Friday, November 13, 2015

The Changing Face of Donations

Before going through the 2010 Nashville flood, I would always search for ways to help out financially after a disaster. Like everyone else, I donated to Red Cross after both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. It made me feel good to feel like I was doing something to help.



After the summer of 2010, my view of charities changed forever. I saw that most of the money the public gave during relief concerts and such was never delivered to flood victims. Instead it was used to build an amphitheater and redo the waterfront area of downtown.



I also saw what the Red Cross does with all of its donation money. Pretty much this and only this:



The whole thing made me jaded but I still wanted to help. So for a while, when a Facebook friend posted about a friend/family member in need, I'd donate directly. That way I'd know the money would get to the person...right?



I'd send a gift card and never hear a word. Not that I'd expect someone going through a disaster to take five seconds to send a thank you email, but it just bothered me that the gift card could have easily gotten lost. I stopped donating altogether for a while because of it. Then this came along:



With GoFundMe, you can see that someone got the funds. They can even send a thank you email. If they're polite, they'll send a personal thank you, but they don't have to. The anxiety over whether it got lost in the mail is gone. Click and donate. The only problem is, some people have begun abusing the system.

People are crowdfunding weddings...




...vacations...



...and damaged relationships. (Huh?)



The result? We're all being given a reason to gossip about our friends and relatives. It also provides great entertainment as you browse the different crazy campaigns on there.



There are instances where many of these campaigns make sense, of course. If a bride and groom ask wedding attendees to donate to a honeymoon fund instead of buying gifts, it makes sense. If a person has a powerful story that goes with asking for help with things like vacations, prom dresses, and weddings, people can get behind that. But just asking friends and family for money because you want something?



Still, I celebrate GoFundMe. It gives me an option of helping people that doesn't require going through a charity. That is always a good thing!

(Also...seriously, guys. No matter what you're going through, if someone sends you $100 of his/her hard-earned money, take a few seconds to send a personal thank you. SERIOUSLY!)

Have you ever donated to a GoFundMe campaign?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Search for the Perfect Burger

There are a few businesses that haven't shown up in Nashville yet. Every now and then, residents complain and whine about it, but it does little good.


One of those businesses is this one:



As it turns out, IKEA finally decided to open a store in Tennessee. They're opening in the worst possible part of the state: Memphis. If you think Memphis must be great because it was the home of Elvis, you haven't been to Memphis.



Needless to say, I won't be making that trip to IKEA. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I probably wouldn't shop there all that often even if it was down the street. I'm not a fan of furniture that requires an advanced degree to assemble.



Another business we don't have is In-N-Out Burger. Since the chain only opens restaurants within an hour of its distribution center, that's no surprise. The chain's restaurants are limited to five states. But I had an In-N-Out Burger while in L.A. and I have to say...highly overrated. This was my burger:



Nashvillians are even more vocal about wanting a nearby Whataburger. Whataburger beats In-N-Out Burger in taste tests, mostly because the meat supposedly has a better flavor. It's all subjective, though, I'm sure.



We had a Whataburger in Nashville when I was growing up. The building is still there. This is what Whataburger looked like back in the day:



This is what our old Whataburger looks like now:



Today's Whataburgers can be a little cheap looking, if you ask me:



While In-N-Out Burger can be a little...er...bright.



Maybe we should just stick with our current "best burger" spot.



What business would you most like to see come to your town?

Monday, November 09, 2015

Too Rich to Go to Jail

You've probably heard this story on the news. There is a 16-year-old in Texas who got away with killing four people because he was a spoiled brat. This is the kid...



These are the people he killed while driving drunk.



That doesn't even include the nine people he injured, including this permanently disabled teen.



The defense claimed the spoiled brat, named Ethan, suffers from a condition called "affluenza" as a result of having super-wealthy parents who never punished him and, therefore, never taught him the difference between right and wrong.



The worst part of all? The judge bought it. The brat will never serve a day behind bars. He was sentenced to ten years' probation and rehab. Everyone sued and the parents paid...money doesn't really bother them. They have plenty of it. The argument for Ethan's sentence seems to be that with rehabilitation, he'll be able to become a functioning member of society. Just like his parents?



People have worried about the upcoming generation of kids whose parents didn't discipline them. But now they're getting away with killing people. I think that takes these concerns to an all new level.



Do you think Ethan Couch can be rehabilitated?