Book Trailer For Madam President

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Coin Toss Changed the History of Flight

We have seen the  iconic photo of Orville Wright flying in the plane in Kitty Hawk in 1903 and lifting off for 12 seconds and changing the history of modern flight forever. But what you don't know  is that history depended on which way a penny turned in the ocean wind three days before on Dec 14. That was when the Wright Brothers flipped a coin to see who would fly  first. Wilbur won and took off only to crash very quickly. Three days later Orville would fly and a box camera would record the image for all time.
And the world would make the assumption then that Orville was the father of flight as much as Wilbur. The fact that Wilbur would follow the 12 second flight with a 59 second flight would be hidden way in the annals of history. The first twelve seconds of flight had Orville as the pilot and historians would look up this as evidence he was as much a participant in cracking the code of flight as his brother. The coin toss would be mentioned then quickly forgotten.

But if the toss had gone the other way then Wilbur would have been the man to fly on Dec 17 1903 and he would have been the man whom history deemed to have broken the Rubicon of flight. History would have been altered forever. But as it was, the myth of the Wright Brothers began here.

Wright Brothers Wrong Story

Friday, September 28, 2018

You Know When Men Are Lying

I knew guys like Kavanaugh when I was growing up in Baltimore Maryland. I went to a prep school for a few years and right down to the accent I recognized the type. You win at any cost. I busted my tail. I heard that many times out of the Supreme Court nominee. I had heard that growing up from many guys who were headed to Ivy League Schools. Right down to the accent, the bluster, the aggressive in your face style. It is an East Coast persona you never forget. And you learn how to lie early on and you do it with a simply tactic, attack.
Its between the self aggrandizing tirades about sports, grades, schools, the pushing back against the Senators, there was the moments between moments which all men recognize. It is a hopeful desperate expression that shows you are just barely hanging on. After watching for eight hours yesterday I have no doubt that Kavanaugh wasn't telling the truth. The yearbook, the drinking, the sex.  It was obvious, but it was also obvious the fix was in. The good old boys club would stick together.

That East Coast swagger had gotten the supreme court nominee pretty far. He was going to use it bull his way through the Democratic Senators. He was going to cower, cajole, lie. But guys know. Like I said I have seen the type before. Right down to the yearbook and the drinking games. Win at any cost. Lie at any cost. All the way to the Supreme Court.

William Hazelgrove

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

How the Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer was Nearly Destroyed in a Flood

In 1914 a monstrous flood hit Dayton Ohio. The streets became rivers with people being rescued with canoes or anything that would float. A levee just outside of town collapsed sending a torrent of water toward the town and the old Wright Cycle Shop. Behind the the shop was a shed and in that shed were the glass plates of the famous 1903 flight in Kitty Hawk North Carolina. Also in the shed were wooden crates. In those wooden crates was the 1903 Flyer itself.

The Wright Brothers had crated it up after the flight and thought nothing of putting the most famous airplane in the world in a storage shed behind their bicycle business. The shed could have been opened by anyone in the eleven years since Orville took to the air for twelve seconds on December 17 1903. Someone could have easily stolen the airplane. It was not even locked. But now it was in danger of being destroyed by the water rushing through the streets of Dayton.

Wilbur Wright had died in 1912. Orville was frantically trying to rescue his father who had been stranded in the family home. After putting his father in a canoe and getting him to safety he had to wait for the flood waters to recede. Hundreds died and the city of Dayton was devastated .Orville reached the shed the next day and opened the door. The glass plates had been submerged but the most famous photo of all taken on December 17 1903 of the First Twelve Seconds of flight had survived. The crates were water logged and he realized they had been under water from the layer of mud over the top.

When he finally opened the first crate he found the 1903 Flyer wet but undamaged. The mud had acted as an insulator and kept the water from pouring in. The most famous airplane in the world had survived and would eventually be given to the Smithsonian for safekeeping.

Wright Brothers Wrong Story

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Republic For Which It Stands; The history behind the rise of Donald Trump

America is living though the death throes of the twentieth century. The American Century. If you want to see why Donald Trump was elected then go no further than the heartland. Here are millions of displaced people left over from the Greatest Century, the one that built America up and made her into a SuperPower. Mom was at home. Dad had a good job. Communities thrived. The world was Made Safe For Democracy. This all ended really with 9/11. That singular event coincided with the twenty first century, the internet, and globalization. The casualties were mighty. 

If you go to the small towns of the Midwest where I give lots of speeches and visit the libraries or Historical Societies you see pictures of a different America. In these pictures the towns are pumped up and thriving from companies that employed many of the people and that prosperity spread out like the mantra we have heard a million times all boats rise on the same tide. But all boats also fall when that tide recedes. When industry left America and the Internet knocked profits to the floor and  KMart and Walmart finished the job then only the skeletons of that past glory was left.

Of course Donald Trumps base will not budge. He is seventy years old. He grew up in that Great American Century. He believes those days will return. Everyone was white, middleclass, plugged into a firm American Culture. Now the last train the US Trump is pulling out of the station and everyone knows this is it. The final reckoning those days are over is at hand. The culture pulled away long ago along with mind numbing technology. We assume everyone has the latest smart phone and computer and went to college. It is simply not true.

The people I see are of an old America. Men and women in faded jeans with beards and hairstyles that haven't changed since the 1970s. This is not some great epiphany but we should be reminded that Trumpism did not come out of nowhere. It is a historical footnote to a century gone by that was so powerful it produced a country and a culture that influenced World Events and continues to influence the times we live in. The baton was handed off during the Obama Presidency but quickly recovered with a backlash that has been stunning. No. No. We are not ready for this was the message given. 

That is why these final death spams are so acute. The glimmer of a world to come scared the hell out of a lot of people and like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz people just wanted to tap  their shoes together and say there is no place like home and return to that safe and warm twentieth century that gave so much to so many in America. The Great and Powerful Oz behind the curtain, working his levers, pumping out the smoke, provided the Ruby Slippers, wearing a hat that said... Make America Great Again.

Can  you blame them?

William Hazelgrove

Friday, August 31, 2018

Wright Brothers Wrong Story

When I was a kid living in Virginia my parents go to vacation was Kitty Hawk North Carolina. It provided for my parents that sense of getting away from it all in a rustic cottage along the eastern seaboard. For me it was hell. Isolation. Sand dunes. I spent many days mooning about the beach wondering when I could return to my all important life in Richmond and then Baltimore. But one of the offshoots or rituals of our trip was a sojourn to see the Wright Brother Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.

We would drive up the hill and look at the monolith that is the Wright Memorial and then at the manikins they had in some sheds and then a replica of the 1903 Flyer and then we would trek down to the all important track marked where each of the three flights occurred that day Dec 17 1903. I would like to say I was lit on fire with what had occurred on those cold December days but it was another trip to another hot place that I had to endure. Still, there was a glimmer of curiosity. Something about those markers under the hot Carolina sun...the absolute isolation...who would come here to fly? And really, who were these two guys in ties and vests from Dayton Ohio.

Many years later I returned to research my book Wright Brothers Wrong Story with the same question. Who were the two high school drops outs who ran a bike shop and had cracked the rubicon of flight. I had read McCullough's book and it left me flat. I still didn't know who they were. They were still historical stick figures leaking sawdust from every pore. Who were they as human beings...that started me on the road that led me back to Kitty Hawk NC and it was here I realized the wrong story had been told ever since 1903.

I would attempt to tell the Wright Story.

Wright Brothers Wrong Story

Monday, May 21, 2018

Authors Can Save Barnes and Noble

Authors can save Barnes and Noble. All they have to do is sell their books. Imagine if Barnes and Nobles had an author in every day. Not to sit behind a table but to sell their books. Not an author signing but an author selling. The author sells their book and then signs it. They will never beat Amazon at their game nor Starbucks or small cafes. But what Barnes and Noble does have is a physical presence and they have books and they have real live authors.

I sold 24k of my last book at a single Barnes and Noble last year. An unknown book. I did it all by talking to people coming in the front door. Most people are looking to discover a new story and guess what there is an author there to tell them all about a new story. Their own. And they can sign the book. It is a resource a sleeping sales force that Barnes and Noble can unleash right away because authors have a vested interest in selling their own books.

Look not everyone wants to talk to author when they walk into a Barnes and Noble but one in four  do. I counted it out and I sell a book about every fourth person. People are interested in the story the author has to tell and then they are interested in the author. The biggest advantage Barnes and Noble has is there are real people in those stores and real authors selling their books would cost them nothing. I impacted the bottom line of many Barnes and Nobles after four hours of selling my book and the managers were grateful. My sales swung the total revenue for the day.

This is a no brainer. The resource is there waiting to be tapped. An army of authors who just want people to read their books. Somebody just has to invite them in. The customer gets to hear about a new book, have an interesting conversation, and then get a signed book. And the author sells their book and now has an active role in controlling their royalties. It is a win for the author and more importantly the passive art of selling books will be gone for good, replaced by a motivated sales force of people going to the customers...authors.

Finally, yes it is a cyber world, but we are human beings. And humans like to talk to humans. An author can demolish any online sales model with this simple model. Give the author cards with a cover of his book. The customer walks in. "Can I give you this card? It is actually a book I wrote... " william hazelgrove

Friday, April 13, 2018

Paul Ryan is Getting While the Getting is Good

He is going back to brats cheese and beer. Paul Ryan is going back to Wisconsin. I know Janesville because I go to Green Lake which isnt that far. Wisconsin people are friendly and open. Ryan must crave that about now. He certainly wants to see his family more but the real reason he is leaving is because the good ship Titania Republicana is steaming right toward that black iceberg in the night and Paul Ryan is out on the first lifeboat because there simply are not enough. Trump had thrown overboard everything Ryan stood for anyway and now the working class white voters who put Trump into office simply will not be able to bail fast enough to keep the ship afloat.

Ryan lost his base as Trump gained his. When all those marginalized white voters were left behind by technology, globalization, and the internets squeezing of all profit from every mom and pop business in every small town along with Walmart and Target finishing the job they sure couldn't turn to Paul Ryan. He  had read Ayn Rand and subscribed to the if they are poor and old then they should die off. They didn't they voted for Donald Trump and unleashed a Demigod who upended everything Ryan and the small government Republicans stood for. All they felt was the wind of Trumps passage as he obliterated all traces of Ryans get rid of the safety net crusade.

So he has packed his bags and like the man who sees the party is really over he is getting out before the roads are clogged and the trains jammed. Ryan will be sitting on a pontoon on a lake in Wisconsin by the time the real blood bath occurs next year or since it is November he might be doing a little ice fishing. Cold brew, cigar, brat. Daughters with dad. Life could be being speaker of the house.

Books by William Hazelgrove