Civics Lesson 3

As nerdy as I some times appear, I still don't know a lot about Congress and what the heck goes (or doesn't go) on there. So I really dig Megavote, a daily email that tells me who voted for what.

There's a lot of resources on their website, run by the CQ Roll Call news group, for aspiring advocates & informed  citizens


World Book Night

Monday night is the first ever World Book Night in the U.S. The celebration began a year ago in the UK to "spread a love of reading and books."

Literary-lovin' volunteers have committed to picking up (free!) books this weekend and distributing them by Monday to adult readers in need of inspiring stories, like at the Alpha House, a licensed maternity home for new mothers & pregnant women in crisis. 

Locally the effort includes Inkwood Books' Carla Jimenez, who wrote in a recent email that she "was thrilled to be asked to serve on the committee selecting the titles," which includes some of my favorite novels ever:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie 
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz 
The Stand by Stephen King 
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold 
and a bunch more. 

There's also nonfiction, like the so-very-awesome science/social justice story The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers 
Just Kids by Patti Smith 
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls 

The latter three sit on my own bookshelf but I have yet to make time for them. In the spirit of this wonderful celebration I'd be happy to pass them along. 

I don't think there's a better gift in the world than a book.


Community News

I met Bill Sharpe in 2006-ish through the local blogging community. In the years that followed, the more I was out & about looking for stuff to write about (or just living the good life), the more I saw Bill. 

He published the South Tampa Community News & last year launched the Tampa Epoch in response to the ban on panhandling. 

The Epoch benefits our homeless & near-homeless neighbors. It received considerable coverage from the local mainstream and alternative press and blogs.  

"I'm doing the right thing," Sharpe said on Rob Lorei's Radioactivity call-in show late last year.

Bill passed away earlier this month. Again all forms of media in Tampa Bay covered his worklife and death. The local circles on social networking sites continue to rattle with condolences. Both online and off, this is a community at its finest. It's unbearably sad, however, that we're one citizen less.

Celebrate Bill Sharpe Tuesday, April 17th at 5 p.m. at the Hyde Park United Methodist Church, and after 6 p.m. at MacDintons. 

Civics Lesson 2

The Judeo Christian Health Clinic in Tampa turns 40. 
"It's us, or they don't get health care." 

Video courtesy Michelle Bearden/


Happy National Public Health Week!