I'm off to create my own Magic Hat Story at Vanishingfeast – An Heirloom Solution. Please come stop by and see what I'm doing to advocate for heirloom varities of vegetables.
I have the utmost respect for veterans. They are outstanding citizens and deserve a better shake then the government gives them today. They sacrifice a lot to serve and protect America, and when they come home they are often left to fend for themselves. That's a sad reflection on the direction of American society. For a country that at one time offered it's returning veterans opportunity with the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, a.k.a. The G.I. Bill, the treatment of veterans today is a travesty.
The Farmer Veteran Coalition is an organization that seeks to address a couple problems that face returning vets to rural America. From their website;
The catalyst behind the formation of the Farmer-Veteran Coalition has been the observation of two merging powerful forces over recent years: first, an aging farming community in critical need of young farmers; and second, the high unemployment rates and lack of viable career opportunities among American veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly those returning home in greatly disproportionate numbers to our small towns and rural communities. It is at this intersection of socioeconomic needs that FVC is uniquely qualified to help. America’s agricultural community needs our veterans as much as they need us.
With the current localvore trend, and the rise of local farm markets, the Farmer Veteran Coalition is positioned to push that forward. People who are aware of the local impact of supporting local agriculture demonstrate an awareness of the value of community. It would be reasonable to say that these same people would welcome the opportunity to support returning veterans as farmers to built a strong sense of community.
Take a look at their photo stream, spend some time at their website. It offers up solid information and research that supports their mission. You can donate to support their effort and if you know of veterans who could benefit from the mission of FVC, please share their website with them.
I want to write a post about empathy, and someday soon I will. For today though, it will be about respect. There's a good deal of crossover between empathy and respect. I'm going with A Little Respect since I found this video and the story to be so inspirational. I will come back to empathy at another time.
I love Erasure. For those who aren't familiar, Erasure is a very successful sythnpop duo consisting of Andy Bell and Vince Clark. Go see them live and all your senses will be stimulated by the passion and energy that they bring to music. Be prepared to dance and get swept up in the passion and energy emminating from the stage.
In December 2010, Erasure released the above video. From the Hetrick-Martin website, home of the Harvey Milk High School;
Proceeds from the track will be donated to The Hetrick-Martin Institute, the home of the Harvey Milk High School, in New York, and the True Colors Fund. The Hetrick-Martin Institute, the nation’s oldest and largest LGBTQ youth service organization, provides a safe and supportive environment to all young people – regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity so that they can achieve their full potential.
In the wake of all the gay bullying and related suicides that have been reported in the US over the past several months, Erasure wanted to do something special to spread a message of tolerance and to raise money for an organisation that engages in the fight on a daily basis and, because it has become something of a gay rights anthem over the years, it seemed only fitting to release a brand new version of A Little Respect.
Really now, is so hard to show a little respect to people who are different? There's some much pressure on the youth today that having a sanctuary that they can just be their own journery of self-discovery, is paramount. As a society we need to recognize this, and I'm proud of my peers who have had the gumption and grace to make this happen in the past 30 years.
Speaking of gumption and grace, a portion of the proceeds from this video will benefit The True Colors Fund, co-founded by Cyndi Lauper. From The True Colors Fund's website;
The True Colors Fund was co-founded by Cyndi Lauper to inspire and engage everyone especially straight people to become active participants in the advancement of of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality and to raise awareness about and bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth homelessness.
Well Happy New Year everyone. After a very long hiatus, as the title says, the hat is back. Let me just say that life in got in the way, and some tinkering had to be done.
One of the beautiful things that happened in the interim, I experienced a magic hat story of my own. Well two of them or maybe more. Whose counting? Kinds destroys the magic by keeping score. One was a karmic situation which turned out to be a real head shaker. Someday I will write a Greek myth about it.
Another bit of magic, was a topic found me. To be honest, I had no idea where this blog was going when I started it. In the course of finding stories about positive change, fate conspired with some of the lessons of my life, along with some of my topics of interest. In August 2010 I tried to get a Pepsi Refresh Grant for a documentry I'm going to make called Vanishing Feast. There are heirloom varities of food that are at risk at vanishing for good, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins of all varities of feathers fins, and hooves.
There is a story in my family of plant that is a family heirloom. It was through writing this blog that I hit upon something that stirs more passion than my grandmother's wooden spoon stirred many pots of gravy. (For those who may not be familiar, gravy in South Philly speak is tomato sauce. South Philly is also where my relatives from Italy settled, and it plays a role in the documentry I will make.) I love gardening, my father taught me about organic gardening growing up, my relatives are farmers who brought a love of the land here to America, and passed that along as a part of my heritage. It is a family heirloom from both sides of my family. And there is the story of the plant that is a family heirloom of mine. It came together as Vanishing Feast, where I will call attention to these food sources that are at risk of vanishing, focus on plants, and provide ways that people can take action on their own to transform the heirloom varieties of plants into family heirlooms.
So how does this jive with Magic Hat Stories. Well stay tuned, becuase as with any story, it will be told as it unfolds.
In other words, I have no idea right now.
Another componet of all of this, there's an activity kit for kids that I had developed back in 2002. And as with many good ideas, it's been soundly rejected at many levels. It's been tweeked once again, and will be sent off to a publisher along with a proposal for the brand I developed along with it. And yes it has to do with hats. Utlimately I want proceeds from the kit to go to the Grameen Scholarship Program.
So that's it for now. I will continue to post as I can. As I work this back into my day, I will have a better idea of how often I will post. The same focus will be one story at a time about someone or some entity doing something positive to change the world.
Mother's Day is May 9, 2010 this year in the United States. It's a great day to pay tribute to Moms, and to honor women. This passage from Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation seems very fitting;
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
It was a thriving industry, and let's face it Bivalve, NJ just didn't pick their name out of a hat. The industry fell on some hard times due to a couple of reasons;
For 200 years, Delaware Bay oysters have been prized for their fine flavor and plump, firm meat. In their heyday, during the late 19th century, schooners and oystermen harvested the bivalves for local oyster houses and also for restaurants in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco.
For centuries, oysters have provided a sustainable food supply and contributed to the economies of Delaware and New Jersey communities. In fact, 1 to 2 million bushels were harvested every year during the 1930s, when the population initially began to decline. The introduction of the oyster disease MSX in the 1950s, followed in the 1990s by a second disease, Dermo, has resulted in a significant decline in the oyster population. Consequently, the industry has been imperiled.
Thanks to the Delaware Bay Restoration Project though, the Delaware Bay Oyster is on it's way back;
During the summer of 2005, the Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Task Force initiated a large-scale oyster shell-planting and transplant program that, by 2009, had deposited over 2.1 million bushels of shell onto existing oyster reefs. These "seed beds" are needed because oyster larvae require a clean, hard surface upon which they can attach or "recruit." This effort has yielded a substantial increase in survival among juveniles; this, despite a population decline in areas outside the seed beds.
The success of this project has earned it a 2008 Coastal America Partnership Award, a 2009 gold medal from the Federal Executive Board, and a 2008 Government Award from the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin .
And now Flying Fish Brewery is using the Delaware Bay Oyster in it's Exit 1 Bayshore Oyster Stout. Flying Fish is a New Jersey based craft brewery, and for those who don't know, it's been a long running running joke here in NJ citing the exit off the NJ Turnpike that your from, and not so much the town.
It's great to see this. It's local, it's sustainable and it's all based on a local tradition and lifestyle that endured for some many years. The story can continue now, along with the heritage that inspired a town to name itself Bivalve. What a shame it would be to have this town become the home of some cheesy outlet mall with a caricature of a oyster as it's logo, and a Long John Silver selling some canned oyster stew imported from China.
The baseball cap is one of the major reasons that hats haven never completed disappeared from society. They became a trend in the 1990's, and with the playing field becoming more level for women in society, the role of the baseball cap being for men only became obsoelte, there by just about doubling the market for it. As societyy moves forward and changes, so does the role and symbolism of hats.
Previous to the trend that it was cool to wear baseball caps backwards, wearing a baseball cap backwards was symbolic of a catcher. It was a matter of function over form for the catcher. The catcher had to wear his cap this way so he could wear his mask. With the cap being a part of the uniform, another symbol of the game, not wearing the cap was not an option.
In a vignette that I wrote and produced at the Philly fringe Festival in the 1990's, I explored the this symbolism. Say a catcher from the 1920's came back in the 1990s and saw someone who obviously was not a catcher wearing their cap backwards to be cool. What would that conversation be like? That was what this vignette in the fringe festival explored.
Society changes, and so does the role of hats in. While I find wearing a baseball cap sideways or backwards to be silly, I'm glad that people do it. Hat's stay relevant, and in the end that's what's important.
Tomorrow, April 22, 2010 is the 40th anniversary if Earth Day. While great strides have been made in the last 40 years, with the prospect of climate change impacting our lives daily, it very important to note that we have a long way to go.
I remember the first Earth Day in 1970. I was in the fifth grade, and we planted a tree at my grade school. I thought it was really cool, and I do believe it had an impact on me. Having parents and grandparents who had an appreciation of the earth, and taught me the value of maintaining it, it was great to have it reinforced in the public domain.
On this 40th anniversary, take a few minutes to learn about Gaylord Nelson. He is the Senator whose story is one that changed the world in a positive direction, and was the driving force behind Earth Day. Let it inspire you, and with all good stories, pass it along to those you know and love.
In this post I wrote about the 100% compostable snack food bag that Sun Chips is now using for their larger bags of chips. As a composter, I was intrigued by this bag and thought I would throw it into the pile and see what happens.
Well a month later the bag looks pretty much the same, however there is something going on as it appears that the film is separating that makes up the layers in the wrap that compose this bag. It hasn't been hot enough yet here to get a good cooking temperature going, so I think the progress so far is good. It should take approximately 14 weeks for it to compost completely. Sorry I have no photos. I plugged the camera battery charger in to charge my battery, and it fell out of the socket after I walked away. Hence the battery was not charged when I was working on the compost pile.
If you would like more information about Nature Work LLC, the company that manufacturers the film used in these bags, click here. If you would like more information about this bag, you can go here. They have a lot of good information on the site.
I love hats. I really do. For me there's just something about them that sets them apart from other articles of clothing or accessories. They have a certain edge to them. When millinery shops were prevalant, or when department stores had millinery departments, the ability to customize hats for specific people, events or looks separated them from the pack. Hats were, and is in some places, are a niche that women or men could express their individuality with a single clothing item with impact. It's in this expression that symbols reside about the person wearing the hat, and the wear's relationship between society and themselves.
The role of hats in our society are not what they once were. There is a rich and deep history of the relationship between society and hats. In the 20th century as fashion moved forward with social change, hats didn't keep up. There's not one determining factor that could explain it. The symbolism however has survived. There's a distinct level of symbolism involved in hats and society, and in that symbolism there are stories to be told, including the role of hats.
Over the next couple of Saturdays, I'm going to explore this symbolism. I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.
As children we are read stories and fairy tales that talk of brave people who face insurmountable challenges that somehow over come them. Along the way of growing up, we encounter legends, myths and folklore which at times seems to exaggerate the realm of reality to deliver a moral to their story. As we become adults though, I think the power of these fictional characters and events gets lost. Daily life takes over, and a lot of it can seem stranger than the word we read in books, and the adventures those words took us on.