Tag: Fundraiser

The Solicitors’ Song and Dance

 

In 1987, when I was an eighth-grade transplant to America and knew nothing of fundraisers or soliciting, our small Christian school held an assembly that captured my attention. A white-haired man named Dick Nixon* stood in front of the student body and held up a candy bar that he introduced as “World’s Finest Chocolate.” I realized that World’s Finest was actually the brand name, a boast that made me question the quality of the product.  He talked of selling the candy, “cases” of it, demonstrating the range of marvelous prizes we could earn.  Even one case would get us over the prize-winning threshold. The way Dick Nixon talked about it, selling sounded easy. He gave several suggestions for how one could make the sale, even role-playing a scene on a public bus going home from school.  But I didn’t need any more convincing–I was in. I would go to the office after school to pick up my cases of chocolate and would soon be enjoying my prizes.

“Cases,” I soon found out, were long, weighty boxes emitting thick cocoa scents.  These could be split apart in the middle to make a kind of tote with handles. With the cardboard broken open along the dotted lines, I noted the stacks of bars–there were thirty-six of them, to be precise.  I was still convinced that I would make quick work of dispensing the product and collecting the cash. Then I would show up for the promised rewards. The individual bars, each silver-wrapped with white sleeve, red letters emblazoning the claim of global supremacy, were a dollar each. They smelled good and, although perhaps not quite living up to their name, had a flavor of rich, nutty chocolate.

Meet and Greet with a Hopeful Congressman

 

Thursday evening, Papa Toad and I went to an event with Tony German, a retired two-star general (when he retired, Tony was Adjutant General of the New York National Guard, leading 20,000 airmen, sailors, soldiers, and civilian staff) who is seeking to unseat our one-term useless congressman, Antonio Delgado.

I first heard of Tony about a month ago when, out of the blue, I found a message from him on my home phone, telling me he was running for the nomination and hoped to speak to me to find out what issues were important to me. I was quite impressed, and, I admit, flattered. I called him back and left a message for Tony to the effect that I was heartened to hear his message, and that I hoped he would kick some [redacted] and that we would be praying for him. Tony called me back and we had a good long chat about the state of the state, and what could be done at the federal level to improve things.

When we heard Tony was having a fundraiser nearby, we made sure to get to it. It was a lovely event with an open bar, fantastic hors d’oeuvres, but not many people. His wife Diana was very pleasant and, as homeschooling moms (hers all graduated, me with three still at home), we found much to talk about. I offered to host some kind of event for Tony at my home, and was in touch with his staff this morning to make that happen in the near future.

Member Post

 

This report on the 11:00 news last night was hilarious to me. Maybe what you find funny and strange in it will be some of the things I did. Your comments please. (The first several comments concern my ineptitude at posting the video, though KABC didn’t make it easy). With thanks to Seawriter, the video: […]

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Member Post

 

There have been several posts here about the way suicide has impacted various members, their families, and friends. I think everyone has been affected in some way or another, including veterans who may be dealing with PTSD after returning home. A way my wife has gotten involved in trying to reverse this trend is through the American Foundation […]

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Member Post

 

As a kid, I saw my cousins every year. We spent weeks and even months together. In adulthood our yearly treks for reunion continue. We love each other like brothers and sisters.  So it breaks my heart to think of my cousin’s bright-eyed 7-year-old daughter, Kaylee, under threat of death. Here is Kaylee sitting with me […]

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Death of the Flockfather

 

Union-Products-Flamingos-960x691Donald Featherstone, father of the plastic lawn flamingo, died Monday. He spent his final days in a room with pink sheets and a pair of his long-necked, spindly-legged creations flanking the fireplace. His wake is tomorrow, and his funeral mass will be held this Saturday. Millions of his pink children, the tribe of Phoenicopteris ruber plasticus, will survive him.

My family taught me to sneer at the plastic flamingo. To look down my nose at it. Lowbrow. Trailer-trash kitsch. The problem with a flamingo, though, is you can’t really win a sneering contest with that hooked beak. Flamingos spend their lives looking down their noses at everything. Even the plastic ones, whose facial features are subtly altered to give them a cuteness few live flamingos truly possess. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, how often in the staring contest between good taste and simple happiness, happiness ultimately wins. As their creator would put it, “I loved what I did. It’s all happy things… They have been called very tacky, but more than not, they’ve been called fun.” His wife of 40 years would add, “Donald always said, ‘You don’t take yourself too seriously because you’re not getting out alive anyway.’”

Featherstone was a classically trained painter as well as a sculptor, who in his free time filled his own home with paintings that “looked like they were done by a master from the Renaissance”. But he filled his backyard with plastic flamingos. 57 of them, to be exact, in honor of the year they were first manufactured. Humble and good-humored, he happily attended flamingo-themed events, keeping his highbrow side quite private. “He decided it would destroy the illusion and pleasure for people who knew him for the flamingo.”

Member Post

 

The purging of former Mozilla Corporation CEO Brendan Eich has taught us that campaign donor-shaming is not only an effective political weapon but a legitimate one. Therefore, should the campaign donors at President Obama’s three fundraisers this weekend be subject to similar donor-shaming for distracting our Commander-in-Chief from working on developing a strategy to confront […]

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Inevitably Expensive Care

 

Many, if not most, medical procedures are more expensive than they could be due to regulatory burdens, middlemen, frivolous lawsuits, and whatnot. But there will always be forms of extraordinary care which would drain a family’s resources even under ideal circumstances.

Last year, only a month after our grandmother died, my cousin Kristen’s baby boy was admitted to the children’s hospital for trouble breathing and moving. Little Colin was eventually diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammation around the spine with potentially paralytic consequences. The doctors never figured out the cause of Colin’s ailment. There was at least one time when he nearly died because of a mysterious heart irregularity which the physicians said was apparently unrelated to the myelitis. Complications continued to arise. Colin’s lungs needed help. His breathing tube was only removed a couple weeks ago.

Member Post

 

Many, if not most, medical procedures are more expensive than they could be due to regulatory burdens, middlemen, frivolous lawsuits, and whatnot. But there will always be forms of extraordinary care which would drain a family’s resources even under ideal circumstances. Last year, only a month after our grandmother died, my cousin Kristen’s baby boy […]

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