The Good

Catastrophic Musings: The Good, The Bad, and The Irrelevant
entry, September 1st, 2005

When I lived in Florida I weathered a hurricane once. It was the "no-name" storm of 1983, I think. Category I, no big deal. We were at scout camp and had to evacuate because they were opening some floodgates on the Manatee River Dam, and we were downstream. Mostly it amounted to a day of inconvenience.

Those trapped in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast are experiencing a lot more than just inconvenience. As I ponder this, my mind is drawn to the good, the bad, and (as always) the irrelevant:

The Good
There are a number of things you can do to help. I'll make a quick list of links:

  • At the iTunes Music Store you can donate money to the Red Cross. All contributions are confidential, and 100% goes to the Red Cross.
  • My friends at Blank Label are organizing a webcomic telethon, again to raise money for the Red Cross.
  • There are other relief organizations. You can donate to The Salvation Army, or to LDS Humanitarian Services: both organizations are actively working to save lives and bring peace of mind, right alongside the Red Cross and the National Guard, and countless others.
  • Refugees get bored, and in a disaster like this one, boredom can kill. Send them books -- especially Children's books. Sandra and I will be doing this with the kids. The address:
    c/o RED CROSS
    2700 Southwest Freeway
    Houston, TX 77098
  • Got space? FEMA's phone number for offering up housing is (800) 440-6728, the State of Louisiana's Office of Emergency Preparedness accepts offers at (225) 925-7500, and has a web-based system for offering to take in refugees.
  • Pray. Don't just pray that $DEITY (that's geek-speak for "a variable to represent the deity of your choice") to "bless the afflicted." Pray that YOU can know what YOU can do to help. I share the Latter-Day Saint belief that "when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God." After you've spent some time on your knees, get up and spend some time on your feet.

The Bad
What can I say? I'm a humorist, and I ALWAYS look for the twist. I've had to make the destruction of entire worlds funny, or at least light-hearted, in the course of writing Schlock Mercenary, and as I was musing on the horrors of Katrina's wake in New Orleans, it occurred to me that New Orleans is a city well-known for embracing the culture and art of the voudouin.

This single-panel gag was not far behind.

I'm a terrible, terrible person. If you laughed at this, go back up to the "Good" section and salve your conscience by donating. I know I had to. If enough of you email me to say "your crudely drawn voodoo zombie made me donate," I'll tighten it up and color it for the telethon. Otherwise I'll assume I'm just too sick to be allowed to live, and I'll head off to the vet to be put down.

The Irrelevant
Completely unrelated to the disaster... I'd like to thank some recent advertisers here at the folks who do the TDZK game paid up WAAAY in advance, helping me get through a thin Summer without borrowing too heavily against a not-much-thicker Fall. TDZK is a web based, text based, strategy, space combat and trading game. It's got a rich storyline of its own, a great community (About 2000 players and growing every day), and most importantly of all, it is entirely free. And yet they paid in advance for ads.

Go play. The "irrelevant" section exists to take your mind off of the Good and the Bad, if only for a little while.