With the death of a sad but sickly-talented star, a rampage of violence in a peaceful country, and the slide of the country toward default, the weekend seemed like it would end in a whimper.
Instead, it ended with happy tears, flowing from the hundreds of same-sex couples who were able to finally get married under the law in the state of New York. I was lucky enough to help a producer create a video for The New York Times, and even luckier to wade through a room filled with very very happy people. I didn’t anticipate that many of those couples have already been committed to each other for years, even decades.
I can only wonder how all the questions couples grapple with must be harder when faced with prejudice, adversity and a society lacking in uniform acceptance. Will you care enough? Will you always be there? Will you try your best?
I only know for sure that today, one question became a little easier to answer…
BTW – Amazing Tribute from the cast of Glee to Amy Winehouse can be found here.
Down the shore in New Jersey today, forty special needs children and young adults enjoyed a special day at the beach, thanks to Best Day Foundation. Founded in 2008, this organization offers “safe, fun adventure” to help children with special needs to build self-esteem and connect with other people. Dozens of volunteers helped these kids and young adults to participate in a variety of activities such as catching a wave on a surfboard, swimming in the ocean, and running around through an obstacle course on the sand. At the end of the afternoon, each participant received a medal, beach bucket and a round of applause from family members and volunteers. One parent told a News 12 New Jersey reporter that today’s event allowed her child to feel important. For the volunteers involved, it was a chance to make a real difference in someone’s life.
This weekend, one year ago, Michael Jackson passed away. He beat his body down trying to give his fans the tour he thought we wanted – a tour he thought we deserved. And all we all really wanted, was, perhaps, just to believe that the legend who created Billie Jean and Beat It, and Bad and Thriller was a little bit magical – carrying a skin of steel that would keep the bullets out and the pride inside.
But he was just as mortal as the rest of us – and maybe even carried a little more sadness.
After the antics and the teasing and the naysayers – Michael still had faith that we loved the man in the mirror. And we do Michael, we do.
I’m looking for some great Michael Mashups and Tributes, people. If you’ve got them – post away –
If you’re in New York City this summer and looking for something fun and free to do, check out The New York Public Library’s “Celebrating 100 Years” exhibition at its landmark building on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. It’s hard to believe that this beautiful building with its famous marble lions first opened to the public a century ago in 1911. If you love history like me, then you’ll appreciate the archives on display such as one of the first copies of the Declaration of Independence, the final draft of George Washington’s farewell address, and the first edition of Mary Shelley’s popular novel, Frankenstein. This exhibition will last until December 31st, so there’s plenty of time to plan your visit. For more information visit www.nypl.org.
Folks, meet Bob Votruba and his terrier and travel companion, Bogart. Bob gave up a fairly comfortable existence to travel the world spreading one simple idea – be kinder to one another. Bob now lives out of his school bus, and has just embarked on a cross country bicycle tour as part of his One Million Acts of Kindness Campaign.
Bob’s been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Network and countless blogs, because everywhere his school bus has taken him – he’s made friends by listening to people and spreading his message. He grew dismayed at the world after September 11th and the Virginia Tech shootings. He looked at himself and thought that rather than be an observer of a world turning sour, he’d instead be a participant in turning the world sweet again.
Bob just rode off on his bike tour and will be spanning New York City to San Francisco to bring awareness to domestic violence. He met more than a few victims on his past journeys. Look for him and if you like his message – go ahead and donate online or buy your own kindness stickers. Every little bit helps him because he doesn’t charge to visit schools, give talks, and park his van on the sidewalks to hear from people. I was lucky enough to be one of those people on a cool day in Dumbo, Brooklyn. I have a hard time just talking to people I don’t know at work – but Bob has the courage to put himself out there every single day.
Spring is here and the birds are out. I know because one of them keeps flying into my window. The first time it happened, I thought it was a random accident. But when I kept hearing the same, awful thud against the glass, I realized that the poor little robin wasn’t going to stop. Luckily, a quick Google search revealed the result I needed even before I finished typing (love that new feature!). Many websites came up including http://www.sialis.org/windowstrikes.htm, which was very informative.
I quickly learned why the robin kept banging itself on my window. It was either seeing a reflection of the tree next to my house, or seeing a reflection of itself and therefore, wanting to attack that “other” bird. Suddenly it made sense! I did more reading and here are the five main tips I learned to save my feathered friend:
1) Forget spring cleaning – at least when it comes to windows. Dirty windows can help reduce the glass reflection.
2) If you don’t like dirt, how about soap? Smudging your windows with soap or another product to make the glass opaque will definitely kill the reflection.
3) Go for a party theme: tape balloons to the outside of your window. Anything that hangs or moves and blocks the window will deter the bird from flying into it.
4) If you’re like me and have a lot of houseplants, try making them not so visible from the outside. No need to give the birds any false hope of a soft place to land.
5) If all else fails, block off the window entirely with a piece of cardboard, aluminum foil or colored saran wrap. It’ll block your view, but the good news is that you’ll help save a bird!
In the Star Trek movie, First Contact, Captain Jean Luc Picard says, “Money doesn’t exist in the 24th century. The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.”
Can a world without money really exist? While some Star Trek predictions have come true, like video-conferencing and mobile phones, this is probably one of their most radical ideas. Yet, according to ninety-five year old activist, Grace Lee Boggs, the time has come to re-conceptualize our current economics for the sake of our world.
In her latest book, The Next American Revolution, she envisions a new economic structure based on local self-reliance within small communities. She works in Detroit, which she calls the “ground zero for the economic downturn in the United States.” But instead of seeing devastation, she sees hope. She encourages local leadership through the Boggs Center, which was founded in honor of the legacy she had created with her late husband, James Boggs. She believes that we all have a responsibility to foster local self-reliance instead of government dependence. In other words, to “think globally and act locally.”
“We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness,” writes Boggs in her new book. It’s good news to know that we can each make a difference through our choices. Whether it’s buying fruit from a local farmer’s market or taking part in a community clean-up, we each impact the world through our local actions.
While the economy of Captain Jean Luc Picard may still be galaxies away, I think that there are a lot of people who already work to better themselves and the rest of humanity. And they are the ones, like Grace Lee Boggs, who help to create more good news throughout the globe.
Do you have no idea about live streaming and live coverage of events? It’s a crazy new thing where different people can capture video right from their cell phones and broadcast to a central web page. There people can tweet, comment and post videos and photos. It’s crazy! And perhaps the wave of the future. See some fun events here – www.coveritlive.com and here – www.ustream.tv
‘Good journalism is supposed to be storytelling’, you’re supposed to say.
But let’s face it – it’s often just conveying information and sometimes it’s information that has been processed and chewed by others.
The folks in Bob Sacha’s Video Storytelling class have taken the storytelling bit on as priority #1. Somehow managing camera (Canon 60Ds), tripod, lighting, sound equipment, wallet, subway card, etc, etc, they convinced these amazing New Yorkers to let them hang out and shoot. The result is a collection of stories that have had me sitting inside on a gorgeous Saturday avoiding my chores (yes, I have chores – go ROOMMATES….) and just remembering how cool New York City really is.
In an interview for our school website, Bob Sacha said –
“Everyone with a phone has an HD video camera, but not everyone can tell a compelling visual story. That’s what we focus on.”