Archive for January, 2010

January 23, 2010

Last night was Conan O’Brien’s last Tonight Show appearance as NBC has decided to move Jay Leno back into the 11:30 time slot.

Conan, in the most mature and dignified manner, said goodbye to NBC and his viewers in a hearfelt and virtually inspirational speech:


The Start of the Blues

January 23, 2010

We all have heard of the Rat Pack but did you know they were directly responsible for the start of the blues?

I forgot how marvelous these gentleman were!

The Haiti Disaster – How You Can Help!

January 17, 2010

Tears well in my eyes each time I hear or see news of the terrible devastation that has occurred in Haiti as a result of the unprecedented 7.4 earthquake a few days ago. Authorities estimate as many as 200,000 deaths may result from this catastrophic event. In addition, international aid is slow in coming due to the destruction to the airport as well as all other modes of transportation.

Haiti’s shell-shocked government gave the United States control over its main airport to bring order to aid flights from around the world and speed relief to the impoverished Caribbean nation. Fortunately, it’s helping!

The main pinch point is at the small airport in Port au Prince, which lost its control tower in the tremor. It became so clogged with aid aircraft that many of them had to wait hours to be unloaded and it had to be closed to new arrivals for eight hours. A shortage of jet fuel also meant some could not take off again.

“There’s only so much concrete,” said US Air Force Col Buck Elton. “It’s a constant puzzle of trying to move aircraft in and out.”

Once supplies had been unloaded, blocked roads meant progress in getting them to where they were needed was desperately slow. “People have been almost fighting over water,” said aid worker Fevil Dubien as he distributed water from a lorry in a suburb of Port-au-Prince.

The situation improved with the arrival of the American aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, with 19 helicopters on board, which will be used to transport supplies by air. The US is also sending more than 10,000 soldiers and marines to keep the peace.

Charities have managed to set up several field hospitals, and 17 search and rescue teams were picking through the rubble of collapsed buildings with sniffer dogs, pausing every so often to wait for aftershocks to pass.

There are ways you can help via donations:

1. Text “Haiti” on your mobile phone to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross relief for Haiti.

2. Donate your old shoes/sneakers to Soles for Souls – to find the closest location near you.

3. AARP will match your donation, doubling the impact of your dollars! All contributions are fully tax-deductible, and 100% of your gift will go directly to relief efforts in Haiti.

You can mail your donation to:

AARP Foundation
Haiti Relief Fund
PO Box 93207
Long Beach, CA 90809

Or donate online be patient – the site is very busy as a result of matching dollars and may take a few minutes to load – don’t give up!!!

Also, there have always been many Haitian children that were homeless and/or orphans. In recent years many US families have opened their hearts and homes to bring these children here to start a new life. Since the earthquake has taken so many lives, there will be an additional abundance of needy children.

Haitian Orphans

Haitian Orphans

Humanitarian efforts abound here in the US as well as abroad in rescuing Haitian orphans by forgoing the regular formalities. Stay tuned to for further details or subscribe to the Child’s Hope newsletter:

Richard and Malinda Pickett have just learned that the Haitian government is going to issue visas for the three children they have been trying to adopt for the last 5 years. American friends and missionaries currently in Haiti are going to accompany the children home as soon as transportation arrangments can be made! How wonderful for the Pickett’s! Many blessings and much happiness!

Daniela, Danielo and Danel

The Pickett's Haitian Childern, Daniela, Danielo and Danel

The Cab Ride

January 13, 2010

The Cab Ride

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated’.

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy’, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly.

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice’.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice. ‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent
home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
‘How much do I owe you?’ she asked, reaching into her purse. ‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?
What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware- beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.




You won’t get any big surprise in 10 days if you send this to ten people. But, you might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sending it on and reminding us that often it is the random acts of kindness that most benefit us all.

Thank you, my friend.