Reconcepting US monetary design.


The American INXS Tribute Band

Love 80’s and some 90’s music? Check out the reel from the American INXS Tribute Band called New Sensation. INXS was such a great band and these guys deliver a killer tribute live. They play all the hits and a great selection of deep cuts as well. Photo by Kay Freeman.

Rescue Hatch


Was touring the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier near Charleston, SC checking out the old airplanes on the deck.  They were very old school aircraft and this one the side of one of the planes where the rescue hatch was located.  I felt like I was walking around on the Philadelphia Experiment.

Without Them

I was listening to music on Spotify when an ad for Spotify itself came on.  The ad mentions how “piracy is so old-fashioned” and that “every track on Spotify makes money for the artist because after all, without them there would be no music for us to enjoy“.

It’s that last part – the “after all, without them there would be no music for us to enjoy” part that resonated with me most.  This simple radio advert is actually pretty profound and is a perfect note to end 2012 on – a year where “you didn’t build that” and “fair share” were tossed around as if the creators of businesses were somehow not quite fully entitled to the fruits of their ideas and labor.

Apparently Spotify believes (and I agree) that the right thing to do to honor the creators of the music is to make sure the creators are paid and not stolen from – because they are in fact the brains behind the music.

The ad’s “Without them” concept can be applied to any business, any product, and the job creators behind those businesses.  “Without them” there is nothing. “Without them” people have no products or services.  “Without them people” have no jobs or ability to sustain their families.

My point here is that millions of people enjoy music thanks to those that create music.  Likewise, millions of people enjoy employment and lifestyles thanks to people who create jobs.  Is there really any difference between a musical artist who creates a song for sale or a businessman who creates pizza? (or any product/service)?  Each has a skill. Each has a product.  Each put effort and training into making that product for sale and… “without them” there is nothing but unfinished ideas and raw materials.

In the classic book Atlas Shrugged, the industrialists, the men and women of thought, vanish from the face of the Earth, going on their own strike of sorts and leaving everything behind including the keys to the car for anyone to pick up where they left off and run things.  Nobody does.  Nobody can.  Nobody remaining behind has the know-how or fortitude to do what the industrialists (i.e. job creators) did.

There is a line in Atlas Shrugged that go like this:

“Whether it’s a symphony or a coal mine, all work is an act of creating and comes from the same source: from an inviolate capacity to see through one’s own eyes–which means: the capacity to perform a rational identification–which means: the capacity to see, to connect and to make what had not been seen, connected and made before.”

-Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Part 3, Ch. 2

Imagine this.  How would it be if in the name of social and economic musical justice Spotify took a percentage of all the money Bruce Springsteen makes when his songs are played on Spotify and just gave it to an artist whose music was not chosen by the consumers in the free market to be played.  We could say that he “didn’t really write that” without the world providing to him the influence to come up with such musical ideas.   Would Bruce be cool with that?  I doubt it.

Company Founders, men and women of vision and production, should be celebrated, encouraged, and thanked, not threatened or villainized.  Like the Spotify ad says – “after all, without them there would be no music to listen to.”  The same goes for job creators.

Percentage of Americans with a Passport

Traveling from Panama City out to the Panama Canal you pass a series of industrial areas and lots of roads under construction.  From the highway I took a look out of the car and saw these two little kids playing at a table behind what is probably their parents laundry shop.  I found this photo valuable because so many kids in the USA have absolutely no idea how good their life is.

Here were two kids playing behind a laundry shop next to two huge propane gas containers and only a few feet from a major railroad track hauling freight to and from the Panama Canal each day. It might just be that just as so many kids in the USA are completely oblivious to this kind of life, maybe these two kids in the photo are just as oblivious to any other kind of life.  You are a product of your environment after all.

Only 35% of Americans even have a passport – and this is way up from the 2% in 1989 and the 18% in 2000.  Ultimately if less than a third of your country has ever even stepped across a border how they can possible understand the world that is out there (and a whole host of bigger concepts that flow from that).

I think if more Americans would travel overseas they would not only understand the world much better, they would understand their own country much better as well.




Buffalo in 20 Shots

I recently spent some time in Buffalo NY.  I have been to Buffalo in years and I never shot photos there so this time I thought I’d shoot a few images from a couple of normal days there.  The things seen, eaten, and talked about.  Here are 20 images from Buffalo that sort of capture the space that Buffalo occupies these days.  The best way I can describe Buffalo to someone who’s never been there is that while is a city of good neighbors, you definitely get the sense that there is a bit more history that future in Buffalo.  The food is delicious though.

IMG_6751 IMG_6771 IMG_6780 IMG_6793 IMG_6795 IMG_4655 IMG_6870 IMG_6884 IMG_6923 IMG_6952 IMG_6961 IMG_6970 IMG_7006 IMG_7009 IMG_7014 IMG_7034 IMG_7048 IMG_7050 IMG_7069 IMG_7094