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Rounding up a decade of Deer In Headlines

In Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, Local News, News Media, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Technology, Uncategorized on April 16, 2018 at 8:12 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

I wasn’t quite sure how to start this week’s edition except to just come out with it. The week of April 30, 2018, will be the final print edition of Deer In Headlines. After 10 years, it’s time for me to focus on something new. I greatly appreciate the loyalty of my readers and the opposing views and letters of praise I’ve received over the years. If just one person each week looked at the world just a little differently and appreciated anything new, I’ve accomplished my goal.

I started this column to offer my readers a look at subjects from all sides, rarely giving a hint of my personal opinion, although it was evident when I chose for it to be.  But today clear, logical viewpoints no longer have value. People seem to listen only to blowhards, the ignorant, and people who would rather spew hate than kindness. That’s why I have decided to focus on more positive projects, out of the public eye.

This is not a decision I’ve come to lightly, in fact, I have waivered numerous times in my deliberations about it. Over the last decade, I’ve offered a look at politics, religion, education, science, family, and even given you a glimpse into my personal life as I cared for my parents.

We live in volatile times and some have argued that now is when we need a clearer, more rational voice in the media. They may be right, but mine is simply not loud enough to be heard above all the noise of anger, fear, and ignorance out there.

There is a lot of negativity out there and I have worked hard to bring you thoughtful content. I’ve always hoped you’d take away something from the effort, even if, especially if, you didn’t agree with me.

I’ve always said I like to surround myself with smart people who disagree with me because it means I am forced to examine my own convictions, and I hope I’ve done that for you from time to time. If you’ve enjoyed my work, thank you. I appreciate your time and loyalty. If you haven’t, then I’m not sure why you’re even reading this, but, thank you anyway.

For more than 500 editions and in some 360,000 words, I have shared my observations of the world around us. I’ve found that most people are good and decent and try to do their best to improve the world around them. I’ve also seen some ugly things in researching these pieces, information I kind of wish I had never learned. As they say, ignorance is bliss, but I’m afraid I don’t operate that way.

I will continue my work quietly, however, in the background, making a difference by other means. I serve on charitable boards of directors, care for my family, and work to affect change in more concrete ways.

The world is a mess and our country is too, but I can’t do anything about it in the rail column of a newspaper because the people who could make a difference simply don’t want to listen. Still, as ugly as it can seem at times, the world is also a beautiful place, one of a kind – a spinning ball of life making its way around the sun, year after year, as our galaxy moves through the vast emptiness of space.

It was here millions of years before us, and it’ll be here millions of years after we’ve gone. We are but renters and if I were the landlord, I wouldn’t give back the deposit. But that’s a discussion for another time.

As you can see, I’m not done with my opinions quite yet and there are two editions to go. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be summing up the last decade in a look back at a few of my predictions for politics, newsmakers, and various other areas I’ve touched on over the years. I hope you’ll join me in these last editions, and thank you again.

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Remote work builds community, grows revenue

In Business, Economy, Education, finances, Jobs, Local News, National News, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on February 26, 2018 at 10:22 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

As an entrepreneur, I have founded and grown three businesses over the last two decades. Each of them was started from my home office and eventually moved to another building, but still on my home properly.

When I first became an independent professional and started my own company, there was a stigma attached to “working from home.” For some reason, what we now refer to as remote workers were seen as less professional than our cubicle-bound counterparts.

Today, remote work, whether it’s from home or your favorite café, is becoming more common and better accepted by the business world. Remote workers are found in a variety of industries from journalism and finance to business coaching to insurance.

For all of that, however, there are essentially just two categories of remote worker. The first type, we used to call “telecommuters,” or people who are employed by a company which allows them to work from home or other off-site location.

According to a recent Gallup survey, 43 percent of all American employees work remotely at least some of the time. The survey found that workers who spent up to 80 percent of time outside the office had the highest rates of engagement. They were more productive and reported greater job satisfaction.

The remote work support informational website, Remote.com, noted also that remote workers exhibit lower stress and better morale. It also noted a lower rate of absenteeism.

The second type of remote worker is the independent professional, or what most people would commonly refer to as a freelancer. Many freelancers, like myself and other writers or consultants, are almost totally nomadic, needing only a computer and a Wi-Fi connection to be productive.

In the past, most “freelancers” were expected to be writers, photographers, artists, and the like. But today, independent, remote workers come from a variety of market sectors. Coding, for example, is more commonly a remote job. Coders develop websites, create apps, and work in areas like cybersecurity.

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of remote work, either to a corporate employer or a freelancer, is significantly reduced overhead. For a freelancer, setting up an office could be impractical, operationally and financially. Large companies with off-site staff can save millions of dollars a year in real estate, utilities, and other overhead costs.

Another benefit to working outside the corporate maze is potential interaction with a larger business community and the collaboration that can result from those connections. Many independents and corporate remotes are getting together at co-working meetup events, giving them the opportunity to network and collaborate.

As much social as it is professional, the experience allows those workers who might spend a great deal of the time working alone to build a community. Plus, there are also opportunities for a more formalized co-working environment.

Co-share workspaces have cropped up around the country offering remote workers a member-based workspace and the chance to exchange ideas and projects with others. These spaces charge memberships that come with various amenities that could be as little as a desk space or multi-employee workspaces, with many different types of independent professional under one roof.

If you’re a business owner with jobs to fill that don’t necessarily require the employee to be on-site all the time, consider hiring a remote worker. Remote and independent professionals are the ideal self-starter, typically efficient time managers, and are less likely to contribute to high turnover.

You won’t be sorry, and it’s the future of work. Embracing it now and developing policies and procedures will put your business light-years ahead of everyone else. Flexibility can greatly encourage productivity and increase profits.

For remote professionals looking for a co-working community, just visit Meetup.com and search on “Dayton co-working.” Most of the activities are free of charge, except for whatever refreshments you might purchase on your own. Or visit deerinheadlines.com for some links to local co-working activities scheduled throughout the area.

 

REMOTE WORK RESOURCES:

Co-Working Meetup / Yellow Springs: https://www.meetup.com/Creative-Pros-Collaborative/

Job Postings: https://weworkremotely.com/

Working Remotely (Twitter): https://twitter.com/workingrem

Resources for Full-Time Freelancers: https://www.themuse.com/advice/every-resource-a-fulltime-freelancer-could-ever-need-plus-some

Business Consulting / Coaching for Remote Workers & Freelancers: http://www.gldenterprises.net

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at gerydeer.com

Living Longer vs. Living Better

In Children and Family, Health, Local News, Opinion, psychology, Science, Senior Lifestyle, State News, Technology, Uncategorized on December 26, 2017 at 8:07 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

Modern medicine is an incredible thing, with breakthroughs almost daily that range from simple treatments for common ailments to advanced organ transplants. Through those great medical innovations, the lifespan of the average person is now well into the 80s, with better living through chemistry, or so they want us to believe.

But while we treat one area of illness another continues to progress making it seem like we’re falling apart in little pieces. Where we once just dropped dead from something simple like a heart attack, now it seems we deteriorate bit by bit, with each component of our bodies being held together by a separate roll of medical duct tape.

Think of it this way. We take a pill for blood thinning so we don’t have a clot and get a stroke or heart attack. We take a pill for diabetes to keep our glucose levels down. But at the same time, our mind is intact, with virtually no deterioration. Or maybe it’s the opposite, Alzheimer’s shreds the mind while the body is still healthy. Eventually, the body follows in decay since the Alzheimer’s begins to affect how the nervous system functions.

Thanks to modern science, we’re living longer than ever, but I wouldn’t call it healthier or with much of a quality of life. There’s something to be said for just having the lights go out all at once. One of the most horrific things I have had to endure is watching my mother’s mind go as her body still functioned reasonably well. Or what might be worse, having an active, clear mind trapped in a degenerating body that refuses to follow the brain’s instructions any longer.

At what point are we living too long for our own good and quality of life? Can medical science develop a plan to help the entire body and mind maintain the same or reasonably similar level of health for as long as possible? I don’t think that’s really possible.

So, here we are, a pill for this and a potion for that, all in the name of better living through chemistry. Granted, much of what’s wrong with us is their our doing – smoking, drinking, sugar, fat, it goes on and on. Personal responsibility as one ages should at least be taken into account here. We are what we eat, and boy, it’s a mess.

Formaldehyde and chemicals in our water, the carcinogenic material in our meat, pesticides in our vegetables, super-sized everything at the fast food counter, vaping (yeah, like that’s not smoking, whatever). It’s all killing us. But don’t worry, there’s a pill to counteract the effects of all that, so don’t worry about it.

Isn’t it idiotic, though, how much of what happens to us as we age is our own fault? We’re getting older, but we’re sicker when we live longer. When we won’t take care of ourselves even in the short term, someone else has to pay for that later on.

Last year, for example, obesity-related illness cost Americans nearly $200 billion and treating sickness related to smoking cost more than $300 billion. But wait, there’s more! Excessive use of alcohol costs Americans $249 billion.

Fighting obesity is sadly not as simple as trading a cheeseburger for a celery stick. It takes a full and complete lifestyle overhaul that may require generations to affect a family line. But you can totally prevent alcohol and tobacco illness by never lighting up or popping open that cold one.

Addiction may be a disease, but even that is 100-percent preventable because that first drink or smoke is a choice. A penny toward prevention is worth billions toward a cure.

Well, some of this we have control over, some we don’t. It’s so hard to imagine how people can just not care about their own well-being and how that affects those around them. As we age, we need more help from others. Wouldn’t it be great if that burden were just a little easier on our loved ones?

Yes, we’re living longer. But, despite what the big pharmaceutical company advertisements tell you, the quality of that long life is not measured in milligram doses.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at gerydeer.com

The needs of the many

In Charities, Education, history, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Uncategorized on December 25, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

There is a quote from the Star Trek science fiction franchise that has been repeated often throughout the various television series and movies, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” The phrase was first spoken by Leonard Nimoy’s character of Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as he tries to reassure his Admiral Kirk about a command decision.

It might be a fictional source, but the sentiment carries a great deal of merit, especially in today’s self-gratification-focused society. The concept is based on a logical determination wherein decisions are made to favor the needs over those of a large population of just a few individuals or even a single person.

Much of the time decisions are made from a very personal, emotional point of view. And there are people out there who simply live in their own little reality, completely oblivious to how their own behavior affects others, so logical thinking just isn’t within their comprehension. But there are three areas where people can make a difference in affecting the lives of far more than themselves and the few who might immediately benefit from a single decision.

First, the needs of the many should be the primary concern of government officials – always. At the state and federal levels, members of legislature seem far less concerned with helping their whole citizen constituency but rather filling their own coffers and lining the pockets of their big donors.

The local level seems to be more about ego, people who want to have their name on everything and be the big fish in the small pond. If those who are sent to represent “the people” would actually do that for a change, the country would be in a far better state.

In business, the idea is to make a buck and show a profit, and those aren’t bad things because they mean jobs and a growing economy. But when business benefits from bad practice, like unregulated pollution or any other activity that could cause harm either physically or economically to an outside population.

Commerce can be community-minded and still make money, the two needn’t be mutually exclusive. Everyone will benefit when a business focuses on the needs of the many, instead of the needs of the stockholder or management chasing the next bonus, whatever the cost.

Individually, each person can make a difference by just taking a moment to consider the consequences of every decision. When people consider the larger picture and understand how their choices affect those around them, the outcome can be far more appealing to everyone affected.

The first thing that comes to mind is intoxicated or distracted driving. Waiting to send that next text or check Twitter, calling a cab or Uber after a particularly “loaded” holiday bash could literally save lives.

What hasn’t been revealed here is that, at some point, the needs of the few, or the one, outweigh the needs of the many. Not because of logic, but because we are human, and we make illogical, emotional decisions and sometimes that’s a good thing.

As a family caregiver for a special needs child or an elderly parent, for example, you might need to adjust your day-to-day activity to accommodate your charge. One person, who requires that the world adjusts to them sometimes. And no one is perfect. But, most people will put the needs of that individual first, weighing how everyday decisions affect everyone involved.

Sadly, it is impossible to change some people and altering the “me” mindset of a culture could very well take generations. Plus, there will always be power-hungry politicians, self-absorbed celebrities, and that one neighbor who continually throws her dog droppings over the fence into the next yard.

In the end, the problem is all about people; illogical, unpredictable, impulsive, self-driven people. It would be great, though, if we, as a society, could start thinking in a more logical manner, something incredibly unlikely given the current state of entitlement and gluttony that has overrun America. Maybe with a little effort on the part of each individual, everyone might eventually, Live Long, and Prosper. See what I did there?

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at gldenterprises.net.

Avoid Election Misdirection

In Education, history, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, sociology, State News, Uncategorized on October 19, 2017 at 6:08 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

With an election coming up, it’s important to keep focused on what’s going on here at home rather than be distracted by the childish circus that has become Washington. Do you know what local governmental seats are up for grabs or the effect the next school levy might have on you if it fails?

Most of the time, we focus our attention on big stories from national news sources and lose sight of the things that really matter. Sometimes, that’s exactly what the politicians, pundits, and issue-pushers want to happen. Politics might seem, on the surface, about an open debate between candidates or issues, but it’s mostly about misdirection.

In the 2016 presidential election, the Trump camp used misdirection and the divided state of the Democratic base to push their message. While people who could greatly alter the outcome of the election were busy with the chaos on the left, Trump’s people had more opportunity to manipulate the right and win over some middle-of-the-road and undecided voters. The same thing happens on a much smaller scale right in your own backyard.

Most local candidates, regardless of whether they are incumbent, hope that simple name recognition will do the trick. Buying a few local newspaper ads and planting hundreds of signs everywhere can give them just that, not so much recognition but a hope that people can’t remember the names of the others.

Think about it. When you step into a voting booth and there’s a seat open for township trustee (and you barely know what a trustee is, much less any of their names), you’re going to pick the name you remember. In the back of your mind, you’ve seen the signs and ads everywhere of the guy who spent the most at the print shop so you touch the screen on his name and that’s that.

Then there’s some human services levy up for a vote and you have no idea what the fine print says, but it’s for the hospital, or children’s services issue right? What kind of person would you be if you say no to that, so what if you have no idea that it’s going to double your property tax for the next five years? This might seem exaggerated but the point is clear – learn about these candidates and issues before that Tuesday in November.

In this year’s election, the state issue that stands out as most confusing to people seems to be Ohio Issue 2, the drug price standards initiative. Both sides have spent a fortune in print, digital, direct mail, and broadcast advertising trying to sway your vote one way or the other, and it’s only going to increase.

We won’t spend any time on the issue here, but suffice to say that it’s controversial because it involves Medicare drug pricing agreements between the state government and pharma companies. Talk about an unholy alliance. Can you think of any two organizations that have proven to care less about the plight of the average citizen? That’s why it’s so confusing to people.

But, you’re going to have to go look up the exact wording, but take your lawyer with you. Actually, that may not help, because the language of these proposals is made overly complicated for a reason – so you can’t understand them. That’s no accident. The more complex the wording, the more confusing it is to the voter. Mission accomplished.

Remember that the local elections mean far more than the national ones in the grand scheme of things. Pay as close attention as possible to these smaller ballots because the outcomes have a far more immediate effect on your day-to-day life.

Most of these candidates have little or no money to spend on advertising so you may not even see their names until you get to your polling place. You’ll have to do some digging. Your county elections board has all the information you need to get started understanding these issues before it comes time to punch a chad, pull a lever, or tap a screen.

Take the time to know for whom and what you’re voting. It’s up to you to make the best choice for yourself and your community.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. More at deerinheadlines.com

Live Halloween Season Short Story Reading at Books & Co, Oct 20.

In Books, Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Education, Literature, Local News, sociology, Uncategorized on September 28, 2017 at 1:52 pm

Beavercreek, OH – Ghosts and goblins make for great storytelling, as does the change from the heat of summer to the cool, crispness of the autumn air. At 7PM on Friday, October 20th, specially chosen authors from the Western Ohio Writers Association will perform their own original tales of the season at their Halloween 2017 Beatnik Cafe event on the second floor of Books & Co. at The Greene. Many participating authors and spectators will be in costume. The event is free and open to the public.

Readers from a Beatnik Halloween of years past.

The WOWA Beatnik Cafe reading is a quarterly presentation that pays homage to the hole-in-the-wall poetry clubs of the 1960’s, but with a more modern style. Performing original work, each writer will take the mic to dazzle audiences with short stories, poetry or who knows what. The event is free and open to the public.

Jamestown writer and entrepreneur Gery L. Deer is the co-founder and executive director of the organization. “WOWA was intended to provide a regular resource for peer critique, educational programs and networking opportunities to local writers of all genres, both amateur and professional,” he says. “The Beatnik Café offers the public a chance for a glimpse at some of the most talented writers in the region as they showcase their work, in person, to entertain and enlighten.”

“Our group consists of professional and hobbyist writers, all of whom check their egos at the door,” Deer continues. “All are willing to offer help, a fresh eye and, sometimes, more importantly, an honest opinion about the quality of the work – good or bad.”

600_376854182Writers come from all around the region – southwest central Ohio, eastern Indiana and northern Kentucky – to attend monthly workshops, critique sessions, educational lectures and write-in events. Meetings are held at 7 p.m., on the first Thursday of the month at the Event Connections, 4140 Linden Ave. in Dayton, near the intersection of US 35 and Woodman Drive.

About to embark on its nineth year, WOWA members definitely have plenty to celebrate. In addition to the many individual members who have been published on their own thanks in part to the support from the group, in 2013, eleven of the WOWA authors were featured in an anthology titled, “Flights of Fiction,” produced by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. and published by Loconeal Publishing (ISBN: 978-0-9885289-4-9). The book features stories set in and around the southwest Ohio region and is available in print and electronic formats from the WOWA website as well as Amazon and BN.com.

The Beatnik Café is a family-friendly presentation of WOWA and GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. Books & Co. is located at 4453 Walnut St. at The Greene in Beavercreek. For more information, go online to http://www.westernohiowriters.org or call (937) 902-4857.

Jamestown entrepreneur elected to Prevent Blindness state Board of Directors

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Health, Local News, Science, Uncategorized on September 27, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Gery L. Deer was recently elected to the state board of Prevent Blindness.

The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness, the state’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to preventing blindness and preserving sight, elected Jamestown resident Gery Deer, CEO/owner, GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. to the Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting on May 17, 2017, for a three-year term.

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness is the state’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to the preservation of sight. The agency serves all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight.

“I’ve been a volunteer with Prevent Blindness since 2015 because, although it’s not as glamorous as other causes may seem, eye health and safety affects everyone,” said Deer. “More than 50-percent of all blindness is preventable and our job is to make people aware of what they can do to keep their eyes safe and healthy.” Using the resources of his communications company, Deer has succeeded in advancing the statewide awareness of the organization through increased print, web and television exposure.

Deer’s support for Prevent Blindness doesn’t end with one board, however. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Board, as Chair of the Miami Valley Ohio Chapter Executive Council, and as Chair of the Communications and Development Committee of that chapter. For the last two years, he has served as the Master of Ceremonies for the organization’s major fundraiser, the People of Vision Luncheon. For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020. Or, on the web, at www.pbohio.org or facebook.com/pbohio and Twitter at @PB_Ohio.

Holding our politicians accountable.

In Local News on July 3, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

You can’t mention “presidential tapes” or recordings without thinking of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. His secret Oval Office recordings were considered a threat to the transparency and legitimacy of the executive branch.

Add to that just over 18 minutes that had been “accidentally” erased, a failed attempt to hide the tapes and controversy was bound to erupt. Of course, Nixon wasn’t the first U.S. President to record his private conversations. That tradition began in 1940 with Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Today President Donald Trump is under fire for secret recordings of his own. Most in question are those that might have shed some light on the sudden, yet predictable, firing of former FBI Director James Comey.  He was let go, in this writer’s opinion, because he’s not a “yes man.” Comey may have been the last independent mind anywhere close to this bizarrely-manned administration.

But these mysterious recordings are creating more mistrust of Trump’s presidency and already being compared to Watergate, almost by design, by the unpredictable Commander-In-Chief himself. So far, no recordings have been released and no special prosecutors have been named to continue the Russian election tampering investigation.

It’s highly unlikely that no other presidents kept secret recordings of calls and personal conversations. To think so would just be ignorantly naive. So why is it such a big deal to people now, and begs the question, do Americans really care? The answer is … complex.

As with any political issue, it’s more than likely the only people who care about these issues are those in opposition to whomever the controversy is aimed at in the first place. In Trump’s case, it makes sense that the Democrats will call him on this, and every other issue.

Plus, he’s earned a great deal of criticism from his own party so those Republicans who don’t support this president will also have something to say on it; partly to hold him accountable and partly so they get a few minutes behind a microphone somewhere.

It’s logical to assume that opposing parties would want to push this issue. Most people probably believe the men and women at such a high government level are untouchable and pretty much do what they want to do, however, and whenever they feel like it. That’s probably true to a point and Trump has certainly made it clear that he will remain off of his tether for the duration.

The citizenry depends on those we send to Washington to keep the president, and each other, accountable for his or her actions. Unfortunately, to do so might also mean political and professional suicide. Crossing someone in your own party, particularly the party leader such as the president, could cost you any future support from within, regardless of your public popularity.

If Senator John Q. Public wants to be re-elected next term, he’s going to have to keep his head down, support his party leadership, and vote like they, and his contributors, tell him to vote. That’s how politics is done and if you think otherwise, once again, that’s a bit naïve.

In a way, we all figure it will work itself out and our democratic system of checks and balances will keep things moving in the right direction, but I’m not sure that’s wise. To be clear, nothing that is going on right now is new, not by any stretch of the imagination. But what has always kept the balance of power were people willing to stand up to the status quo and hold our politicians accountable.

It is pretty disappointing to accept that the average American has absolutely no interest in what’s going on and feels so out of control. But even if you don’t have a newspaper column, you can write to Congress and your party representatives.

Whatever your party affiliation or your feelings toward the Trump administration, the only way to make a difference is to get involved and that starts by speaking your mind. The only way to keep our elected officials in check is to constantly remind them that we are their employers, and they’re obligations are to us.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. More online at gerydeer.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young Xenia actress selected as MC for variety show

In Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Education, Entertainment, Local News, Media, Theatre, Uncategorized on June 21, 2017 at 12:26 pm

Actress, dancer, Amanda Bass

Xenia, Ohio – Amanda Bass, (12) of Xenia, has been selected to serve as the emcee for an exclusive, one-night-only, performance of “The Brothers & Co. Variety Show,” at 8:00 PM on Saturday, July 1 at the historic Plaza Theatre in Miamisburg, Ohio. The show is free of charge for all ages and ticket reservations can be made online at myplazatheatre.org.

The Brothers & Co. Variety Show is a 90-minute, live stage performance featuring four-part harmonies, instrumentation, Wild West stunts, award-winning classic magic and original comedy routines. Tickets are free for all ages.

Bass recently finished work on several episodes of the ThinkTV / PBS program, “I Can Be Anything I Want to Be A to Z.” The show is set in a “career lab,” where Bass’s character, “Charley,” is one of three kids investigating various career options, from A to Z. The show is slated for a statewide run this fall. This will be the young actress’s first time hosting a stage performance, but she is no stranger to live entertainment.

In addition to her appearances in several student films and as a dancer in the Dayton Ballet’s annual presentation of, “The Nutcracker,” Bass also participates in her family show. Her parents, Kirk and Melodee, are Wild West arts performers known as, “Bass Blades,” a knife throwing act based in Xenia. The younger Bass has performed with her parents and alongside

The younger Bass has performed with her parents and alongside family friend, writer and entrepreneur, Gery L. Deer, who is the director, pianist, bullwhip artist, and executive producer of “The Brothers & Co. Variety Show.” Deer also pointed out that he decided to include young Amanda to host the July 1st show because of her performance on the PBS series.

Amanda Bass with Brothers & Co. producer, Gery L. Deer, at the premier of her TV debut for PBS / ThinkTV

The Brothers & Co. started in 1995 and are best known locally for covers of The Statler Brothers music. Their repertoire stretches across country and oldies genres including music by The Monkees, John Denver, and George Jones as well as many original pieces. Each performer is involved in creating original content for the show and the group’s fourth voice, Ed Jones, cousin of the Deer brothers, is their acoustic guitarist.

The show also marks the return of Gary Deer, Jr., vocalist and percussionist of the group, after almost two years of recovery from a serious illness. “Ours is a kind of show you don’t see anymore and it’s fun for anyone,” he said.

“We are offering this free show to both give people a look at the beautiful Plaza Theatre and give families a financial break for one night,” said Gery Deer about the July show. “All you need to buy is the popcorn!”

Of course, shows still run on money. Limited commercial sponsorships for the performance are still available ranging from $100 to $250 through June 30. The first five, $250 sponsors will receive a live, 30-second commercial during the show presented by one of The Brothers & Co. performers. A signed 18×14-inch poster of the show will be raffled as well with proceeds going to The Plaza Theatre Association. Doors open at 7:30 PM and refreshments will be on sale in the lobby. For show times and venue information please call The Plaza Theatre at (937) 247-5980.

Deer In Headlines: The elusive art of small talk

In Health, Local News, Opinion, psychology, sociology, Uncategorized on June 5, 2017 at 9:03 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer
I recently read a 2016 article in the New Yorker, in which journalist Karan Mahajan wrote about his personal experience as an immigrant trying to comprehend and learn to use American small talk. After a decade in the States, Mahajan, originally from Delhi, finally mastered the art of small talk and discussed its role in American society.

The complexity and difficulty of small talk aren’t lost in the fictional world as well. I recall an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which Lt. Commander Data, the android character on the science fiction show, was fascinated by the concept of small talk and spent a good part of the program trying to mimic the innate skills of another officer.

Although I grew up in the American heartland, I can completely relate to Mahajan and Data’s struggle to comprehend and apply this most useless but unmistakably necessary communication skill. But what is small talk and why do we do it?

According to UrbanDictionary.com, “small talk” is defined as, “Useless and unnecessary conversation attempted to fill the silence in an awkward situation. Usually is initiated by comments regarding the current weather, weather pattern of the past/future few days or major weather disturbances in the recent past.”

In day-to-day conversation, can be characterized in a casual exchange at a checkout counter when someone says, “how’s your day,” or waiting in a long queue for coffee, “they’re really busy today, huh?” I’ve also noticed that the person who initiates the attempted conversation is generally the one who feels most uncomfortable in the situation. Oddly, when I feel that way I tend to get quieter, not more talkative, probably a symptom of my lack of assimilation to this concept.

In his article, Mahajan suggests that American society is one where we all want to believe we like each other and that conversation should be easy among strangers. However, we only want to communicate to the line of privacy that should never be crossed leaving a sort of empty space where the meaningful conversation should be if we allowed it. Small talk is how we fill that void.

Politicians use small talk to placate voters on the campaign trail or at public events. Hairdressers and barbers are master small talkers, as often are restaurant servers, cashiers and others in the retail industry. Don’t misunderstand, that isn’t an insult by any means, quite the opposite.

Phone small talk is another thing at which I’ve never been very good. I really don’t like the phone at all. I don’t understand getting on the phone and talking and talking, largely about nothing. And I see people doing this all of the time. I just don’t get it. If I’m taking the time to call you, it’s important and needs some level of substantial discussion. Otherwise, text me. I can answer when I have the chance and it doesn’t interrupt my day.

I consider myself to have someone of an above average grasp of the English language and still this talent eludes me. It’s a valuable skill in many respects and sometimes people think it’s a “city” thing.

In my opinion, however, the “gift of gab,” as it is sometimes called, is far more common in rural communities than in more urban settings. You may have heard it said of someone that he or she, “never met a stranger.” What that means is that the individual in question has an easy time saying hello and striking up a conversation with pretty much anyone.

Many people in my family tend to be that way. When I was growing up I’d watch my dad go back and forth with a restaurant server or gas station attendant for what seemed to me as hours. I’d sit and wait while he discussed the traffic or the gas mileage of his farm truck or whatever. I never understood it.

I am just not the open communicator that one might need to be in those situations. I’m never rude, but I can be brusque. I just want to get in and get out. That said, there are people in or near my hometown that I know who work in various places and I’ll say hello or talk to them about something more meaningful. I enjoy those interactions, but I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to do so for my sake.

To me small talk is uniquely American and it has an important, albeit innocuous place in our society. I do wish, though, that when we could find more substantial common ground upon which to begin a dialogue with one another. Maybe someday.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. More at deerinheadlines.com