November 2009 Archives

Instructions for Writing in a Journal


1. Write a sentence describing some action you took.


            For example: I brushed my teeth


2. Write one sentence adding detail to that action.


            For example: The tooth paste tasted like fireworks in my mouth.


3. Write as many sentences of detail as you can. How did it smell (if the thing you're talking about had a smell)? How did it taste? How did you feel inside when you did this thing? How did other people react? What did you think while you were taking this action? Your job is to capture not exactly what happened but the feeling in your heart when it happened.


When you are done writing detail, go on to number 4.


4. Go back to instruction number 1.

UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that I have not taught my son a lesson in clarity and brevity. The last instruction in item number 3 should simply be to go back to instruction number 1.

[I'll update this as I can]

I asked the Twitter mind this morning about hunger. New statistics show that more people are hungry than ever before. What can a person do? The answer: money.


First, we've got to decide whether we're in the fish or teach them to fish camp. I was asking about the most efficient delivery of fish. News like this should focus us on the sustainable answers to these kinds of problems, so I'm all for a discussion about long-term solutions to hunger, but at the moment I'm interested in the action a single person can take that provides the most utility.


The best answer is to call your local food bank and ask them what they need because sometimes they need money and sometimes they need volunteers. In a more general sense though, here are how the answers lined up:


My own experience is that donating money helps the most. Lots of you made the same case. Food shelters often wind up with 50 jars of pickles people have donated which isn't helpful. Even a jar of peanut butter, while incredibly helpful for the making of sandwiches doesn't offer the maximum utility. The money spent on the jar can be better spent by the food kitchen because they get bulk deals.  


Suggestions: Give to @FeedingAmerica and support Capitol Area Food Bank. @femelmed our local org, philabundance, allows for monthly donors. That allows them a steady stream and to put $ where it's needed. Also: Network for Good. Or give through and that'll send money to your favorite food bank. Follow @fighthunger on Twitter to keep up with the World Food Program or volunteer here.


Some food banks have lots of the right kind of food but no one to make the sandwiches or drive the trucks so the food gets where it needs to do. So, volunteering gets the second place in this completely unscientific sampling. Of course you could argue that the example of volunteering provides a social good that goes beyond merely helping someone who is hungry. Your friends see you doing it. People out on the street see others offering their time and perhaps get inspired or at least turn their attention to maybe figuring out how to come up with a long term solution. I'm sure you could also make the case about labor costs but we're not here to do that.


Finally there's food donation. @susbarefoot  makes meals that she passes out to people in need. This takes care of the distribution problem but as susbarefoot recognizes, there are downsides. A soup kitchen provides other services that


Finally, from @chasflemming. have been there John. Out of work, out of food, family to feed. Friends rescued me. Now I rescue friends. This is what I do, John: I give to my church, I give food drives, I invite people to my house for dinner who need the meal.


[Disclaimer: This was an exercise in collecting ideas. It has nothing to do with either of my employers, nor did I report or think about this the way I might have for a piece of journalism. My aim was to collect and distribute information quickly without doing harm. (This means you're likely to see adventuresome spelling and sentence construction). It's incomplete but it may grow to become more complete. There are lots of points I left out. Suggest them to me at and I'll fix anything that really needs fixing. If you make a suggestion that will actually help feed people I'll include it. If you've got a link to a cause that makes your case, all the better, I'll include it.]

If I were 12 I'd be practicing this all night on my bed. Amazing.

Blanchett via Kottke and Willem Dafoe via The New York Times.

(Hint: hit the comic bubble with the "..." in it to shut off comments from the peanut gallery).

I have a Facebook "fan" page. It's something management wants me to do and I am following along with a smart salute because I do exactly what management tells me to do, especially when it comes to talking about myself.

from his profile of Joe Gould who said: "I never felt at home. I stuck out...In New York City, especially in Greenwich Village, down among the cranks and the misfits and the one-lungers and the has-beens and the might've beens and the would-bes and the never-wills and the God-knows-whats, I have always felt at home."


A dancer at Caru' cu Bere, a beautifully restored neo-Gothic beer hall, in Bucharest's reviving Lipscani district.