Category Archives: This Just In…

Notes, on Breaking News!

A Phenomenal Gift: A Few Suggestions to the Winner of Tonight’s 640 Million Dollar Lottery

Want some?

A generalized truth: most of us have either imagined what we would do or have heard others name a few things they would do if they were the winner of tonight’s lottery, now up to over 640 million dollars. Pay off debt. Buy a house. Give some money to my family. Or friends. Or both. These are the most logical beginnings, and I am no different. Those are the first few things on my list too.

But even the $347 million left after taxes, should the winner choose the cash option of $462 million, leaves a lot of money. Even if you bought the most expensive house around. Even if you bought Oprah’s mansion. And took a string of expensive vacations. And bought an entire new designer wardrobe and got yourself that nice, new “Beamer” (sp? Guess I’m not much of a hipster.) you’ve been eyeing. What would you do with the rest? Even if, say, fifty people had to split it, they’d still each be receiving a phenomenal gift, one that should not be frittered away selfishly, in my opinion.

To the winner of  this incredible sum, I offer a few suggestions:

  1. Most people have a favorite charity. If you don’t, pick one. Or several. If you don’t trust what they will do with donated funds, organize something yourself that will benefit that/those charity/charities. Or hire someone to come up with a plan.
  2. If, for some unknown reason, you can’t come up with one, ask your loved ones. Or don’t ask anyone. God knows the rest of the world will be watching, tracking your moves, to see what you do with the money.
  3. Whatever you give to these charities, there are a million and one other causes – and I’m referring specifically now to those that don’t get much attention – that truly need it. Those that certainly don’t get the attention they need and deserve. I will offer some of these now, in case you are undecided.
  4. National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Organization (NTSAD). Tay-Sachs is a fatal genetic disorder that stops a baby’s development after only a few short months of life, then causes deterioration of their physical and mental abilities, ending in death. Before these babies die, they will lose their ability to swallow, experience seizures, become blind, deaf, and eventually paralyzed. Think about the horror of that for a minute. Then read about it, from someone living through this right now, on her beautiful and heartbreaking blog, Little Seal. Then ask yourself why there isn’t greater awareness of this disorder – which, by the way, can be detected with prenatal genetic testing.
  5. Child Sex Trafficking. Let me be clear: Children. Forced. Sold. Sex-Slaves. These are not prostitutes. They are children – our children (most children who are trafficked in the US are American) – taken and forced. Why don’t we hear about this more? Because people don’t want to talk about it. But that’s exactly what we need to do – talk about it. Draw attention to it. And if a group of teenagers can get together and form MINGA, a nonprofit founded by teens, to fight child trafficking by getting teens to work together, you can certainly bring yourself to give a little help too, can’t you?
  6. Pick something else that you don’t hear much about, another problem that doesn’t affect as many people as, for example, breast cancer, then start a foundation or a campaign to draw some attention to it. Rare disorders and diseases often get little attention simply because they don’t affect as many people, so you can imagine they get a lot less money and help. But I’d be willing to bet that some of the 30 million Americans that have these rare disorders would be eternally grateful. If you can’t think of any rare diseases off the top of your head, check out the website for the National Organization for Rare Disorders. They’ll have plenty of suggestions for you.
  7. Build a playground, a community center, a resource center, or something else and name it in honor of a loved one you’ve lost.
  8. Fund some research for a very common genetic disorder that, unfortunately, goes undiagnosed or missed more often than not (for reasons I’ll discuss in another post): hereditary hemochromatosis. When detected early it can be treated and lives can be saved. Undetected, it will cause all kinds of organ damage, and eventually kill you. Trust me. I’m one of the lucky ones.
  9. Or, if you just don’t want to invest the time, donate some to a foundation that will do it for you.

If I win the money, I will give some to all of these – and that’s a promise. (Now hopefully I’ll win and have to keep that promise!)


The Five Stages of SOPA-Related Shock

A quick post tonight, one that I would have taken more time with, had I learned earlier that WordPress would be joining the numerous sites that are said to be participating in the internet blackout to protest the SOPA.

I understand the reasoning behind the blackout, and personally am all about saving freedom of speech – which has, I believe, been in hospice for quite some time, dwindling toward its unfortunate demise – but can’t say whether or not I agree with all of these sites (Oh my God, WordPress? Google? What are we going to do?) blacking out at the same time. I’m still trying to digest the fact that they will be gone at all, let alone for an extended period of time (which, according to my daily use, would equal anything upwards of oh, say an hour without them).

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but have been very preoccupied the past week trying to tame a frustration that has blossomed into something, you know, a little stronger, and consequently haven’t paid much attention to anything outside of my bubble.  Now the clock is ticking and little time remains to communicate with you, My People.

It is truly amazing how fast one can move through five stages of grief (defined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross), five stages that I’m finding with every minute, apply elsewhere in life too.

First, the denial:

WHAT? No way, man. They can’t. They simply can’t. They won’t do it for that long. Maybe after an hour or so they’ll realize how much people need access. They’re not just going to let us all, well, whatever we would do without access to these sites. Perish, or something. It’ll be okay. (Note: Begin pacing here) Sure. It won’t. Last. Long.

Then, anger:

I can’t believe this! (Bleepity-bleep bleep!) They can’t do that.  Too many people will be affected.  Businesses. (Me) Organizations. (I need access) People with, I don’t know, some urgent need to communicate with their people, if something drastic has happened. (Like me. Sort of.)  Everyone. The world. (Note: Look at your screen. Imagine it blank. You can’t – it’s unfathomable. It makes you nervous. Stand up. Look around the room as though the solution were there, on a shelf maybe.)


(Note: Sit back down before working on a bargain. You need to catch your breath.) Okay, I know it’s for a good cause and all, and I’m all for fighting for what you believe in, but maybe they could just do it a little differently. Like, maybe they could do a site-rolling black-out, you know, like first Craigslist, then Wikipedia, followed by Reddit, and so on.  Mozilla can’t participate though.  No, we’ll all need Mozilla so we can get on and check to see which sites went through with it. Or Google. Same reason. (Note: Pitch forward slightly in your seat, closer to the keyboard.  Now you’re onto something. You’ve got some decent ideas. Doable stuff.)

Or, even, um, Twitter.  Twitter could just take it all on by itself, ‘cause really, come on – who needs all those updates from every Jo and Bob and Susie every two minutes? Aren’t we already all having enough of an attention deficit experience, with our Smartphones, Ipads, Kindles, and whatnot? We can give up Twitter for a while, but keep the others. (Note: Lean back in your chair. What did you think you were going to do? Write to someone, the CEO of these sites and convince him or her, in the next couple of hours?)


(Note: here, your first of several sighs. This will go on until the sites come back up, so practice until you are doing it with style.) All that work I was going to do, all those emails I was going to send, all those articles that have nothing to do with what I need to be doing that I was going to waste two, three, maybe even four hours reading (Oops! Stop before someone hears you, for the love of Pete* – you’re not supposed to openly admit to this. Get a grip, for crying out loud).  I guess I could pay the bills.  But I don’t feel like it. This is hard. Who knew it would be so hard? Maybe I’ll just go to bed and hopefully everything will be back to normal by the time I wake up. Like a bad dream or something. I hope. Oh God, I hope. (Note: Shuffle slowly to your room, put on your biggest, most comfy socks and most cozy pjs, because you need all that comfort stuff now. Sit on the side of your bed. No, slump. That’s better.)

And finally, Acceptance:

(Essential note: Let out a deep sigh of resignation here. Acceptance won’t be complete without this.) Oh, (pause, for effect)  well (add another sigh). It’s not like I don’t have other work to do. Or household chores. Or even – and I know this is a stretch for a lot of us, myself included, but bear with me – catch up on some sleep. What a concept!

One final note: Repeat to self, as needed: It will be over soon. They’ll be back up and we’ll be back on in no time. It will go quickly. Now remember to breathe deeply (hyperventilation is never a good thing), and try not to worry.  If nothing else, maybe read an article on practicing mindfulness. For example.

See you soon, everyone.


*Who is Pete anyway, and why is everyone always dragging him into these messes?

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