Thursday, September 01, 2005

That's all, just give. If the horrific stories out of the south don't move you to open your wallet, you have no soul. The Network for Good has a list of charities that are working to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Everything from the Red Cross and Second Harvest to Noah's Wish and the North Shore Animal League which are looking out for displaced pets and wildlife. Please help.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I Need Some Good News!
Hurricanes killing hundreds and rendering thousands homeless. Looting. Hundreds dead in riots. A war that won't end. Gas prices going even higher. Housing prices continuing to rise.

Please, I need some good news. I need something to make me laugh, or at least make me smile. Something to reaffirm my faith in mankind. Something to wipe images of destruction out of my brain.

Doesn't anybody have any good news? Please, I'm begging you here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

We're Number 12! We're Number 12!
The United States ranks 12th among the 21 richest nations in the world for foreign aid. Denmark ranks as the most generous country in the world, spending 89 cents per person, per day, in government aid and one cent per person per day in private giving. The US spends 15 cents per person per day, In a world where more than 2 billion people live on less than $2 a day, it's shameful that we continue to spend billions on a pointless war while people are starving. Come on people, get out a crowbar and open up your damned wallets.

When was the last time you wrote a check to charity? You know you can afford it. $20 buck....that's a pizza. Give $20 buck to the Red Cross, or UNICEF, or AmFAR, or some other worthy organization. But it's up to those of us who have the money to take care of those who don't.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Importance of Hating Ernest
"Reading Hemingway in Cupertino" is not as evocative a title as “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” but it nevertheless conveys my last lunchtime window shop excursion to a bookstore.

To begin with, I must state upfront that I am not a fan of Hemingway; neither his writing nor his plots. I know, I know, I’m a Philistine. But I’m a Philistine with an open mind, at least where books are concerned. When I say “I don’t like Hemingway,” it is as a college student forced to read “For Whom the Bell Tolls” for a class taught by a teacher whose name I will never recall, in spite of the fact that I have perfect recollection of his purple cardigan sweater and eternal licorice-breath.

But I’ve aged since then, and I thought it was time I give Hemingway another try. (I am discounting the “Moveable Feast” episode where I thought it would be “artistic” to actually take with me to Paris. It wasn’t.) So off I go to a bookstore to browse through their selection. I was intrigued by “To Have and Have Not,” because I love the movie so much – but I know the book is different from the movie and I decide against it for fear it would taint a great popcorn flick. “The Old Man and the Sea” has the element of brevity going for it, but I know the plot and I have no interest in either old men or the sea. (Apologies to Melville.)

I pick up “The Sun Also Rises,” and quickly put it down again, deciding I’m not really in the mood for a book filled with unpleasant drunk people doing unpleasant things to other unpleasant drunk people.

“Hemingway on Fishing?” Shoot me now.

Ah…”The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories.” Now there’s a possibility. I love Africa. Short stories take far less commitment than a novel, and I can get more plot variety.

I’m halfway to the check-out counter before I turn around and put it back on the shelf. I had one of those pre-buy epiphanies that so often save us from bad purchases. There amid the faceouts of "Dummies" guides, I realize that it’s ok not to like Hemingway. Maybe it’s because he’s a so-called “man’s writer” and I am happily penis-free. Maybe it’s because hating his short, staccato writing style that makes every sentence sound like a cough, is a perfect reasonable assessment of his skill as a writer. Maybe because I’m not in college anymore and I don’t have to read anything that I’m not genuinely interested in. Whatever the reason, I put Ernest back and happily wander over to the History section.