Check out this web chat about travel writing and global networking experiences.
Check out this web chat about travel writing and global networking experiences.
Patterson Clark shared his harvesting and art making processes at the Annual Meeting of the Audubon Naturalist Society last week at Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
I admire his dedication and inventiveness. Take a look at his brilliant art made of weed pulp paper and essence of weed ink, plus a ferocious amount of creative energy.
In my own quest to help native plants, I usually pull Lonicera japonica out of the trees or bushes it is choking and weave the vines into baskets.
Urban Jungle column in Washington Post
Invasive Plant Species in the Mid-Atlantic – National Park Service
During a totally unrelated search, I came across my short article about Charles Green III, a slight of hand magician who I interviewed for a piece that ran in the Washington Post Magazine a few years ago in 1993.
Part of the article appears in this High Beam abstract which collects a fee from readers. As you may know, free lance writers do not receive a portion of the fees collected by content databases. Oh well, that’s the “free” part of free-lancing.
So, where is Charles Green III today, I wondered. Turns out he has gone global and speaks about improving presentation skills. A magician of presentation!
I like his tips for delivering a strong audience-engaging presentation. Anyone who has waited while attendants fuss with laptops, remote gadgets and projectors before a briefing, lecture, panel discussion or press conference knows that if the equipment can fail, it will. Even if you do practice and test beforehand.
Read more about Improving Presentations.
The master of magic is Ricky Jay, who is a fantastic author and historian. His book, Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women explains much of the American fascination with flashy teeth, slick hair, money conjurers and religion.
What fun to find that the Gastronomica Reader , which includes my long article about Diana Kennedy and Mexican organic farming, is on a book list run by an Estonian web-librarian!
Fun because this connects directly to last week’s Wikimania 2012 in Washington, DC where I met a wikipedian philosophy doctorate from Estonia named Raul Veede.
Synchronicity and random serendipity are the most reliable indicators I follow in order to avoid the contrived pressures of marketing, crowd control, greed and aggression. Long live the randomness of the internet and the global volunteer efforts of wiki writers everywhere.
P.S. If you’ve ever used Wikipedia, consider making a donation. Wikipedians are volunteers. Donations support the infrastructure and service costs.
At Silver Docs a few days ago, during the Documentary Film Festival at AFI in Silver Spring, I swooned over this film DV:The Eye Has to Travel about Diana Vreeland. She was the editrix-empress of Vogue, long before the Devil Wears Prada. The director of the documentary answered questions after the screening and revealed she is married to one of Vreeland’s grandchildren the access to contacts and family archives was fluid. Said the film project grew out of a book she was already working on. The images are fab — wry, witty commentary on the 1960s and 70s.
“It has become so to-day that when you see the flag boldly and proudly displayed you smell a rat somewhere. The flag has become a cloak to hide iniquity. We have two American flags always: one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it it means danger, revolution, anarchy. ”
Author Henry Miller wrote this in 1941 during a cross-country road trip of the United States of America. He had lived in Paris during the 1930s and settled in California after returning to the States, as described in the Air-Conditioned Nightmare.
I apply Henry Millers mid 20th century observations to the 21st century ornamental habit practiced by Congressional elites, Cabinet members and corporate executives — the wearing small U.S. flag pins on their suit lapels. Do they control the flag and what it stands for?
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, Henry Miller, New Directions Publishing Corp, 1945, p. 37.
Henry Miller Online Resources:
A review of Air-Conditioned Nightmare that appeared in The Satirist.
Henry Miller website by Valentine Miller, his daughter.
Nexus, The Henry Miller Journal.
Henry Miller Memorial Library, Big Sur, California
“Every creative artist is a unique individual who has (her) his feet firmly planted in mid-air. He uses all his negative energies — tensions, anxieties and other vulnerabilities — and transforms them into rich reservoirs of positive forces, from which (her) his art emerges carrying with it the mystery and wonder of the unknown.” Michael Ponce de Leon
Who is Michael Ponce de Leon, I wondered, as I copied this quotation from an exhibition of Jung’s metaphysical work The Red Book at the Library of Congress, Autumn 2010? Clearly an artist who understands process of transformation, consciousness and catalyst creation.
The New York State Archives answered:
REELS N69-127 & N70-14: Correspondence relating to Ponce de Leon’s service as a cartoonist with the U.S. Air Force during World War II, his trip, 1967-1968, to India, Pakistan and Southeast Asia sponsored by the U.S. State Department to encourage better relations through art, his teaching appointments and exhibits; journal notes and writings concerning his trips to India, Cambodia and Thailand, his own work, teaching, Norwegian graphics and the art process; sketches and cartoons; sketchbooks containing figure studies, still lifes and sketches of Indian life; clippings, exhibition catalogs and printed material; and photographs of Ponce de Leon and his works of art. Correspondents include Elmer Davis for the O.W.I., critic John Canaday, art historian Jacinto Quirarte, and others.
UNMICROFILMED: A congratulatory letter from David Goddard upon receiving a Guggenheim award, 1967; photos and slides of Ponce de Leon’s work, a slide of him in a workshop, and photos showing his metal collage intaglio printing technique; exhibition catalogs and announcements, reprints, clippings, miscellaneous notes, three cartoon drawings, and an intaglio, “There’s a Time.”
35mm microfilm reels N69-127 & N70-14 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Material on reels N69-127 & N70-14 lent for microfilming 1969 and unmicrofilmed material donated 1977-1979 by Michael Ponce de Leon. Reels N69-127 & N70-14: Originals returned to Michael Ponce de Leon after microfilming.
Subjects: Prints — Technique — 20th century.; War in art.; World War, 1940-1945 — Caricatures and cartoons.; Hispanic American artists.
Organizational Culture shows us how governments, corporations, associations and other organizations manage their story and proactively shape their message. Al-Qaeda has an organizational culture just like any other entity and hey, it’s run by a guy in the construction business with a bunch of sub-contractors who deliver their trade which happens to be self-inflicted mayhem and death.
The U.S. is a squeamish organization — we don’t like to see blood and heart-breaking scenes and we don’t like to violate our values and standards by using taboo subjects (religion, race, ethnicity, gender, etc) to our advantage in an information campaign. The U.S. is tough minded when it has to be, but its organizational culture steers away from making decisions, embracing necessary change or cutting off what isn’t working.
The government has pathological difficulty in cutting off funding for what isn’t working. That would be the “war” in Afghanistan and the “deomacratization” of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Throwing money and human beings in the form of soldiers at problems that require tougher decisions and a longer term frame of reference is how the U.S. has avoided the painful work of facing reality. Now reality means no more money. Perhaps, at last, bankruptcy and debt will force prudent decisions.
In 2000, 6.8 percent of China’s vast population were age 65 or older.
By 2025, 13.4 percent of China’s population will be age 65 or older.
Source: Eberstat, N. (2004, Fall) Four Surprises in Global Demography. Orbis 48, 4:673-684. p. 676
So what does that mean for ordinary people? China depends on families to look after the health and welfare of its elderly population. The one-child policy has been effective in stabilizing population growth, but the replacement population is skewed to males.
China may need a gender based immigration policy to continue a stable replacement worker population to continue the growth which can support the rapidly aging population through individual care or a national pension scheme.
China will always have a vast population, so that demographic impacts may not be as deep, but widespread. The political history has been to shift populations around the territory in order to support continued growth, populate empty areas and stimulate development. However, soon China will have a top heavy aged population — and the stereotype that Chinese are long-lived applies here — with many of those elders without family members to care for them. Some of those sole offspring did not survive or did not reproduce because of the under-representation of females since the one-child policy took effect. Some emigrated.
China will have to revisit the current policy on pensions and health care. This may provide emerging market opportunities for developed nations to provide China with services such as elder care and health care delivery.
And, look out China, under-educated, unskilled American females may be headed your way to pick up prosperous spouses.
Did you know…..China’s public debt as a percent of GDP — 16.20 (2008 est.), #101 on the global list. India’s public debt as a percent of GDP — 61.30 (2008 est.) # 23. The public debt of the United States — 60.80 in relation to GDP (2007 est.) #24 on the list.
Source: CIA (2009). Country Comparison::Public Debt. The World Factbook. Retrieved October 3, 2009 from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2186rank.html
The U.S. was only a notch ahead of India on the amount of public debt as a percentage of GDP in 2008, using data prior to the global economic implosion.
While India and the U.S. will retain their robust populations to continue economic dynamism, by 2050 half of the U.S. population will be middle-aged or older.
India and the U.S. have similar profiles of public debt in relation to GDP, but working-aged population is projected to diverge. This will impact U.S. ability to sustain its economic growth pattern in relation to mounting proportion of public debt. If the U.S. enhances trade partnerships with the more stable and growing economies such as India, the U.S. economic outcome may improve.
Great-Grandmama may be able to afford a caregiver — a sponsored immigrant from India who speaks excellent English and has nursing training.
The skillful manipulation of the essential story of the conflict between the U.S. with al-Qaeda has left the U.S. on the wrong side of the story. And make no mistake, in the information age, it is all about the story that plays online, on mobile phones, television, on video and film. Viral messaging moves images and information faster than governments can perceive, let alone respond or manage the message. Today’s message is repeated, expanded and changed as the reteller (retailer) sees fit.
The U.S. should use its considerable expertise in psychology and its thousands of highly skilled civilian psychologists (as well as military psychologists), regional cultural specialists, creative story tellers, film directors and others, to produce a sophisticated narrative to manage the information strategically to turn the story in a different direction. It is essential to understand how to deliver the message to a culture, region and social setting that is completely different than the U.S.
The development, training and success of the Iraqi Security Force (ISF) is another element to be managed in strategic information operations. The image of the ISF as weak and ineffectual must change in order for the narrative to support information dominance. Delivering that message correctly requires a strategy, perhaps more difficult than training the forces. Major General (Ret.) Najim Abed Al-Jabouri, an officer in the former Iraqi Air Defense and now a Senior Fellow in the Near East South Asia Center at the National Defense University points out that “the United States fails to realize is that the ISF itself is the battleground in the larger communal struggle for power and survival. Middle Eastern concepts of civil-military relations are fundamentally different than Western ones. Western militaries have developed a culture of political control over armed forces. …this is not the established culture in either Iraq or the greater Middle East. In Iraq, there is a culture of “he who owns the security forces, owns the politics.” (Al-Jabouri, 2009)
Al-Jabouri, Najim Abed (2009, August). Iraqui Security Forces after U.S. Withdrawal: An Iraqi Perspective. Institute for National Strategic Studies Strategic Forum No. 245.
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