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A matter of alternative fact

In history, Media, National News, News Media, Opinion, Politics, Uncategorized, World News on January 30, 2017 at 9:24 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOThere has been a great deal of discussion in the media of late about “facts” and the incomprehensible notion of “alternative facts.” Considering such dialogue, it’s only fitting to review what constitutes a “fact” and if, indeed, there can be any possibility an alternative to any fact. Confused yet? We’re just getting started.

First, we need to define the word, “fact.” What does it mean? Where does it come from? Is a fact out of context still a fact? Is a fact the same thing as the truth?

Well, according to merriam-webster.com, the definition of the word “fact” is listed as follows.  Pronounced, “fakt,” it is a noun meaning: 1. A thing done 2. Archaic 3. The quality of being actual 4. Something that has actual existence or an actual occurrence and 5. A piece of information presented as having objective reality. OK, that’s a lot of material, so let’s focus on definitions 4 and 5 from our list.

Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway spins the "alternative facts" from the White House.  Photo courtesy NBC News

Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway spins the “alternative facts” from the White House. Photo courtesy NBC News

Starting with number 4, “Something that has actual existence or an actual occurrence,” we might best illustrate this in the following phrases. “It is a fact that water is vital to life,” or “prove the fact of damage to the house after the storm.”
If you stop watering your plants, they die. Stop drinking water and you die too. These notions are “facts” because we know them to be impartial. If a house is destroyed by a storm, the wreckage is visual and cannot be disputed. These things are all “facts.”

Moving on to definition number 5, “A piece of information presented as having objective reality,” the key word to focus on is, “objective.” To be objective something must be taken impartially and without bias.

For example, two people could easily agree on the color of a house, in this case without worrying about a specific shade. Bob says the house is green. Mary says the house is green. Bob and Mary aren’t looking at the location, style or anything else that may prejudice their judgment of the structure, only that it is green. That’s what it means to be objective. Therefore, for information to be factual, it must be viewed objectively.

Somewhat confusing, however, is that a fact can be argued for its validity of context, but not as to whether it is a fact. A great example of this is the idea of global warming.

Politically, there’s a good deal of disagreement between liberals and conservatives about this concept. Scientists have factual evidence that the earth is, “in fact,” growing hotter, over all. But the context of the facts is where the disagreement lies.

Is the fact of global warming a direct result of man’s poor energy choices and pollution? Or, is global warming the natural result of the planet’s life cycle and nothing we do will have the slightest effect one way or another? This is where the argument takes the facts and places them in opposing context.

Where does “truth” come into all of this? Most people make decisions about politics, religion, and just about every other emotionally-charged concept, based on what they believe to be the truth, with little thought to what might be factual. That’s where this all gets a bit murky.

Indiana Jones may have offered the best explanation of this idea, from a scientific perspective. In “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” he said to his class, “Archaeology is the search for ‘fact,’ not ‘truth.’ If it’s truth you’re interested in, (the) philosophy class is right down the hall.”

What he meant was that in something like philosophy, as in religion and politics, “truth” is largely dependent on your point of view (a subjective belief). While archaeology, and other sciences – physics, meteorology, chemistry, etc. – are based on objective, factual study, unemotional and unbiased.

What all of this objectively leads to is the conclusion that a “fact” cannot have an alternative – it either exists or it doesn’t. It’s logical then to deduce that an ‘alternative fact’ can likely be only one other thing – a lie.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Hypocrisy and rants of the Hollywood left

In National News, Opinion, Politics, Uncategorized, World News on January 18, 2017 at 10:14 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

When actor Meryl Streep took the stage to accept her Golden Globe award on January 9, she did something that has become a bad habit among the Hollywood elite. Instead of a sincere speech giving thanks for the honor, Streep chose to use the network TV time, and captive audience, to lash out in a thinly vailed diatribe against president-elect Donald Trump.

Meryl Streep and her entertainment cohorts have a right to voice an opinion. But the awards show is not the proper venue in which to vent. Grandstanding to whine about the inequities of life because you have a viable platform to your advantage is exactly what the liberal left is always complaining about.

img_6238I need to be clear, I don’t think much of Streep, and I’m sure she could care less about my opinion. But I believe most of her type are hypocritical millionaires who are incredibly overpaid to pretend for a living.

Primarily a group of babied, narcissists who live in multi-million-dollar mansions, and surrounded by personal assistants, yes men, and “handlers,” these people are far more out of touch with reality than any of the politicians the spend so much time attacking in the media. Which brings me to the second point of this piece – why do Americans put so much value in the opinions of these people in the first place?

Rather than listen to the thinking minds of the day, whether academic or political, or even the few top-notch journalists that are out there, the politically apathetic tend to absorb the opinion of actors and celebrities. It makes no sense to me. They have no qualifications to offer any such opinions but “act”- pun intended – as if they have the pulse of the socioeconomic state.

I have a great deal of respect for those I have worked with in the entertainment industry over the years. I’ve known incredibly successful and famous people as well as those who are just getting by.

Most of them do their best to entertain, earn their pay, and move on to the next project without feeling the need to stump for a political cause. That’s not to say being public about your politics is bad, it’s just that there is a proper time and place to voice your opinion.

The truth of politics, religion, even science, is that people hear what they want to hear and repeat what they “believe” to be the facts – or the facts according to personal perception. The challenge is altering that perception so that it’s more in line with the facts than with the opinions of someone else.

To me, hijacking the stage at an awards show is very much like someone who rants at their job all day about politics to whoever will listen. Same goes for religion, or whatever else might not be the best conversation in a professional setting.

Make no mistake, I believe Trump is a bad move for our country. But I must point out that back when Barack Obama was elected, anyone who voiced a negative word against him was immediately labeled (by the liberal left) unpatriotic, or worse yet, a racist.

It’s obvious that the media is firmly against Trump and his buddies. He is unlikely to ever get a fair treatment by the press – nor is he going to give them any latitude without flashback for all the negative coverage. It’s not a press holding power accountable – they just don’t like him.

Trump doesn’t seem to care what the media says. The Donald’s take more like the schoolyard bully who gets away with shoving some kid to the ground and then, thumbs in ears and fingers up like rocking antlers, sticks out his tongue in an exhibit of, “Nanny, nanny boo boo.”

Streep’s rant – however graciously delivered it may have been – was inappropriate for the setting. Much in the way that I don’t want to listen to a musician’s politics when I’ve paid to attend a concert. Save it for the op-ed pages or write your memories or something, but if I’d wanted to hear a political speech, I’d have tuned into C-SPAN instead of the Golden Globes.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines can be seen online and on WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton program in video form. Visit gerydeer.com for more.

The invisible side of caregiving.

In Children and Family, finances, Health, Jobs, Local News, National News, Opinion, psychology, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on January 10, 2017 at 9:32 pm

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

12191385_10153464406329342_2088873762632508759_oWhen you think of the term “caregiver,” you might have the image in your head of the dutiful family member looking out for an elderly parent or disabled child. What you see in public or on the surface is someone helping a senior citizen do her shopping or teaching a child with limited mobility to use an iPad. But, it’s the stuff you never see that is really the hard part of the job.

Caring for a family member is not something that comes with many benefits. Actually, there is only one benefit – looking after your loved one. Yes, there are some people who get paid to take care of a family member, but that’s rare and extremely difficult to

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Shower prep for caregivers can be like gearing up for battle. Helping a senior parent with every day personal care can be hard to get used to – for both – but extremely necessary.

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Medicines must be cataloged, dosed, and set into daily dispense containers. Tracking of administration is also necessary to ensure proper care, safety and financial maintenance.

Personal care is one of the hardest parts of caring for a senior parent. Different than helping a child with these issues, an elderly adult has a different perception of self-sufficiency and personal dignity. I can’t even imagine how hard it is for my father that he now needs help just to do something as simple as shaving or taking a shower.

As a Parkinson’s sufferer, Dad can’t hold his hands still enough to shave with a safety razor and we’ve had to go to an electric model. He does his best to try to do it on his own, but his hands can’t apply any pressure to the razor on his face so it misses, well, pretty much everything. So once a week, we do a complete, clean shave starting with a trimmer.

Showers also require some consideration to personal dignity while trying to ensure complete cleanliness. When I help Dad with a shower, it’s like gearing up for battle. It’s tough to get used to, for both of us. But we do our best. I just try to make sure he gets in and out without injury, get him clean and get him dressed. How would you feel if, suddenly, your children had to help you with trimming nails, combing hair, or washing? You have to be aware of your charge’s discomfort while still meeting the needs.

Managing medications is also a challenge for caregivers. I’m actually pretty lucky in our situation because Dad’s meds – for now at least – can be divided into two daily packets. Every Sunday, I refill a daily box dispenser and we have a record book to record every dose administered and by whom.

14192078_10154177027939342_4999691246789055042_nMoney is probably the biggest sore spot for many caregivers as well because we end up having to handle our own homes as well as the finances of our charge. It wasn’t long after my mother became ill that I learned who the money manager of the house was as I grew up.

As is common with many elderly folks, Dad was letting bills go unpaid, utilities were being cut off, debt was mounting and statements lay unopened, piling up on the kitchen table – Never again. My siblings and I took over managing his money and paid off all his major debt so we only have living expenses, medicines and doctor bills to worry about.

The problem is that things won’t stay that way. People don’t understand how little Medicare and its supplements really cover and the expenses continue to mount as a senior’s care grows more complicated because things like Parkinson’s continue to progress.

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Adjusting work to caregiver life is rarely easy, sometimes it is impossible. Many caregivers have to choose one over the other.

Naturally, The U.S. Congress is far too busy voting itself another ridiculous raise and cutting Social Security to bother considering how to better spend money to care for its citizens. After all, it’s “our” money. And there is no outside financial support for caregivers.

So, the bills continue to roll in – co-pays, lift chairs, vaccinations, home care (yes, it’s mostly self-pay), unforeseen changes in the health of the patient and the understanding that with Parkinson’s, diabetes and glaucoma, my father will get worse, even with the best possible care.

Tons of other things come into play too. When you’re a caregiver, you’re often the housekeeper, accountant, chef, chauffeur, nurse, clothes and dishwasher, and much more. The rest of the world doesn’t see the countless hours spent making sure the things like cracker packets and juice bottles are stored in a way he can easily open them with limited mobility.

Over the years, I’ve written many times about my experiences in helping to care for my parents. But people I meet always seem to be shocked how much we have to do that no one ever sees. So, when you see someone out in public dealing with something like this, just remember how hard it is and open a door for them or be patient when they’re sorting groceries for two households at the checkout. We appreciate it.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is available as a podcast at MyGreeneRadio.com.

Users must moderate fake news on social media

In Media, National News, News Media, Opinion, Print Media, Technology, Uncategorized on November 23, 2016 at 8:08 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOIn the fallout of the presidential election, one topic that seems to surface a lot is the spread of fake news online and on social media. During the campaign cycle, people were constantly posting and sharing fake news all over social media, often more than real stories.

Here are a couple of examples of headlines that turned out to be completely fake: “Terrorists are funding 20-percent of Hillary Clinton’s campaign;” “Tim Kaine will ban the Catholic Church from the US if they don’t change their stance on same-sex marriage;” and “Bus loads of paid Trump protestors arrive in Austin, Texas.”

The protestor story was reportedly shared more than 350,000 times in the first day, including a high-profile Twitter share by Donald Trump. Again, none of these stories were real or had any level of truth to them.

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For decades, alleged “fake” news has earned millions of dollars from a public more than willing to pay for it!

Some false stories are merely satirical and shared out of humor or irony. Unfortunately, they may continue to be shared by some who take them as the real thing and never confirm the content, fueled by unqualified commentary.

Whether from laziness or apathy, most people never look at a story closely enough to see if the stories they share online are factual or phony. Some people never look past the headlines before they start commenting and circulating junk news. And, once shared, the cork has been removed from the bottle and the genie on her way,

People tend to share stories on social media based on political and religious views. Stories are passed along through a digital chain of telephone where no one really looks at the basis of the story nor do they take a moment to consider the logic behind even the most outrageous headline.

Those with a propensity for fake news believe either the liberal left or the fanatical right controls the mainstream media. So, combating the spread of this nonsense is virtually impossible, because even fact checking is ignored.

Additionally, the fact is that fake news has been around far longer than the Internet has even existed. Print media like the National Enquirer, the Globe and other checkout rags have long been accused of publishing stories with no factual basis.

Many of these tabloid publications have been sued for the alleged fabrication of stories. Before the Internet, these publications had circulation in the hundreds of millions but that has dropped considerably over the years. Why wait for sensational stuff at the grocery store checkout when it’s immediately available on Facebook?

There’s also something ironic about the fact that people who seem so upset at the slanted reporting of mainstream media will spend so much time circulating nonsense stories everywhere else. So what can be done? Most of that is up to the reader.

Much of the blame for the proliferation of nonsense news has been focused on the social media outlets. Facebook has come under fire recently for not doing more to limit the distribution of false news during the election cycle. Unfortunately, it’s not the responsibility of social media operators to ensure the accuracy of content generated and propagated by its users.

The real culprits are the folks on the other side of the computer and smart phone screens. Social media operates because of people and if they stop circulating this junk it’ll dissipate. It really is that simple.

Forwarding some outlandish tale simply because it degrades an opposing view benefits no one. And, commenting on a news story without checking out its validity just makes people look ignorant. Sorry, there’s no nice way to say that.

But just imagine if people read beyond the headline and checked out a story from a couple of different resources before passing it along as “fact?” The level of garbage flowing around social media would be immediately cut in half.

Before reposting something, check it out and make sure it’s a real story. They get it wrong sometimes too, but generally, if it didn’t come from a mainstream news outlet, it’s probably not been verified by anyone. There’s nothing new about sensationalism in news, but responsibility for the constant viral circulation of fake or outrageous stories must rest, at least in part, with the users.

 

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

Sharing Your Labor of Love, To Boldly Go

In Entertainment, history, National News, Opinion, television, Uncategorized on October 17, 2016 at 11:16 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOI recently returned from a trip to Ticonderoga, New York where I visited one of the most unlikely attractions for an area rich in American revolutionary history. Hidden away in a repurposed storefront of this tiny, historic town, one man’s childhood dream has become reality that he’s chosen to share with the world.

James Cawley is, by profession, an Elvis Presley tribute artist. But his lifelong love of the original Star Trek television series drove him to construct one of the single most accurate recreations of the classic show’s space-going sets. Wise men may have said only fools rush in, but Cawley did it full throttle, going where no few fans had gone before.

Around 2004, he rounded up friends and associates in the entertainment business to produce a web-based continuation of the Starship Enterprise’s five-year mission. Titled first, “Star Trek New Voyages,” and later adopting creator Gene Roddenberry’s planned second series name, “Star Trek Phase II,” Cawley and crew made nearly a dozen full-length episodes and shorts featuring Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and the rest of the original series characters.

Using his own time, effort and money and thanks to the care and hard work of his associates, Cawley’s dream became a reality as he, himself, took up the center seat on the web show as Captain James T. Kirk. With computer generated special effects, hand-crafted costumes and painstakingly detailed sets based on the 1960s series, his vision was to capture the appeal of the original show, and that he did.

Unfortunately, that dream was cut short when CBS Paramount, the owners of Star Trek, issued highly restrictive rules for fan-made Star Trek productions. Although no revenue was generated by Cawley’s show and any donated funds were used for production costs, not paychecks, the company still saw it as a copyright infringement.

Unwilling to let all of this hard work dry up and blow away, Cawley and company worked with CBS Paramount to officially license his production sets into an attraction that fans could visit and appreciate along with them.

Transporter set from Star Trek Set Tour in Ticonderoga NY

Transporter set from Star Trek Set Tour in Ticonderoga NY Photo by Gery Deer

Now open to the public, the Star Trek Set Tour is a one-of-a-kind fan experience. Built from and arranged according to the original Desilu Studios stage plans, the tour includes a complete bridge set, transporter room, hallways and much more. Several areas of the ship’s interior sets are still under construction and more are planned, but that only adds to the value of the experience.

While there is a charge to visit the sets, volunteers still do nearly all of the labor-intensive and highly skilled creative work. And it is clear Cawley sees this project as his way of sharing what he’s built with all of us. Chatting with him during my visit, I made a comment referring to “his” ship but he was quick to correct me.

“This is ‘our’ ship,” he responded, looking across the bridge set from where we stood watching fellow fans marvel over the realism of what he’d built. It was clear this is his labor of love and he’s proud to share it with us.

Star Trek Tour creator, James Cawley with Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer on the Enterprise bridge set.

Star Trek Tour creator, James Cawley with Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer on the Enterprise bridge set.

At this point, it’s important for me to tell you that other than having been yet another visiting fan transported back to my childhood as I sat in the recreated captain’s chair I have no affiliation with the exhibit. But I bring all of this to your attention because I can relate to Cawley’s vision, his desire to see a dream to reality and bring it to others who will enjoy it with him.

We should all have a labor of love in our lives, something that earns us no money but serves to enrich others and ourselves. For some, it might be volunteering as a sports coach or tutoring underprivileged children. Others may see community theater or serve in public office in such a way.

You don’t have to go where no man has gone before to do it. But, whatever yours may be, when we are able to share our interests with other similarly impassioned people, it makes us better and more well rounded human beings.

Click for a fun video of Gery entering the Enterprise bridge!

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Catch Deer In Headlines, the podcast, on MyGreeneRadio.com. New episodes every Tuesday.

Here are some of Gery’s photos from The Star Trek Set Tour … For more information visit http://www.startrektour.com

What does Labor Day mean to you?

In Business, history, Holiday, National News, Opinion, Uncategorized on August 31, 2016 at 9:00 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

The American Labor Day holiday was first organized and celebrated by the Central Labor Union in New York City on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. Two year later, as the idea spread to celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday,” the union selected the first Monday in September to be the official, common date.

All across the country, industrial centers began holding celebrations of their own, following general guidelines set in the first proposal of the holiday. Each would include a street parade, a festival and amusements all for the enjoyment of the workers and their families.

labor day photo

Photo Courtesy US Department of Labor.

The legislation that established Labor Day as a legal holiday was passed on February 21, 1887 in the state of Oregon and four more states followed suit that same year. There is some dispute, even a century later, as to who was the actual “founder” of the holiday, but that should be left to your own research.
For most modern Americans, Labor Day is just another day off and a last break to end summer. But it should still be held as a celebration of the working class who build our streets, run our factories, and keep the infrastructure of America up and running.

When I think of Labor Day, I think of those in my family who worked long, exhausting hours with low pay and virtually no benefits or vacation time. Many worked at National Cash Register (NCR) in Dayton, Ohio. In fact, my father worked there during the 1950s and 60s for a whopping $1.50 per hour (around $9 in today’s money), and that was some 30 cents higher than the minimum wage at the time.

In my opinion, hard work is something a lot of modern Americans today seem to be allergic to, for lack of a better description. Our information-driven economy has many of us office-bound, tied to a desk and a computer screen rarely to experience the kind of manual work necessary at the turn of the century when the Labor Day holiday first started.

Constant complaints about how immigrants “take” the jobs of Americans are unfounded, to say the least. Those jobs are always available but no one seems to want them – they’re hard. Immigrants looking for a home in the Land of the Free simply appear to be more willing to work, taking any job necessary to provide for their families. America was built on this kind of fortitude and it should be admired.

Instead of being so closed-minded Americans should be more appreciative that someone is still willing to work hard without complaint, day in and day out, to the benefit of the rest of us. Papers or not, any person willing to work hard in this country and benefit the greater good is an American.

I come from a long line of hard workers. There was no privilege in any branch of my family and I mean absolutely none. My ancestors and immediate family were factory workers, truck drivers, farmers, coal miners, and a host of other grueling occupations. To me, Labor Day is a day to salute my own heritage and a way to be thankful that my family saw fit to encourage me to go to college and pursue my own interests.

But I was not coddled nor did I have it easy. I paid for my own education. I drove a truck for my dad, worked in a plastics factory, swept floors, worked in a tire and auto repair shop, and helped manage our farm and livestock. Without those experiences, I’d be a very different person and I’m grateful for them. I still do that kind of work on occasion, but, gratefully, I don’t have to depend on it for my livelihood and I have the utmost respect for those who do.

So this Labor Day, regardless of your occupation, income or professional position, consider those who might have it tougher or may not have the same privileges. Labor Day celebrates all workers, but the highest tribute should go to those who do the hardest work and continue to maintain the standard of living for Americans in all walks of life.

 

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

GREENE COUNTY PERFORMERS HEADLINE WILD WEST SHOW AT ANNIE OAKLEY FESTIVAL

In Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, history, Local News, Media, National News, Sports News, Uncategorized on July 26, 2016 at 9:15 am

Greenville, OH – Jamestown whip artist Gery L. Deer and Xenia thrown weapons expert, Kirk Bass, will lead a full troupe of whip artists, trick ropers, knife throwers and other Wild West arts experts during the 2016 American Western Arts Showcase during Annie Oakley Festival, July 29 and 30, at York Woods, 6129 Reed Road, Ansonia, OH 45303. The event is free and open to the public.

Presented in the spirit of the stage-style Wild West shows of the late 19th Century, each production will include some detailed history about how these arts came to be and who still practices them today. In addition to performing, Gery Deer is also the show’s producer and chief backer.

“This is a one-of-a-kind show in this region,” Deer says. “We have some of the best Wild West arts entertainment anywhere in the Midwest with real practitioners of each skill,” says Deer, who started the event in Jamestown, Ohio, in 2002. “These are talented performers with genuine ability, no fakery, no tricks. Everything you see in our show is real and all of our shows are in 3-D and high definition!”

Champion knife thrower Kirk Bass, of Xenia, Ohio, is co-producer of the event. He and his daring wife Melodee are among the performers to take the open-air stage for two shows on Saturday, July 30 beginning at 1 p.m. with a series of western arts perform the suspenseful Bass Blades impalement show, and much more.

Whip marksmanship competitions headline the afternoon show beginning with the National Whip Speed and Accuracy Exhibition Competition, the world’s only Bullwhip Fast Draw contest. Plus, there is a brand new contest taken straight from the big screen.

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David Crain vs. Luke Taylor in the American Western Arts Showcase “Bullwhip Fast Draw” competition at Annie Oakley Festival at York Woods.

In 1981, a fedora-wearing, leather-clad archaeologist threw the crack heard round the world when he “whipped” a pistol from the hand of a jungle guide. At the beginning of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Indiana Jones demonstrated his skills with the holstered fast-draw of a 10-foot bullwhip, all while having to spin around to take aim first.

In the spirit of Dr. Jones’ proficiency, this year’s Showcase competition will include a special “blind fast draw,” where whip artists must mimic the move used in the film to turn, draw their holstered whip and shoot at a target with speed and accuracy.

“With the popularity of Indiana Jones among western performers, particularly whip artists, it’s odd this hasn’t been done before,” says Deer, who holds multiple, national whip speed and accuracy titles and is the director of The Whip Artistry Studio, the only permanent whip training facility in America. Contests begin at 1 p.m., followed immediately by a matinee performance at 2:30.

At 5:00p.m., visitors to the festival will see the Grand Western Showcase hosted by AOF_5_GLDthe music and comedy of Greene County’s own, The Brothers & Co. Variety Show. “We pull out all the stops on Saturday evening,” says Deer. “The Brothers & Co. Variety Show is an Americana-styled musical variety show from a by-gone era, full of comedy, magic, and some of the best four-part music on stage today. There will be nothing else like this anywhere at the festival!”

The event is sponsored by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd., The Brothers & Co. Variety Show, and the Annie Oakley Festival Committee. All performances are family friendly and presented on the grounds of the Annie Oakley Festival. For links to the festival and sneak previews of the performers plus more information go online to ohiowesternarts.org.

Support your local county fair.

In Children and Family, Entertainment, Local News, National News, Opinion, Uncategorized on July 26, 2016 at 9:09 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

Photo courtesy Jack Delano, a county fair in Georgia Taken in October 1941.

Photo courtesy Jack Delano, a county fair in Georgia Taken in October 1941.

As summer winds down, county fairs are an institution prominent since the middle 19th Century. For some families, the county fair is the highlight of the summer. It represents the culmination of the agricultural year in crops, livestock, and education.

As I was growing up, the fair signaled the end of summer and provided what was, for lack of a better description, my vacation. I spent my summers in 4-H, working on every type of project from beef cattle and bicycle rodeos to first aid and rocketry. The weeks leading up to the fair were always packed with activity for me and the benefits are farther reaching than just the immediate event.

Most regional organizations exhibit at the fair including Boy and Girl Scouts, Rotary and Grange, and, most notably for youth, 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA). The junior fair events were designed to showcase these organizations and meet the needs of farm families to help provide educational opportunities.

What most children love is the opportunity to get close to live farm animals. Youth exhibitors have their livestock boarded at the fair through the week either awaiting show times or auction. During that time, visitors can see and often pet the animals, with the permission of the owners, and ask questions about them.

While strongly focused on rural interests, the fair isn’t only about farming. Music and variety entertainment is in no short supply on the fairground. Multiple stages and grandstand events offer everything from local garage bands to big-name entertainers. And those with an artistic eye have plenty to see as well!

While some people might believe that the only artwork to be seen at a county fair consists of macaroni pictures, they’d be incredibly wrong. If it’s art you’re interested in, some of the most amazing hand crafted artwork hangs on the display walls at the fair. Fine art buildings on the fairground become temporary museums to local artisanship.

Anyone may submit for judging hand artwork, needlepoint, quilting, photography, pottery and a myriad of other artistic work. Contestants need not be part of the 4-H, FFA or other organized groups, in order to enter. The resulting exhibits are diverse and eye-catching, on display from hobbyist and professional alike, judged equally.

Those familiar with the PBS series, “Antiques Roadshow,” might enjoy a tour of the antiques exhibit. Each year, the fair hosts a contest of antiques from every category, including glass, metals, wood and rare items. As with art, the exhibitors are local residents, hoping for a little notoriety out of a family heirloom or favorite antique or collectable – all on display for the enjoyment of the patrons.

Strolling through all of these exhibits, visitors may notice colored ribbons. Each one represents the achievement level of the participant in his or her category of judging. The awards may not be the ultimate goal, but for someone who plans on a career in livestock demonstrating an award-winning history can go a long way towards securing a professional establishment later.

But the fair is certainly not just for the exhibitors. What good is all this effort if no one comes to visit? Offering everything from food and rides to shows and educational opportunities, the family entertainment value of the county fair is tough to beat.

Generally, admission runs under $10 for adults, less for kids, seniors and veterans, and weekly passes are often available at a discounted rate. Often, the gate ticket allows access to everything on the grounds, although there is generally an additional fee for high-profile grandstand events.

My home fair in Greene County, Ohio, opens July 31 this year and runs until the following Saturday. Having started in 1839, it is has moved locations several times, but remains the longest running county fair west of the Alleghenies. If you’re in the area, check it out. You can learn more at greenecountyfairgrounds.com.

If you have a county fair near you, take the time to spend the afternoon there this year. In addition to getting a great day of family-oriented fun, you are supporting the local community. Get out and enjoy the fair.

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

Yellow Springs company, DMS ink, elevates inkjet capabilities

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, finances, National News, Technology, Uncategorized on June 15, 2016 at 3:56 pm

 

One-stop print shop opens the doors to new business opportunities

MELVILLE, N.Y., June 15, 2016 – Canon Solutions America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., today announced an advancement in its ongoing strategic relationship with DMS ink, a full-service direct mail marketing company located in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The installation of the Océ VarioPrint i300 and Océ ColorStream 3900 color digital presses in the DMS ink facility serves to expand their services to their customer base, and illustrates Canon Solutions America’s ongoing commitment to advancing customers’ print output through cutting-edge inkjet technologies.

DMS ink, formerly Dayton Mailing Services, recently moved its headquarters and most of its production to Yellow Springs, Ohio from Dayton.

DMS ink, formerly Dayton Mailing Services, recently moved its headquarters and most of its production to Yellow Springs, Ohio from Dayton.

DMS ink, originally known as Dayton Mailing Services, was founded in 1983. The company has thrived in the direct mail space for more than 30 years through its ability to adapt, staying at the forefront of the industry with cutting-edge concepts and solutions while serving a dynamic customer-base. Since its inception, DMS ink has been known throughout the region for providing best-in-class mailing services and handling its customer projects from design to distribution. With a team of dedicated professionals, the direct mail marketing leader helps a wide range of businesses including healthcare, financial, retail, insurance, and many others, to reduce their costs by offering unique capabilities that go beyond industry benchmarks.

As successful and reliable as DMS ink is within the mail marketing business landscape, to put an emphasis solely on those capabilities would be a disservice to a company that has recently expanded its operations to include leading data services and digital print offerings. Over the last five years, the Ohio-based full printing and fulfillment center has grown into a prosperous digital print provider that now boasts some of the most game-changing technologies that are redefining the industry. This transition began in early 2005 when DMS ink began its shift from a traditional letter shop to a variable data printing provider, and is most recently represented by the company’s acquisition of the Océ VarioPrint i300 sheet-fed inkjet press and the Océ ColorStream 3900 inkjet press. Since the arrival of these advanced presses, the early adopter of inkjet has opened the doors to even broader business opportunities.

“I cannot stress enough the level of activity and excitement within DMS ink as we continue our migration to a critical document company with state-of-the-art digital print capabilities,” said Christine Soward, president and owner of DMS ink, whose commitment to innovation and emerging technologies has grown the company’s revenue by double digits over the last several years. “The enthusiasm around our company is perhaps best highlighted by our purchase of what we feel is the product that will lead the charge in the industry-wide inkjet movement, the Océ VarioPrint i300.”

When DMS ink went to market for an answer to its crucial digital print needs, it specifically searched for improvements in print quality and a press that could provide commercial-type color at transactional-type costs. With a commitment to innovation, Soward and her team put an equal focus on finding a digital press that could help diversify their client roster and overall offerings while handling new and more diverse applications with an eye toward profitability. Additionally, DMS ink knew that with the emergence of new inkjet technologies, there was an answer to its ongoing quest to break down the barriers it was finding that pertained to offset printing, short-run jobs, postal optimization, one-on-one personalized communications, and the ability to maximize uptime.

“The new Océ products have allowed us to run jobs at an unbelievable rate and with incredible quality,” added Jim Hoffman, vice president of Business Development at DMS ink. “Of course you always want to get the most out of your investment, and with the Océ VarioPrint i300 and Océ ColorStream 3900 we can now fully leverage our finishing capabilities, which has resulted in heightened efficiency and automated workflows. Our core goal of becoming less of a mail house and more of a strategic partner has been greatly enhanced with the print functionality we now have with our newest acquisitions.”

Built to allow its users the ability to grow within a market that is evolving rapidly, the Océ VarioPrint i300 bridges the gap between the application flexibility and efficiency of sheet-fed presses and the economy and productivity of web-fed systems, without compromising quality. As witnessed by DMS ink, the digital press was designed to offer premium quality output with proven inkjet productivity and flexibility. Operating as the ideal complement to this leading press is the Océ ColorStream 3900 full color inkjet printer. Recognized as one of the fastest growing inkjet presses in the industry, its production and media flexibility enables a simplified transition of applications and business models to more sophisticated documents with variable personalization and smarter communication in color.

“With the confluence of new technologies and the ever-apparent shift to inkjet, we have dedicated ourselves to finding the best way for our customers to accelerate the offset-to-digital print migration with products that will set the bar for the inkjet movement,” said Francis A. McMahon, senior vice president, Marketing, Production Print Solutions, Canon Solutions America. “However, none of that is possible without feedback from our valued customers like DMS ink, which allows us to modify the technology to best fit their business goals and prepare them for expansive growth.”

The collaboration between Canon Solutions America and DMS ink did not end with the installation of the Océ VarioPrint. With the intention to migrate the rest of its inkjet products and to further enhance its workflow, DMS ink additionally implemented the Océ PRISMAproduction print workflow and output management system. This addition is set to provide DMS ink with the ability to create a unified platform for mid to high volume, high speed printing for its entire production print fleet.

“This is very much a time of change and growth here at DMS ink, and we could not be more excited to experience that growth alongside Canon Solutions America,” added Soward. “The future looks bright for DMS ink and our customers!”

 

About DMS ink
DMS ink (formerly Dayton Mailing Services) has thrived in the direct mail, digital print, and data management industries for more than 30 years. Their goal is to become a true partner to their customers and an extension of their business through trust and dedication. DMS ink provides innovative, cutting edge solutions using the latest technology to increase capabilities, improve efficiency and reduce costs, while maximizing consumer response and meeting the needs of the client. DMS is a minority and woman owned certified business serving clients nationally. Their unique capabilities are sought by a wide range of businesses from healthcare, financial, retail, political, energy, automotive, non-profits, and many others that require full project management of design, material acquisitions, complex data programming, variable content, printing, fulfillment and mailing services.

About Canon Solutions America, Inc.

Canon Solutions America provides industry leading enterprise, production, and large format printing solutions, supported by exceptional professional service offerings. With the technology offerings of the Canon and Océ brands, Canon Solutions America helps companies of all sizes improve sustainability, increase efficiency, and control costs through high volume, continuous feed, digital and traditional printing, and document management solutions. A wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., Canon Solutions America is headquartered in Melville, N.Y. and has sales and service locations across the U.S. For more information on Canon Solutions America, please visit csa.canon.com.

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Canon is a registered trademark of Canon Inc. in the United States and elsewhere. Océ is a registered trademark of Océ-Technologies B.V. in the United States and elsewhere. All other referenced product names and marks are trademarks of their respective owners and are hereby acknowledged.

© 2016 Canon Solutions America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Hogan’s hero: author celebrates life of slain actor

In Books, Charities, Education, Entertainment, Local News, National News, Opinion, television, Uncategorized on June 13, 2016 at 8:20 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOIn 1978 “Hogan’s Heroes” star, Bob Crane, was murdered in his Arizona hotel room. The scandalous details of his death have been the subject of speculation and salacious headlines ever since. Crane’s murder was never solved.

I won’t give more press time to the dark circumstances surrounding this man’s death, except to say that Americans can’t seem to ever get enough of sensationalism when it comes to celebrity. Over the years a great deal of negative material has been written about the actor’s life, troubled marriage, divorce and personal addictions, and that was all anyone ever seemed to say about him.

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Gery L. Deer, with author Carl M. Ford at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Always left out of those stories were the facts about Crane’s long career in entertainment and the character he couldn’t leave behind. Barely spoken of were his level of commitment to his colleagues, to his children and to the armed forces to whom he felt a deep responsibility and connection through his “Hogan’s” character and his older brother, Al, who was severely injured while serving in World War II.

Enter author Carol M. Ford, who has written a new biography about Bob Crane in a dedicated effort to celebrate the life and career of this beloved actor. Her care and commitment to restoring this man’s honor and humanity is nothing less than incredible.

I had the good fortune, recently, to meet Ms. Ford and talk with her about her experience in writing this book. She was holding a signing at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie. Next to her table was a display featuring a very important artifact – Col. Hogan’s leather flight jacket from the “Hogan’s Heroes” series.

“We all have those parts of our lives that we’re not proud of,” she told me. “Divorce, family strain, addictions, whatever it is, everyone has something. The sad part about Bob’s death is less about how he died but that how he lived had always been so completely overlooked. This is a celebration of his life.”

Ford’s new book, “Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography,” is a fitting tribute to a man whose life is, to most fans, a blur between fact and fiction, where the focus has been for more nearly 40 years on his death. This book chronicles, in great detail, Crane’s life as told by family, friends, colleagues and fans who had the good fortune to share a moment with him.

Ford’s research is impressive, having collected interviews from nearly 200 people who actually knew Crane. Going as far back as elementary school, the interviews, photos and stories provide us with a real picture of the man we loved as Colonel Hogan but who was obviously so much more.

Bob Crane's costume jacket from Hogan's Heroes is on display at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Bob Crane’s costume jacket from Hogan’s Heroes is on display at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Crane’s character of Hogan was a hero to me, and to countless others of my generation. But, like so many celebrities, most of us never knew who he was outside of Stalag 13 or away from the microphone.

As a fan, I am grateful to Ford and her colleagues for writing this book to focus on the life of a man I had admired since childhood. Much of my stage persona comes from watching him – and Colonel Hogan. I’m glad I get to understand the man over the mystery.

This wasn’t intended to sound like a book review, but I have a great respect for the effort, time and commitment that went into this book. As a fellow writer, I can’t imagine the work, personal expense and thoughtful insight that went into the attempt to capture the life of someone whose life was so full and still resonates today with all those who knew him.

You can find the book Barnes & Noble, on Amazon and at the website for the official campaign to have Bob Crane entered into the National Radio Hall of Fame www.vote4bobcrane.org. I highly recommend the hardback version, filled with historical documents, more than 200 pictures and more. So, all my thanks to Bob for his talent, and to Carol Ford for hers.

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Author’s Note: I strongly related to the idea of writing the positive of a celebrity’s life after they’d died in scandalous circumstances. A colleague and friend of mine, well known in the media, passed away suddenly after a long struggle with addiction and depression. The only things the media would write about seemed to be the negatives in her life and the circumstances surrounding her tragic death. I couldn’t let that stand. I wrote a piece, from her own word as she had told me, of the good in her life, the promise and the hope. It is my hope that her legacy carries more of that than of her ending, as I hope with Carol’s book and Bob Crane’s story. 

 

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