1/5 of 5k

Wow. Photo by Marco of the huge crowd. Well over 4000!

We had a giant crowd for the 2012 Traverse City Wine & Art Festival, and while the numbers aren’t final, we had nearly 5000 folks at the Grand Traverse Commons to see Rusted Root (who were great!) and enjoy the offerings of 27 wineries, 20 artists, 8 restaurants and some extremely hard-working volunteers and staff.

This was nearly double last year and the biggest party I’ve ever thrown. Marco who helped me keep the production rolling snapped this shot and when I got on stage right before Rusted Root I was blown away to see how our vision of 4 years finally materialized.

Check out some of the photos right here.

PS: Got an idea for a 2013 headliner? I’m all ears!

The Run Across Palestine

I am on the board of the nonprofit On the Ground. We work to raise money for projects that help the people who produce our food all over the world. Last year we did the Run Across Ethiopia, generating money and interest to build 3 schools that will serve 1500 children and also to pay some of the expenses. We work with real people: farmers and families to help them build the tools to raise themselves from poverty.

Right now we are kicking off the Run Across Palestine, which will raise funds and awareness for olive farmers in Palestine. Our runners will basically run a marathon a day for five days, 129 miles from Hebron to Burqin.

Here’s the first video from our media team, edited by the incomparable Aaron Dennis.

Wally Bronner made it Christmas Always

Great video by Michigan’s own The Hard Lessons, their tribute to the man who made it Christmas always … in Frankenmuth at least. TIP: Sign up for their e-list and get their new album free!

I found when I was looking for something to add to Seeking Michigan’s From Signage to Santa that we featured on Absolute Michigan this week, so if you want to know more of the story, check it out.

Here’s wishing the best for you and yours. Love them, hug them and be with them because however long it is, it’s always far too brief!

 

Here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own

thank you,

 

Listening to this, I wonder why the title wasn’t the line that defined Kennedy’s first inaugural. My favorite line:

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Yeah, let’s seek that, ok?

Home at last

Another Andy McFarlane, this one 47 and serving under the Union Jack in Afganistan writes:

Repatriation

The leviathan of the sky does land
In England’s green and pleasant land
Its cargo more precious than gold
The body of a hero, bold

Once the giant’s engines stopped
The cargo ramp is gently dropped
Carried by six on shoulders true
The hero is saluted by the crew

The coffin draped in Union Jack
Is slowly carried out the back
Out of the dark and into light
Slowly down the ramp and to the right

The six approach the hearse all black
And place the hero gently in the back
The six then turn and march away
Their duty has been done this day

Politicians usually have much to say
No sign of them near here this day.
They hide away and out of danger
Much easier if the hero is a stranger

The hearse with its precious load
Moves slowly out onto the road
The floral tributes line the route
While comrades snap a smart salute

At the edge of a Wiltshire town
The cortege slows its pace right down
The streets are packed, many deep
Some throw flowers, most just weep

The crowd have come to say farewell
The church bell rings a low death knell
Regimental standards are lowered down
As the hero passed through the town

The cortege stops and silence reigns
The townsfolk feel the family’s pain.
The nations’ flag lowered to half mast
Our brave hero is home at last

How many times has the Union Jack or Old Glory or Whatever They Affectionately Call Your Flag come “home” atop a coffin? And how many more?

It’s hard to select a photo of someone else’s flag. M,! didn’t name hers. It’s part of her i am not a robot set.

Tis the season … for the Heifer Project

If the crush of I-wannas and must-haves has you feeling trampled by the holiday season, consider The Heifer Project for those who might feel the same. The premise is simple:

A good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day – enough for a family to drink and share with neighbors. Milk protein transforms sick, malnourished children into healthy boys and girls. The sale of surplus milk earns money for school fees, medicine, clothing and home improvements.

And because a healthy cow can produce a calf every year, every gift will be passed on and eventually help an entire community move from poverty to self reliance. Now that’s a gift worth giving!

You can give a whole cow or just a share, a water buffalo or a goat or stuff a stocking with a flock of chicks. Click over and check it out.

The photo is Close up Cow by mad paul. After a look at his flickriver, I think the mad part is for “mad skillz” – check it out.

The Elephant and the Blind Men

Addo Elephant National Park by exfordy

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The above is the beginning of The Blind Men and the Elephant, an ancient Indian tale translated in 1873 by John Godfrey Saxe. Please go read this if it’s an unfamiliar tale … or read it anyway, as it’s stood the test of time.

The story came to me as I was pondering an assortment of modern calamities. It made me think about how our work on these problems is so remarkably compartmentalized.

We’ll spend $800,000,000,000.00 (or so) bailing out people who have been playing Games With Money: Other People’s Version. We’ll wonder if we should spend 5% of that staggering sum on three companies that are responsible for the jobs of 1,000,000 to 3,000,000 people (depending on who you ask) and the pension and retirement of many more. We’ll say that Social Security has a $10,400,000,000,000 shortfall looming (actually, the Bush Administration said that in 2005). We’ll lament at the fall of lake levels and the rise of seas and the melting of the Arctic and the death of species.

We’ll do everything, it seems, but sit down and take a good look at the whole picture, to see that we can no longer borrow from a future if we can’t figure out how to repay the debt.

The photo is Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa by exfordy* and can be enjoyed in their South Africa, 1999 slideshow (set). He writes:

This bull walked right by the car. If I had kept the window open I could have touched it. We had been told that if we stayed in our car we would be OK. A Japanese tourist had got out of his car the previous week and had been killed by an elephant.

*exfordy as in “Ex Ford Employee” – what are the odds that Michigan-crazy me I would find and choose this photo from the vasty herd of elephant photos under Creative Commons license on Flickr?????

See the girl as the solution: The Girl Effect

You can see the simple concept in the related vids above or at The Girl Effect website. Be sure to click through to The Girl Effect’s YouTube channel to see some of the other videos.

The Girl EffectThe Ripple Effect (stats from United Nations and other organizations)

  • When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. ( Population Fund, State of World Population 1990.)
  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10-20%. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
  • Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.
  • When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families, as compared to only 30% to 40% for a man.