Friday, July 29, 2011

Youtube Is Awesome

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

4th Grade Dictation

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thirsty Homeless People

It's really hot. It's hot all over the country.  Now imagine having to live outside in all this heat and being too poor to buy a bottle of water.

The first chance you get, go out and buy a case of bottled water, put it on ice, and then distribute it to the homeless people you see.

Thanks - you just may be saving a life.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Homeless People And Their Backpacks

This  proves one thing for certain, I don't know how to edit videos very well!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is America Great?

What I've tried to say in the past. It's said better here. It was once said, "America is great because America is good." Can that really be said in honesty, anymore?


Flickr photo by Gagilas
It's going to be another year of record breaking high temperatures. If you can, please carry with you bottles of water and distribute them to any homeless people you come across - Thank You.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fresnel Lenses

Something I wrote helped someone write a poem.


The greatest human tragedy of our times:
society forcing every person to justify
his existence with a "purpose." Not all
who wander are lost.
--Kevin Barbieux, "The Homeless Guy"

If not our greatest grief, it's our most subtle,
This mania to "justify" our lives:
Calm contemplation offers firm rebuttal
Of the insistence greatness always strives.
Brief, luminous bursts disclose what best survives
Like Fresnel lenses guiding ships at sea;
Once, scalloped glass honed candle flames to knives
That split the thickest fog with clarity.
What purpose is there, if not just to be?
A Fresnel lens asks nothing of the night,
Imparts to storms no innate tragedy;
Accepts wide waves blown shoreward, wild and white.
The heavy glass--both delicate and strong--
Insists on what was present all along.

--- Robert Lavett Smith

What the author says about the poem:
Glad you liked it. Several things came together in this one. First, the quote used as an epigraph was given to me as a writing prompt during a phone conversation yesterday with my friend Deena Larsen, in Denver. Secondly, I went on line at school this morning to look up the "free days" at the local museums, so that we could take the kids on low-cost field trips. While doing so, I came across a reference to a Fresnel lens on display at the maritime museum on Fisherman's Wharf (an absolute must-see, apparently!) I had encountered Fresnel lenses before, and knew what they were, but hadn't thought about them in years; the quote and the lens image just seemed to compliment one another in an unexpected way. Finally, I had about an hour to myself in the classroom--with nothing whatsoever to do--while the class of severely impaired summer school students was out in the community with the teacher and the other aides. Having time to kill, I took the basic idea, and just ran with it. The class returned at the exact moment I hit "send" on my email. Serendipity, really.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Point - Counter Point

It has been said:
The greatest human tragedy of our times: not having a sense of purpose in life.
Aimlessness is the root of all problems.

To which I counter:
The greatest human tragedy of our times: society forcing every person to justify his existence with a "purpose." Not all who wander are lost.

Any thoughts? put them in the comments below.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Advice To Contributor Patrons

On behalf of all The Contributor vendors, I want to thank you for your support. You have helped many homeless people make the nearly impossible leap from homelessness to homed in a relatively short period of time. Every time you buy a paper, the homeless vendor believes a little bit more in himself, and in his chances of returning to mainstream society.

To make the relationship between vendor and customer as successful and beneficial as possible, I'd like to share a couple thoughts.

Before a homeless person is allowed to be a vendor, he/she attends a mandatory training session where they are taught their rights and responsibilities as vendors. You can read a partial list of rules each vendor must follow at The Contributor website - Vendor Rules.

Each vendor understands, having been homeless for some period of time, that many in the general public are leery of homeless people, and some are outright prejudiced against them. For this reason, The Contributor vendors are extra cautious to not offend anyone, or to do anything that might be construed as improper. Their ability to earn money depends on it. Even so, the police are constantly being called to check on vendors, even though the vendor has done nothing wrong. Your fellow citizens have been known to call the police at the mere site of a homeless person. Sure, it's unfair, but that is the reality vendors are facing.

As supporters of the paper, there are some things you can do to help reduce the chances of any appearance of impropriety concerning the vendors. Regardless of who does what regarding the sale of the paper, the homeless vendor will be blamed for it. So, first and foremost, obey ALL traffic laws. If buying a paper puts you in a position of breaking the rules of the road, then don't do it. Yes, vendors will be blamed for the driver's actions. Wait for a more opportune time, or find an alternative way of reaching the vendor. By law, vendors are not allowed to step into the street, even when the traffic is stopped for a red light. Avoid putting the vendor in jeopardy of getting a ticket for walking into the street. You can do that by pulling up to the curb to buy the paper. And, if you are up to the curb, but your light has turned green, don't hold up traffic to complete the transaction, follow the flow of traffic. The guy behind may be honking at you, but he will still blame the vendor for this, albeit small, inconvenience. There will be other opportunities to buy the paper at another time.

Vendor's not only have to obey the laws of the city, they must also obey all the rules set forth by The Contributor, or risk losing the privilege of selling the paper. IF AT ANY TIME YOU SUSPECT THAT A VENDOR, OR SOMEONE WHO APPEARS TO BE A VENDOR, IS BEHAVING IN A DISCOURTEOUS MANNER, PLEASE REPORT THEM TO THE CONTRIBUTOR AT 615-829-6829. The Contributor is just as interested in stopping these people as anyone else.

Here are some situations to be aware of: There are some people posing as vendors who are not authorized to sell the paper. They may have done something that caused them to lose the right to sell, or they may have never been accepted as vendors. Be certain to only buy papers from approved vendors.

Now spotting an authorized vendor is easier than ever. The Contributor's new ID badges are laminated 6 by 8 inches big on bright yellow paper with the vendor's picture in the center. Also on the badge is the vendor's name and the phone number to The Contributor. Don't buy the paper from anyone not displaying that badge. If you see someone selling without the badge, call The Contributor immediately.

Also, be aware that some people are taking other publications that are free to the public, such as those published by local universities, and are trying to sell them, posing as vendors. They are hoping that patrons won't know the difference. Some people have reported being scammed this way. Know what it is you're buying, and please report such scams to the police when they happen. These people, as well as panhandlers make the job of selling The Contributor all the more difficult.

Fat Cats Getting Fatter

After the longest recession since WWII, many Americans are still struggling while S&P 500 corporations are sitting on $800 billion in cash and making massive profits. Now, economists from Northeastern University have released a study that finds our sluggish economic recovery has almost solely benefited corporations.