Category Archives: current events

On Speaking Out

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This has never been a political place, and has certainly not been a very active one for a while. But it is where ‘I go’. And today, I had to ‘go’ somewhere. Time to Cry, indeed.

Speaking out. This week’s mantra. All ‘sides’.

Sides? Really?! Now there are sides to humanity? To dignity? To civil rights?  To driving down the road with your child in the back seat? To waking up every day and doing your job protecting your community?

Are there systemic issues? Hell, yeh. Should we push for a drastic overhaul of our broken system that includes real oversight, investigation and punishment? Both ‘sides’. Double hell, yeh. Do we have issues with guns… triple hell, yeh. Are all cops evil? Come on, you don’t believe that any more than you believe that all people of color are criminals. Right?

Tell me right, ok? Make me believe it. Please, come out of the woodwork and tell me that as Americans we can stop taking sides. Tell me that I am not delusional. Tell me that from the wreckage of all this violence we can create change. Not slogans and hashtags. Not turning your profile picture black OR blue. Turn it both. Black and blue… bruised and hurting. That is what we are all feeling.

These are the things I have read today that moved me after a sleepless night. Let them move you. Let’s all turn down the volume and turn up the idea of what being an American should mean. And what our responsibilities are.

  • There are no sides. Please don’t take one. Grieve for loss of life, the broken system and violence begetting violence. But don’t take sides.
  • You know the hardest part of having a conversation surrounding police shootings in America? It always feels like in America… if you take a stand for something, you automatically are against something else. It’s such a strange world to be in. You shouldn’t have to choose between the police and the citizens that they are sworn to protect. (Trevor Noah)
  • Things have not changed, the access to real time video has.
  • An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. (thank you, Dawn)
  • I’m sorry, I must have set my alarm for 1968 (thank you, Marc)
  • We need to stop thinking hashtags are going to fix the problem and get away from our computers and out into our communities to work together to figure out how to stop this reality we find ourselves in. (C.C. Chapman)

Speaking out is great. But please choose your words wisely. And act upon them. Effectively. Sensibly. And with liberty and justice for ALL.

Amen. Namaste. Shalom. Salaam.

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Filed under communities, current events, grief, news, Uncategorized

Donkeys are the new goats

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I want to preface this with the fact that I live in a suburban area known as the North Shore of Long Island. That would be the Nawth Shaw of Long Guyland if you buy into that whole stereotypical dialect thing.

I do not.

This magazine was at the checkout of our local Whole Foods. Modern Farmer? Really? Talk about missing the demographic! There are no farmers in this ‘hood – modern or otherwise. The only thing better than this close-up shot would have been one with a woman dressed to the nines in front of the magazine rack. Keep in mind this particular Whole Foods is across the street from The Miracle Mile, a Rodeo Drive style shopping area.

You’ve heard the expression, “It goes together like donkeys and Manolo Blahniks, right? Of course, everyone has.

At first I thought this was an Onion type magazine. With that Headline: Donkeys, the new goats. And the Redonkulous seal (with an excellent use of hyphenation)

Other wonderful headlines that are a bit more relatable for this zip code:

  • Pot Farming Goes Big
  • How to Grow a Winter Garden (was this the follow-up to the Pot Farming article?)
  • Drink Bitter Booze (while you are Pot Farming?)

I cannot, for the life of me, explain why I did not pick up a copy of this publication. I would like to point out that if you visit their website there is currently an article titled, New Year’s Resolution: Eat More Squirrel in 2015. Yep, that was definitely on my list this year! You?

I quote:

“Locavores, listen up: if you want to eat non-GMO, antiobiotic- and hormone-free, lean, free range, local, healthy meat, you need to look up. Limb chicken, as squirrels are affectionately known in many hunting circles, is arguably better than grassfed beef or organic pork when it comes to planetary health.”

Affectionately, indeed. Limb chicken… I can’t.

And you are in luck, there is a recipe at the end of the article. (no I am not making this up)

I can’t wait for the spring issue!

(FYI, yes, I am pretty sure I am back)

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Filed under absurdities, blogging, carry a camera, cooking, current events, humor

Video on Instagram… Vinekiller?

video for instagram

Well, well, well. Bless their little monopolistic hearts, facebook has just blown up Vine with video for instagram. And as much as I want to say it sucks… I can’t.

Quick run-through:

  • iOS and Android – Good move but I personally don’t care. But it is huge.
  • 15 seconds vs 6 – Don’t care that much, this is like bar mitzvah videos to me, sometimes less is more. Brands will love it. Little 15 second spots all over town… great opp.
  • Editing – This is big. Not sure why it is not in their bullet screen above; this is a big feature. The Vine purists will say that capturing it in one take is the artform – it keeps it fresh, it keeps it real. I get that, but really? Bullshit, everyone likes to edit.
  • 13 custom filters – Yum and they had to do it. And filters by frame can be beautiful, or really tacky depending whose hands they are in like anything else. I admit I love filters but as an artist I am in that crowd that wears the #nofilter hashtag proudly whenever I can. Because, you know, ‘I went to art school, yo.” (and yes, I am way to old too say ‘yo’)
  • Cover frame – lovely, I like that I can pick the frame for the feed. And brands… this is huge for you.
  • Cinema – OMG, I actually can’t say anything bad about stabilization. (Seriously, who doesn’t aspire to stability? What? That is not what it means?) There is no need to take a Dramamine when watching these vids, they are crisp and beautiful (with only a moderate amount of drinking while shooting, I am assuming).

I am still a huge fan of looping and think it is what makes Vine so cool when used correctly, so I am not sure not including it was wise. But I am not sure if Vine will survive this. On the other hand, Vine is the new frontier and the younguns’ are getting sick of the facebook clutter.

What are your thoughts?

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Filed under carry a camera, communities, current events, design, facebook, home video, photography, product reviews, technology

God’s Love We Deliver Thanksgiving

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There are events in your life that change you. In big ways. That make you think, OMG why have I never done anything like this before?

This Thanksgiving we were fortunate enough to be part of just such an event, the annual God’s Love We Deliver Thanksgiving effort. Yesterday, we woke at 4:15 (ok, so I tend to be up then anyway, but Gary is certainly not), hopped into the city and jumped on the assembly lines of one of the most remarkable machines of humanity that I have ever seen. With logistics precision coupled with an undying spirit of combined compassion, humor and the sheer joy of volunteerism, 950 people came out to donate their time in the wee hours of Turkey Day to help make the holiday of the seriously ill a little more bearable.

In the neighborhood of under 7 hours, almost 3400 meals were assembled and delivered to 2014 homes; not just for clients, but for a guest, caregiver and children under 18 living in those homes. Not to be forgotten are the countless hours spent by the staff, prepping and cooking those meals.

Volunteerism. My dear friend Karen says sometimes she thinks that it is actually not a selfless act, but more a self satiating one, for the need it fills in all of us to help others. I cannot argue that point, for as amazing as receiving these meals is for those in need, the way we felt yesterday morning was a greater gift than we could ever provide. The people we met are veterans; most volunteers for this org are staff volunteers, meaning they work a set weekly shift, many more than one. The spirit of both having fun and the seriousness of the task is second to no other volunteer experience I have ever had. These are the kind of people we aspire to be. There is no place I can imagine spending Thanksgiving morning ever again. I have taken a big swig of this koolaid and nothing has ever tasted better!

Full disclosure, the over the top icing on the cake of this experience for us was that our oldest child, Jana, is the newest member of the GLWD staff. As a volunteer specialist, she took her special brand of camp counselor people skills and ran around with her clipboard and iPad, learning the ropes as the newbie in the dept. In the few short months that she has worked there she has experienced their gala fundraiser, worked the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, The Race to Deliver AND survived Sandy and her aftermath where they lost power and scrambled to save food and still deliver to those in need. Watching her do a job she loves AND being able to participate… Priceless!

Post Sandy has made me very reflective. I have yet to be able to finish my thoughts on that experience and get them down here, but I will. For now, I can say that being so incredibly fortunate surrounded by so much need has left me feeling highly motivated to do more. This chronic volunteer is ready to kick it up another notch. There is something about ground level, specific task driven volunteerism that leaves you feeling like nothing else.

The world is pretty broken, go out and fix a little piece.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and consider donating a portion of what you save on Black Friday to those in need. Hey GLWD is a good place to consider.

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Filed under charity, current events, food, holidays, Jana

A Tip for LIPA: Knowledge is Power

Let me start this post with the fact that today marks the 11th day that I have been without power in my home, where I also have my office. But, post Sandy reality for me has been more of a major inconvenience than a major hardship.

I say this because I have still have a home; one that is whole, dry and undamaged. And I have dear friends who are housing us AND our dog! My parents home is also in perfect shape and they sit in the middle of a community that has been highly compromised. I was fortunate enough to help them get out of town to warmth and safety, since we had no idea when their town would be ‘reenergized’. (Good Lord, I am getting tired of THAT word)

I consider myself truly blessed.

This post is not about demanding accountability or judging the job LIPA is doing on the ground. I will assume they are doing the best they can. I do not have the knowledge of what their plan IS to make any judgement. THAT is exactly the problem.

I am writing this post in desperation for myself and my community; for those throughout LI who are sucking it up and dealing with their new normal the best they can. I am not saying, ‘plug me in first’, I am  only asking to be informed. If the news is grim, we are grown ups, we will deal with it.

Instead, we are left in the virtual dark; the communication to individual communities is non-existent. There are more rumors and speculation than facts. That is way more dangerous than serving up the truth.

How do we explain to Long Island Power Authority – LIPA that they are in the midst of one of the biggest social media fails of the century. Forget the tens of thousands of tree trimmers and linesman. Stop posting those ridiculous charts with number of customers and outage maps that mean nothing to us. Give us a solid line of two-way communication.

Respect us.

Where is their crisis management comm team? There is absolutely no managing of expectations where I live. I have seen @LIPAnews answer questions on twitter, but I have not received a single response to over a dozen tweets and Facebook posts. That poor soul manning their twitter account must be having a nervous collapse trying to keep up. I don’t blame them either.

What they need is a social media STAFF. Call a staffing agency that specialized in trained SM experts including a crisis strategist; I will be happy to give you some names. Set up an individual twitter and facebook account for each set of effected communities. Staff them. Team each group with a field manager who knows the daily updates and give them a direct line of communication to enable them to answer individual questions in realtime. This is not brain surgery, this is crisis management.

I have not seen a single truck in my ‘hood. So therefore people assume we are the forgotten and become angry. I get that there must be a plan. Tell me 3 weeks and I will cope. Tell me Long Beach needs power first to pump out their flooded homes and I will donate a week of juice to help them. (if you know me, I would… just don’t share that with my neighbors). I will even be your evangelist. But tell me nothing and ignore my tweets and you only inflame me.

Sending out an SOS. (fyi, it could be the 12 day sinus infection that is making me crankier)
Photo credit: Amy Zimmerman. Model Release: my deceased apple tree leaning on my neighbor’s house. If you know of a tree guy with some free time, give me a shout.
NOVEMBER 9TH UPDATE:
I will take back my comment about judging whether they were doing the job well or not… it is apparent this is, as Rep. Steve Israel said, ‘a disaster managing a disaster.
In a press conference today, local officials called for the Federal Government to take over the recovery effort from LIPA. Lack of communication with the public was one of the major complaints. A request was made to have a federal plan implemented immediately. Watch the press conference here

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Filed under current events, Uncategorized

Time to Cry Tuesday – 9/11

A picture speaks 1,000 words and a word can inspire 1,000 pictures.

Remember.

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Filed under carry a camera, current events

Politics, Right to Choose, Religion

Hey, I bet that post title got your attention! Not my usual subject matter. But we may be able to file this entire election under theatre of the absurd, so maybe it is.

I have always held to the idea that these three topics should only be discussed in controlled, moderated environments. More friendships, marriages and business relationships have been tainted by engaging in passionate debate surrounding any of these three. You very rarely sway anyone on any of these subjects. You have your stray party crosser and religious converter, but I don’t think you have ever seen a right to choose flip to right to life, or vice versa, without a major blow to the head.

So here we are, in the throws of campaign season, in a time in history where bipartisan anything seems nearly impossible. We’ve got our first topic throwing our second topic into the land of fear and uncertainty. And topic number three – which in a perfect world would follow the concept of separation of church and state – driving the campaigns of the ultra conservative.

Sort of a mess, huh?

I am not highly political, but I am passionate about the rights that we, as a people, have gained from living in a free and democratic world (star-spangled banner playing softly in the background, please). And I have great concern that these hard-won freedoms like right to choose and marry, will be compromised by the ultra-conservative working to govern these rights on the basis of their beliefs. Yes, that is what drives my vote more than anything else. But it does not drive me to behave like a dick.

I have heard this from too many people lately; spouses, co-workers and life-long friends at each other’s throats on the topic of politics, trying to shove their views down those very same throats. Gone are the days of respectful debate. Don’t get me wrong, I have lived through the cycle of passion/self-absorption/apathy in my lifetime. I get that there is no perfect world. But what I do not get is blatant disrespect for the opinions of others. And wasted hot air, hysterical, fact-bending or outright fictional finger-pointing at the other side.

This is not a one issue campaign. And party lines will be crossed in both directions in the hopes of a magic bullet to cure the ails that were a long time in the making.

My point. Let’s take a deep breath and commit to being civil. Or as my aunt used to say when we were little, “Be Nice.” We thought it ridiculous at the time but now I am starting to get this simple credo.

Better yet, let’s Dance, Grow Things and Try Not to be a Dick.

Says it all, right?

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Filed under current events