Tuesday 21 September 2010

What we (and also my grandson Benton) are up to these days - though still not in the same part of the world!

At the moment I writing from the Il Griso Hotel, near Lecco, on the shores of Lake Como (in northern Italy) where Carole Anne and I have been staying since last Friday. Click here for a "taste" of the glorious view I shot from our hotel room using our little camera with movie-maker capability. The first two days were rainy, but it's been great for us since.

Yesterday we took the famed "Bernina Express" train from the Italian border town of Tirano all the way "up" into the south eastern Swiss Alps, as far as St. Moritz - an  area declared by UNESCO as a World Hertage site.  Here is a 17-minute clip worth watching, jointly produced by UNESCO and Bernina Rail.  It recaps the excitement and incredible awe we experienced during this unforgettable scenic tour - although we are here in the fall now with wonderful moderate temperatures and fewer crowds, and thankfully missing some of the cold and "deep snow" shots of the shorter 8-minute version I'll include here.

I'm going hiking for the rest of this gorgeous day up in the mountains above Lecco...

Meanwhile, here's an update on what Benton (my first grandchild) is up to these days, back in Chicago.  I think my daughter Megan is quite the writer - what do you think?  I've been dreaming about holding this little man.  Only ten more days to go for that once-in-a-lifetime experience!


Monday 6 September 2010

Rolling with Canberra's Faithful

To read my interview by Lucy Baker published in the 
28 Aug 2010 Canberra Times click here.

Photo provided/copyrighted by The Canberra Times & posted here with specific permission.  In other words, you can't copy and save this photo or publish it anywhere else without contacting them first:  library_acct@canberratimes.com.au
(Anyone can download the article though, with the low-res photo)

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Excellent commentary by a Jewish Ethicist Regarding Park 51 in NYC

I think this should be required reading.

And for those hiding under a rock the last month, this would also provide good background!


"Keep the spotlight burning..."

I was struck by George Clooney‘s speech at Sunday’s Emmys awards which I watched online because - let's face it - for people living here in AUS it was broadcast live during the middle of our Monday morning!

There is a lot wrong with TV these days, but Clooney has definitely done something right, and in a sustained manner.  He has used the power of television to raise money where it is needed most. 

George helped shape a good portion of the world's awareness – though it's still way too low – of the genocide in Darfur.  He also created "Not On Our Watch" with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Jerry Weintraub, and had jumped in with his fame muscle power to initiate "America: A Tribute to Heroes in the wake of 9/11."  He then put together "Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope in 2005" and "A Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast" following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and most recently, the "Hope For Haiti Now" telethon. 

That was enough to be chosen as only the fourth recipient of a Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, which they intiated way back in 2002.

When accepting this award on Sunday night to a standing ovation, George was fairly brief - and included some irreverent bits, of course - but yet was also inspiring…just like the man himself.  Here's the essence of what he said:

“It’s important to remember how much good can get done because we live in such strange times where bad behaviors suck up all the attention in the press and the people who really need the spotlight, the Haitians, the Sudanese, the people in the Gulf Coast… Pakistan, they can’t get any [press].

When the disaster happens, everybody wants to help, everybody in this room wants to help, everybody at home wants to help. The hard part is seven months later, five years later, when we’re on to a new story…honestly, we fail at that, most of the time. That’s the facts.

I fail at that.

So here’s hoping that some very bright person right here in the room or at home watching can help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heartbreaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away. That would be an impressive accomplishment. Thank you.”

Profound challenge.   Take a listen for yourself.   -Clair