Thursday, October 21, 2010

Moving On Up... I've gone off to WordPress!

Thanks for stopping by. So back in August, I switched platforms. Please click on the link to check out what's still going on in my head and flowing out of my fingers. I'm presently blogging @ Edge of the Apocalypse.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Shameless Plug for the Coolest Tiki Event in the Country!

OK, so the Hukilau, my favorite South Florida summer event, is back for 2010 and better than ever. For the uninitiated, a Hukilau is a traditional Hawaiian festival held in the fishing villages of old. A large net is cast into the sea then the villagers herd the fish and slowly pull the net to the shore. The feast that follows is meant to emphasize the spirit of family and community, or 'ohana. 

This modern mainland Hukilau is a net thrown out to the entire world, bringing the lovers of "Polynesian Pop" or "Tiki" culture together for our own special celebration. The Hukilau began when a few people on the Tiki Central message board discussed gathering at Trader Vic’s in Atlanta. Tiki Kiliki (Co-founder and Producer) and Swanky (Co-Founder & former Organizer -- click here to read his bio) began planning what is now "The Hukilau" -- an annual event celebrating Hawaiian and Polynesian Pop culture while honoring a historic Tiki bar/location. The reaction and excitement was phenomenal! The first event held in 2002, honoring Trader Vic’s Atlanta (open since 1976), was three days of entertainment and events. All venues sold out and the crowds poured in. It also sparked a fire to do more, thus an annual Tiki Gala was born! 

Hukilau saw a change of location in 2003 when the producers were encouraged by other Tikiphiles to honor the amazing Mai Kai in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (open since 1956). Thanks be to the Tiki Gods - The response was overwhelming, as attendees from all over the world made the pilgrimage and once again the event was extremely successful. Now it its 9th year, it is a party that must be experienced. It is a "moral imperative." 

I could go on and on, but please hit the event web site and get all the details yourself. Circle the dates, break out the Rum and Tiki Mugs and make it to South Florida. You will never be the same.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Conan O'Brien Exits with Style & Grace

Conan’s final words:
"Before we end this rodeo, a few things need to be said. There has been a lot of speculation in the press about what I legally can and can't say about NBC. To set the record straight, tonight I am allowed to say anything I want. And what I want to say is this: between my time at Saturday Night Live, The Late Night Show, and my brief run here on The Tonight Show, I have worked with NBC for over twenty years. Yes, we have our differences right now and yes, we're going to go our separate ways. But this company has been my home for most of my adult life. I am enormously proud of the work we have done together, and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible.
Walking away from The Tonight Show is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Making this choice has been enormously difficult. This is the best job in the world, I absolutely love doing it, and I have the best staff and crew in the history of the medium. But despite this sense of loss, I really feel this should be a happy moment. Every comedian dreams of hosting The Tonight Show and, for seven months, I got to. I did it my way, with people I love, and I do not regret a second. I've had more good fortune than anyone I know and if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-11 parking lot, we'll find a way to make it fun.
And finally, I have to say something to our fans. The massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming. The rallies, the signs, all the goofy, outrageous creativity on the internet, and the fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain to be in our audience, made a sad situation joyous and inspirational.
To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen." The Huffington Post has the whole enchilada, complete with video, here."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tweetsgiving: My Gratitude list

This post is created as part of a global groundswell of gratitude called TweetsGiving. The celebration, created by US nonprofit Epic Change, is an experiment in social innovation that seeks to change the world through the power of gratitude. I hope you’ll visit the TweetsGiving site below to learn more, and to bring your grateful heart to the party by sharing your gratitude, and giving in honor of that for which you’re most thankful.

In the last 48 hours, a small sampling of what I'm grateful for, in no particular order, mostly Twitter links with a few web sites thrown in:

1. Grateful for Christine Carroll and her Culinary Corps. Providing volunteer experiences for chefs, cooks, etc., changing their world and making a difference.
2.Grateful for the many years American Express has supported the hunger fight! Too much to list!
3. Grateful for the amazing work and support of Food Resource and Action Center (FRAC) in the childhood hunger fight.
4. Grateful for Carrie Welch (Twitter) and the leadership @ the Food Network  for their commitment to end child hunger.
5. Grateful for Domino Sugar (Twitter) and their commitment to helping end childhood hunger.
6. Grateful for the staff and volunteers of FLIPANY. Leading the Operation Frontline efforts in South Florida, they totally rule.
7. Grateful to all of you out there who have seized the moment & made social media a change engine for good in the world.
8. Grateful for the unselfish, amazing work of Tim Blair @ HungerNoMore  and Twitter for Food.
9. Grateful for social media visionaries like John Haydon. He's never too busy to help out!
10. Grateful for the Governmental support shown for various Federal nutrition programs. The facts show that a major increase across all programs is needed!
11. Grateful to all the followers of End Childhood Hunger who inspire and encourage all of us. Together, we will end hunger by 2015!
12. Grateful for the donors and sponsors who helped my nonprofit, End Childhood Hunger,  raise $1,000's to feed South Florida kids over the last two years. Words fail me.
13.Grateful for the Food Bank heros across the country who are facing incredible odds every day. You are all so inspiring!
14. Grateful for the South Florida volunteers helping  End Childhood Hunger make a difference on the street.
15. Grateful to have worked on South Florida's Taste of the Nation for 16 years. Nationwide, millions of $'s raised by 1,000's of people.
16. Grateful for Billy Shore and all the visionaries @ Share Our Strength. Ending childhood hunger by 2015!
17. Grateful for Tyson Foods leaders and my friend Ed Nicholson  You are making an amazing difference! Thank you!
18. Grateful for my family and you, each of my special friends, who give me the drive to get up every day and try to make a difference.
19. Grateful to be able to post this.
20. Grateful for Share our Strength's Great American Dine Out. $'s for hunger!
21. Grateful to have brought a dozen friends, family and a few strangers together today to share thanks and blessings.
22.Grateful to have the chance to be, in a very small way, a part of the solution.
23. Grateful I have never lived in fear, or without love. And that I choose to try to help those who have, and have lived without.
24. Grateful for Ezra Krieg. You inspire me, my friend.
25.Grateful to be blessed with more good in my life than I could ever reduce to one Blog post. Or 100.
27. Grateful for Jeff Swartz and all the amazing Timberland folks. Visionary and committed. Lucky to know him.
28. Grateful to have served as a volunteer with all the amazing Share Our Strength staff.  17 years of inspiration.
29. Grateful to all my chef friends and those in hospitality community who are continually giving so much to hunger fight. Definition of unselfishness.
30. Finally, to lighten it up, I'm grateful for Italy in general, Tuscany in particular, and Borgo di Vagli to escape to.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

TweetsGiving: Just the tip of the Iceberg of things I'm grateful for today ...

Where does someone who has been so blessed in their life start, when asked to address the things he is grateful for as part of a worldwide movement to change the planet through the force of gratitude?

For starters, I would revisit a portion of the speech I made several years ago at the Share Our Strength Conference of Leaders. Standing up in a room filled with 400 activists whom I call heroes, having the chance to share with them our mutual passion and commitment to ending childhood hunger, I was very grateful. As I said that night:

"I am grateful for my amazing and inspiring wife and partner Susan, and for my beautiful, kind, intelligent and already socially conscious 5 year-old daughter Natalie, who makes all the worlds problems vanish when she smiles at me.

But there is much more:
I have never fought in a war.
I have never suffered from a mental illness.
I have never been homeless.
I have never gone hungry.
I have never lived without love in my life.
I have never lost faith.

I’ve got it pretty good. And I believe with all my heart that my fortunate circumstances bring an additional responsibility to make a difference in the world. My parents instilled that in me from an early age. And for that I will be eternally grateful."

When I was growing up I was firmly convinced that I could change the world. Instead, it seems, all to often the world changes us. Maybe, individually, one person can’t really "change" the world. But we can each start by changing our neighborhoods, and I believe that with the strengths that each of us can bring to the fight, we can, and will, defeat childhood hunger. And for those that agree and give of themselves to that noble cause, that quest, I am the most grateful.

This post was created as part of a global groundswell of gratitude called TweetsGiving. The celebration, created by US nonprofit Epic Change, is an experiment in social innovation that seeks to change the world through the power of gratitude. I hope you’ll visit the TweetsGiving site to learn more, and to bring your grateful heart to the party by sharing your gratitude, and giving in honor of that for which you’re most thankful.

You can use my previous post, below, to made your pledge! We all would be grateful.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Call to Action: Social Media for Community Good

OK, it's been a crazy, and revealing, 2009. My ongoing work with End Childhood Hunger, Share Our Strength and others has moved me to try to more effectively channel my crazy energy, the energy that sometimes seems to filter off into nothing of lasting consequence each day, into a more formal commitment to utilize social media channels, i.e this Blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc., to help move the needle on change.

Let's start with my new top two:

The The 12for12k Challenge is the combination of social media awareness and fund-raising that aims to change the lives of millions worldwide. Founded by business consultant Danny Brown, its aim is to raise awareness and funds for 12 charities over the course of 2009, with a new charity being supported every month. The concept is simple:
12 months of the year
12 charities, a different charity each month
$12,000 per charity
How are they doing it? By using the power and outreach of social media to spread the word. From Twitter to Facebook, blogs to social media newsrooms and more, the 12for12k Challenge is helping their supported charities connect with as wide an audience as possible. And to ensure as much help goes to those who need it, all the partners in the 12for12k Challenge are offering their time and services for free. Check them out, join in, make a difference. Or, as they say: Hope - Change - Belief.

Next up: TweetsGiving!
TweetsGiving is a global celebration that seeks to change the world through the power of gratitude. Untold generations across the world’s cultures have extolled the virtues of gratitude.  The world’s major spiritual practices – from Christianity to Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism – all praise gratitude as a moral disposition that elicits a sense of peace and encourages mutual kindness.  From Buddha to Marcus Aurelius, spiritual teachers and philosophers have long celebrated the simple act of being thankful.

Scheduled for November 24 – 26, 2009, the 48-hour event created by US nonprofit Epic Change will encourage participants to express their thanks using online tools and at live events. In honor of the people and things that make them grateful, guests will be invited to give to a common cause at events held across the globe.
You can attend a Gratitude party locally, spread Gratitude on the web by signing up your own social media hookup, or even host a House Party. And if you just want to donate, you can do it here!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Update on Climate Change Blog Action Day 2009

The subject was Climate Change, and the response was overwhelming. More than 13,000 blogs from 155 countries with reach to 17 million readers participated, demonstrating the power of the web to connect people across the world who despite their varied backgrounds have one shared desire: to make a difference.

Several national governments also participated to express their support for the grassroots effort. United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown kicked off the event by publishing the first Blog Action Day post in Britain at 12:01am, and The White House added a blog post of its own later in the day, saying "it's a real thrill to see that the worldwide blogosphere is turning its attention to an issue as important as climate change."

Also involved were more than 50 of the world's leading nonprofits: World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace bloggers added their voices from around the globe, Oxfam helped emphasize the human side of the climate crisis, 1Sky wrote about the front lines of political activism in the U.S., TckTckTck released a beautiful new video, and The Nature Conservancy helped describe the science of climate change.

So much for talk. Now let's get to work.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

World Climate Change Blog Action Day 2009

Today, I'm going to get off my personal smack-box and join over 7,000 other bloggers around the world in uniting to raise the issue of Climate Change and the threat it brings to man (and woman)-kind. Climate Change is a fact, and further inaction or denial will most certain bring disaster to us all, perhaps in my own lifetime.

I join this chorus to cajole, motivate and challenge others to open their eyes and face that fact: WE ARE KILLING OUR PLANET. To remain silent is to accept complicity. I join this chorus to be able to say to my young daughter, when she is old enough, that I did what I could to save what remains of a paradise that has been ripped apart by the human race - architects of world-wide devastation that has been perpetrated in a nano-moment of our planet's life.

Simple example: Here in South Florida, we've gone 178 days straight without the temperature EVER dipping below the 70 degree mark, and we're still counting. After 20 years of living here, it's another record. Global warming is a fact.

So join in, contact your government, from the President to the local County Commission, and demand action.

The Blog Action Day homepage above will have a live action stream of posts all day long today. If you want to join the conversation, sign up on the web and make sure to include the words "Blog Action Day" in your posts to have them pulled in. And if you are on Twitter, use the hashtag #BAD09.

What makes Blog Action Day special are the thousands of individual choices of bloggers around the globe to break from their daily routine and unite to write about a topic that impacts us all.

This is it. One day, one issue, thousands of voices.