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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The Day the Earth Stood Still

    "There is no time left for anything but to make peacework a dimension of our every waking activity."     Elise Boulding

I love finding a timeless piece of art, like "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), that still rings truer than most movies being generated more than 50 years later. Everybody should be made to watch this story (and maybe "Mr Smith Goes to Washington") until they can understand the values of tolerance, sacrifice, reason and peace on earth. We are forever on "the eve of destruction" but we do have the power to "change the future". And Klaatu and Gort are about those possibilities!

Klaatu arrives from a distant planet in a flying saucer space ship which lands in Washington D.C.  He comes out of the ship, in his silver spacesuit, offering words of peace and a gift of knowledge which he carries in his hand. The army fools immediately fear an alien demon and shoot Klaatu. This is too believable as fear overwhelms our reason. Fear of an unknown. Shoot first, because they all must be as damn violent as we are. Klaatu is seriously wounded.

Klaatu appears to be just a man, but this is the man from the stars, the man with serious technology at his fingertips. He heals himself at the infamous Walter Reed hospital and escapes  to wander Washington trying to understand these strange people of planet earth. The alien befriends a local family, particularly a young boy, and at this point it feels a little like "The Man Who Falls to Earth meets Beaver Cleaver". But, hey, you gotta love the Beaver!

Through Beaver, he finds his way to a renowned scientist, Dr. Barnhardt. Barnhardt will be Klaatu`s connection to the world`s entire scientific community.     "Its good to find a man with faith in science Dr. Barnhardt. Its not faith that makes a good scientist Mr. Klaatu. Its curiosity".     Klaatu has a "life or death" message for planet earth and he`ll deliver it through a meeting of the world`s scientists to be arranged by Barnhardt. The aliens will show their power to destroy weapons and stop electricity world wide so that a  message is received loud and clear when this group meets.

Of course, the military fumbles again and kills Klaatu before he can deliver his sage to the world. Now the clock is ticking and Gort (the killer robot) will destroy the earth as punishment for mankind`s disease. The disease of intolerance and violence. But lucky for us Klaatu delivers a message of peace and restraint to Gort through  a woman he has befriended. And Gort will revive Klaatu for his famous final moment.

Klaatu, from the deck of his silver flying saucer, delivers  an ultimatum to the dumbstruck group of scientists and military. Our planet and its raging hostilities are a threat to the ever shrinking Universe, says Klaatu, and if we don`t learn to live in peace then we will be exterminated. This is the law of a peaceful universe. So here we have it. A symbolic story of the paradox of mankind that seems to have been with us forever but seems more critical than ever. Everyone on this planet needs to pull together in a direction beyond war, terrorism and corruption. We have to overcome our intolerance for each other and forge "peace on earth" or the shite will hit the fan. And there won`t be anything left to fight for! We`d better suck it up before Klaatu and Gort come back. It won`t be pretty!



    "The most persistent sound which reverberates through men`s history is the beating of war drums"  Arthur Koestler

Sad but true is our weakness for war. But out of the horrors of blood, guts and battle comes some great movies. And some great lessons. Yeah, I`m a karma junky who`s fascinated with war movies and their dynamics. Go figure. But be warned this is a violent (that's very violent) movie though filmed in the "Sin City" style of surreal, almost video-comic action.

Don`t get me wrong. This movie is not on my great list but it is very good and much wrongly maligned for some correlation to the modern Bush - Iran conflict. What a stretch? The Persians are a monstrous, dominating empire of a would be God and merciless armies (with some historical basis) which hardly counts for comparison to modern Iran (a modern complicated and devious government that fears seeds of its own cultural revolution) as suggested in too many reviews. And the comparison of modern US to the Spartan Greeks of this story is ridiculous. These Spartans are hugely outnumbered by their enemy and fighting to save their children from slavery. They have no dominant technology, only superior stamina and will.  Their King is a wise and loving leader who is willing to sacrifice his life for his kingdom. George W. did tequila parties while avoiding Vietnam and does more Haliburton dinners than sacrifice during the Iraq war. Mr. Bush, "you are no Leonidas!".

Historical accuracy is minimal (hey this is the larger than life movies) such as the Spartan red cloaks and flowing hair. Apparently they did even brush their hair before battle (says historian Herodotus) so maybe the highly buffed bodies are not a terrible stretch. And the Persian army is depicted in some accurate campaign dress. But this isn`t a true history lesson. Its a highly entertaining movie focused on 2 great characters and kick ass battle action. Kind of "Lord of the Rings  goes to hell".  The strength and chemistry between king Leonidas and his Queen is the best. I love a great love story amidst chaos and corruption and here it is. I wanted these 2 characters to live forever and I couldn`t get enough of them on this big screen. Really i could have been much more satisfied with less battle action and more of Leonidas and his Queen fighting for "love and honor" in their council of greed and corruption. Its a typical story of mankind`s greedy and corrupt tendencies balanced by selfless and total sacrifice by the King and Queen to "do what's right for their people". They are hard wired to save Sparta for its own good.

300 in 6 packs and flowing hair will  take a "last stand" for the glory of their ideals against a horde of Satanic invaders. Park your brain and suspend disbelief for the stylish horror of battle (again its a violent video-comic) where the little guy (Sparta) rises to heights only the "good guys" can reach. Leonidas is willing to die for the good of his people and in the end "War is Hell' and we had better be clear that its worth dying for. Like my mother-in-law used to say, "its only a movie'" but I reach for messages that probably aren`t intended. i.e. Let`s not go to war for oil or George Bush? That`s not noble enough to die for!

This movie ends and I come away wanting to see more of Leonidas and his Queen. A couple to die for! 







    "What we have here is a failure to communicate." Strother Martin

There are good movies and there are bad movies, but sometimes you see that movie that you have to see again.  Welcome to Babel.

The movie catalyst is a gun. And the juice of this story is the power of a gun in the wrong hands combined with a world that can`t understand the power of communication. Three revolving stories from very different parts of the world are synchronized by the act of a gift. A Japanese hunter gives his  gun to a Moroccan guide in gratitude for services rendered. The guide sells the gun to a goat herder and the chaos begins.

Cate Blanchett is a tormented, bitter and desperate wife searching for some sense of her relationship with Brad Pitt. Pitt is frustrated and full of blame. He reaches out but snaps back from their marital chaos. Acting this good is worth twice the price. But travelling Morocco is not working for this couple.

A Moroccan family becomes the seed of  destruction for Babel. Two young boys with no sense of the gun`s deadly consequences accidently shoot Pitt`s wife in a passing bus. The incident is mistaken as a terrorist act and the disintegration of 2 families begin. Death and accusation will destroy the Moroccan family.

Pitt is dragged back into his love with a vengeance as he fights to save his wife`s life. Blanchett`s vulnerability in near death brings her back to a passion for Pitt and her children that only fear can generate. Meanwhile their children suffer negligence from a nanny who innocently takes them on a day trip to Mexico. They are put in harms way in an incident that is all too horrible and believable and avoidable.

The final story involves the Japanese hunter`s daughter. A deaf teenager looking for love in all the wrong places. A brilliantly written character and great performance from Rinko Kikuchi unfolds. Her naked vulnerability at movies end surrounded by one of the most populated cities on earth is hugely affecting. Dry your eyes for this scene.

A gun, the chaos of humanity with a less than reasonable basis for communication around the world, and the basics of love and anguish within families and you have it in a nutshell. Director Inarritu uses 3 stories in 4 countries to hit a movie home run!





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