“Start throwing some punches for what you believe in.”
So much is owned from inventions to ideas. The stories of the past that have inspired us to act have become monopolized by entertainment and credit cards. Since so much time is spent trying to determine the original angles before becoming absorbed by some form of sponsorship or another, the person in conversation is left only with pop culture references. This is why the next project could involve a screenplay behind the rise of some form of universal apocalyptic scenario that has become difficult to address due to the increased defense expenditures in an attempt to prevent any unsettling event. The parallel to terrorism is obvious but with a forward twist and assumed conditions based upon some sort of greater force, the people maintain hope that security must never come before freedom. However, in the modern democracies of today and manipulation through the media, it only takes a message with an audience to really influence the decisions that lead to reality. In the late 1990s, the government did not know how to address terrorism and speculated whether it was a national security matter or simply a law enforcement responsibility. Failing to prevent an attack that struck a chord in all the population, law enforcement was combined with national security as a sort of total control of a world further slipping away from influence and change. Beyond the economy, the people have become dissatisfied with public servants who appear to be corrupt or in league with the controversial. Even though there are obvious needs that must be met by society’s response, the majority would prefer to not talk about it. The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging that there is one. Fight beyond that urge to forget that it took so long to finally realize that the world was not all good things, that there is evil in the world that will throw the balance off with violence. What does violence solve though? Is that the answer, to meet force with force and hope that the habits of a fighter end in defeat. It cannot be ignored though. The failure to addressing a problem will only deepen our problems and worsen our fears. Our attempts to put the responsibility in someone else’s hands has corrupted our own understanding of democracy and freedom. An election passes with apathetic bureaucrats and strategic fame seekers driving the momentum for addresses a clear and present danger. There is a film that has just been released onDemand with those who see the problem and urge on those addressing it to sincerely rise. Everyone must together stand and press forward. I imagine that it would all be a lot easier if we worked together.
“A hipster would never admit that they are a hipster,” said someone who knows what they’re talking about. The lack of imagination in this day in age must also play in context with the ridiculously creative imaginations that are churning out idea after idea. There are more people playing the game than ever before. And when this happens, there’s a greater chance of disillusionment in the statistics of turning an idea into a successful concept. Most of the bases have been covered, nearly all the mountains have been climbed. Regardless of the original idea that hangs in the balance of our imagination, it is likely that someone somewhere else has taken that idea and put it to use, most of the time not very well. The other day, I sat around with a few others on a brick laid patio in Columbus talking of potential business ideas. One person mentioned an idea of starting a website that only sold black socks and then allowing that to take off like any other web start-up. Sure enough, there’s already a justblacksocks.com out of the UK (there’s also, interestingly enough, a subscription service for socks on another website). Whether or not this is coincidence is up for debate, but the point is that just a little idea with so much enthusiasm loses most of its steam as soon as it is learned that someone else is doing it. Originality may not even be possible in this day and age. Unless we look at it differently, there’ll continue to be growth in the field of hipsterdom.
One of the local gas stations just sold $900 worth of lottery tickets from one buyer. Now this person may have been purchasing for a group of people, but that only adds to my point. Again the lottery is above half a billion dollars and the news shows stock footage of the previous big drawing about six months ago. The mere act of purchasing a lotto ticket, which of course I did, is hinged upon that idea of what your life would be like after winning. “I would do this or I would do that” conversation could go on all day with the many stating they’ll give it to charity in an attempt to improve their karma and lead them toward a deserving win. The odds are not worth going into because far too many of our decisions these days are based upon bad odds. One act in particular stands out and it is the drive for financial security. Of course this has been mentioned before here or on OpenDoorRapport but it remains a thought provoking point. How many ideas are given up on because they do not follow a trend or because they do not seem to have a high probability of working out?
Fear of moving forward without guarantees drives modern civilization. We demand guarantees on just about every product and dismiss those that do not pay off. However, we also seek lifestyles that guarantee security in the form of health insurance and a steady paycheck. There is no harm in this, but it can be crippling to the imaginative spirit. Most creativity involves a level of destruction and failure. These risks can be the result of undertaking a business idea, a documentary project, a fundraiser for charity, a political campaign, and even reaching out to new circles of people. A far greater risk is becoming a product that is traded on the company floor (and it already may be too late if you look into some of the tactics of political strategists that assigned likelihood numbers to every single potential voter). Although it may be necessary to get from one place to the next and a much better option than many other people have in this world. What’s paramount is to not remain in this state for long periods of time due to the possibility of creativity being drowned out by the security these companies provide. Some of the most successful projects in history have started with just a whisper and grew into a raging storm of accomplishment. In between though, there had to be a point in which the decision to move forward was just a breath away. This can come in the form of simple encouragement, however gurus and sponsors are always quicker to provide that additional confidence. As quickly as something can turn toward greatness, it can very easily turn toward defeat and abandonment. Keep in mind that it took 39 failed variations of water displacement chemical mixtures before they settled with WD-40.
Dry desert heat is a constant for workers at McCarran International Airport. The stair car delicately approaches the Bombardier CRJ700 out of Los Angeles. An irritable young traveler stumbles on the tarmac after rushing down the stairs in an attempt to create a breeze to shake off the jet lag. The inside of the terminal is not much of an improvement other than the faux-fresh casino air that must have been imported from another part of town to welcome visitors to the largest amusement park in the world. Once the young traveler is beyond the slot machines adjacent to the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, he hurries on down to the shuttle and waits for the sliding doors to open. Standing there in the dismal morning, he wonders how much of it was true dissatisfaction or if it was simply exhaustion due to a red eye across the eastern Pacific from Hawai’i. The Kona International Airport is the most unlikely place for any traveler to find their inner anger and bitterness, yet just a week earlier, the young traveler remembered the wild housewife scene.
They must have been on the same flight, but who could remember or care after landing, he thought to himself as he stared at this middle aged woman who was yelling expletives at her husband while a teenager with iPod headphones on attempted to look indifferent. “He just told us to walk over here,” she yapped. “Now, he’s picking people up over there!” The shuttle driver from a car rental agency had apparently suggested the family move from one pick-up area down fifty or so yards to another one for reasons beyond over-thinking. This was way too much for her to handle. “I’m calling them. This is ridiculous!” The young traveler distracted by the disgruntled family failed to notice the mountain rising above the clouds a couple miles inland. The Big Island, as it is called because of confusion that it’s name is actually Hawai’i, is much more rural than the other islands of Hawai’i, has large active volcanoes, and a green beauty to rival many similar places in the world. After getting away from the negative energy some people subconsciously bring wherever they go, the young traveler drove his rental car to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park to visit with his friend.
The dirt road off Queen Kaahumanu Highway is riddled with potholes and volcanic rock. Approaching the gravel parking lot, the young traveler finally gets a view of a beach and the light blue water of the Pacific Ocean. A dozen or so vehicles lined a no mortar wall that stretched from one end of the lot to the other, which was about the size of a basketball court. His friend, a park ranger, stood behind a pickup truck next to a local Hawai’ian woman and her black retriever. “You’re walking into some drama,” the friend said to the young traveler. Curious and confused, the traveler waited to hear more. “Yea, I took the day off,” said the Hawai’ian. His friend and the woman discussed domestic issues of having to give an eviction notice to another Hawai’ian who was now threatening to bring her brothers and cousins over for a show of force. “She says I’m not Hawai’ian enough,” said the woman in a saddened tone. “I don’t want to provoke anything, but when you threaten me, well, that’s when I’ve got to stand my ground.” The intensity was unexpected, but thrilled the young traveler who kept looking around to the ocean and then back to the mountain through the canopy of coconut trees that lined the opposite side of the parking lot.
The shuttle doors opened up and knocked out the flashback. People filed in without notice of each other and the tram took off from one part of the Las Vegas airport to the passenger and luggage pickup area an unknown distance away. It was probably the exhaustion, the young traveler thought as he watched the blur of concrete and steel before the tram came to a stop. Every place has the same sort of conflict. The only difference is how people choose to deal with them with density playing a significant role. Vegas, Spanish for meadows or fertile plains, used to have a naturally supported ecosystem before its wild history attracted gamblers, gangsters, and the Hoover dam’s illusion of sustainability. Hawai’i is not much different in that a once sustainable island was modernized to the point of living paycheck to paycheck. The entire state runs on diesel generators and even though the Big Island used to be home to one of the largest cattle ranches in the world, milk now runs eight dollars a gallon.
Vegas on the other hand is cheap. Everything is inexpensive, especially the collapsed housing market. These neighborhoods are walled off to prevent dust from settling under the doors and window frames, but it gives the appearance of feudal capitalism while the lights of the casinos blot out any stars in the sky. Dismal looking individuals, mostly Mexican immigrants, flick little cards as you pass them on the boiling sidewalks. The young traveler is amused by the prostitution advertising on the cards, but comes back to reality after seeing them litter the streets and into the sewers that little children walk over. In retaliation for the decadence and aqua-ignorance, he sneaks into Caesar’s Palace’s large swimming pool. Complete with white Romanesque pillars and a waterfall covered bar, the entire area screams end of days. Visitors are out of shape wage slaves who found some time in their preoccupied lives to stay in the middle of the desert. It’s near impossible not to be overcome by the indoor canals of the Venetian, the magnificent fountains of the Bellagio, the Eiffel tower, New York skyline, and dozens of other faux-decors.
Shuffling back to Hawai’i, the young traveler remembers what made it superior. Forget the beaches and spectacular weather. Forget the taste of fresh Pacific cuisine. Many of the beaches are imported sand from China and the fish is, well fish. The people, oh the people. Even visitors to Hawai’i can be bitter, but locals know how to stay Aloha, which means many things beyond hello. Compassion, the breathe of life, love, all these things and more build the foundation of Hawai’ian philosophy. Many natives still believe in the non-ownership of land. “We belong to the world. The world does not belong to us.” Many new faces come in year after year in attempt to build new resorts that skirt the law and bring in new species of plant because they look pretty, but inadvertently spread flora disease. For all the problems, the people stay positive and upbeat ready to enjoy each day despite the vog, a new volcanic fog that has descended upon the Big Island from a volcanic explosion a few years back. Better to get it all out, preferably in moderation, than let it build to the point of eruption. Still, nobody, no machine, nothing can predict what the planet will do next. In the long run, living in the moment with perspective is superior to gambling for a richer future. As Ten Bears often said in Dances with Wolves, let’s talk a little more about this and enjoy the fire we share.
The big rocks out there sit unmoved by the elements because nobody has figured out a way to move them or cared to try. Most paths are obstructed by one thing or another. When shooting across the highways of the world, it’s rare to come across a stop sign. Rareness implies occurrence though and means more for hope than almost any other word. For why give up on anything if there’s a chance that it might happen?
An experienced traveler and friend of the big names of the late Sixties quotes Dylan, “he said what many of us had on our minds, that “When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose…You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal…How does it feel…How does it feel…To be on your own…With no direction home…Like a complete unknown…Like a rolling stone?”
His learned years included decades that most of us will never experience. Isn’t it always neat to accept another person’s point of view? Another sage of the road said, “you’re better off going on a walk, finding some rock to sit on, and thinking for yourself what the best course of action is.” He knew from his years of the many opinions out there and seeking in others assistance to make decisions may or may not be useful. Support can only go so far. The ultimate decider, as our previous Commander-in-chief termed, has a tough task of figuring out what to do. Teamwork helps. People to people interaction is necessary, but not always available.
Sometimes those big rocks will never be moved and were never meant to disappear from where they sit. Still there’s a chance, especially if enough people work together. When alone, the only path forward is to go around what’s in front of you. It may not be appealing. It might sound a little like giving up, but it’s moving…
We learn to love only though personal interaction. That means face to face conversation and consistent trust in each other. This writer wrote something the other day that really freaked people out. Some found the piece to be honest and unmerciful. Others interpreted the words to be a “call out for help.” After re-reading the piece, this writer agrees that it was not well written. It was confusing, trite, and did more harm than good. Was it the wrong thing to write? No.
Writing is about being right and true. If the writer believes what they are doing at the moment a thought goes from their head to the paper or the keyboard or whatever else records the words, then it does not matter how it is read. Writing is for the writer. Reading is for the reader. There will always be misinterpretations, which is why so many writers go mad. This one will not because it is no longer original to go mad.
Keep in mind, that this form of writing is not where the best works are. Anything published online is suspect to weak writing. Science has proven that online interaction is counterproductive to true relationships. If we really care about the facts and hope for a better tomorrow than today, then the only option is to get off of these computers and smart phones. They are destroying lives and we are not recognizing this aspect of a tool that was conned to us as a communication enhancement, but in reality is taking us away from each other. We come through evolution. We live through experience. We are not meant to be in constant contact with each other. But if we do care to figure out what is going on in another human’s mind, then go physically see them.
Disclaimer: after receiving initial feedback from this post, the writer must emphasize that the takeaway is to live a purpose driven life. This writer does not like to write about writing. There’s nothing to it really and the technical minded individuals see too many flaws, over-think, and criticize. This writer needs an editor. All in all, things are okay.
One year down, this writer is no longer going to wait for life. Conservatism has a particular strength in terms of limiting risk. Family and friends enjoy hearing about how little is going on because it does not challenge their preconceived notions. Is that really true? I hope not. Friends have been in short supply in Cleveland. One politician said to me that he is “friends” with many people, even those he has not met. My friends are people who I can share a genuine conversation with and hopefully bring out the best in each other. I do not believe social media acquaintanceship has anything to do with friendship. It is recipe for disaster.
I lost two good friends this year. One was a high school friend who first introduced me to the public school crowd and assured my confidence to be myself. He was one of the first people to be honest with me about everything. Whether it be relationships or my book, he told me what I needed to hear, which was often painful. I do not worry about forgetting about him because his spirit lives on through so much that we built. He told me that I need to write about what is relevant to the reader. There’ll be time for that. I still have a long road ahead and the greatest mountains are still years away.
I affectionately called the other friend my “money man.” He constantly would get on my case about not caring about making money. If anyone is curious, Wild Harmony was a financial failure, as was college, graduate school, the websites, and all of my travels. I had given up on it all until I became reacquainted with these friends from after the New Year. “Money man” returned from Latin America and shared his dream of relocating to his family’s land and leaving this over-the-top capitalistic system we call America. He inspired me to press on regardless of shortcomings, but still insisted that perception is everything.
These two men were full of contradictions, as are we all. They both died in their twenty-fourth year unexpectedly and have caused a tremendous shock to all who knew them. I do not know how to express myself in public about my feelings on this matter. They were both too similar and my proximity to them at the time of their sudden departures is worrisome. We were not in hostile land. We were home. When a soldier or police-officer is killed in the line of duty, there’s an apprehension that is unique to those professions and has often been referred to as honor. My friends did not die with honor. I knew them as honorable men. The myths help.
I know what I must do next and it does not concern holding on to the past. There is not negativity in this decision. Most of the people I know of in Ohio, both family and friends, are amazing people. They have allowed me the privilege to grow up in a comfortable setting. They provided me the love that inspired me to embrace relationships. I leave Ohio for opportunity and continued growth. There’s too much muddled politics in this state and not enough people are ready for the two start-up networks that JAC Communications has been part of. Not many care to meet in person anymore unless it is ceremonial. And for those that I have come across, there seems to be a significant clique quality to their interactions.
We had a fundraiser for one of the deceased on Friday. Even with incentives and extensive promotion, it was not well attended by the greater networks that co-sponsored the thing. Those who were meant to be there were there. The gathering went late into the night and included a bachelorette party that made me lose all hope of finding a soul mate in Cleveland. The fundraiser was a financial failure, but again, I do not care to dwell on that aspect because so many people had an amazing night. My friend would have approved and his spirit was there keeping the party going well into the early hours of the morning.
I have no regrets about these financial failures. Those who expect and drive toward immediate financial success often become disappointed when the increased income does not lead to increased happiness. Everyone is different and there are no consistent rules in this game of life. Balance is the word repeated in the advice part of this experience. We all need some money to get by, but not that much. We all need a safe place to rest, but not a large spectacle of a house with unoccupied rooms. Our individual definitions of success differ wildly and is a cause of misunderstandings that often leads to disappointment.
I feel successful. That is all that matters. I am happy when I move toward my dreams. I cannot share most of what I am doing for a lot of reasons. Talk to me in person and maybe I’ll give you the low down or read the next book. This internet writing is a nice little outlet for sharing my thoughts, but I have found it to mostly be infantile. On another note, if you were one of the few readers who made it to the bottom of this drivel, all of my websites have been compromised by some hacker who is hell bent on wasting my time. So, thanks for taking a time and get in touch if you want to share an idea or two.
You will soon enough. In the coming weeks, JAC Communications will incorporate under the name “You Don’t Know JaC LLC” and launch a series of events in Cleveland, Washington, and New York. The first goal of this new effort will be to thread together this site, Open Door Rapport, Paper Campfire, and Wild Harmony. From there, we’ll be able to move forward with the 2013 networking plan and assist in the further development of volunteer adventurism, community service, and the 2014 triathlon from the southernmost part of Argentina to the northernmost part of Brazil.
The secondary goal is to execute on the mission statement: to assist you with the right people, places, and things. Whether it be a year-long campaign or a one day revision of your online presence, JAC Communications is dedicated to the enhancement of our interconnected communities. Network development today is available in many forms, but is also inundated with the digital overload of social media. In order to maximize efficiency and not waste your time, JAC Communications will tailor fit a public relations strategy to your specific needs.
JimACoyne.com is the personal blog of the proprietor of “You Don’t Know JaC” and documents events in Yellowstone National Park, which became the foundation for Wild Harmony.
Open Door Rapport is the host site for the “That’s What I Believe” podcast and development grounds for collaborative writing and promotion with the 2012 Wild Harmony Book Tour.
Paper Campfire, or the Campfire, is an online community magazine still under development.
JAC Communications is a full service group dedicated to enhancing your network through resume assistance, mentor matchmaking, website management, civic journalism, and public relations. Stay tuned for updates and visit some of the sites mentioned above.
Izilwane.org (future podcast networking partner)
Grassroots Volunteering (future podcast and networking partner)
The Great Island of the Land of Fire is the southernmost point of the Americas. Punta Arenas is the nearest city, however it is in Chile and the 2014 cycling expedition will begin in Argentina. Isla Grande is split between the two countries and derives its name from the early explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, who believed the Amerindians had lit fires in preparation for ambush of his armada. Charles Darwin visited next and took a few of the natives back to England. Cervecería Fueguina brew three types of beer that they affectionately named Beagle after Darwin’s ship.
The closing of another year opens up ideas for the people who will travel from Ohio to South America on the road circulating Paper Campfire and documenting those who plan to cycle from Argentina to Canada. The 2014 FIFA World Cup may be in the mix as well, or not. Before 2013 comes, this project hopes to have a crew outline and further information, which will be featured at the digital Paper Campfire site. Email WildHarmonyBook@gmail.com for more details. “This is a time for American heroes and we reach for the stars.” Time to show what the new generation is capable of and retake our image as the one’s who will do whatever it takes to keep the world running a little while longer so we can enjoy this wonderful life. Visit event link.
You’ve heard it time and time again in political rhetoric about the foundation of American strength: the middle class. Both presidential campaigns believe that this group makes up to $200,000 or $250,000 a year, which is outrageous when you look at the break down of incomes across the board. In fact, there are just over five million households in America (out of 114 million) that generate an income over $200,000 a year, and that includes those making millions. Middle income is a little closer to the median of the country, which is somewhere around $50,000, with a vast majority of households plus/minus $20,000. Instead going on about the exact numbers (if you’re curious, look HERE - worksheet from the census website), let’s think about why we’re so obsessed with this notion of the middle class.
Every American can be what they want to be, right? Sure there’s enough opportunity out there for all the hard working individuals to achieve some measure of success. The perception is skewed beyond a healthy level. Believing in a better day to come is a wonderful attitude. But generalizing what it means to “make it in America” as some arbitrary financial summit probably will stunt the real growth we should be striving for. Most political points are dead-end philosophies and those who are so worried about the economy must ask how, during these awful times, is it that Americans are spending $370,000,000 on costumes for their pets?
Misplaced anger, that’s the term we must really think about once this election is over. People are screaming and crying about how one candidate will surely lead us toward an end of days. Instead of arguing over which policy makes more sense, the conversation has been reduced to mere childish remarks about how the math doesn’t add up or how government doesn’t create jobs. Federal, state, and local government employ 20,000,000 Americans and indirectly are responsible for the remaining jobs in the country. Stability, a road network for all those commercial trucks, National Parks, incentives, rebates, write-offs, human rights, libraries, bridges, and countless unseen amenities are provided without interruption. These things are not guaranteed for all time. They will require leaders who possess the ability to be consistent and a willingness to be unpopular.
Another term that encompasses a lot of this frustrating discourse is radical individualism. The game of life is not fair. Just because someone loses does not mean they have not worked hard enough. People get hurt. Droughts and floods are a reality. It only takes a handful of instances to disrupt an entire community. Crime, sickness, and frustration exist and persist because we’ve had to learn to do more with less. An entire generation grew up in a comfortable, yet volatile time. This has caused bipolar exasperation for someone to take care of business despite how much harm it causes someone else. But when they see the hurt on their end, it just boomerangs back even harder until people become so heartless that they are willing to kill for land.
So back to the middle class, to middle America. There’s no such thing, at least when it comes to income. Now, when it comes to a group of people that want to ensure a quality of life for each other, then that’s something else. It is far more interesting anyway to hear of plans that are inclusive, but for the right reasons. People easily grow out of touch with what they do not see every day. It is simply true and is not any indication of, or lack there of intelligence. Millionaire politicians cannot pretend to know how someone lives just by meeting them once, or even by meeting hundreds of them two or three times. Leading requires humility and the ability to listen. Many of them figure that if they build up a staff who can remember enough and organize efficient campaigns that they’ll win just by learning the cliff notes. The elections of today are designed to pull quick ones over the majority of people by convincing they that they have their interests at heart.
We are going through a transition. The news media is weak due to their inability to come to grip with the internet. Journalists used to create the standard and today they fact-check. Most of it, beyond any other time in recent memory, is skewed by personalities desperate to become commentary celebrities. Take this into account and believe that better days will come, but we’ll have to work for them. And it will take more than one or two four year terms.