Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a bike can be a lot of things...

For those of us that live in cities bikes are often a way of getting around. From your apartment to work, the grocery store, the movies. For many people a bike is their exercise, it keeps them healthy. As a kid growing up in the countryside my bike was entertainment. For thousands of people around the world bicycles mean a livelihood, a secure future and for many girls the gift of a bike could mean gender equality. I just heard about this great non profit 88bikes, they are a group that collects donations of $88 from willing donors, travels to remote developing communities, purchases and assembles bikes with the donations and then gives them to deserving children around the world.

As I've learned through other bicycle-based non profits like Worldbike and Zambikes, bicycles can improve the lives of people in developing countries immensely. A bike to a child in a remote village to Africa could mean the chance to go to school. A bike to a craftsman in a remote village in India could mean being able to sell their goods at the market in town that is too far to walk to. A bike for someone who has fallen ill could mean a life-saving trip to a far away medical clinic. A bike requires no gasoline, little maintenance, provides exercise, enjoyment and equality.

So as 88bikes embarks on their next mission to provide thousands of bikes to young girls from Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia who have been the victims of slavery, abuse and the sex trade I wish them luck with their venture. To the thousands of girls who will be receiving these bikes, along with photos of those people that donated toward them, I wish a future bright with the freedom that their bike provides them and hope for equality and peace.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

au revoir monsieur frank...

When I first heard that Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts would not seek another term I was so sad. I am from Massachusetts and have grown up with Representative Frank in the evening news, on the front page of the paper and talked about fondly in many a dinner table conversation. He is a warrior. I believe that without him just about half of the gumption in the House of Representatives disappears and not much can be said for the stick-to-it-ness of the remaining half. 

Then, I heard his parting words and I realized that perhaps, instead of losing one of our only honest congress-people, we are gaining an untethered voice of reason. Here's to hoping Mr. Frank keeps his face in the public eye and his wit and intelligence as sharp as ever. 

In the press conference in Newton, Massachusetts where he announced his retirement he noted he was excited about a number of things. One stood out in my mind. 

"I don't even have to pretend to try to be nice to people I don't like," after which a reporter retorted, "Have you ever?"

To which Barney, so perfectly replied, "Some of you may not think I've been good at it, But I've been trying." 

Amen to that. I'm excited to see what the future holds for this man that I so admire.

the future gets a backseat in durban...

Is the the light of a positive future bright enough in Durban for the world's leaders to see what needs to be done? Right now we're in a mess and I just don't believe their eyes are open wide enough to grasp the gravity of the situation. 

China is saying they're not in unless the United States are in and the United States is saying the same thing but still they can't seem to come to a decision. Canada is asking for the Kyoto Protocol to be replaced with something more equitable and workable for the current situation. The Alliance of Small Island States is asking for some serious gumption on behalf of the largest world powers and the European Union is saying that nothing that's currently being discussed is good enough. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

a truly impressive car designer...

I recently had the chance to film an interview with the legendary car designer Henrik Fisker of Fisker Automotive, Bond car fame and his latest splash the extended range Karma electric vehicle. The video was just posted over at

"Car designer and entrepreneur Henrik Fisker made his name in the car industry designing the highest of the high-end luxury cars for BMW and Aston Martin. After making waves in the auto industry with vehicles such as the Aston Martin DB9, Aston Martin V8 Vantage and BMW Z8, he decided to break away from this corner of the auto world imbued with tradition and start his own company, Fisker Automotive. Fisker’s first vehicle to hit the road has been the Karma, an impressively green, extended range electric vehicle with so many curves, your eyes are already driving it before you’ve even gotten behind the wheel. Coming in as loud and clear as the Karma’s sex appeal, Henrik Fisker is on a mission to make green cars cool. We recently had a chance to talk to him about how he’s risen to the top of the electric vehicle pack, and where he plans on taking his cars from there..."

Read more at Jill Fehrenbacher interviews Henrik Fisker

Friday, November 25, 2011

you don't know annie...

But I do. I've watched the movie Annie Hall just about a million times. I was Annie for Halloween one year -- I did such a good job that people still remember that getup. I quote that movie daily. Annie was one of the women in film that really, truly affected me. Thus, I was quite excited when a friend passed along this story from James Worsdale on Jezebel about how misunderstood Miss Annie is. Worsdale does an incredible job of debunking the myth that Annie is the original Manic Pixie Dream Girl

"The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a trope we are quick to criticize because of its reductive placement of the role of women and interpretation of their actions and identities. It's a categorization not fondly regarded by the actresses playing these characters for similar reasons, though it is a trope that is continuously defaulted to when we have a lonely, loathsome male protagonist, in the midst of his male rite of passage: the existential crisis. It is also a trope that racially limits our interpretations of what constitutes a woman and who qualifies to play major female characters. Annie Hall is no such character."

Amen to that. Read it and even if you haven't seen this incredible film, you'll want to. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sometimes, I'll admit it, I kind of melt over things...

Right now, I am melting over this beautiful Rough Diamond Trio ring by Sarah Perlis. The ring was made from responsibly sourced rough diamonds that were panned for, not mined for, in Sierra Leone. This piece is truly elegant and will last through generations to come. 

Sarah Perlis makes her pieces by hand in her New York studio. She made my husband's wedding ring and she is superbly talented. Talent, responsibility and beauty. Le sigh. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Frack the whole mess of it...

Or don't. 

Today in a monumental show of support for those of us who are wholly against the idea of fracking (hydraulic fracturing for natural gas) the Delaware River Basin Commission decided to postpone a meeting where they were expected to vote on whether to lift a ban that they had previously placed on fracking. They've decided to give their commission members additional time to review the ban. Additional time doesn't mean the ban won't ever be lifted but it does give hope that a real review process will happen at the end of which hopefully some sturdy politicians will make the tough decision to save the earth and not the gas companies. 

The Delaware River Basin Commission is the group responsible for managing water resources in the 13,539 square-mile Delaware River Basin -- an area marked by the beautiful Delaware river, first mapped by Henry Hudson in 1609, that provides 15 million people with their drinking water. The commission is staffed by the five governors of the states that claim parts of the basin (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' North Atlantic Division. The five were meant to meet today at the Trenton War Memorial to decide the fate of that beautiful water resource and the millions of people that rely on it. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

You're still here...

Fall is still here and it is just lovely. What is not lovely today is Congress. Our favorite lobby-loving politicians are simultaneously declaring that pizza is a vegetable and allowing big business to step all over tiny imaginative websites in the name of stopping piracy. For shame. Write to your congressperson - or people! - and let them know what flunks they are.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

let them eat art.


Let them eat art say Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess. Didier and Hess had an exhibit at LACMA in LA this year that was an actual pyramid of food. Everything you'd need to make a fish taco, from the tomatoes and jalapeƱos to tilapia, grown in a pyramid structure complete with a self filtrating water system and a bug eat bug insecticide program.

As Didier says in the video on the piece, "if you're going to build art why not make it beautiful and make it productive?"

the final chair result...

And by not exactly red wine I mean it is pink. 

I can't say that doing this was easy but thankfully all the blotchy parts of the dye job are on the parts of the chair you can't see. I am warming up to the color, as it is not quite what I wanted but it does make me want to keep the chair instead of getting a new one. 

So we'll count this $40 dye job a win. Replacing the chair would have been more than ten times that. Plus, what a waste it would be to throw this sturdy guy (or gal?) out - it is wonderfully cozy to curl up in. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

At Storm King yesterday we were staring up at these beautiful sculptures and talking about space and proportion. Standing in between the earthen surges of Maya Lin's Wave Field and walking the precise undulation of Andy Goldsworthy's Storm King Wall I came away thinking about the wonders of nature, the wonders of man in nature and the wonderful things we could accomplish as a team. I also came away thinking I was comparatively a very small piece of this crazy place. 

Now this video comes along and pushes that thought process to the extreme. I may be one grain of sand on the beach but if I do the right thing, the positive thing, every day, I'm helping to preserve our place on this massive, unbelievably beautiful and totally incomprehensible thing. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

not exactly red wine...

So the chaise isn't exactly red wine and I'm not exactly sure that I like it. But I'll post a photo later anyway for posterity sake. It might end up going back into the vat of dye -- this time, if it happens, it will be turning a dark shade of brown. 

Today my friend and I are headed to Storm King Art Center. I've been dying to go for years -- they have land sculptures by Andy Goldsworthy and Maya Lin. I'm hoping it will be epic.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

getting around to the things I never get around to...

I love the character of something that's been around the block -- a sofa, a bookshelf, a dining room chair - no matter what it is, there's something about an object with a history that attracts me.

I like to think of the no-doubt fabulous woman that wore the 1950's yellow-striped button down dress that I now own. I bet she hosted garden parties in her Westchester home. I bet the women on her block wondered how she kept that dress so wrinkle-free while passing out mint juleps in condensation-coated stainless steel tumblers in her impeccable backyard rose garden. I wonder about this mostly because I'm now baffled at how she did it. No matter how much I starch that thing, you just can't sit down without standing up to a skirt full of creases.

So, my history with historical things continues as I presently attempt to change the color of this amazing second-hand oversized chaise arm chair. I bought the appropriate all-natural dyes, detergents and fixatives at Dharma Trading Company, the store that just about everyone on the web has decided is the only place to buy all-natural dyes, detergents and fixatives. I followed all the directions and now I'm waiting patiently for my brand-new, red wine-colored oversized chaise arm chair to finish cycling in the washing machine.

Cross your fingers that I won't want to wish it back to army green.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcome, friends...

Welcome, friends, to my first post. It is wonderful to see you here on this fine fall day.