Sunday, April 4, 2010

Modern Poetry in the Age of Technology

Technology and Modern Poetry

Technological advancements of the past two decades have spawned what future generations may come to view historically as a great poetic Renaissance of sorts.
The ability for a writer to instantly publish his or her work and make it instantly available at light-speed to a given or potential audience, has allowed artists world-wide a historically-unprecedented wherewithal (and incentive) to write and publish regularly.
The unprecedented volume of material out there (which grows larger every minute) does make it difficult for an artist to make a name for his or herself, as well as for those who appreciate such art forms to quickly and readily identify the best of the best of today's poets.
Time will make up for these human shortcomings, and today's greats will ultimately be found and remembered.
The following is an excerpt from the previous post, including a brief poem I wrote about technology and poetry:
A Poem about Poets, Poetry and the Age of the Internet
From the perspective of a non-poet who has become a fan of an internet-age poet, I wrote the following in dedication to Mystic Dave, who was the subject of my previous post appearing on this blog entitled: Mystical Poetry: On MysticDave and W.B. Yeats.
I certainly do not possess Dave's poetic ability, so if you're expecting to be bowled over by the following, you may want to readjust your expectations before reading.
That said, I thought it would only be appropriate if I at least made an attempt at expressing my thoughts on the matter in an artistic form before wrapping up this post.  So without further adieu, I present to you the following:
On the Artists of Poetry
'Tis a shame and great many a pity
Taketh the world, often more than a century
To fully appreciate the writings so many
From the countless great linguists - the fine artists of poetry

On Poetry: Mystic Dave and William Butler Yeats

On Poetry, Mystic Dave and W.B. Yeats

I had the good fortune a few months back of discovering the website and blog of a Salt Lake City, Utah-based 'mystical poet' and political commentator who goes by the name of "MysticDave".  Dave's blog/website is called: Mystical Poetry, Prose, and Political Viewpoints.
In Dave's own words, his blog is about:
"Mystical poetry and prose about spirituality, dreams,death, war, peace, politics, Earth, love, art etc. Spoken word poetry, 2012, music, and political videos included. Enjoy the trip!"
I've become quite the fan of Dave's site in recent weeks, as I've spent some time going through his various writings from over the years, and find myself increasingly impressed with each new piece I read.
I find Dave's poetry is exceptional, and his political writings definitely thought-provoking and well presented.  That said, his style I find even more fascinating, and eerily reminiscent of one of my favorite poets if all-time: William Butler Yeats.

About W.B. Yeats:

As an Irish citizen whose family hails from Co. Galway, where Yeats spent a good portion of his life and wrote some of his finest work, I have long had a fascination with the man and his amazing literary achievements - not to mention his ideas and viewpoints.  This is particularly true of those writings pertaining to mysticism and/or spirituality, Celtic mythology, politics and its role in society and musings on life in general.
The general philosophy that manages to incorporate all of these concepts and make it work I find even more amazing.
From Yeats' Wikipedia page:
Over the years, Yeats adopted many different ideological positions, including, in the words of the critic Michael Valdez Moses, "those of radical nationalist, classical liberal, reactionary conservative and millenarian nihilist".
Any philosophy that can incorporate everything described in Moses' description of Yeats' ideological positions with any degree of credibility is worthy of a deeper look all its own.

Yeats' Tomb in Drumcliffe Cemetery
I have twice visited Yeats' tomb, which is located in Drumcliffe Cemetery, in Co. Sligo, Republic of Ireland (photo below).

Back to Mystic Dave
In his own words, Mystic Dave is a "47 year old outdoors type who loves live music, hanging out in the great outdoors, spirituality, writing and reading poetry, learning all I can from this journey called life, and meeting interesting, open minded people along the way."
For a one-line autobiography, that's not too shabby.
The man is a phenomenal writer and poet, and it would not surprise me in the least if centuries from now, the world's finer liberal arts institutions mention Mystic Dave alongside names such as Robert Frost and W.B. Yeats.
In any case, I highly recommend checking out his site and having a look through some of Dave's poems.  I have been extremely impressed, and I don't think you will be disappointed either.

A Poem about Poets, Poetry and the Age of the Internet
From the perspective of a non-poet who has become a fan of an internet-age poet, I wrote the following in dedication to Mystic Dave.
I certainly do not possess Dave's poetic ability, so if you're expecting to be bowled over by the following, you may want to readjust your expectations before reading.
That said, I thought it would only be appropriate if I at least made an attempt at expressing my thoughts on the matter in an artistic form before wrapping up this post.  So without further adieu, I present to you the following:
On the Artists of Poetry
'Tis a shame and great many a pity
Taketh the world, sometimes more than a century
To fully appreciate the writings, so many
Of the countless great linguists - the fine artists of poetry
It is my sincere hope that all reading this post have found the read entertaining enough to make it all the way to this sentence, and I hope you all check out Dave's site, and that you find it as enjoyable and enlightening as I have.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Regarding 311 Singer Nick Hexum's Private Island

This post is effectively a personal letter that began as an email typed originally on the "contact us" at It has been modified from its original version to be better suited to this audience.

If you weren't already aware, 311 singer Nick Hexum owns his own island. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, it is my understanding that he recently put it on the market for sale or lease.

I admittedly have no clue whatsoever what his financial status looks like, and people have gotta do what they've gotta do in tough economic times. That said, if I ever were so blessed as to be so well off I could afford my own island, it would be a cold day in Hell if I ever decided to get rid of it. Then again, not everyone in the world has a stated goal of world domination...

For what it's worth, I love 311's music and have attended at least seven of the band's shows including three 311 Day events in New Orleans, Louisiana.

I too aspire to one day own a private island, although the way things are looking, I may have to resort to a forceful invasion as the funds just aren't there to buy one (don't worry, Melody Key is not on my list of targets ;-).

While there's no way I could ever at this point in my life afford to own or even rent my own island, I think the fact that you, Nicholas Hexum have done just that (bought your own island), is about the coolest thing I've ever heard of.

As if you're not cool enough being the front-man for 311 and everything, you own your own f%$#@*g island for crying out loud!

While for the most part I disagree with your political views (at least those with which I am familiar - and for the record, I did say "for the most part"), I truly and unequivocally respect and admire your work and your success.

My purchases of your CDs and concert tickets helped you reach a point of financial stability that allowed you to do what I have long dreamed of - own my own island. I am not the least bit jealous of your accomplishments, and in fact am happy for your success and proud to be a part of it. One would be a hypocrite to envy the success of others while aspiring to one day achieve a comparable degree of success, at least that's how I look at it.

Anyway, from a B-List social media "celebrity" (tongue well implanted in cheek), congratulations on your success Mr. Hexum, and the best of wishes for yourself and those close to you for the indefinite future.

Disclaimer:  I don't really have any plans to forcefully takeover an island or nation-state of any sort. That paragraph and the bit about world domination constitute an attempt at satire and nothing more.

Here is a photograph of the island owned by 311 singer Nick Hexum:


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Generalizations Invalidate Arguments

This blog post began as a comment I made in response to a comment I encountered at Mixx, on a story about an incident involving racism at Wal-Mart.
The comments referenced throughout this post were written as a response to the following comments by a Mixxer by the name of kpreston200. The following is a sampling of the quotes being referenced throughout this article:
"Because everyone is getting tired of blacks using racism as an excuse for their woes..."
"The REAL way to end all of this is to finish school, go to college and act like a respectable member of the community willing to work with others and respecting others space."

"I was enrolling my daughter to college and this black kid walked by with his sagging pants and underwear hanging out! This is fucking COLLEGE!"

"She was mad at me for telling him to pull his pants up that he was in college ready to go out into the world and become someone. I mean WTF?"

"There is white trash also but it seems that this excuse is getting old and it's being used to get away with every anti-social behavior from calling each other the N-Word yet they are ready to kill when someone else says it."
My initial response to these remarks was the following:
"You do realize you're talking to a U.S. Marine, don't you? I consider him a respectable member of society, as do I all servicemen and women."
To which kpreston200 replied:
"So what is that supposed to mean? I'm a retired U.S. Army Major so what."
The following is my reply to that particular remark, written for the sake of explaining and further clarifying the underlying meaning and motive of my initial statement:

I respect you as well.  Specifically, I was referencing your quote about "black people" 'acting like respectable members of society'.

What I was saying is that the man you've been debating is just one of many, many examples of just that. He has offered to potentially (if not actually, I don't know the specifics of his military career) put his life on the line in defense of other Americans, and to the best of my knowledge, he is of African-American descent.

There are few actions people can take on their own behalf than volunteer to defend the United States that will earn more respect from me, for that given individual --- regardless of whether or not I agree with him or her politically, or regardless of whether or not I like the person. I can respect someone without liking and/or agreeing with him or her. For the record, that is not to say I dislike katmicjus --- please make no misunderstanding about that. We do occasionally disagree, but my above-point was spoken in a much broader context.

Essentially, my point was that your wording was too broad to constitute a valid argument.

Each individual is responsible for his or her own decisions in life regardless of race, religion, etc. There are good examples and bad examples no matter how you break down the demographics.
In other words, by referring to "black people", you are committing a logical fallacy in that each black person (like any other person) is an individual who must make choices in life and cannot by lumped in with other individuals who have the free will to make their own decisions. That fallacy invalidates an entire argument, and pursuing it beyond that without restructuring the framework and terms is an exercise in futility.

We were all created as equals, and each individual human being is 100% responsible and accountable for the decisions he or she makes in life. Different people male different decisions, and groups cannot be accurately lumped in together based upon arbitrary factors such as race.

Does that help clarify the original remark and help answer your question?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Use of Conscious, Controlled Vizualization Techniques to Get the Most Out of Life

I recently came across an absolutely terrific guest-post by Henri Junttila on Steve Atchinson's blog. The post had to do with the topic of controlled visualization - the harnessing of one's imagination and controlled, goal-oriented focusing thereof for the sake of long-term goal achievement and all-around life improvement.

I personally saw a few parallels between Henri's in-depth insights and what has come to be known as "The Secret", although he does not mention the phrase by name within the post, at least not to my recollection.

Junttila touches upon an array of similarly themed broader concepts while focusing on the more tangible side of the equation as opposed to the quasi-mystical approach taken at times in the movie(s) and book(s) about "The Secret".  That said, the parallels that are present are too obvious to ignore. The whole concept behind "The Secret" is essentially the same exact thing, which is the use of the mind for the sake of manifesting in reality one's ideal life and life circumstances.

Junttila writes more in terms of his own experiences and from his own perspective. His writing is far more down-to-earth in nature and free from all the highly speculative claims that marred the credibility of the (nonetheless intriguing) famous movies and books related to the subject.

While I would certainly not advise against anyone reading this renting (or buying) and of the books and/or videos about the "The Secret", I would advise readers of this blog to check out Henri's post before doing so to familiarize yourself with the concept so as to be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not it is an investment of time you wish to pursue.

That blog (Steve Atchinson's blog) has got a tremendous amount of well-written, thought provoking material all throughout the archives. Don't be surprised if you pass by there to check out Henri's complete post if you end up hanging around awhile captivated by the barrage of mental stimulation (of the good variety).
As for a little bit about the author, Henri Junttila is a freelance writer and the creator of the Wake Up Cloud, a blog about self improvement ideas for conscious people.

Great post Henry, to all my readers, I highly recommend it --- and I make VERY FEW recommendations.  Take that for what it's worth, adios y buenas noches.

My mother, Pamela Egan, has written a few self-improvement articles of her own. I figured that since we're already on the subject, I might as well include a few links below to articles my mother has written that fall into the same general category as the one described in detail above.

Pam Egan's Self Improvement Articles:
If after reading Henri and Pam's articles about self-improvement techniques of the mind your curiosity has been sparked to the point you crave more information, the website for "The Secret" movie can be found here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Website Monetization: Branding Must Replace PPC for Web Publishers to Receive Just Compensation

Web Publishers Must Insist on Branding-Based Internet Advertising

This post began as a lengthy comment I originally wrote in response to a story on Mixx called: Social Media Big Shots Meet in Switzerland to Discuss Monetization Strategies.
The article discusses how sites like Facebook and Twitter have millions of users spending hours each day on their sites, but they still can't seem to figure out a way to make money.
This one seems really easy to me. PPC is an advertising model that was designed for the exclusive benefit of the advertiser and broker at the expense of the publisher. Web publishers must abandon PPC (yes, even AdSense), and demand branding and repetition-based advertising, which has turned television, radio and even motion-pictures into cash-cows.
There is no legitimate reason in my mind why the advertiser will pay millions for an equal amount of televised repetitions that might earn a web publisher a few thousand dollars.
Has anyone else had any thoughts on this? Why is a person's attention span of let's say, five minutes watching television less valuable than that same person watching an online video for the same time period with comparable advertising built in?
The internet is still a tremendous bargain for advertisers looking to get the biggest bang for their buck. Before social media platforms can really start to become profitable, they need to negotiate more effectively, scaling back on PPC monetization and focusing on impressions and repetition of major brands who have yet to be convinced that branding can work as a form of online marketing.
As long as website owners, publishers and the likes are willing to settle for pennies in exchange for clicks, the big-money players in the advertising game are going to allow the web publishers to continue to be grossly under-compensated until the publishers demand a bigger slice of the pie.
It also doesn't help that the advertising inventory on the web is growing at a rate far faster than the demand, resulting in lower returns for web-based publishers and dirt-cheap rates for advertisers whose demand is far exceeded by the supply.
Ultimately, those who do their business on the web must create better ways of discerning quality content from garbage, and they must negotiate advertising arrangements that are oriented around the creation and promotion of a brand, not a specific site visitor's actions while on the site.
A major flaw with PPC is that low conversion rates (while widely and falsely) are assumed to be the result of poor traffic, the fact is that it is every bit as likely that the advertiser's actual site is lacking in quality, usability, visual appeal, etc. The publisher only gets payed when the visitor clicks a link and buys something. It is not fair that advertisers with low-quality websites can pay minimal rates for targeted traffic if the problem preventing conversions lies on their end.
The only advertising model that will achieve long-term sustainability for all involved parties is one in which the advertiser is compensated according to the amount of brand repetitions that publisher is able to deliver for the advertiser.
One other benefit of a branding model over a PPC model is that the problem of click fraud is eliminated, and honest publishers whose dishonest competitors repeatedly click their AdSense links in hopes of getting them blacklisted from the program will no longer be punished while the real culprit of the click fraud is paid for his or her efforts.
The current model is stupid, and web publishers cannot expect Google to implement a fairer model on its own volition. Publishers may even have to - dare I say - enter into collective bargaining with Google in order to accomplish this, but if it results in a sustainable system that works for everyone and is susceptible to a mere fraction of the routine click fraud (by criminals clicking ads on competitors sites to get them banned), it is a model well worth implementing and well worthy of the negotiations that must precede it.
The bottom line here is that if Beavis and Butthead were left alone in a room for an hour with a monkey and two typewriters, even they could easily come up with a better system for online advertising than the one being embraced at present.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dilemma: Go to Miami for Super Bowl or Party in the Big Easy?

Unless you live under a rock, you've probably heard by now that the New Orleans Saints are finally going to the Super Bowl. This places me in a precarious situation that is about as favorable a dilemma as one can conceive.

I have to decide where to tailgate, watch the Saints whoop up on the Indianapolis Colts and party following the game.

Miami would seem the obvious choice. I was just there vacationing in October, and I had a great time while down there. The city is a lot of fun, and the women on South Beach are none too fond of wearing clothes.

On a side-note, the gals in South Florida may be on to something with their propensity for nude sunbathing. You see, health experts have discovered that a form of vitamin d that originates from sunlight is as much as five times more valuable as a nutrient than other, more common forms of vitamin d.

According to my mother, nurse practitioner Pam Egan, FNP-C, CDE; direct exposure of sunlight on bare skin helps the body manufacture a nutrient called cholecalciferol, more commonly referred to as vitamin d3. This nutrient offers a ton of health benefits including reducing the risk of cancer and osteoporosis, and it also helps strengthen the immune system.

The way I see it, this is just one more good reason for the ladies to wear as little as possible ;-).

While we're on the topic of women disrobing, during Super Bowl week, the annual Mardi Gras celebration will be proceeding as scheduled in the Big Easy. I can only imagine what the party is going to be like with the Saints in the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras going on simultaneously. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime event to say the least.

Also, I've a standing invitation to join my family for a vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to go stay in a pretty tight chalet up in the Great Smokey Mountains. While I love Gatlinburg, it will still be there after the game. The two above-mentioned party locations will be one-time opportunities.

Needless to say, I am leaning towards either Miami or New Orleans, but haven't completely ruled out Gatlinburg (you just never know).

In any case, what a delightful problem this is for me to have. Regardless of which option I eventually choose, it is sure to be a good time.

Geaux Saints! Who Dat!