About Jack

Jack is really a storyteller, international explorer, and humanitarian and everything else rolls out from there. As a writer, its what he does.  As a trial lawyer and trial skills teacher aroud the world, its his most important tool. As a former CIA officer, the only way to truly motivate people is to connect and to tell them a story that they can feel viscerally.  As a media analyst, what better way to make a point.  In the end, he tries to captivate his audience about the world and its people as much as he himself is captivated.

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When You Need a Hotel in China, Just Jump

Traveling is frequently about letting go and believing it will all play out. Just landed in Yangon and need a hotel. End up in a strange car based upon a tip from somebody equally strange sitting in a chair nearby. Racing through the city, down dark streets and alleys until they come to a screeching stop ... somewhere. Will it play out? Hope so. Cheers and welcome to China.

Just as an aside, this makes me realise the benefit of beig a male under these circumstances. I figure in general that the worst that is going to happen is that I might get rolled. Further, even that is less likely simply because of my size and generally surly meaner and disposition. If I were a women, the potential ramifications are pretty horrific. I find that terribly sad, frustrating, sad and totally unfair and unacceptable. However, this is a realitty that I generally don't face and is a little piece of male privilege.  


Look Deep Into Their Eyes: A View from Hmong Eyes in Northern Thailand


A Troubling Question: Cockfighting

A troubling question and maybe even a rhetorical one: Is something that is legally sanctioned still wrong even though there may be a long standing cultural history that supports it? Cockfights continue in Thailand. These are state sanctioned affairs so long as the taxes are paid. 

These roosters are likely meant for the ring. They fetch anywhere from 4000 Thai baht and up. Even an egg is worth 1500 Thai baht. One known as Red Dragon may fetch the highest price‬, approaching 10,000 and more. See him below. 

The practice supports families and futures. However, it also stands on the bodies of dead animals. 

Difficult to see and to understand. I’m trying to stay above the fray but not so sure I can. However, this is a debate worth having, especially in a place where they are still legal. 

In the end, this is Thailand too. @cockfight


Meat Doesn't Come from the Grocery Store

For all those who think that pork comes from a grocery store covered in plastic wrap, not here in this small village in Northern Thailand. This evidence is all around you. Not asking you to like it but don’t be afraid to acknowledge it for what it is. This is how it’s done here.


A Philosophical View

The world is moving faster and is seemingly more interconnected than at any time in human history. And yet, we seem more isolated than ever; more likely to stare at a screen rather than connect quietly, personally. My hope, in my own small way, is to change that. I've been lucky enough to work all over the world, in some of the strangest, most unusual, dangerous and ridiculous places.  Not bad for a kid who grew up in a trailer park. But as I've said, come along. It promises to be . . . well, I am not even sure yet. Maybe that's the best part.  Wherever I go, join me.


Ecotourism: The Conundrum

Ecotourism: Sounds so great. Help a local community maintain its traditions by infusing it with money from tourism. Without it, the community could likely fail to exist. But what happens when the community itself fundamentally changes to adapt to all of the tourism. Aren’t you killing it anyway?

See exhibit 1: Kampong Plouk. It is a floating village in western Cambodia. For centuries, all they did was fish to survive. And consider the extraordinary challenges they face in this area of the world along they way. Notice their house. Everything is on stilts. During the rainy season, the waters easily rise 10 feet or more so they have to be able to adapt, and they have. 

However, what happens when you can’t simply survive on fishing anymore? Bring in boatloads of tourists with their cameras and cellphones and floppy hats which will provide a huge infusion of cash that’s desperately needed. 

The Village is saved. 

Then the community fundamentally shifts in response to a point almost beyond recognition. The proverbial “We had to burn the Village save it” problem. 

But life is change, right?

That’s the conundrum. Do we help? Do we hurt? I guess the answer is yes and yes.


Who's a Good Boy in Cambodia?

A fancy breakfast indeed in Cambodia. Nice breakfasts are important for growing bones and they apparently give them to those who are particularly special boys. Well, I got some anyway.

Nothing like a little soup with noodles and vegetables along with a cup of tea for breakfast. Simple, easy. Sometimes, this is all it takes. Hell, all of the time, this is all it takes.

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