something useful, something useful and funny, and general moaning

First, I know I have nothing to complain about, but I hope you’ll forgive me a little whine. I cannot imagine how the people who were displaced by Katrina — many of whom still can’t go home — have coped. I sit here in a nice motel room, I’ll be going back to my own house tomorrow, and I’m completely discombobulated. Which brings me to a website that Charlotte brought to my attention:

The Little Rock Friends Meeting (Quakers, in other words) is busy building bunkbeds for those who are trying to get reestablished after the hurricane. You can contribute by sponsoring a whole bunkbed with bedding, or some smaller part of a whole. Or you can send linens, blankets, pillows. Any way you do it, this is the kind of practical help that people really need.

edited to add this note from Charlotte:

Thanks for mentioning the project! Here’s a little more info from the Friends’ mailing list…Why bunk beds? They provide a semi-private space for a kid (even one who is sharing a room with several other people). Remember from your childhood the reassuring feeling of retreating to your own little “fort”? That’s what we want the kids to have. Beds are also designed to be easily taken apart and reassembled if the family has to relocate again.

If you feel moved to donate, any amount is welcome, and receipts for taxes are available from the Meeting. A complete bed with bedding costs $200. Volunteers are also needed, singly or in groups, to come help build beds. For info about volunteering, contact Marianne Lockard: MariQuaker AT

Another way to participate: have your kids send drawings, messages, or books to put in each child’s pillowcase.

Onto something else that has nothing to do with writing fiction or my books. I saw a television commercial last night that made me laugh out loud with glee. The American Council on Education has launched an ad compaign (print and television) to remind people that higher education has a practical and highly necessary output. There’s an article about the ad agency who has donated the time to put the campaign together.

Also, here’s the website of Solutions for our Future, a consortium of institutions who got together to launch this whole project.

The dialog for the screen cap (you can find videos of all the commercials to download here):

“Still broken. Take six more pints.”

And the voice over: “Less support for higher education means fewer medical breakthroughs. Open-heart surgery and other advancements came from colleges and universities.”

The next time somebody tells me they won’t support taxes for education because they have no kids or their kids are out of school, I’ll have something to show them.