Friday, June 29, 2012

Another Internet Revolution Moment

I had my first taste of the internet way back in 1989 watching a design engineer in Ohio work in real time with her compatriot in Italy. “In the past”, she said “I would design a project, ship it up the chain of command, be sent overseas, funneled down the chain over there then plopped on that poor boy’s desk in Milan who then had to figure it out”.  With this direct digital communication, they cut out the middleman.

I saw the future in it’s rough form.  This would kill traditional intermediaries by creating a direct link between producer and user.  So has come the demise of travel agents, book stores, newspapers and the like.  I even did the latest version of my will online for $29 as opposed to the $150 I laid out to the lawyer in 2001.

So I took note of yesterday’s news that Kickstarter provides 3x the amount of funding to artists than the National Endowment For The Arts.    Kickstarter is great for artists who can design and immediately promote their project rather than go thru the lengthy process of ‘applying’ for an NEA grant and then having to be judged by a committee representing the status quo. 

And for the public this is a winner too.  The NEA is about $300 million, but that money is disbursed by faceless functionaries who’ve worked their way up the system and are loyal to what got them there.  Contrast that with Kickstarter where you decide what is art.  

Kickstarter is a win for the artists ad a win for the public. In a time of austerity where we’re going to have a tough time paying for grandma’s wheelchair, this provides an opportunity to wind down the NEA.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Marines Deadliest Day....June 6th

A couple of decades ago while on one of my frequent jaunts hitchhiking across the United States I came into a small Dakota town, grabbed lunch at a typical mom and pop general store and sat down to eat in the shade of the town square. Next to me was a small monument dedicated to all the county dead from 'The Great War' as it was called at the time. Later to be known as the First World War (after we experienced a second round of slaughter).

What caught my eye was not the list of 35-40 names engraved on the front, it was that 1/2 were listed as dying in some strange place named Belleau Wood . Later I learned that it was at The Battle of Belleau Wood on June 6, 1918 that the US Marines suffered the deadliest day in their history.....1,087 dead.

Having suffered heavy casualties, the Germans dug in along a defensive line from Hill 204, just east of Vaux, to Le Thiolet on the Paris-Metz Highway and northward through Belleau Wood After Marines were repeatedly urged to turn back by retreating French forces, Marine Captain Lloyd W. Williams of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines uttered the now-famous retort "Retreat? Hell, we just got here."

It was also the Germans first encounter with the US Marines who fought with such ferocity that the Huns later called them Tuefel Hunden....Devil Dogs.

The date June 6th will primarily be remembered for the action which took place 26 years later on the beaches of Normandy. Many others will reflect uponm D-Day, so it's only fitting to take a second to recall what the Devil Dogs did in the hills of France in 1918.