chris_gerrib: (Default)
With apologies to the very good movie of the same name.

The Good

My Rotary club's annual fundraiser is in the bag bank. It appears like we made significantly more money than last year. I hesitate to say more as we're still waiting for final numbers.

The Bad

On CNN in the lobby this morning, I see that Trump had the entire US Senate over to the White House for a briefing on North Korea. One presumes they were told that the Norks were This Close to building atomic bombs. Interested parties should read this well-written piece on that other budding nuclear power, Iraq: Operation Desert Snipe Hunt.

The Ugly

Also on CNN and various other sources, the GOP is taking another stab at repealing Obamacare. Notable is that they exempt themselves from some of the deleterious side effects.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Upcoming Events

1) Tonight (Friday February 24) at 5 PM CST - Speculative Fiction Cantina podcast!

2) Friday March 10 from 8 to 11 AM CST - Area Technology Experts Discuss Tomorrow’s IT Workforce March 10 at COD’s Tech Talk Live.

3) On Sunday March 19, I will be at the Indian Prairie Public Library for the Local Authors Fair.

4) On Tuesday April 25, my Rotary club will be hosting their Taste of Route 66 fundraiser and restaurant sampling. You can bid without attending, including on a chance to be a character in my novel!

Links of Note

My high school classmate, Mary Maskel-Szymonik, owns a Harley Davidson. She rides same, including in a fundraising drive for Little Angels home for disabled children. I gave and encourage you to give too.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Last night, the Rotary Club of Darien held a Volunteer Appreciation Night at Miskatonic Brewing in Darien IL. The Darien club's signature project is "Food for Kids" which is a program to provide supplemental nutrition to 195 grade school children in Darien and Burr Ridge.

In this program, the club buys kid-friendly food (such as individual cereal boxes) in bulk. The club, working with area volunteers, break down the bulk items into one child, one weekend packets, which are discreetly distributed to needy children by the school. The Darien club wanted to recognize volunteers who went above and beyond to assist.

The following volunteers were recognized:

(Not able to attend) Nick Schanker

(L to R) Maryann Kerrins, Tom Kerrins, Rotary club coordinator Joan Wayman

(L to R) Megan Dooley, Beth Dooley, Joan Wayman

The club also announced that Megan Dooley, an incoming freshman at Hinsdale South HS, will be attending Rotary Youth Leadership Activity.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Yesterday I was at a golf outing (more on that anon) and today I didn't come into work until 1 PM (late evening cutover) so this post is late and the last of the week.

My time yesterday was spent at a golf outing, sponsored by Call One (my voice and data vendor) and a charity they created, Chicago Charity Challenge. The charity exists to get companies to compete with one another to donate to charity, and then they provide additional grants to the winners. It's a good concept. We played at Seven Bridges golf club, a nice and challenging course. Our hosts, wishing to avoid the multi-hour death marches typical of outing golf, had a number of innovative cheats to move one along. I didn't win anything but had a good time.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Yesterday's radio silence was brought to you by my Rotary club's annual fundraiser, A Taste of Route 66. it was held last night at Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien. We're still counting the cash and collecting expenses, but preliminary numbers are looking good.

The event was a lot of work, of course, but for the first time in a decade I wasn't in charge. It was nice not having that burden. I did help at checkout, a job I finished by 9:30. I was invited by the committee to join them at a side bar for a drink, which turned into several, so I didn't get home until midnight. As a result, my tail is dragging a bit today.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I seem to have fixed one of my rants from yesterday, namely activating my Bank of America credit card. It merely took another 15 minutes of insipid hold music. We'll see if I fixed rant #2 about Walgreens.

In other news, John Scalzi is on fire about the current Presidential primaries. I voted in the Democratic primary here, as we had a contested Senate race. Although I'm not in Cook County, I note with some pleasure that Anita Alvarez, the incumbent State's Attorney, will be out of a job come November.

Lastly, we're getting fast and furious in trying to book people for my club's annual fundraiser, A Taste of Route 66. Interested parties can bid without attending, including such items as making Yours Truly cook for them or becoming a character in one of my books. Bid early, bid often.

chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
A few weeks ago, the science fiction editor David Hartwell died suddenly. I may have said hi to Hartwell at a con, but certainly no meeting of substance. In any event, Hartwell's wife, Kathryn Cramer, posted a request that, in lieu of flowers, people send money to the rural hospital Hartwell died in to buy the hospital a ventilator. (They didn't have one, although the lack of one was not medically significant in Hartwell's case.) Feeling generous, I sent a few bucks.

Over the weekend I got a letter from the hospital. Turns out that the reason the hospital doesn't have a ventilator is staffing, not cash to buy the machine. The hospital talked to Cramer and all of these donations are now going to support the emergency room.

In Rotary, when we do an international grant, we insist that somebody do a community needs assessment before we write the check. This sometimes feels awkward, in that the typical Third World town frequently "needs" everything. However, it's important to determine what the community needs and more importantly what they can (and will) use.

Cramer's request sits as a case in point. Fortunately, everything worked out in the end.


Feb. 1st, 2016 09:51 am
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
As mentioned previously, my Rotary club is gearing up for our annual fundraising event, to be held April 5th. Right now we're trying to line up big-ticket items, mostly experiential. Tours, vacations, dinners - the kind of stuff you can't buy at Wal-Mart.

At any fundraising event, their are three groups of people. One group consists of "true believers" who are invested in the cause and need little excuse to give. A second group consists of friends - people who are friends of true believers. They need some excuse to give. The third group is people who are there for the food.

That sounds harsh, and maybe it is, but what I mean are people who are attending because their company wants to support the cause (or be seen supporting it). This can also include people just looking for something to do that night, or really anybody not invested in the cause or the organizers. To get these people to spend money (or at least more money than a raffle ticket) you need stuff they can't buy at Wal-Mart.

Thus endeth the lesson.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
This week has been consumed by locusts meetings. Have a few links and a thought:


1) Never underestimate the power of one man - man spends 20 years cutting road through mountain.

2) I'm not in favor of gun control, but Australia's rules seem to work. Related to this, Chris Hernandez both corrects the record as to what Obama said and points out that Obama was right - America has more mass shootings than any other industrialized country.

Thought - Women and Fights (or War, or Gunfights)

Whenever the subject of women and combat or fights come up, the argument is made that "women are smaller and so will lose the fight" or words to that effect. Well, in reality, there are multiple factors that determine who wins a fight, be it hand-to-hand, war or a gunfight. Namely:

A) Skill & Training - In hand-to-hand, this actually cuts both ways, in that sometimes martial artists get beat by bar-brawlers because the later are unpredictable and don't follow rules. Skill with a gun or a well-trained army can be a great equalizer.

B) Determination - motivated people (individual or group) fight harder and longer, and accept more damage / casualties.

C) Size - yes, size does matter. In combat, if your enemy can trade you 5 to 1 and still have troops, then you're in for a long fight. The best marksman can only do so much with a .22 short. And yes, in hand-to-hand, the bigger guy has an advantage.

In short, who wins a fight depends on a lot of factors.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Apparently thoughts are coming to me in pairs this week. So, in honor of my Ruger Red Label shotgun, have a pair.

First Barrel

Posted in part for my dad, an article which asks how effective and ethical the Wounded Warrior charitable organization is. I always get a little concerned with charities that spend a lot of money on TV ads myself.

Second Barrel

I attended my writer's workshop last night, and in honor of that, this author critiques your story that he hasn't read.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I find I have some time, so you (lucky you) get some more wit and wisdom from me.

Thought The First

If a comment thread has devolved into personal barbs aimed at somebody, additional commenting is probably not worth anybody's time. See here, especially #7, #8 and #10.

Thought the Second

Utah found a brilliantly effective solution for homelessness. Money quote: Between shelters, jail stays, ambulances, and hospital visits, caring for one homeless person typically costs the government $20,000 a year. Providing one homeless person with permanent housing, however — as well as a social worker to help them transition into mainstream society — costs the state $8,000. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.


Mar. 25th, 2015 10:30 am
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
So, yesterday was my Rotary club's annual fundraiser, our second annual "Taste of Route 66." I spent most of the day running around getting set up for it, then acting as Master of Ceremonies at the event. The setup went much smoother than prior years, and so that part got done early. We had a minor glitch in that the auctioneer was late, and I discovered that if you have your credit card Square plugged into your phone it won't work as a phone.

That's the bad news. The good news that, based on a back-of-the-envelope calculation, we made almost twice as much as last year! Yeah team!
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
It's officially the 4th day of spring, but here in Chicago it's snowing to beat the band, so I'm not really feeling spring-like. Traffic is a bit slow, which confuses me since the snow is not sticking to any road more trafficked than a driveway, but then many things confuse me.

At any event, have a few links:

A) A reminder, my Rotary Club's fundraiser is tomorrow. You can attend or participate online. I'm offering a special prize - a steak and wine dinner cooked by me.

B) I've never been abused, but this abuser's hustle looks shockingly like what I see Internet trolls do.

C) So, while looking for something else, I came across "the box of truth." Two gun owners, both retired and with access to a range with a liberal policy, test various guns and gun myths. You'll see a couple more posts from them, but for today:

what really happens if you shoot rock salt from a shotgun

buckshot patterns from a shotgun (hint - get closer)

shooting off a padlock ain't like you see in the movies
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Three things make a post, or so they say.

Thing #1

An interesting story - American man goes to German hospital for possible heart attack, and is told "no insurance accepted." He's concerned, until he's give the all-clear and the bill - $180.

Thing #2

A long and sad article about child endangerment. The tl;dr version? Bible-thumping State representative uses clout to adopt three troubled kids, despite being told repeatedly that he's not capable of handling them. His exorcism doesn't work (surprise, surprise, says Gomer Pyle) so he pawns the kids off to another family. One of the kids gets raped (again) by the pawn-ee. A man has got to know his limitations.

Thing #3

On a more positive note, my Rotary club is running a raffle to raise funds to feed kids here in Darien. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Charity Beg

Mar. 5th, 2015 10:07 am
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
My Rotary club in Darien is having a fundraiser on March 24th at Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien. We're having our second annual "Taste of Route 66" event, with 13 restaurants participating. Cost is $40 per person - register at the link.

For those not in the area, we are selling raffle tickets for Hoopsmania, tied to the NCAA Final Four. Tickets are $20 each, and you could win up to $4,000. Tickets can be purchased online here.

All proceeds from both events will be used to support the charitable endeavors of the Darien Rotary Club, including our signature project - Food for Kids. We are buying and distributing food to over 100 children in Darien who don't get enough to eat on weekends. The goal of this program is to make sure that, when the children come to school on Monday, they are ready to learn.

Your donations are appreciated and tax-deductible.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Because they're quick to post:

A) My Rotary club helped get solar panels installed at a local grade school.

B) No, Virginia, ADP is NOT emailing you an invoice, or, "it's a trap!" (Virus)

C) (Allegedly) actual (humorous) exchanges between pilots and control towers.

D) Useful advice for any emergency first, get some help.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
A Right Not To Be Mocked

John C. Wright is still ranting about Bristol Palin. Apparently, even if a woman starts a drunken fight, finding humor in that fact is unacceptable, and pointing out that she started said fight is a distraction. I suppose pointing out that she could have gotten her nose broken for her instead of just unceremoniously hauled out of the place is beyond the pale.

In any event, Wright seeks a right not to be mocked. He's not prepared to extend that right to anybody who disagrees with him.

Two Items of Good News

Item #1 - Last night, my Rotary club, working with various volunteers including the local Girl Scouts, packed over 750 meals for our backpack program. This program sends Darien school-kids home with food on the weekend - food they otherwise wouldn't have. It's a shame that's needed in Darien, but we're doing something about it.

Item #2 - two of my dinner companions last night.

chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I was planning to be on the road this morning heading to more of our locations, but things came up so I'm at Oak Brook. For your perusal, two links and a cartoon.

Link #1 - 10 things food banks need but don't ask for.

Link #2 - My Rotary club helping children.

A powerful cartoon (click here to see source)

Brucex23 RGB_12


Oct. 14th, 2014 10:45 am
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I'm back from the lovely Holiday Home Camp in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. While there, I was a volunteer running our Rotary district's RYLA program in conjunction with OWLS (Outdoor Wisconsin Leadership School). I finished working on RYLA at 2:30 on Monday, and then got stuck in rush-hour traffic back in Chicago, so I got nothing done over the weekend.

Now I'm back at work, it's a 4-day week, we have a new hire, and I am presenting to the Board. Yippee!
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Yesterday was consumed by locusts, and if I don't puke something out today will be as well.

A) From Slate, an interesting history of Liberia and how the founding thereof was messed up.

B) Also from Slate, a quick note that India put a spacecraft in orbit around Mars for less than it cost to make the movie Gravity. As space travel becomes cheaper, more people will do it.

C) An interesting analysis of the American Civil War, which David Brin thinks is still going on.

D) A bit of humor for those who've read any of John Norman's Gor books Houseplants of Gor.


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