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KATRINA & THE LOST CITY OF NEW ORLEANS by Rod Amis
New Orleans is the Lost City of America.
Rod Amis, publisher of G21: The World's Magazine, once believed one of the best bartenders in New Orleans, tells the story like no one else could.
A portion of the proceeds of this book will go to the New Orleans Hospitality Workers Fund. The cooks, servers and restaurant workers of New Orleans have provided fabulous times and memories for millions. Now we must remember them in their time of need.
AFRICA FRESH! New Voices from the First Continent
An anthology of African writing only featured on the Internet until now, this book features the collected works of writers for the G21 AFRICA section of generator21.net. The eight writers represented here are from around the continent and present an exciting look at cutting-edge fiction and reporting from the first continent today.
SMOKE & MIRRORS - A NEW ERA: Our Editor, ROD AMIS provides the final post of this column and explains what comes next.
"Where there's smoke, there's fire ..." Popular Adage.
3 June 2007: I have refrained here from using both the terms "public citizen" and "citizen journalist" in reference to myself. The first, because - even though it seems, I'm told, that I run on and on in Google searches, I don't believe the term has any real relevance. The second because I make my living as a professional journalist and the appellation is only fitting if you refer to this avocation and obsession of mine here at Your World's Magazine. As far as I'm concerned, Your World's Magazine is here for the other writers and contributors involved here rather than myself.
That's preamble. I promised that I would make decision this month as to whether this endeavor would evolve into a personal Blog or continue on as the jazz band, the collaborative effort - riffs running wildly - that it has for the preceding twelve years. Under this Blue Moon (May here in the western hemisphere, June in other parts of the world) I have decided to go it alone.
Here is what I wrote to "my" writers today:
I think I owe it to all you to share my decision with you before I announce it to the public on 11 June.
After twelve (12) years of working for and supporting you, I think it's quarter past time for the Old Magician to begin to work alone again. I have given you all the magic I can.
While I have treasured the journey we have taken, I now think I need to walk on my own again. Maybe I'll find a new girlfriend, maybe I'll explore other mountaintops. I have had sleepless nights over this decision.
So it goes. The upcoming edition is the last one where it will be a "magazine." Henceforth, it will be a personal Blog only featuring my own writing with the occasional Guest Writer. You are each and every one invited to take on that latter role - but infrequently. I'm going to go off and play, you see. Play was my intent all along but then I got caught up in your lives, aspirations and careers.
I intend now to work with Mpush on his book for South African's National Arts Council, to complete my own book (finally!) work with the software company in California who has commissioned me, and continue my own freelance journalism career. Perhaps, one day, find a good woman who wants to spend time with an eccentric writer.
I DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY.
You have brought so much love and knowledge to my life.
Imagine a picture: See me walking up a slope, facing another mountain top, waving fondly, tears sliding down my cheeks, love emanating toward you. See the golden sunlight framing and almost obscuring my image.
Then: a puff of smoke. I am gone.
I recognize that many Long-term Loyal Readers will take this as a significant sea-change for generator21.net. But, I've prepared the road for this change the last few months.
In this twelve (12) year experiment and jazz band, I've devoted most of my time to presenting the views from "on the ground" of average people - but talented and apiring writers - on how politics, culture and society have impacted their lives. At the same time, I've tried to adhere to the notion here that the acronym "WWW" truly means world-wide Web and not USA W eb. I've certainly taken more than a few knocks for following that vision. Today, I believe the successes and recognition of the writers willing to contribute here have been an adequate vindication of my "wild idea."
The landscape of the Web itself has changed during that 12 year journey, as it was to have changed, and - in the process - my personal journey and mission need to change with it.
A close personal friend of mine observed, only a few weeks back, "If you had spent the time developing yourself into a Brand Name, rather than focusing on all these other writers all over the world, you'd be just that." I had to accept the veracity of the statement. But that was not my goal then - or, actually, now.
I'm amazed at what a Google search on my name turns up, considering that I've written far less for this medium than I might have if I hadn't begun this project. It staggers the mind.
To support G21, please send checks or money orders to:
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"Our" Mphuthumi Ntabenii has a Blog now. Mpush Spear On. Check it out when you're not here.
Rod at MySpace=http://www.myspace.com/6250244
The other, more pressing issue, is that the Web was only viable as a publishing medium after I had turned 43 years of age. I have wished often that it had been around when I am 23 because I continue to maintain that this is a young man's game. I've been running as fast as I can to keep up. IF I were 45 today instead of 55 years of age, I'd take a chance on still giving these whipper-snappers a run for their money.
But I am not.
As a Clint Eastwood character famously said, "A man has to know his limitations."
One of my personal limitations is that I am now ready to settle into the Golden Years of life and spend more time enjoying the fruits of my labors.
To conclude this section of the essay before it becomes maudlin, I am now ready to focus more on personal - rather than group support - projects. My interest has shifted to explication of the vision that began this enterprise and moving forward with concerns that (likely) shall only have value to me.
Someone said, "Old men become philosophers." (Of course, I'm been accused of being something of philosopher all along.)
The Savaging Season
THE USUAL HERD of the Mouthpiece Media is not picking apart "Smilin' John" Edwards, as I've referred to him here in the past, That was predictable, methinks. He is the Huey Long candidate, after all, working in his shirt sleeves to rebuild New Orleans and talking about issues that matter to poor folks.
When you consider that, you have to realize that the man doesn't have snowball's chance in Hell. He is making himself a target to get savaged by the millionaire writers (though he's a millionaire himself) from the Beltway press. Even National Public Radio (NPR) has become so corporate that they can't stand a bastard like him talking about the issue of poverty in America.
As our Focus Issue this year at generator21.net is Relieving Global Poverty, we have to give the man props for his courage in bringing it up. Sorry to see him being taken down, too.
That Hillary and Obama thang is much more sexy, isn't it? Let's watch the Democrats lose another election they were destined to win.
G21 FOCUS ISSUE 2007: Relieving Global Poverty
Thanks to our friends at the Participatory Cutlure Foundation and their great Democracy Player, I was introduced to this wonderful series of videocasts at TED: ideas worth spreading. G21 does not endorse or support all of the viewpoints or ideas expressed in the series of vids I'm recommending to you here or the general mix of opinions expressed at TED. That's not part of our mission and never had been. We do believe that these are valueable discussions for you, meant to provoke thought, conversations and new ideas.
You'll find more like this in the next incarnation, as we move from the magazine to the personal Blog model.
THE NEXT generator21.net
Beginning with the July edition of generator21.net, you'll find significant changes.
Firstly, as a personal Blog, most what you find here will be my writing - with occasional visits from members of the magazine crew when appropriate. But there's more!
In LIGHTNING STRIKES (the new title,) you'll find originally produced video content from studios here on the Third Coast (Austin, TX, USA) and from the Left Coast (San Francisco, CA, USA) and - based on the chance to work with my pal Robin Miller - I'll also get work done with resources on the Right Coast (via Bradenton, FLA, USA) with figures from the around the world that Yours Unruly believes represent cutting-edge and socially responsible thinking.
The G21 Videocast series will be available on Blip.TV, the Democracy Player and downloadable to your iTunes. (Waiting to see if we can move to Mac TV and your potential iPhone soon.)
Meanwhile, our newly inaugurated audio podcast shows will continue throughout the transition. Those will also be available for iTunes downloads and (potentially) Blip.TV.
(Yes, as usual, I've been busy.)
I look forward to seeing you back here and responding to your comments on the new model. Cheers!
Rod Amis On your journey across the wilderness
From the desert to the well
You have strayed upon the motorway to Hell - Chris Rea "The Road to Hell"
5 June 2007: Yes, The Old Magician is walking off into the sunset. The next time ou visit generator21.net it will not be a magazine but only a personal Blog. It's spirit will likely be like Rod's favorite v ideo of all time.
IF you only remember one thing I have said over all these years, remember this: DANCE! DANCE!
9 June 2007: What is magic all about: The Pledge, The Turn, The Prestige.
You are now involved in The Turn. I have given you The Pledge, over the last twelve years. Hold on.
Here in the Turn, you'll find something wonderful but not breath-taking.
("Rod, we saw that movie. It wasn't that good. 'The illusionist' was better."
"So you think. But you have not been living magic all your life.")
This is only the puff of smoke.
Among the little treasures I've left you with, in closing out the magazine, is my review of the film, "Biro: Beware of Time" in our GLOBAL*BEAT section. I'd appreciate your taking the time to check it out. (Yes, my lovelies, I do include a link to the trailer.)
10 June 2007: I AWAKENED AT 4:00 A.M. TO A REALIZATION: As the week has progressed, I have grown incredibly angry. As is my wont, I have tried to drown all that anger in a bottle. Bad Plan.
Sometimes, in my attempts to be politic or polite, I fall into the Good Girl Syndrome of trying not to offend people who have offended me. So then I'm not only angry with them, I'm also angry at myself. I absolutely hate being made to feel like a doormat, you see.
The only people who are even capable of making me angry are those who are close to me. That compounds the problem. That is why I have gotten into the habit of making certain people I once trusted dead to me, as the old East coast saying goes. I have serious trust issues.
Thus, over time, I have begun more and more to cherish my hermitage. It is only there that I can find some peace and work out how to deal with people. There have been too many people in my life of late. So I have declared a radio silence. I just don't want to hear it - from anyone - any of it.
I have the basics - source interviews, the results of research, some ruminations - for two new articles I mean to sell in the can. I shall go back to what I do best: sit in silence and write.
I have had enough of other humans for now.
The Meaning of Life of Rod
My good friends in Taxco de Alarcon, Guerrero, México, have sent me another beautiful song and a video. Here it is for you to share with me.
As you will note, it features one of the campesinas working her trade as her son looks on. I continue to dream that one day I shall retreat to the mountains of Mexico and live a simple life. I shall write what I want and dream of writing, sit on the front porch in the evening and watch the setting sun, and - as my brother Dragan says - only exclaim, "Oh yes!" It is that dream that sustains me now.
In a telephone conversation with my brother, Leon, I was informed that my new grand-nephew, Steven Warwick Amis, can only visit the island after he gets a passport. He is AN INFANT. But because of the new laws of the United States, it is no longer possible for Americans to go Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Mexico, Canada - places we have traditionally been able to visit with a simple drivers license - without a passport.
I have written about my outrage at this new restriction in this space earlier. Long-time Loyal Readers know that - as half my family lives abroad - I am outraged. As to son of an immigrant, I am outraged. And now, my baby grand-nephew is being held back from visiting his grandfather by this idiocy!
I know, it doesn't matter to you because it doesn't affect you personally.
"How's your Love Life, Homes?"
Funny you should ask. I am developing a Love Life here in Tejas. Now hold your horses before you get too excited. It's problematic, as most things are in my life. First of all, she is Palestinian. Yes, you read that right. Fits my M.O., of course. The Champion of the Voiceless would likely go for a woman who would make him more of pariah, no?
To answer your questions: Yes, she was born in the Occupied Territories. She came to America as a child. So she knows nothing of that experience and is totally Americanized. Yes, she is younger than me. (Who isn't?) No, it's not about marriage, just companionship. We share time, good food, good company.
We try to make each others lives a little easier in this brutal world.
There is a woman who works with me now on my new endeavor. She is Korean-American. She is smart as a whip, helps me with research and plans on going to law school. I shall likely lose her by the end of the summer.
Besides Bonnie's sterling resume, one of things that recommended her as someone I could work with was her extensive travel background - she has lived in multiple states and traveled abroad. A woman after my own heart.
Those of you who disparage my internationalism will, of course, take this as a sign that I am more comfortable around people of foreign ancestry. My response, as the child of an immigrant myself, is: "Who isn't of foreign ancestry in this country?"
16 June 2007: The last couple weeks have been problematic, career-wise, some of my writing gigs have abated or completely dried up and now - as putatively Austin's highest paid freelance writer - I have to trawl for new jobs that will pay my minimum per-word fee. (Believe me, when I've shared the minimum for which I'll take on new assignments some people here blanche. My former friend, Ric Williams, thinks only fools would pay a writer that much. On the other hand, I've decided that "Starving Writer" is not my job description of choice.
I've been in this Game too long to sell what I do short. End of story.)
Sadly, on exactly such a project, I got caught between a battle of egos. The wonder, for me, was that two gentlemen with such big heads could have those heads contain such small brains. The Jurassic era came to mind. As I stood back, watching bemused, they savaged each other and ultimately ended all communication. It was my job to pick up the pieces.
Of course, this clash of titans was ultimately my fault. I could not but notice that every time they opened their mouths, they put their feats in. (My bad for being an observer of human nature so long.)
WE HAVE REACHED THE END, my lovelies, of this incarnation of generator21.net. As butterflies do, I am now fluttering away. By the time you read this, I shall have moved on to the debut of the Blog you will find here in July. It will appear more frequently, in terms of updates, than this massive magazine ever could have accomplished.
I hope you'll come back for the premiere and stay with me. I also hope and trust that you'll continue to follow the work and writing of some of the writers I've tried to introduce you to over the years, my legacy.
Know that I have loved the conversation with you all, the kudos and the brickbats. Know that this kind of change was inevitable.
I hope to see you here again next month.
NOTE: Various articles in this final edition of the magazine were edited and their pages designed by Bonnie Kim.
Keep me in your prayers as I keep you in my own.
Thanks for coming back this week.
THINGS ON ROD'S MIND THIS WEEK1 - Finding new writing gigs.
2 - Hoping to spend some quality time with Hamda.
3 - Looking over the next mountaintop.
"Work like you don't need the money,
"Love like you've never been hurt,
"Dance like no one is watching ... "
ROD AMIS has published this magazine since 1990. It first appeared as a hardcopy 'Zine. In March, 1996, he launched it here on the Web. Rod was a Contributing Editor at Suite101.com, where he wrote the " 'Net Publishing" feature. His work has been featured in the San Francisco Bay Guardian Online, NRV8, and at the (U.S.) Public Broadcasting System (PBS's) WebLab's Reality Check site. Rod was a contributing writer on technology for Faulkner Information Services. He wrote on Web issues for MethodFive.com's Hyper newsletter.
Rod was a columnist for the Andover News Network, where he wrote over two hundred articles on web design and development issues. He was principal writer and Editor for IT Manager's Journal, where he reviewed technology issues weekly, producing 383 editorials. He became the Managing Editor for Electronic Mail/Newsletter Publications at Andover.net at the end of February, 2000, and left in September of the same year. He was a contributing writer for ACCESS Internet magazine, which appeared both on- and offline for 10 million readers in 100 newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Post, Boston Herald, Austin American-Statesman, Denver Post and Orlando Sentinel, among others. Rod was the US reporter for Silicon.com, a division of Network Multimedia Television in London, UK, r eaching 3.5 million European readers, until May, 2001.
He did stints as the Resident Philosopher at three separate gin mills in that city in the French Quarter and the Marigny, earning his stripes during two successive Mardi Gras seasons. Oh yeah, Rod's had Day Jobs working construction. Mostly renovations of old New Orleans structures, houses and a bar. Sometimes he designs Web sites for other people so that he can get his creative juices flowing the way he can't at a staid publication like this one. And he's been the instructor in Editing for Internet Publications at the Novi Sad School of Journalism in Yugoslavia. When he's not busy here, he writes technology columns for EnterpriseLeadership.org. Rod's more leftist writings can be found at Atlantic Free Press. (Don't tell his potential employers.) He writes a weekly column on social media issues for Leverage Social Media.His work will appear this summer in print and online for PR TACTICS. Rust never sleeps. He is being courted by California software company into going back into being a Made Man.
Our Resident Philosopher has decided to return to Austin, Texas, after over two decades away. Wish him luck..
In his spare time, Rod chases women in the way a fly chases a spider..
He continues to be committed to integrity,
chastityand a dose of humility.
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