Saturday, September 15, 2012

all that was

I remember in the mid-to-late 1990’s a tv show “All That” would be playing sometimes at home.

Amanda Bynes, then about age 12, did a hilarious sketch called “Ask Ashley.” She sweetly read letters sent in by readers and then cored them a new you-know-what in her scathing answers. It always made me laugh!

In the past few weeks, now age 26, she’s been seen smoking a suspicious substance behind the wheel and charged with two hit and runs.

At the gym she apparently “laughs hysterically for no reason.” And according to TMZ, one of her neighbors saw her “having long conversations with inanimate objects.”

In 2007, Forbes listed her as the fifth highest paid celebrity under 21, with earnings of $2.5 million.

Perhaps it’s sad to be 26 with your best work 14 years behind you and not be all that anymore.

I feel for her today.

where are you baby?

peaked at #3 in the UK singles chart in September 1990

We used to have so much fun!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

fresh, from scratch, on your phone

I’ve been troubled by something since I moved to SoBro a couple years ago. So many families here eat poorly and they don’t have to.

Profits for U.S. corporations have been at an all time record high, beginning in 2010. Did you know that? Meet the wealthy 1%.
Despite these incredible riches at the very tippy top, recessionary food stamp usage at the bottom has equally skyrocketed to an all time high. Say Hello to our neighbors, the other 99.
In total, 29% of the Bronx is on public food assistance. Nationwide, foodstamps have exploded. And that chart is just since 2007.

Even in our wealthy city, 3 million New Yorkers experience difficulty affording food every month. 
Amazing, no? Three million?

Problem is, the stuff they buy... is awful. I’m sorry but I see it everytime I shop.

Orange soda, Debbies Cakes...

...big bags of salty snacks and frozen Alaskan King Crab. (what?)
They don’t buy fresh produce because they don’t really know how to prepare it.

So even when local tomatoes are in season and on sale at half the canned price, they still purchase the same can that they know. I decided to help break that cycle.

First I looked around at the various food organizations and realized no one was supporting a restaurant experience for poor folks. They deserve a fun night out now and then, too.

So with a little help from my friends, I set out to my Congressman to ask for a legislative carve-out. 

Naive me.

“I just want the raw food value of a restaurant meal payable on public assistance as supermarket food can be,” I said on the phone, “the balance of the value will be paid in cash or credit or debit as always. But they'll be served far healthier meals.”

Congressman Serrano’s Senior Policy Advisor for Economic Development invited me in for a morning meeting. She liked this new idea. 
But she also advised me that legislation is a decade long effort. “Give that up, Gregory” she intoned with a solemn face, “conservative Congressmen and Senators will not expand a food assistance program in a recession.”
True that. 

Instead, she suggested I find an angel to subsidize my mission and help me take it to the supermarkets in the hood. They operate on a 2% margin, and they are already set up to accept public food assistance.

Even a modest restaurant can deliver a 20% operating margin, 10 times what the same square footage would generate as a market. So they have motivation$ to build. 

Please help me find the investor I need. Someone with cash and who wants to make a difference. Copy and paste the URL of this post to everyone who may know someone or who can help directly.
Help bring to our neighborhood public-assisted eating that is fresh and tasty, healthy and heart conscious, and let’s make the shopping list and the preparation video downloadable to our phone while we are eating it.
So if we like it, we can make it again at home.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

at the crossroad of creation and currency

"When bankers get together they talk about art. 
When artists get together, they talk about money."

Oscar Wilde

“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.”  

Andy Warhol

well, maybe a little fanfare

The trumpet vine and I go way back.

It was a colorful part of my childhood in Pennsylvania. We also grew them upstate. I ran into one last week along Gerard Avenue.

It adapts to almost any soil, it’s hardy down to about -30F and it's tolerant of drought, too.

So it’s a natural for the city.

This vacant greensward lot is apparent from the air.

Trumpet vine must be monitored and pruned hard, 
but this one is growing wild.

It takes over without much fanfare.