Friday, September 30, 2005

Beware of Spammed Comments

Ovations has been discovered. By spammers. I've just gone back to delete several posts from spammers entering a "cool blog" comment and then saying "check out my website" and listing a link to some unknown website. Of course, I have no clue to what the website contains. And therefore I have no intention of clicking. I hope you won't either.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Supporting Katrina Relief Efforts

There are many ways to give toward Katrina relief. Fellow author Tony Hellman is pulling out his checkbook with a promise that for every comment posted in his Katrina post, he'll donate money to Red Cross Katrina Relief in the following increments: $1 for each comment, $2 for a comment left by a literary agent, editor, or publisher.

As of this morning, he's generated more than 3,000 hits; a minimum of $3,000 and probably higher. What a brilliant incentive. He's created a way for people to give, without giving, while increasing traffic to his blog, which lifts his blog into new demographic heights, while also pitching the sale of his novel to publishing industry professionals and others. He's even had corporations coming aside him with offers to match gifts. If his novel is as good as his marketing savvy, it may be a bestseller.

Tony confesses the idea wasn't his. He read about other bloggers doing this and he recognized it as a good idea. So how about popping on over to Tony's blog and taking a look at what he has to say and leave a comment. So I've modified the rules a bit and am offering you a challenge.

While the Red Cross is a fabulous organization, I've tabbed Habitat for Humanity on the receiving end of my financial donations. If anyone else would like to donate to Habitat for Humanity Katrina Relief you can do it easily from their website. And if you donate through the website and have them send me (Carolyn Bass) a Gift Card, I will donate $1 for every Gift Card that I receive from them during the next 48 hours. Please send the Gift Card to my blog email at: throughts @ (Be sure to remove the spaces on each side of the @ sign.) I'll keep this challenge open for 48 hours (closing at 12 noon PDT, 17 September 2005). At the end of the 48 hours, I will tally all of the Gift Cards I've received from Habitat From Humanity and will submit another $1 for each card and will display my receipt to show how much WE contributed. And if you decide to join me in this effort, why not leave a comment to encourage others to follow. Just click on the COMMENTS link below.

Even if you can't donate cash, Habitat for Humanity will need skilled laborers to donate time and talent in the rebuilding efforts throughout that region. Habitat for Humanity is an organization that brings out the best in people.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


So much has gone on since hurricane Katrina did what Americans thought would never happen here. The proud city of New Orleans and surrounding areas have been turned into a cesspool of third world proportions. Never mind the arrogance that gambled whether or not a class 4 or higher hurricane would dare threaten the New Orleans levees. Forget the fact that the city was built below sea level anyway. The city is devastated—flooded, plundered, stinking, and dispirited. The people remaining—or should I call them survivors—are now being forcibly evacuated. For decades now distaster pundits have made predictions and the media has reported warnings of what see see today. Americans consider themselves the eagles of the proud and the free, but events such as this reveal the eagle as an ostrich with its head in the sand.

I’m still trying to grip what has happened here. I saw the images of winds blowing the roofs from buildings, water crashing through the levees, cars bobbing down the streets, and people—people—clinging to trees, exiled on rooftops, and floating bloated in the aftermath. A recent news report wrenched my heart even further: Twenty-five elderly patients were found drowned in a nursing home. Add that to this wrencher: Twenty-two people tied themselves together to keep from being separated in the wind and rising waters, and all 22 drowned together. The stories of survivors bring back memories of the World Trade Centers post 9/11. One death toll estimate I read gave a staggering 25,000.

Blogs and the internet have proven to be the single most valuable tool for getting the word out when the traditional means of communications failed. Blogs list missing family members, survivor stories, neighborhood updates, encouragement to victims, plus record the response of everyday people pierced through the heart by this tragedy.

What can we do? Giving money to relief organizations is just the beginning. Many people are opening their homes to the displaced. Others are volunteering services: doctors, nurses, construction workers, search and rescue teams, just about anyone with a skill that is needed in a disaster zone. The need is so great, but the response of everyday Americans is greater.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Changing Routines

I just got back from taking my son to his first day of school for the new term. I love the lazy days of summer, but by the time September 1st rolls around, I am so ready for school to resume. He begins his junior year of high school and is on the varsity football team and a student council leader. I am very proud of him, yet having just graduated our firstborn last June, I know how quickly these last two years of high school pass.

The change in routines this morning was most evident when my daughter didn't get up and spend her hour in the bathroom before her brother. She leaves for university in a couple of weeks. I am very grateful that right after we move her into her dorm room I leave for a conference in Chicago. Something busy and full of possibilities and away from the emptiness of her bedroom.