attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,

Half a cloak is better than none

A  day of constant QC and a night of writing Christmas cards, and I am... *wince*

More today.  And I finally got the top of the bedcover drawn out, so I am working on that (gonna need lots more wool).  Pictures sometime, I guess.  It's taken me over five hours to do most of a single motif, and that's without any embellishment (I'm outlining everything first, then going back in stages).

I'm always interested in the reactions to comments on charities;  one little tidbit I found out was that the middle classes donate the least to charity.  Apparently, we suck at the "giving" thing (though I'm seeing a little too much of the "demanding what's due to me!!!" thing right now when I make the mistake of actually venturing into a shop).

(Please don't write and tell me how much you, personally give.  I'm happy that you do, and you get warm fuzzies, but the fact remains that most people don't, and this affects all sorts of people.)

I am guilty of not giving much, comparative to my income - despite giving change to homeless people and random charities, I pretty much suck at the larger donations.  I gave $100 to a local wildlife rescue place, but I also gave them a baby squirrel, so I think that gift sort of cancelled itself out.  When I was Baroness, I started the practice in our Barony of making a charitable donation on behalf of the Barony rather than buying a million useless trinkets and possibly forgetting someone who would then be mortally offended and bitch about me forever (oh, wait...).  That continues, but it's no longer my money, so I'm falling behind again.

I'm divided about the cash-for-poor-people idea - as P.J. O'Rourke says, you can't solve poverty by throwing money at it, and we know this to be true, because an awful lot of money has been airborne over the years, and the poor are still with us.  

(Uh, before you yell at me in the comments section, keep in mind that the greatest thinkers have struggled with the question of poverty, and it is still around.  If you have something that will cure it, contact the Nobel Foundation; I think they'd be interested.)

But cash is of immediate help, even if it doesn't solve the long-term problem.  Cash buys food, shelter, and warmth.  Cash makes small children happy because it buys toys.  Cash makes adults happy because it buys heroin food.

(Ha, ha, just a little attack laurel humour, there.  Please don't kill me.)

I applaud going green, and think that  trystbat's ideas for a green Christmas are fabulous, but being ecologically minded is costing us - because more farmland is being earmarked for ethanol production, we have less surplus crops, and more efficient packaging and storage means less damaged food packaging, which in turn means the Government and businesses are giving a lot less to food banks.  In a country overflowing with food, we have a food shortage of epic proportions brewing.  

Bob says that the Star Trek view of the future hinges on free (or insanely cheap) energy, and replicators that can produce anything from basic atoms.  I find if I follow this thought to its logical conclusion, that means the entire society is based on the recycling of waste.  Not so far from what we're trying to achieve right now.

(Though don't think about what happens to poop.  Despite the fact that there's still a lot of unused food mass in human excrement, I'm sure it just goes for fertilizer, right?)

Better get started on those replicators, then - perhaps I should be giving my money to scientific research.  Do I want to think in terms of future generations, and sacrifice the needs of the current poorest segment of the world in the hope that enough money put towards environmental improvements will pay off?  Or do I cut that part of the budget to use the money to give everyone in the world a few years worth of food?  

It's probably a good thing I'm not making those choices.

Money - we middle classes have a lot of it, judging by the number of people I see loading up their carts with useless (but fun!) consumer goods, but is it fair to ask people to give up their fun so that other people may eat?  

(That was a rhetorical question, no need to answer it in my comments section.  But if you're up for some fun, ask someone in line at Best Buy if they would take the money they were going to spend on that Wii and donate it to the local food bank so that little children can have a Christmas dinner.  See what happens.)

I have house stuff I want to buy.  I have presents and nice things to get for people.  But I might be able to spare a bit for something else.  I think most of us with disposable income could, and it could be anything at all - anything, as long as it benefits someone.  It doesn't have to be much - if everyone in the US who could gave $20, there'd be a lot more charity money floating around.  And Bill Gates won't get all the credit.

I have managed to block most of my church school teachings, but I still remember the parable of the man who shared half his cloak with a beggar - who, in classic Cecil B. DeMille fashion, turned out to be Jesus in disguise!!!.  I never took it as a threat - "be nice to people, or Jesus will spank you!" but as a reminder that we are all worthy of kindness, no matter how stinky and unphotogenic we may be.


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