NAVIGATING AN INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

Great Business Books Deals
By Dr. Elliot McGucken

“Oak planks of reason, riveted with rhyme,

designed to voyage across all of time.”

 

Synopsis

NAVIGATING AN INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY is a timeless handbook of wit and wisdom written in the context of the information age.  While narrating the story of his success in creating the world’s classical portal, Dr. Elliot provides the reader with treasure maps marking the most valuable spiritual, literary, legal, and technological resources for joining the internet revolution.   Classical wisdom and common sense are shown to be one and the same, and firsthand accounts of the simple rewards reaped from the practical application of timeless principles are sure to inspire readers in all walks of life.  More than just a spiritual-advice or business-strategy book, or a general treatise on building commercial websites, NAVIGATING AN INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY marries the best of all worlds—the literary and the technological, and the classical and the contemporary—to deliver a unified nonfiction “how-to” book embroidered with poetry and humor.   The American Dream is just a click away, and hard work coupled with a principled vision are more valuable than venture capital and hype in creating the intrinsic value which is the hallmark of all enduring brands.  This is the lesson that resounds throughout all the classics, and Dr. McGucken has demonstrated that it’s all still true by successfully implementing antiquity’s wisdom at Classicals & jollyroger.com LLC.  

The author’s “can-do” spirit is matched by a “has-done” performance, and his own successful application of a classical business philosophy stamps NAVIGATING AN INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY with an engaging credibility.  As a Ph.D. physicist, his technical advice is sound; and as a common-sense poet, his words both rhyme and mean things.  All this makes this book a must-read for those seeking to gain an advantage upon the ever-changing, sometimes tempestuous seas of modern human endeavor.  Just as mariners navigate by the fixed stars of the celestial globe, the book teaches the art of creative navigation by fixed precepts found throughout the classics.  And as the classics signify something to everyone, all readers shall find something of profound value in this indispensable sextant for the internet age.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

NAVIGATING AN INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

NAVIGATING A INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

Of the Great Books, by the Great Books, and for The Great Books

 

By Dr. Elliot

I must go down to the seas again,

To the lonely sea and the sky;

And all I ask is a tall ship

And a star to steer her by.

—John Masefield

 

 

I got an MBA while windsurfing,
Wealth's secrets the West wind whispered to me,
Out there I saw a renaissance rising,
I knew where to invest my poetry.
In truth and beauty, in God's greater light,
In quotes never seen on the broker's screens,
In principles beyond the pedant's sight,
That higher calling, to set down what it means.
So stay ashore, money's not much out here,
The better business is philosophy,
For art is only bought by blood and tears,
And the return on Words is eternity.
     All the pomp and circumstance you can keep,
     I'll take the girl, the renaissance, and a jeep.

 

 

 

 

NAVIGATING AN INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

 ©1999-2004, Classicals & Jollyroger.com LLC
 

 

 

 

NAVIGATING AN INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

NAVIGATING A INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Introduction: THE SPIRIT OF JOLLYROGER.COM

 

Chapter 1. THE  SHIP: The Art of Assembling Technology for Building an Internet Venture: Linux, Microsoft, Intel, MP3, & Photoshop.

Chapter 2.  THE CREW: Building a WWW Community

Chapter 3: THE MASTHEAD AND THE KEEL: Branding in the Online Era

Chapter 4:  THE SHIP’S ARTICLES: Thirteen Precepts of a Classical Business Philosophy

Chapter 5:  THE CARGO:  The Great Books

Chapter 6: THE BOWSPRIT: The Aesthetics of Principled Vision

Chapter 7:  THE HELM: On The Responsibility and Rewards of Leadership

Chapter 8:  THE WAR CHEST: Financing, Intellectual Property, Domain Names, Incorporation, Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks, and Legal Concerns.

Chapter 9: THE TREASURE CHEST: Online Revenue Streams: Advertising, Affiliate Programs, Online Commerce, Credit Cards, and More.

Chapter 10: THE VIEW FROM THE MASTHEAD: The Jolly Roger Workout & The Great Books and the Great Outdoors

Chapter 11: SETTING SAIL: Unity: Poetry and Putting it All Together While Windsurfing off Hatteras.

Chapter 12: THE DESTINATION: A Renaissance


 

 
 

NAVIGATING AN INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

NAVIGATING A INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

“Oak planks of reason, riveted with rhyme,

designed to voyage across all of time.”

 

INTRODUCTION: THE SPIRIT OF JOLLYROGER.COM

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”—Niccolo Machiavelli

 

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.”—Abraham Lincoln

 

            As one of the final chapters of this book concerns itself with the beauty of unity, the best way to begin is with the simple unity of jollyroger.com’s mission.  In 1995 Jollyroger.com was launched to transport the spirit of the Great Books and classics about the watery globe.  And ever since, all the hardware, software, pictures, poetry, and prose have been united in furthering this endeavor.  The marriage of the greatest that has been spoken and written to the greatest publishing medium ever known to the individual struck me as a perfect match back when I first came across the internet as a physics graduate student.  I saw both the Great Books and the internet as vast resources and valuable tools for enhancing and enriching life, and by wedding the two, a brand new timeless entity came to be at jollyroger.com. The Great Books are tools which help us find our place relative to virtue’s fixed precepts, just as a sextant allows mariners to navigate by the fixed stars in the celestial globe.  And the internet is today’s boundless ocean of information where knowledge and wisdom are free to instantaneously sail about the globe in that immortal vessel, the printed word.  In this era of rapid change and abundance of information, never before have the Great Books been such important navigational instruments.  For the winds shift far more often than the objectives of our most profound dreams, and thus we must learn to creatively navigate by the fixed ideals, so as to reach our chosen destinations.

All men seek one goal: success or happiness.  The only way to achieve true success is to express yourself completely in service to society.  First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal—a goal, an objective.  Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends—wisdom, money, materials and methods.  Third, adjust all your means to that end.—Aristotle

This book tells the story of using the simple wisdom of the Great Books to captain a gen-x internet company dedicated to bringing the classics to life for all generations.  As an entrepreneur, I have benefited greatly from the chronicles of others’ experiences and musings, and in that same spirit, I set these words down.  I hope that within this story you find a general handbook for helping you take full advantage of the technological tools for navigating the internet, and the spiritual tools within the Classics which will help you navigate in all walks of life. This book and the accompanying website at jollyroger.com/captaining contain treasure maps leading to all the greatest resources that will help you tap into the wisdom of the classics as well as the internet revolution.

As an ardent fan of the Great Books, I understood that the successful creation of a classical web community would have to be conducted with the same profound respect for eternal ideals that the authors of the Great Books harbored.  I knew that the higher ideals would have to be kept above the bottom line every step of the way, so in the early stages, rather than spending time pursuing venture capital, I chose to pen the poetry and prose that have come to define the spirit of jollyroger.com.  Rather than seeking wealth, I strove to create it.  In the information age, the individual has immediate access to vast tools and resources, and in less time than it takes to pen a business plan, a website can be launched. I have faith that all literature which navigates by the higher ideals will eventually make a safe passage out to the commercial seas.  As Homer, Moses, Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Jefferson, Austen, and Melville had all written what they wrote without any venture capital, and as they own the most enduring brands in all of history, I decided to model my business after theirs, making truth and eloquence the center and circumference of all operations.  The internet, unlike software and hardware, is primarily about people exchanging words, and thus it is about literature.  And I foresaw that a site dedicated to the greatest literature ever penned would share in that literature’s immortality.

So like Ishmael, “having little or no money in my pockets,” I set sail to serve the people with the greatest that has ever been spoken and written.  As the Captain of jollyroger.com, I took the oath taken by all enduring artists—I swore that I would remain humble before the higher laws of Nature and Nature’s God.  I have found this timeless approach to work extremely well in all walks of life, in business dealings as well as in poetry, and I hope this narrative serves as a beacon for all those seeking something permanent and profound to navigate by upon this ever-changing ocean of information.

            This book is a tool to be used by parents, teachers, writers, students, coaches, small business owners, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and leaders in all walks of life.  Over the past four years of building Classicals & jollyroger.com LLC, I have witnessed firsthand all the trials and tribulations of bringing something new into this world from the decks of a www startup.  I feel a lot of my experiences could be of use to others, just as others’ experiences recounted in the classics have been and continue to be of great use to me. 

Jollyroger.com is a testament to the classic American Dream—that a living may be gained by hard work and humble service, that rewards await those who take full advantage of their God-given freedoms, and that a small-town Midwesterner with a dream may come to build the world's classical portal.  You don’t need venture capital, nor an IPO, nor a publicity nor legal nor operations department to realize your dreams, as innovation and entrepreneurship are as free as the wind.  Within these pages I’ll tell you how you can incorporate, obtain trademarks, get copyrights, and gain publicity all on your own—I’ll share with you all the things which worked for me in building and NAVIGATING AN INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY.  In the information age, ideas and content are king, and while hype might win the day, profundity shall always win tomorrow.

There’s a lot of cynicism out there in the postmodern fog—that hype rules the literary world, that the popular culture has become degraded and intellectually vapid, that the media is superficial, that people today are ruled by emotion and no longer by deep reflection nor rational thought, that politics supplants truth at all levels, and that my generation, generation-x, is composed primarily of slackers who work for but money when they work at all.   Time and again I have heard it said or seen it written that we’re in a period of decline, and while I agree with certain aspects of this popular prophecy, I yet maintain that we’re free to aspire, build, hope, and dream.   For the simple truth is that the classics are never in decline, and those who take them to heart are forever buoyed by their immutable spirit.  Out here aboard jollyroger.com, all cynicism soon gives way to a peaceful faith in something greater than oneself. 

I agree that many aspects of contemporary culture have lost their way in the postmodern fog, and I also agree that more than a few www “media” companies are based on little more than hype.  A lot of the companies sought to build their brands after their IPOs, thereby sailing into unknown waters with millions of their investors’ dollars.  They were all rushing to be “first movers,” which makes sense for a couple of companies with definitive, unique functions, like amazon.com and yahoo.com.  But for content-oriented community sites, it is better to patiently build the spirit over time, rather than build it by hype.  For if we can learn anything from the Great Books, it is better to be an eternal mover, rather than the first mover.  And no classical poetry nor piece of enduring art was ever granted its eternity by a committee, nor a board of directors, nor investors, but only by a rugged individual’s vision and labor.  It so often seems that all the same people who buy into the cynicism of lost meaning buy into the hyped stocks, driving stock prices up along with the cynicism of the true nature of value and worth.  But only truth endures the test of time, and thus hype may be defined as that which time demonstrates to be worth nothing.  If this book serves to remind a few more people of those eternal elements which are worth far more than any material possessions, then I say it shall have added ample wealth to this world. 

 

Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value. —Albert Einstein

 

Like the classics themselves, neither time nor moth may tarnish nor corrupt jollyroger.com.  Regardless of the winds of popular opinion, she shall navigate by the eternal forms of virtue, whether this necessitates tacking against or running with the wind.  The fixed forms of honor, justice, truth, reverence, character, faith, and humor are forever enshrined within the Great Books, and just as mariners navigate by the fixed stars of the celestial globe, history has shown that the most successful and valuable leaders have navigated by virtue’s fixed forms.  The art of navigating by something greater than oneself is the source of all character, both in literature and in real life.  Sometimes the virtuous proclivity for this art is found in the poet, sometimes within the scientist, sometimes in the statesman, and more often than not within the common men and women who make this country work. 

Before attending Princeton, I grew up in a small, mid-western town, and I attended a public high school where Shakespeare was treated with greater respect than he was at Princeton.  I first learned to believe in the power of words amongst the guys on the swim team at Firestone High School, when we got suspended for an underground satirical newspaper.   But I really fell in love with literature when I wrote my first short story about my first serious girlfriend.  I remember it was entitled The Wrong Reference Frame, and it was filled with literary references to my freshly-found heroes including Holden Caufield, Einstein, Howard Roark, Yossarian, and Hamlet.  I was sixteen at the time, and my girlfriend ended up cheating on me and “clefting my heart in twain”, but the story, which totally forgave her for following the baser aspects of her nature while expounding upon the rewards of honor, was loved by all who read it.  I remember she cried when she read it a couple months later, as she worked on the literary magazine that Mr. Smith, my English teacher, had submitted the story to, but by then I was going out with someone else who’d also appreciated the story.  So it was that I learned that by following the higher ideals I’d encountered in the classics we’d read for English class, meaningful, moral art is created, and heartbreak and betrayal can be used as a backdrop for character and conviction.  I found that poetry is nothing more than common sense rendered with eloquence. I found that even though a higher vision might be unappreciated by somebody in the immediacy of real life, when set down upon paper, the higher ideals take on an eternal life of their own—they become literature.  The far reaches of my soul had been touched by the words of the Greats in Mr. Smith’s English class, and when I found the ability of my words to exalt the spirits of others, I knew that literature was my calling.  And when the WWW happened, I saw the opportunity to sail free of the postmodern fog.

            I harbor a great respect for the common man, because I am one.  If I could make use of the classics as a sixteen-year-old in high school, I figure just about anyone can.  To me the classics are those books which are of profound, practical use.  So often people like Socrates, Hamlet, and Thoreau have stood beside me at the helm of jollyroger.com and guided me through the thicker postmodern fogs when professors, administrators, and supposed leaders had all jumped ship.  It is one of life’s greater ironies that the simple and true is so often looked down upon as naïve and unsophisticated, even though the simple truisms found in the classics have endured for thousands of years.  And one of the wonderful things about the classics is that they all seem to agree with one another about the fundamentals, which makes sense.  For if there really are timeless ideals of honor, fidelity, and character, then all who write about them with precision and honesty will surely find common aspects resounding throughout their words.  For instance,

 

To be simple is to be great. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. –Albert Einstein

Brevity is the soul of wit. —William Shakespeare

 

Thus it must be true that simplicity is the hallmark of a classic, and as the Constitution, the Gospels, Hamlet, and Declaration of Independence can all be read in a single afternoon, it must be that any useful book must be short one.  And so I decided to write this in twelve days while windsurfing off Hatteras in North Carolina.

As internet technology is changing as fast as I type these words, throughout this book I shall strive to characterize the more general and permanent themes of building an internet business, while the website supporting the technical aspects, at http://jollyroger.com/technology, shall be continually updated.  But as the classics are timeless, the literary aspects of the book shall remain fixed.  Hundreds of years from now, the very same books and precepts shall be found throughout jollyroger.com.  Honor shall still be honor, character shall still be character, virtue shall still be virtue, and the news of the day shall still be that the world’s grown honest, and that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.

            I believe in the power of words to awaken the richest, most profound aspects of our spirits, and I believe that all true wealth derives from the Word.  Indeed amazon.com is worth billions of dollars, but were it not for the Homers, Socrates, Shakespeares, Melvilles, Fitzgeralds, and the Bible, how would we have ever learned the love of language that compels us to buy books?  Were it not for the Keplers, the Galileos, the Faradays, the Einsteins, the Bohrs, and the Plancks, from where would the technology have arisen?  And were it not for the Platos, Aristotles, Ciceros, Prophets, Jeffersons, Madisons, and Hamiltons, from what source would the laws which guarantee the innovator’s and entrenpreneur’s freedom to create have sprung?

            The bold dreams and visions of all the people named above, along with thousands of more thinkers and writers, both known and unknown, are the guardian angels of our prosperity and freedom.  All of the people mentioned above held abstract ideals in higher regard than the material, and often in higher regard than life itself.  The men listed above include traitors, blasphemers, and rebels; and so they seemed, because none of them ever turned their backs on the higher ideals, nor rebelled against their faith in God.  Some of them were hunted, some were persecuted, some were tried, and some of them were put to death.  But all of them, though long gone, set the forms of their immortal souls down upon paper, thus granting all of us a vast inheritance. 

Written on every dollar of Amazon’s billion dollar valuation are the words “In God We Trust.”  So it is that the true worth of a company is only proportional to how well that company lives up to higher ideals.  For the paper is worth nothing without the poetry.

Some people shall always have something to gain by knocking the Greats down. Those who have aspirations which overshadow their talents often band together, deconstruct and obscure the higher ideals, and present one-another with superficial honors and awards based on pure politics.  The sophists did it in Socrates’ day, and the Bible is filled with stories of the righteous being persecuted by the pompous mob or oligarchy.  Even Odysseus was harassed and belittled within his own home, while the guests pursued his unyielding, faithful wife.  But you will notice that it is the wisdom embodied in the literary characters of Socrates, Jesus, and Odysseus which prevails.  In the Princeton Chapel, Socrates, Jesus, and Homer are enshrined in the stained glass for a reason—there are no deconstructionsts nor postmodernists there, and there never shall be.  Odysseus’s houseguests shall remain forever unknown in eternity’s books. 

There is nothing all that much new in this book, but only some contemporary words which are intended to bolster those things that you always knew to be true.  Jollyroger.com’s hope is that perhaps these words, or words penned by one of the many authors cited within this book, shall inspire you to embark upon the journey that pays all sojourners in infinite sublimity and the most enduring currency—the truth.  For it’s the truth which sets us free, and it’s freedom which allows us to keep following the truth.  And what better way to return to port, upon that distant day, than with these two fundamental ideals, truth and freedom, secure in the holds of one’s heart?

 

It is not the going out of port, but the coming in, that determines the success of the voyage. —Henry Ward Beecher

 

For whatever is done for the exploration of the truth is done for the enlargement of freedom, We must not only be free to know the truth, but the truth also makes us free.—Thomas Jefferson

 

 


 

 

Chapter 1. THE SHIP:

The Art of Assembling Technology for Building an Internet Venture:

Linux, Microsoft, Intel, MP3, & Photoshop.

To industry, nothing is impossible —Latin Proverb.

 

Machines are beneficial to the degree that they eliminate the need for labor, harmful to the degree that they eliminate the need for skill. —W.H. Auden

 

If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on a fence and watch the birds; but if you really wish to learn to fly, you must mount a machine and become acquainted with its tricks by actual trial. –Wilbur Wright

At jollyroger.com, the hardware is the ship, the software is how I have chosen to equip the Pentium servers to perform the company’s tasks, and my programming skills are my ability to captain the vessel.  If you’re ready to leave port upon an internet venture of your own, then this chapter is for you, as I’ll be recommending what I feel to be the better technological resources for a web startup.  Although internet-related technology is rapidly changing, there seem to be a few long-term trends and resources that will be around for years to come, and those more general and permanent entities I shall share with you herein.  And as the specifics of jollyroger.com technology are upgraded, the changes shall be tracked at jollyroger.com/technology.

The more permanent features of an internet business, which I do not foresee changing, are the three C’s: Content, Community, and Commerce.  Below I present the hardware and software used at jollyroger.com to implement and support them for over 150,000 unique visitors each month.

 

1.      Content: Articles, poetry, prose, and graphics setting the tenor of the site.

Hardware: Server: 450 mHz PIII, 18 G SCSI HD, 256 mb RAM. Home Computer: 400 mHz PII, 8 G HD, 128 mb RAM.

Web Hosting: Clever.net, Digiweb.com

Operating System: Server: Free Linux with the Apache server from redhat.com.  Home Computer: Microsoft Windows.

HTML Editors: Microsoft Frontpage, MS Word, and Adobe Pagemill. 

Graphics Editors:  Microsoft Frontpage and Adobe Photoshop.

Books: Redhat Linux Unleashed, The Linux Web Server Toolkit, Teach Yourself HTML in 21 Days.

Websites: developer.netscape.com, www.digiweb.com/support/utilities, www.cgi-resources.com

 

2.  Community: Forums, chats, and user-contributed content bolstering the value of the site. 

Software Language: PERL

Software: WWWBOARD from Matt’s Script Archive at www.worldwidemart.com/scripts/, WebCrossing from webcrossing.com, and live web chats from www.cgi-resources.com

Books: Learning Perl, The Perl Cookbook, Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days.

 

3.      Commerce:  Advertising, affiliates, partnerships, and sales of goods and services which complement the site.

Advertising Agencies: Flycast.com, 247media.com. Agencies provide all software for serving ads.

Credit Card Merchant Account: CardService International at cardservice.com and authorize.net provide all software for secure credit cardtransactions.

Affiliates: amazon.com, linkshare.com, xoom.com, and befree.com provide html code for linking to hundreds of merchants ranging from J-crew to Dell.

Shopping Cart & Transaction Software: Free versions of such software may be found at www.cgi-resources.com

 

The three “C’s” are listed above in chronological order of an internet company’s development, although once the site is up and running, there is a continual interplay between the three entities, as the products sold at jollyroger.com certainly add to the content, as does the user-generated information on the bulletin boards.  But it is the initial content, including the themes, logos, and site design, which establishes the general direction of the company, and only if people find a reason to return to the primary content, shall the community and commerce blossom.

Anyone who has ever engaged in any scientific or technological pursuit understands that it is a classical art.  By this I mean that scientific and technological creativity is only meaningful if the innovator honors and respects the wisdom of all who thought and labored before them.  One must work within the bounds of a rigorous set of standards.  As Richard Feynman said about theoretical physics, “It’s like creating in a straight-jacket.”  As challenging as this sounds, the thousands of marvels of engineering and technological innovation have demonstrated the great rewards of respecting mathematical and physical laws.  If one adheres to the rules and “learn the ropes,” then a vast ocean of creative opportunity lies within reach.   

Issac Newton, in reflecting upon his monumental contributions to classical physics and calculus, stated that the reason he had seen so far was that he had stood upon the shoulders of giants.  Because scientists and engineers learn early on in their careers to respect yesterday’s achievements, they are forever making use of the collective genius inherent in all prior innovations.  And so it is that the fundamental secret of the WWW is that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.  Most of software to perform the basic functions of a typical website, such as bulletin boards, live chats, commerce, greeting cards, web page creation, surveys, logs, and free email, can be found out there for free, or purchased for relatively little.  In addition to the websites mentioned above, jollyroger.com/technology has additional links to valuable resources which are continually updated.  Indeed, even linux, the chief operating system of jollyroger.com, was downloaded for free from redhat.com. 

The webmaster’s job becomes the delegation of tasks to the software, which serves the website’s community twenty-four hours a day.  The webmaster becomes a CEO/artist, whereby assembling pieces of code, poetry, graphics, and prose, an aesthetically pleasing and useful site is created, with all the software programs relentlessly performing their functions.  Think of all the people working for you!  There’s Newton’s calculus, Einstein’s, Bohr’s, and Planck’s quantum mechanics in all the computer chips, the engineers who created Microsoft’s browser, Alexander Graham Bell’s phone lines, and the millions of scientists and engineers who collaborated on refining every aspect of the internet.  Science and technology have made CEOs of us all, with legions of geniuses as employees, affording us the time and opportunity to be creative, while our diligent employees transport our work about the watery globe. 

 

Having once found the intensity of art, nothing else that can happen in life ever again seems as important as the creative process.—F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

 

Like all creative endeavors, webmastering can become extremely enjoyable and rewarding for the creator.  Jollyroger.com was able to keep its overhead low because it came to life as a creative pursuit, and thus I never had any need to hire anyone, as poetry is not something one farms out to consultants.  All the searching, writing, and implementing of all the software, hardware, poetry, prose, and pictures became fun for me.  Inspiration works for free, so whenever you find her, don’t keep her waiting, but pick up a pen.

            The best way to learn is by doing, and although it may be safer to sit on the fence and watch the birds fly, as Wilbur Wright suggested, the only way to venture forth is by taking risks.  However, this does not mean taking frivolous or foolish risks, but only taking risks where the benefits might far outweigh the results of failure.  For as Wilbur wrote to his father,

I do not intend to take dangerous chances, both because I have no wish to get hurt and because a fall would stop my experimenting, which I would not like at all. The man who wishes to keep at the problem long enough to really learn anything positively must not take dangerous risks.  Carelessness and overconfidence are usually more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks. –Wilbur Wright

 

            So it was that I never went into debt while creating jollyroger.com, nor did I ever risk anyone else’s money in the form of venture capital.  I knew I was setting out aboard jollyroger.com as a lifelong pursuit, and thus I could not risk the chance of losing ownership or being burdened by debt, should the Good Ship fall short of the potential I foresaw for the world’s classical community. 

            There’s some element inherent within a contemporary Great Books renaissance that’s every bit as far-fecthed and ludicrous to many experts as the possibility of human flight was back in the Wright Brothers’ day.  But if two unassuming brothers from Ohio could design, test, refine, and build the predecessor of all modern aircraft, and if they could do it with tools from their bike shop, without any formal degrees in engineering, let alone any degrees from high school even; then perhaps another Ohioan could perform the somewhat easier task of transporting the spirit of the Great Books about the watery globe, upon the boundless potential of the internet.  As Einstein said, “there is no original idea of merit that at first does not seem insane.”

 

Chapter 2.  THE CREW:

Building a WWW Community

Nothing can lift the heart of a man like manhood in a fellow man. –Herman Melville

 

The true test of civilization is, not the census nor the size of the cities, nor the crops—no, but the kind of man the country turns out.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.—John Donne

 

The value of the network is equal to the square of the "savvy" user connected to it.—The Dayton-Metcalfe Law

The fundamental value of a website derives from the members of the community it fosters.  These are the people who return to the site on a regular basis to enjoy the company of others who also frequent the site.  Brought together by similar interests, they create value as they share their expertise, making the site ever more valuable to newcomers with each and every exchange of information, which may be recorded in message board forums.  Thus at jollyroger.com, somebody seeking to find out about Hamlet’s feigned insanity may come across a useful exchange on the topic from over a year ago.  The members also engage in online commerce and provide constant feedback as to what they like best about the site, as well as what they would wish to see changed or added, and thus the site grows about them.

At jollyroger.com the classical niche community is far better defined than the communities at larger, more general sites such as tripod.com, geocities.com, and theglobe.com.  This presents jollyroger.com with a smaller niche, which attracts less users, but which strengthens the brand.  And on the WWW, even a small niche is potentially huge, so a strongly-branded, well-defined niche is a viable approach to business on the web.  It would make little sense to open a bookstore devoted only to the classics in your local mall, but on the internet, with the ability of a community to spread like wildfire about the entire globe, the niche model is perfect.  Jollyroger.com has become the “goto” place to converse about the classics.  Before the internet happened, bringing tens of thousands of people to a common area to talk about the Great Books was simply impossible.  But such an entity has been realized at jollyroger.com, and as time goes on, the world’s classical community can only grow.

 

 

Chapter 3: THE MASTHEAD AND THE KEEL:

Branding in the Online Era

 

masthead 1 : the top of a mast 2 a : the printed matter in a newspaper or periodical that gives the title and pertinent details of ownership, advertising rates, and subscription rates b : the name of a publication (as a newspaper) displayed on the top of the first page

 

keel: 1 a : the chief structural member of a boat or ship that extends longitudinally along the center of its bottom and that often projects from the bottom;  --Merriam Webster

 

Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses or avoids.--Aristotle

A company’s brand should seek to pervade and represent the company’s entire structure.  The brand should resound throughout the underlying foundations, or the keel, and it should be flown with pride from the masthead.  Like a ship’s keel, the brand precedes the rest of the company, and like a flag flown from the masthead, the brand is that part of the company which is seen from afar, which either attracts the customer or wards them off.  Brand is the company’s character, and the trademark is the emblem or phrase associated with it.  Because of the prominence of the brand, and because it permeates the entire company, branding should be approached with a cautious, artistic flair.   The art of branding should adhere to the following three precepts:

1.      A good brand should be associated with a memorable, meaningful trademark, be it a phrase, graphic, or combination thereof.

2.      The trademark and brand should address as many aspects of the company’s character in as brief a space as possible.

3.      Dual or multiple meanings lend a profundity and subtlety to the brand, as it gives people something to think about, and as they reflect upon it, they shall certainly remember it.

The jollyroger.com trademark satisfies these three precepts. There are a few explanations for where the phrase “Jolly Roger” originally came from, and I would guess that the true origin lies in a combination of the explanations.  In the days of sail, “The Jolly Roger” referred to all pirate flags, the most familiar of which is the classic skull’n’crossbones. The purpose of the flag, which was raised by pirates just prior to their conquests on the high seas, was to strike fear into the hearts of the intended prey, thereby encouraging a swift surrender—the pirates didn’t want a battle any more than anybody else did.  The pirates always sought to stoke the flame of their nefarious reputation, so as to minimize potential resistance.  The fiercest French Pirates were infamous for hoisting a blood-red flag, known by “joli rouge,” which is French for “pretty red.”  And because an English name for the Devil was Roger, it is easy to see how English-speaking sailors started referring to the dreaded and feared pirate flag as “The Jolly Roger.”

Now there’s an irony in selecting a dreaded and feared entity as a trademark for a company devoted to transporting the spirit of the classics, and this irony was intended.  For in the inverted halls of academe, the Great Books are virtually always cast as the “bad guys,” and thus, as a salute to postmodernism’s success, The Jolly Roger works as a name for an online literary journal devoted to publishing literature penned in the context of the classics.  And too, while admitting that postmodernism has succeeded, jollyroger.com also symbolizes that the Good Ship Jolly Roger is resolutely committed to conducting battle with the waterlogged postmodern vessels, while launching broadsides of the truth, and then boarding them and pirating the profound which has been buried ‘neath all the isms.  For Machiavelli reminds us that it is better to be feared by one’s enemies than it is to be loved by them.

 Arghrgrhr matey!  Raise the anchor and rig the sail to the truth’s raging wind; prime yer wit’s pistol, and polish your imagination’s cutlass, for we’ll be taking no prisoners as we board the waterlogged cultural institutions to pirate back the popular culture and return it to the common man!  Agrhgrhgrh!  We’re sailing into the dawn of a cultural renaissance say I, and no quarter shall be given to the postmodern scalleywags!  So you see how the jollyroger.com theme has been the source of a lot of good-natured fun, and when postmodernists see the flag on the horizon, you can bet it sends chills running up and down their spines.  Jollyroger.com’s trademark should come in handy, as the crew intends to reclaim the halls of academia for the Great Books with little or no struggle. 

And in addition to the pirate theme, a general nautical motif pervades jollyroger.com’s pages.  A lot of my favorite literature has been set upon the sea, from The Odyssey, to Moby Dick, to Lord Jim, to Treasure Island.  The whole idea of “going to sea,” is a powerful motif for travel and adventure, for a chance to come face to face with death so as to find out the immense value of life.  All of these entities are captured within the jollyroger.com brand, and as I always wore a red bandanna when I performed as a member of the grunge band Drake’s Raft, even the company’s dress code is represented in the trademark.

 

 


 

 

Chapter 4:  THE SHIP’S ARTICLES:

Thirteen Precepts of a Classical Business Philosophy 

1.      Humility

There is something in humility which strangely exalts the heart—St. Augustine.

 

If we begin with certainties, we shall end in doubts; but if we begin with doubts, and are patient in them, we shall end in certainties. –Francis Bacon

 

And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.—Matthew 23:12

 

Humility: Imitate Socrates and Jesus –Benjamin Franklin

 

Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.  My peace of mind is often troubled by the depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the work of other men. –Albert Einstein

            As the captain of jollyroger.com, I have always striven to be humble before higher ideals, and that has made me humble before all my crewmembers.  For one of the highest ideals, found in every religion, is the golden rule that states, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  So I seek to serve my crewmembers with the same prudence and justice which I would honor and respect in a captain.  It is by humility that we listen and we learn, it is by humility that we hear and see, and it is one’s consistent humility that lends one’s judgements a definitive authority that is never gained by position nor title alone.        

Like Augustine said, humility before the higher ideals ironically ends up exalting the heart.  By seeing God in governing the higher laws within the circumference of our existence, somehow we find God at the center of our souls.  As Melville noted, while pondering the inherent nobility of hard work:

But this august dignity I treat of, is not the dignity of kings and robes, but that abounding dignity which has no robed investiture. Thou shalt see it shining in the arm that wields a pick or drives a spike; that democratic dignity which, on all hands, radiates without end from God; Himself! The great God absolute! The centre and circumference of all democracy! His omnipresence, our divine equality! –Herman Melville, MOBY DICK

 

 

2.      Creativity & Innovation

On the occasion of every accident that befalls you, remember to turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use.                –Euripides

 

A creative economy is the fuel of magnificence. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Imagination is more important than knowledge. —Albert Einstein

 

Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somehwere. –G.K.  Chesterton

 

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.

—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

 

Nothing is more useful to man than those arts which have no utility

—Ovid

            Fate favors the creative.—Becket Knottingham

After one has humbled themselves before the perfect forms, before the rules, before the standards, then that is when creativity has an opportunity to become meaningful and profound.  In music the notes all occur at fixed intervals, with the frequency of the sound doubling once every octave, and while all the great composers adhere to the strict rules of the immutable scales, their compositions are yet infinitely varied and sublime.  So too has it been aboard jollyroger.com, where I honored the rules of the technology in building the ship, and I pen the poetry and prose by the creative art of navigating by the fixed precepts of the classics.  All profound poetry is but contemporary variations on the eternal themes.

3.  Nature

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

–William Blake

 

            An abundance of material found throughout jollyroger.com was inspired while hiking in the woods, biking in the North Carolina Mounatins, or windsurfing off of Cape Hatteras.  Just about every day I have to go running, or play tennis or golf, or go biking.  There’s an elemental power in Nature, next to which our worries seem infinitely small, and thus in Nature’s presence the loftier ideals of our spirits seem to matter more.  Again, that which humbles us also exalts us.  Looking in Nature’s mirror is where I have so often found the reason to create.  Here’re a couple poems that I wrote awhile back, as tributes to all the places in North Carolina where I have happened upon a pretty girl I call inspiration:

Mountain peaks amidst October's glory,
I pause at the pinnacle, touch the point,
I tread lightly, leave with but a story,
with the fleeting view these words I annoint.
A field of rasberries, fourth of July,
For a moment I lose her amongst the rows,
Serene green 'neath the Carolina sky,
Silent, windless still, in my heart it grows.
Surging Hatteras surf in December,
Standing beyond the breakers on my board,
I often voyage here to remember,
The tranquil sublimity of the Lord.
     These are the places I pause, stand in awe,
     Of man's freedom under Natural Law.

There's something I saw in the mountain mist,
That too I perceived in the thundering wave,
But then when I felt it, when we first kissed,
I knew it was something I had to save.
Nature's noble rapture, changing seasons,
Beauty owns the blossoms and falling leaves,
But man walks alone in owning reasons,
Reflected in all is what he believes.
I passed it last night, riding the warm wind,
I was out late, rebelling against time,
Against the wind I had set out to find,
Words to anchor eternity in rhyme.
     O' Captain my Captain, hark, it's in me,
     This thundering soul, creating to be free.
 

4.      Reverence

He who made us would have been a pitiful bungler, if he had made the rules of our moral conduct a matter of science. For one man of science, there are thousands who are not. What would have become of them? Man was destined for society. His morality, therefore, was to be formed to this object. He was endowed with a sense of right and wrong merely relative to this. This sense is as much a part of his nature, as the sense of hearing, seeing, feeling; it is the true foundation of morality... The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man as his leg or arm. It is given to all human beings in a stronger or weaker degree, as force of members is given them in a greater or less degree. It may be strengthened by exercise, as may any particular limb of the body. This sense is submitted indeed in some degree to the guidance of reason; but it is a small stock which is required for this: even a less one than what we call Common sense. State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules. –Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1787. Papers, 12:15.

 

I never doubted. . . that the most acceptable Service of God was the doing Good to Man; that our Souls are immortal; and that all Crime will be punished and virtue rewarded either here or hereafter; these I esteem'd the Essentials of every Religion, and being to be found in all the Religions we had in our Country I respected them all. Tho' I seldom attended any Public Worship, I had still an Opinion of its Propriety, and of its Utility when rightly conducted. –Benjamin Franklin

 

The founding fathers have ever been a great inspiration at jollyroger.com, and a common that which pervades all their writings is their profound reverence for the laws of Nature and Nature’s God, as well as for common sense.  As all the Great Books are marked with a moral sentiment, a devout reverence by and by becomes a characteristic quality for all who sail with the classics.  Reverence is the source of all faith, which is the source of all profound and meaningful labor, the fruits of which make us ever more reverent and thankful. 

 

5.      Industry & Frugality

 

The way to wealth is as plain as the way to market.  It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality; that is, waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both.  Without industry and frugality nothing will do; with them, everything –Benjamin Franklin.

 

Wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss. But cheerily seek how to redress their harms.—William Shakespeare

 

Make yourself necessary, and fortune shall follow.

–Ralph Waldo Emmerson

 

Work is often the father of pleasure. –Voltaire

 

            These days many people have grown a bit cynical, thinking that they could have become vastly rich had they only picked the right stock or worked for the right company.  ‘Tis true that much money can be gained and lost in stocks, but one can always become infinitely rich in a deeper sense by industry and frugality, by working hard at one’s passions.  For the following of one’s passions is ever a source of bountiful payment itself, and so often it is that when one loves their labor, others also tend to share a fondness for the end product.  Aboard jollyroger.com I have ever sought to be paid foremost in a spiritual manner—for the first three years the Good ship never even thought of turning a profit, but now she cannot help it.  I have found that by following one’s convictions, by making one’s passion one’s profession, by utilizing the bountiful technological resources at our fingertips, by saving and reinvesting all the profits back into the business, a timeless, revenue-generating operation is born.  Only art that was created out of necessity of one’s passions ever becomes necessary to the hearts and minds of others. 

 

6.      Character

For as I detest the doorways of Death, I detest the man, who hides one thing in the depths of his heart, and speaks forth another. –Homer, Iliad (Achilles to Odysseus)

 

One man with courage makes a majority –Andrew Jackson

 

The vision of the founders was to occupy the land with men of character.

–Robert Frost

 

Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Shakepeare’s Julius Caesar. II, ii

 

But truer stars did govern Proteus’ birth:

His words are bonds, his oaths are oracles,

His love sincere, his thoughts immaculate,

His tears pure messengers sent from his heart,

His heart as far from fraud as heaven from earth.

–Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Act 2.  Scene 7.

 

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty.

–Thomas Jefferson

 

        At jollyroger.com, character comes first in every endeavor.  Character is ever present in the classic literature that pervades the company, in all my business dealings with advertisers and customers, in every aspect of composing the poetry and prose.  Character is the iron rule that determines what a man will do in a given situation, and thus it is the source of all trust and meaning of the words he writes.  It is a writer’s most valued possession, both upon the printed page and within the public’s eye.  A noble character requires three untarnished entities: a history of correct and prudent action, a consistent, sober presence of conscience, and an exalted destination to strive for. 

 

7.      Community

Ideas must work through the brains and the arms of good and brave men, or they are no better than dreams. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

There is no such thing as a little country.  The greatness of the people is no more determined by their number than the greatness of a man is determined by his height. –Victor Hugo

 

Light is the task when many share the toil. –Homer

 

We cannot live only for ourselves.  A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow-men; and along those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects. –Herman Melville

 

The Great Books and classics serve as powerful beacons for attracting a highly-educated, literate audience, and too, those who share a fondness for the words reflecting the truth are often those same people who have a fondness for truth in their lives.  For those who enjoy reading words which mean things also enjoy speaking them.  Thus the community at jollyroger.com is filled with members of sublime integrity. 

Perhaps the greatest aspect of this community is that it creates an immediate context for those who have not yet become acquainted with the classics to set sail with the Great Books.  Time and again, my favorite correspondence has been the emails I receive from those thanking me for introducing them to classics like Hamlet, The Declaration of Independence, or Moby Dick.  In this age of cynicism, the community at jollyroger.com has been and continues to be a great source of inspiration.  For I never forget that were it not for all the honest readers out there, jollyroger.com would not be.

 

8.      Humor

A jest often decides matters of importance more effectively and happily than seriousness.

—Horace

 

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods. –Albert Einstein

 

Laughter is man’s answer to fate’s fortuitous nature. –Becket Knottingham

 

While NAVIGATING AN INTERNET BUSINESS WITH A CLASSICAL BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY, I have had a few run-ins with postmodernists and deconstructionists who did not exactly enjoy a lot of what I was accomplishing.  I have learned that humor is the best way to handle detractors, as it allows one to make a poignant point from behind a gentle smile.  While jollyroger.com was still being run off a school server in the early days, a very liberal administrator told me that either I had to include more viewpoints, or he would shut the operation down.  So I took the opportunity to add Virgil, as although I had saluted Homer on the site, I had not yet had the time to include any Romans—hey, my dissertation advisor was keeping me busy writing grant proposals.  My choice of Virgil only augmented his disdain for jollyroger.com, and he fired me an email saying that I had to include more living people, that jollyroger.com couldn’t be just a vanity page for my work, even though I hadn’t written any of the Great Books the site was devoted to.  So I added Drake Raft and Becket Knottingham, which were two characters of mine.  I gave them both emails, and I got kicked off the school server, which was OK, because when I launched jollyroger.com off my own private server, I was allowed to sell t-shirts, for profit.  It’s all worked out, pretty much, although the only drawback is that Drake and Becket always get a lot of the credit, while I have to do all the work. 

 

9.      Faith

If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto the mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you —Matthew 17:20

 

I have lived a long time, and I have seen history repeat itself again and again.  I have seen many depressions in business.  Always America has come out stronger and more prosperous.  Be as brave as your fathers before you.  Have faith.  Go forward. –Thomas Edison

 

It’s kind of funny thinking back on it, that a small-town Midwesterner would apply himself at starting a literary revolution to transport his generation beyond the postmodern fog, but I guess it’s no more funny than the two Midwestern brothers who traveled to Kill Devil Hills for four years in a row to learn how to fly.  I  guess I just had this undying faith that people love the classics.  I’d seen it firsthand in small town Ohio, not far from where Orville’s and Wilbur’s  Father wrote to them:

 

Sons,

Be men of the highest types personally, mentally, morally and spiritually. Be clean, temperate, sober minded, and great souled.

 

Whereupon the Wilbur Wright replied,

 

Father,

All the wine I have tasted since leaving home would not fill a single wineglass. I am sure that Orville and myself will do nothing which will disgrace the training we received from you and Mother.

 

Faith in the higher ideals was one of those things my parents took great care to instill within me, as did most parents, teachers, and Coaches in Akron, Ohio.  It is because our parents and teachers have faith in God that we have faith in them, and that’s why a lot of postmodern boomers are having trouble raising and educating their children.  I learned of the beauty and power of words to express the higher ideals when I was sixteen, as I mentioned in the introduction, and it was because my English teacher, Mr. Smith, was devoted to introducing his students to the beauty of literature’s higher ideals.  And I don’t think you can ever teach anyone to forget anything they learned when they were sixteen, even though I was kicked out of a creative writing class at Princeton for writing poetry which rhymed.  Nothing and nobody shall ever take my faith in the power of the classics away from me, as it’s something I learned as a teenager, and I’ll never be able to forget the honest, vital sentiments of that sixteen-year-old I once was, which I shall forever see reflected in Salinger’s and Shakespeare’s words.  And the greatest thing about true faith is that it is always true.  

10.  Curiosity

 

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom. –Sir Francis Bacon

Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect. –Samuel Johnson

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious ; it is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.  –Albert Einstein

 

Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher; and philosophy begins in wonder. –Plato

Were I not the curious type, I probably wouldn’t’ve come across the internet as early as I did.  The way I satiate my curiosity is I regularly patrol bookstores.  I walk everywhere.  I love Barns & Nobles—no matter where I go, I’m always home, just like jollyroger.com is the same everywhere throughout the globe.  I love spending hours browsing through the magazines, the history section, the philosophy section, the science section, and of course the computer section, where one day in December 1994, I came across a book on the internet.  Right then and there I saw the opportunity for the lone poet to immediately publish his verse all around the globe.  Suddenly poetry would be rendered superior to petty politics, and content would be king, as the playing field was more or less leveled.  Had I not been in the habit of cruising bookstores, jollyroger.com may have waited a few more months, or even years, to set sail.  It’s by curiosity that we often come across the opportunity to be a first mover.  I returned to the physics department that night, pulled up a Mosaic browser, and set about marrying a cultural renaissance to a technological revolution.

11.  Vision

Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force; that thoughts rule the world. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Neither man nor nation can exist without a sublime idea. —Fydor Dostoyevsky

 

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do.  Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.  Try to be better than yourself. –William Faulkner

One of jollyroger.com’s major advantages was its simple and unique vision, which at the same time was bold, sublime, and adventurous.  Over and over and over again, throughout all entities associated with jollyroger.com, the classical spirit and higher ideals manifest themselves.  In the free greeting cards at classicgreetings.com, where one might combine classical music, art, and poetry, within the thousands of discussion forums devoted to the Great Books, and within all the poetry and prose written within a classical context.  Jollyroger.com stands for something greater than itself, and thus it will always have something left to aspire to, and a place to progress. 

12. Perseverance:

It's not that I'm so smart , it's just that I stay with problems longer.–Albert Einstein

 

13.  Unity

But yield who will to their separation
My object in living is to unite
My vocation and my avocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one
And the work is play for mortal stakes
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.

Robert Frost, "Two Tramps In Mud Time"

 

By keeping jollyroger.com a closely held business entity, I have been able to ensure the company’s unity in its developmental stages.  Perhaps this is far more important in art than it is in software, for while one can hire people to hammer out code to perform specific tasks, one cannot hire others to write the poetry which performs the task of rendering one’s vision in words.  And because I had full control over the hardware, the software, and the content, jollyroger.com is now stamped with that uniqueness of an individual’s vision that seems to be a more common feature of art than bureaucracy.  The time is now at hand where she’s ready to become a bigger company, if fate’s winds favor it, but even as she is in her present state, nothing can change the reality that jollyroger.com was the first mover in becoming the world’s classical portal.  And that she’ll forever now be, for the internet happens but once in all of eternity.

 

Chapter 5:  THE CARGO 

The Great Books 

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstacy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. –Ernest Hemingway

I keep to old books, for they teach me something; from the new I learn very little.

—Voltaire

Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mightly bloodless substitute for living.—Robert Louis Stevenson

A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to life beyond life. —John Milton

I cannot live without books—Thomas Jefferson.

Other relaxations are peculiar to certain times, places and stages of life, but the study of letters is the nourishment of our youth, and the joy of our old age.  They throw an additional splendor on prosperity, and are the resource and consolation of adversity; they delight at home, and are no embarrassment abroad; in short, they are company to as at night, our fellow travelers on a journey, and attendants in our rural recesses. —Cicero

            As the captain of jollyroger.com, I am often asked, “What constitutes a great book?”  I feel that the best answer to that question has been given by the likes of Aristotle, Shakespeare, Melville, and Twain.  For perhaps the only way to truly define a classic is to write one, and then let time prove its eternal merit.  But a briefer definition might be as follows:  a Great Book is that body of words which renders mankind’s common moral sense in eloquence, thereby inspiring and exalting the reader with the eternal forms of noble character and action.

Chapter 6: THE BOWSPRIT:

The Aesthetics of Principled Vision

 

Every noble activity makes room for itself.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones.  Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man’s features, and any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them.—Henry David Thoreau

 

It was almost more splendid and sublime to have once wondered what it would be like to fly like the birds, than it actually was to be flying within the machine. –Orville Wright

 

Trickery and treachery are the practices of fools that have not wits enough to be honest.—Benjamin Franklin

 

The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated.  We easily come to doubt if they exist.  We soon forget them.  They are the highest reality.

—Henry David Thoreau.

 

My precept to all who build, is, that the owner should be an ornament to the house, and not the house to the owner.

—Cicero

 

If

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

 

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;

If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

—Rudyard Kipling 

    On ships of yore it was ever a tradition to sculpt an elegant statue on the head of the bowsprit. The bowsprit is the leading spar, pointing straight out over the water, and a carved decoration, usually a head or figure, was placed directly under it.  Where the rugged nature of sailing mandated a physical practicality for the construction of virtually all aspects of a ship, the bowsprit was the one place where aesthetics reigned, where a spiritual beauty was the goal. Ancient ships had beaks on the bow to ram enemy vessels; these were often surmounted by figureheads of national or religious significance. Roman vessels often carried bronze gods' heads, and Viking ships had elaborately carved prows. Dragons, lions, and human forms adorned Renaissance vessels. In the final phase of the art, in the 18th and 19th centuries, highly original wood figureheads were carved in the United States.  And so it is that while aesthetics often have no physical function, they yet have a practical spiritual function.  Thus all companies should seek to adorn the leading edge of their vision with an artistic flair.

            Jollyroger.com strives to adorn all the underlying technology with a sense of higher aesthetics, all united in the classical jollyroger.com theme.  Thus instead of forums, or message boards, jollyroger.com has discussion decks and campfires.  Instead of free greeting cards, jollyroger.com has classicgreetings.com.  And just as feminine beauty was often found itself upon the spar of the most rugged ships, the pages of jollyroger.com are graced with pictures of a few pretty girls from North Carolina. 

 

Chapter 7:  THE HELM:

On The Responsibility and Rewards of Prudent Leadership

 

Whatever you do, you need courage.  Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.  There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right.  To map out a course of action and follow it to an end, requires some of the same courage which a soldier needs.  Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men to win them. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Always do right.  This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.—Mark Twain

 

I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.  ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.

—Thomas Paine

 

Reason and judgment are the qualities of a leader.

—Tactius

 

A little integrity is better than any career.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

A decent boldness ever meets with friends—Homer

 

Virtue is it’s own reward.—Cicero 

            All noble leadership requires three entities: 1) a moral vision 2) the ability to communicate the vision, and 3) the strength and fortitude to follow the vision.  When we think of great leaders we most often think of generals, or presidents, or coaches; but as Emerson alludes to above, leaders abound in all walks of life.  For innovators, entrepreneurs, poets, writers, and artists are leaders.  Many might argue that because poets or physicists perform their creative work alone, they lack leadership qualities, but how many people have followed Shakespeare and Einstein?  How many people have spoken and read Shakespeare’s words, and how many students have followed Einstein’s precepts?  How many performances has Shakespeare directed, and how many scientists and engineers have followed Einstein’s bold leadership while creating the computer and the www, which rely fundamentally upon the principles of quantum mechanics?


 

 

Chapter 8:  THE WAR CHEST:

Financing, Intellectual Property, Domain Names, Incorporation,

Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks, and Legal Concerns.

 

The Congress shall have power. . . To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries; —The United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8.

 

If war should sweep our commerce from the seas, another generation will restore it.  If war exhausts our treasury, future industry will replenish it.  If war desiccate and lay waste our fields, under new cultivation they will grow green again and ripen to future harvest.  If the walls of yonder Capitol should fall and its decorations be covered by the dust of battle, all these can be rebuilt.  But who shall reconstruct the fabric of a demolished government; who shall dwell in the well-proportioned columns of constitutional liberty; who shall frame together the skillfull architecture which unites sovereignty with state’s rights, individual security with prosperity? –Daniel Webster

 

The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds.  Nor should this lead us to a war upon property, or the owners of property.  Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; is a positive good in the world.  That some should be rich shows that others may become rich and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.  Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus, by example, assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built. —Abraham Lincoln

 

There is but one law for all; namely the law which governs all law—the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity; the law of nature and of nations. —Edmund Burke

 

            The first and second amendments grant us the freedom of speech and the freedom to bear arms, and as the pen has so often been compared to the sword, as being the mightier of the two, the first two Amendments both guarantee us the freedoms to protect our private property.  The First Amendment provides us with the intellectual means to protect our ideals and beliefs, and the second one provides us with the physical means, should the intellectual means ever fail.  Because the United States Constitution provides for not only the fundamental freedom to create, but also for the right to own and defend all that one creates, America has ever been the land of innovation and entrepreneurship.

            The Constitution lays the foundations which allows me to own Jollyroger.com.  I am free to publish anything I wish upon the site, and I am free to profit and gain by all of my endeavors, although I am required by law to share a certain percentage of the fruit of my labors with the government, which makes less and less sense the harder I work on jollyroger.com.

           

The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax. –Albert Einstein

The Constitution was written to foster a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  Some would argue that the Constitution was written to foster a government of the lawyers, by the lawyers, and for the lawyers, but Jefferson would disagree. 

State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules. –Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1787. Papers, 12:15.

For Justice and Integrity are within everybody’s reach, and if one follows the forms of Higher Law, which the Constitution was written in honor of, then one may handle the majority of one’s legal engagements.  On the internet there are many great resources for accomplishing one’s legal obligations in establishing and protecting the wealth of a company.  The three primary sources used for incorporating and protecting the intellectual property at Classicals & jollyroger.com LLC are:

1.      Business Filings Inc.: bizfilings.com

2.      Patent and Trademark Office: www.uspto.gov

3.   Nolo.com Self-Help Law Center: Nolo.com

            At jollyroger.com the incorporation and the securing of trademarks and copyrights have all been conducted without soliciting the help of any lawyers, but for those who wrote the books on self-help law at Nolo.com Press.          

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and knowledge of it shouldn’t be. –Becket Knottingham

 


 

 

Chapter 9: THE TREASURE CHEST:

Online Revenue Streams: Advertising, Commerce, Credit Cards, and More.

Business or toil is merely utilitarian.  It is necessary, but does not enrich or ennoble human life. —Aristotle

 

Nothing is quite honest that is not commercial, but not everything commercial is honest.—Robert Frost

 

The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money. –Thomas Jefferson

 

Seest thou a man diligent in his business?  He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. —Proverbs 22:29

 

I think that there is nothing, not even a crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business. –Henry David Thoreau

 

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can let alone.—Henry David Thoreau

 

Commerce is a game of skill, which every man can not play, which few men can play well.  The right merchant is one who has just the average of faculties we call commonsense; a man of strong affinity for facts, who makes up his decision on what he has seen.  He is thouroughly persuaded of the truths of arithmetic.  There is always a reason, in the man, for his good or bad fortune; and so, in making money.  Men talk as if there were some magic about this, and believe in magic, in all parts of life.  He knows that all goes on the old road, pound for pound, cent for cent—for every effect a perfect cause—and that good luck is another name for tenacity and purpose

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

            In seeking to marry art and commerce, several shoals which are dangerous to both pursuits must be circumnavigated.  In all walks of life and within all professions, honor, duty, and truth should never be sacrificed for monetary or temporary gain.  And in literature especially, principles cannot be forsaken, for it is by principle alone that the Great Books remain afloat.  In a day and age when the Great Books are deemed to be antiquated and outdated by the postmodern academy, and where poetry and literature are deemed to constitute unprofitable ventures by Wall Street, the perfect opportunity to build the world’s classical community exists for the lone entrepreneur.  For nobody else is foolish enough to do it. 

Below are listed Jollyroger.com’s three fundamental revenue streams, which all internet businesses might make use of.

Revenue Stream

Leads

1. Banner ads and sponsorship.

Adbility.com

2. Affiliates, associates, and commerce partners.

Amazon.com, befree.com, cj.com, linkshare.com

3. Website commerce.

Card Service International, Authorize.net

Order forms at cgi-resources.com

 

1. Banner Ads

            Anyone who has ever surfed the net has come across the banner ad, which constitutes the most prevalent form of advertising on the web. Adbility.com provides a useful assessment of the characteristics of many of the internet’s most prominent ad networks and agencies, and with a little research, an appropriate agency may be found for most every site.

2. Affiliates, Associates, and Commerce Partners.

            Amazon.com was the first to implement an “affiliate” or “associate” or “partner” program, whereby affiliate websites receive a percentage of the revenue generated by customers who buy amazon.com products after following a link from the affiliate website’s home page.  For example, if somebody follows a link from jollyroger.com to the Riverside Shakespeare at amazon.com and purchases it, I get a 5% commission.  Virtually all larger merchant sites have implemented such revenue-sharing programs, and jollyroger.com is currently an affiliate with over fifty companies, ranging from amazon.com to Dell.com to J-crew.com to Beyond.com to Enews.com.   The percentage of commissions generally range from 5% to 15% of the total sale.

            A few companies have grown to match merchants with affiliates, and by working with such a company, a website can easily become an affiliate with a diverse array of merchants.  These intermediary companies which jollyroger.com works with, including linkshare.com and befree.com, generate the html code for all the links, and too, they keep track of all revenue generated by customers following the links.       

3. Website Commerce.

Hundreds of companies support merchant accounts and secure credit card transactions on the WWW.  After conducting a bit of research, I found that Card Service International and Authorize.Net offer the best monthly rates for securely accepting all major credit cards on one’s site, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.  Search Google for merchant account.

 


 

 

 

CHAPTER 10: THE VIEW FROM THE MASTHEAD

The Jolly Roger Workout & The Great Books and the Great Outdoors

"The sunsets here are the prettiest I have ever seen. The clouds light up with all colors, in the background, with deep blue clouds of various shapes fringed with gold before." –Orville Wright

 

I would not have it thought that I condemn a society for its material ruin, for that would be to make its material success a sufficient test of its excellence; I mean only that a wrong attitude towards nature implies, somewhere, a wrong attitude towards God, and that the consequence is an inevitable doom. For a long time we have believed in nothing but the values arising in a mechanized, commercialized, urbanized way of life: it would be as well for us to face the permanent conditions upon which God allows us to live on this planet. . . We have been accustomed to regard progress as always integral; and have yet to learn that it is only by an effort and a discipline, greater than society has yet seen the need of imposing on itself, that material knowledge and power is gained without the loss of spiritual knowledge and power.

–T.S. Eliot

 

What humane spirit, after exposure to modern journalism and advertising, has not found relief in fixing his gaze upon some characteristic bit of nature? It is escape from the sickly metaphysical dream. Out of the surfeit of falsity born of technology and commercialism we rejoice in returning to primary data and to assurance that the world is a world of enduring forms which in themselves are neither brutal nor sentimental. –Richard Weaver

 

 

Chapter 11: SETTING SAIL: UNITY

Poetry and Putting it All Together While Windsurfing off Hatteras.

As the gardener, by severe pruning, forces the sap of the tree into one or two vigorous limbs, so should you stop off your miscellaneous activity and concentrate your force on one or a few points. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

The wind and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators—Edward Gibbon

But yield who will to their separation
My object in living is to unite
My vocation and my avocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one
And the work is play for mortal stakes
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.

Robert Frost, "Two Tramps In Mud Time"

 

I got an MBA while windsurfing,
Wealth's secrets the West wind whispered to me,
Out there I saw a renaissance rising,
I knew where to invest my poetry.
In truth and beauty, in God's greater light,
In quotes never seen on the broker's screens,
In principles beyond the pedant's sight,
That higher calling, to set down what it means.
So stay ashore, money's not much out here,
The better business is philosophy,
For art is only bought by blood and tears,
And the return on Words is eternity.
     All the pomp and circumstance you can keep,
     I'll take the girl, the renaissance, and a jeep.

 


 

 

Chapter 12: JOLLYROGER.COM’S DESTINATION: THE WWW RENAISSANCE

Starbuck.com Classical Poetry Port: Created by Generation-x for All Generations

Did you ever hear of a man who had striven all his life faithfully and singly toward an object, and in no measure obtained it?  If a man constantly aspires, is he not elevated?  Did evr a man try heroism, magnanimity, truth, sincerity, and find that there was no advantage in them—that it was a vain endeavor? –Henry David Thoreau  

 

Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, handsome, but until they speak to the imagination, not yet beautiful.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.  A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.  –PROVERBS 16:8-9

 

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. –II CORINITHIANS 9:6

 

“What you have inherited from your fathers, earn over again for yourselves or it will not be yours.” –Goethe

 

 

JOLLYROGER.COM’S DESTINATION

The Starbuck.com Classical Poetry Port

 

"Holloa! Starbuck's astir," said the rigger. "He's a lively chief mate that; good man, and a pious; but all alive now, I must turn to." And so saying he went on deck, and we followed.-- GOING ABOARD, Chapter 21, Moby Dick

 

The Starbuck.com Classical Poetry Port was inspired by a mystical memory which has haunted me ever since this foggy May night by the Corolla Lighthouse, which can be found just North of Duck, on the outer banks of North Carolina. The Lighthouse can be found there, while the memory resides here. Hoping to climb the spiral stairs in the Corolla Light, Misty and I had hopped the criss-cross wooden corral fence so as to see if the door to the Light was unlocked. Not only was this a first date with a totally awesome girl, but it also happened on that same gothic night that I was introduced to Moby Dick. Now a lot of people might contend that Moby Dick is a novel, rather than a poem, but as of late I have been staying up to all hours of the morning studying the subject, and I say that Poetry is the music of the rational soul, the ultimate expression of the spirit's reality, and a mirror of the intangible, phantasmal essence of our existence.  Poetry is found in all the magnificent works which define the fundamental words at the foundations of all our laws, convictions and conventions, our morality, our conscience, and our sense of divinity. Shelley himself declared that poets are the unacknowledged legisators of mankind, and I contend that one can find no noble milestones in history which were not preceded by the spoken or written work of an individual who had the courage to render a bold new vision in words. Though it is often endowed with rhyme and meter, poetry derives its everlasting glory from the depths of the profundities it preserves. Thus the classical poets, who we dedicate all the Classicals & jollyroger.com LLC to, range in character from Shakespeare, to Plato, to St. Augustine, to Thomas Jefferson, to the Prophets, to Herman Melville, to Kipling, to Salinger. And though lacking corporeality, all Great Poetry is as solid and permanent as the rock of the eternal soul.

As all noble actions are preceded by thoughts, and all thoughts reside in words, so it is that our freedom, character, and divine sense of meaning derive from language and literature. The Gospel of John presents a brief history of God's aspect and language, which are forever wedded:

In the beginning was the Word, and  the Word was With God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God. –John 1:1

And having stated thus, I cannot forget that the truest definition of poetry is poetry herself, which remains the ungraspable phantom of life-- the White Whale itself, immortal, immutable, and superior to both the artist and critic, ultimately inaccessible, even to those who created it:

Against long, dark clouds like a lonely torch,
A misty light, a late May misty night,
We hopped the fence, had a seat on the porch,
The windswept spray haloed the sweeping light,
She told me stories from the years before,
When they saw ghosts dancing within the waves,
Some friends on a blanket, down on the shore,
Watched the phantoms rise from their watery graves.
How beautiful she was, for I could see,
A sense of that profound romantic high,
We shared the wild mystery of the sea,
Knowing deep down all else would someday die.
The storm blew in upon the wicked wind,
Elements had never been more alive,
On nights like those are forged the ties that bind,
When in the black ye see a light yet strive.
Against long dark clouds like a lonely torch,
I found myself ten years on down the road,
In a culture with little left to scorch,
And I recalled how the thunder did explode,
I remembered the way the wind did howl,
How the sea roared with all inequities,
And yet the beacon gave no avowal,
A solemn sentinel above capricious seas.
A misty light, a late May misty night,
I find myself there, holding Misty tight.

 

It turned out the Corolla Light was locked, so what we did instead was we sat in some old rocking chairs on the front porch of this quaint little house beside the lighthouse. It was the gift shop, I could tell, for I could see all the racks with the postcards and miniature lighthouses and books on Blackbeard. They'd just found Blackbeard's ship about eighty miles on down the coast, just off of Wilmington. And there, on the windowsill, somebody had left a copy of Moby Dick. It was a big old hardback edition, and as the gusts of wind swirled in under the awning, they flipped the pages back and forth, back and forth, as if some ghost was searching for the one portentious passage that alone contained the words which so beautifully expressed the moment's somber sentiments—the humble, profound feeling that precedes a spring storm blowing in off the Atlantic.

Now I'd never been all that good at small talk, and it didn't help too much that this was sort of a first date. So in a way Herman Melville came to my rescue on that night, just as he would, time and again, with words that filled a contemporary void, echoing the subtler, unheralded beauty, providing a literary beacon by which to navigate through life as aspiring classical poets. Moby Dick became a literary bible for Drake, Elliot, and I, as we saw ourselves as the captain of the Pequod, being called upon to avenge the deposed Greats and the honor, nobility, and pride of Generation X.

Moby Dick was a tragic record of the harshness and indifference of the baser natural and human elements, which are utterly immune towards the greater glory of all rhyming contemplations, just like David Geffen and Time Warner. And we took it to be a motif for the modern reality of young artists coming of age in this postmodern fog, surrounded by the intellectually indifferent, amoral, ambitious university presidents, editors, publishers, and professors. The classical traits, such as honor, honesty, humility, prudence, and integrity had been cast overboard along with the classical literature. The abstract structure of the culture and the old, traditional, time-honored rules had been deemed an obstacle by the rising resentniks, for the Truth contained therein got in the way of their politics. Forever be it known that there is a difference between Truth and Politics, and that good Politics is that which humbles itself before the Truth. Thus the postmodern liberals performed a most wicked crime upon the culture and future generations. They deconstructed the Western heritage, removed God from the center and circumference of the universe, and replaced Him with fringe feminists, economic indicators, multiculturalists, and the requisite marketing executives, just to make sure the transition looked cool.

You all know how Captain Ahab is the captain of The Jolly Roger. We chose the name for a reason. All that Ahab wanted to do when he was young was go a-whaling, and bring home to the people a valuable commodity that lit their lamps at night. All that the crew of The Jolly Roger wished to do as college students was to serve our generation with Great contemporary literature, to learn of the Greats who wrote before us, to write in their context, to light the lamps of our peer's moral consciences, and to enrich their existence. The original and only destination of jollyroger.com has ever been a renaissance.  And just as Moby Dick demasted Ahab, cleaving his right leg while Ahab was yet a young whaler, so too is it that the postmodern boomer bureaucracy has cleaved the rational aesthetic of this generation, denying it its Natural Right to words that mean things, along with families in which those who brought us into the world still hang out. Without hesitation, aspiring liberal university presidents traded the rich Western heritage for personal gain in the postmodern resentnik context. Perhaps many did not agree with everything that was said and done, but they did not speak up, and that, matey, is the leader's responsibility, which was once upon a time married to the title. They hired all their friends and did their best to do away with the conscientious publishing industry and profound press so that they could reign supreme in a politicized, polemical context, as that is the bureaucrat's favorite type of arena—where all are to be ruled by pleasure and pain, and reason and logic are but for the insane. Without any consideration for the future of their country, for the spiritual health of their children, and for their responsibility towards God and the community of eternal souls, the postmodern smooth-talking leaders sold out to the liberal deconstructionist and polemical resentnik. This Fact shall be Attested to by the Fallen State of contemporary Culture, as well as their pretended innocence and extreme silence on the Dervish Matter. For grave cultural crimes occurred in the deep of the night, beneath their intellectually indifferent command. We were all kicked out of creative writing class by Joyce Carol Oates, but we bear her no malice, for it was all kind of funny. As a fringe feminist, she was but a pawn in the greater liberal crusade. Here's this hideous woman who cannot write, and what President Shapiro of Princeton does is he sets her up as the paragon of all writers, so that when the honest, rational soul comments on her literary atrocities, the liberals can accuse that honest, rational soul of being sexist. Liberals want you to be sexist. They need you to be. If you were to admit that the Eternal Soul knows no color nor gender, you would contradict their theories, and they would dismiss you as a right-wing wacko for not judging people by their skin color and gender. It's part of the postmodern paradox, part of the industry, part of the joke. The fringe feminists' dominant presence upon the gothic grounds of Princeton is but a microscopic symptom of a far more profound cultural decay, where pornographers and embittered deconstructionists dictate the tenor of the literary culture, while idle, amoral administrators are paid huge salaries to keep their silence in the face of their crew's cultural pillages, rampages, and burnings. And so it is that the White Whale is the massive postmodern bureaucracy, and the crew of The Jolly Roger, as well as the entire generation which floats in the wake of the liberal-boomer-educational-CEOs, have been demasted by it. And while so many are today bent on "profitable cruises paid with dollars to be counted down from the mint" when they got out of college, we have higher standards, for we value our sacred honor and our heritage over our monetary wages. We sail jollyroger.com, on the wild seas of the WWW bent on "immitigable and supernatural revenge." Argrhrghrgh!

But too, as jollyroger.com sailed onwards, achieving worldwide leadership without registering on the postmodern liberals’ radar, I grew to recognize softer sentiments aboard The Jolly Roger, such as those likened to First Mate Starbuck's nature. And I say that it is no small coincidence that on that gusty night by the Corolla Light, the chapter of Moby Dick which the wind had finally settled upon was was entitled Knights and Squires. For it is the chapter which elaborates on Starbuck's character. I urge ye to make a sincere, valiant effort in completing it, as only in its context will the profundities of this essay manifest themselves.  Ye might as well get used to one thing, matey.  Only in the context of the Great Books will ye gain the full riches of yer seafaring adventures aboard jollyroger.com.

It was the First Mate Starbuck who realized,

I am here in this critical ocean to kill whales for my living, and not to be killed by them for theirs; and that hundreds of men had been so killed Starbuck well knew. What doom was his own father's? Where, in the bottomless deeps, could he find the torn limbs of his brother?

For look what the postmodern liberals have done to our fathers and brothers, to Shakespeare, Homer, Milton, Dante, Donne, and Melville upon the college campuses. Is it any wonder that they would not hesitate to do the same to us? It is they who are out for vengeance, against that near-extinct species, the Great White Male.

Nay, it is not us who seek vengeance. I have realized what F. Scott Fitzgerald meant when he stated that "all fundamental decencies are parceled out unevenly at birth." For the postmodern resentniks, fringe feminists, and bureaucrats thrive in the political and polemical because they know not how to appreciate poetry. A true poet risks losing his soul and right to write when entering the administrative politicized world, whereas the politician is unburdened with this artistic ingretity and calling to render the Truth in words.  No fringe feminist who ever witnessed the romantic glory of a storm blowing in off the Atlantic would seek to deconstruct Shakespeare, for they are but one and the same. And without a grounding in the ineffable romance of young love, without a foundation in the wondrous mysteriousness which Einstein saw lying at the base of all art and science, without an appreciation of God's subtleties, without a sterling memory of Misty's silhouette high-lighted by the sweeping Corolla light, without the private property afforded by a resolutely honest spirit, they are but the dumb brutes of society, a herd of polemical cowards. And the Good Angel of Starbuck's voice rings out across the open waters of the Web:

"Vengeance on a dumb brute!" cried Starbuck, "that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous."    —Chapter  36 The Quarterdeck, Moby Dick

Starbuck reminds us that it is not in God's plan for us to seek retribution for having been kicked out of creative writing class-- to forever berate the fringe feminists and expose the boomer generation's void of intellectual leadership. God's Time will take care of them and all they create, as sure as Time's God will resurrect all that they have dismantled. Jollyroger.com has a different destination.  The Good Ship's mission is to build the world's largest classical community, while resurrecting the traditions, works, masterpieces, and ideals which set man free, endowed him with morality, and which have made his life richer, his soul eternal, and this country Great.  And one of these ideals is forgiveness.

Towards the magnificent end of Moby Dick, when Ahab has already lowered twice on two consecutive days in pursuit of the white whale, only to have his boat smashed to splinters by the great white Leviathan, Ahab lowers once again on the third day of the chase.

Great God! but for one single instant show thyself," cried Starbuck; "never, never wilt thou capture him, old man- In Jesus's name no more of this, that's worse than devil's madness. Two days chased; twice stove to splinters; thy very leg once more snatched from under thee; thy evil shadow gone- all good angels mobbing thee with warnings:- what more wouldst thou have?- Shall we keep chasing this murderous fish till he swamps the last man? Shall we be dragged by him to the bottom of the sea? Shall we be towed by him to the infernal world? Oh, oh,- Impiety and blasphemy to hunt him more!

And considering that the postmodern bureaucracy is a "dumb brute," immune to reason, having expelled it at its inception, would it not be mad to take vengeance upon that which has no conscience to comprehend justice? For their sole intent today is to distract us from our Purpose of laying the foundations for the Millennium's Renaissance. They would like to drag us down in their politics, and thus the best vengeance is to turn the other cheek, forgive them, and let Eternity judge their doings. For vengeance is the postmodern liberal deconstructionist's game, and envy and materialistic ambition is their sustenance. But lest we become like them, we must remind ourselves that our mission is not their deconstruction, for there is nothing to deconstruct, but rather our mission is the creation of the world's largest classical community. So we forgive them in this world, and may God have mercy on them in the next.

And so we alter our course and turn towards a far greater cause-- to serve the community of eternal souls. We turn away from the aging, passionless pedants, and towards the nobler souls of the rising generation. For we, the prematurely labeled slacker generation-x, have yet to speak for ourselves. We turn away from the fading illiterate boomer corporate grunge culture, towards the millennium's renaissance. For within the kids exists all that the liberals removed from the university, and I say that the teenagers shall understand the silent, sober beauty of that foggy night beside the Corolla Light, long before the hippy turned management consultant develops the capacity to appreciate rhyming, metered verse. I am haunted. I can neither forget nor comprehend the way the great sweeping light silhouetted her profile, as the beacon revolved about on its endless voyage. All I know is that I've got to tell you about it. And below these words from me mighty crew, ye'll find me final biddings.

 

From: Becket Knottingham<BECKET@KILLDEVILHILL.COM
To: cecilia lynn comstock<CCSU{0315}@EARTHLINK.NET
Subject: Re: your mail

I just read Kill devil hill by becket knottingham. It was very moving for me. Finally, my thoughts and fears have been put into words by someone. We are not all as the boomers would have people believe. Most of us are desperately trying to be moral and just human beings, in a society that tells us to be the opposite.The boomers generation was about money, money,money. If there is a lack of love, compassion, and justice within our generation, it is only because they raised us that way. I applaud your effort . Keep sailing, with GOD as your mate, for he is surely mine.

 


From: Bidlack<BIDLACK@MAIL.CVN.NET To: becket@killdevilhill.com
Subject: wow

becket--

you are the absolute voice of truth; you speak straight to my soul. i've been sitting here for the past couple hours just in awe of your work. being only a freshman in highschool, i'm often encouraged by both friends and adults to just slack off because it's not worth the trouble, but you have been the inspiration and verification that i needed that it's going to be up to me to find what's inside of me. thanks a lot.

belinda bidlack, an already struggling artist

From: Mary Cohutt<FLANNEL@VGERNET.NET
To: drake@jollyroger.com
Subject: The most perfect silence.....

I know what the perfect silence is.......silent words that touch.....tears that fall unnoticed...a softening heart...

Thank you for your words

From: Adam Jones<ADAM.JONES@DURHAM.AC.UK
To: captain@jollyroger.com
Subject: A cancer within the literary world

Mr Raft and fellow JR mariners:

For some weeks now fellow JR deckhand Seymour Jacklin and I have been conducting a campaign against 'poet' Murray Lachlan Young. For your sake I hope you have not yet come across him as I am sure his rabid, vapid, drug fuelled rantings would drive you into apoplexy. Murray was recently signed to EMI for around 1m pounds sterling, and, I believe, appears occasionally on MTV in the States reading his abominations between programmes. He is being promoted as a poet and sees himself as one. To think that a man who is clearly an idiot is lining himself up with Whitman and Pound makes me nauseous.

Unfortunately some of his poetry is now on the net, and the following URL will refer you to one of his better (but still dreadful) offerings. URL will refer you to one of his better (but still dreadful) offerings. http://www.bbc.co.uk/bookworm/juggler.htm.

So far the reaction to MLY has run along the following lines:

In a number of media interviews Young has painted a picture of serious poets - the majority of whom, naturally, do not like him - as stuffy reactionaries opposing the man who heralds the renaissance of poetry. However poetry requires a certain amount of intellectual rigor and crafting; I doubt that even Young himself would consider claiming his 'poetry' contains a modicum of either. (from my web pages).

Although you must be very busy, Seymour and I would be very happy to see opposition to 'the bimbo of poetry' championed by the great JR crew. Failing that, a few words would be very much appreciated as an indication to the crazed supporters of this fraud that the poetry world isn't going to lie down and let MLY urinate all over it.

The saddest thing is that some elements of the press seem to think MLY represents the future of English poetry and are pushing him as 'the modern Byron'.

Thanks - regards to the great floating bastion of literature and all who sail with her...

Adam.Jones@durham.ac.uk http://www.dur.ac.uk/~d61m4w/

 

From: Greg and Jan Millsaps<GPMILL@APPSTATE.CAMPUS.MCI.NET>
To: mcgucken@jollyroger.com

Elliot,

I thoroughly enjoyed your massive website. I am a North Carolinian and can appreciate your love for our Outer Banks and Blue Ridge mountains. I am an avid backpacker and surfer so I enjoy these extremes as well!

This site is definitely a wake up call to an apathetic and snoozing generation. I think the neo-conservative/classical liberal/libertarian type views are gaining a hold on the hearts and imaginations of our generation (I consider myself part of the so-called "Gen X" even though I just turned 30). I found the articles in "Hatteras" intriguing. Do you have a creative writing type of journal? If so I would love to submit some poems and/or short stories for consideration.

Thanks again for the hard work you folks have put into this site...I know this level of eloquent insight doesn't come cheaply! Please email me back when you get time.

- Greg

 

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 12:06:32 -0500
From: Ville Platte High School Library<VPHSL7@ASBANK.COM
To: drake@jollyroger.com
Subject: on the really cool pirate theme of the web-site

Avast,maties and yo ho ho! This is the imfamous Bloody eye billy.This the best ship Ive seen from Canary to James town. What inspired the pirate theme and do you have a a musical like the Pirates of Penzance?If you do E-mail the lyrics to me at VPHSL@7. Ahoy, throw the postmodern liberals to the sharks and set sail on the seven cyberseas! My favorite book is Le Miserables but only after Treasure Island! Shiver me timbers, It’s a mutiny I’ve got to skin a few wharf rats!

 

From: SARAH SCHAEFFER<AYLAFAF@YAHOO.COM
To: becket@jollyroger.com
Subject: Ahoy jollyroger!

Ahoy!. Thanks for the letter. It was awesome. I cannot tell you how relieved I am at the sight of yer words! In an effort to love me fellow man, I was becoming liberal minded. I was getting pulled down in the mire of creature worship. Ah thank you man, you saved me from a fate worse than death. I think I accidentally sent your message back to you. I'm new at steering me rudder on the internet seas. Not since I've read George Macdonald, have I seen anything so thought provoking. I don’t know what I'm going to do with ya you bonnie man. I was thinking that there is some one you'd like to meet. He 's a pastor over here in Seattle Washington (USA). He's 26 and endeavors to make the Book of all books relevant to our generation. I call us the orphaned generation. Left in front of the one eyed babysitter while our parents went to accumulate all the material possessions they rallied against in the 60's. Anyway his name is Mark Driscoll, and he teaches near the University District. He's real intelligent and has a knack with words. They also have a discussion philosophical group on campus. The web site is Marshillchurch@aol.com I think you'd really enjoy yerself. His friend Lief reminds me of the Red Avenger. He has a talk show to reach out to the orphaned generation. He gets down to the brass tacks too, cuts right to it. Anyway, thanks again for your frank reply to the Postmodern porno graphic 'slackers' who's 'words don't mean anything.' I would say one thing thou. It's real easy to get into the rut of railing against the jerks and forget to promote the good. I'm not worried though. You've got a good head on your shoulders and I thought all you needed is the merest whisper of a suggestion. I look forward to your next hail. If there's anything I can do for ya just whistle. Ayla the Jem piping off.

 

From: Kristen
To: becket@jollyroger.com
Subject: Love to all!!!!!1

This is amazing I never knew of your site till I stumbled upon it this day. I am amazed and can not think of a greater place to find out the Truth! I am definitely going to make sure my friends read this. I am a junior in high school and fear the plot of liberals against me when I go to enter college. I have already confronted extreme liberals in my current school, and I was given an undeserved lower grade because of it (but I got him back by telling the Truth in front of the class every time he said something stupid, I mean liberal. I would love to receive your newsletter or be notified if this site is updated. I am sorry, but I do not know my e-mail, but as soon as I know I will write again (we just rerouted our entire computer) Well, I'll be looking for more later and thank you for the wonderful site!

Kirstin

 

From: Nat Carswell<NACJR@
To: becket@jollyroger.com
Cc: nacjr@iglou.com
Subject: AHOY!!!!!

I love this!! I have found my home on the world-wide web. My name is John Carswell, and I am an eighteen year old high school senior at an all-male Catholic high school in Louisville, KY. The cooling sting of the sea-breeze, the gentle roar of the Atlantic shore...the possibility of the high seas!!! This is madness!!! I have grown up with the ocean a part of my soul!! No man-made music is sweeter to me than the jollity of the Jamaican steel drum. All of these things I associate with literature, the poetry of Shakespeare, with my own endeavours into the world of beautiful, painful truth, which is the Word!!!

I will be in contact with ye; rest assured of that!

The Dread Pirate Carswell

 

Date: Mon, 8 Dec 1997 23:49:57 -0500
From: Fred Hallett<HALLETT@SEVERNAPARK.COM
To: becket@jollyroger.com
Subject: Sailor's Shakedown Cruise: A bit of wisdom from John Stuart Mill

Doolies (the lowest form of cadet life) at the U.S.Air Force Academy must memorize this cogent bit of philosophy written by one of England's foremost thinkers. It bears repeating in this good company: "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has little chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. " Sailor

 

 

From: barbara macauley<BJCM1@
To: becket@jollyroger.com
Subject: Re: jollyroger.com

Thanks for your letter. I am a grandmother, who received WEBTV from my 15 -year-old grandson last July for my 70th birthday. I am having great fun with it, and found your website thereon. My husband and I retired here to Chapel Hill in l982 to be near our only son. Then he moved to Switzerland, London, New York, and lives in Connecticut at present. DON'T ever try to follow your children...as they might MOVE. Anyway, we are still here in Chapel Hill...and probably will stay here now. I don't have any interest in starting a literary cafe, although this town might be ripe for one. This is a very strange and diverse place..as you know. We are among the few Republicans in these parts...and the liberal professors abound. But it is kind of fun to be different! Sincerely, Barbara (The Blonde) Macauley.

 

From: Renee Gilbert<GILBRE01@
To: becket@jollyroger.com
Subject: English Major Burnout

Hello. I was browsing through your webpage while looking for things for my paper. It was good enough for me to bookmark it. I'm an English major at Indiana University. It is absolutely amazing how much red tape and hassles I have gone through while attending this stupid university. The thing that really burned me up was the fact that if one were to transfer between campuses of the SAME university, the credits won't even transfer!!! I was knocked a whole grade level because of it. Most of the profs are bland. The reason why they have the "My way of no way" mind frame is laziness. They don't want to take the time to even explore what anybody has to say. I have one more year and I'm burned out. I even feel regret for even attending university, but that stupid degree is needed. Enough of my whining. For aboard your ship, I find myself beyond it all. Renee

 

From: Philip A. Brown<LABOUR@WWDC.COM
To: becket@killdevilhill.com
Subject: thank you

Thank you for putting a kickass site on the web. It's great to find people I can actually discuss my studies with. This is what makes learning such a great experience.

 

 

From: Kurt<COPEK1@GTE.NET
To: becket@killdevilhill.com
Subject: motivation

It is nice to see that literature is not dead. Finding anything by bookmarking Killdevilhill makes it much easier. Thanks for helping keep books alive.

 

 

From: The Boryan's<MAACH@
To: becket@jollyroger.com
Subject: Ahoy there matey

Dear Becket,

I just simply love your web page. There’re a lot of fun things to do. I like that greeting card w\ the lighthouse and the sonnet. That was a brilliant idea. I haven't had time to explore your entire site, but I have bookmarked it and plan to return many times. I appreciate the work you must put in to send people (including myself) the sonnet of the day. That was also a neat idea. I can appreciate your site even more, because I have been to every one of those lighthouses you mentioned and have pictured, and have stayed on the Outer Banks many times. We usually stay in Duck. Well have fun keeping your site up. Yea drop me a line if you get time at aboryan@hotmail.com

 

So many nights I have found myself thinking upon how cool it would be to write in as profound and rich a context as Melville wrote in. To be as well versed in the Bible and Shakespeare as he was, and thus, ever since that misty May night, whence Providence introduced me to the Greatest American Novel, I have taken it upon myself to educate myself concerning the art of navigation by the higher ideals.   For this ship’s destination is the world’s classical community.

The Starbuck.com Classical Poetry Port is a place for you to post your favorite poems by the masters and discuss them. Voyage forth upon the net, looking for the poetry which exalts yer soul, and bring it on home to the Starbuck.com Classical Poetry Port and the Classical Poet's Port. And too, in the rich context which develops, we hope that ye try yer own hand at expressing yer deepest sentiments.  May the best poet win the hearts and minds of this rising generation.

It are those few classic souls and teachers of all ages who are called on by God to seek permanence in the written language who endure the rise and fall of generations upon this earth, forming the crown jewels of our cultural heritage. And today the crew of Jollyroger.com have dedicated themselves to reviving the eternal beacons of the lost classics and laying the foundation for the millennium's renaissance. We too are seeking to be wealthy, but whereas the neon corporate cultural boomer's wealth was counted down with dollars from the mint and tax-subsidized honors and awards, our primary wealth derives from serving ye, the fearless reader, with a literature endowed with Honor, Integrity, Truth, and Beauty.

While virtually all modern leaders, lecturers, and pedants sail without conscious regard for or respect of the classics, the classics don't mind, for they know that the eternal souls that they have been and will be enjoyed by far outnumber the pompous pedants of any given age. Human nature tends to tell each of us that we are omniscient in all matters of aesthetics, and thus all men believe themselves to be superior critics of politics, art, music, and poetry. But in the end, it is only the true artist who is the true critic, for they alone look upon all possibilities the universe presents, and choose the one element which they naturally know will endure. So it is that time alone can prove the artist's sense of the immortal. Not because the artist does not know it to be the Truth, but because the greater mass of conformers, bureaucrats, and cultural experts of his day have nothing to gain by comprehending the newly created order founded in first principles, and a lot to lose. Now many tax-subsidized postmodernists have posed as misunderstood creators, prophets, and artists, attempting to utilize the darker history of the struggling artist to secure government funds, but in fact these politicians are not creators, but only destroyers of traditions. Though there is little distinction between creation and deconstruction in the postmodern mind, I perceive a bold demarcation, and I draw it here: the true artist is paid infinitely well by the integrity of that which they create. The true artist does not maliciously deconstruct time-honored traditions, but he builds upon them, thereby honoring and joining the eternal community of souls. The true artist respects the masters who created before him, and in doing so he joins their eternal context and adds to it, and so it is that he shall be respected by masters yet to be.

For I am a haunted man. I've been walking the pristine Holiday streets of Chapel Hill late at night, with white Christmas-tree light snow flakes and wreathes adorning the lamp posts, my breath hanging in the winter air silvered by the crisp Carolina moon, and Melville's melodies running through my mind. I have been reading the Greats, and in every passing face I see a soul that they could speak to. I walk alone with these effulgent visions which drive me out onto the streets for late-night promenades, and there I feel the deck of the world below me, the loyalty of me crew about me, the rising wind of a cultural yearning calling me, and I notice that Franklin Street is missing a Classicals Cafe, The Home Port of Jollyroger.com.  Perhaps when our exploratory voyages are completed, when we have gained crow's feet about our eyes from long hours spent squinting in the crow's nest, scanning the horizon for the White Whale of all original poetry and prose; when the callouses on our hands have begun to soften, and all noble battle wounds have healed, I shall meet ye there someday. For all these treasures I speak of, and all these classical, immutable aspects I am haunted by, are to be found within the shared destination of all crewmembers aboard this ship.

 

And in the end, through long ages of our quest for light, it will be found that truth is still mightier than the sword.  For out of the welter of human carnage and human sorrow and human weal the indestructible thing that will always live is a sound idea.  –General Douglas MacArthur

 

Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury—to me these have always been contemptible.  I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for every one, best both for the body and the mind. –Albert Einstein

 

When one holds the higher ideals close to one’s heart, courage to follow the truth becomes second nature.

—Becket Knottingham

 

"Be decisive and forceful when necessary and unafraid to act in what ever way necessary." –Machiavelli

 

There is a natural aristocracy among men.  The grounds for this are virtue and talents.

—Thomas Jefferson

 

The prudent, penniless beginner in the world labors for wages for a while, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land for himself another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him.  This is the just, and generous and prosperous system which opens the way to all, gives hope to all, and consequently energy, and progress, and improvement of conditions to all.

—Abraham Lincoln

 

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.  What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly; ‘tis dearness only that gives everything its value.  I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.  ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. –Thomas Paine

 

Those greater destinations are the ones we never get to see but in our dreams. –Becket Knottingham

 

TELL ME, O MUSE, of that ingenious hero who traveled far and wide . . . Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home. 

–Homer, THE ODYSSEY, BOOK I