ramblings from the noisedoctor

January 29, 2009

WANTED: a heart

Filed under: freecycle, no good deed goes unpunished, soapbox — Tags: — noisedoctor @ 10:38 am

That’s what I’m tempted to post to our local freecycle group. I’m not looking for a heart for myself, but for our “tin-person” moderators. Let me explain. Over the past few weeks, there have been a series of arson fires in a nearby town–including one that cost 8 or 9 families everything but their lives and the clothes on their backs. Several people posted to the county freecycle group to solicit donations to help these people out. To which one of our moderators posted:

ADMIN: Donations for victims of [town name] Fires
Several members have made posts asking for donations for the victims
of the [town name] fires. While we have sympathy for those affected
by the fires, we must remind members that Freecycle(TM) is not a
charity organization. This is not the appropriate venue for
coordinating a relief effort.

Information posts are not allowed on this group, but may be submitted
to our chat site:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/%5Bgroup name]

Thank you for your cooperation,
The Moderator Team

Yes, I know freecycle isn’t a place for a relief effort. However, it is a grassroots movement. Therefore, it should be very much tied into local events, especially tragedies. But, let’s take a look at the freecycle mission statement.

Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.

Let me break down these posts seeking help for these fire-impacted families as I see it:

  • gifting movement: yes definitely encourages gifting
  • reduces waste: no
  • saves precious resources: yes/perhaps I would argue that it does by easing the burden on the Red Cross, etc.
  • eases the burden on our landfills: no
  • enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community: most definitely yes

I’ll admit, that doesn’t result in a resounding yes towards meeting the mission, but it’s far from a responding no either. I can respect the moderators wanting to keep the groun on-topic and keep the “junk” messages to a minimum. But, chastising people for seeking to help a group of families which just lost all their earthly possessions is just cold and heartless.


November 9, 2008

i hope your voting experience was better than mine

Filed under: no good deed goes unpunished, politics, soapbox, society — Tags: , — noisedoctor @ 8:44 am

On Tuesday I went to my polling location. I waited in line for over an hour to get to the registration desk. There I had to give my name to 4 different people. The first two checked a book that I was in the correct place (the second had me sign next to my name). The second two wrote down my name and ballot number (just in case you thought it was anonymous voting). Then I got my chance to head to a voting booth.

Now, I had to wait an hour. It must be that there just weren’t enough voting machines to handle the load, right? Was that because there was a problem with the machines? Of course not. When I finally got my ballot, only 2 of the 6 voting machines were in use. The entire delay was the “sign-in” process.

I figured I just hit the polling location at a bad time. As I was leaving, however, the line was twice as long as when I started. My wife voted much later in the day and had to wait over an hour. She asked one of the people working the polls about the wait time and they said it was pretty much the same all day long.

So much for picking bad times to vote. If the center has over an hour wait constantly all day long, don’t you think someone might just realize that there’s a problem? I guess that would imply competence and some level of caring. No wonder people complain about the hassles of voting. I’ve apparently become one of them.

February 14, 2007

how a simple “no thanks” made a big statement

Filed under: Christianity, marriage, no good deed goes unpunished, soapbox — noisedoctor @ 2:39 pm

I was just browsing some of the recent blog postings here on WordPress. One mentioned today being the release of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. I don’t know if that’s a fact or not–to be honest, I couldn’t possibly care less. But, it reminded me of how I made a very loud statement two years ago without intending to, just by saying the simple and polite words: “no thanks.”

See, I was consulting in New York for a division of a large magazine publisher, which I won’t mention but you shouldn’t have to think too hard to figure out. In the lobby of the building were large racks that held copies of the recently published magazines. Employees (and apparently contractors) were allowed to grab a few copies of whatever magazines they wished.

I was happily working away (headphones on, hunched over the laptop) when I heard someone trying to get my attention. I turned around to see a young woman who I had seen many times delivering mail to the employees. She had a very full mail cart and was handing me a magazine. I believe it was wrapped in brown paper but I am not positive about that. I asked what it was, and she said, “It’s the swimsuit edition.” (As I came to learn, they distribute it one-per-employee rather than the usual “rack distribution” for normal editions of the magazine)  I didn’t really even ponder it and immediately replied, politely, “no thanks.” I got the most interesting look in reply. I think she asked if I was sure–but, again, I could be wrong. The administrative assistant in the cubicle next to me jumped to her feet saying, “I’ll take his copy.” I didn’t mind–whatever.

I put my headphones back on and got back to work. A few minutes later I heard a small group of people gathered outside my cubicle so I took off the headphones to hear them talking about me and what I had said. So, the most head-honcho guy that I worked with there, and only very tangentially (he was a C– level person), saw that I had turned around and said to me, “You don’t want the swimsuit edition?”

“Not really,” I said. “I just don’t think it would be edifying to my wife.”

I’m sure I must have instantly grown another head or two, because I got the strangest looks.

November 17, 2006

upon further review, beggars opt to not be choosers

Filed under: Christianity, no good deed goes unpunished, soapbox — noisedoctor @ 7:39 am

Isn’t it frustratingly ironic when “beggars” opt to be “choosers” as well?

The Marine Reserves’ Toys For Tots program has announced that it will accept 4,000 “talking Jesus dolls.” They had earlier declined.

“The talking Jesus doll issue has been resolved,” the organization announced on its Web site Wednesday. “Toys for Tots has found appropriate places for these items. We have notified the donor of our willingness to handle this transaction.”

In explaining the initial decision, Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va., had said the program didn’t want to take the risk of offending a Jewish or Muslim family if they received a Jesus doll.

I’m not sure if I’ve lost what respect I did have for the Toys For Tots program.

August 4, 2006

green thumb -> hot water

Filed under: gardening, no good deed goes unpunished — noisedoctor @ 11:09 am

(sunflowers at my house)

A homeowner in Tonawanda NY has received a summons to appear in court regarding his “bumper crop” of sunflowers. They are supposedly causing a “sight obstruction” despite overwhelming support from local townspeople.

Yup. No good deed goes unpunished.

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