Jungle Talk

Are we hard wired to run a sustainable planet? And are we accountable to the entire world that we live in? For me the Jungle is something made up of so many fascinating elements; a journey of intriguing possibilities. That kind of sounds like "life" on planet-johnson.

Can I travel with a presence that allows my footprint to add value to the world that you live in while "capturing moments" that tell a compelling story? Karma is a belief that all of your actions will have equal reprecussions, affecting you and I. This journey is a search for some balance, a little discovery and hopefully some visual poetry?

This blog will humbly attempt to see my world through the experience of TRAVEL, photos and sincere examination of an experential and visual karma. And I will find a way to incorporate some positive travel experience into that karma with the perspective of a Digital Camera. Photography and writing have become my "love affair" with life on planet-johnson. Hopefully I can share my passions for the best of this crazy world!

Please join in and welcome to the jungle! 

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“To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them"    Charles de Montesquieu

Last night I dreamed that the world lived in peace and harmony and that extreme poverty was on the run.  Opportunity for a good life unfolded in every corner of planet "Gaia" and a man spoke of possibilities and progress for all of mankind.   "Beyond these walls is a world to be helped, and improved, and made safe for all mankind"  Bobby Kennedy    And people listened like prospectors hearing of the latest gold strike or actors working with Clint Eastwood? They listened as if his words meant everything!

Then I woke and thought about Bobby Kennedy and what might have been? I had watched Emilio Estevez` movie, "Bobby", for a second time and came away passionate about our future and pissed off about a stolen promise. The "sixties" was a powderkeg of idealism and possibilities and I can only wonder how Bobby Kennedy might have inspired an America that shook the world for peace and good will? And how far have we missed the mark when I put America, peace and good will in the same space? A collision of oxymorons! Sadly laughable in the age of Cheney. But Estevez reminds us of what might have been and hopefully what still could be?

Much of the movie plays as a very good sixties drama layered in a soap opera of sorts.  Connecting the dots of relevance are reels of documentary footage that highlight the larger concept of Bobby Kennedy`s campaign for "human rights" in the 1968 California Presidential primary. This documentary filming fits seamlessly as the heart and soul of everyone`s story. A sixties generation is tripping toward something great?

Laugh your ass off as Ashton Kutcher drops acid and leads young men into the land of Leary.  Feel the passions of young Americans, Elijah Wood and Linday Lohan, as they feel the pain of a Vietnam War that they can`t avoid. Or watch the seeds of a Latin migration to California with Freddy Rodriquez, "we`re the new niggers brother, get used to it". The stories are good but the "Bobby time" is gripping. You can feel the pulse of this movie with every Kennedy speech. America`s last hope , King and Jack are gone, says a sixties culture on the last legs of it`s idealism.

"All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity." Bobby Kennedy

The history of RFK holds moments of ruthless ambition and careless regard but he seemed to have evolved into a political Buddha. This in itself is so hopeful for any of us that want to make a difference. Bobby seemed to have found his nature in a call for "human rights for all mankind". His goals were so much larger than himself or America. And Estevez` movie shows his affect on people from all walks of life.

"Our gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worth while. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans." Bobby Kennedy

I could follow "sage" like this into the politics of a future we need more than we deserve. But we can earn a shot at this kind of possibility if we get lucky enough to find another Bobby Kennnedy who will lead us to the promised land. The opportunity is clear but is there anyone out there up to the call? The call for a "karmadawg" in kind of the highest order?


The 11th Hour of Hope

"If we were logical, the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope" Jacques Y Cousteau

I`ve just rewatched Dicaprio`s film the 11th Hour and I`ve got to ponder my faith in our carbon crazy civilization. The movie is a little too much like talking heads but is still fascinating in its scope. I`d defintely also recommend "An Inconvenient Truth with this but? if you have the time (and time is all we have), this is a thought provoking encounter with some of the great minds in science and their plea for the future. A future where they would intelligently redesign our carbon puking economy. I can`t disagree but I`d try to influence "a natural gas based economy" transitioning a future of Solar power and that`s a story for another day?

Here I am planning my next trip or is that carbon footprint (diving in Maui on route to Thailand). And I rationalize the value of travel while wondering about a future that sees 8.2 billion people on earth by 2030. Wiill the Chinese will burn more coal and India will crave more electricity? Of course! They are becoming us and they are liking it, which is no big surprise? But this is feeling likecasino capitalism and its not hard to fear our future or the fracking mess Gaia endures if we continue to roll the dice.

David Suzuki says that 99.9999% of species in planetary history no longer exist.That leaves us, being at the very top of the food chain, very vulnerable to extinction. And the movieshows us how rapid "climate change" drives extinction. But as Paul Hawken says this is a fantastic opportunity for our generation. The last and best hope for an eco-civilization. We can save this planet if we try? And as a Native Sage suggests at movie`s end: "This planet has all the time in the world, but do we?" This is really about saving ourselves not the planet.

The beauty of Hawaii and Thailand will still be here long after we are gone but who will hear the tree if it falls in the forest? Me, I`m crazy with hope and I`m buying my carbon offsets, driving slower, wtiting blogs and supporting Bullfrog (clean) power. Its not much but I`m trying. And trying is the very least that I can do? Hopefully the brainiacs running the U.S., China and India will buy into a green revolution or? Otherwise the future is ringing and nobody is home! The 11th Hour?


Sicko: Searching for the American Dream

"Success can become somebody else`s failure"     A Sage


I think the American Dream used to cry a mantra of all men created equal. But America is in the "Bush Leagues" now and , as bluntly depicted in Michael Moore`s new movie "Sicko", it seems a sordid tale of greed, creed and absolute disregard for those that haven`t learned to play the game of wealth. And a sick game it appears to be in the American "Health Scare" economy.

Moore sensationalizes and dramatises endless sad stories of death and disregard from the HMO money machines. The standard Moore critique is that he over sensationizes but lets face it, how can he avoid that approach when he`s in a story of life and death coated in greed. He needs to grab our passion before we turn to CNN, FoxNews or ABC. We won`t find any HMO truth in there while they and Pharma keep feeding the "advertising revenues". The truth about this "Heath Care" debate is as likely in mainstream media as the possibility that Exxon will go green! Moore needs to grab our brains and squeeze them hard. He`s fighting the most powerful greed on the planet. "Capitalism gone wild".

 Moore is trying like hell to inspire America to a fair minded idealism that might transcend it`s obvious, recent decadence.  How bad is it when Doctors are encouraged by a bonus system to deny HMO health care applications? The more patients that they turn away, the more wealth that they receive!? What a prescription for corruption!! Moore documents a congressional confession of one of these Doctors overwhelmed by her guilt. How many deaths is this bonus system and its appeal to greed responsible for? She can`t imagine?

Then Moore contrasts the British Health care system where Doctors score points for improving patients health care. The patient receives proactive prescription and advice. The less often a patient returns the more success the Doctor shows. The "Health care" versus the "Health Scare". Yeah, I think I`ll try the British model.

Moore solicited his 'Health Scare"  examples from people on the internet. Some had no insurance ,like 47 million Americans, but some had insurance and still suffered HMO denials and neglect. The horror stories are numerous and truly frustrating enough to piss off the most hardened capitalists. The message is loud and clear. Private Health Care is a greedy, scary and deadly proposition while Universal (social) Health Care, as contrasted in examination of the French, British and Canadian systems, fairly offers everyone an inherent Universal Right. A fair chance to live and die on equal terms. Not much to ask for, is it?

Sicko is a truly radical political film for Americans, though not so much for the rest of the developed world where death by deceit or life if you can afford it are universally obscene concepts. The Movie becomes a challenge to American ideals and the American Dream from Michael Moore.  He interviews a British politician who suggests that American politics focuses on keeping people fearful and insecure for political stability (or is that status quo?). And he interviews British, French and Canadian citizens who are proud of their time off, sick days and health care while laughing off the "American Creed".

Do most Americans believe that 9-11 volunteers who suffered lung damage don`t deserve health care? Do they really believe that Americans don`t deserve paid vacations? I kinda doubt it. But if most Americans really disagree with Moore then the "American Dream" has become something very different from historical ideals of equality that we all admired.

"We must stop talking about the American Dream and start listening to the dreams of all Americans"  Rubin Askew

Michael Moore is an idealist and a impassioned patriot who seems to be in a battle to remind America what it once stood for. This is a fascinating Docu-Movie that should help us all to consider what is most important in any Health Care debates. "Greed is not Good!" And maybe this becomes another "Inconvenient Truth" for America?



Battlestar Gallactica:Razor (The Anti Star Trek)

"It has always been easier to destroy that to create" - Spock

The mantra for Star Trek (yeah, I was a Trekkie) was to "go boldly where no man has gone before". And with that spirit of adventure the series was mankind`s generous and caring evolution (money was needless in the new human world of the Enterprise) taken to the stars.

On Nov.24, the opening episode of Battlestar Gallactica:Razor was a must watch prequel episode of a fascinating TV series that shows a pain of human evolution and survival that is a stark contrast to the civility of Star Trek. The Gallactica and its colony are under attack and near extinction. Their pressures are severe and their institutions:democracy, theocracy, military and justice are barely holding together.

This 2 hour frackfest (the Razor) features the lost Battleship Pegasus. It focuses the tribulations of her commander, Admiral Cain, her demon will to survive and her haunting influence on the Pegasus` desperately hopeful crew. They believe that they`re the last human survivors after a Cylon attack on the colony. They think they are all alone in a big bad Cylon Universe. Its a little bit of "The Lord of the Flies meets Star Trek on the Dark Side of the Moon". And what evil might men or women do to avoid the wrath and torture of Cylon Devils?

The story focuses on Kendra Shaw, played by Stephanie Jacobson, and we see Admiral Cain`s actions on the lost and disturbed Pegasus through Shaw`s eyes. Michelle Forbes, as Cain, shows a depth and humanity that gets lost in her need to save the crew. She kills innocent people that are useless to her cause and maintains a deadly focus on justifying her ends. She becomes the complicated, impassioned tyrant.

Kendra Shaw with her discipline and duty to Admiral Cain will lead a massacre of innocent civilians that will leave viewers stunned in a violent moment. A horror button is pushed. And the rest of the episode revolves around Shaws torment and need for absolution. Movie gold for good actors. She needs to make this right and will in an "Armageddon" like ending that leaves Gallactica Commanders questioning their humanity?

This smartly written metaphor for the "lunacy war causes of modern Western man", cries for the fantasy of a Star Trek future. As Gene Roddenberry would say " Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but to take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in all life forms". While Battlestar seems to take us down the tough road to this kind of thinking, it asks the viewer to consider both sides of every decision that might take humanity to its ends. Its bloody hard taking the high road for humanity under fire.

Admiral Cain takes the Pegasus into the dark shite of psycho justification while Star Trek goes boldly with principle where no man has gone before. Watch Battlestar Gallactica. It raises all the questions our world needs to ask itself before we can reach the karmic level of the Star Ship Enterprise. Great fracking show!



3:10 to Yuma: Acting Clash

False face must hide what the false heart doth know"    Shakespeare


This is a kick ass action western with a "classic" heart and soul. Christian Bale is the heart of this movie and Russel Crowe is its soul. They come into the movie with diametrically opposed moral senses and eventually develop a karma bond that gives this movie its classic mojo. Crowe is the killer with the silver tongue and dark spirit while Bale is Dan Evans, the peg legged war veteran and rancher hungry for respect from his family. Crowe`s Ben wade is feared and respected for his strength (in all its evil form) while Bale envies that kind of power. Crowe, in turn ,comes to envy the crippled Dan Evans, a man of sacrifice. This is a pot of acting heat that boils into karma power!

 Russell Crowe needs to be watched. He is a force of "acting nature" who really starts this movie in a walk. I thought maybe he had just shown up for the payday and was cruising through the part. But after watching the evil that Ben Wade can do to a fool with only a fork, then he`s got our "bad ass" attention. And we see cracks in the armor of his sociopathic soul when a young boy questions his motives. "I can`t do something good, it might become a habit" Ben Wade.  Then follow his transformation and watch for the "moment" when his acting genius really shines through.

Bale explores a vulnerability and sense of duty to his family that is  probably the best acting he`s done. His emotional angst bleeds onto the screen through a heroic transformation that conquers the devil in Crowe`s soul. This is serious good guy and bad guy shite that will stand the test of movie time.

Life has not been fair to either of these characters and they evolved in completely different worlds that could be expected to  settle into a classic "cowboy" shootout, but that would be too routine. And Director James Mangold doesn`t choose routine. He uses Peter Fonda as a crusty Pinkerton agent and  Ben Forster as Crowe`s psycho, sicko gang member, and runs the action onto a ticking clock that ramps up our interest. Bale will try to take Crowe`s character through the town streets to the 3:10 train to Yuma prison. The action for the movie`s final scene is fast and violent with transformation and bonding of both characters ringing true.

The final minute of Crowe`s soul felt change becomes the movie moment. Watch his face, read his emotion and anger in a look that only a great actor could generate on this level. Then back to Bale and know his relief, his pride. If you really love movies this final scene and moment are about as good as it gets this year on the big screen. Special scenes like this are the magic that rings the "classic movie" bell loud and clear. This is the film that you can use as a model for your screenwriting class. Simple, powerful, transformational, action packed and a draw for good actors. Another keeper for our cowboy classics collection!