Monday, July 27, 2009

Charity Donations

There are a lot of really good causes to support - American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Global Fund, CARE, Feeding America, Salvation Army, World Wildlife Fund, various Cancer organizations & Children's organizations - just to name a few. There are also a lot of events to help out different organizations as well - golf outings, walk/run events, bowling, etc. There is no way to find a way to support every organization - so I find myself wondering what should I be donating to and what should I pass on.

I'm a person that has a hard time saying no to pretty much everything. I feel bad not donating when I get an email asking for money to help somebody out with an event they're participating in, or not giving to certain charity events, etc. I have found that a person like myself simply cannot donate or help every single charity that is out there. So how do I choose what to help out? I know people in the military, people who have/had breast cancer, an uncle that died of cancer, friends and co-workers with certain diseases. I don't know anybody personally who has HIV/AIDS, or is living in poverty, or is struggling to feed their family or buy necessities for their children, or even have lost everything in a natural disaster. I feel for pets that can't find homes and animals that are becoming extinct.

I have donated to a lot of things over the past few years, but still struggle to find one cause that I'm passionate about. The past year or two, I have found myself really into supporting (Product)Red - which helps the Global Fund fight AIDS in Africa. There a few companies that feature (Product)Red - Gap, Hallmark, Converse, Starbucks, Dell, Apple. Portions of each (Product)Red purchase are donated to the cause. Whenever I can buy something that is ProductRed, I will do it. At Hallmark, I always look for a (Product)Red card first. I bought a (Product)Red t-shirt from the GAP. Recently, I purchased a (Product)Red gift card at Starbucks, instead of a regular one. Every little bit helps. I encourage to look for these opportunities, if at all possible. Dell offers laptops, Apple offers iPods and iTunes cards, Converse has a ton of shoes that you can even design yourself, Starbucks has coffee and of course Hallmark cards. For more information, go to

I still want to find something that I'm passionate about. Until I feel that way, I will continue to pick and choose what I feel is right and how I can make the biggest difference for our world.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Life photo archive

Every now and then, Google will feature links to pictures from the Life archive on their homepage - actually today is one of those days. I haven't had the time to really look through them until tonight. I decided to follow the link for Major League Baseball, my favorite sport to follow. I ended up finding some old pictures of Warren Spahn, Roger Maris, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays and one of my favorites (even though a Yankee) Mickey Mantle. I have an appreciation for baseball and it's history - it's also my favorite sport to follow and collect memorabilia from.

I love to read about history, look at history and learn about history. If you have the time, take a look at some of the photos in the Life archive on Google. There are a ton of photos and here's how to image search them: Put your search term, followed by source:life (ex. mickey mantle source:life). Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


So March was just a crazy busy month for me. We closed on our new house to start the month - which meant getting everything moved from the old place into the new house, and get almost the entire upstairs painted all in the same weekend. Thanks to loads of help from our family and friends, we were able to get basically moved in AND get all of our painting done. I can't say enough how lucky we are to have such great friends and family.

On top of all that (moving, painting, cleaning, working, etc.), I left for Europe on March 14th and returned on March 27th. I could have a very long post about the trip, but I want to tell you about the basics, and I wanted to update this blog to try and keep my followers happy (all 3 of you, thanks!). I was able to get all of my pictures uploaded via Picasa. Click the link at the end of this post for my pictures.

After a total of about 11 hours in the air (kudos to Swiss Air, best airline I've been on) - Our trip started in Madrid, Spain - then traveled to Barcelona, stopping in Zaragoza on the way. In Barcelona, we encounted 2 different protests. One was a small, but loud protest outside of a clothing store called Zara. If you wanted to go into that store, you needed to get past the grim reaper first. The second protest was a very large demonstration against the University there. Thousands and thousands of students and adults filled the streets of Barcelona and made their way to a central square. This protest included many police and even a helicopter.

From Spain, we traveled on a cruise ship for about 21 hours to Italy. We did Rome in a day, which was amazing. On our way to Sorrento, we visited the island of Capri which was one of the best places of our entire trip. We also went to Pompeii and toured all of the ruins of that city, which were caused by a volcano eruption. After Italy, we took a ferry/cruise overnight to Greece and stayed in Tolo. From there we went to Olympia to see the original Olympic site. After 2 short visits of Epidaurus and Mycenae, we were on our way to Athens. My things to see in Athens, including the Acropolis and Parthenon, the Olympic site and the downtown shopping district. But probably the most memorable was the firefighters protest in which the police had on their riot gear, gas masks and were unleashing tear gas and rubber bullets. Needless to say, on my way back to our group's meeting place, I stopped to watch the protest and ended up with tear gas in my nose.

We left our hotel at 3 a.m. on the 27th, had a 3 hour flight to Zurich and then a 10 hour flight to Chicago, landing around 5:10 pm. After waiting for the other half of our group (on a different flight) we hopped on the bus and got back home at 12:20 am. I slept a total of 6 hours from the time I woke up on Thursday the 26th.

Now it's back to working on the house, especially yard work and getting the other 2 bedrooms upstairs painted. Four day weekend for Easter, then Trivia next weekend!



Friday, February 27, 2009


Since it is that time of year again (Lent), I thought I would post a little something about every Catholic's favorite Friday food - fish!

Somebody during lunch today just happened to bring up the Filet-O-Fish sandwich from McDonalds - and also included Burger King in this story. They had (or still have) an uncle that works at one of the processing docks or something for the so-called "fish" for these sandwiches. I really don't want to gross anybody out who really enjoys these sandwiches (my wife) so all I'll say is that they're choppin' up the bottom-feeders in the lake. Pretty much the worst possible fish you can find. Now, whether this is indeed a fact, I don't know. I could not find any research to prove or disprove this notion. All I know is that I do not eat these sandwiches for the same reason I don't eat McDonald's hamburgers. Their beef patties might be 100% beef, however one hamburger is made up of hundreds of different cows from dozens of different ranches. I would like a hamburger patty that came from a single cow please, thank you.

Enjoy your Friday fish everybody!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Public (Men's) Restrooms

I have a feeling I am only speaking to the male population with this entry, but I'm happy to inform women of the following issue - the mens restroom.

I'm assuming that since public restrooms became commonplace, people have been writing graffiti the stalls. Sit down, look to your left or right and read all the nice things people have written about other people. This is something that often gets the boys bathroom at the high school closed and locked. It was the same way when I was in high school - it was immature boys acting immature. Back in grade school, who knows what those bathrooms looked like, but I'm guessing we weren't the most accurate in the 4th or 5th grade - but again, it's 8 or 9 year-olds acting their age. The last time I checked, I haven't used a public restroom that said "Little Boys Room" or "Boys Bathroom." Most of them say "Men" or "Gentlemen" or maybe even "Guys." So then why do the bathrooms look like a grade school or high school bathroom? Seriously.

I am going to speak for all men right now and just say that men are disgusting - at least when it comes to the bathroom. I don't want to walk into the "Men's Room" and find an unflushed toilet, pee still in the urinal, chew in the urinal, toilet paper on the floor or a puddle anywhere near the urinal. The drains on the floor are for water, not another target for you to try and hit. And for gosh sakes people, wash your damn hands! I wouldn't be surprised to walk in on two grown men playing hockey with the urinal pucks. The chances of find pee on the floor or on the toilet seat is probably 60%.

The men that would use the bathroom at my previous employer would just amaze me - pretty much all of the above was expected on a daily basis, but what really would crack me up are not the people that leave without washing their hands, but it's the people who try and fake you out. Example: I walk in to do my business as another "man" is finishing up (by the way, it is not proper to whistle, talk, sing or make eye contact in the men's room). So this person finishes up and probably would have walked out without washing their hands - but because I am now in there, this person turns on the water and proceeds to act is if he is washing his hands - using no soap and not even attempting to use paper towel - and then just walks out. Seriously? OK buddy, if you are actually going to take the time to try and fool me that you just washed your hands like a good human being, why not just do it? At this same workplace bathroom, one particular individual would leave the newspaper he bought everyday in the stall when he was done as a good deed, because the next person is really going to want to read the newspaper you just had while you were taking a crap.

When I travel, I notice the quality of the restrooms at restaurants and gas stations - so the next time I go that route, I can plan out my stops accordingly. I would hate to walk into the men's restroom at Chili's again and have piss sitting in the urinal waiting for me - no thanks. Feel free to share your very own uplifting public restroom stories - and for all men out there, take the 45 seconds to wash your hands before you leave the restroom.

(sign in Peru telling men not to pee on the floor)