Monday, May 09, 2022

A Million Inconveniences

Photo Source: Vox, Who has died from Covid-19 in the US? 2/16/21 

 by Doug McIntosh & Paul Hobbs

Around January of 2021, I was thinking of different blog ideas to write about when I came upon the idea to create a concept album of satirical song titles. I'm not a musician but I thought I'd create a concept album called, Songs That Piss People Off. I ended up writing 12 song titles and then it just sat in my Blogger draft box for months. 

At some point, I shared the titles with Paul as we have collaborated on several posts together here at Monday Monday Music, as well as creating several videos together of Paul's music for Youtube.

One of my original titles for this made-up concept album was 400,000 Inconveniences because at that time that was the round number of people in the United States who had died from Covid-19. 

As time went by, that number had moved past 500,000 and was well on its way to a million.

I'll let Paul pick it up here.
As the dreaded milestone of one million Covid deaths approached Doug suggested I write a song for which he would create a video to commemorate the horrific occasion.

I started by thinking how the country’s reaction personified the Trump presidency for me. He had reinvented American exceptionalism as American spoiled brat-ism, where we treated non Americans suspiciously and refused to do anything for the common good. No one can tell me what to do. I live in the land of the free. I’m free to think only of myself. The ultimate selfishness manifested itself in refusing to wear a mask to protect against the spread of Covid. I took some time to set up this pervasive attitude before settling into the Covid prevention resistance, which was really the essence of the blog in the first place.

Here's Paul's lyrics for the song, followed by his composition and recording that I made into a still photo Youtube video.

A Million Inconveniences

It very rarely rains but
You’re keeping your front lawn green
Some tyrant city councilman’s
talking bout recycling
You’re not one for following rules
They’re just for misinformed fools

You say, Don’t inconvenience me 
I live in the land of the free

My uncle fell and hit his head
Died waiting for a hospital bed
They’re filled with anti-vaccine casualties
Preventable tragedies
If you care about your fellow man
At least wear a mask and wash your hands

You say, Don’t inconvenience me
I live in the land of the free
I live in the land of the free

You’ll lose your job before you’ll ever get the shot
Or you can wear a mask and test twice a week
But no sir you will not
You think these events are coincidence
But we just hit one million inconveniences

Yeah we live in the land of the free
Land of the free

Now they’re clogging our main arteries
Shutting down commerce between countries
Some of our brilliant politicians say
We should do this in the USA

There’s a strain on our
hard to maintain hospital system
Emergency room nurses are overworked and it’s impossible to replace them
You tried to see your father before he died
But with no vaccine they wouldn’t let you inside

You said, Don’t inconvenience me
I live in the land of the free
Hey don't you inconvenience me
I live in the land of the free
Land of the free
I live in the of the free


The timing of this blog and song comes with the fact that around 300 people a day are still dying of Covid-19, and so let's just take a moment to pause and acknowledge that a 1,000,000 people in the U.S. have now died from this virus to date. 

Take care my friends.

Monday, May 02, 2022

Circling Back Around

photo source - flickr

We were ring-around-the-rosy children
They were circles around the sun
Never give up, never slow down
Never grow old, never, ever die young
–James Taylor

2020 was as they say, "A bad year." 

In 2014, I retired from being a teacher as I was with the same school district for thirty-five years. At the time, I couldn't believe that it had actually gone by so fast. My friend Mark Hunter says, "Life is a roll of toilet paper, it starts out slow but at some point that paper roll seems to quickly get smaller and smaller."

As a teacher in a large urban school district, I actually had quite a number of different jobs. My goals as I shifted from special education to general education never included being an administrator. I found that managing other adults was something to avoid and generally gravitated to work that was more project-based. I spend many years mastering the art of lateral movement in a large bureaucracy and discovered how to thrive in the world of grants, or what is often called, "soft money." As a resource teacher, I learned to live close to a money stream where I could personally make change and be a positive difference in students and other teachers lives.

So when I retired from my day job, I was looking to carry that semi-independent streak into being my own boss and start my own educational consulting business with a focus in K-12 learning spaces. I basically worked with vendors who sold furniture and technology to schools where we created new learning spaces from older, traditional learning spaces.

This all went along pretty well for a few years. Then in 2019, business really started slowing down for me, and then the pandemic hit in 2020 to completely finish it off. I folded my tent thinking, "I guess this is it, I'm never going to create a new learning space again." 

Sting sings, If You Love Somebody Set Them Free. I don't think I gave up, but that song kept playing in my head, and I resolved to thinking that if I just let the business go, to set it free, that maybe someday it or something else like it, would come back around to me.

After two years, I'm tanned and I'm rested. Bye-bye Covid, I'm ready to go see some rock 'n' roll.

Then I get a call from Dean Smith who is the CEO of his own small business called, D&D Integrated Solutions. Dean and I first met sometime in the 1990's when he was selling security locks for desktop computers. When I started as a consultant, Dean's business had expanded to technology integration and then expanded into being a K-12 furniture dealer as well.  As a consultant from 2015-2019, we did a half-dozen fun learning spaces together. But I had plans. I was always looking for something bigger, working with bigger vendors, doing bigger projects. Well you know...

So in March, Dean offers me a job in his business to be a Learning Environment Designer. He actually let me create my own title and as you can probably tell from that comment, I'm delighted to have it, not to mention the freedom to collaborate with his team and school districts, again. Thank you Dean!

This past week, I wrote the first in what I'm hoping will be many blogs for D&D. In an irony of all ironies with respect to my Monday Monday Music™ blog, I got paid to write a blog. How sweet is that!

If you're interested, here is the link to my D&D blog post titled, Learning Environments: Macro to Micro

I'm thinking, "2022 is a good year, so far... Stop it Doug, 2022 is already a good year!"

Here's a few songs swimming around my head that express my emotion with all this... I may add more as they come to me.

Enjoy my friends!