The Greatest Gift You Can Give

Without the organ Donor there is no story, no hope

Gonna get a little personal on you today.

Last week my older son Brian had a corneal transplant. Without it he would have gone blind, which would be a rather inconvenient condition to have given that his chosen profession is photography. You can see some of his work by clicking here.

He lives with a condition called keratoconus which you are welcome to click the link and find out more about, but basically means his corneas never formed properly.  It occurs in around one out of every 2,000 people and is the leading cause of corneal transplant.

This was the third attempt to have the transplant, the first two aborted because of, first, a problem with anesthesia and second a problem with the viability of the cornea to be transplanted. With transplants the phrase “good enough” is never good enough. If it’s the least bit hinky the surgeon says no go.

As well she should.

Fortunately the third time was the charm. As he is a single gentleman his mother (Cruella) and I took care of him for the first few days of his recovery. That consisted mostly of keeping lights in the house low or off, making sure he took his anti-rejection medication and providing as much TLC as he would allow us to give. Once assured he was capable of going it on his own we returned him to his own house where he continues to recover.

From this experience I find myself up on the soapbox preaching the good word of organ donation and why you, yes you, should be taking the easy steps to participate in the process.

To see how, click the link below

Continue reading “The Greatest Gift You Can Give”

How You Can Help

I’ve meant to do this for several days but I’ve never been so tired in my life. Heat exhaustion and grief are a powerful combination. It also took time to find a group that’s doing direct on-the-ground relief in one of the hardest hit areas, Terrebonne Parish. They were recommended to me by several friends with ties to the bayou parishes. A quote from their go fund me page: This go fund me is through the Helio Foundation. It is being run by people who live in Terrebonne Parish. Directors Johnathan Foret & Reagan Creppel have been social workers for … Continue reading How You Can Help

Update: YOU DID IT!! First Draft Food Pantry Fund


Yesterday I had the rockin’ job of calling up the directors of the St. Hyacinth Food Pantry (who happen to be my aunt and uncle) and telling them I was sending them a check for $1,500 so that every single family that gets a Christmas food basket from them this year will also get a gift card to buy presents for their kids.

In a normal year the pantry would run a MASSIVE toy drive and distribute everything from stuffed animals to bikes, but it involves multiple volunteers, hours of going in and out of places to collect donations and drop them off, and families lined up to choose things at a time when the virus is out of control in their neighborhood. Everyone’s been really understanding about it, but it’s hard on the little kids to have nothing to put under the tree.

You’ve made it so that they can. You’ve given hundreds of families a terrific holiday season. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Continue reading “Update: YOU DID IT!! First Draft Food Pantry Fund”

Two Weeks

Two weeks, cats and kittens. Increasingly I have nothing, due to the sheer avalanche of bullshit and my own pressing need not to lose my grip on reality. Clench your fists, sharpen your teeth and get ready.   In no particular order: If we want everything to get back to “normal” we need to close down stadiums, restaurants, bars and performances, and pay all those people what they’d be making anyway. I don’t give a fuck, okay, about the owners of restaurant chains but if it takes a giant bailout for whoever owns six IHOPs to pay the people who … Continue reading Two Weeks

What Joe Biden Hasn’t Done

Hasn’t condemned looting and property damage that follow protests. Hasn’t put the flag in the background of the Democratic Convention or in any commercials or campaign events. Hasn’t mentioned God and/or took God out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Is going to take away people’s guns. “You are actively trying to amend your Second Amendment right and take away our guns,” the man said. “You’re full of s—,” Biden replied, adding that “I support the Second Amendment.” Opposes law and order.  Hates police. I can do this all day, you know. I can line-by-line refute what’s being shared around various … Continue reading What Joe Biden Hasn’t Done

Another Mutual Aid Thread

All right. It’s pretty definitively up to us, right?   America’s prodigious infection rates are also a testament to our own national failure — and therefore a source of existential ghastliness, of sheer perversity: Why on earth were so many of us sacrificing so much in these past four and a half months — our livelihoods, our social connections, our safety, our children’s schooling, our attendance at birthdays and anniversaries and funerals — if it all came to naught? At this point, weren’t we expecting some form of relief, a resumption of something like life?   We did this back at … Continue reading Another Mutual Aid Thread

New Orleans Needs Your Help

Dear First Draft Readers:

New Orleans needs your help again. The situation here is dire and getting worse. We have the 6th highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita in the country. It’s hard not to feel helpless in these terrible times but there are people trying to make a difference.

My friend and fellow Bayou Brief writer Troy Gilbert and local food writer Robert Peyton have a great idea about how to help our beleaguered restaurant industry. (Troy is one of the OG NOLA bloggers as well as one of the founders of Rising Tide.) Last week, Troy ran their idea by me, I was immediately impressed and urged them to go for it. Last weekend, Chef’s Brigade NOLA was born.

I’ll let them explain the details to you via two Facebook posts:

There’s a GoFundMe link at the bottom of the second post. Please join me in donating to help our restaurants survive and do what they do best: feed people.


Thanks in advance,

Adrastos who is trying to keep the Spirit of ’05 alive.

Updates can be found after the break.

Continue reading “New Orleans Needs Your Help”

First Draft Community Help Thread

On my way to work this morning I got on my usual bus, which was carrying its customary assortment of metropolitan itinerants in varying stages of consciousness and togetherness. At the next stop a young woman got on with a baby, maybe a little less than a year, and sat down, baby on lap. It was 8 a.m. and she had a look I’ve seen so many times in the mirror since I became a parent: The day has barely started and I am already so completely done. The baby gummed fingers and pacifier and waved tiny hands in the … Continue reading First Draft Community Help Thread

Giving Tuesday, Get On It

I know all y’all’s favorite nonprofits are all over you today because it’s Giving Tuesday but I wanted to find out if we, The Blog, could get together and raise some funds for the St. Hyacinth Food Pantry this year. Remember the pantry? It’s the one we started boosting back in 2016 to help out the folks most likely to be hurt by what we’re all now just calling The Way Things Are Nowadays. Every year they do a MASSIVE toy drive for the little kids so they can have some holiday presents and they’re well-supplied, but need $500 for … Continue reading Giving Tuesday, Get On It

Signal This Virtue

Of all the dismissals of protest and outrage that we’ve heard from conservatives over the past two years I think the one that makes me the craziest is the accusation of “virtue signaling.”  Expressions of moral outrage are playing a prominent role in contemporary debates about issues like sexual assault, immigration and police brutality. In response, there have been criticisms of expressions of outrage as mere “virtue signaling” — feigned righteousness intended to make the speaker appear superior by condemning others. Clearly, feigned righteousness exists. We can all think of cases where people simulated or exaggerated feelings of outrage because … Continue reading Signal This Virtue


I dunno if anybody else is struggling right now but I AM. Holy balls, am I ever.

The world is a dark miserable shitass place and being on Twitter is losing its goddamn charm as all I ever see is people attacking each other over who’s really a Bernie bro and who humped their cat and who has the WORST ideas for revamping local news and who I used to love yesterday who now has to be cancelled because he has revenge or rape or race-war fantasies.

And I do not have a hot take on any of it. I’m just annoyed by everything. Once upon a time I would have enjoyed laughing at Cat Humper Twitter as much as I did David Cameron Dead Pig Humper Twitter, but lately my overarching reaction is just to be really, really tired by everyone’s antics. Which is not productive. Or helpful.

You know what is?



Lookit What You Did!

Thanks to your generosity, First Drafters, you paid for Christmas gifts for 85 KIDS. The money you raised for the St. Hyacinth Food Pantry bought gift cards, toys, games, mittens and other necessary stuff for the children whose parents shop there each month. I’m heading up tomorrow to help them sort through some more donated things, but this is the nicest part: They’ll all get something new and nice for the holidays, thanks to you! They’ll be able to go get a snack or a treat or something frivolous with their friends without having to worry about it for once. … Continue reading Lookit What You Did!

DO SOMETHING Merry Edition

UPDATE WE DID IT HOLY CRAP GUYS! $750 raised for the St. Hyacinth Food Pantry! You did it again! So many kids are going to have a wonderful holiday because of you all. Our Internet is the best Internet. OH HAI remember the food pantry we raised money for after the 2016 election? Remember how many families you helped to feed? IT WAS 300 FAMILIES. The pantry’s been working hard and serving even more families in the past 2 years, and now they have a new project. Every year at the holidays they put together a bunch of gift packages … Continue reading DO SOMETHING Merry Edition

Do Something Right Now

Well, who DOESN’T feel helpless this morning? Friend of Blog Jude points us to this fundraiser being held in Madison, Wis. for the Trans Law Help Center, a volunteer legal aid clinic helping people dealing with the Trump administration’s ever-erupting volcano of bullshit. If you can’t attend, I’ll match the first $100 in donations to the center, run through Community Justice Inc, just link to a pic of your receipt in the comments. Fuck the fascists. A. Continue reading Do Something Right Now

Not Everything Sucks: Help the Teachers Edition

If you’re looking for a way to help those affected by Hurricane Florence and the attendant flooding/water damage issues, Donors Choose is on it: The fine folks at @DonorsChoose have a special fund set up for teachers whose classrooms were impacted in NC and beyond. As a former high school teacher and a former NC elementary school volunteer, I’m a big fan of this idea. — Sara Benincasa (@SaraJBenincasa) September 19, 2018 You’ll recall we used that site to help classrooms targeted by the NRA’s goons and those with underfunded journalism programs. Let’s see if we can do it … Continue reading Not Everything Sucks: Help the Teachers Edition

Not Everything Sucks

Those of you moaning that nothing will ever change? Read this before you tape your pieholes shut:  Love is a lawyer tirelessly devoted to an immigrant sector most in need of legal aid: the rural one. In 2014, she launched the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, which serves immigrant families where there is traditionally no legal aid. Love and her team of three other lawyers go out to the people—via a roaming RV office, community center, and church pop-ups, and by organizing community leaders. The whole thing is amazing. We are saving one another every single day, and always will. Donate … Continue reading Not Everything Sucks

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor Candidates

Gimme your people nobody’s paying any attention to right now who deserve more attention, lest they shock the New York Times and actually, you know, get elected to represent their districts/people. Jude will start, with Arvina Martin, who’s running to become Wisconsin’s first Native American Secretary of State.   You can donate to her here. Post yours in the comments and peruse, those of you with means, so as to give your dollars to races not already swimming in money. A. Continue reading Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor Candidates


They’re trying to make us fight about the place we keep the children we steal from their parents, the children we lock up: This just in from @davidbegnaud: Border Patrol has reached out to @cbsthismorning and said they are “very uncomfortable” with the use of the word cages. They say it’s not inaccurate and added that they may be cages but people are not being treated like animals. — CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) June 18, 2018 And it’s too easy to reach for the Ursula K. LeGuin, today: In a basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of … Continue reading Cages


I’ve been seeing variations on this theme all week, like the party that isn’t in power right now should somehow magically gain power and stop family separation. Well, they’re sitting in. They’re marching. They’re giving speeches. They’re fighting with the only fight they have. If you want them to be able to mount real opposition, we need more of them.  Could one of them filibuster? Sure. Stand on the floor all night telling refugee stories. Could one of them start a hunger strike, mount civil disobedience over and above what’s going on already, could they find a creative way to … Continue reading WHAT ARE THE DEMOCRATS DOING?!!?

Rise Up

We forget, all the time, what we’re capable of. An emotional Emma González (@Emma4Change) concluded the #MarchForOurLives by standing in silence for 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the amount of time it took a gunman to kill 17 of her classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. — Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) March 24, 2018 How often, how many times a day, do we tell ourselves won’t, can’t, doesn’t? How many times do we say inevitable, impossible, never? And then a girl stands in front of the whole world and she shakes their windows and she rattles their walls. Do … Continue reading Rise Up

Parsing the Medill #MeToo Debacle

Yes, even at the Jesus H. Christ School of Journalism Gods, people can be total dipshits: Ten women released an open letter on Wednesday accusing Northwestern University Professor Alec Klein of persistent sexual harassment and bullying since he has been at the helm of the school’s “crown jewel” investigative journalism program. Calling it the storied journalism school’s “#MeToo Moment,” the eight former students and two former staffers of the Medill Justice Project wrote that Klein’s “controlling, discriminatory, emotionally and verbally abusive behavior has to end.” Klein, who has been at Northwestern for a decade and in charge of the Justice … Continue reading Parsing the Medill #MeToo Debacle

On #GivingTuesday, Consider The Media

I mean us, of course. Remember this? Yeah, it’s real. Today I’m gonna write about our fundraiser because we’ve been doing this Internet thing for 17 years now and sometimes it feels like no time but sometimes I feel like Internet Grandma talking about the good old days when if you knew what HTML was you were like some kind of magic genius and people threw money at you. Well, not really, but it did seem back in 2004 when we merrily threw ourselves into fighting the Bush administration’s bullshit that there was gonna be some kind of knocking down … Continue reading On #GivingTuesday, Consider The Media