“Mommy, what’s a movie theater?” – WIF @ The (Failed) Movies

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Movies That Were

Box Office Duds

Despite what Disney and Marvel would have us believe, there’s no magic formula for making box office gold. Everyone who makes a movie fully expects it to succeed and do well, but sometimes that’s not in the cards. While there are some movies that are critically maligned and do poorly overall, when a high-budget movie fails miserably the losses can be staggering.

10. The Adventures of Pluto Nash – Lost $96 million

If you don’t recall Eddie Murphy’s The Adventures of Pluto Nash you’re in good company. The 2002 film cost over $100 million to make and it was a massive science fiction comedy extravaganza. Or at least that’s how they described it, since barely anyone actually went to see it. It grossed a paltry $7 million at the box office.

The movie is so bad that even its star Eddie Murphy claims trying to watch it causes him to weep openly. It’s one thing for critics to savage a movie, and Pluto Nash has a dismal 4% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s quite another when even the star admits that the whole movie was absolutely terrible.

Because movie budgets are a little tricky to wrap your head around, and they also factor in things like marketing costs on top of it as well as adjusting for inflation, at least one source claims that the total loss for Pluto Nash tops $130 million.

9. Stealth – lost $96 million

In 2005 anyone probably would have thought a movie in which Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx have to tangle with artificially intelligent killer fighter jets would have been a good idea, right? That’s a big yes and no.

The studio that financed the movie for $135 million definitely thought it was a good idea. Audiences who didn’t actually go see the movie did not.  With a healthy marketing budget that was really trying to push it, when it managed to pull in $77 million at the box office it wasn’t as small a loss as the budget makes it seem. All told, it’s estimated that the movie lost about $96 million.

Stealth sits at 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Roger Ebert called it a dumbed-down Top Gun. If you recall, no one ever claimed Top Gun was very smart in the first place.

8. 47 Ronin – Lost $98 million

The Keanu Reeves movie 47 Ronin is what is known in Japan as a Chushingura. It’s a fictionalized account of the real-life events surrounding 47 master-less samurai, known as ronin, who sought to avenge the death of their master.

The story has been made into a film no less than six times but never was the story as big and extravagant as when Keanu starred in it back in 2013. It had a staggering $175 million budget, the highest ever for a debut director. And in a very telling sign, the movie sat on the shelf for two years after it was produced. That’s never good.

47 Ronin lost an estimated $98 million and the blame has been put, in part, on Carl Rinsch and his first time directing chops. It only has 16% on Rotten Tomatoes and many critics accused it of being both boring and cliche.

7. Lone Ranger – Lost $190 million

There are a number of movies that have been called cursed over the years. Poltergeist was one such movie, famously said to be cursed from the first installment through to the third of the series. The Lone Ranger is another film which definitely deserves to be considered for that honor, assuming you believe in such things.

The production of The Lone Ranger was hampered by numerous problems. It suffered delays as well as massive budgetary issues. At one point the budget had reached almost $300 million, and Disney had to shut down production to retool everything. That resulted in some cuts to special effects and other parts of the budget until it was scaled back to a lean, mean $215 million.

There were accidents on set with the stunt people involved, and a crew member even drowned during the production. Disney was fined $60,000 for safety violations and some inclement weather destroyed sets and cost even more money on the budget.

When the film was finally released and the bad reviews rolled in, the result was Disney chalking the movie up to $190 million loss.

6. Mars Needs Moms – Lost $111 million

In 2011, Mars Needs Moms seemed like a sure thing. The legendary Robert Zemeckis, who was responsible for iconic movies like Forrest Gump and Back to the Future, produced the motion-capture animation. The film itself was based on a book by writer and cartoonist Berkeley Breathed. It almost seemed worth the $150 million budget.

When you factor in marketing it’s believed that Disney probably invested about $200 million in this movie. Which is why when, on its opening weekend, it only pulled in $6.9 million people started to get worried. The final gross of the film was about $39 million, which means lost anywhere from $111 million to $161 million, depending on which numbers you want to work with.

Rubbing salt in the wound, when it was released overseas it somehow made even less money: only $2.1 million throughout 14 countries. The question needs to be asked then, how did the movie that had so much talent behind it end up failing so miserably? The problem may have been in the execution.

Mars Needs Moms used motion capture technology, the kind of stuff we as audiences really took a shine to with characters like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, or the Na’vi from the movie Avatar. The problem was the way it was used in Mars Needs Moms was less cool, and what at least one person described as creepy.

5. Titan AE – Potentially Lost $120 Million on a $85 Million Budget

On paper, the animated film Titan AE looked bulletproof. Director Don Bluth, who created classics like The Secret of NIMHThe Land Before Time, and An American Tail was helming a sci-fi animated film featuring the voice talents of Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore, Bill Pullman and many other well known stars.

Behind the scenes, things were pretty ugly during the production of the movie. For starters, Don Bluth was not the original director. The film was already $30 million into the production before the original director was fired and Bluth was hired alongside Gary Goldman. According to Goldman, the initial $30 million was used to do some pre-production art and nothing else.

The movie blended traditional 2D animation with 3D animation, which didn’t seem to be a conscious choice from the get go. According to Goldman, they just abandoned the 2D idea halfway through production and finished it with 3D because that’s what was new and cool at the time.

The movie ended up losing somewhere between $70 million and $120 million on an $85 million budget. It also saw the head of Fox Studios fired by Rupert Murdoch, and the closing of their Phoenix Animation Studio, which had produced two major bombs including the earlier animated film Anastasia.

4. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas – Lost $125 million

Proving that there are no guarantees with animated movies no matter how much effort goes into them, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas bombed like a case of Molotov cocktails. The film was produced by DreamWorks Studios, and featured voice acting from Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Michelle Pfeiffer. That all sounds great in theory, but the reality was not.

For unknown reasons, Sinbad was turned into a Sicilian in this movie, completely ignoring the source material, which was just one of several issues. According to DreamWorks, the budget for Sinbad was $60 million. That number should be looked at with a bit of skepticism, as the former head of DreamWorks David Geffen said in an interview that the movie actually lost the studio $125 million. No amount of advertising budget can more than double the losses of a movie, so DreamWorks may have been playing a little fast and loose with their numbers, or their co-founder Geffen just had no idea what he was talking about.

The movie had extensive marketing tie-ins with Baskin-Robbins, Hasbro, M&Ms and more. When it debuted, it didn’t even out-gross Finding Nemo, which had already been in theaters for six weeks.

3. Cutthroat Island – Lost $147 million

It’s not often that a movie does so poorly it kills an entire genre of film, but that’s what Cutthroat Island seemed to do. The Renny Harlin directed movie, starring Geena Davis in a swashbuckling adventure, did so poorly Hollywood didn’t make another pirate movie for over a decade.

It can’t be overstated just how awful this movie’s whole legacy is. The budget for Cutthroat Island was $115 million back in 1995. Its box office take was $10 million. This was so bad, it actually made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the greatest financial loss in film history at the time. When you adjusted for inflation today, you’re looking at a loss of $147 million.

The IMDb facts page for the movie reads like a rogue’s gallery of bad ideas and terrible mistakes. One actor was fired for getting drunk and mooning Geena Davis. Star Matthew Modine explained that some of the budget went for the shipping of dozens and dozens of cases of V8 for the director to drink on set. They had to be shipped from the United States to Malta, and apparently an entire room of the vegetable juice was left at the end of filming. On top of that, three cameras were used to film every single shot which resulted in massive amounts of unused film at the end of production.

Harlin is said to have fired the chief camera operator from the set, which resulted in dozens of other crew members quitting in solidarity. The blame can’t solely be put on Harlin’s shoulders though, as he tried to quit production realizing just how bad the movie was going to be, as did Geena Davis. The studio refused to stop production.

2. Gemini Man – Lost $111 million

Betting on Will Smith is usually a smart choice when it comes to Hollywood. Many of his early films were massive blockbusters, like Independence Day and Men in Black. Everyone has a miss once in a while though, and Smith definitely missed the mark with his 2019 sci-fi flick Gemini Man.

Estimates place Gemini Man‘s losses at around $111 million. A number of factors seem to have come together to make the movie fail so badly. For starters, it was filmed at 120 frames per second for a 3D release. High frame-rate movies like that have a curious effect on audiences.

While it seems like higher frame rate and crisper detail should make a movie a more exciting and interesting experience for viewers, what happens is the movie becomes so real and clean looking it removes some of the magic and glamour we expect from movies. While it’s hard to define, the result is that audiences just don’t like the way it looks.

The other problem with the movie was that the story-line was pretty generic and not interesting. It wasn’t necessarily a bad movie, but being so run-of-the-mill and then having so many reviews dominated by the technological aspects of the high-frame-rate meant that no one was really trying hard to sell the movie.

1. Terminator: Dark Fate – Lost $120 million

The Terminator franchise is one of the most unusual in film history. The first one made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star, proved James Cameron as a blockbuster filmmaker, and started the ball rolling on one of cinema’s most famous characters. 10 years later when we got Terminator 2 it became one of those rare times when a sequel surpasses the original. And then things took a turn.

Rise of the MachinesSalvation, and Genisys were all fairly underwhelming at the box office and for critics. But then James Cameron returned to the franchise with Dark Fate and brought series star Linda Hamilton back as well. It felt like a recipe to take us right back to the legendary status of T2: Judgment Day. Or at least that’s what it seemed like at first.

Dark Fate opened at $29 million at the domestic box office. Respectable numbers for a low budget film, but not for something of this caliber. The budget for Dark Fate was estimated at somewhere around $185 million. In order to break even the movie needed to make about $450 million. That put the movie on track to lose a staggering $120 million overall.

Despite having the original director and cast back, and even being critically praised for being the best film in the franchise since Terminator 2, it seems that audiences had just had enough of Terminator after so many bad movies in a row.


“Mommy, what’s a movie theater?”

WIF @ The Movies

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Dangerous Jobs

Some jobs leap to mind as dangerous, including police officer, firefighter, or in current times, front-line healthcare worker. They certainly all present their dangers to those who practice such professions. But none of them qualified for this list, comprised from statistics collected from 2019 and 2018. Some of them are surprising, while others have long been considered dangerous, at least by those who do not work in the field. Photos of iron workers high above the Earth building the skyscrapers of New York during the Depression are frightening to those with a healthy respect for heights. Other photos exist of the same workers sitting nonchalantly on a girder dozens of stories high, eating their lunch, without a safety line to be seen.

Railroads were once among the most dangerous areas to work in the world, though improvements in equipment and safety regulations changed that in the mid-to-late 20th century. Likewise, most factory jobs are much safer than they once were, with some of the most dangerous jobs replaced by automation. Knowledge of workplace safety has improved and procedures to ensure safe working conditions have reduced the risk of death on the job due to accidents. But there are still dangers inherent in the workplace, and statistically some jobs are much more dangerous than others. Here are 10 dangerous jobs in the world:

10. Bull Riders

Bull riding is one of the most popular rodeo events, as well as the most dangerous. In the United States the job is often touted as “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.” The phrase comes from the requirement that the rider remain atop the bull, with only one hand gripping the rope tied behind the bull’s forelegs, for that period. If the free hand makes contact with the animal the rider receives no score, even if the ride lasted the full eight seconds (in the United States). Bull riding is popular in the US, Canada, Australia, across South America, in the Philippines and Japan, and in much of Western Europe.

Top bull riders make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, competing in sanctioned events around the world, but at significant risk of injury of various degrees of seriousness. Riders are killed every year, sometimes from being stomped, kicked, or gored, and even a successful ride can cause injuries to the brain through concussion. It is the most dangerous of all rodeo sports, and one of the most dangerous of all sports, though fatalities in the United States are less frequent than in other jurisdictions. Australia showed a steady increase in annual injuries in a study which covered six consecutive seasons during the last decade, even as the sport gained popularity.

9. Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers

Commercial aviation is one of the safest ways to travel, according to statistics measuring passenger injury and fatalities. The industry frequently boasts of its safety record, with good reason. After all, touting passenger comfort and the entire airport experience nowadays isn’t too convincing to prospective customers. Still, passengers, pilots and flight engineers on commercial carriers are among the safest within the aviation industry. But pilots of air taxis, small air shuttles, and private aviators, are among the most dangerous professions.

In statistics compiled by the US Bureau of Labor in 2019, pilots and flight engineers had a fatal injury rate while on the job which exceeded 10 times the rate for all workers (3.5 deaths per 100,000 workers). In all, 75 aircraft pilots or navigators were killed during the preceding year, making it one of the most dangerous jobs for those involved. Small plane accidents included stunt pilots and air show incidents which led to fatalities among participating pilots. The rate of fatal accidents among small aircraft is closer to that of traffic accidents than to commercial aviation.

8. Structural Iron and Steel Workers

The photos of iron and steel workers erecting the Empire State Building in New York, or the Golden Gate Bridge in California, are unnerving to those who have a fear of heights. Workers ran the lengths of beams, wearing coveralls, some in hard hats and some not, eschewing safety lines and nets. Workplace safety rules changed all that, and a considerable number of safety appliances and procedures came into use, but the profession remains a highly dangerous one across the world. In the United States it was the sixth most dangerous in 2018, with just over 25 deaths per 100,000.

The danger comes from collapses of partially completed construction (or deconstruction), electrical lines and cables, and swinging steel beams and other components. But it is height which presents the greatest danger, with most fatalities occurring as a result of falls. Other injuries include burns from hot metals, broken bones, and muscle injuries. During the construction of the Empire State Building in New York, five fatalities occurred among the over 3,400 workers involved in the project. In the 1970s, construction of the World Trade Center led to 60 deaths among the workers. New York’s One World Trade Center saw only two reported fatalities during construction, but dozens of accidents in which workers were permanently disabled.

7. Deep-sea Commercial Fishers

It’s probably unsurprising the leading cause of death among commercial fishers is drowning, but there are numerous other dangers lurking within the profession. At sea, without medical assistance or emergency care much beyond a medical kit, injuries are common and often poorly treated. Slips and falls, caused by the motion of the vessel, often lead to serious injury, including broken bones, crushed fingers, and sprains.

Tangled lines trip busy crewmen leading to falls, items swinging overhead make contact with human skulls, and there is the constant threat of cuts. Fishing may be a relaxing pastime for those anglers who enjoy it on summer weekends, but it is a dangerous means of employment on the open sea, as it always has been. The number of work-related fatalities among commercial fishers is well over ten times the rate for all professions.

6. Veterinarians

The dangers posed to veterinarians as they go about their work include, obviously, animal bites and mauling. While the vet who cares for the family cat and dog might seem to have a safe job, the fact is many veterinarians, especially those working in rural areas and those with zoos are in a dangerous profession. The danger isn’t solely from the animals under their care either, at least according to a study in Australia completed in 2018. There it was determined that veterinarians are often a threat to themselves.

The Australian study found the mental stress among veterinarians led to their being four times more likely to attempt or commit suicide. The sources of the mental stress are many and the relationship between depression and the euthanasia performed by vets was considered as being a contributing factor in the increased suicide rate. The Australian study determined that vets experienced negative emotions at work at a rate which exceeded the general population, and suffered from high anxiety, depression, and chronic levels of stress. They also suffered from a sense of being trapped within a profession by their training, which rendered them unable to consider career alternatives.

5. Roofers

The leading cause of on-the-job deaths among roofers is falling from roofs, which occur frequently enough to make it one of the world’s most dangerous professions. Falls from roofs are frequently used as a comedic device in films and television situation-comedies, but in the real world there is little funny about them. Other injuries to roofers depend on the type of roof under installation, removal, or maintenance. Tarred roofs present burn hazards, metal roofs can cause cuts, as well as contact burns in bright sun.

Injuries from the tools of the trade are common, including accidents with nail guns and other power tools. Items dropped from roofs can cause injuries to others working below them, and there is also the risk of injury carrying heavy objects up and down ladders, as well as the risk of falling from the ladders themselves. Roofers suffer fatal injuries at a rate which exceeds the average of all workers by more than a dozen times. Many of the injuries and deaths are attributed to poor communication and inadequate use of safety devices, such as hardhats and safety lines.

4. Oilfield Workers

Oilfield workers ashore, and on off-shore oil platforms around the world, operate in professions among the most dangerous in the world. In July, 1988, the oil platform Piper Alpha, operated by Occidental Petroleum Caledonia Ltd, suffered an explosion and fire in which 167 perished. Only 61 workers survived the disaster. In April 2010, an explosion on the offshore platform Deepwater Horizon led to 11 deaths, dozens of injuries, a fire which proved impossible to extinguish, and the largest oil spill at sea in history. Clearly working on off-shore oil platforms presents dangers to the workers.

Oil workers ashore face perils on the job from numerous sources, including the heights at which some work, heavy equipment and tools, and inadequate supervision of on-the-job training. They are also endangered from physical fatigue, leading to exhaustion. Motor vehicle accidents involving oilfield workers occur in disproportionately high numbers, with exhaustion from work and the need to drive great distances to and from worksites cited as contributory factors.

3. Underwater Welders

Welding underwater is a highly specialized task, and a relatively few workers perform the job, compared to other professions. Their services are required in the shipbuilding and repair industries; constructing and maintaining underwater pipelines, and conduits for communication cables. They also work in dams, spillways, and other underwater infrastructure. The nature of their work exposes them to the risk of injury from explosions, collapse of structures, and of course, drowning.

The profession, though a small one, is markedly dangerous. It is too small a profession in terms of numbers of workers for it to be tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the Centers for Disease Control reported the death rate for underwater welders exceeded the national average of deaths on the job by more than 40 times in the United States alone. Around the world the need for underwater welders grew since the Second World War, and they are in increasing demand in the 21st century, as more underwater resources are exploited.

2. Trash and Recycling Collectors

Workers who collect trash in the United States are part of a profession which is the fifth most dangerous in the country. Around the world the danger is even greater, in terms of the injuries and deaths sustained. Falling from collection trucks is one danger faced by trash collectors. Another, far more frequent, is being struck by other vehicles. They face danger from materials collected as well, including broken glass, sharp edges on some refuse, discarded toxic waste and materials, (such as hypodermic needles) and more.

The risks involved aren’t only in the collection phase of trash and waste disposal, which is pretty much the only part of the process viewed by the general public. Accidents with sorting and crushing machinery, at incinerators, and in landfills in which waste is moved using heavy equipment are common. The dangerous nature of the job is reflected by the high rate of deaths among trash collectors and handlers around the world. Incidentally, some waste collection workers in the United States make up to $100,000 per year, a figure certain to raise some eyebrows from those who take the job for granted.

1. Lumberjacks and Loggers

Since the days when axes and two-man saws provided the only means of felling trees, the act of doing so has been dangerous. Somewhat perversely, advanced technology increased the risks. Logging and forestry management through harvesting trees is the most dangerous job category in the world. In the United States in 2018, fatal accidents involving lumberjacks and loggers exceeded an average of 135 per 100,000 workers. As noted, across all jobs as listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average was 3.5 per 100,000.

One danger comes from being suspended from the tree being cut, taking it down in sections, with the worker exposed to the whipping of the tree as the upper section separates and falls. Accidents abound on the ground below, both from felling trees and from trimming them on the ground. Heavy machinery to move the great sticks offer further dangers to the personnel involved. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of the injuries (and deaths) involving lumberjacks and loggers are due to the misuse or inadequate maintenance of machinery, making the profession a more dangerous one through the insertion of human error.


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #323

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #323

…On one hand, A.O. wanted to give Maggie the world, yet when it comes to revenue streams, his compassionate heart would trump his family’s bottom-line needs…

A Lonely Path by Dan Crystalis

A Lonely Path by Dan Crystalis

A single solitary figure sits huddled against the back corner of a room; whose corners are all too near to one another. The pungent light of a dwindling candle wavers forth and back, barely illuminating the tattered pages of an obviously well read black book. Once surgically skilled hands, thumb painfully, yet knowingly to the Gospel of Saint Matthew Chapter 5 verse 4:

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted”, thus saith the Lord our God, by the way of Alpha Omega Campbell, good and faithful servant. He goes to his knees to pray for the health of his dearest Maggie Lou. She has not taken her husband’s arrest very well. No other than he, has she depended on for the last 37 years of her life. What will come of her if she loses him to prison?

Unfortunately, it is partially due to her cozy lifestyle that her husband is sitting on a cold steel bench. Over the years, many of which were prosperous, Maggie Lou Campbell had become accustomed to:

  • The house maidImage result for household servants
  • Chef
  • Chauffeur
  • Gardener
  • Tailor

And whatever else she wanted within reason.

For his part, Alpha Campbell had lost perspective, as it relates to finances. On one hand, he wanted to give Maggie the world, yet when it comes to revenue streams, his compassionate heart would trump his family’s bottom-line needs. Yes, that sweet potato pie is wonderful, but the Lewis State Bank would prefer cash.

Equally unfortunate is the fact that the folks with cash in hand are those who are most desperate. Those that have not… ‘Doc Campbell, please help my baby, he won’t stop crying and I have tried everythin’ I know.’ Or, ‘If you could get this bunion off my foot, I would be so grateful.’ And lastly (badly), ‘Our doctor Image result for dollar sign gifsent us here. He said you will keep our affairs private. My baby girl is too young to have her own baby… what will people say.’ These have the dough.

  Two hundred dollars ($200) in the 1950’s is a goodly amount of money, just as the three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) is more than substantive for a private hospital. $10 soothes a colicky baby, $65 dollars pays for the surgical removal of that painful bunion, but 200 big ones will get you an abortion.

Before modern day pictures (sonograms) of a moving, womb-bound neonates, who may dissuade the mother from aborting, instead, no baby — problem solved. Maybe now Auntie Margaret will stop asking about that recent weight gain.

Perhaps most debilitating for the Campbells, is the fact that the white folks of Tallahassee are not permitted to be treated at Laura Bell Memorial Hospital; no white floor or wing for fair skinned Floridians, even if they wanted to be treated there.

          Stop and reflect upon the last paragraph.

braceT LFT

Black Tallahassee is minimally educated, mostly poor, but white Tallahassee is a university town, capitol to the state and very much in need of affordable healthcare.

Whites are remarkably discouraged from stepping foot into LBMH. City fathers have even diminished it by calling it ‘Campbell Clinic’, a.k.a. not worthy.


Alpha Omega M.D.

atari-pitfall-001

Episode #323


page 303

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #296

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #296

…The Negro community in Florida will look back at what A.O. Campbell has done with great pride, and the promise that success is there for all who are willing to work hard…

LBMH

New Jersey was memorable for A.O. Campbell, after making the longest house call in his career. He delivered a healthy baby girl for his daughter Angela and it was nice seeing Camille Diaz again. She was so happy to be a grandmother, a tailor-made fit for a loving woman. It makes him wonder what it would have been like if she had been a part of his life. One thing for sure, she would make do with a lot less than Maggie Lou.

   He returns to Florida with a dark cloud overhead. His hospital has turned into a money pit and he has lost perhaps his greatest asset, his lawyer and friend, James Ferrell. His wife, Abbey and sister Agnes were with James to the end, trying to get him to pull through, but the antibiotics were no match for lungs filled with mucous. He used some of his last conscious moments to write a note to A.O. Campbell.Image result for watching you

Scribbled on a scrap of hospital paper, the one line read:

Be careful, Alpha. I think they are watching you. Call R. Worth Moore, he knows.

Shortly after that, the Ferrell legacy fell into the lap of the Ferrell women. Neither James nor Cyril Odz were able to produce a child and the Ferrell grocery chain, the pride of father John, was bought out by Food Fair a more national company. Why is it that a good longtime family like the Ferrells dies on the vine and the stinkers like the Lewis and Wilson clans reproduce like vermin?

The Campbells are hanging in there, but again without a male heir. With A.O. into his sixties, his empire an extension of John Ferrell – via Maggie Lou, there is a perceivable end to a historic dynasty. The Negro community in Florida will look back at what A.O. Campbell has done with great pride, and the promise that success is there for all who are willing to work hard.

LBMH-001 Success does come with a price tag. That and .75 cents gets you a ride on the bus to Panama City. That and $252.50 gets you a mortgage on a hospital. Unless he lives to be 88 years old, he probably will not see that debt retired. The plan was to pay it off in ten years, but that was contingent on other doctors, black or otherwise, working out of it.

And that did not happen. So on January 23rd of 1951, at the age of 62, when some lucky Americans retire with a pension, Mr. J.L. Lewis recommends Doctor A.O. Campbell for active staff appointment at A&M Hospital. His family simply needed the money. Vacant lots and run down houses do not pay the bills. Even the lots on Campbell Lake go unsold. Real estate taxes are gobbling up rental revenue.

Communist witch-hunts, yet another foreign war, blatant racism and back-stabbing friends, can be summed up with one word: inhospitable.


Alpha Omega M.D.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR

Episode #296


page 278 (end ch. 16)

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #283

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 Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #283

Chapter Sixteen

INHOSPITABLE

…What George Washington Carver had done for southern agriculture, so do these men push the boundaries of blacks in medicine…

Dr. George Washington Carver by William H. Johnson

Dr. George Washington Carver by William H. Johnson

“This quite a buildin’, you have here, A.O.” Doctor Henry Palmer has known Campbell for about 25 years, going all the way back to the days when Florida A&M had a small stable of promising young black doctors. It was a groundbreaking time, one where for perhaps the first time, blacks are encouraged to expand into uncharted territories.

Henry, A.O., Clifton Moor, J. Kenty Johnson and several others help put Tallahassee Florida on the medical map with their work at the beginning of the influenza outbreak in 1918. It is an impressive My Project 18-001target for other disadvantaged youths to shoot at. What George Washington Carver had done for southern agriculture, so do these men push the boundaries of blacks in medicine.

A.O. Campbell is hoping to make Laura Bell Memorial Hospital into a regional medical center for minorities.

They really did want to help their friend and colleague. They would not have shown up for this tour if they had anything other than honest intentions. But there is the matter of research grants. Most of these men have progressed past the point of family practice, not that they think there is anything wrong with hands-on doctoring.

My Project 19-001And then again there is the matter of the research grants and we are not talking small change here. LBMH does not have a ten million-dollar laboratory. It is shiny and functional, but that will not help in finding the cure for hepatitis or cancer.

And then there is the matter of the people who provide the research grants. Most of them are of the opinion that it is more rewarding to save thousands of lives at a time, rather than three or four appointments in an hour.

Deep down, they really did believe in Alpha Campbell’s vision of treating people, regardless of race, age, or finances.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #283


page 266

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #275

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #275

…with the war over, there is babies being made left and right… and up, down and sideways…

post-war_Baby-Boom_577

Just then, two cars pull up to 224 Virginia Street. Ten professional looking men jump out of the eight doors, enthusiastically. They are anxious to see just what their colleague has been doing with his spare time.–

          –At the same time that the ten black staff physicians, some on, some off duty, check out another venue in which to uphold their oath of healing, there is a spur-of-the-moment meeting of the Florida A & M Hospital board of directors, called by the advisory board chairman, J. Leonard Lewis, who happens to be a backdoor relative of banker Lewis. That in itself inserts a stench into the coming proceedings.

“What are we going to do about Campbell’s hospital?” He opens with a very pointed question.

“What do you mean by that, J.L.,” asks Vernon L. Perry, taken aback by the tone.

V.L. –  J.L. –  A.O. –  A&M  –  L.B.M.H. – Abbreviation City.

“Here we are, understaffed as it is and a third of our doctors are AWOL, being courted by that Baby Boomrenegade Campbell!” He cannot hide his bitterness. “Look, V.L., with the war over, there is babies being made left and right… and up, down and sideways. We can’t afford to lose any one of them. Unlike Tallahassee Memorial, we are a predominantly black facility.”

Perry is just as aware of the influx of births as Lewis, but he is a friend of A.O. Campbell and he knows there is no intended competition. Rather, what is being lost in this shuffle of egos is that most of the babies Campbell will deliver would have been probably turned away at the university or delivered in a non sterile environment by a midwife.

“You don’t actually believe that he will cut into our revenue, do you?”

“He won’t charge as much as us. Don’t you think people over there in Frenchtown will find out?”

“I don’t see how doing mostly what we would consider charity work, is going to be a threat,” adds a new voice in the discussion. Mrs. John Phipps, widow of a prominent Tallahassean, turned philanthropist, discerns no menace from the diminutive doctor from Virginia Street. “He gave up a good job to pursue his dream.”

“He shouldn’t impose his dream on the other doctors.”

“You don’t get it, do you? We are not going to lose any of our staff to Campbell,” states Perry. “Anything they do is on their own time.”

blacklist

“There is one thing you don’t get, V.L. Does the name, Charles Wilson ring a bell?” The room falls silent. They are well aware that a high percentage of their operating expenses are funded by Wilson’s charitable foundation and his certain friends of a like mind. You can guess who is in control and what nefarious agendas the whole of them undertake.

“Hello?” Lewis prods.

The dissenting majority has a feeling that their poker hand has just been trumped. Wilson is a wild card none of them can top.

“I think my point has been made, folks. Our policy toward working outside Florida A & M Hospital is about to be enforced.”

… Or made up…

Letter B.Letter S.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #275


page 256

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #261

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #261

…I can hardly do business in Tallahassee without dealing with the Wilsons, they own a lot of property you know…

Meanwhile Caption-001“Did you make sure that the Leon County Clerk misplaced the tax records on that land in Sherwood Park?” asks Charles Wilson of Franklin McLoud, the now husband to Laura Campbell. It should be noted that she did sleep with him, as a means to marriage, but she did not have to. She has given him access to the Campbell real estate, the 8 score parcels of them. He is using his agency to “take care” of all that property for the family.

“The one on Ridge Road?” What did you want with that land? It’s pretty low, floods easy.” McLoud tries Land Grabbers-001to discourage his consort in white collar crime, albeit lame in intensity.

  “That is perfect land to build a golf course on, Frankie. Golf is going boom after the war.”

          “Don’t call me Frankie and you have to be the only person who is already looking past the war.”

“O.K., Franklin. Looky, here, old Jack Gaither will pay for half the construction cost if we name the course after him. Just make sure that nigger doctor-in-law of yours doesn’t find out about this until after it’s built.”

  “Fine, but we best be careful about how we meet.” Guilt is written all over his heart.

The door to Franklin McLoud’s swings open without warning. “Franklin McLoud, you promised to… oh, excuse me.”

“That’s okay, dear. Mr. Wilson was just leaving,” he lies. “For the last time, I won’t that deal for you. I don’t care how much commission you offer.”

“Have it your way. Good day, Mrs. McLoud.” Wilson leaves the room with a wry smile on his thieving face.

Double dealing“What is that man doing at your office? The Wilson’s have no use for our family, you know that.”

I can hardly do business in Tallahassee without dealing with them. They own a lot of property, you know?”

“But it’s Christmas Eve, Franklin; everyone’s at the house, Alpha and Vaughn, Zillah and Bill, they are asking for you.”

  “Let’s go then.”

  She will leave out the part about whom she saw with her husband.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Real Estate Shark

Real Estate Shark

Episode #261


page 243

 

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #224

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #224

…Banker Lewis is giving special attention to one of his best customers, though he has secretly admired Maggie Ferrell-Campbell for more than her assets, if you catch the drift…

Meanwhile Caption-001“What brings you to the bank this fine day, Mrs. Campbell,” asks George Lewis, whose bank is used by most Tallahasseeans, and happens to administer the trust that John Ferrell had established for Maggie Lou. He has up close knowledge of what the young woman will take charge of in about two months 5 days and 7 hours; 61 parcels of land totaling 110 acres, some of which is coveted by various people with mixed motives.

“I would like to put this into a safe or something, don’t want anybody stealin’ it.” She pulls out a necklace out of an envelope, jewelry that is best stored away from the house… whose mortgage is held here as well.

Lewis checks his watch, five o’clock having come and gone. “Let me lock the doors and we will get you a safe deposit box.” He is giving special attention to one of his best customers, though he has secretly admired Maggie Ferrell-Campbell for more than her assets, if you catch the drift. “Right this way.”

    The safe deposit boxes occupy the back corner of the building’s second floor. They pass Lewis’ personal office on the way, he ducks in, turning on the light as they go by, grabbing a key off the wall. Number 3760, yes, just about chest high.” He does the honors, handing the rectangular metal container to Maggie.

“This can hold a lot.” She is impressed by this method of storage.

“There is only one key to this box, so take good care of it.” He not only gives her the key, he takes her hand, placing it there with both of his, lingering well beyond what is necessary for the transfer. She does nothing to end the clinch. “Let’s go to my office. We need to fill out a rental agreement.”

They are alone in the bank, but George Lewis pulls down the shade on the office door anyway. “Here we are. Maggie Lou Campbell agrees to rent box number 169 for a minimum of twelve months for a fee of ten dollars to be paid in advance.”

 Maggie instinctively reaches for her purse for the agreed on fee. George stops her. “Please, no. I would like to furnish this box as a token of appreciation for your continued good patronage.” His body language implies that the ten dollars is waived for a completely different something. He ushers her to his leather couch, where again, she mysteriously offers no blatant resistance.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Happy Banker

The Happy Banker by George Condo

Episode #224


page 209

Tape, Teflon, Velcro, Virility and Mastercard – WIF Simple

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Simple Technologies

That Changed

the World

There are numerous examples of breakthroughs that humans have used or discovered in their existence that have catapulted us to the top of the food chain. The wheel, the steam engine, the printing press, etc. These advances are known to most people, and we realize that without those things existing, we’re still in the dark ages.

But there are also lots of little blips on the timeline throughout human history of simpler things between the lines. These technologies may not have the same lustre as the heavy hitters, but if you tried to imagine your daily life without these things being developed and perfected, you would quickly see that they’re every bit as important. Here are some simple technologies that changed the world in profound ways.

10. Duct Tape

That sticky grey tape that seems to hold most of the world together these days draws its history back to the Second World War. The military used the tape to keep their ammunition boxes sealed, but quickly found that there were tons of other uses for it. What began as medical tape was found to have incredibly adhesive qualities as well as inherent waterproofing, which led to soldiers calling it “duck tape,” referring to a duck’s wicking feathers.

Once the war ended, soldiers returned home and began buying houses en masse. They also took lots of jobs with construction companies, and told their bosses about this incredibly sticky tape they used during the war. The tape was used for all sorts of HVAC applications, but mostly for holding ductwork together. So “duck tape” became “duct tape,” but in 1998, a test of common HVAC sealing materials was conducted. Duct tape came in dead last. Quack.

9. Teflon Pans

When scientists in the 1930s developed a new kind of polymer that was superbly heat resistant and uber-slippery. They used it in war, because that’s just what was going on at the time. But it took until the ‘60s when they decided that it would be great for keeping food from sticking to pans.

And it wasn’t just pans–the non-stick coating known as Teflon changed the home kitchen for good by also being applied to muffin and cake tins as well as cookie sheets. Clean up was a breeze. The coating could handle high heat. The only thing they were kind of bad at was not killing people. The workers that produced Teflon were basically poisoned by the material, and that sickness was passed on to lord knows how many consumers. One of the components in Teflon that was responsible wasn’t banned until 2014.

8. Smoke Detectors

Think of all the things you probably take for granted in our homes in the present day, and smoke detectors are likely near the top of the list. Those little gadgets have saved countless lives, yet you hardly notice them until their batteries run low. They’ve become standard and required in homes these days, so it’s hard to imagine a time when they weren’t around. And they happened by accident.

In the 1930s, a scientist in Switzerland was trying to make a device that detected poison gas in the air. While it failed to pick up the presence of the tested poison, when he lit a cigarette, the smoke did trip the alarm. It took until the late 1960s before they found their way into homes, and have now cut fire-related deaths by half.

7. Viagra

A little blue pill that’s only been around for twenty years shouldn’t have such an impact on the world that it’s had, especially since it’s not cured any major disease, instead letting men experience the wonder of full erections. But Viagra has basically changed sex around the world.

In 1991, testing began on what would become Viagra, but it was developed with the intention of lowering blood pressure. But during the studies, there was a certain side effect that the men involved could not ignore. The development of the drug headed in the direction of restoring sexual health to men, and within ten years, 200,000 prescriptions a week were being filled. It changed the way men confronted diminishing sex drives. It also helped unknown diseases related to erectile dysfunction become treated when men came to the doctor seeking Viagra.

6. Credit Cards

A fixture of every wallet known to man, the credit card is simultaneously boosting the economy and bankrupting countless people with no financial acumen. The concept of “pay us later, we’re sure you’re good for it,” and then tacking on insane interest amounts is a fairly new concept. At least in card form. But they’re ubiquitous now, with around 18 billion in use.

In 1949, businessman Frank McNamarawas at a restaurant and realized he had forgotten his wallet. This made him envision a kind of card that could be used at multiple businesses. He started Diners Club the next year, and within the next decade, more and more banks started making their own credit cards. Fast forward to present day, and Americans alone possess over a trillion dollars in credit card debt. So in less than a hundred years, we’ve done some damage, haven’t we?

5. UPC Codes

You’ve seen that little box of black lines on the side of every product you buy, even more so when you’re struggling to find them in the self-checkout line. The UPC code (Bar Code) gets scanned, the price shows up, and it’s a pretty expedient process. But how did that get to become the norm?

In 1948, Joseph Woodland (who had actually worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first nuclear bomb) was responding to a query from a local store owner about how to speed up the process of buying products in his store. Woodland thought about Morse Code and its simple way of giving lots of information with dots and lines, so he made that his inspiration. His innovation could describe an item and its price all at once, instead of the snail’s pace of non-automated operations that most stores suffered through. The only thing that held back progress was the lack of computers readily available to read the code, so it took until 1974 when the technology began to roll out to stores nationwide.

4. Barbed Wire

Two problems faced the American West as it grew and expanded: cattle were getting loose and trampling precious crops, and there wasn’t enough wood in those regions to build fences. The Homestead Act of 1862 made it so many people could get vast tracts of land for next to nothing, so it was important that they be able to work that land and have secure properties.

Enter Joseph Glidden of Illinois, who patented barbed wire in 1874. It wasn’t without its growing pains, as the wire trapped dumb cows by the thousands, and cowboys hated their herds being restricted by the artificial borders. And those very borders that marked a person’s property also screwed over Native Americans, as these practices left them with even fewer claims to their ancestral lands. The Homestead Act required that a person build a home and work the land for five years before it would become theirs to own. The barbed wire was a metaphorical and physical realization that their way of life was over.

3. Velcro

Zippers were still very much the rage in 1941, when Swiss engineer George de Mestral came upon an idea while walking his dog in the woods one day. He noticed how his clothing and his dog were covered in sticky burrs, the pointy little things that always prick your fingers are you’re removing them. Under a microscope, he saw how the curved hooks of the burrs met with his clothing in an almost perfect marriage. Zippers were no longer the only game in town.

Zippers tended to jam all the time. Velcro, as it would come to be in 1955 (from the French words “velour” and “crochet”) didn’t have that problem. Though originally implemented in clothing, it’s now used in everything from sporting equipment to NASA craft. And whoever began using it in little kids’ clothing should eventually get their own medal.

2. Daylight saving time

Ok, so maybe not exactly a technology, but the advent of daylight saving (it’s not “savings”, by the way) time has changed a lot about our modern world. First started in Germany in 1916 as a way to enjoy the sunshine and to conserve electricity, it began to catch on in other countries around the world soon after.

In the United States, it was started in 1918 as a wartime practice. It was repealed the next year after farmers protested; the next few decades saw back and forth fighting and different start times for daylight saving across the country. Finally in 1966, the Uniform Time Act made time, uh, uniform across the country. The central concept, energy conservation, doesn’t really seem to be a benefit though. The stuff that uses the most electricity in our homes are things that get used the more we are home, if that makes sense. It seems that the money that gets boosted into the economy by people enjoying more leisure “daytime” in the evening is enough to keep the practice in use.

1. Transistors

Think of the devices that power your everyday life: smartphones, computers, tablets, etc. They all have one thing in common at their very core, and that’s the very simple transistor. The development of the transistor signaled the developmental shift from hardware to software, and it’s why technology has surged light years ahead since its inception.

A transistor is merely a type of semiconductor that either amplifies signals or switches them. Invented in 1947, it was a device far ahead of its time, and as computing devices grew and became more efficient, so too did the transistor. Computers got smaller and became household items, while transistors shrunk down to the size of a few nanometers. Those tiny transistors are one of the only unchanged (aside from size) building blocks of the entire digital age.


Tape, Teflon, Velcro, Virility and Mastercard –

WIF Simple

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #182

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #182

…“This town deserves better! Old Blount is still fuming over swallowing his pride about the circumstances surrounding the death of his Charlie, “The Man Who Would Be King”...

P-E J is on the job, endeavoring to avoid detection. So for the rest of November, Harv has does his best imitation of a millwright, looking like he knows what he is doing with a heavy wooden tray of tools, weighing 60 pounds. Fortunately no major breakdowns occur on his watch, the machines likely fearing for their gears, so as a result, the most notable outcome of this month is a right arm two inches longer from carrying the tools. Today he is tired and hungry, but it is a day with yet another case of injustice.

“I heard one of the men telling another that the bank would not let him withdraw his savings,” Harv tells his Judith, who is tending a steaming pot of soup, the contents of which are literally indescribable. “He has a relative, somewhere near Jacksonville, who has lined up a better job for him and he needs the money to put a down payment on a house. I guess he signed some sort of contract with the bank stating he must give two months notice before withdrawing more than one-half the balance.”

“Two months? I wonder if the Banking Commission knows about that practice.” She shakes her head, causing some strands of hair to fall on her face. Greasy hands preclude her from replacing them; she blows them off instead. “I was taking pictures of all the signs with “Blount” in their name, when a woman came out of the General Store crying her eyes out. I asked her what was wrong and she said that she can’t buy food on credit. Her husband was injured on the job and he had not been paid for two months.”

“Oh yes, I think he fell from a ladder while cleaning the grain elevator. The guys didn’t know if he’d walk again, both legs were shattered.”

“Well, if he was injured on the job, isn’t he entitled to replacement income? Aren’t there labor laws that cover that possibility?”

“I’ll tell you, Jude, if James Ferrell wanted, he could represent the entire town against Blount, for one thing or another.”

“This town deserves better! Old Blount is still fuming over swallowing his pride about the circumstances surrounding the death of his Charlie, “The Man Who Would Be King”.

“I don’t know about you, but I for one have enough material to fill the entire issue.” He dips a spoon into his wife’s mottled mixture. “And I miss the food at home.”

dayjob        “You know, honey, with a month’s worth of meals under my belt, we could do without our cook. I am really getting the hang of this.”

          “I wouldn’t quit your day job, Judith.” This brush with honesty inspires a wooden spoon into flight, missing Harv, but hitting the front door, just as their pseudo-children open it.

          “What’s wrong?” the kids ask in unison, having never seen their “parents” quarrel.

          “Oh nothing kids, but I have cooked my last meal for this family!”

          In a tender moment, the room erupts with adolescent cries of joy.

          “I am sending for your parents tonight,” promises Harv. “They should be here first thing tomorrow.

          “Hooray!” shouts the boy. “I can taste Mom’s blueberry pancakes now.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

WomanCooking

“Oh nothing kids, but I have cooked my last meal for this family!”

Episode #182


page 170