The Story Rick McCullough wants me to tell

Written by BL on March 29, 2016 – 9:55 pm -

Yesterday as I watched Rick’s family smile, hold back tears, rest, sigh, laugh and cry, Kim asked me if I could say a few words today.  Of course I said yes.  Last night I realized I would need way more than a few words.  So I closed my eyes, thought of Rick and there he was offering two words from our past.
This is the story that I believe Rick would want me to tell:

I’m not sure how many of you are aware of this, but in 1966 Rick McCullough and I invented the Podcast, the Satirical, Improvisational,  AUDIO  podcast, to be specific.   Once a month or so, we would get together in my garage, borrow my brother’s reel to reel tape recorder (as long as he wasn’t home) and make fun of Television shows.  The target of our first episode was the action drama Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, starring Richard Basehart.

Now Rick, being Rick, came up with the idea to use opposites in our titles.  The opposite of Bottom was Top, the opposite of Sea was Land and apparently he felt the opposite of Voyage was Journey.  So Voyage to the bottom of the sea  became Journey to the Top of the Land.   Then Rich became Poor, Hard became Easy, Base became Top and Hart became Kidney.  Richard Basehart was now PoorEasy TopKidney.

We laughed so hard we had to re-record the intro at least three times. 

Our friend Mike Galanis showed up, late as usual, so Rick declared him to be this week’s non-regular.  Actors who were not regulars on the show had very few lines and always got attacked by the monsters.
It was now time to record the opening scene.  In every episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the sea, their Submarine would get rocked by an explosion or a monster or both.  Lights would flash.  Pipes would burst.  Smoke, fire and water would fill the screen. Then the Captain would call to damage control.

We started the recorder.  Rattled and dropped anything on my dad’s workbench that would make noise.
We grunted and groaned.  Then Rick seized the microphone and shouted “Damage Control, REPORT”.
Non regular Galanis came back with, “there is a huge hole in the side of the vessel, there is water everywhere, the reactor just floated into the sea and…”  as he finished for some reason Galanis broke into an English accent saying   “fellas there’s a monster down here”.

We stopped the tape and laughed for at least ten minutes.  Then we listened to it over and over.  We could not finish AND because my brother would be home soon, we had to erase the evidence and put the contraband recorder back where it belonged.

A few months later I blew out my knee in a track meet.  I was TOTALLY depressed.  I wasn’t in the mood to do anything except mope and feel sorry for myself.  I sat in my living room, just staring at the TV, for days.

Suddenly,  outside our living room window I heard, “This is Admiral Pooreasy Topkidney…Damage Control Report. “  Rick had made Galanis lay down under the window and from beneath the window came  “Fellas there’s a Monster down here”.

I did not want to even grin, but when these guys appeared in my picture window mimicking poor Galanis getting attacked by the monster…I started laughing…they started laughing…tears of joy fell everywhere.

When Rick spoke to me last night, all he said was “Pooreasy Topkidney”.
I knew exactly what he meant.  I grabbed the bible in the nightstand, instantly found Psalms, and there it was:
Psalm 100 verse 1:
Make a Joyful Noise unto the Lord, all the earth.

We must take the time to grieve.  But we must also understand that Rick wants us to carry on.  It is up to all of us to fill the void created by his passing and make the kind of joyful noise that would make the man who invented Pooreasy Topkidney proud.


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Considering Scrum PlanIT

Written by BL on June 30, 2015 – 4:17 pm -

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Thinking OVER a Game

Written by BL on April 6, 2015 – 10:11 am -

It is very interesting to me that one of the best college basketball games in a very long time is being overshadowed by the immaturity of some “one and dones”. The desire of TBS and ESPN to hype the NBA, and lack of focus on a very well coached, very skilled TEAM that made it to the championship game because they EARNED it, is a very sad commentary on our society. Junior and Seniors winning a national championship would and SHOULD BE very, very good for College basketball. So I am pulling for Wisconsin. But if Duke happens to beat them they will have to EARN it and that is REALLY what the tournament should be about. Note to CBS/TBS/TNT…Don’t corrupt this tournament with your NBA bias…don’t be talking about best of 7 or how any NBA team can beat any of these college teams…I DON’T CARE!
IF we were teaching young men the math, they would know that for the VAST majority, College basketball is a path to an education NOT the NBA, a point that is clearly lost on the talking heads that never LEARNED this or much of anything else (as is evidenced by the slick and funny commercials that celebrate the ignorance of one NBA spokesman).

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Ya Ya Ensamvarg!

Written by BL on September 3, 2014 – 8:31 pm -

This was fun

A Candid Conversation with B.L.

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Am I working?

Written by BL on August 20, 2014 – 5:57 am -


In physics, a force is said to do work when acting on a body there is a displacement of the point of application in the direction of the force.

In thermodynamics, work performed by a system is the energy transferred by the system to another that is accounted for by changes in the external generalized mechanical constraints on the system.

In Webster:

activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something: 

a :  sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result

b :  the labor, task, or duty that is one’s accustomed means of livelihood

 c :  a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity 
In Dobie Gillis:
That to which Maynard G Krebs was averse.
I responded to a query on LinkedIn: “What are you working on?”
“The script for the movie version of my novel, an application that could change the Service Delivery paradigm of large organizations, a website that COULD move political power into the hands of the many, revitalizing my blog,  a website to collect laughter, and a set of software tools to improve our ability to design solutions.”
I could have easily added more, but I realized that, these are really the things that I would like to work on; the stuff of displacement in the direction of force, and Webster’s B and C definitions.  In reality my current “work” seems to be dominated by energy transfer.  At times, especially when interacting on Facebook or LinkedIn this can appear to be the kind of Krebsian anti-work portrayed in the video clip but the online energy transfer that evokes the generalized smile, the occasional guffaw or the firing of an “I never thought of it that way” synapse, seems to achieve a desirable objective.
While, this latter energy transfer is not the stuff that pays the bills, I am a firm believer in Bucky Fuller’s “If you do what Nature intended for you to do, Nature provides”.
Therefore, in what I perceive as the behest of Nature,  I am taking a sabbatical from interrupt driven online interaction and transferring most of my energy to the stuff that has the potential of evoking the generalized smile, the occasional guffaw and firing the “I never thought of it that way” synapse, in our very unnatural, very constrained systems.
It’s a work in progress.
I am sure you will all let me know if it is actually working.

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SE at the Movies

Written by BL on August 10, 2014 – 11:14 am -


Work has begun on the movie version of Considering SomeplacElse…our screenwriter would like some casting suggestions…Any ideas?

And, if you happen to be in Des Moines Iowa, you can check out other projects Brent is working on:

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An Age of Enlightenment?

Written by BL on May 5, 2014 – 8:11 pm -

When I am feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities of tomorrow, the reality of the day, and the fact that too many are dwelling in yesterday…I have a ritual, of sorts:
First I grab my 50 year old Bible and re-read 1st Timothy 4:14…”Do not neglect the gift that was given you…” My Pastor gave me this verse at the conclusion of my Lutheran confirmation.
This always energizes me, even though, 48 years later, I am still not quite sure what I am not supposed to neglect.
Next comes a movie…I have learned much of what I understand about human interaction from TV and Movies…others tell me they like to read, but I much prefer to watch and listen.
Sometimes the movie is given to me via channel surfing, sometimes I am instantly aware of what I NEED to watch, other times I peruse my video library for the title that works.
Then, I write, sometimes here, sometimes on a note pad, sometimes a letter or an email to a friend, occasionally I write a short story and ever more rarely I start to write another novel.
Finally, I watch for the directional sign, pointing me to the next project, the next task, the next idea that I am destined to pursue.

Occasionally, during my adult life, this process has worked incredibly well allowing me to move comfortably down destiny’s path.  Other times ALL signs seem to say “dead end” or merely

Most recently I watched “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (the original), went to see “The Grand Budapest Hotel” accompanied by some incredibly depressing and pathetic previews of coming attractions, and contemplated what it all meant before sitting down to author this post.

From Invasion of the Body Snatchers I felt reassured that I am not destined to fall asleep and become a POD person.  From the previews I realized that I am not of the Millenial/Gen-X mindset and that spending creative energy trying to satisfy this audience would be neglecting my gift.  And from the Grand Budapest, I took away a sense that quality visuals and old world craftsmanship is appealing to just about everyone.

Writing software has been my livelihood for most of my 35 year career and, while I have no problem passing the LED to the next generation of bit heads, I fear that
most of them, will look for a wick, while I am looking for another way to earn a living.  On the other hand, there is something to be said for continuing to write exemplary,
unique solutions that utilize the latest technology to generate a quality visual experience while taking advantage full advantage of old world craftsmanship.

I’ve got a lot to learn, but I can still shed light on that which perplexes and confounds.  Besides, someone has to warn people that there is a reason they made it a little i with an all caps POD “they are everywhere, you’re next! YOU’RE NEXT!”



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Written by BL on March 2, 2014 – 7:30 pm -

Fashion: A prevailing custom or style
Fa: A long, long way to run
FaShun: embracing a prevailing custom or style while failing to appreciate what got you here.

I walked past the line of women sequestered inside the velvet rope waiting for the opportunity to enter an “outlet” store selling purses for $300 and up.
I entered the WiFi enabled food court and saw preschoolers staring intently into their iPads while their parents tapped away on iPhones.
There were easily a dozen people lined up to pay 5 dollars for a cup of coffee, while other adults complained about the hefty cost of a 6 dollar 2 entre, Chinese dinner.
The Faux News Channel provided free propaganda to the assembled throng decrying the cut backs in military spending while demanding the government balance the budget.

8 years ago when I wrote the last chapter of my novel I asked my readers to consider the possibilities afforded merely by allocating our resources someplace else.
Overpriced Fashion, Premium beverages and MORE offensive weaponry is not what I had in mind.
On the other hand, my record as a capitalist clearly demonstrates that pursuit of real value, true innovation and harmonic design rarely earns a substantive living.
CONtent reigns supreme in today’s society.  We buy the logo instead of the product.  We pay for the image not for the substance.  We embrace misdirection
as if it would truly lead us to the promised land.

I made money on my book,
even though it was never on the NY Times best seller list,
even though it wasn’t about vampires or wizards or the triumph and tragedy of apocalyptic teenagers,
even though movie producers loved it but preferred to risk their millions on remakes, reboots and movie versions of TV reruns.

I have been a$ked by many to write a sequel.  I have been a$ked by some to produce CONtent.
But I have to earn a living writing what I know and I know you don’t need anymore of the same old CON.
When it comes to writing software,
there are still those decision makers who cling to the same old same old
and, as in all markets, there are many who choose based on seductive imagery and fashion.
But a perspective that writes to real value, true innovation and harmonic design
CAN still be rewarded.

As I have aged in this business,  I have had little trouble keeping up with changes in software technology.
My “old Data Wrangler’s” perspective allows me to offer a learned opinion on that which will produce real value that which is all hat and no cattle.
However, as my management has become younger and younger, I fear that FaShun is becoming the norm.

I think my perspective will buy me another 6 or 7 years of real employment,
but you never know when adding real value while dressed in jeans, a white button down shirt and “gym” shoes
will cease to be stylish.























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De Motivation is demotivation

Written by BL on February 2, 2014 – 10:30 pm -

Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It’s the difference
between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around
the house all day. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining
goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation
and self-control. So figure out what you want, power through the pain
period, and start being who you want to be…

This Definition from Psychology Today is at best, misleading, at it’s worst, quite damaging.

You could see it in the eyes of Peyton Manning tonight…all the waking up before dawn, goal setting, study, practice, learning and overcoming insurmountable obstacles,
did not allow him to attain his goal…A few days earlier I could see it on the face of my wife, who after nine years of dedication to task, pride swallowing support, 60 hour work weeks and
never missing a day of work or a deadline saw her goal of gainful employment until retirement, disappear.  I felt it in the texts and emails of this past week describing the condition of my 47 year old brother-in-law, whose body has now caught up with a mind and spirit that failed to achieve the artistic life he sought.

One can not blame them for losing the desire to do things.  For not seeing the value in picking yourself up, “powering through the pain and being who you want to be”.
I have lost the big game, lost more than one job, and  failed to achieve what I wanted, oh so many times.
There is a line in the 1st Christopher Reeve Superman movie when Clark is lamenting not being a football player…and his “dad” says to him…”I don’t know why you were put on this earth…but I do know…it was not just to score touchdowns”.

I believe that each loss teaches us one more lesson in who we are and allows us to adjust our path toward what we are MEANT to be.

Yes, pick yourself up.  Yes, work thru the pain.  But don’t just try, try again…adapt, adjust and seek your destiny.
Remember despite the cliché, by definition, NO ONE is in control of their destiny.







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There is no Benefit to Unemployment

Written by BL on January 20, 2014 – 7:08 pm -

Had a radio interview last week, was asked to talk about unemployment…I didn’t really get a chance to share MY views but that is how these things go.

Here is what I wanted to get across:

your book title or area of expertise
Considering SomeplacElse
A modern myth about that last 5 days of a utopian experiment that was founded by a homeless man who was allowed to win the lottery.
I started writing this after being “laid off” from yet another “Blue Chip” Company for the 3rd time in my, then, 25 year career.


your website,
I have an ancient blog at


a description of what you have to offer the audience

Renowned Physicist Richard Feynman had a saying “Perspective is worth 80 IQ points”
1. I try to offer a unique perspective in most everything I do AND I urge my readers to consider the possibilities afforded by merely allocating our resources Someplace Else.


Renowned eccentric genius R. Buckminster Fuller posed the question,
“If we do what Nature intended for use to do, will Nature not provide?”
2. While I am still not sure exactly what Nature intended for me to do, I have found that designing,
building and working in harmony with my environment has provided much more opportunity than merely going along to get along.


In the movie Unforgiven Clint Eastwood’s character states “Deserve’s got nuthin to do with it”
3. No one deserves to be unemployed, yet society seems to think YOU “lost” your job because YOU did something wrong.
In most cases the fault lies with an “organization” that failed to design, build and work in harmony with their environment.


Finally, JFK proposed a “Full Employment, Fiscal Surplus” economic model for the country.
The idea was that if everyone had a job, the country would be better off, and not just  financially.
4. While this kind of economic “stimulus” has fallen out of our rhetoric, from my perspective it’s time to resurrect it.

A. We could start by creating a national registry for the unemployed AND under-employed.
Unemployment is currently calculated by survey NOT by actual count, this is absurd.
(no it does not cost MILLIONS of dollars to build a website that works and it doesn’t have to be built by Canadians)

B. When we are ready to get serious about full employment, I would advocate a public works project to bring fiber connectivity to EVERY household in the USA.
Very high speed internet service would then be offered to every home at a minimal cost. (free to the unemployed)
THIS will have an even greater impact on this country than the Interstate Highway system of the 50s and 60s.

C. I have many other solutions, but they are limited to my perspective.
By considering the perspectives of others we can easily achieve Full Employment and truly solve just about any other problem facing this country.



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