Sunday, September 03, 2006

Spring 2.0

"When you think that you have lost everything,
You find out you can always lose a little more.
I've been walking through the middle of nowhere,
Tryin to get to Heaven before they close the door"
-Bob Dylan

The release of a new Bob Dylan album (do we still call them albums?) or CD, is always cause for excitement, as well as a bit of nostalgia, and it would seem by a large margin the critics have acclaimed his new release, Modern Times a success, whatever that means. For such an enigmatic and influential artist, who some have called one of the great poets of our time, reviews probably don't mean much. As part or the "trilogy" of albums starting with Time Out of Mind, and then Love and Theft, this is supposed to be the best. I am really looking forward to hearing what he has to say.

The equinox not quite here yet, and blasts of wintery air still whip up from the Antarctic, but the feel of Spring is definitely in the air. All our grape vines are pruned and tied down to the wires, awaiting the warmth to burst into life. Pushing through to get the job done, the ladies said a night out would be the perfect incentive to finish on time, and I agreed. Not a pub person myself, it was however,a bit of fun with great live music and kickin' up the heals to a band named September (of course) and a 6th Birthday party for the Irish watering hole called Malones on the island. Suffice to say, my staff were not able to make it to work the next day...

Later the next day I was mingling at one of our monthly gatherings with members of the Waiheke Winegrowers Association, exchanging viticultural knowledge and social time. I started refelecting on the paradoxical nature of some of my social and professional interactions. I deal with people at the extreme ends of the socio-economic scale in my business, and realise everyone has something to offer, regardless of how much money or land they might have or not. Intent and attitude play a big part in my willingness to stay engaged or continue to associate with people. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Who are these so called Power Elites? Do they really have so much power? We'll see.

This NYTimes columist wonders where all the activists have gone after listening to a Crosby Stills Nash and Young concert. Where indeed. It maybe that this is a generation that instead of taking to the streets with the banners and facing the wrath of the National Guard, the digital world is providing a varied and fertile ground for slowly cultivating an underlying change in consciousness. So much of the benefits of the new media revolution come from the interactivity. When people feel they have a voice, then things start to happen, and when it becomes painfuly obvious that certain practices within our societies and cultures are totally unsustainable, a groundswell starts. Usually when it hits the wallet!

This article from Grist magazine lays out (once again) another strong case for knowing where and how your food is grown, and what the consequences can be when the fossil fuels become too expensive, or gone completely. I don't know whether it is because I have farmed most of my life, or whether it is the timing, but more and more people in my global circle are concerned and taking action one way or another about improving their food supply. The fact that the average distance travelled for most fresh? food in the US is 1500 miles from farm to table, is just another example of something that can not last. New models are evolving successfully, new generations are seeing the urgency. Farmers Markets, Community Supported Agriculture, Organics, and Bio Dynamics are all seeing huge growth patterns in the field and in the shops.

Once in awhile a great sporting event takes grip like with the drama and suspense (if you are a sporting fan) that is overwhelming. Andre Agassi has been at the top of tennis for 20 years, which is a long time, and although it is now dominated by a superb Swiss at the moment, Agassi's evolution and comebacks over the years have been inspirational. His 5 set victory the other night against an up and coming player 15 yrs younger before a packed NY crowd was pure theatre. Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Michael Jordan, Roger Federer all have (or had) a spell of dominance in their respective sports like no others before them. Maybe Agassi never reached that pinnacle of superiority, but his greatness lies in the longevity of his efforts over the years, and have won him the hearts of many. Tennis will be the poorer without him. What a match.

He did lose in the 3rd round, but as this excellent article summarises, has the respect of both his peers and fans as he heads into retirement.

Finally in the Don't Try This at Home (or airport) Dept, this joker was so sick of the peculiarities of airport security, he had to see if there was some way to make a point without doing any harm. Probably a bit stupid, definitely a bit bold, but also a few laughs in there as well.

Not flying anywhere myself for awhile. Good thing too.

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