Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I heart the internets.

Every time I hear people wax on about how social networking, online dating sites, online learning, etc has replaced people's "personal" relationships I wish I had a story like this handy.

Three sisters in New York state found a kidney for their dad on Craigslist. Thats right. They posted an ad seeking a kidney for their ailing father and a California woman responded.

"The Craigslist ad was short and to the point: “Please Help Us, My Dad Needs a Kidney!” Jennifer Flood, 30, and her sisters (her twin Cynthia and older sibling Heather, 32) posted the message on Craigslist in a desperate attempt to find a someone willing to make the ultimate sacrifice: donate a kidney to a complete stranger without asking anything in return.

That ad launched a chain of events that eventually led the Pleasantville, N.Y.-based family to find such a person—a 48-year-old California woman named Dawn Verdick—who was willing to donate a kidney to their father, Daniel Flood, 68. The kidney transplant took place December 12, and the family is beyond grateful."

Its not totally unheard of for positive things, like reunited families, to occur through facebook and other online tools. We should be excited about all these resources! Although, I do remember reading a short story in a science fiction collection when I was a kid about a society that became so reliant on robots and technology that no one knew how to operate the robots. No one could turn them off because they had been going about their own business for generations. Then, I think, there was a guy who could do simple math by hand, and that was so impressive and unusual that he was either made king or stoned to death. I can't remember. I hope he was made king, because getting stoned to death for being good at math is really bogus.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Airplane Food Is Notoriously Bad, But Complain On, My Friend!

I am full of commentary when I am flying. I never cease to have a critique of the temperature, the space, my obnoxious fellow passengers, or, all too often, a permeating odor. The difference between me and the author of a letter to Richard Branson of Virgin Airways is that I keep my thoughts to myself (or maybe between myself and my traveling companion of the moment.). Have you ever had a flying experience so bad you would write a detailed email complete with digital photographs to the owner of the airline?

The letter begins like this:

"Dear Mr Branson

REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008

I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at the hands of your corporation.

Look at this Richard. Just look at it: [see image 1, above].

I imagine the same questions are racing through your brilliant mind as were racing through mine on that fateful day. What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the desert?"

I highly suggest you check out the full letter. And, pleasantly, Mr. Branson was concerned (or amused) enough to respond.