Sunday, August 31, 2008

Screw It; I'm Running, Too.

In dog years, I'm older than John McCain and Joe Biden combined. Therefore, I announce my candidacy for Presidency of the United States of America:

Running mate to be announced shortly.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

What about McCain's BFF Joe Lieberman?

Many agree that McCain made an exciting choice in his pick for running mate. (Whether it is ultimately a good or bad choice remains to be seen, but it sure is exciting.) However, some reports indicate that McCain would have chosen Joe Lieberman if it weren't for the Sarah Palin option. In all likelihood, in a McCain Administration, his BFF Joe would be Secretary of State. And then they would start a third war when the other two aren't quite finished, none of which would be Congress-declared wars like the Constitution intended. World War II, arguably the last noble and just war, was the last Congress-declared war. I actually remembered that from a underclassman-level Political Science course from college, but I had to check with ye olde Wikipedia to be sure.

Anyway, we really don't need any more quasi-wars. That's my message to both McCain and Obama, or to whomever makes it to the Oval Office come January 2009. Here are three general, big issues on which I want the next President to focus:

1. The economy, stupid;
2. Untangling eight years' worth of complications in four years (notice I'm using generous language toward the Bush Administration);
3. Any new policies, domestic or foreign, can only be implemented once the above two are checked off the list. In other words, try whatever risky things during your lame duck years, if the American people give you another term.

We've already heard the Democratic response to both our current economy (paraphrased: it sucks because of Bush) and the Bush legacy (paraphrased: it sucks and McCain would extend the sucking) during their convention. We'll see what the GOP machine has to say about the economy and the Bush legacy during their week long party - Party party, as it were.

My guess:

3. Extend the war on Terra! War on Tehran! (Notice that priority #3 goes to the top of the list.)
1. It's not a recession with all the recent GDP growth. (But did the rich get richer, leaving the rest high and dry? Did working Americans keep their jobs? Did unemployed Americans find decent-paying jobs?) Also: Trickle-down economics rocks! More tax breaks to immortal, multinational corporations! Outsourcing rocks!
2. Ain't nothing to untangle, yo! Dubs be the shiznit, yo! (In those exact words, to appeal to a younger demographic, of course.)

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Gen X-ers (and Old Guys) on the Presidential Ticket

The day has finally come when the peers of everyone's favorite 90s alternative rock star heroes, who are now in their late 30s/early 40s/mid 40s/late 40s, are on the Presidential election ticket. For the Democrats, we have 40-something Barack Obama running for President, with 60-something running mate Joe Biden to add that component of "experience" to the ticket. Just recently announced for the Republicans, 70-something nominee John McCain chose 40-something Sarah Palin as his running mate. Palin is particularly interesting, as she seems to fill in all doubts of McCain's "conservative" credibility.

Furthermore, Palin can play the "history card" and possibly be the GOP nominee in the 2012 election, either as part of the incumbent party or the leader of the opposition. In other words, she could be the nation's first female President, and not Hillary Clinton. By the way, we're not invoking the 25th Amendment here, and we're not discriminating against McCain's age. Our hypothetical involves the 2012 election and not anytime before.

Since time is handing politics to the post-Baby Boomers, maybe we should draft Eddie Vedder for President. Of course, he'll have to say, "I have no idea what this means. I don't think it means anything." And then we would have to begrudgingly nominate Billy Corgan instead, as long as he chooses fiscally-responsible drummer Jimmy Chamberlin as his veep.

And then we'd have to invoke the 25th Amendment. Hail to the Chief, President Chamberlin!

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Liberal" New Media Bias

It's funny how so-called (social) conservatives condemn more-or-less unfiltered media as having a "liberal" bias. Take Wikipedia, for instance. It's big, often contradictory, at times inaccurate, yet it theoretically has a system of users keeping each other in check. It is basically free market knowledge (and misknowledge). The encyclopedia site Conservapedia has an obvious socially conservative bias, as it was built in reaction to the supposed liberal bias of Wikipedia. Now, the Conservapedia has every right to express their view, spin knowledge, and portray them as facts. However, it is a tricky situation to accuse a sprawling website that covers economic theory, social theory, and all sorts of trivia - of having a unified political bias. Does Google's search algorithm have a political bias?

Does have to have an equal amount of anti-McCain and anti-Obama critiques to be "fair"? Sites like, critiquing both (if not "all") sides will probably have more accusations of liberal bias than conservative bias. That's just how the cookie crumbles, I guess. Social liberals and moderates live an entire spectrum of lifestyles, from the traditional to the unorthodox. For the most part, they, like me, are unwilling to legislate a particular way of life for everyone to follow. Social conservatives, on the other hand, are normally willing to use "big government" to institutionalize one way of life, regardless of geography, biology, or culture. So much for liberty...

Fiscal politics is another issue, albeit still tied to social policy, but I've left it out of this particular discussion.

Anyhow, comedy and satire sites obviously wear their bias as a badge of honor. The Liberapedia was obviously formed in mockery of the Conservapedia. Virtually every point of view has their own brand of satire, using some sort of offbeat humor to tear down other ideologies. These days, however, I have yet to find "socially conservative" satire that's more funny than mean-spirited, or even makes sense. (To be fair, I've been guilty of publishing in-jokes, too.)

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Warren G. Harding: "Octoroon," Adventist, Milkshake Drinker

For all this talk about half-minority candidates (half-Kenyan Obama) and adherents to 19th Century permutations of Christianity (Romney the Mormon), we forget about an icon of anachronistic steampunk America: President Warren G. Harding.

The story goes that one of Harding's great-grandmothers was African American. In one-drop America, that made Harding an octoroon and therefore a black American. Of course, this could have all been racialist slander, much like Karl Rove's year 2000 whisper campaign about John McCain's "black baby."

Additionally, Harding had ties to the Seventh-day Adventist church, a denomination formed around the same time as the Latter Day Saints, when 19th century prophets were all the rage. (Steampunk God was instant messaging all sorts of folk back then!) Harding apparently spent lots of time at the SDA-affiliated Battle Creek Sanitarium. For more information about that, eat some Kellogg's cereal or watch the film The Road To Wellville. Meat and potatoes! Meat and potatoes!

Furthermore, he may have been involved in drinking your milkshake (Teapot Dome scandal). Warren G. Harding was truly ahead of his time. Regulators!

President Harding, we who are about to vote, salute you!

Warren GAMALIEL Harding photo is in the public domain. Being named after the demon queen Lilith's minion GAMALIEL is worse than having the word(s) HUSSEIN or FRED PHELPS in one's name.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

You Might Be Bleeding Heart "Conservative" If...

Here's some straw man propagandist evidence why everyone has a bleeding heart (I am serious, but I still keep my humor about the seriousness):

If you are a working or middle class Republican who's afraid of Barack Obama's campaign proposal of increasing the Federal tax rate for people who make over $250,000 a year, you might be a bleeding heart.

If you are a paycheck-to-paycheck employee who doesn't have a real estate/stock/bond/retirement portfolio, enjoy Bill O'Reilly's rants (but not in an ironic way), and are afraid of Barack Obama's campaign proposal of increasing the capital gains tax, you might be a bleeding heart. By the way, an orthodox "bleeding heart" is sympathy directed toward the underprivileged in society, so this entry's "bleeding heart" is actually code for "corporate ass kisser." Got it? Good.

If you are paranoid of the Federal "nanny state," favor state's rights, yet are upset over South LA's local government moratorium on new fast food restaurants (while not living, working, or even visting there yourself), you might be a bleeding heart.

Well, that brings me to my point. If you're upset about your local government taking away your restaurant choice, then be careful about voting for your local council members, mayor, and county assembly persons. If you're upset about your state government's ideological gridlock, be careful about voting for your local state congressman, state officers, and direct democracy propositions. If you're upset about the Federal government not looking out for your interests, then choose your local U.S. congressman, two U.S. Senators, and President carefully.

If you're upset about the Federal government not looking out for the interests of those richer (or poorer) than you, then please re-evaluate your political beliefs. I'm sure there are other considerations in your choice for President (etc.), but it's ridiculous to side with the rich when you're not invited to the country club. And when you've finally reached your American dream, and are rich, then there are several tax breaks and deductions available to you. In other words, if you're rich enough, you can afford either a Democratic or Republican President.

For the rest of us, it's another story. At the risk of sounding like the Dos Equis Beer Guy: Vote wisely, my friends.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

YouTube's Dan Rocks; FOX News Still Sucks

Dan's rants are quite long (around the ten minute mark), but they are awesome. In this video, he points out that American political correctness has gone so out of hand, that we're careful not to offend the racists (i.e., Michelle Malkin):

In this choice cut, Dan skewers Bill O'Reilly's hypocrisy when it comes to our troops:

Anyway, get this guy some more YouTube views, a vote in twelve years, or at the very least...a drink! Buy this man a drink! He deserves it! Cheers!

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Patriotism vs. Nationalism

Let's all try our darnedest to not be partisan hacks. This one is for America:

Dan, the guy ranting in the above video, rocks. On the other hand, here's Sean Hannity:

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Politics and Computers: You Say Mainstream Media, I Say Corporate Media

This entry will be quite full of unapologetic generalizations.

It seems to me that fans of FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, and other pro-modern GOP media are often wary of the "mainstream media" and their blogs usually contain the acronym MSM, which is a telltale sign of the ideology of those blogs. It seems to me that no one openly supports the "mainstream media," as those who are anti-FOX News (like me) lump them all together (CNN, FOX, CNBC - all the same) as the "corporate media." And the corporate media sucks, no matter how you slice it. It seems to me militant "liberals" are just as intolerant as hardline "conservatives."

Shoot, it is becoming more and more evident that the words "liberal" and "conservative" are misused and poorly defined my many, many, many Americans. It's like people who talk about PCs and Macs. A more correct dichotomy would be Microsoft Windows and Apple OS, in terms of operating system, or IBM-compatible and Macintosh, in terms of hardware. In any case, both are personal computers, and both have become weak proprietary technology. Macintoshes were once the anti-establishment choice of computing in the 20th century. Along with Netscape, the two fought valiantly against Bill Gates' would-be monopoly. Netscape sold out to AOL, and the Apple brand is pretty commonplace in the 21st century with iTunes, iPods, iMacs, and that commercial with Ed's Warren Cheswick. Macs aren't even made of all-Apple-centric hardware anymore (enter Intel). I'm pretty sure the OS X will soon get a barrage of viruses similar to Windows.

Anyway, the new computer badass is open-source: Linux, which has been around last millennium, but is finally coming to its own. Hackers will crack the latest OS X and the latest Windows, but it seems to me that there is a fraternity of open-source coders that seem to refuse to crack the latest Ubuntu or other Linux build. I could be perceiving wrong, but it seems to me that the Golden Age of Open Source is well underway.

Ubuntu can be replace both Windows in IBM-compatibles and OS X in Macs. I'm seriously tempted to go to my local PC Club to build a beast of a machine and install Ubuntu. Yes, I'm still using a proprietary machine for most of my multimedia needs. For the sake of disclosure, I own stock in proprietary software companies (Apple, Microsoft, etc.), but yet I praise Ubuntu and the rise of open source. Ballsy? Hypocritical? See my next paragraph...

Back to politics: Militant liberals, militant conservatives, and militant moderates - the only place where "militant" is acceptable is in the military. (I'm sure Yogi Berra would be proud of the previous statement.) Learn to adapt, or else become a dinosaur. That goes for computers, too.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

FOX News Still Sucks

And I'm sure that CNN, CNBC [edit: MSNBC], and all those other commentary-heavy "serious" cable news networks suck too.

By the way, while Wikipedia is still unreliable, its bibliography section at the bottom of several entries are looking better each day.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Political Position(s)

For reference, this is where I stand in terms of politics:

I am in that limbo between liberal and libertarian. Specifically, if we are using the above scale from the World's Smallest Political Quiz, I am a social liberal and an economic moderate.

To be clear, "politics" relates to my feelings on what public policy should be, and not how I personally live my life. Being a social liberal means that I recognize there is no one right way to live (just as long as it's a good* way to live). Certain areas of my personal life may be quite "conservative" or relatively "liberal," but I am not willing to institutionalize the way I live and force it upon others who may live differently, whether traditional or unorthodox. I don't want the government to pry in on my personal life, nor the lives of my fellow Americans.

Being an economic moderate means, to me, that the government should ensure "opportunity" for those who aren't given it by birth - specifically children born to lower economic status - but it shouldn't cross the line and give out "hand-outs" to able-bodied adults of sound mind. The federal government should make sure that the quality of public safety should reasonably match technology - for every state in the union. I'm talking about building codes, road work, and food/drug quality. As long as those federal safety standards are reasonable, the states should be free to surpass those standards, depending on geographical and geological needs (California and earthquakes; the Gulf Coast and hurricanes; etc.).

There you have it: A few reasons why I usually don't vote Republican, while at the same time, not advocating the much-feared "liberal nanny state." I might have been a bit more economically liberal in high school and college, but overall, I think I've remained relatively the same when it comes to the role of government. I should (and probably will) elaborate further on specific issues in the future.

*This sentiment was partly inspired by Eddie Vedder's clever lyric "There's no wrong or right, but I'm sure there's good and bad" from the Pearl Jam song "Thumbing My Way" (see video below), which got me thinking about Plato's realm of forms (the form of the good), as well as the thesis of Daniel Quinn's Ishmael: There's no one right way to live. I've synthesized all those statements as: There's no one right way to live, as long as it's a good way to live. Yes, in my personal belief system and cosmology, there are certain things that are objectively good - all the rest is subjectively relative.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Flip Flop Olympics

This is a post about John McCain's contradictory statements over the past eight years. To be fair, Senator Obama did say 57 states, likely under the influence of Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Hey, we kinda-sorta forgave Mitt Romney for doing the Obama/Osama slip (okay, maybe not) - why can't we let go of Barack's forty/fifty misstatement? Anyway, my bias is showing so let me just embed these funny John McCain videos containing his statements:

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Silly Lists

Air hockey
Table tennis
Doubles tennis
Beach volleyball

First Blood
Rambo: First Blood Part Two
Rambo III

William Howard Taft
(nephew William Howard Taft II)
William Howard Taft III
William Howard Taft IV

Robert Alphonso Taft
Robert Taft
Robert Alphonso Taft II

John Sidney McCain/John Mihai
John Sidney McCain, Sr.
John Sidney McCain, Jr.
John Sidney McCain III
John Sidney McCain IV

Apparently, I just won't let this pseudo-eschatology go. If you want some recent substance, read about how I started a second organized company. But here's one more silly list for the road:

Barack Obama the Secret Muslim
Barack Obama the Atheist Marxist
Barack Obama the Radical Christian
Barack Obama the Bacon Eater

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Re: John Son of Cain - I Thought I Was JOKING!

Tinfoil hats on, everyone!

I thought I was kidding when yesterday I facetiously and sarcastically equated John McCain as the son of the biblical murderer Cain. To be clear, I was kidding and I am kidding. However, some people are not kidding when it comes to equating John McCain with the Antichrist (which goes above and beyond the insinuation of Cain the city builder).

Before we move further, let's get our terms straight: Our John McCain is really John Sidney McCain III (in the same way our Barack Obama is Barack Hussein Obama II). John McCain's father was John Sidney McCain, Jr., and his grand-pappy was John Sidney McCain, Sr.

According to the True Bible Society of Colorado Springs, John McCain's great-grandfather was originally named John Mihai. (The ever-accurate Wikipedia strangely names John McCain, Sr.'s father also as "John Sidney McCain," however John Sidney McCain Zero is an unlikely name.) A quick copy and paste from the Yahoo!/The Nation article also linked above:

"What started us looking at this issue is the fact that Senator McCain has declared his intention to maintain US forces in Iraq for a hundred years," said David Jenkins, a leading Biblical scholar. "That means that McCain wants to control Babylon for at least a century." According to many scholars of the Book of Revelation, the Antichrist will try to rebuild the ancient city of Babylon in order to use it as a springboard for an international effort at world domination. Ultimately, the Antichrist will marshal forces from Babylon to spark a showdown with Christian and Jewish-led forces in the battle of Armageddon.

"We believe that the End Times is near, based on the pattern of wars, earthquakes. and other strange phenomena we've been witnessing since the start of the New Millennium," said Jenkins. "Given that it may be imminent, the person who controls Babylon must be the Antichrist." Until 2003, many Christians believed that Saddam Hussein might be the Antichrist, since he started excavations to restore Babylon in the mid 1970s. But Hussein's death meant that the Antichrist is someone else. Since Obama wants to get out of Iraq, he can't be the Antichrist either, concluded Jenkins.

Jenkins said his teams suspicions were further heightened when genealogical research showed that McCain's great-grandfather was actually not John McCain, but John Mihai. Mihai is an ancient Romanian name, and according to Bible-believing Christians, the Antichrist is likely to be a Romanian. "What clinched it for us was that the name Mihai means 'who is like the Lord,'" said Jenkins. "As far as we're concerned, that was enough. It means that McCain might easily pretend to be the Redeemer."
Are your tinfoil hats still on? I'm reminded of the time I was on the train to the Grand Canyon, and I overheard a conversation regarding Barack Obama fulfilling biblical prophecy as some sort of doom bringer, and that person wouldn't vote for Obama for that reason alone. If the Colorado Springs "scholars" are right, then my fellow passenger would be wrong. Either way, it's silly.

I remember previous elections involved "voting for the lesser of two evils." If we don't curb the irrationality of some voters and the multimedia hype machine, it just might become "voting for the lesser of two Antichrists." It's about issues and the scope of the executive branch of government, people! (In other words, there are other offices up for election, as well as state and local measure that affect you more directly that the next White House tenant!) Don't believe the hype, the email forwards, and especially blogs (like this one)!

To be fair, the Mayan calendar does end around the time as that of the first term of the next "Antichrist" President (whoever that may be): 2012. If you believe the hype of McCain-as-Antichrist or Obama-as-Antichrist, then you are pretty much in a bind. Your perspective probably states that you are damned if you vote, and damned if you don't.

Here's my suggestion for those who believe in certain doom: Live your life as well as possible! If 2012 is as epic in apocalypse as hyped, then we pathetic mortals certainly won't survive it. No one will. Stop building that bomb shelter; it won't hold!

Just so you know, we all had a chance at survival when Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich were on the ballot. Foolish American mortals...

Tinfoil hats off!

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Michael FRED PHELPS Wins Eight Gold Medals!

Note that I emphasized the FRED PHELPS part of Michael Phelps' full name, in mockery of certain partisan demagogues who emphasize the middle name of Barack HUSSEIN Obama II. America's swimming champion Michael Phelps is not directly associated with the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, known for its use of the American right of free speech (to put it lightly). In the same way, American candidate Obama is neither related to late dictator Saddam Hussein nor elusive cobra commander Osama bin Laden. I don't know why I'm retreading this territory (slow political news day*, I guess), but this train of thought will lead to some sort of punchline.

For the sake of balance, let me write that John McCain (a Scottish patronymic meaning "son of Cain") is obviously not the son of the guy who killed his brother Abel in the book of Genesis. However, making that mistake would be understandable, since McCain is the correct age. (Boo! Bad ageist joke!)

I told you there would be a punchline!

*Well, it isn't quite a slow political news day, as both major party presidential candidates were at the famous Christian book author Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in a Family Feud-like bonus round Q&A session. You know the last round in Family Feud, where one player answers the survey questions while the other is backstage so he/she won't hear the first one's answers. The pastor's non-debate format seemed like a good choice that focused on issues relevant to his congregation. We need more issues-based debate and discussion, in the context of various voter demographics who have various stakes in differing issues, and less corporate media hype.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Acrobat Marcelo de Ramos (No Relation)

This guy rocks:

Coincidentally, I wrote about Marcelo and his wife's act exactly one year ago. Evidently, their son is in the family business, too:

I guess reality TV hype machine Simon Cowell didn't like Marcelo's act because it can't be commercially exploited by the glorified A&R representative. That's show business for you. Anyway, check out (not affiliated to DeRamos Media or DeRamos Group LLC) and for more information.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

"Élan Vital" Teaser Trailer

For all this blogging about the music publishing company, I still have to emphasize that my film production company is running full steam ahead, too. Case in point, the teaser trailer for Mutiny Universe's short feature film Élan Vital:

The music is by yours truly. Subscribe to my mutuni podcast, and you might see/hear more Élan Vital-related material...soon!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Of Empires, Olympics, and Similar Grooves

It was great to share with you some plot points concerning the birth of DeRamos Group LLC. Founding a company is almost the equivalent of conquering some land and creating a kingdom. Having established two, it almost feels like creating an empire...nay...a galactic empire! Almost. There are even more possibly helpful details (that do not constitute professional advice, of course) concerning business obstacles we've encountered along the way. I'll write about those things in the future.

So how about them Olympics? Will Michael Phelps get all those gold medals and world records? Obviously, we'll all have to wait and see (if we choose to pay attention to that). Speaking of which, I've been watching a lot of TV because of the games, and I noticed that this song:

Nikka Costa "Everybody Got Their Something" (2001)

has essentially the same riff and groove as

Better Than Ezra "Juicy" (2005)

If no one's making a big legal stink about those two songs having similar grooves, riffs, and basslines - then as an owner of a music publishing company (and songwriter), I'm relieved.

P.S. Speaking of Better Than Ezra - they were the biggest rock band in the summer of 1995, the number two band being Ezra (paraphrasing Norm Macdonald). Keep in mind, Nirvana ended in '94, Pearl Jam was battling Ticketmaster and not touring extensively, and the Smashing Pumpkins were putting the final touches to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness that summer. It was basically that band, Bush, Silverchair, etc., that summer. How did we survive? Anyhow, ten years before their pseudo-disco (?) song, Better Than Ezra were hashing out some decent (some would say good), four-chord "alternative"* rock:

Better Than Ezra "Good"

*Remember those days in the mid-90s, when it meant pretty much nothing to be labeled "alternative" - alternative to what? Four-chord, power trio/quartet, quiet verses, loud choruses, post-grunge, alternative to what?

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

DeRamos Group LLC d/b/a DeRamos Media: Start-Up Summary

This ain't advice; it's an autobiography!

This is essentially our story so far:

1. We chose to organize as an LLC;
2. We hired an incorporating company to file the necessary state documents (about $400);
3. We ratified the Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement, and managerial team;
4. We received our EIN from the IRS;
5. We filed an FBN statement with the county to d/b/a DeRamos Media (about $60);
6. We published our FBN statement with a local newspaper (about $40);
7. We received a city business license to be a music publisher (about $150);
8. We rented a P.O. box from the USPS (about $110);
9. We opened a business bank account.

Now we're in the process of building a useful website (not the placeholder Society of Gloves page), but there's no big rush for that. And since we're a music publishing company, somewhere in the process, we affiliated with both ASCAP (about $25) and BMI (about $250!). We also bought a few domain names and server space, making the total start-up cost at least $1000, if not more. We have a business plan, and maybe it'll work.

Take whatever knowledge you can if you're starting your own business, but don't take my word for it!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Get a Business Bank Account

This article makes no promise to help because it is not professional advice.

LLCs and corporations (and other entities, possibly) protect their owners from personal liability - theoretically. In order to keep it that way in the eyes of the law, business owners have to separate business stuff from personal stuff. One way to do that is to keep the business funds in a business bank account, your personal funds in a personal bank account, and establishing a paper trail when those worlds interact. Opening a business bank account requires at least four things:

1. Proof that your business exists. An LLC has its Articles of Organization and its FBN statement(s) to establish its existence and its trade names.

2. Proof that you exist. A photo ID, like a driver's license, is a no-brainer. Some banks require two or more forms of ID, however. Unlike the USPS for P.O. Boxes, many financial institutions will accept a credit card as valid form of ID.

3. Proof that you run the aforementioned business. In an LLC, the Articles of Organization and/or the Operating Agreement probably mention who's in charge - you and other people? (For a corporation, those documents are the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws.) The Operating Agreement is usually signed by all members and all managers. To drive the point home, the minutes of the first meeting probably mention that the Articles and Operating Agreement have been ratified. Therefore, you (who exists) run the aforementioned business entity (which exists) and are able to open a business bank account.

4. Money to put in the bank. Otherwise, there's no point in opening a bank account, is there now?

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Get a P.O. Box (If Your Company Needs One)

While it might read like an advice column, this entry is not meant to be professional advice, or even intermediate or novice advice. Just so we're clear...

There are several reasons to get a P.O. Box or mailing address outside of the main office: Security, organization, convenience, etc., or some mix all reasons. Anyway, like my film company did in its start-up phase, DeRamos Media acquired a Medium Size 3 P.O. Box for about $110 per year. Medium Size 3 can hold several manila envelopes without being overkill like a Large Size 4 box. DeRamos Media pretty much lucked out in terms of price and location; Medium Size 3 fees (and any size, for that matter) can and will vary by location.

I have to commend my local Post Office for their friendly service when it came to applying for the P.O. Box. That's another story altogether, albeit a pleasant one that reads almost like a sitcom. However, what's not a sitcom is our ever-rising start-up cost of about $760.

Anyway, you can download the official USPS form by right-clicking and saving this link as whatever file name you choose. It's named Form 1093, by the way. Fill out the form in advance, scan the completed form as a PDF copy, and bring two forms of ID to the Post Office. A state-issued photo ID like a driver's license is a no-brainer. The second form is a bit tricky, in my opinion, because Social Security cards and credit cards are not acceptable by the USPS. Like a state-issued photo ID, your second form of ID needs to link your name with your home address. (So the Man knows where to find you.) A recent utility or insurance bill in your name and address should suffice, but don't take my word for it.

To be continued...

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Get a Business License

This is not legal/financial/business advice, but admittedly, these articles do border on the obvious:

Ben Franklin has the well-known quote about death and taxes. Incorporated and officially organized companies have the potential to theoretically "live forever," but even immortals (in good legal standing) still need to pay taxes. The federal government, though the IRS, gives your company an EIN for that reason. Several states collect taxes if you conduct business there, and they will provide you a filing number for that purpose. And in all likelihood, your local city government collects what's theirs by requiring a business license. You'll probably need your federal EIN and state number in order to fill out a business license application for your city.

With a certified copy of the Articles, a certified copy of our FBN statement, and some properly completed forms, getting a business license was pretty straightforward for DeRamos Media. It cost us about $150, but it was an efficient process nonetheless. The aforementioned dollar amount includes a few one-time filing fees, but the business license fee itself is an annual cost. Oh, goody.

So far, our start-up estimate of $650 is getting to be a significant chunk of change. Obviously, we hope that our game plan (business plan) is sufficient to turn the tide. To be continued...

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Get an Alias: Fictitious Business Name (FBN)

The following is an anecdotal account about starting a business. It is not, and should not replace, proper professional advice from an attorney, CPA, or a rocket scientist. Enjoy:

I mentioned earlier that the company name DeRamos Group LLC was insufficient for conducting business as a music publishing company. Additionally, since we're affiliated with both ASCAP and BMI under different publisher names, we needed more than one fictitious business name (FBN). It all depends on your specific needs as a company, and our company needed three FBNs. So we drove to the County Clerk's office to fill out a fictitious business name statement, which cost about $60.

This varies by state, but we had to find a county-approved newspaper to run our FBN statement in the classifieds for about a month. This cost about $40. With that, DeRamos Group LLC could now do business as (d/b/a) DeRamos Media, etc., etc.

Are you keeping track of the estimated start-up costs so far? It cost us about $500 to get to this point, and we weren't licensed to conduct business yet! Also five hundred is still a deceptive number, because there are specific costs related to specific industries. For us, it was affiliating with ASCAP and BMI. For you, it might be something else. We might get into that later...

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Take a Number: E, I, EIN

Remember, the following is entertainment, not professional advice:

Once the state in which you organize/incorporate makes your company official, get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (obviously, the IRS). You can either get Form 8822 (right-click > save as) and wait about a month for your company's federal tax number, or you can apply online to get it instantly.

At DeRamos Group LLC, we applied online. I believe this is one of the few steps, when founding a new business, that's initially free. Of course, your business' EIN is related to federal taxes and therefore ultimately not free.

To be continued...

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