What do poverty, yachts, and gardening have in common?

On Friday nights I often curl up on my couch with a cup of tea and a movie. This week I decided to watch American Winter, a documentary that follows 8 Oregon families that happened to call the state’s 211 hotline looking for help with their desperate financial situations. It’s a heartbreaking movie, really. It made me feel guilty about every penny I spent on dry-cleaning and junk food over the past few days. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the gut-wrenching gist:

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How to Make a Difference in the Wake of Sandy Hook Tragedy

Sandy Hook — From the Newtown Bee.

This morning this story from the Newtown Bee popped up in my newsfeed:

“The story is over. The families are burying their loved ones. Please leave our towns.”

These were the sentiments of State Representative DebraLee Hovey during a Capital memorial service December 19, but they represent the comments of a growing throng of Newtown residents, merchants and officials, as well as a number of survivors who have contacted The Bee in the days since the Sandy Hook School rampage.

I’ve been following the Bee on Facebook for quite some time. I have a deep respect for truly local newspapers. I’m a bit biased as I worked at one of these papers when I was fresh out of college, but these papers do a better job covering what’s important to its readers than just about any other news outlet. Sometimes that just means sitting at town council meetings, and relaying the facts in a way that people can understand. Sometimes it means being the only media outlet grieving families will turn to.  Continue reading

Bono’s “Heyday”

I’ll admit, I’ve been a little obsessed with the YouTube videos of the Christmas Eve jam session on Grafton Street. But this particular video intrigues me because Bono looks so damn out-of-place.

Of course, he is out of place. The other guys who stopped by to play are not exactly superstars of Bono-proportions. Glen Hansard and Damien Rice are the kinds of guys who still collaborate and play with other musicians. Bono is busy writing scores for terrible Broadway musicals. But he doesn’t even appear to know the words… I may have been able to forgive him for that since I’d never heard the song before I saw this video, but the audience seems to be familiar.

Is it just me?