A visit from Uncle Bobby during his annual Great Schlep from NY to FL

Every year for 30 years, my 88 year-old [great] uncle manages to drive from NY to FL (despite protests by his family, and his wife, my Aunt Libby, who now flies). For the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to be a stop along the way here in DC.

Bobby is without doubt a living legend — with a gift for story telling. (This publication’s more loyal readers will remember him from this Nutsy Fagan performance at Thanksgiving 07.) So for this year’s visit, I brought along my Flip cam to try and capture what I could. Below are three quick clips.

First, Bobby’s take on the election and FL voters as he heads into the battleground state. Most impressive: FL grandparents already know about The Great Schlep!

Next, Bobby as UNC Tar Heel basketball star and his Michael Jordan story. (He was traveling with some clippings from his forthcoming memoirs/book.)

Finally, the secrets to a well-lived life:

Highlights reel from Climate Ride 08

Still busy sorting through photos and videos from our incredible 5 day Climate Ride, but here’s a great photo slideshow by Kip Pierson, our official photographer in the meantime. Kip’s local to DC and I’d definitely recommend him if you need a wedding or event photographer. I’ve put a few of my own pics up here and below, the ones I took from my iphone.But really you should check out Kip’s slideshow, which i don’t think i can embed here.

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Frequently asked questions about my ride from NYC to DC (Climate Ride 08)

This is for climate change?
Well, against it, really.

Have you been training?
Define training?

Well, I mean, do you ride a lot or something?
I biked to Annapolis and back last weekend… This will be much more difficult, but I plan on surviving.

Will they shut down the highways or something?
Definitely not. Apparently there are other roads between New York and DC, at least one of which goes through Amish country, where we’ll be spending a night.

What happens to the money if you don’t finish?
Thanks for your confidence. The money will be re-routed from the beneficiary organizations to cover my medical expenses. Ok?

You’ll have overcome climate change when this is over?
Fer sure.

How much money did you raise at the fundraiser you guys hosted at the Black Squirrel last week?
Almost $1,000 — thank you to everyone who stopped by and contributed!

Is it too late to make a contribution?
No! Quick — here’s my fundraising page. I’m almost at my goal… You can help me get there.

Wait, when do you leave?
Saturday AM at the crack of dawn. If you’re in NYC, stop by our kickoff event, 6-10p at BLVD (199 Bowery). Tickets.

What’s this team thing?
Asher, Dave, and I are all riding under the 1Sky banner — because we want to show our political leaders that America’s ready for bold federal climate solutions. Here’s our team page. And Phil is riding under the 350 banner for similar reasons.

And why are you doing this again?
It feels like exactly the right thing to do at exactly the right time, and we’re going to have a blast.

What’s the schedule? Where will you be and when?Here you go.

Best way to keep up with the ride while you’re on the road?
– Climate Ride 08’s blog and twitter feed
– This here blog and twitter feed

Locked up in Miami — Amnesty International Guantanamo Cell tour

During my final hours in Miami last weekend, i walked through Bayfront Park and stumbled into athe launch of a very smart Amnesty International USA campaign. Amnesty commissioned / built a full-size replica of a Guantanamo “Level 5” cell and placed it in a very public place for anyone to come and visit.

I don’t know much about effective experiential marketing, but this is everything I imagine it to be. The best part came after I was already locked up, sitting there imagining what it would be like to live inside that hot, tiny box for months or years without being accused of a crime.

The tiny flat-screen above the sink implored me to touch the record button and leave a video message for our government. It’s exactly what Amnesty should have done to amplify their field work, but I’d be curious to know how many people actually felt comfortable recording a message there. Of course, the organizers also asked everyone to sign a postcard / petition in case you skipped out of the video.

I can only guess how much it might cost to construct something like this and ship it across the country with staff, but it was incredibly effective. Keep an eye for it as it heads up the East Coast.



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2007 [Personal] Year in Review

You’ve watched the Best Of Best Week Ever 2007. You’ve read the Top 100 Top 10 lists of the year. And you’ve heard the billboard countdowns. Now this correspondent takes his own dip in the hot-tub of reductionism and self-absorbtion by summarizing into a tidy list the most memorable events from his own previous 365 days. In a decidedly unordered list, this is 2007 in bullets:

  • Being selected for — and almost getting to serve on — jury duty
  • Meeting President Clinton! (photo); runner up — meeting Katie Couric
  • Extreme Skiing Colorado (viral video) w/ Jimmy and Dane (+ 6 hrs in the DIA airport bar)
  • An evening with Jack Bauer (story; photo)
  • Bears in Shenandoah (photos) w/ Savage and Steph
  • Superman ride and Six Flags w/ Ficke, Tom, and Emily (story; photos)
  • Co-authoring a book (my first and last) and seeing it on bookshelves
  • EchoDitto 3 Year Anniversary celebration dinner cruise (anniversary poster; official cake)
  • [More than one notable night out, starting with NYE 2006, smartly redacted by the Editors]
  • Italy and Austria, family trip of the decade and most exotic speaking gig to date (photos)
  • Winning an impromptu beirut tournament at a NYC bar with Keith the jeopardy kid and Sean
  • Backstage at LiveEarth NYC (photos); and meeting Ann Curry and Jane Goodall
  • Lake Garibaldi and Black Tusk in BC with Tim and Brant (photos)
  • Google HQ in Mountain View (photos confiscated)
  • Best purchase of the year: countertop dishwasher

Hard to believe that all fit into just one year. To judge by the ultimate criteria, if 2007 happened to be my last, I’d be hard pressed to come up any real regrets; it was an unexpectedly incredible year. And I have to say, the list above doesn’t include work highlights (as if that’s somehow separate…) This was easily EchoDitto’s best year so far. There’s a version of this floating around summarizing the remarkable and world-changing milestones and successes that we shared with our clients and partners this year, but that gushing post will have to wait…Happy New Year!

This is why i’m earning Amtrak rewards points

I’m taking the Silver Meteor from D.C. to Miami one day. One day.

Beginning this fall, passengers traveling on select Amtrak routes will have the option of lingering over five-course dinners, sleeping in luxurious suites and enjoying personal butler service. This exciting premium service is being made possible by a new partnership between GrandLuxe Rail Journeys and Amtrak. Called GrandLuxe Limited, the new service uses a separate, private, seven-car luxury train with Dining, Lounge and Sleeping cars attached to several regularly scheduled Amtrak trains.

Photos from LiveEarth

LiveEarth yesterday at Giants stadium was a blast… Never imagined that I’d ever get to hear Smashing Pumpkins live — they rocked Rat in a Cage, Today, and a couple new ones. Definitely the highlight for me. Biggest shock was experiencing Bon Jovi perform Livin’ on a Prayer live … in New Jersey, no less. Was actually pretty great, I’ll admit it. The badges we had seemed to get us everywhere, which made our lives there first rate, but for the crowd that was there all 8+ hours, it was good that they kept carting out Al Gore.Phil and I were based primarily out of a media booth that Brian had setup in the press bubble for the Alliance for Climate Protection — Gore’s new organization and the reason behind the concerts. (Check out the new site we just launched for ACP — and sign up!)I was impressed at how well-spoken just about everyone who came through to record interviews for us was. Not that all stars are dumb like Brittany, but it seemed like every celeb who was there clearly came on their own volition because they really cared about the issue and wanted to do something.A few great celebrity rubs in the process, most of which are featured in the pics — not included in the photos are probably the two most incredible that came through our booth, so i was probably too flustered to snap a shot or something: Ann Curry (NBC/Today Show) and Jane Goodall. Both beautiful in very different ways. Then Phil and I literally walked past Dave Matthews when we were backstage, which was pretty cool. My photoset HERE.Recent Rolling Stone interview had quoted Gore saying that the LE concerts were meant to be a starter pistol for this mass campaign and movement building effort around global warming. From everything I can tell and experienced, it seems like it succeeded at doing just that.