I’m beyond excited to be going back to Haiti this Friday to help out with surgeries at St Luke’s Hospital in the Tabarre neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Several other surgeons will be at the hospital from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and as well from Pennsylvania.
While I’m greatly looking forward to the trip and to putting my skills to good use, the neighborhood of Tabarre has recently experienced some severe flooding from the rainy season in Haiti.
Below is a statement from Father Rick Frechette, director of Nos Petits Frere et Soeurs, the Haitian arm of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos.
Tabarre suffered severe flooding from very heavy rains. Water was chest high in many places, even a few hundred meters from our gates, both toward the US Embassy and toward the sea. Many vehicles were ruined by water and mud (one of our St. Luke vehicles was caught in the water window high while on an emergency run), many houses and gardens are flooded, many cows drowned. Thank God there is no loss of life reported.
The water rose to within inches of passing over the ramped entrance to St Damien hospital, which would have reaped havoc by filling the hospital courtyard and basement, and flooding our generators. All of our centers in Tabarre are waterlogged and soggy but OK. We had no major damage except for that truck. Fortunately at St. Damien Hospital, we have sandbags always ready at the entrance, and we have two pumps to push the water out again, should the waters rise higher in the future.
We thank God there is no news of fatalities, we thank we have lost only one truck, and we pray for the people whose losses are great and will help in the limited way that we can under current circumstances of austerity we are facing. Best regards to all and thanks, as always, for your friendship.
This past weekend, Boston and much of the eastern half of the US experienced some record or near-record setting hot temperatures. Thankfully, things are expected to cool down a little bit today and be more comfortable – but I thought this someecard was more than appropriate to describe the weather the last three days…
Much of the eastern portion of the United States will be baking in greater than 85 degree temperatures tomorrow. Given that Bostonians, New Yorkers, Philadelphians, and Washingtonians tomorrow will be sweating like… well you know the phrase… many will undoubtedly reach for their favorite iced coffee drink.
Not so fast. You might think that iced coffee drink is refreshing and packs a nice little “pick me up” with the caffeine, but ever wonder why it tastes so damn good too? Hint: it’s loaded with calories, sugar, and fat.
Check out this link from Huffington Post’s Healthy Living section for some alternative selections with fewer calories and sugar from places like Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and McDonald’s.
A friend of mine posted on Facebook the other day asking what song people thought was the most annoying Christmas/holiday song. There were definitely some good responses although some people put down the song they find the most depressing around the holidays rather than the most annoying. I had one very clear vote…
Christmas is 11 days away after all (holy crap, seriously!?) So here goes… which song is your favorite Christmas song? If you come from a religious tradition – is there a religious Christmas song you really like in addition to secular ones? And which Christmas song makes you want to claw your eyes out?My favorite religious Christmas songs:
- O Come, O Come Emanuel (technically an Advent song… I know)
- Oh Come All Ye Faithful (Celine Dion version)
- Oh Little Town of Bethlehem (Amy Grant version)
- O Holy Night (Jewel does a really good version as does the Cast of Glee)
- Silent Night (there are numerous artists who do this song justice, and instrumental versions tend to be beautiful as well)
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Christina Aguilera version – I wont be judged!)
- Baby, It’s Cold Outside
- Cold December Night
- Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Well the holiday season is officially here in the United States with the craziness that was Black Friday and Cyber Monday already come and gone. And with the holiday season comes many of winter’s best attributes – hot chocolate, Christmas, the smell of pine trees…
But the holiday season also carries a little baggage in the form of the Salvation Army with their “army” of bell ringers and red kettles. And my disapproval for the Salvation Army is not solely because I find the bell ringers annoying.
For those of you who don’t know, the Salvation Army actively discriminates against gays and lesbians. While you might think you’re helping the hungry and homeless by dropping a few dollars in the bright red buckets, not everyone can share in those donations. The organization also has a record of actively lobbying governments worldwide for anti-gay policies.
I will never understand how charities that report to come from a background of strong Christian beliefs choose to actively discriminate and deny charitable services to others simply due to differences in beliefs (I’m pretty sure Jesus said love thy neighbor – not love thy neighbor if he or she believes the same thing as you). But I want to point out an idea that I thought was fairly interesting in order to show support for the LGBT community.
America Blog is asking LGBT shoppers and allies to give downloadable “vouchers” to Salvation Army bell ringers in lieu of cash in an effort to let the organization know that “bigotry is not a Christmas value”. You can print out the vouchers below. I think this idea is unique and worthwhile. Do I think it will change the Salvation Army’s position on homosexuality? Absolutely not – but it cant hurt right?
one of today’s trends on twitter was #WhatMakesMeSmile
I’m gonna go ahead and say there are a lot of things that make me smile, especially this time of year. Fall makes me smile with leaves changing, pumpkin flavored everything, the first snow fall, hot cocoa, Thanksgiving and spending time with family, and beautiful sunny days followed by cold nights snuggled up next to someone special.
So what makes you smile?
Last year, Target stunned the American public when they were the first company to announce they would be opening at midnight on Thanksgiving Day. Many people claimed that the company was cutting into the time for employees to spend with their families and to enjoy the tradition of Thanksgiving. Despite the small outcry, Target stores opened at midnight across the nation (except for Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine, which dont allow retailers to open on holidays).
Well this year, Target and several other stores have upped the ante… and may are claiming that these retailers are creeping in on Thanksgiving. Target, Walmart, Sears, Kmart, and Toys R Us are opening their stores at 9pm this year. And some of their employees arent too happy about it. Interestingly, some of the companies have announced that even though they are opening early, presumably to draw in customers, their Black Friday specials wont begin until after midnight.
Several petitions have popped up on Change.org to “Stop Black Thursday”, claiming that retailers are putting revenues ahead of families. And after all, isnt that what the holidays are about? Then again, look around any super store or shopping mall and you’ll notice that it looks like Christmas vomited all over the place. Is this just the next logical step for retailers to take? And how will the American public respond?
So what you think, should retailers open earlier on Thanksgiving Day? And should employees be allowed to bow out in order to spend time with their families.
For more info, there’s a decent CNN article that you can find here about “Black Thursday”.