Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Point being, it's probably been awhile since you visited the New England Aquarium.
Most of us simply don't have a reason to. It's like walking the Freedom Trail or going on a Duck Tour. It's such a touristy thing to do, a local has no place doing it.
As luck would have it, this Saturday, May 2, you do have a reason to go to the aquarium: The United Way Young Leaders organization, in partnership with OYFP, is hosting their annual gala event -- Cocktails and Starfish.
I've never been, but it looks like a pretty snazzy event, and with an open bar, plus a chance to win Patriots, Red Sox, AND U2 tickets, you can rest assured it will be a night to remember. Not to mention, Young Leaders is a fantastic organization with a strong social mission of helping local students develop important business skills to improve their futures.
Maybe it's time you re-think the aquarium and conquer your debilitating fear of aquatic life that resulted from your last visit in 1985.
More details here (about the gala event, not a personal childhood trauma):
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Best Buddies provides a lot of ways to become involved. An easy way to find out how you can get started is by attending the Best Buddies Open House on May 7th. Stop by the Best Buddies office to learn about the organization’s mission over refreshments, and donate to support the office’s very own team for the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port. Two employees at Best Buddies Massachusetts, Jessica and Cara, will be cycling 100 miles in the challenge and have pledged to raise $20,000 for Best Buddies’ cause, so please support their effort.
For more information on Best Buddies, please go to www.bestbuddiesma.org.
For more information on the Audi Best Buddies Challenge, please go to www.bestbuddieschallenge.org.
Open House Details
When – Thursday, May 7th from 5:30 to 8:00
Where – Best Buddies Massachusetts Office
45 Bromfield Street, 3rd Floor, Boston
Suggested donation of $15 per person or $25 for two people to support the Audi Best Buddies Challenge team.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, April 24, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
However, I was still surprised to hear that NPR's Morning Edition audience is 60% larger than the audience for Good Morning America, and 33% larger than the audience for The Today Show on NBC. Over seven and a half million people listen to Morning Edition. NPR's audience has increased 47% since 2000. That's a lot of people getting their news from a non-profit organization.
Perhaps the other traditional media can learn something from NPR. A few reasons why I think it's doing so well:
- It's portable. People are on the move, with an average commute time of 25 minutes. Personal radios are small, though some of us consider it a fashion statement to carry our bulky boombox around (see guy at right).
- Most of us still commute by car - in fact, 77% of commute alone by car. Even the most basic of cars have a radio. What better riding companion is there than the smart people of NPR?
- NPR is tech-savvy, which gets GenY-ers like myself to listen even more. NPR tweets, it Facebooks, it blogs, it has an awesome streaming iPhone app, and some shows are even in Second Life.
- It has interesting news. Well, and not-so-interesting news, but the point is that it tells me what the heck is going on in Boston, the US, and the world. They have reporters giving first-hand descriptions of what is going on. They do research. They talk to the people behind the stories. There's a difference between a primary news source like NPR, and a secondary one (like many online sources, including most blogs).
- It's un-biased. Yes, NPR's listeners may skew slightly liberal, but in fact NPR is 62% more likely to have a Republican on air than a Democrat (source: Fair.org). And just 2% of NPR's funding comes from the government. Most of it actually comes from its member stations, which are funded by donations, foundation grants, and private bequests, or corporate underwriting. NPR itself works hard to prevent bias.
The overlapping-sources issues aside, traditional media has a lot it could learn from NPR and local affiliates. I still mourn the loss of BostonNOW, which I feel was the best example of Web 2.0 combined with traditional media... though it ultimately folded, so perhaps not.
What do you think of publically supported news sources like NPR? And how do you see our news sources changing?
Related Posts: Read the Paper!; BostonNOW is no more; More News about News; Boston Globe and OYFP; We're good enough for.. (1) and (2)
Friday, April 10, 2009
I watched this story about feeding your cat or dog a vegan diet a couple of mornings ago. I am not quite sure what to think about it. Essentially you are turning a carnivorous animal into a herbivore.
I have a dog and I know if my dog had a choice between chicken or Broccoli I know she would choose chicken. I have tried to feed my dog more vegetables (lettuce, peas, spinach), but nope not happening. A point to consider dogs have evolved from wolfs, wolfs hunt meat. I have never heard of a wolf in the wild who doesn't eat meat.
Additionally, many of the ways we play with dogs nowadays mimic the dogs natural instinct to hunt. If I throw a squeaky toy the first thing my dog does when she grabs a hold of the squeaky toy is to shake it violently. This action of shaking the toy is exactly what dogs do when they get a hold of their prey. They shake their catch violently because this is how they know to kill their catch (by breaking their neck). The squeak of the toy also mimics a sound that dying vermin make. When dogs bring the ball back (or prey) they do so as an offer to their dominant master.
My point is that dogs, just like cats have a natural instinct to hunt other animals in order to hopefully eat them. Can a philosophical approach to life from a human perspective be then applied to an animal? Typically your pet has to eat whatever food you provide it, but is it ethical to deny a type of food because of your dietary beliefs?
What are your thoughts?
Picture Courtesy of: My dog, Chai.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
If only Twitter had existed when she was around. Yes, Twitter, the microblogging platform. Think Facebook status updates, except without the rest of Facebook. (For further explanation, watch Twitter in Plain English.) When my grandma Mil was awake at 2 AM, she could have scanned her grandkids' tweets, or written an angry tweet to DelMonte foods about the declining quality of their green beans.
But really, for us consumers, it can be great. See, many companies and non-profits have accounts on there, posting updates and responding to our tweets that are relevant to them. Gone is the time where you would have to wait hours and hours and hours on the phone just to speak to a Comcast representative. You can tweet them if your cable is out!
If you have a flight on Southwest, you can monitor its tweets to see if you're going to be on a WiFi enabled flight. If you're a huge NPR fan, follow the tweets of your local station and you might get to go to a special event!! Heck, even Idealist.org is on Twitter, talking about new jobs and trends in the non-profit world.
These companies and non-profits have realized that Twitter is a platform that allows them to engage with their audiences. They can talk - and people will listen!! And vice versa. Brands are actually able to create a relationship with their consumers. And you know what? It benefits us. At least for now - while they're still listening.
What are your thoughts on Twitter-land?
Follow Casey on Twitter: http://twitter.com/smazzle
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Monday, April 6, 2009
Join OYFP and the Italian Home for Children for a night of fun and games (literally)! We'll be having Connect-4 and foos-ball tournaments, so you had better bring your A game.
On the other hand, if you bring a new or slightly used game instead of your A game (or in addition to), your entrance fee of $5 to $7 will be waived, since OYFP is all about helping the children. All donated games are going to the Italian Home after we're done playing with them. And yes, the Italian Home is quite a worthy organization. It provides schooling and care for children of all ethnicities who have nowhere else to turn.
Don't forget to put on your best approximation of 80s styles! I've included a photo of the always stylin' Designing Women for some inspiration.
See you there!
Date: Tuesday, April 7th
Time: 7 pm
Location: Our House West
1277 Commonwealth Ave
Allston, MA 02134
Partner: Italian Home for Children
Cost: $5 Online $7 Door
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Friday, April 3, 2009
- Shower Drain
- Mesh Screen
- Large Barrel (Ours is 30 Gallon and was found on its way to the dumpster)
- 1-inch Threaded Hose Connector
- Half-Inch Vinyl Hose
- Brass Spigot
- Teflon Tape
Top: Cut the Mesh Screen to fit the size of the drain. Hold it in place with the screws that hold the grate to the drain assembly. Cut a hole in the lid of a barrell to fit the diameter of the drain assembly. Attach the drain into the lid by tighting down the threaded collor of the drain assembly onto the lid. The rubber gasket should be positioned so that you have a water tight seal.
Overflow Tubing: Drill a one-inch hole into a side of the barrel towards the top. Thread the hose conector through the one-inch hole and attach overflow tubing to the hose connector.
Spigot: Drill a second one inch whole into the side of the barrel towards the bottom. Wrap the threading of the spigget with some teflon tape. Thread the spigot into the one-inch hole, turning until you have a tight fit.
Place the rain barrel under a down spout from your roof. The down spout can be cut to fit the barrel with a hack saw. Additionally we placed it on top of several cinder blocks so we could easily fit our watering can underneath the spigot.
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Picture Courtesy of: Jamie
Thursday, April 2, 2009
And if that isn't enough to make you want to head down to Boylston St., there looks to be an array of interesting volunteer opportunities. I'll be heading in on Friday for the "Local Bites" event -- if you end up attending, leave us a comment below about what stood out to you!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
This bill "will create a Community Solutions Fund within the Corporation for National and Community Service to award grants to nonprofit organizations for “social entrepreneurship” projects. "
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: "By creating 175,000 new service opportunities - more than tripling the number of volunteers nationwide, and rewarding those who volunteer with real investments in their education, we are launching a new era of service. This new era of service will create a stronger nation for all Americans."
This bill will expand elements of AmeriCorps and would provide service opportunities for seniors, teachers, scientists, engineers, accounting and Internet technology professionals, who were not eligible under the original AmeriCorps legislation passed almost twenty years ago.
Keep an eye out for new service corps: Clean Energy, Education, Healthy Futures and Veterans Service Corps. Watch for educational stipends for high school seniors. All in all, big moves. Read more about the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.
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However, I can try to "get it" by not wasting the food that I'm fortunate enough to have. My friend Berkley made a New Year's Resolution to not waste food, and she has inspired me to try even harder not to let stuff get moldy (photo at left illustrating my failed attempts). Of course, this also fits in with the whole "recession" thing we've got going on. Not wasting food means not wasting money, and that's something we could all do a little better.
It's harder than you might think, especially if you live along and are trying to cook/eat for one person. Often times I have good intentions when I purchase food at the grocery store, but then have to work late, or a friend calls up, or I overestimate what one normal sized person actually consumes, or I get sick and can only eat chicken soup and bananas for a week or... you get the idea.
However, I have come up with a few tricks to prevent waste:
- "Just In Time" food purchases. Only buy food for the meals you are 100% you are going to prepare. This may mean more than 1 trip to the grocery store in a week, but it prevents waste. I'm still struggling to control what my boyfriend calls me "food buying urges." It just all looks so pretty on the shelf...
- The freezer is your friend. Label and freeze leftovers after cooking, and before they go bad. Trust me, after the third night of lasagna you're going to want to take a break. A month later, though, the lasagna from the freezer will make a great weeknight dinner!
- Re-use! Or do what I call "re-purposing." Leftover rice can easily become fried rice. Bread on its way to becoming stale can become croutons, bread pudding, or stuffing. Or my new favorite: If you made too much spaghetti and meatballs and not enough tomato sauce,and happen to have a head of romaine lettuce and italian dressing in the fridge, make Spaghetti Salad (photo at right)!
- Host a Leftover Night. My mom also used to have what she termed "leftover night," where dinner would be bits and pieces of the previous night's meals. You could invite a close friend or two over to bring their leftovers, and all enjoy the potpourri of foods. Of course, they would have to be the close type of friends who wouldn't mind eating leftovers.
- Share at work. There's nothing people like better than free food, especially if it's homemade. Share the wealth, people!
Hopefully with a little more creativity, and a lot more self control, I'll reduce my wasted foods. What are your tips for reducing food waste? And what's the most creative (but still tasty) leftover creation you've made?
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Photos courtesy of me and my kitchen. :-)