Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #9

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #9

…  Samuel Goldblatt III thought he might be able to sneak one past these Southern bumpkins …

Sneaky Sam-001

“Campbell’s property on Tennessee Street is worth millions to you, yet you’ll get it for pennies on the dollar,” the doctor’s son-in-law complains.

“Speaking of percentages, you’ll be getting a good fee for your part, you know blood moneythat,” chimes in George Lewis, the handler of the title arrangements.

“That is blood money to me, George and you best make sure that the Leon County Clerk will see you as the aggressor in this matter,” he implores.

“You will take the money I bet?”

No answer, is his answer.

“Let’s get past the pettiness and get right to the meat, men.” Samuel Goldblatt III does not linger on such trivial things as fragile human emotion. “Ten thousand dollars an acre is the agreed on price, am I correct?”

Samuel Goldblatt III

“It is ten thousand, only if I am the managing partner in the hotel,” Charles Wilson asserts. “Fifty thousand per if I’m not.” Ironically, the latter would obviously be best for the Campbells. But this is not about their welfare, rather the personal gain of the vultures.

Why do we need you Wilson? We could have leveraged our way into your Plaza, you know.”

“We will never know, Sam, will we? I am the sole owner of the Capitol Plaza and the only one who can pull off the land deal you need to erect your tower.” Stated like someone with clout of his own. “And I cannot stand competition, unless I have a stake in it as well.”

Holiday Inns knows full well that if they are going to make inroads into certain markets, regional lords, the holders of their dominion, will have to be players. The word “franchise” is a recent addition to popular vernacular and corporations have instituted these units to bring limited partners into the larger company umbrella. Charles Wilson is an example of a franchisee.

  Samuel Goldblatt the Third thought he might be able to sneak one past these Southern bumpkins; Fat chance.

“Sixty thousand for the lot, purchased by the Holiday Inn Corporation of America, with the Leon County Treasurer the payee, minus 5% real estate fees payable to McLoud Realty,” George Lewis enumerates. “Our attorneys will draw up the necessary papers, including the title search.”

Franklin McLoud stays seated, hands covering his face, disgusted with himself, as the others disburse, each his own way.  For $3000 dollars, he has seriously jeopardized the once proud Campbell Empire. It has been said, ‘every man has his price’, with some lower than others.

“I’ll see you at the funeral, Franklin. Try not to let this eat you alive. Leave that to the gators.” Lewis’ morose analogy disguises his true feelings. He is now the proud owner of two huge secrets – to deal with in the now and in those tenuous times to come.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #9


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #8

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #8

…I hope you know that this little deal of ours will blow a hole the size of the Everglades through our cover, Charles…

Laura Bell Campbell-McLoud’s husband, whose job it is to (feeble attempt) pay the property taxes on what was once 150 parcels of land owned by A.O. and Maggie, has been a knowing, if not a slightly reluctant party to the progressive dismantling of a once advancing empire. Without the doctor’s viable income stream, bits and pieces of property are liquidated, at his direction, with veiled trepidation. It is done in a way as not to draw attention, thereby preserving the Campbell good named reputation.

The reason McLoud joins banker Lewis in a fit of guilt, centers around the Tennessee Street land and its precious location. The rest of Campbell holdings are secondary tracts, save for Campbell subdivision and the adjacent lake bearing their name, on the southern boundary of the city. These downtown acres however, had been designated to house a grand hospital; Doc Campbell’s crowning achievement, replacing his black-only clinic two blocks north. Without divine intervention, a twelve story hotel will take its intended place.

I hope you know that this little deal of ours will blow a hole the size of the Everglades through our cover, Charles. How can I keep this a secret from Laura?” McLoud asks them in a shameful tone of voice.

 “If you are going to save Campbell Pond, hell, even the house and clinic for that matter; you really have no choice.”

“It’s supposed to be Campbell Lake!”

“Whatever?” states a cold Wilson. “If you remember correctly, I was the one who told you, as a friend I might add, to be more up front about the family’s sad state of affairs. But you were determined to protect the family pride. Pride ain’t worth a fiddly-dee to an old man who may die before he gets out of Starke.”

“Pride is not just about land, Wilson, although come to think of it, I believe it was your proud jealousy and lame vendetta that landed my father-in-law in the pickle he’s in now.”

“Are you tryin’ to slander my name, McLoud? He crippled my sister you know.”

“Not exactly… and Esther was tottery before she took ill.” Franklin chooses his words carefully. He is younger and less cagey than his accuser. “I mean to say, that true and pure pride is about history; what people will look back on, with a dash of entitlement thrown in. If you take away a man’s life, if he believes on the Lord, he has an eternity in Heaven to look forward to…

“…You take away a man’s possessions and you steal away his earthly identification. In the case of Tennessee Street, stealing is the right word. It’s worth millions to you, yet you’ll get for pennies on the dollar.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #8


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Remote Cities and Capitals – WIF Geography

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Remote Cities and

Capitals on Earth

Many of us spend our days dreaming of getting away from it all. The hustle of the city, the stress of the commute, the noise and pollution… what could be better than escaping all that for one of the remotest spots on Earth?

Well, you may be surprised by what qualifies for ‘remote’. Each of the cities and capitals below is in some way cut-off from the rest of the world. They may be hard to get to, they may be geographically distant, or they may simply be isolated in some profound sense. Yet not all of them would naturally spring to mind when you hear the word ‘remote’. From the super-famous to the super-obscure, here are 10 places on Earth so out-of-the-way they make living in the sticks look like renting in downtown Manhattan.

10. Iquitos, Peru

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One way you can judge a city’s remoteness is by imaging what would happen there if all modern tech suddenly stopped functioning. For people living in London and New York, it would be a major hassle. For people living in Iquitos, Peru, it would quickly turn into Lord of the Flies.

 Iquitos is buried deep in the heart of the Amazon, surrounded by hundreds of miles of impenetrable rainforest. How deep is it buried? So deep that jumping on a boat will take you four days to reach civilization. And forget about roads. Iquitos has only a single outward road, and that dead-ends in a related settlement 65 miles away. With a population of nearly 400,000, Iquitos is the largest city on Earth not connected to the outside world by road.

In this wasteland of vegetation and violent, screaming nature, everything has to be imported. The price of everything from food, to clean water, to luxuries and clothes is sky-high (for Peru). Yet Iquitos isn’t exactly hard to visit. A local airport connects the town to the capital Lima. You just better pray nothing happens to ground all flights in Peru during your visit.

9. Ürümqi, China

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Ürümqi in China holds the distinction of being the furthest city from coastline anywhere in Eurasia (possibly on Earth). If you fancy a dip in the sea, you’re gonna have to trek over 2,240km to get there. Located in China’s remote northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Ürümqi is surrounded by a whole lot of nothing. Deserts, mountains, plains… basically, once you leave Ürümqi, there’s almost nothing to break up the monotony.

Another way Ürümqi is remote from the rest of China is culturally. The province it is part of is mostly Muslim, and signs appear in Arabic. People here are generally so suspicious of Beijing and ethnic Han Chinese that major riots sporadically break out, killing dozens.

 On the other hand, Ürümqi doesn’t exactly feel remote. A major outpost on the old Silk Road, it’s still a major transport hub for people travelling through Central Asia. That means visiting there feels less like traveling to one of the remotest cities on Earth, and more like stepping into the world’s largest bus station.

8. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia

petropavlosk

You’d have to be stupid, mad or both to build a town like Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. A city of 180,000 situated on a cold, storm-lashed Russian peninsula, it’s almost hilariously inhospitable to life.

The whole town is surrounded by rumbling volcanoes and impassable mountains that have stopped anyone driving roads through to it. As a result, everything and everyone has to come in on tiny, rickety planes. There’s no settlements close to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky because it’s friggin’ impossible to build any on this hostile stretch of land. Moscow is over 4,000 miles away. The closest significant capital is probably Alaska’s state capital of Juneau. It’d be easier for residents to take a trip down to North Korea than it would be for them to visit their own government.

The town was founded as a base for the Russian navy, and wound up surviving thanks to good fishing. Today, it also gets a smattering of tourists who want to visit the nearby national park, and don’t mind stumping up insane amounts of money to get there.

 7. King Edward Point, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

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The capital of icy, windswept South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, King Edward Point isn’t a city by any stretch of the imagination. The summer population is below 25, and the winter population drops to about 12. A scientific and cultural outpost administered by the government of Great Britain, it’s a tiny blip of civilization surrounded by an ocean of howling emptiness.

Seriously, here’s the island on Google Maps. That tiny dot to the left? That’s the Falkland Islands, itself a pretty-darn remote settlement. The capital of the Falklands is nearly 500km from the fringes of the nearest country (Argentina). King Edward Point is a further 1,500km away. Although it’s employees are part of the British Antarctic Survey Team, British Antarctic Territory itself is 2,300km away. Stand in King Edward Point and look in any direction and you’re probably facing over 1,000km of terrifying emptiness.

The South Georgian capital is so remote that it doesn’t have a permanent population. The British Government, perhaps hoping to stop people from going mad, rotates its staff so no-one ever spends more than a couple of years living there.

6. Siwa Oasis, Egypt

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In terms of time taken to get there, Siwa Oasis in Egypt isn’t remote. You can catch a bus from Cairo and be there in less than half a day. But it’s what surrounds Siwa Oasis that earns it a place on this list. The town of 23,000 sits slap bang in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

This is an area of the world where the burning heat and mountains of sand mean it’s logistically-impossible for governments to police their own borders. Step outside in the middle of the day and you’re gonna find yourself flash-fried before you can say “burning flesh”. Even if Cairo is within easy driving distance, it feels like it’s in another universe.

Siwa Oasis’s remoteness can be seen in its history. Essentially cut-off from civilization prior to the invention of the automobile, it wound up with a unique Berber culture that’s different from anything else seen in the region. For one thing, it had a strong tradition of homosexuality and forms of gay marriage until King Fuad outlawed it in 1928. Less-surprisingly, it also clung to nomad customs not seen elsewhere for decades or even centuries. It might be an easy visit now, but historically Siwa Oasis has been one of the most-isolated places on Earth.

5. Mêdog, Tibet

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Mêdog in Tibet is a long, difficult, hair-raising drive from civilization that involves crossing frequently-impassable mountains and battling horrendous weather. Believe it or not, this is an improvement. Prior to 2013, there was no road connecting Mêdog at all. If you wanted to get there, you had to saddle up a horse and climb some 4,000 feet over two freakin’ mountains.

Why was Mêdog previously so difficult to get to? A lot of that has to do with where its founders chose to settle. Nestled in a narrow valley between towering mountain peaks, the city of 10,000 is both stupidly beautiful and basically just stupid. For decades, the trade-off for Mêdog’s sublime views was knowing that law enforcement couldn’t get out there in an emergency, and that there was no chance of you getting to a hospital if you got ill or hurt. Locals were at the mercy of nature, which sounds kinda cool until you realize it was totally possible to die in Mêdog from something as simple as an infected cut.

Even today, Mêdog is difficult to get to. The road Beijing built is only open 8 months of the year, and even then it is frequently closed by mudslides and snowfall.

4. Perth, Australia
perth

You’re probably wondering what the heck Perth is doing on this list. The 4th biggest city in Australia, Perth has a population of nearly 2 million, a jumping nightlife district, frequent flights to the rest of Australia and road connections to other cities. Yet this misses out two crucial facts. One: Perth is on Australia’s barren West Coast, where almost nobody lives. And Two: Australia is freakin’ massive.

To get to Sydney, you’d need to drive 2,045 miles across a sun-scorched bed of limestone so desolate it looks like something from a sci-fi film. The nearest city of at least 100,000 people (Adelaide) is 1,300 miles distant, only slightly-less than the distance from New York to Houston. And that’s traveling through the Outback, a place so hostile to life that they might as well rename it ‘the Punisher’.

For Australians living in Perth, it’s cheaper and easier to get to Indonesia than it is to almost anywhere else in their own country. If all modes of transport were to vanish tomorrow, residents of Perth would be utterly isolated from the rest of humanity (but, hey, at least their nightlife would still be good).

3. Funafuti, Tuvalu

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If it weren’t for the advent of affordable air travel, no-one in their right mind would ever go to Funafuti. The capital of the absurdly-tiny island nation of Tuvalu (itself only 26 km²), Funafuti is home to a mere 6,000 people. Little more than a collection of squat houses fringed by palm trees, it sprawls out alongside the narrow road that essentially marks Tuvalu’s entire landmass. The nearest lump of land with a population approaching 1m is Fiji, 1,134 kilometers away. To get to a major city, you’d have to fly to either New Zealand or Hawaii.

Although plenty of Pacific Island states are remote, Tuvalu takes the biscuit. A strip of coral surrounded by endless, roiling sea, it feels like the last place on Earth. To get there, you first have to get to Fiji, itself a pretty remote place. Then it’s hop on a rickety plane, cross your fingers and hope you don’t ditch into the sea hundreds of kilometers from civilization. According to one estimate, Funafuti is so distant it only receives 350 tourists a year – less than one a day. Equally-isolated Kiribati, by contrast, receives as many as 5,000.

2. Nuuk, Greenland

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Nuuk is the capital of and largest city in Greenland, a sentence which deftly disguises just how breathtakingly remote and tiny it really is. The entire population of Nuuk clocks in at 16,583, a number so small that if the city were in any other country, it’d be known instead as a village. The same sort of thinking applies to its remoteness. By Greenland standards, Nuuk isn’t remote (Ittoqqortoormiit in the east probably takes the prize). But that’s like saying Batman isn’t strong compared to the Incredible Hulk. Compared to you and me, he’s still the freakin’ Batman.

No other capital city on Earth is more northerly than Nuuk. And getting there is a gigantic pain in the derriere. Visitors have to transit via Iceland or Copenhagen, and flights are expensive. Once in Nuuk, getting anywhere else can be a challenge: Greenland is essentially one gigantic ice sheet with terrible weather and non-existent roads. Wander out of Nuuk in almost any direction and you’re soon lost in a wilderness of ice and nothingness. On the plus side, the wages in Nuuk are so stratospherically high that young Danes move here purely to make a killing.

 1. Yakutsk, Russia

yakutsk

Yakutsk is so comically-remote it feels like a joke. It’s the capital of the Yakutia region in Siberia, a region that covers over 1 million square miles, yet houses fewer than a million people. There are enough lakes and rivers in Yakutia for each resident to own one of each. It is divided into multiple administration centers the size of Utah, many only containing one tiny village.

Getting to Yakutsk itself is near-impossible. There’s only one road, which can only be used in winter (when the rivers freeze solid), and breaking down on it would mean certain death. There’s no railway. The river trip is 1,000 miles and can only be undertaken in summer, when the river isn’t frozen. You can fly in from Moscow, over 3,000 miles away, on a 6-hour plane, but most Russians can’t afford to do that.

Once you get there, Yakutsk is mind-blowingly inhospitable. It used to be used as a prison for political dissidents and it’s easy to see why. In a warm winter, the temperature ‘only’ drops to -30C. Most years it hits -50C. In other words, not only is Yakutsk hard to get to, it also makes you wonder why anyone would bother.


Remote Cities and Capitals

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– WIF Geography

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


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