Archive - Feb 2011

February 28th

Bob Massie for U.S. Senate

Over the past decade, I’ve worked on a bunch of political campaigns with some very interesting politicians that I respect a lot. My wife has ended up working for Common Cause and I’ve moved over to work for a Federally Qualified Health Center.

I’ve become a little disillusioned with politics. Too much of politics is ethically challenged attempts to swing a small group of activists one way or another, and not to engage the broader public in a serious discussion about how to make our country better. Working with a health center seems like a more effective way to bring about political change.

Then, this evening, I read an email from an old friend. Thirty years ago, Kirk and I attended Grace Church in Manhattan. It was an Episcopal church that some how managed to draw in a large crowd of twenty somethings and get them excited about Christianity. It wasn’t the sort of Christianity that was based on going out and hitting people on the head with bibles, and it wasn’t the sort of Christianity that skipped over the mystical for the sake of social action. It was a formative time in my life, and I still hold friendship, like my friendship with Kirk as the closest most important friendships beyond my immediate family.

There was a young assistant minister there named Bob Massie. He stood up well amidst some of the other great ministers there. Eventually, many of us left New York.

Bob left to get a Doctorate from Harvard Business School and was one of Harvard University's Fellows in Ethics and the Professions. He was born with hemophilia and contracted HIV and Hepatitis C through his hemophilia treatment. The hepatitis C virus damaged his liver, and eventually, he received a liver transplant, which cured his hemophilia and suppressed his viruses.

He is one of my nearly 2000 friends on Facebook, so I’ve often missed his rare updates there. So, I was a bit surprised when I got a message from Kirk today asking, if I had thought about helping out Bob Massie in his campaign for U.S. Senate.

Um, no. I hadn’t thought about helping out Bob Massie in his campaign for U.S. Senate. Because I didn’t know he was running. I quickly checked to get more information. Yes, Bob is running for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. I cannot think of a better candidate for Massachusetts. For that matter, although I know many great politicians, I’d be hard pressed to think of anyone in the United States that I would support for U.S. Senate more than I would support Bob Massie.

I’ve kind of drifted from the political sphere, so I’m not sure what sort of help I can really do, but I will do anything I can to help Bob Massie get elected.

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February 27th

Rethinking Television

I am not a big fan of television. Much of the content seems a bit mindless. However, recently, we purchased a Roku and I’ve been re-evaluating my thoughts about TV.

Mostly, we’ve been using the Roku to watch movies on Netflix. I’ve been trying to get my daughter to spend more time watching interesting shows. After much negotiation last night, we ended up watching the documentary, Between the Folds. It was a fascinating exploration of aspects of origami that I was not aware. Fiona enjoyed it as well.

After she went to bed, my mind was still engaged, so I thought I would go back and watch more of a lecture at Columbia, Manuel Delanda, "Deleuze and the Use of the Genetic Algorithm in Architecture". I had started watching that a while ago, but hadn’t watched in on Roku. However, as is often the case, I got distracted and started watching Cinéphilosophie: Philosophy goes to the Movies by Maison française.

The video isn’t all that high a quality. Pretty much a single shot of a lecture. Yet it was fascinating for a bunch of reasons. The topic was fascinating, the intersection of philosophy and cinematography. The idea that it was a lecture, filmed and placed on YouTube, to be viewed online, and here I was, watching it on my television, as the guests spoke about thinking about film.

This morning, I woke up, not feeling all that well, so I did a little work online, but mostly rested. As I searched around, I found the European Graduate School on YouTube. So, I spent a little time watching Claire Denis. Perspective Context and Narration in Film. 2010.

The video quality was even poorer than the video from Columbia, but again, the content was fascinating.

So, now I’m on a question for the best sources of educational videos on YouTube, and by this I’m talking about graduate school level lectures and now six minute how to videos about starting blogs.

Got recommendations?

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February 26th

St. Bernard of Indianapolis

According to Wikipedia, St. Bernard of Menthon was born in 923 to a rich noble family but left his family to devote his life to the church. He established a monastery in the Pennine Alps for Pilgrims on their way to Rome. The monks from the monastery, accompanied by well trained herding dogs would go out in search of people who had succumbed to the rough weather.

Yesterday, as I was browsing on Facebook, I saw a picture of a young girl, probably about nine years old. In the picture, she is hugging a big white fluffy dog. I did a double take. The girl looks so much like my nine year old daughter Fiona. The white dog didn’t look particularly like our dog Wesley. Instead, it looked perhaps a bit more like I expect Rosie must look right now. Rosie was a Great Pyrenees that we fostered briefly before she found her forever home.

Puppy in need of Home

Following the link, I found that the dog is in the picture is a Great Pyrenees/Saint Bernard mix. He is 18 months old, and looking for a foster home.

The listing on Petfinder starts off:

Puppy is an 18 month old male in search of a new home due to his family losing their house. His family was out of food for him and could not afford to buy more. He is starved for attention, and is very loving and attentive.

Is the girl in the picture from the family that is losing their home? What must it be like for the family? I can only imagine what it would be like if I told Fiona we had to move. I suspect her first question would be, what about Wesley? If I said that we had to give him up, she would be heart broken. There would be hysterics. It would tear me apart inside as well, as I tried to keep a brave face on things.

These are rough times for many of us. I hope a good foster home can be found for the puppy. I pray for the family. I dream of some miraculous turn to come enabling the family to keep their home and the puppy. If there is a St. Bernard in Indianapolis, please come to the rescue now.

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February 25th

#FF @pattiricia @g4c @BRMedicalCenter @Sud_EastCHC @healthieststate @CHPartnership @CentretownCHC @argency

Another really long day... It is no longer Friday on most of the planet, but it is still Friday here, so I’ll get a last minute Follow Friday post up.

Today’s list is of people that I’ve recently followed. Starting off the list is @pattiricia. She is a mommy blogger whom I have recently started reading and getting to know.

Next is @g4c, Games for Change. In previous years, I’ve covered Games for Change’s annual conference as a blogger. I haven’t made it recently. Some of my recent blogging, tweeting, etc., talking about using gaming to promote health may be what has gotten their attention. I was pleased they’ve started following me, and I encourage people to closely follow them.

The next five are community health centers or organizations that work with them. (@BRMedicalCenter @Sud_EastCHC @healthieststate @CHPartnership @CentretownCHC) They all followed me during the #chcchat on Thursday. Staying with the gaming for health idea, I really like the idea behind @healthieststate. It is the Washington Health Foundation, with a goal of making Washington the healthiest state in the nation.

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute also has a project to make their state the healthiest. However, Gov. Walker is working hard to help the State of Washington out in this contest, as noted in Wisconsin Union Battle Masks Medicaid Tensions.

One final follower to note this Friday is @argency, a mobile augmented reality (AR) enthusiast. Add a little AR into the gaming mix for real fun.

So, that’s this week’s Follow Friday.

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February 24th

Foursquare For Good?

Recently, CHC joined the Social Media Health Network. (Note: I work for CHC, but this is a personal blog post, reflecting my own views, and not necessarily opinions of CHC). On the Social Media Health Network, I read a little bit about hospitals on Foursquare. The blog post pointed to a survey of hospitals on Foursquare as well as provided some interesting ideas about what health organizations should be doing with Foursquare.

With this in the back of my mind, I attended a meeting this afternoon, where we were talking about using social media to improve teens’ health. I started talking about Foursquare and dug around a little bit.

Eli Cannon’s a pub in Middletown has had 329 different people check-in for a total of 783 check-ins. There are a dozen tips about things to do at Eli Cannon’s, with half of them reported as being done by multiple people.

In contrast, the the YWCA in New Britain only has five people that have check-in, for a total of seven check-ins, and no tips. It made me think, can we use Foursquare for good? Can we get people to try the arm curls instead of the curly fries? Are their other venues and other actions that we can encourage people to visit and do?

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