Three unrelated items:

1. Recently, I mentioned Here are two more sites for free stuff and promo deals: and

2. A week earlier, I was pointing out the good intentions but limitations of The Hunger Site. Here’s a good idea from Christopher Frizzelle: “If The Hunger Site puts a link to somewhere on its webpage, it can earn 5% of the total Amazon purchase that the customer made on account of the click-through. Chances are, the average Amazon shopper spends more than $10.00 at Amazon’s site — not to mention if any number of those shoppers know that a portion of their purchase is going toward battling third-world starvation — and $10.00 on this arrangement means two quarters instead of one nickel will go to hungry kids. That’s ten times more money for food.”

So keep the banner ads and the nickels, but get Amazon shoppers into the habit of accessing Amazon through The Hunger Site. Smart, Christopher. (John: What do you think?)

Alan Levit: “I’ve got a DSL connection and three computers. I didn’t read your first column on Hungersite, and now I guess I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve been merrily clicking along on two computers every morning, with my eight-year-old clicking on the third (Hungersite is bookmarked on all three). I never would have considered these nickels to be our family’s share of our just contribution to the poor, but our 15 cents a day, and everyone else’s, does seem to add up. I’ll happily keep clicking next year.”

3. Last March, Howard Ruff told his newsletter subscribers: “THE WORLD IS A BUBBLE AND Y2K IS A PIN.”

Mmmmm . . . no.

Rick Boyd: “Now that the big date has passed with remarkably few problems, I was wondering: What preparations did you make for Y2K difficulties?”

Well, a while back, I bought a generator, but largely for thunderstorm and hurricane power outages. I also bought a ton of canned/bottled food and drink, Stern-o, candles, etc. – maybe $1,500 worth. But it was in bulk on sale, and will all or mostly come in handy. So all that was “lost” was the interest on the money for a few months, as I eat down my inventory. Finally, I had more cash on hand than I usually would.

But, as with most people, my anxiety over this lessened markedly in recent months. It seems that a lot of people did their jobs well, and we owe them a round of applause.

That said, it’s always good to be prepared for an emergency, especially the unadvertised, unexpected kind. We’re all better off, individually and as communities, if we have a couple of weeks’ essentials on hand, and a way to stay warm and see in the dark, just in case.

Patient sitting on examining table, in gown, being given his doctor’s diagnosis: “Unfortunately,” says the doctor, “you have what we call ‘no insurance.’” — New Yorker cartoon, by Michael Maslin


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