Pearl Jam 20 and the Redemption of Cameron Crowe

“Hear my name, take a good look
this could be the day; hold my hand; lie beside me
I just need to say
I could not take a-just one day
I know when I would not ever touch you, hold you, feel you, ever hold in my arms
never again”

Porch – Pearl Jam

As the outdoor crowd applauded the screen while Pearl Jam exited the stage after completing a montage of Alive over the course of 20 years, it was apparent that we hadn’t witnessed a biography but an awakening. Cameron Crowe reminded us of the power and influence of music and how it is such a force in how we determine the course of our own lives.

In a way, this is a spiritual film about a group of journeyman with a mission to awaken the senses of the masses. Their true passion was the music and their muse, the fans. Each and every night an inner beast was released and they were possessed by the spirits that fueled their talent. Formed out of the untimely death of the Andy Wood, front man of Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam became the voice of a new generation of music inspired by the diversity of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Grunge was not a musical movement but a compassionate cry for unity.

Led by the voices of Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain, Seattle was the Oz to this movement creating a focal point to a sound that would change music forever as we entered into a new decade. Whether you call it Grunge, Alternative or Rock, one thing is clear, the sounds were drenched in meaning, passion and absorbed all the inner angst and spit it right out.

Draped in flannel and powered by a voice recognizable around the world, Pearl Jam began to document a path to greatness. Eddie Vedder was a quiet and shy presence off the stage, but as the lights shined and the crowds screamed, he harnessed that energy to give an inspiring performance every evening. He even indicated on some nights he would stay up all night on a pure adrenaline rush.

Through the years, many obstacles would create stumbling blocks including fame, MTV, tragedy, feuds with Ticketmaster, a shift in musical connections and the evolution of the sound. As time passed, each member of the band began to evolve and dissect their place in the history of this band. Now that twenty years have passed and Pearl Jam remains, they each have taken a personal step in their own maturity but remain hidden away as a group of misfits who has one single love, music.

This movie is as much about Pearl Jam as it is you and me. There are those few rare times in our lives when a song, a movie, a moment changes us. It turns our world around and forces us to re-evaluate everything in our lives up until that moment. This film is a personal opus for Cameron Crowe as he uses his love of music, personal friendships and deep understanding of lyrical prose to create a masterpiece with a poetic flow and a justified look at the birth and maturity of a rock legend. Whether you are a passive fan or had a ritualistic experience with Pearl Jam, this film will move you and linger on long after you leave the theater.

Having begun my rise to adolescence almost parallel to the rise of this movement in Seattle, I witnessed my life on that screen and each passing interview and concert footage was another step in my life path.

Several elements of the film resonated with me. The Seattle sound was built out of community and not competition. The media image of Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam aside, the artists were friends, collaborators and critics. They shared their talents and helped create a moment that was unlike any of the other metro giants at the time. The collaboration between Soundgarden and Pearl Jam with Temple of the Dog is a key example of how two great entities can become one.

A leader with strong moral convictions and the ability to inspire can take on so many images. During a key scene midway through the film, a message was shared in the words of Eddie Vedder and Bob Dylan about Time Magazine. Two men, two generations, two sounds but both poets who allowed their fans to see and feel their emotions.

Time doesn’t change us. The music may change, our value system, our priorities but not who we are. Pearl Jam has and always will stay true to their name. They may be a little older and a little more grey, but their mission to bring music and art to the fans still remains their number one priority.

For that, we thank Pearl Jam and Cameron Crowe for reminding us of the importance of music.

“Yes, I understand that every life must end, uh-huh
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, uh-huh
Oh I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands the ones I love
Some folks just have one, yeah, others, they’ve got none

Stay with me…
Let’s just breathe…

Practiced all my sins, never gonna let me win, uh-huh
Under everything, just another human being, uh-huh
I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world to make me bleed

Stay with me
You’re all I see…”

– Just Breathe, Pearl Jam

What Metro Areas Made the Largest Gains in Intelligence? – Let’s ask the Census

Thank you to all of the census takers that for a brief moment, created the illusion that unemployment was lower and for giving us all of this substantial data on changes in the United States population. Now that the numbers are compiled and analyzed, we have been given some data to digest.

Nationwide, 28.2% of the populations 25 and above have a college degree or higher with a median household income of $50,046. Across the board, median household incomes have dropped in almost all major metro areas. In the highest earning 10 cities, incomes fell an average of 6.5% from $75,100 to $70,201 while the bottom ten saw a 10.8% drop from $46,380 to $41,378.

The decade saw an increase of 27 million people with the highest gains in the metro cities while the rural populations saw declines. Other key elements released included a 6% decline in births from women 20 to 34 and a rise in immigrants entering the US from 556,000 in 2009 to 1.4 million in 2010. In 15 metro areas, poverty has risen over 10% on average with 80 of the top 100 cities over 10% currently.

Now for the part you have all been waiting for, how much smarter are we getting?

As a collective whole San Francisco, Madison and Boston are proud to say that 43%+ of their 25 and over population have a college education.

The ten metro areas that showed the highest percentage gain in the last decade in adults that have a college education or higher are:

10. Odgen, UT – 5.5% (30.1% Total)
9. New York City, NY – 5.6% (36.0% Total)
8. Pittsburgh, PA – 5.7% (29.1% Total)
7. Worcester, MA – 5.8% (32.7% Total)
6. Omaha, NE – 5.9% (33.0% Total)
5. Baltimore, MD – 5.9% (35.1% Total)
4. Poughkeepsie, NY – 6.0% (30.9% Total)
3. Boston, MA – 6.1% (43.0% Total)
2. Madison, WI – 6.4% (43.3% Total)

Drum Roll Please!!!!

1. Charleston, SC – 6.9% (31.9% Total)

The percentage winner of the 2010 Census Bureau Gain in Brain Power Competition is Charleston, SC….

For all of the statistics lovers and math fanatics, now you know the rest of the story

*Sources provided by Brookings Institution, Census Bureau and Wall Street Journal
Complete findings found in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey

Why Facebook is so important today…

As Americans and world citizens look at the events that have transpired since 2007 to present, we are looking to others for answers. As we seemingly ended a two year recessionary period and began a new era of prosperity, we had the carpet dragged out from under us. Housing start ups are at record lows along with interest rates and mortgage rates, consumer confidence is drained, unemployment rates are staggeringly high and the security of the banking/lending industry is at risk. It is an epidemic in which each one of us is or knows someone affected by this crisis.

The 1970’s underwent a turbulent period itself. As the Vietnam war raged on sinking tax payer money into a war many of us didn’t understand and a country was being divided by pro and anti-war sentiment, we were witnessing an economic crisis at home. Gas shortages, high interest rates and dangerous unemployment were key concerns for the Ford and Carter administrations.

How do you distract yourself from the harsh realities all around you? The great emancipation is in the ability to find another addictive element to off set the pains so many are feeling. In 1972, Nolan Bushnell became a pioneer creating what may have been the greatest addictive savior of the last century. Founding the video game and home computer company Atari and thus bringing the age of video games to the household. In 1977, the Atari 2600, which would be the most financially successful of the product releases, would take us into the next decade and spearhead the age of MTV, handheld gaming devices, computer based games, Myspace, IPods and Facebook.

In a moment of crisis where budgets are tight, families are worried and a state of confusion and unrest fills the air, what greater contribution to society than a device no more than five pounds that can hold a family captive hours at a time, day after day. Whether it was Frogger, Donkey Kong, Astroids, Centipede or Star Wars, this now primitive technology won the hearts of millions and gave us a reason not to focus on our own lives.

Now a new generation is scared.
We can’t spend our money…Malls, sporting events, concerts and dining are out.
We can’t find jobs…Boredom and depression are now susceptible realities.
We can’t travel…Alternative ways to see the world must be found
We can’t drive or talk on the phone…Costs are too high…How do I keep in touch with friends and family

Mark Zuckerberg could not have had better timing in 2003 when The Facebook hit the campus scene and then the world. 2007 began our generations Great Depression. With no signs that recovery is in the immediate future, now more than ever do we need another “Great Distractor”

Thank you Facebook for giving us a tool to take our minds off of the banking and housing crisis, terrorism, unemployment, budget struggles, world trade, political unrest and gas prices. We needed a platform with games, communication channels, quizzes, video/picture sharing tools, wall posts, message boards, communities and networking capability at the comfort of your own home, mobile device or coffee shop.

Mark Zuckerberg to some is a pioneer and to others a fortunate recipient of opportunity. Either way, he is this generations Nolan Bushnell. Without Facebook, perhaps there would be another tool to help numb our minds of global conditions but maybe not. We might spend hours a day on Facebook, complain about the new format, talk about how it is taking over our lives, start theories how they know everything (which they probably do), and even make a New Year’s Resolution to quit but the bottom line is that it is doing society a much needed service.

Thank you Facebook for being the most addictive non-narcotic creating a smoke screen to over one billion people daily and sheltering us from the harsh realities.

Lost in Wisdom – Original Poem

In the infinite wisdom of now, we are trapped in a moment kidnapped by the tools of our own hands.

Victims of the search for truth
Powerless to the agony of love

Swept away by the waves of time drowning our dreams with the reality we store in conscious thought

It’s hard to breath now
Suffocated by moments overwhelmed by man

We are robots in our skin; flesh eating metal

In the truest of words; arrested by emotions; saturated by potential
In an ironic twist, success is our greatest failure and insanity is the only calming agent

Now I look to a tree in its prominence and desire to grow
It is alone, firm to its roots and a shelter to those that pass under.
A protector to the almighty sun; a seasonal reminder of the passing of life and death
Renewed in warm, it returns for another season, another lesson

Close your eyes and bask as an exchange of energy revives the senses numb to the wasteland we call now

A New America – How are we adapting…

I was at an event last evening, one that was billed as a networking event. In the true southern tradition, the front yard of the host house was highlighted with palmetto trees, a long white stairwell, and a front porch decked in rocking chairs and ceiling fans. This was an elegant home with modern technology, an indoor pool and its own build in wine chiller next to the refrigerator unit. This was the home you would see from a true southern gentleman or couple who has made a financial stake and maintained it along with an elegant lifestyle. Dare I forget, just a block from the ocean.

The evening air was filled with wine and conversation. Some subtle and simple and others a little more open and risque. This event had a spread of food and beverage, but not the expectation one would have expected from this type of event, at least this observer. The wine was inexpensive, plastic cups were the glasses of choice, chips were in bowls with the bags on the table and cupcakes were in Tupperware storage units. This looked more like a Super Bowl party I would have thrown if I had a day to prepare.

As I sat by the pool trying to figure out if people were networking for career opportunities or networking for company that evening, I witnessed a new society. Not one of riches and wealth, but one where people accepted their means. I would later learn from the host that his retail enterprise has been hit hard by the recession and he still maintains a hands on approach to his stores and has not been able to extend himself to the pleasures of vacationing. He is still a very active member of the community who has connections and options financially, but when you spent a few minutes with this man in khaki shorts, a blue tee shirt and boots, you didn’t see a self made business man with a 2700 foot house on the beach, 10 foot projection television and second floor indoor pool. You saw a lover of the beach, a desire to help others, a wine enthusiast and an individual that understands there are limits to his lifestyle due to the economy.

When I indicated that there is a strong likelihood that this recession or recessionary behavior may not end until 2016 or later, there was a deep sigh.

This conversation and observation on the new America was not depressing or even surprising. It was a glimpse at behavior that has been around for millions of years; adaptation and survival of the fittest. Whether you have fallen under the times of poverty or lost significant wealth and status, so many of us are willing to make life adjustments, ride out the storm and accept that this is who we have become.

Life is and has always been a game of survival. We are given the pawn of life and met with challenges each and every day. I know there are many that are and will continue to fight to keep the social level they feel they have earned, but sometimes you have to let go of the rope and allow yourself to fall. No matter what social bucket we fall into, our influences, our loves, our support will not waiver. They were built on the foundation of caring and love. That doesn’t change with money, social lifestyle or expenses. For some it might and that is something each of us has to internalize and decide for themselves.

I have been fortunate with a supportive family, a great circle of friends, a career that I love and the ability to do the things I love to do.

Last night was a glimpse into a new America and a new world and my admiration goes out to those that see adversity and are not only able to adjust but to accept a new journey in life.

Friendship Unwavering – Original Poem

The winter is gone
Fear is no longer
The apocalypse that penetrated the soul strengthened the bond of friendship

In a moment of dire weakness, a power lifted from the trenches of the past and cemented a movement for peace

In this chaos, a calming silence spreads across the sky on leaves of red, orange and yellow

As the morning dew awakens a new season, a reunion of hope is brought once again to light
A unity of unspeakable grace
A pact written in the purity of smiles and forever written in the journal of life

An enemy penetrated our fortified home that thousands of miles could not break and united as one we overcame the beast

It is this moment, now in the dawn of a new day that the sun rises and shines on the faces of humanity
In a warm brush of the canvas, reminds us that friendship is a power greater than mankind

It is the strength of a thousand horses, the whisper of a young child and the smile of a newborn

Time is the physical journey we each must take in our chosen path; yet with each mile, we are closer as one

Help Recruiterpoet get on a Billboard in Time Square (Could you imagine!!!)

About.me is running a competition to determine the “Face of About.me” and through a democratic process of voting, try to determine who will be the potential faces of the their marketing campaign. Normally, we don’t jump at the idea of a contest, but being a native of the New York / New Jersey area, why not. Please lend your support by going to the site and clicking your support and voting Recruiterpoet.

It is this easy:

Just head to my about.me page and click “vote”:

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