Monday, October 20, 2008

Old Magazines

I'm one for half baked ideas, but never have been one for patience in baking them. I think that the Internet is so cool in the way that it's a medium for dialog. With the Internet I can open my mouth and let half baked ideas escape. But I still don't seem much good at baking them.

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I've been exploring the possibilities for regular people to make one, two or three others significant in our lives (for example here). One way to tackle really big problems like famine is to enter into dialog with those at risk of famine and together learn and invent ways to prevent it. My experiments in trying to follow through shows there are lots of pitfalls to this approach, or perhaps more accurately I'm just not very good at it. At any rate when it comes to money, I don't have much.

Money is useful. An online friend has been active in trying to find ways to support The Kampala Junior Team and has set up an blog for international supporters. There have been lots of individual supporters and it's interesting to see what people have done. Generally it seems most people eager to support are ones with little money to spare, so creativity reigns supreme. Indeed people have different strengths and connections and have managed to do some great things for the team.

An idea for what I could do popped into my head. More accurately I made a connection between a box of old magazines I'd seen in the barn and the importance of money for the KJT. The magazines are old Yankee Magazines. My parents were both New Englanders and I remember well the Yankee's arriving in the mail when whe lived in South Carolina. I also remember on trips to visit kin in New Hampshire passing the offices of Yankee. I don't know of another magazine quite like Yankee and haven't really looked at one since I was a kid. I checked on eBay and discovered there are some old editions for sale. And at the interactive Yankee Web site discovered that there are collectors of old issues.

I didn't know how many issues were actually in the box, and in fact had to locate the box in the first place--which turned into a story of its own involving a live raccoon. I was a bit disappointed to discover only 31 issues from the late 1960's and 1970. Still if I could sell all of them for $10 a piece that would be a nice contribution to the Kampala Junior Team. They are eagerly seeking sponsors for school fees as many of the children are orphans.

Part of the problem of baking this scheme is I don't really know how to sell stuff. But one of the upsides was thinking how interesting the contents of the old magazines is--at least interesting to me. For example the picture on the cover of the October 1968 issue shown here is a water color by beaTrix Sagendorph. Robb Sagendorph founded the magazine in 1935, Beatrix was an artist and provided art direction for the magazine for many years. Visually, there's lots of beautiful and fascinating stuff to talk about in those old magazines. In the same issue is an article by John Gould, "The quintessential Downeast storyteller". Some of the stories are just great. The art, the ads, the wonderful and fantastic stories, all make me think how fun it might be to share snippets of the old Yankees in a blog.

Ah, but connecting any sort of money making seems to escape me when it comes to blogs. A while back I had the idea of paper party hats as a useful fund raising activity and blogged about them in Hats for Health. I haven't posted there for over a year, but in the year I posted I raised a grand total of $15. Clearly if I attempt to raise money somehow using these old Yankee Magazines I've got to have a better plan for it than I did for those paper party hats.

Most people realise that our fates are intertwined with those of everyone else. But it's a real challenge to figure out what we can do to about the oppressive conditions so many people in the world face. My half baked ideas seem silly , even to me. But there is an earnestness behind them. I want very much to share with others and for others to share along. That's the only way we'll find ways to invent ourselves out of the mess we're in.

That reminds me of a song. Maybe you've heard None of Us Are Free? I first heard the song on Ray Charles' My World album. Wilson & Alroy's Record Reviews--a great resource about records--says the song was original material for that record. The song credits belong to Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, and Brenda Russell. That's quite a trio, but I've got no information on the background to the collaboration. Nonetheless the song is really great and has been covered by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Solomon Burke among others. This video of Burke's performance is a favorite. The chorus goes:
That none of us are free

None of us are free

None of us are free if one of us is chained

None of us are free
All the lyrics are worth reading, but I want to point to one more line:
And if we don't say it's wrong then that says it's right


nockia said...

oh MY GOD thanks Powers for this good idea indeed its not halbaked

Daisy said...

Half baked ideas--I hope that means I can post this here? :P

Off topic, sorta kinda, not really?:
Our reminiscing has been very good for me, as I realize again, why I started blogging. I could compare this to that passage in THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, where the guy suddenly remembers *why* he went to Church, and wonders how he got in the habit of just trying to impress people with his clothes, manners and upright churchly temperament.

YES DUDE, I just compared you to CS Lewis! (I just loved the AlterNet article you linked on my blog!)

But yes, these are things I enjoy discussing, but I often feel intimidated... more people read my blog than I often realize. Every now and then, I get a nasty comment calling me acid-addled, which makes me want to shut up about that stuff.

But if I did, I wouldn't meet folk like yourself, so thanks.


PS: Embarrassed over the mention of Genesis, the mere existence of which brings catcalls from Mr Daisy (Joe Strummer is dead, long live Joe Strummer!)... I started another thread with a far more respectable acidhead-religion song in it! :)

Pingting said...

the hats for health is still a GOOD idea john!!
i have always thought you should consider
giving paper hat workshop for kids and
raising funds that way.

Pingting said...

i'm not exactly sure what you mean by "i don't know
how to sell stuff" but in the past i know we've
discussed ebay ~ which seems like once you
get past the rigamorale (sp?) of setting up an account
with ebay & paypal. the only thing left to do is
photograph the items and post them as if you
were posting to a blog.

i'm very curious about the raccoon friend you
recently encountered.