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Making Music and Making Love

There are no guarantees that the music you make is appreciated. There is no guarantee that the person you love will love you like you love them.  Even though we subconsciously know this, we try again anyway.  Musicians similarly create, compose, sing, arrange and master music in hopes that others listen, like and share their work.

Sex is easy. Pleasing your partner is not. We come with different filters, moods and baggage that can amplify or shut down our activity.  Genres of music are no different.  Why even try?

For me, I am a creative. If I don’t make something, every now and then I feel as if I will explode.  The passion to create is shared by two guys I know that have just released work they hope will find a home.

One is a talented but struggling Hip Hop artist. If you ask any frustrated parent, the last thing you want to hear your son say is that he aspires to be a “rapper.”  The struggle for a Hip Hop artist today is the same for anyone selling anything online today.  You have to find, and grow your fan base.  Using the street name, “DurdyBanga,” my friend’s newest project is like classic Hip Hop of the ‘90’s.  My favorite track is biographical where he says that he is an introvert.  I like the lyrical play and the outside elements that are mixed together for a message.

Like good sex, sometimes you just hit it right but most of the time it takes work. Good music has a message.  If you can pull it out from what you hear it is good.  It’s good like, “good money,” and a “good government job.”

The challenge goes beyond creating the pieces, producing the songs, mastering it for distribution, finding someone to do the artwork or photography and putting it all together to be appealing. Sometimes you have to motivate yourself.  Fear of failure is huge here.  More often than not, there is no team of people cheering you to succeed.  Usually there are more naysayers than you need.  Finances are limited.  Time is limited.  There are a lot of entities trying to take advantage of your enthusiasm, entrepreneurism and effort.   Usually it’s not the ones you want to hear from.

A sad soul can kill you quicker than a germ. – John Steinbeck

How to grow a community.

If you want to grow a community also known as a fan base. The first step is to find your audience.  You’ll find them from your present network of friends and family.  You’ll also have to look outside of the box.  I discovered that my Filipino friends still appreciate good Hip Hop.  The next step is to create methods for people to contact you.  You have to have a website, landing page, welcome page and contact information.  You can’t do it from someone else’s real estate.  Your creations will get lost on Facebook, Soundcloud, iTunes, MySpace, etc.  You need your own internet property (domain name/website) that is searchable by Google, Bing, Yahoo and others.  You have to be engaged in the process.  You will need to have someone answer and field calls, emails if you cannot.  Someone needs to let others know how great your stuff is and why they should sample it beyond your mama (who loves all your stuff).  This post is going to help a little but you need more like it.  There are a few more items but those are the strongest elements.

If Hip Hop isn’t your thing; how about rhythm and blues? I have another new friend who has done a lot in his life, is returning to his roots of making music.  He just released a soulful single on iTunes called “Gone.”  The most memorable and longest lasting songs in your head often speak to what we lost in love.  This one hits it right on the head.  I am looking for good things to come from the rest of his compilation.  I liked it and I hope you do too.

 

Love is the bread of life, but you have to make it every day if you want it fresh.

 

You can order DurdyBanga’s music here.

 

You can get Gone from D.Ward on iTunes here.

 

If you want your project reviewed, written about or shared, send it to me. Happy to help spread the love.  Stay tuned as I will be interviewing these guys on the Kenn Blanchard Show podcast soon.

 

 

If you have ever thought or said, I’ll start going to “church” after I get my life together- please understand that you never will. Life is just life. The same stuff you have in your head at 13 is the same stuff you have at 53. If you are blessed you get older. The people in the church aren’t any more together than you most of the time. For some that is all they know. Don’t judge. They just realized the importance of being there and getting right with God before you did.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 23

The invisible, omnipotent, omniscient God loves you and everyone that in their heart and mind (believes that) and is trying to get right with Him.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

But it isn’t easy. The Bible is full of stories of people trying to get it right. People that tried to make rules to make themselves righteous. You can’t do it no matter how many laws there are. There are other forces trying and successfully influencing us not to trust in God. It’s not always demonic. Sometimes is us. Failures, setbacks, ego, death, and things we have seen cloud our judgment or turn us away from His love.
God doesn’t want robots. He gives us freewill so that we have to make a choice. It’s easy and hard at the same time. It’s perception. It’s education. It’s life.
Choose today. Not choosing is a choice. No one gets a pass. The earlier you get onboard, the better your future can be. If you wait for the perfect moment, you’ll be waiting the rest of your life. We are all serving someone or something. We move and are motivated by all kinds of things. Some are chasing dreams, the mighty dollar, fame, sex, a high, an escape, food, and even a child. We can get lost over time and forget why we are mad, why we got so angry and how we got to this place.
Now is all you have. Today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be again.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua 24:15

Prayer

Heavenly father, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, the great I am. I realize today that I will never have it all together. Forgive me for everything I have done in my life that was against you. Help me. Help me understand and grow closer to you. I choose you. Come into my heart and mind. Reclaim my soul and give me the life you have for me. Cleanse me. Give me a right Spirit. I accept your Son Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Show me the way. Protect me from evil. Lead me out of my current situation. Give me peace. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

Sometimes everything you tried flops. Every now and then you wonder why you ever attempted what didn’t come to pass.  It is those days that you must realize, understand and accept Shiitake mushrooms happens.  Failure isn’t final.

I had one of those weeks in January. Well maybe it was several.  I was down but not out.  I was reminded constantly that something was wrong because while I was processing it all, co-workers asked “What’s wrong man?”

“Why are you so quiet today?”

I asked the Lord, now what? And He said, Trust Me.

It made perfect sense. I didn’t see that coming.  I had just returned from a business trip and was looking forward to some good news.  I was also preparing for a sermon I wanted to preach but wasn’t sure that the subject I had was timely and what the congregation needed to hear.

“Trust Me,” He said.

Ok, I said. And I was able to smile again.

Psalm 37 of the Holy Bible is full of admonitions to trust God, to be thankful and have faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If you read the entire chapter you’ll come to the part that says,

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

That is what I preached on.  That we should Trust God.  Don’t worry about stuff you can’t fix.  Don’t get caught up in the mess that is American politics.  Don’t get twisted over who is marching or protesting unless you are stuck behind it in traffic.  Keep your head.

Think about your situations.  There have been some days when you wondered how you were going to make it and you are still here.

I flew to Vegas to meet some people, and like a date that you got all dressed up special to go on, I didn’t get a second one or a call back.  Sometimes stuff happens contrary to what you want it to no matter how great the plan and resources spent. When it does, pick yourself up and move on.

The world is hell bent on rehashing the negatives. If it is derogatory, dark, sick, immoral and just wrong, it’s ok to say, do or perpetuate.  It is probably a popular TV show now.  It is all good growing environments for mushrooms but not people of God.  We like Light.  Don’t wonder why the television choices suck so bad.  Don’t be surprised if lies are now “alternative facts.”  A lie no matter how many times is told is still a lie.  Don’t compromise.  Don’t settle.  Keep moving.

“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins; not through strength, but through perseverance.”

For me, I decided to cut down on my stressors (also known as projects). I am serial entrepreneur and refuse to surrender to the notion that I can’t make a living by my own ingenuity and God given talents.  I just haven’t found the right ingredients yet.

When I thought the Black Man With A Gun Podcast had run its course, I created HighCapacityMagazine.us. I thought I could get some fresh new writers and manage a new blog but that failed.  It was my prettiest, fastest, most organized site to date too.  The Facebook page connected to it had even grown without any effort.  One of my gifts is ignition.  I can get some stuff off the ground better than most.  But after that, no navigation system.  Realizing this truth about myself is new.

I also have another podcast which will fade called the Upper Marlboro Podcast I created with the intention of an experiment in niche podcasting.  I have learned a few things from doing it, so it wasn’t a total failure either.  I can’t manufacture any time so it is best I stop and focus on what is working.  That happens to be the Black Man With A Gun site and podcast.  It is steady like a pumping heart.  Competition is fierce in the new media gun space.   My numbers are increasing.

The podcast that I thought had run its course is actually doing exceptionally well in comparison to others. At a recent podcast convention I learned that my number of downloads put me in the top 5% of all US podcasters.  That is amazing seeing how I am not on anyone’s chart (Apples misleading New and Noteworthy, or other podcast aggregators’ Editors Picks).

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
~Thomas Edison

I am re-using the professional video I took at ThunderShot Studios to use for a presentation into a new YouTube channel called BlackManWithAGun.TV.  I am making a delicious soup with my mushrooms.

And more importantly, I am staying in the fight. If I can, so can you.

During the two year “break” that I was unemployed I ran for public office in a vacant seat left by the Leslie Johnson, wife of the then County Executive Jack B. Johnson, both whom were arrested for corruption. I did it for the commute, the pay and the opportunity to serve the community I live in. As a Washington Post reporter confirmed, “You don’t have a chance in hell.” (Hell must be full because a lot of the demons are here.) It was as 95 – 5% loss. I ran as a conservative in a overwhelmingly liberal/democratic area. I didn’t try to be anything I wasn’t. I learned a lot. Mostly, who my friends weren’t (pastors). I am not anxious to do it again. It was not just the election of the President of the United States that made us weary of politicians. Prince Georges County has a reputation for crime and corruption. We have had plenty of people that help with that perception.

Tommie Broadwater https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2001/02/11/tommie-broadwaters-world/8fc7b559-c8b7-4b8d-b13f-5e10799024f1/?utm_term=.5395b2e15842

Local media are partly responsible for that because most of the shootings and property crimes are concentrated in the same areas county inside the Beltway.
Before the rise of casinos to Maryland we have had more than one case of corruption. Cases go back before my generation but there are a few happening today.

There was a scandal back in 2005 involving accountants, Thomas, Wright and Isom. A Prince George’s County grand jury indicted a former county official and an Upper Marlboro accountant yesterday on charges of conspiracy, bribery and felony theft in a $250,000 shakedown of a county contractor.

Robert L. Thomas, former deputy director of Prince George’s County Department of Central Services, and accountant Paul L. Wright are accused of soliciting the $250,000 bribe to award a contract to install security systems at two county government buildings. Robert L. Isom, 67, of Upper Marlboro, told Prince George’s Circuit Court Judge Michael B. Whelan that he conspired with Robert L. Thomas, the former deputy director of the county’s Office of Central Services, and others to demand and receive a bribe.

In 2015, George Joseph Grillo, age 64, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy arising from a scheme to make it appear that a minority business enterprise (MBE) performed work on Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) contracts, when in fact, the MBE had not performed the work. The conspiracy involved between $1 million and $2.5 million of laundered funds.

Lets talk about Jack.

Recently, former Prince George’s county executive Jack B. Johnson has left federal prison and entered a residential facility in Baltimore six months ahead of his expected release next summer, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons registry.

Johnson, who led the Prince George’s County government from 2002 to 2010, pleaded guilty in 2011 to corruption charges connected to a wider conspiracy involving bribes and transactions that entangled county business officials, developers and his wife, Leslie Johnson.

The once-popular Democratic county executive served most of his 87-month prison sentence at federal correctional institutions in Butner, N.C., and Cumberland, Md., before being transferred to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons’ residential reentry management program, which has an office near Fort Meade, Md.

Bureau spokeswoman Jill Tyson said Johnson, 67, will serve the remainder of his sentence at a halfway house in the region. She said the agency does not disclose the specific locations of such facilities.

The reentry program helps inmates such as Johnson reestablish ties to the community, and it may permit him some freedom to leave his assigned facility to look for work, receive counseling or visit people, according to the Bureau of Prisons website. But the program closely monitors inmates whenever they venture out.

The investigation into Jack Johnson, who led Prince George’s County, Md., from 2002 to 2010, came to light when federal authorities tapping his phone heard him direct his wife to flush down the toilet an illicit $100,000 check from a developer and to stuff nearly $80,000 in cash in her undergarments. FBI agents had arrived at the couple’s home after witnessing Jack Johnson accept $15,000 from a developer.

Leslie Johnson, who was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for her role in the scandal, was released in early 2013. Since then, she has been seen around the county, attending church and working the polls during the Democratic primaries in April on behalf of congressional candidate Glenn F. Ivey, a former Prince George’s state’s attorney.

When Jack Johnson completes his sentence in June, he will have served the longest term in prison for a politician in a corruption case in Maryland history.

But wait there’s more…

A member of the Prince George’s County Council member Jamel “Mel” Franklin (D) was arrested after a crash that occurred Nov. 21., 2016. He has been charged with driving his county car under the influence after he was involved in a car crash that sent two people to the hospital, Maryland State Police said.

Then there is the former Prince George’s County Council Member and Maryland Delegate William A. Campos-Escobar, 42 of Hyattsville, pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy as part of a wide-ranging FBI investigation that has also looked into the practices of Prince George’s County Liquor Board members.

He entered his guilty plea in Federal Court on January 5, 2017.

Campos

Campos was elected to the Prince George’s County Council in 2004 and served until his election to the House of Delegates in 2014. He resigned from the House of Delegates on Sept. 15, 2015.
According to documents, officials say Campos was essentially selling county money in exchange for bribes. He has admitted to taking $340,000 in bribes. The former Maryland delegate from Prince George’s County collected an estimated $40,000 worth of bribes in exchange for directing tax-supported grants to certain nonprofit organizations, among other favors, and he even directed those soliciting his help to create fake entities to receive the grant money, according to federal prosecutors.

 

I’ll talk about the school board later.

My wife was glad that I didn’t win the position as an elected official. Her belief that “politics is a dirty business,” has never been more true locally and nationally.

 

 

 


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