Thursday, December 30

More on local Tsunami relief endeavors 

More and more local groups are advancing their Tsunami relief endeavors.

* Sujatha Peradeniye, a monk at Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple in Crystal Lake, has initiated a fund to help people in Sri Lanka. Contact: 815-444-8915 or 815-451-2864.

* Indonesian Disaster Relief Fund is accepting contributions through Charter One Bank 400 S. LaSalle St. Chicago, IL 60605

* Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has established the Jewish Federation South Asia Tsunami Relief Fund. Checks should be made payable to Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, 1 S. Franklin St., Room 703, Chicago, IL, 60606. Online donations can be made at www.juf.org.

* The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is collecting International Disaster Response funds that will be directed through Action by Churches Together to victims across South Asia. Donations can be made through an ELCA congregation or directly to: ELCA International Disaster Response P.O. Box 71764 Chicago IL 60694-1764, with "South Asia Tsunami" on the check's memo line. Credit-card donations can be made through the ELCA Disaster Web site, www.elca.org/disaster, or by phone at 800-638-3522.

* The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago is accepting cash donations at CIOGC - 330 E. Roosevelt Road, Suite G5; Lombard, Illinois 60148. Checks should be made payable to “CIOGC” with ‘Tsunami Relief’ in the memo portion. Secure online donations may be made at www.ciogc.org

Some other agencies involved in relief efforts:

* The Consul General for Indonesia - 540 N. LaSalle St. Chicago, IL
* Royal Thai Consulate - 700 N. Rush St. Chicago, IL
* The Consulate General of India - 455 N. Cityfront Plaza, Suite 850 Chicago, IL. Call 312-595-0412 for details.
* Tsunami Relief Fund c/o International Bank of Chicago, 208 W. Cermak Road, Chicago, IL 60616
* Catholic Relief Services - Archdiocese of Chicago, Attn: Tsunami Relief 155 E. Superior St. Chicago, IL 60611
* BAPS CARE International 4N739, Illinois Route 59, Bartlett, IL 60103. Call 888-CARE-881, or visit online at: www.BAPSCARE.org

In other news, Patus Ltd. of Tel Aviv and Chicago has donated thousands of its Odorscreen products to enable Tsunami disaster workers as they battle the pervasive stench of death and decay. Odorscreen, an Olfactory Perception Altering Gel Compound is for application under the nose, and ostensibly works by modifying pungent smells to users for as long as two hours, helping them breathe fresh as they toil amidst reek and heat in Tsunami-affected regions.

Wednesday, December 29

Tsunami via blogdom 

In wake of the Tsunami, as much as I'm all choked up to be able to say anything, I'm awed, and completely overwhelmed by the abundance of texts on the disaster, especially by bloggers. Blogs seem to be proliferating by the hour, and blogdom, in fact, has suddenly emerged as the hottest conduit through which people the world over are seeing the tragedy unfold.

The one blog that's become the hub of all Tsunami-related information is The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami blog, among whose warm-hearted architects is my friend Peter. The SEA-EAT blog has even been written about, here, and here, and I'm certain, in scores of other places.

Some other blogs that struck a chord:

Brand New Malaysian
Cheese and Crackers
Crossroads Dispatches
Extra Extra
Petaling Street Project
Sumankumar's yak pad
The Command Post
VBCity Blogs
World Changing

On a side note, one can't help but wonder why Aristotle ever said "Nature does nothing uselessly..."

Tsunami relief and prayers 

A compilation of various agencies involved in providing assistance to victims of the deadly Tsunami.

For Chicagoans - The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont, has initiated relief efforts for victims of the tsunami. To talk to someone at the temple about helping, the number to call is 630-972-0300. To partake in prayer sessions, one might visit any of the Hindu temples across the city, including Bartlett, ISKCON, and Aurora.

Tuesday, December 21

What's in a name? 

In a communications law course such as mine, one ought to be thorough with all aspects of the law and where the finest lines are drawn. One learns, for starters, of the importance of identification, among other elements, in a defamation case. For instance, to say all lawyers are thieves does not create satisfactory identification for the purpose of a defamation suit. The reason being that the group could be so big that no one plaintiff could say they suffered a personal injury. However, to say that all lawyers in the firm of "Dowee, Cheatem and Howe" are thieves would satisfy the identification element because the number of lawyers in the firm is finite and each one of them would have a potential defamation claim.

I wonder if the philosophy would hold any good if one of these folks were to cross legal frontiers:

Dump Rat - garbage people
The Touch Up Guys - car repairs people
William the Concreter - builder
Dr. John Looney - psychiatrist
Haley Rainey - meteorologist
Earl E. Bird - head of an animal rights group
Dr. Charles Paine - chiropractor

There’s much in a name, after all. And ‘justin case’ you’re wondering still, it’s also the name of a high school instructor somewhere. Now let’s hope he’s a good guy.

Tuesday, December 14

Birthday hoopla 

I didn’t mean to abstain from writing in this long, but frankly, trifling tittle-tattle about the man who’d made the under-bridge his home, or the kid that’s begun selling pieces of coal to stuff stockings of daft little imps with this Christmas, had to be eschewed, as there were bigger things happening, like turning another year older, which I did, this past Saturday.

I had such a merry time that I have trouble recounting it all in bits. I woke up to a deluge of gifts from the hubby, and got swarmed with chocolates, paper cards (yes, they still make those, and if you ever get any, it would only be by the minutest quirk of luck), surprise gifts, phone calls, emails, sms-es, a world full of love and care, and a mammoth dark chocolate cake that I’m still drowning in.

I will be back, once I’ve wolfed down all of the cake, and looked back and figured out what I’ve accomplished in the last year that makes me better, or wiser, if little. I’d have loved also, to burrow out those loving reminiscences of birthdays bygone - of hand-made cards, letters, gifts, gift wraps, jaded pictures (many in sepia tones), all packed with the warmth of loved ones - and squirreled safely away in those rusty, squeaky iron-cast containers back home (for the less informed, these are gargantuan storage units, complete with lock-and-key, and one might find them in the attics of most Indian homes). But I’ll have to make do with the sweet memories for now. Okay, I really have to be off before I get any mushier. Besides, the Godiva Goddess also beckons.

Saturday, December 11


Tender vine grows
embracing the bricked walls
as if it’d kindly assessed
the planes of their house

Stained glass windows
deliquesce in moonlight
reflecting a twilight blue
off an unfathomable sky

Inside, on the scarlet sofa
they sit, arm in arm
sipping their herbal teas,
gauging their love’s depth.

Monday, December 6

For mates' sake! 

And you thought doing time is solely for the depraved, and the deprived. Not only do these cons share a joint, but they’re now also having their cake and ale…no wait, they’re serving us cake and ale. What a way to be back in carnal circles, isn’t it, Martha and mates?

Thursday, December 2

To give or not to give 

Ringers and Shriners flock the stores even as we wade our way through holiday wishlists. Okay, some of us are busy gifting ourselves. Anyhow, we couldn't help but hark back to this from a class discussion on persuasion - is using guilt as motivation, ie., like Salvation Army Christmas Bell Ringers, or Shriner’s Paper Sale do; depriving people of rational choice?

Food for thought?

"Men can be moved to action by suggestions and pressure in the fringes of their consciousness."

"Hidden persuasion, like any other 'evil,' is dangerous only when it becomes the chronic or predominant pattern of behavior of an individual or group."

While you mull this over in order to rationalize, at the least, please hail Haiman. But that's not to say don't give this holiday season. Reflexive responses notwithstanding.

Take me out to the ballgame 

If you thought Bruce Springsteen’s Fenway foray was received with bounteous adulation, wait till you see a Wrigley ballpark full of Jimmy Buffet’s ‘parrotheads’ croon and sway. Cubs President Andy MacPhail has indicated that the Cubs are exploring possibilities of holding rock concerts at Wrigley Field every other year, beginning as early as Labor Day weekend 2005.

Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, a stick-in-the-mud Cubs fan, is likely to do the opening honors. Even if it’s half as true that Buffet, who has already sung the anthem at Wrigley, has his way about curses, he might just rest the Cubbies’ curse, of enduring the longest drought spell since a World Series win. Well, at least a bunch of Bostoners swear that Buffet’s concerts at Fenway Park helped rid the demons that had stalled every effort by the Red Sox to snatch a World Series championship since 1918.

But to be able to rock Wrigley, the Cubs have numerous hurdles to cross --- their already precarious relationship with Wrigleyville residents could get further tweaked, or worse, the curse reversed. It might happen, it mightn’t, and as the Cubs might say, ‘wait ‘til next year,’ chappies.

Wednesday, December 1

Smokes for Soldiers 

Aside from shortage of food supplies, the scarcity of cigarettes in Iraq has several soldiers imploring domestic producers to ship them some free smokes. And as if efforts by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to satisfy them aren’t enough, someone closer home is organizing to funnel free Camels and Marlboros to the front lines. For the first remote broadcast of his WSCR-AM (670) morning show, Mike North will amass cigarettes to be sent to soldiers in the war zones overseas. His “Smokes for Soldiers" campaign will be kicked off on Dec. 9 at Jack's Restaurant, Skokie. Score listeners will be requested to donate packs, or cartons, if they will, of cigarettes. Is it plain ironic that North himself is a non-smoker, and that Jack’s is strictly a non-smoking bistro?

Well, while at that, health officials aren’t exactly touched by the gesture either. Even as more and more troops are lighting up the pipe, blaming it on the tension, tedium and loneliness that life in a battlefield can bring, health officials fret that they will have to combat lung cancer, or heart disease down the years, when they're back home, and narrating war stories to their grand kids, perhaps. Amidst roadside bombings and grenade strikes, soldiers are ostensibly in for a bigger hazard, say experts, and this one, ‘can’t be stalled even by the best of weapons or shields.’ Ah well, holy smoke, or whatever.