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relief in Katrina's aftermath

Tomorrow -- Thursday, Sept. 1 -- has been designated as a day for bloggers to raise awareness and funds for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. If you've got a blog, please participate by blogging on the subject, providing a link for folks to donate to relief efforts, and registering your participation with Truth Laid Bear, who is keeping a database of relief bloggers.

My prayers are with all of those affected -- for those who have lost their lives or have lost loved ones, for those searching for those missing, for relief workers, for those displaced. The aftermath of the hurricane is going to last a long, long time, and disease and violence have joined the flooding itself as threats to life. Lord, have mercy!

Please consider a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) to help with relief efforts. ERD is a responsible and very effective organization; they work with local people to get maximum relief to those most in need and with a minimum of overhead.


ERD Responds to Hurricane Katrina

[Episcopal Relief and Development]

As Hurricane Katrina leaves behind devastation in Florida and Louisiana, and closes in on Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, Episcopal Relief and Development has mobilized in support of communities affected by this disaster.

After tearing through Florida on Friday, the Category 4 hurricane regained force over the Gulf of Mexico, with winds topping 145 mph.

This morning, Katrina touched down again, just east of New Orleans, Louisiana.  Hurricane–force winds caused a path of destruction 250 miles across.  A million New Orleans residents avoided harm by obeying a mandatory citywide evacuation.

Seventy percent of the coastal city is below sea level, and is protected from flooding by levees and pumps.  After pumps failed in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, filling the streets with six feet of water, dozens of people had to be rescued from the roofs of their houses.

Katrina is over Mississippi this afternoon.  Storm surges in Gulfport, Mississippi have already plunged the city under ten feet of water.  Winds tore the roofs off buildings in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Disaster officials will begin assessing the damage to Louisiana and Mississippi today.

Hurricane Katrina is one of the most destructive hurricanes ever to hit the US.  Experts estimate that it could cause between $10 and $25 billion worth of damage.  If the higher assessments are confirmed, Katrina will be the most expensive hurricane in US history.

On behalf of Episcopalians, ERD has sent emergency funds immediately to the Diocese of Mississippi. This emergency assistance will help vulnerable people whose homes are destroyed or severely damaged.  ERD support will help the diocese provide aid to community members through two mobile response trailers, which are equipped with supplies like chainsaws and generators to assist in the recovery.

We are waiting to hear what kind of aid is most needed in Louisiana.  We have also offered emergency assistance to dioceses likely to be affected as the storm moves inland, including Alabama and Tennessee.  Forecasters also warn of the risk of high winds, flooding, and scattered tornadoes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

We offer our prayers for the people affected by this disaster – those whose homes are under 10 feet of water, those who have lost family members, and those whose businesses have been blown down and swept away.  Please join us in praying for people affected by Hurricane Katrina.

To make a contribution to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina, please donate to the US Hurricane Fund by credit card via this page or by calling 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, c/o US Hurricane Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.

Episcopal Relief and Development, an independent 501(c) 3 organization, saves lives and builds hope in communities around the world. We provide emergency assistance in times of crisis and rebuild after disasters. We enable people to climb out of poverty by offering long-term solutions in the areas of food security and health care, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.

August 31, 2005 in Episcopal Relief and Development, Flood Aid, Hurricane Katrina | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Is makepovertyhistory.org ... history?

I've been proud to have a "Make Poverty History" white band on my site ever since the campaign started, as I'm an avid supporter. Right now, though, the band -- and the http://www.makepovertyhistory.org website -- redirects to some dodgy for-profit mortgage company, apparently courtesy of some company called "Domain Car." The WHOIS database still shows the domain as owned by Comic Relief, the folks who have owned it all along, so I don't know what's up. Does anyone else?

In the meantime, I think I'll take down my white bands, and when I have time, I'll create a badge and put it on my site to Oxfam's Make Poverty History site. I've emailed the makepovertyhistory.org domain owner, and am hoping to have the story soon.

Update August 31, 2005, 4:58 p.m. -- MakePovertyHistory.org is back up, with no explanation for the wackiness earlier. I'm putting a button up on all of my site's pages linking there, rather than putting the javascript back in that displays the white band across the corner of my blog. The javascript slowed things down a lot of the time, and crashed my site altogether in some browsers when MakePovertyHistory.org was down.

August 30, 2005 in ONE campaign/Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

why is Colin Firth drowning in coffee?

You loved seeing him drenched in A&E's production of Pride and Prejudice ...
... but if you want to know why Colin Firth is being drenched in coffee in this photo, check out this site.

And if you or your congregation isn't using Fair Trade coffee and you want to know how you can have coffee that tastes WAY better than what you've been drinking AND provides a decent living for the people who grew it, give me a shout. If you've got a Starbucks latté habit, I can tell you how you can have your latté -- as good as Starbucks makes or better -- support fair trade, and save yourself a ton of money in the process.

Every Sunday when we share the Eucharist, we remember Jesus' word that when we eat and drink, we do it in remembrance of him. That goes for coffee after the service and on Monday morning just as much as it does for the wine on Sunday morning, and we owe it to our brothers and sisters around the globe to make our eating and our drinking an extension of the justice and mercy Jesus came to uphold.

August 26, 2005 in ONE campaign/Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Friday catblogging

I've been neglecting Friday catblogging, and for this I apologize. Here's a shot of Foster, in her usual stressed-out state:


August 26, 2005 in Cats | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


(click for a larger version)


August 25, 2005 in Religion | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

ten random iTunes

Once more, I hit shuffle in iTunes and wrote down the first ten songs that played:

"Lake of Fire" (Nirvana, Unplugged) -- still my favorite Nirvana album.

"Water" (Sugarcubes, Here Today, Tomorrow, Next Week!) -- if you like Bjork (her music, not necessarily her fashion sense), you definitely should check out the Sugarcubes, where her haunting voice was first showcased.

"For My Lover" (Tracy Chapman) -- her first album was her best, I think, but it's also a sentimental favorite for me. I played it to death with a friend on a Thanksgiving weekend drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco that, with holiday traffic and trouble on the "Grapevine" segment of Interstate 5, took twelve hours instead of the usual five or so.

"Forget About the Boy" (Oringal Broadway Cast Recording, Thoroughly Modern Millie) -- I'm not big on musicals usually, but Thoroughly Modern Millie was wonderful -- clever, funny, and, in playing off of the audience's racism and genre expectations, remarkably subversive. Don't judge the Broadway show based on the Julie Andrews movie (which was fun, but not in the same league as the Broadway play); it's a new story, really.

"Garden of Simple" (Ani DiFranco, Revelling: Reckoning Disc 1) -- Ani DiFranco is, in my mind, the archetypal indie musician, and she makes full and effective use of the freedom she's got working through her own label (Righteous Babe Records, which just might be the coolest label name ever).

"Three Little Birds" (Bob Marley, Legend) -- Bob Marley was an amazing talent, and Legend -- especially in its newly remastered and expanded edition -- is an excellent, tight collection.

"Thank U" (Alanis Morisette, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie) -- my favorite track on this album. I want to use it in worship sometime, though the range is too much for congregational singing, I think.

"Because I Do" (X, Beyond & Back) -- X just might be my favorite band ever, and they're definitely my favorite punk band. Their musicianship was amazing, as was easy to tell when members of X formed the country band The Knitters, and X's songs are haunting, intelligent, and very qunitessentially Los Angeles. Beyond & Back is for hardcore fans only, as a lot of it consists of demos and other recordings of less than amazing quality, but if you like country- or rockabilly-inflected punk, I can't recommend X highly enough. Start with Live at the Whiskey a Go Go (which even includes a Knitters song), or with this bargain-priced CD containing Los Angeles and Wild Gift, their first two albums.

"The Very Thought of You" (Billie Holiday, Love Songs) -- she'll always be the queen.

"Gypsy Rain" (Arman Chakmakian, Buddha Bar) -- I'd call Buddha Bar CDs collections of mostly down-tempo trance music weaving in influences from around the world. I use them a lot in multisensory worship, and also I find it excellent music to work by: it's catchy enough to be interesting, but lacks the kind of lyrical and musical hooks that insist on placing it in the foreground.

August 25, 2005 in Music | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

among the world's least surprising headlines

"Folk Singer Supports Anti-War Protesters" (AP)

August 22, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

another quiz

What blogging archetype am I? I guess I shouldn't be surprised ...

You are an AKMA.
You stand out from the crowd because of deeply held beliefs in the unknown.
You ponder endlessly and treat everyone, even fucknozzles, with respect.
WWAD (what would AKMA do) guides your actions.

Take the What Blogging Archetype Are You test at GAZM.org

August 17, 2005 in Silliness | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

my secret ambition ...

... is no longer a secret.

That's right -- I'm coming out with it, right here and now.

I want to present the “This Week in God” segment on The Daily Show. It is my life's dream to be the first ordained person to work the God Machine. I would settle for being in charge of making the “boop” noises of said machine. I promise to be very, very funny in a suitably deadpan manner.

August 13, 2005 in Just for Fun | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

a song going through my head

There's a song going through my head (long story ... maybe I'll post on it sometime) from Christian camp days, and the chorus to it went like this:

If the grass is greener on the other side
it's only 'cause they feed it and you let yours die
If there's a fence in the middle and a gate so wide,
If the grass is greener on the other side

I wish I could remember the verses, as the chorus strikes me tonight as one of those rare instances of a modern praise-chorus type song (by which I do NOT mean Iona Community music -- that's its own category, in my mind) with a message worth remembering (in contrast to songs that are pretty much just cheesy and unhelpfully romantic top-40 songs with "baby" or "darlin'" changed to "Jesus").

Anyone out there remember it?  Would it help to know that I learned it at the Forest Home conference center in Forest Falls, California?

August 12, 2005 in Churchiness, Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack