The Liner Project Blog

Vegas Golden Knights Jan 9, 2024

If you follow me on any social network you’ll know I’m sort of obsessed with the Golden Knights. I mean sports teams are sports teams and they are all businesses, just so you understand that I know that. I might be more obsessed with the team for what it means to my city than the team itself.

For you to be able to understand what I’m talking about, you need to travel back in time with me to 1297… just kidding but that was a baller year… 2016, June 22, 2016 to be exact. That was the day that Vegas was officially awarded an NHL franchise. This was a huge deal because this was the first of the big four, National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), or National Football League (NFL), to come to Vegas. Not only would they be coming to Vegas, they would actually be Vegas born, meaning they wouldn’t be a team moving here. So when you see the hashtag #VegasBorn that means something to us. The Vegas Golden Knights are the only team in Las Vegas that uses the moniker Vegas instead of Las Vegas. This is very intentional, people who live in Vegas rarely say Las Vegas when referring to the city so this lets you know the Golden Knights are from Vegas. The Raiders, the A’s (if they come), and the Aces all use Las Vegas.

As an aside, Vegas born is a play off of Nevada being known as the Battle Born State. Nevada was admitted as a state in 1864 during the Civil War, hence it was born during the battle. As an aside, aside Nevada has the best state song, and no your state doesn’t have a better state song. Here is Home Means Nevada performed by The Killers.

I’m not Vegas born, I’m from Missouri originally but both of my kids are Vegas born. I have been in Vegas for almost 25 years though so when I used my city above, I meant it. There are all kinds of jokes when you live in Vegas about being a native after a few years because it has been a transient city for so long. As a largely transient city, Vegas has never really been unified. We will get back to that later. While not being Vegas born, I consider myself a native. That’s how Vegas works, I don’t make the rules.

Back to the story, the Golden Knights got a name and logo in November of 2016. I’m biased but I think it’s a beautiful logo. I love the helmet logo and the gold (what says Vegas more than gold) color and how the V for Vegas is incorporated into the negative space of the helmet. The Golden Knights would start playing in the 2017 season so we need to fast forward to then. The opening game was scheduled for October 10, 2017 against the Arizona Coyotes.

Unfortunately on 1 October, Stephen Paddock committed the worst mass shooting in US history. He fired more than 1,000 rounds from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino into a crowd of people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival. At the time, 58 people were killed, they have since raised the total to 60, and 400+ were injured.

I work in retail, and have since I was 16. I was a General Manager for a national retail chain. I had a full size truck at the time. On October 2, the city absolutely galvanized around each other. The lines to give blood were so long they had to start making appointments but the lines were still long. We donated pallets of water and food. Since I had a truck I put a pallet of water in my truck and drove all over the valley dropping it off at blood centers and hospitals. They even opened the convention center (which is huge) for an impromptu blood center. I went there a few days later and all the Golden Knights were there giving blood and talking to people. I had a conversation with Shea Theodore and Nate Schmidt about hockey and Vegas. The whole team was there with the coaches. They weren’t just there though, they were everywhere during that entire season.

Then nine days later, on October 10, the first game in Golden Knights history was played. The city was somber but the Golden Knights were exactly what we needed at the exact time we needed them. During a 15-minute pregame ceremony, a 58-second moment of silence honored the 58 people killed in the shooting. Defensemen Deryk Engelland, who has lived in Vegas since 2003, gave an amazing speech. It was short and succinct. It was what we needed. It was perfect at the time and I’m crying while typing this. Vegas’s coach Gerard Gallant told his team that would be the most important game they ever played and it was. It made a group of transients, a group of misfits, a city. That season was a complete fairy tale with the Golden Knights making it to the Stanley Cup Finals before succumbing to the Washington Capitals. We truly became Vegas Strong, together. And we still are.

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All content ©2024 Ronnie Lutes

Cities in Dust by Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees Jan 8, 2024

You run… smoke fills your lungs… you run some more… eyes sting… the pain… others run in every different direction… you can’t breath… it’s complete chaos… you heard a boom that sounded like the earth cracked in half… then…

Hold on now… let’s go back a couple of hours and tell this story from the beginning.

You wake up as the sun comes up as almost everyone else does in your town. As you stretch and look out your window you can see the great mountains to the northwest. It’s approaching fall and the leaves of the trees are changing. The mountains looks like a painting… a mural, a massive mural. You can’t believe the beauty of this town. You haven’t been here long and it still amazes you.

The smell of the sea that just lies west of your house reminds you of your livelihood. The sea brought you here, the port, the docks. You work on the docks as a dock manager. It’s not a great job but it keeps you from the farming of your ancestors. It affords you and your small family enough for a small home.

The city is coming alive around you, you don’t have to strain to hear people moving about. Wheels are turning on the paved roads outside and you can hear the sounds of children playing. After getting dressed you sit down at the table with your wife and two kids for a quick breakfast. Most days you would just have some bread but today was special and you had some cheese and olives. There is going to be a big festival tonight. You dip your bread in some wine to soften it up. It tastes better with the wine. It’s unfortunate that you only have the wine on special occasions. As you leave your home, your children run to you to say goodbye. You tell them you will see them later.

You walk down to the dock to meet ships that are arriving today. Your boss owns the ships and you manage the slaves that unload the ships. The ships bring olive oil, pottery, and all other manner of goods from the empire. You think about the celebration that is going to happen tonight. You are ready for the gladiatorial fights that will happen at the amphitheater. You daydream about Tetraites, your favorite Gladiator. Unfortunately he isn’t fighting tonight.

Your boss claps his hands in front of your face, you break out of your daydream. You immediately start shouting orders to the slaves…. BOOM!

You stagger as the the earth shakes under you. Earthquakes aren’t rare here, in fact they happen quite frequently but this one seems even larger than normal. As you regain your balance you look to the mountains northwest of here and you see Vesuvius shooting molten rock, pulverized pumice, and hot ash into the sky.

We are going to step back from the story here and put some numbers to the eruption of Vesuvius. Super-heated volcanic fragments called tephra and gases were shot to a height of 21 miles or 33 kilometers. The molten rock, pulverized pumice, and hot ash were ejected at 1.5 million tons per second, releasing 100,000 times the thermal energy of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I’m excited about this post. We will discuss the Siouxsie and the Banshees song Cities In Dust. Cities In Dust is about the Mount Vesuvius volcano eruption as you have probably already gathered. The eruption happened in September or October of 79AD. Most people believe it was in October now whereas previously people thought it was in September. As a little aside, have you ever wondered why October with the prefix Octo, which means eight, is our tenth month and September with the prefix Sept which means seven is our ninth month. The Roman calendar, or fasti, originally only had ten months. They started their calendar in March and ended it in December, there were no months for January and February. You could do a whole podcast on the different Roman calendars and the iterations of it. Suffice it to say, it’s complicated and I’m happy we have our current system.

Let’s learn a little about the history of Siouxsie and the Banshees. They were a British rock band formed in London in 1976. Susan Janet Ballion who is known professionally as Siouxsie Sioux was born in London, England in 1957. Siouxsie and the Banshees were active from 1976 to 1996, they released 11 albums and several UK top 20 singles and one Billboard Top 25 hit, Kiss Them for Me.

Cities in Dust is not one of the songs that made it big but it’s a song I enjoy. It sounds 80s as it should since it was released in 1985 off of their seventh album, Tinderbox. Now let’s see some of the lyrics of the song

Water was running, children were running

You were running out of time

Under the mountain, a golden fountain

Were you praying at the Lares shrine?

Here Sioux is talking about under the mountain meaning Mount Vesuvius and the golden fountain is the molten rock that spews out of the eruption. I love the next line because it asks if the Romans of Pompeii were praying to the Lares. Lares are guardian deities who were believed to observe, protect, and influence all that happened within the boundaries of their location. Typical Roman household would’ve owned at least one protective Lares-figure. The figure would be housed in a shrine. The figures would’ve been placed at the table during family meals and banquets. Lares played a huge role in the lives of Romans.

Then we get to the part of the song that I told the story of…

Hot and burning in your nostrils

Pouring down your gaping mouth

Your molten bodies, blanket of cinders

caught in the throes, and

Whoa oh - oh your city lies in dust, my friend

Oh - oh your city lies in dust, my friend

Oh - oh your city lies in dust, my friend

Oh - oh your city lies in dust, my friend

As you can imagine as this was happening people were panicking and running through the streets. Our character was trying to get back home to his wife and kids and get them out. The dock he worked on was close to his house so, in theory, he could have made it. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius lasted a couple of days and most of the almost 20,000 inhabitants of Pompeii made it out alive but there were thousands that didn’t as described by the song… you molten bodies, blanket of cinders.

Pompeii, though destroyed, by Mount Vesuvius is really still alive today…

We found you hiding, we found you lying

Choking on the dirt and sand

Your former glories, and all the stories

Dragged and washed with eager hands

The “we” in this line is referencing the people of the present, the archaeologists that discovered the ruins of Pompeii and the people that were encased in the ashes of Mount Vesuvius. The former glories, and all the stories line refers to the excavations themselves and what has been found. Dragged and washed with eager hands is talking about how the archeologists sort and sift and clean all the artifacts left behind.

Although Pompeii was buried under ash and left for dead, it is very much alive today. A lot of what we know about how Roman towns look come straight from Pompeii (and Herculaneum, another town that was “destroyed” during the eruption).

When you think of Roman historical buildings or statues you typically think of white or gray. Most of the buildings and statues have been white washed by erosion but Rome was vibrant, Rome was colorful. Rome was not boring as you might think when looking at surviving buildings. Do yourself a favor and search Pompeii images in your search engine of choice and take a look at the splendor of the city. I, unfortunately, can only look at pictures because I have never been there but the pictures really do tell a story. Let me warn you though, the phallus will show up in these pictures so be prepared. You would think you were probably in a fairly modern city walking the streets of Pompeii. There are surviving restaurants and street vendors but unlike most modern cities there are also stone penises almost everywhere. They are hiding on the roads, adorning the walls, and hanging above doorways and ovens.

When Pompeii was first excavated and people were first allowed to tour the city all of the phalluses were covered up or hidden and your average people didn’t know, until much later, that these phalluses existed everywhere.

Pompeii is still being actively excavated today and the archaeologists are still uncovering secrets, a ceremonial chariot was unveiled that was found in 2018. This carriage was likely used in festivities and parades. It probably would’ve been used in the celebration that our character is going to but we will never know.

A couple friends of mine that I talked to went to Pompeii a few years back. They actually went there accidentally because of a mix up while booking their vacation. Neither one of them knew what Pompeii was but both said it might’ve been the highlight of their trip.

Due to a complete disaster we have a clearer understanding of people that lived almost 2000 years ago. I am completely fascinated by the Romans and Pompeii allows me to step back and see what living in a Roman town would’ve really been like.

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All content ©2024 Ronnie Lutes

Website Jan 8, 2024

I thought I might talk a little about the website since I’m sure I’ll probably get people here who have never listened to the podcast. I love music and I love history. I used to love looking at the liner notes that came in vinyl albums. Usually, the lyrics to all the songs would be there and I would read through them repeatedly, memorizing them. The bands would also thank other bands they liked. This was a great way to find other bands to listen to in an age when you couldn’t search for bands and find who influenced them. I bought many an album based on the credits in the liner notes.

That doesn’t have anything to do with this website other than those liner notes became some of my favorite things and eventually led me to start a podcast about where music and history intersect. When my wife and I were designing the website, we found some artwork that looked like a record. It had these beautiful colors that we decided to use throughout the site. The pinks and blues work perfectly together. We looked at tons of fonts and decided on a mono font. We chose it because it looks good but also because it has a great name. The name is Brass Mono. If you know me, then you know I love the Beastie Boys. If you know the Beastie Boys, you know they have a song named Brass Monkey. Brass Monkey… Brass Mono… you get it.

Enjoy reading on the website, if that’s your thing. Enjoy reading in your RSS reader of choice, if that’s your thing. Enjoy never looking at it again, if that’s your thing. In the immortal words of Shock G of Digital Underground, Doowutchyalike.

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All content ©2024 Ronnie Lutes

Responsibility and Accountability Jan 7, 2024

A few weeks ago my wife and I had a conversation about responsibility and accountability. We wanted to have a conversation with our family (wife, daughter, and I). We are thinking of also talking to our son but he doesn’t live with us. We decided that we would choose some things that we wanted to change about ourselves and then we would hold each other responsible and accountable. I won’t talk about what my wife and daughter chose because that’s not my story to tell. I will talk about mine here though because I want more than just my wife and daughter to hold me accountable. I also want to add a few here as well.

The two things I chose for my family accountability were eating healthier and taking a shower every day. Eating healthier has been a lifelong struggle for me and it’s been even harder since I have started a job where I travel 80% of the time. This means I eat out all the time which makes excuses easy to make for not eating healthy. What I’ve chosen to do may not sound healthy to you so we won’t necessarily talk about what my choice of healthy is but my wife and daughter know and that’s what is important. Taking a shower daily seems like an easy thing but I suffer from periodic depression and I don’t feel like starting my day, I mainly just want to sleep. If I take a shower daily, I feel better and start the day better. It’s like people that talk about making their bed daily.

I also want to start two other things that I want to talk about here. I want to start blogging so this is the first post. I got a start but I’ll need your help with that. The second part plays off the first. One of things I want to blog about is me learning how to code. I have, in the past, started with Hacking with Swift by Paul Hudson. I have done it for awhile and then quit. I have never talked about it publicly but now I’m going to talk about it publicly. This will help hold myself responsible and accountable. My goal is to write about my journey through this whole process. I want to write about eating, coding, and whatever else comes to mind.

Now., why write on The Liner Project? Most of you have probably never heard of the podcast I used to make (and maybe will make again one day), it was called The Liner Project. That’s what The Liner Project was created for. I used to love the liner notes in the albums when I was young. I was a history major in college and still love history today so I kind of added my love of music/liner notes with my love of history. I would take lyrics out of songs and then talk about the actual history behind the what the lyrics were saying. Well the reason I’m writing here is simple… I have the website and I like the name. This will be the liner notes of my life as it were. Hello… I’m Ronnie Lutes. This… is The Liner Project.

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All content ©2024 Ronnie Lutes