Only the Songwriter Knows For Sure – WIF Music

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Famous Songs

(That Are Widely

Misunderstood)

It’s often been said that songs are largely driven by emotion rather than meaning or complexity of the music. This certainly would explain why a scant three chords and a groovy haircut goes a long way and can help to sell a ton of records. Conversely, sometimes the lyrics can evoke equally powerful feelings — even when a song’s meaning is completely misunderstood.

From The Clash to The Kingsmen, here’s just a fraction of classic tunes that people continue to love, despite completely missing the point of what the songwriters were trying to say.

10. “Train In Vain” (The Clash)

Ever since its release from the seminal London Calling double album, “Train In Vain” arrived at the station shrouded in mystery — largely in part to the track not being listed on the sleeve or back cover. The song name would also become muddled after fans began calling it by its chorus, “Stand By Me,” as well as the actual title never being mentioned in the lyrics; furthermore, the toe-tapping tune has absolutely nothing to do with transportation or working out. Now 40 years later, the heart of the controversy lies in a simple printing snafu and a stubborn girlfriend.

Written by Mick Jones, “Train In Vain” was originally intended to be used as a flexi-disk promotion for the British music magazine, NME. But when the deal fell through at the last minute, the band decided to tack it onto the master of their recently completed album. This, however, resulted in one small problem: the artwork, lyrics, liner notes, etc. had already gone to the printer. As a result, it landed on Side Four as Track 5 with the title crudely scratched on the original vinyl in the needle run-off area. Subsequent pressings would later include the proper title on the album — although in the U.S., it contained the variation, “Train In Vain (Stand By Me).”

The story behind the meaning is rooted in Jones’ ex-girlfriend, Slits guitarist Viv Albertine. Although Jones has remained somewhat tight-lipped about the doomed relationship, the feminist rock icon has been more candid: “I’m really proud to have inspired that but often he won’t admit to it. He used to get the train to my place in Shepherds Bush and I would not let him in. He was bleating on the doorstep. That was cruel.”

The all-female Slits supported The Clash on their White Riot tour — and the alluring Albertine enjoyed a well-earned reputation of breaking many punk hearts, including Sid Vicious, Johnny Thunders, and Joe Strummer.

9. “There She Goes” (The La’s)

An undeniably catchy, jangly ballad, “There She Goes” appears to be a simple tale of unrequited love. However, the lyrics ”Racing through my brain… pulsing through my vein” reveal a not-so-innocent side. Additionally, frontman Lee Mavers’ eccentric and reclusive behavior only furthered drug-fueled speculation that the popular track drew inspiration from poppies. Yep, it’s about heroin.

Released as a single in 1988, the track earned the proto Britpop band from Liverpool earned critical praise before typical band infighting and chaos ensued. Although the song would be re-released two years later on their debut album under the Go! Disc label, The La’s had already been relegated to one-hit wonder status.

Later, the alt Christian-rock outfit Sixpence None The Richer covered the tune and enjoyed a major hit stateside — proving Jesus has a place in his heart for all saints and sinners.

8. “Fire and Rain” (James Taylor)

This one’s also about smack. Sorry. Taylor wrote “Fire and Rain” as a deeply personal reflection of life’s bumpy road, capturing all of its twists and turns and pains and joys. A remarkable feat considering he was only 20 years old at the time. From his second album, Sweet Baby James, the song’s structure unfolds like a three-act play with a beginning, middle, and end. Taylor explains in a 1972 interview with Rolling Stone:

“‘Fire and Rain’ has three verses. The first verse is about my reactions to the death of a friend. The second verse is about my arrival in this country with a monkey on my back, and there Jesus is an expression of my desperation in trying to get through the time when my body was aching and the time was at hand when I had to do it… And the third verse of that song refers to my recuperation in Austin Riggs (psychiatric facility) which lasted about five months.”

The end result earned the young singer/songwriter a multi-platinum record and a career that remains strong today over five decades later. But the “monkey on his back” would become a recurring affliction. Taylor first began using heroin after arriving in New York City in 1966 — a habit that escalated in London while briefly signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records label. Despite his personal and professional setbacks, Taylor has sold over 100 million records, and in 2000 became enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

7. “Dancing With Myself” (Billy Idol)

In his tell-all memoir, Dancing With Myself, the title is both metaphor and the name of one of his biggest hits. It’s also a cheeky double entendre for spanking the monkey. You know, the five knuckle shuffle. Jackin’ the beanstalk. Badgering the witness. Jerkin’ the gherkin. Okay, enough already — it’s about masturbation.

The song was first recorded in 1979 by Idol’s previous band, Gen X, and then re-released as a single in 1981 for the singer’s solo launch. Written by Idol and Gen X bassist, Tony James, the song was inspired in part during a Gen X tour of Japan in 1979. According to Idol, he and James visited a Tokyo disco, where they were surprised to find most of the crowd there dancing alone in front of a wall of mirrors instead of with each other.

However, when pressed on the subject, Idol later conceded there’s more than one layer: “There’s a masturbatory element to it, too. There’s a masturbatory element in those kids dancing with their own reflections. It’s not too much further to sexual masturbation. The song really is about these people being in a disenfranchised world where they’re left bereft dancing with their own reflections.”

Umm, sure, Billy, whatever you say. The song’s music video (which saw heavy rotation in MTV’s halcyon days) features a half-naked Idol thrusting and grinding with post-apocalyptic zombies. Oddly, there’s no mention of social anxiety, disillusionment or the despair of ennui. But then what do you expect from someone who kicks off his autobiography prologue with sordid tales of “never-ending booze, broads, and bikes, plus a steady diet of pot, cocaine, ecstasy, smack, opium, Quaalude, and reds.”

Long live rock & roll!

6. “Imagine” (John Lennon)

On the surface, this simple piano-driven ballad is a dreamy elixir for the soul, calling for an end to war, borders, religion, greed and hunger. The song would not only become a modern hymn of sorts for world peace and unity, but also helped solidify Lennon’s enduring legacy as a stand-alone rock and roll deity. But the ex-Beatle, who clearly understood the power of celebrity, was also a bit cryptic with the hidden message — one which he later characterized as his way of delivering a “sugarcoated” communist manifesto.

Masterfully arranged and co-produced by pre-felon, Phil Spector, in 1971, “Imagine” remains as relevant today as ever and ranks #3 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs Of All-Time. But the main takeaway that’s often overlooked isn’t just some hippie ode to all love one another — but rather encourages people to use revolutionary methods and ideas to make the world a better place. Does this mean John Lennon spent his free time puffing on cigars with Fidel Castro in Havana or riding on the back of Che Guevara’s motorcycle through Bolivian jungles? Hardly.

Lennon much preferred the company of his wife and co-collaborator, Yoko Ono, at their spectacular estate in Ascot (and location for the song’s music video). Furthermore, Lennon set the record straight regarding party affiliations, stating “I am not particularly a communist and I do not belong to any movement.”

5. “Poker Face” (Lady Gaga)

Anyone who saw Gaga on Season 5 of American Horror Story knows this lady can get down. In fact, her convincing performance even won her a Golden Globe — which shouldn’t have been terribly surprising given her impressive real-life talent for switch-hitting. And no, we’re not talking baseball. As for that little ditty that launched Gaga’s career into another galaxy, “Poker Face” has little to do with playing cards. It’s all about bi-sexuality.

Co-written by Gaga with her longtime collaborator, Red One, the track is said to be a tribute to past conquests in Gaga’s wild ride to fame and fortune. It was first released in 2008 off her debut album (and prophetically named), Fame, and went on to become one of the best selling singles of all time. Featuring more hooks than a Bass Pro Shop, the song also benefits from that over-the-top accompanying music video, a wildly sexy romp that has since been viewed more times than every Kardashian sex tape combined. Well, maybe.

Unlike other songs on this list, the lyrics are fairly transparent and only get lost in the blinding glare cast by the singer’s hyper-radiant star. Nonetheless, it’s doesn’t take much imagination to decipher what she means when she playfully teases, “I’m just bluffin’ with my muffin.” Got it, Gaga. Message received, no distortion.

4. “Every Breath You Take” (The Police)

Ironically, the cops should’ve locked up these guys a long time ago for allowing this unofficial Stalker Anthem to become such a massive hit. Actually, it’s not their fault — but you’d think that someone as smart as Sting (only his name is stupid) would have anticipated that his lyrics would become so widely misinterpreted as both a sappy love song and a license to creep. Unfortunately, the subtext about a possessive lover with an Orwellian zeal for spying never quite registered with fans. Perhaps the band should’ve named the album something other than Synchronicity.

Sting wrote “Every Breath You Take” during a critical juncture in his life — both personally and professionally. Although The Police had enjoyed a mercurial run with sold-out arenas and multiple-platinum records, Sting felt cornered and wanted out. He had also become embroiled in an affair with his future wife,Trudie Styler, while inconveniently still married to her best friend, Frances Tomelty. Awkward. So, like any rock star with lots of money and access to private jets, he took off for the Caribbean, where he found refuge on Ian Fleming’s Goldeneye estate. There, he penned the song that became the band’s biggest hit and won the 1983 Grammy for Song Of The Year.

In a 1993 interview, Sting explains the inspiration: “I woke up in the middle of the night with that line in my head, sat down at the piano and had written it in half an hour. The tune itself is generic an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn’t realize at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control.”

3. “Death Or Glory” (The Clash)

The London-based rockers return with another entry on the list, which shouldn’t be a surprise from the group simply known as “the only band that matters.” Also from their London Callingalbum, “Death or Glory” is a parody about those who talk a big game but fail to back it up or wind up selling out to the man.

An upbeat tempo and satisfying melody accompanies possibly the greatest lyric in rock & roll history: “He who f**** nuns, will later join the church.” The amusing metaphor hammers home the point that those who fight hardest against conformity will eventually become what they vowed to avoid. It was apparently one of the band’s favorite songs on the album, recorded at Wessex Studios in Highbury, London for CBS records. According to legend, their eccentric producer, Guy Stevens, ran around the studio like a madman, throwing chairs and ladders during the session and even dumped a bottle of wine on Joe Strummer’s piano.

Interestingly, the song also reflects the band’s acceptance of change in terms of dealing with their own success while trying to stay loyal to their working class roots. Sadly, Strummer passed away in 2002, but unlike previous generations of rockers who pledged to die before they got old, this frontman actually did it.

2. “Born In The U.S.A.” (Bruce Springsteen)

Although many still believe this 1984 mega-hit reflects America’s ass-kicking greatness, the true meaning tells a much different story. But the confusion is understandable. The easy-to-remember chorus coupled with Springsteen’s trademark gravelly, blue-collar vocals practically screams baseball, hot dogs and apple pie. The Boss, however, wrote it as a scathing indictment of the U.S. military-industrial complex and the debacle of the Vietnam War.

Nonetheless, beginning with Ronald Reagan, politicians continue to misuse the song as a propaganda tool on the campaign trail. Perhaps taking time to actually listen to the lyrics, or better yet, having the words explained to them by the man himself would help to clarify the matter: “when you think about all the young men and women that died in Vietnam, and how many died since they’ve been back — surviving the war and coming back and not surviving — you have to think that, at the time, the country took advantage of their selflessness. There was a moment when they were just really generous with their lives.”

In “Born in the USA,” Springsteen pays a specific homage to the Hell experienced at Khe Sanh, where in 1968, a U.S. Marine garrison bravely withstood 77 days of relentless bombing in one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the war.

Fittingly for our purpose, Springsteen once called “Born in the USA” the “most misunderstood song since ‘Louie, Louie.’”

1. “Louie Louie” (The Kingsmen)

No list about misunderstood songs would be complete without including that 1963 golden oldie,“Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen. Featuring mostly indecipherable lyrics, it would eventually become the most recorded song in history with well over 1,000 versions, ranging from Barry White to Motorhead. But the bizarre, serpentine path that led to the rock n roll pantheon is as murky as the garbled vocals laid down in one take by an obscure, teen-aged garage band from Portland, Oregon.

In an equally strange, ironic twist, golden-voiced Harry Belafonte deserves some credit for the song’s wild odyssey. After all, his 1956 chart-topping album “Calypso” would inspire a doo-wop singer in L.A. named Richard Berry to hastily write down the original “Louie Louie” lyrics on a roll of toilet paper (yes, really) in hopes of cashing in on the popular island sound craze. In 1957, Berry and his band, The Pharaohs, recorded the track about a Jamaican sailor yearning for a girl as he laments to a bartender named Louie.

Although the song enjoyed decent regional airplay, Berry sold the rights a few years later for $750 to help pay for his wedding (he would be justly compensated years later). Then in 1961, a singer in the Pacific Northwest named Rockin’ Robin Roberts covered the tune with his band, The Wailers — and that’s when The Kingsmen finally enter the picture.

Childhood school friends and bandmates Lynn Easton and Jack Fry had heard Roberts’ version playing on local jukeboxes around town and decided to try a recording of their own. And so on April 6, 1963, after coughing up 50 bucks to pay for a quickie studio session, the boys walked into Northwest Inc. Recording and a date with infamy.

The small studio had been set up for an instrumental arrangement only, forcing Ely to get up on his toes to be heard on a microphone dangling from the ceiling. Adding to the difficulty, he also wore braces at the time, producing his soon-to-be-legendary mumbled words. By October that year, the single had raced up the charts, fueled largely by the raw sound and its perceived obscene message.

The single was banned by several radio stations and declared indecent by the Governor of Indiana — and later investigated by the FBI. Eventually, the boys from Bridgetown would only be found guilty of poor enunciation (as well as Fry botching the third verse two bars too soon) but no charges were ever filed. It should be noted, however, Easton can be heard yelling “f***” at the fifty-four second mark after dropping his drumstick.


Only the Songwriter Knows For Sure

WIF Music

Cold-War Warning Signs – Doomed to Repeat?

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Reasons for

the Start

of the Cold War

On the April 30, 1945 Adolf Hitler committed suicide in the ruins of Berlin. Six days later Germany surrendered, bringing about the final defeat of the Reich he had claimed would last for a thousand years.

The world had been changed forever. Germany had been utterly defeated; France had lost her great power status, and Britain, almost bankrupted by World War Two, barely clung to hers. The United States of America and the Soviet Union had emerged as the world’s dominant powers.

These two new superpowers were still nominally allies, having struggled together to overcome the terrible might of Nazi Germany. However, even as early as 1945, the seeds of future conflict had been sown.

In this list we’ll look at 10 reasons why the Cold War began in 1945.

10. The Death of Franklin Roosevelt

On April 12, 1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt complained of a headache; just moments later he collapsed unconscious. He died later that same day.

When the news reached the heart of the imploding Third Reich, Hitler celebrated amidst the ruins of Berlin. The German dictator was desperate enough to clutch at any straws that presented themselves, and he convinced himself that the death of America’s president would mark a turning point in the war in Europe.

Despite Hitler’s initial optimism Roosevelt was replaced by Harry S. Truman, and World War Two continued its inevitable course towards Germany’s total defeat. However, Roosevelt’s death did significantly alter the dynamics of the post-war world.

Roosevelt is remembered as one of America’s great presidents, but he had something of a blind spot when it came to Joseph Stalin. He hadn’t recognized quite how wily and ruthless Stalin could be, and wrongly believed himself to be quite capable of charming the Soviet Union’s brutal dictator.

Harry Truman, Roosevelt’s successor, was altogether more suspicious of the Soviet Union in general and Stalin in particular. While Stalin initially believed Truman to be a nonentity who could be easily manipulated, this proved not to be the case.

9. Operation Unthinkable

Joseph Stalin spent much of World War Two haunted by the fear that Britain and America might betray him, make a separate peace with the Nazis, and leave the Soviet Union to fight on alone. In his worst nightmares his allies went even further and teamed up with Nazi Germany to destroy him.

While Stalin is remembered as one of history’s most murderously paranoid individuals, his concerns were not entirely without foundation. Winston Churchill in particular nursed a deep hatred of the Soviet Union that stretched right back to its creation.

In 1945, just days after the end of the war in Europe, Churchill asked his military planners to investigate the possibility of launching an almost immediate assault on Stalin’s Red Army. Churchill christened it Operation Unthinkable, for obvious reasons.

Quite how serious Churchill was about this extraordinary venture isn’t known for sure. In any event Operation Unthinkable was dead in the water with the report concluding there was no chance of success. The British couldn’t compete with the might of the Red Army. Even if the Americans could be persuaded to team up with the British, and they very much insisted they wouldn’t, the Soviets had more tanks and more men. The likely outcome was a long and bloody struggle.

Operation Unthinkable was shelved. However, Stalin soon learned all about it through his extensive network of spies. The news that at least one of his former allies was making plans to attack fueled his paranoia and contributed to the beginning of the Cold War.

8. Disagreements over the Fate of the Nazis

In November 1943 Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin met face-to-face for the first time. There was still a huge amount of fighting and bloodshed to come; but the end of World War Two was finally in sight, and an Allied victory was all but inevitable.

The Tehran Conference was an opportunity for the “Big Three” leaders of the main Allied powers to discuss not just the war itself, but also how to handle the peace. One of the major questions to be addressed was what to do with any captured Nazis.

Stalin offered a solution that some 100,000 German Army officers should simply be shot.

While Roosevelt assumed Stalin was joking, Churchill took him more seriously and stormed out of the room in a fury. The British Prime Minister had himself suggested that senior Nazis should be hanged without recourse to legal aid, but as a former British Army officer he could not sanction the idea of slaughtering soldiers.

The three men eventually agreed that their enemies’ guilt should be established at trial, but they had very different ideas of what this should entail.

When Stalin held a trial he very much intended for the outcome, and even the script, to be determined well in advance. The British and Americans were determined that the trials be seen to be free and fair. As a result several Nazis walked free or escaped with their lives, including Albert Speer, who was Nazi Armament Minister and one of Hitler’s closest confidants. This was certainly not the outcome Stalin had been hoping for.

7. The Defeat of Japan

Japan had been at war with the United States of America and Great Britain since 1941, and with China since 1937. However, the Japanese Empire and the Soviet Union, despite sharing a land border, had not declared war on each other.

This had been a convenient arrangement for both powers. The Soviet Union had been locked in a life-or-death struggle with Nazi Germany in the west, and the Japanese more than had their hands full at land and sea in the east.

With the defeat of Nazi Germany Stalin turned his gaze east. Stalin had promised he would join the war against Japan once the war in Europe was over, and he was more than happy to grab some territory from the crumbling Japanese Empire.

On August 9, 1945 the Americans dropped a nuclear bomb on the city of Nagasaki. Earlier that day the Soviet Red Army had launched a huge surprise offensive against the Japanese in Manchuria. Some historians believe it was the Soviet assault, rather than the immense destructive power of America’s new atomic bombs, that persuaded the Japanese to announce their surrender just six days later.

While the Red Army’s war against the Japanese was brief, Stalin insisted that it warranted the Soviet Union a zone of occupation in the Japanese Home Islands. On August 16, 1945 Stalin wrote to Truman asking to be given part of the island of Hokkaido, adding that he hoped his modest wishes would not meet with any objection.

Roosevelt might, perhaps, have been amenable to the suggestion. Truman was far more suspicious of the Soviets and refused the request.

6. The Division of Korea

The Japanese announcement of their intention to surrender did not bring an immediate cease to hostilities. Stalin drove his armies on, determined to seize territory in the east while the going was good.

By August 1945 the Red Army was a devastatingly effective fighting machine, hardened by the titanic struggle against the forces of Nazi Germany. The forces of Imperial Japan, meanwhile, were much diminished. The best of the Japanese ground forces, and almost every serviceable aircraft, had been withdrawn from mainland Asia to the defense of the Japanese Home Islands.

The Red Army smashed aside the Japanese defenses making huge gains in Manchuria and pressing into Korea, which had been occupied by Japan since 1910.

There was no realistic possibility of the Americans mounting an invasion of Korea before the entire Korean Peninsula fell into Soviet hands. However, Stalin, prepared to trade influence in the Far East to strengthen his negotiating hand in Europe, agreed to divide Korea in two.

The Soviet Union would command the northern part of the country, which contained most of the heavy industry and mineral wealth, while the Americans took control of the largely agricultural south.

Both superpowers would install brutal puppet governments to serve their own interests. Korea was not split apart on any cultural, religious, ethnic, or historical basis, and the decision to divide the nation in two was destined to lead to future conflict. This came to pass when North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, leading to the hottest conflict of the entire Cold War.

5. Clash of Ideologies

Adolf Hitler spent a good chunk of World War Two waiting for the alliance between the capitalist Western powers and the communist Soviet Union to fall apart. The long-awaited collapse in relations never materialized during his lifetime, but Hitler had not been entirely unreasonable in expecting it.

The alliance between the big three powers was one of the most unlikely in history. It was only made possible by the uniquely aggressive form of fascism that emerged in Germany, and it could not long survive the collapse of the Third Reich.

Communist ideology dictated that the collapse of capitalism was both desirable and inevitable. While communism is now a largely discredited theory, for much of the 20th century it posed a mortal threat to powerful individuals who reaped the main rewards of capitalism.

Stalin might have been paranoid, but it wasn’t without good reason. Shortly after the communist revolution Churchill had advocated “Strangling Bolshevism in its cradle.” The western powers had attempted to do just this, leading to a brutal civil war in Russia that lasted from 1917 to 1923.

Neither side can be absolved of blame for the Cold War. While it was perhaps not immediately apparent following the defeat of Germany in 1945, the incompatible nature of the two competing ideologies of communism and capitalism made future conflict inevitable.

4. Berlin Divided

On May 2, 1945 the German defenders of Berlin surrendered to the Red Army. The battle had cost the lives of around 80,000 Soviet and 100,000 German soldiers.

Dwight Eisenhower, commander of the Allied forces in the west, is sometimes criticized for failing to drive his armies on and beat the Soviets to Germany’s capital city. It was a race that he might just have won, but it would have made no difference to the post-war map of Europe.

The division of Germany had already been decided through politics. Berlin itself lay well within what would be Soviet territory. However, the city would be divided up into four, with the Soviet Union, the United States of America, Great Britain, and France all given a zone of control.

This tiny enclave of Western democracy deep within Soviet controlled Eastern Germany soon came to infuriate Stalin. In 1948 he attempted to heal the open sore as he ordered the city to be blockaded, denying the Western Allies any links to the city by road, rail, or water. The Allies responded by flying in the supplies they needed. Stalin balked at giving the order to shoot down American aircraft, knowing that to do so would very likely result in war.

3. The End of American Isolationism

The United States of America had been traumatized by her involvement in World War One, where more than 100,000 Americans lost their lives. Determined to avoid being dragged into any more foreign wars America pursued a policy of isolationism. The nation maintained only a small army and avoided intervening in the affairs of other countries.

It didn’t work. America was dragged into another World War, this one even more terrible than the first. By 1945 isolationism was well and truly dead. The US had emerged as a global superpower with a vast military arsenal at its disposal.

Rather than retreating from the world, America would attempt to shape and control it. This was done even at the expense of democratic ideals, with the United States of America installing and supporting numerous dictatorships.

This more aggressive approach to international relations would inevitably lead to conflict with the Soviet Union, which was itself emboldened by its newfound superpower status and determined to export communism around the world.

2. The Fate of Eastern Europe

The British went to war with Nazi Germany in 1939 with the express goal of defending the right of Polish self-determination in the wake of Germany’s invasion. This was complicated by the failure of the British to declare war on the Soviet Union when the Red Army invaded eastern Poland having done a deal with Hitler.

The United States of America claimed to be fighting a war for freedom. This position too was complicated by the necessity of fighting alongside Stalin’s Soviet Union, a totalitarian dictatorship with few if any redeeming features.

When the war in the west drew to a close in May 1945, the Soviet Red Army had already occupied Poland and much of Eastern Europe. Short of attempting something quite as extraordinarily reckless as Operation Unthinkable, there was very little the Western Allies could do about this.

The British and Americans demanded that Stalin must hold free and fair elections in the territories he had occupied. Stalin readily agreed but went ahead and fixed the results of the elections regardless.

The Soviet domination of so much of Europe, a continent which had dominated world power far more than it does today, was a source of considerable discomfort and fear for America and the Western powers.

1. Nuclear Weapons

The atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 exploded with as much force as 15,000 tons of TNT. As many as sixty thousand people were killed instantly, many of them simply vaporized, as temperatures briefly exceeded those on the surface of the sun.

Both Roosevelt and Churchill hoped that America’s new atomic capabilities would intimidate Stalin. However, when the Soviet dictator was informed of the weapon’s immense destructive power at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, he had shown barely any interest at all. It’s now known that the news had not come as a surprise. Stalin’s spies had kept him well informed of America’s top-secret new weapon, and his scientists were already racing to deliver Stalin a bomb of his own. This mission was accomplished by 1949, far sooner than the Americans believed possible.

The dawn of the atomic age in 1945 vastly raised the stakes for both the Soviet Union and the United States of America. It was now possible for a single bomber, carrying a single bomb, to incinerate an entire city. The two superpowers would later develop intercontinental ballistic missiles and a stockpile of nuclear warheads capable of wiping out most life on the planet. Both sides were aware that if the Cold War turned hot, it might mean the end of civilization. This went a long way towards focusing minds on finding diplomatic solutions to disagreements that might otherwise have led to war.

As terrible as nuclear weapons are, and despite the threat they continue to pose to the future of humanity, they probably prevented all-out war between the United States of America and the Soviet Union.


Cold-War Warning Signs –

Doomed to Repeat?

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #1

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #1

Chapter One

ALPHA AND OMEGA

… Well, it looks like they finally got him….

  Somewhere in the western United States in 1956

“Have you seen the headlines from back home, Lyn?” asks Robert Ford of his bride Carolyn Hanes. He is reading the stalwart newspaper Tallahassee Democrat.

“No, I’ve had my hands full putting your Pacific Clipper story on paper. I still can’t believe you guys made it back in one piece!” Lyn Hanes is a writer of some repute and she is working on the account of Captain Bob Ford’s historic flight back to New York City at the very beginning of World War II.

A.O. CampbellHe is nudging her into a reminiscing state of mind. “Do you remember that black doctor from Frenchtown, A.O. Campbell?”

“Oh my yes, how could I forget? What a sweet old man! He’s got to be in his mid-sixties. There is no one quite like him, for sure.” Lyn was loosely involved in the death of A.O.’s mother-in-law in 1931, a friend of a witness to be exact.

“Well somehow this nice old man is being indicted for manslaughter and abortion charges. The Democrat reports sources from police saying they have been watching his clinic for months.”

Carolyn Hanes takes exception to this revelation.

“Tallahassee has become a hotbed for bigotry lately. They cannot stomach a successful black man, threatens them somehow.” She knows it’s time for the South to do some “social” catching up.  “Both white and blacks have been jealous of him and his wife for decades.”

“Well, it looks like they finally got him.”

Hanes lets that statement roll around in her head for a while. She is known for supporting causes that are contrary to popular opinion or the administration of justice, i.e. abuse of.

“I can see the gears grinding in that pretty little head of yours.”

“I am putting in a call into one of my contacts inside the police department. Joe Slater is chief of detectives… I wonder what he knows?” She is becoming suspicious. “Joe would not hassle that old man without cause.”

Carolyn is on the phone in a minute, leaving a message with TPD dispatch, “Have him call me at Westwood 54-1954.”

What can she accomplish, here in regressive 1956 Florida, where the difference between black & white, was complete different to that of right & wrong?

Do not underestimate a writer, when on the trail of a worthwhile story…


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #1


page 2

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 84

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 84

…“This stuff is going to be a tough-sell don’t you know,” Martin is sympathetic to the ongoing science versus religion debate…

As work can be the best therapy, so does Willard Libby guide Martin Kamen through the cherished details of his, still to be revealed to the world, discovery that the actual age of planet Earth is far less than the 4.5 to 5 billion year range that is broadly accepted.

Pentateuch refers to it as The Great Deception, for the simple reason that when mankind believes they have all that extra time to operate, there is no motivation to contemplate their mortality.

But even among the broader Christian community, Libby will encounter mountainous doubt about a shorter period of planetary existence. It is such a radical departure from what they have been taught.

Billy Graham had described it to his Tolentine quizmaster this way: “The Lord our God created the Earth with a patina, an aged look beyond its actual maturity.”

Willard Libby’s “half-life” formulae works great on organic material, but the very same decay of carbon in non-organic material is not as easily calculated.

“When God created the Universe, he only made it look like it had been around for nearly forever. Human beings have made a science out of minimizing God’s abilities and wonders.”

Willard had understood what the young preacher was spouting; the notion that a creator had the omnipotent power to make things appear in ways only He can comprehend.

Talk about a transformation. It was not all that long ago, perhaps 5 years that Libby would have argued against the very facts that he has happened to literally stumbled upon.

“This stuff is going to be a tough-sell don’t you know,” Kamen is sympathetic to the ongoing science versus religion debate.

“I have the facts to back it up, Martin, right down to the molecular level,” Willard opens up his treasured paper, thumbing to the section where only someone as versed as a researcher could possibly take hold of and make his own. For the first time he sees the evidence for himself, through a radioisotope. There laid out in front of him are the updated facts, from a completely new perspective.

That there may be authorship of the Universe is a humbling notion.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 76 (end Ch. 7)

Dark Disney – WIF Edu-tainment

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Dark Moments

from

Disney’s Past

Disney is known for being one of the most family-friendly companies you could imagine, and spends an incredible amount of money to maintain that illusion and appear as one of the most squeaky clean companies in the world. Disney is the company that bought Star Wars, and immediately banned the appearance of smoking in films – villain or otherwise – because of the children.

However, while today Disney tries their hardest to be the most non-offensive thing possible, this wasn’t always the case. In the past, Disney hasn’t always been entirely family-friendly, and their past is checkered with racism and other abuses. Disney himself may not have necessarily been a racist or a misogynist, but he was certainly not progressive for his time, and his attitudes were reflected in the culture of his company and the products they produced.

10. Walt Disney’s Song of the South Was Not Just a Product of It’s Time

If you haven’t heard of it before, Song of the South is a Disney movie made back in the 1940s that has caused such controversy that Disney has kept it in the vault for decades now and has no intention of ever allowing it to see the light of day again. The movie has caused trouble since it was first released because of its depiction of African American characters. The movie is set on a plantation in the south, and it seems that it is post Civil War, but it’s very ambiguous. There are still a lot of black people working on the plantation, and while they are not called slaves, they have very subservient attitudes and speak in a way that seems designed to make them look less intelligent – not only that, but they seem very happy about their lot, which is working for white people.

Disney only really likes to release movies from the vault when they can celebrate it, and show off an image of squeaky cleanness. Song of the South not only doesn’t allow that, but it creates unnecessary controversy and potentially lost customers and image. Of course, there will always be people who defend the actions of Walt Disney to make this movie back in the day, and say that he was just a product of his time. However, those who knew Walt at the time understood that he knew full well all the possible controversies he could create, but he wanted to go ahead and make it anyway. Some accounts even say Walt actually downplayed the racial stereotypes some from what he originally planned because he didn’t think it would go over well. This doesn’t necessarily paint him as racist, but it does show he cared more about telling a story than any kind of racial sensitivity.

9. Disney Underpaid His Employees, Causing Them to Go On Strike and Changing Animation Forever

In the early days of the Disney company, things were not really very well organized, and Walt was just trying to get as many good ideas as possible, and move things forward at a brisk pace. He had hired on a lot of animators to do creative work, and the company expanded faster than he really knew how to deal with. This led to a very serious issue where Walt’s disorganization and greed really got him in trouble. He underpaid most of his animators to begin with, and then would give raises in very arbitrary ways. People would randomly be given more pay with little reason or explanation, and no one really knew what you exactly had to do to earn more. After dealing with this for a bit, the animators started to get tired of having their creative talents abused, and went on strike.

Walt was not really interested in negotiating with them, and instead tried to beat it out and fight them on it. The animators formed a guild to protect themselves, and after several weeks of intense picketing and the like, Walt was forced by a lot of outside pressure to give in and pay people fairly. However, laws for dealing with employer retaliation were not very good back then, and Walt held a very serious grudge. He was pretty awful to be around if you had been part of the strike, and before long he was firing people when possible, and many just departed on their own. This actually led many to create their own studios, and many other talented artists to go into comics. The Looney Tunes and many comics and other animation were designed by animators who left Disney, and likely would have never had their designs properly see the light of day under Walt’s leadership. In the end, his hardline stance against fair pay actually indirectly helped change the world of animation for the better.

8. The Yippie Invasion of Disneyland in the 1970s Caused the Disney Company to Overreact

In August of 1970, a group of radical hippies known as yippies had a plan to invade Disneyland on the 6th of the month. They passed out hundreds of thousands of flyers and the rumors started flying around that 200,000 of the counterculture youth intended to invade the park. Disneyland reacted to this by asking the local police to show up, and they arrived that day in full riot gear expecting a huge crowd. Instead, only a couple hundred of the yippies actually showed up, but they still caused quite a bit of a problem.

At first they were just doing silly things like smoking marijuana while climbing on things, but they started to get restless and get into fights with some of the park guests. As the day wore on, they “took over” Tom Sawyer Island, by standing on Castle Rock and doing drugs. Near the end of the day they disrupted the Disney marching band, and raised a gigantic flag with a pot leaf on it next to the American flag. This caused things to spiral quickly out of control between the yippies and regular guests, causing Disney management to be so upset with the situation that they shut the park down early for the first in their history. As an overreaction to the entire situation, Disney instated a dress code for men that they kept for years – if you had long hair or otherwise looked like a hippie, you would be barred from entering the theme park. Disney may be the first major company to ever actually ban all hippies from their property.

7. The Original Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Had Real Human Skeletons

Pirates of the Caribbean is a successful movie franchise that has now long overstayed its welcome; however, it was all based on the popular ride at Disneyland that was originally designed back in the 1960s. Walt Disney was very pleased with the ride itself and loved what they had done with it. However, some of the designers were disappointed that despite how realistic the rest of the ride looked, the skeletons just didn’t look real enough to them. In order to solve this problem, they contacted the UCLA medical center and managed to get their hands on some real human skeletonsto decorate the ride.

As time has passed, the ride has been regularly renovated and Disney claims all human remains have been removed and given proper burials in their country of origin. The technology for fake skeletons is good enough now that they can make them as realistic as the real thing, so it really isn’t necessary or in good taste to have real human remains lying around anymore. However, some people are not convinced. People have gone through the ride looking at the skeletons in an attempt to armchair sleuth which ones might still be real, and some employees claim they are certain some of them are. If there are any real bones still lying around the ride, we may never really know the truth for sure.

6. In the Early Days, Walt Disney Didn’t Allow Women to Do Full Animating Work for the Company

A letter that has been passed around the internet shows a rejection in Snow White stationary, answering a young woman who had applied to Disney in the hopes of working in their creative department. This letter has been verified as the real deal, and shows just how behind the times Disney was, even for the era in which it was written. The form letter states that women are not allowed to do any of the creative work at Disney, and that all of that is done by “young men.” The letter further goes on to explain that women can work at Disney, but only doing inking and tracing.

As if to add insult to injury, the form letter explains that a young woman who wishes to apply for inking or tracing should bring samples of their work to show, but actually discourages her from applying, stating that so many women apply for the inking and tracing positions that she likely would not be selected anyway. While some would say this was only a product of the times, it’s really hard to defend this at any time. Even back then, while women may not have gotten the fair pay or respect they deserved, most people were well aware that women could do creative things just as well as men could.

5. Disney Would Like You to Forget About the Wizard of Bras

Disney loves being known for their squeaky clean image, so they really don’t want you to know about some of the things they tried in Disneyland in their early days. They would especially love it if you didn’t remember that they once had a shop in Disneyland that sold bras and corsets. Not only that, but it had 3D exhibits that showed women off in a way that was scantily clad for the time, and gave people a general history on undergarments. It also had a section of the shop called a corseteria where you bought all of the undergarments.

And in the middle of all this chaos was an animatronic sorcerer dubbed “the Wizard of Bras.” It should probably be no surprise that Disney did not keep this abomination around long and it was gone in about six months. However, it was not the only time Disney allowed an attempt at a sexy lingerie store on the Disneyland grounds. In the 1990s they allowed a store called “Jessica’s” to set up shop. This was a store dedicated to selling Jessica Rabbit-themed merchandise, especially underwear and night wear – it also folded after a short time, lasting just three years. Since then, Disneyland has not attempted any more sexy lingerie stores on the park grounds.

4. Disney Doesn’t Want You to Know How Long They’ve Been Covering Up the Alligator Problem

Last year there was a huge controversy after a 2-year-old boy died at Disney World following an alligator attack. Disney came under fire for not warning people properly of the alligators, and people cried out that Disney should have put up warning signs at the very least, since they had some idea that alligators could potentially make it to certain spots in the park. Disney caved and put up warning signs, and most people have forgotten about it. However, the truth is that Disney wouldn’t do the bare minimum to warn people because they didn’t want to break their illusion, when they know the problem is much worse than most people realize.

As of last year, Disney had removed 240 nuisance alligators – alligators four feet or longer with the potential to cause harm – from their Disney World resort properties. This is an average of 24 alligators per year, or two per month, and that’s just the ones they actually catch. Florida is basically a swamp and with so many waterways, it’s very easy for them to find their way into Disney World. If Disney were being responsible, they should have warned people much sooner of the dangers, and maybe even put up stronger fencing in certain areas. Unfortunately, their commitment to maintaining the sense of illusion for their customers sometimes overwhelms their common sense.

3. Walt Disney’s Involvement with the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals

In the late 1930s the fear of communism was starting to take hold in the average American, and the House Committee on Un-American Activities had been formed. This committee existed to check into the backgrounds of Americans suspected of having communist ties or sympathies, and has been denounced in history as a witch hunt that was often racist in nature when selecting what people to go after. It was in this political environment that in the mid 1940s, a bunch of famous movie stars and filmmakers, including Walt Disney, got together to make their own group called the Motion Picture Alliance For The Preservation Of American Ideals.

The group was basically the film guild version of the House Committee On Un-American Activities, and before long people from the film industry were, indeed, being inspected by the house committee. This led to a backlash where a counter group of others in the film industry created their own guild called the Council Of Hollywood Guilds And Unions to protect themselves against the attacks from the Motion Picture Alliance, often called the MPA for short.  The new guild accused the MPA of being racist and just looking to inflame tensions and cause trouble – an accusation that has stuck in most people’s minds to this day. It is hard to say whether Walt was really being racist here or if he was genuinely concerned about communism and overreacted, as many did at the time. However, he was deeply involved in the group, as he was their vice president when they formed.

2. Disneyland in Paris has had a Recent History of Mistreating and Underpaying Its Employees

Disneyland Paris is supposed to be the happiest place in Europe, as the Disney vision goes, and for many tourists it is indeed a very fun attraction. It’s known so well for fulfilling that promise to guests that it is the single most popular tourist attraction in Europe, despite all the rich history that is available to see on the continent. However, while it is great for the tourists, the employee experience is anything but, and over time that will degrade the guest experience as well. Back in 2010 the Independent did a piece on Disneyland Paris, and found some very alarming issues.

Two employees had recently committed suicide, and one of them killed himself in a rather disturbing way. He had been sick and missed work as a cook at Disney and was supposed to go back. Before killing himself, he scrawled on the wall in French “I don’t want to work for Mickey anymore.” The parent company, Euro Disney, has been criticized for huge staff and budget cuts, while continuing to take in an even bigger influx of guests. And to make matters worse, the staff members who are expected to do more with less every year have essentially no opportunities for advancement. Not only that, but most people are being paid only barely above minimum wage, and are expected to work six days a week and very long hours. For many who work for Disney, the fun is being part of the Disney family. However, for those working at Disneyland Paris, they are being treated as anything but.

1. Disney’s Fantasia has a Character Named Sunflower Who is a Breathtakingly Racist Stereotype

Most of you have probably heard of Fantasia, but many people are really only familiar with the segment where Mickey is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, unless they are a big Disney buff. And even those who have watched Fantasia in full may have missed Disney’s most blatant racism if they watched a more recent revision. A lesser known segment of Fantasia is called “Pastoral Symphony” and was a brief story where mythological creatures and others are preparing for a festival involving some of the Greek gods. The story starts out showing some female centaurs being beautified by cherubs to prepare them for the arrival of the male centaurs and it just goes downhill from there.

There is one female centaur who is not being prepared by the cherubs, and is instead acting like a servant to the other female centaurs – brushing their tails, etc. This female centaur is black, and is half donkey instead of half horse. She has incredibly exaggerated features, and dreadlocks that stick out at odd angles, as if the animators were doing their best to mock people of African descent. To make matters worse, this character is called Sunflower – a flower whose nicknames include “n**gerhead.” While sunflowers do have a lot of other nicknames, it seems a little too strange to just be a coincidence. Also, in a later scene, the Greek god of wine, Bacchus, shows up flanked by two black centaur servants, who are half zebra and half Amazon looking – their purpose is to fan him and keep him cool. In revisions of Fantasia, these racist elements have been removed, but you can see a brief clip of Sunflower brushing a pretty, white female centaur at the top of the entry.


Dark Disney –

WIF Edu-tainment

The NULL Solution = Episode 197

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The NULL Solution = Episode 197

…I believe that the McKinneys are seriously concerned about bringing back a viral agent that may be able to morph into a pandemic on Earth…

Crip may want to run this by the decontamination team.”

“The kid just needs a stiff shot of caffeine. That will perk him up!”

“We cannot take the chance. You message Roy while I do some lab work.”

As it would happen, the message meant for the director of NASA seeps into the cracks of bureaucracy and into the hands of a snotty-nosed underling.

-He reads.

THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH JOYNER. NOT EXACTLY SURE WHAT IT IS. CELESTE IS LOOKING INTO POSSIBLE LINK TO BUG THAT KILLED THE CREW ON MARS, WAY BACK WHEN. SEE YOU SOON – SAM

-He reacts.

Instead of delivering the {For Your Eyes Only} message to Roy Crippen, who would keep it under his hat for the sake of secrecy, the staffer shares it his colleagues while he is on his morning break. “Look at this, guys,” he proudly flashes the rare communication from the returning McKinney mission, “you don’t see one of these every day… it’s from Sampson McKinney himself!”

He thought he was reading about a little insect bite or something. The breakroom sees it differently, especially the medical officer in charge of infectious space threats.

“I’ve read about the 2030 Tycho/Space Colony 1 mission… they never were able to isolate the precise cause of the alien disaster. You don’t lose 50+ crewmen and ignore the cause. I believe that the McKinneys are seriously concerned about bringing back a viral agent that may be able to morph into a pandemic on Earth.”

“That is some farfetched theory, man.”

“Hey, do you want two aliens coming to Earth and spreading a deadly disease?” The room goes silent. “It’s my job to prevent such things and that’s what I am going to do!”

The horses have just got out of the barn.

By the time Roy tries closing the barn door, it is too late. Varying forms of Sam McKinney’s cautionary tale explode across every single known Internet medium and then some. And just like the Collapsar Axis invasion/panic/narrative, anti-alien sentiment suddenly trumps the feel-good homecoming story.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 197


page 191

The NULL Solution = Episode 109

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The NULL Solution = Episode 109

…A modicum of equality will have to do for now…

CHAPTER TEN

Snail’s Pace

Promises are meant to be kept.

Some are deferred.

Skaldic the Null willingly added his Null-ness to the Gifted, with the promise of parity for his people. Ekcello had done his level best to bridge the gap between the Gifted and the Null. However he has not the final word in the matter.

For cycles immemorial, never the tween did meet. The Null had their tower and that was that. Their needs were met more than adequately. And life was good – just happens to be better for the Gifted majority. As in most societies, the majority rules and the majority of Eridanian Gifted believe elevating Skaldic to Gifted status is quite enough. An extra portion of special grog is appropriated for everyone else. Certainly that will do.

Skaldic does not partake in grog, just as he has resisted the temptation of hookah. His judgement is sound and his commitment to his people is as clear as his new robes are white. You can lavish the emperor with new clothes, but you cannot water down what is underneath.

As a small concession, the Null are allowed to roam the planet at certain times in a cycle, not that there is anything fantastic to do outside their tower, but they are allowed to mingle and observe the Gifted way; an unwritten code of conduct unenforced at Null Tower. Little things, like bowing out of common courtesy, not worship and not speaking in the Olde Language, especially not out of tune, are expected behaviors.

In exchange, the Gifted have been instructed to respect the Null and aid them in the indoctrination. Most family units actually have ancestors among the Null population. The difference between the two cultures is esoteric.

A modicum of equality will have to do for now. The Towers were not built in a day.

Just as some riddles are meant to be solved. Some are not.

 


The NULL Solution =

Episode 109


page 108