philosophical gap with a public and sometimes personal affability that exemplified one of the last political eras that actually worked for better or worse. The right and the left are so polarized now that any middle ground of reason has become a vast post-apocalyptic wasteland that no one from either side dares to tread into.  

One may ask if these ideological debates are now moving past the confines of reason in any number of arenas. We hear so much about gridlock and partisanship in Washington but what about in our society? The basic structures of liberalism and conservatism are being contorted into deep-seated belief systems by an increasing number of people across the country.

These entrenched beliefs are becoming evident as the increasing ideological polarization of America is manifesting itself in the form of more groups of people who have radical political agendas. These extreme positions are becoming apparent in everyday conversations as well as in some of the profiles and threads in social media. In fact, this phenomenon is often exacerbated in social media because what should be an age of free-flowing information has become a time where people circle their wagons in cyber groups that have the same style of judgment and block all of those who dare to have a different opinion.

Have you ever checked out the comment section of any major news website? The dialogue there is on many occasions bizarre, ignorant, and often frightening.

I have often stated that I am not a political creature, and one of the reasons as to why that I am not is precisely because of the extreme ideological arguments in modern politics. I do not find any ideological debate intriguing any more than I find squabbling about religion satisfying. Confronting the perceptions of self-righteousness is always particularly frustrating.

I recently had a tweet session with a liberal woman who would not concede, not even hypothetically, that a Republican could ever suggest an idea that was worth deliberation. She had completely removed from the table the possibility that anyone’s position from the outside of her political dogma was worth consideration. There are plenty of these types of closed-minded individuals on both sides of the ideological gamut.

The synchronous orbit that these staunch liberal and hard conservative axioms have around American politics has virtually removed the possibility of a multi-dimensional analysis ever being given to an issue. It is just not a matter of a compromise, often a dirty word in some circles, being lost. There are those magical moments when during an exchange of opposing ideas a new and better concept is achieved. This type of an outcome is rarely attained given today’s political ambiance. Positions on issues are now predetermined via radical ideological templates before the actual constructs of any given matter have even a moment of objective scrutiny.

I am concerned that some of these acute ideological trends are transforming into pseudo religious or even cult like syndromes. Both sides of these ideological debates are thoroughly and equally convinced that they alone behold the absolute truth. Drastic ideological positions are morphing into altered states of desired reality.

It has been said that no country has ever went to war without God on their side. Correspondingly, is this delusion of moral and ethical superiority that so many ideologues undergo setting the stage for severe social strife in our society?  How many more ways can we divide each other?

One could make the argument that our system of government does apparently work in regard to the gridlock, the partisanship, and the lack of progress in Washington. We do have a representative government and it may follow that we, as a society and a country, are getting exactly the type of representation that we deserve.