Property damage costs in Godzilla (1998)

I haven’t had chance to see the new “Godzilla” with Bryan Cranston, but I did see the one with Matthew Broderick where the big lizard (is that what Godzilla is) wrecked New York City.

How much do you think it would cost to fix New York after that one?

A substantial figure. But I suspect the new “Godzilla” is going to top that number.

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Feeding hungry children in America

This is an amazingly kind thing to do (from USA Today).

After hearing last week that dozens of Utah students had their school lunches taken because their accounts were delinquent, a Texas man decided to help students in similar situations near him.

Kenny Thompson, a 52-year-old mentor and tutor at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Houston, did some research and learned that children at the school where he works were receiving cold cheese sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead of full trays of food because they had negative balances on their lunch accounts.

These were children whose parents couldn’t afford the 40 cents per day fee, so Thompson took $465 and paid off the delinquent accounts of 60 children, KPRC television reports.

Because the following were amazingly evil things to do:

Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City picked up their lunches Tuesday, then watched as the meals were taken and thrown away because of outstanding balances on their accounts — a move that shocked and angered parents.

“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her as she stood in line Tuesday at Uintah Elementary School, 1571 E. 1300 South.

And this:

A St. Louis County cafeteria worker is out of a job after giving away free meals to a child in need.

For two years, Dianne Brame worked as a cafeteria manager at Hudson Elementary in Webster Groves, keeping kids’ bellies full for their all-important task of learning.

The lunch lady loved her job: “I knew kids by their names, I knew their likes and dislikes, so it was just fun.”

But recently, she came across a fourth grader who consistently came without money. She says he used to be on the free lunch program, but language barriers got in the way of reapplying: “I sent them paperwork so that they could get back in contact with me, but it didn’t happen,” she says.

For days, Brame snuck the boy lunches. She explains, “I let his account get over $45 which I’m only supposed to let it get over $10, and I started letting him come through my lunch line without putting his number in, and they look at that as stealing. I thought it was just taking care of a kid.”

She was trying to protect him from the bullying: a cruel side dish to the default cheese sandwich given to kids without lunch money.

So, less than $500 will help ensure 60 American children have at least one decent meal a day. Otherwise, they go hungry, and people who attempt to feed them lose their jobs.

There are a lot of poor people in the U.S. and as the middle-class shrinks, it’s not because more middle-income workers are becoming rich. It’s because more of them are becoming poor. And those hardest hit by poverty are children.

So it’s always a good time to understand economic history. And since I haven’t referred to Paul Krugman in a while, maybe it’s time to look into the YouTube vault and hear him talk about income inequality and how we’ve gotten there:

Income inequality, poverty, hungry children. They’re all related. And as the generosity of one man in Texas shows, it really doesn’t take much to help children in need.

Pictures from an assassination

When President John F. Kennedy was killed 50 years ago today, it didn’t happen on live TV. If something like that happened today, there would be thousands of videos taken on smart phones and uploaded on YouTube within minutes.

But people did film the assassination. Home movies. Polaroids. Snaps from Kodak Brownies. It was an overwhelmingly documented event in American history. But the video above from the New York Times by noted documentarian Errol Morris reveals that the video evidence was pretty much ignored by law enforcement on Nov. 22 and the days, the weeks, the months, the years thereafter.

Ask a slave …

… Since who else would know more about the foibles of the founding fathers?

There’s a whole series of these on YouTube. Here’s another one:

I’ll go out on a limb here and say when she really did this for a living (a slave re-enactor), she was at Mount Vernon. And the sad thing is, these are really questions she was asked.

These definitely aren’t the answers she gave on the job.

 

Caffeine madness

Anything interesting happen at your coffee shop recently?

(Of course, I’m going to see “Carrie.”)