Today, I call your attention to the rare serious post on Dave Barry's Blog--not because it's serious, but because it's for a great cause that's close to my heart. A guy in Colorado, Jordan Graham is spearheading an instrument drive for an underfunded school in the South Side of Chicago; before the drive, the school's band program had 220 band members but only 48 instruments. The school, Harper High, is only a few miles away from where Graham himself grew up with the good fortune of his parents being able to buy him a trumpet as a kid, and now, as a successful mortgage broker, he's looking to give back (in fact, that now-unused trumpet of his own is going to Harper). Since Dave posted the story, they've gathered 15 instruments (as of this afternoon).
So if you have any old instruments lying around, here's a great opportunity to put them to good use. If the instrument you have would be cost-prohibitive to ship (like the piano that one of Dave's readers wants to donate), or if you'd like to act more locally, I'm sure there's a school in your area that fits the bill. (This group seems worthy as well, and it's got the muscle of Sir Paul behind it.)
I posted a few months ago about kids getting stuck with cruddy horns, but imagine these folks in Chicago and elsewhere who don't even have it that good. Music is a very important part of the educational process, and the opportunity to play should be available to every kid who wants to participate.
Cat-napping, of a sort: I've been to Burlington, Vermont for their jazz festival several times now, and I always enjoy it; last summer, I even got to take a walk around the University of Vermont campus. Now that campus is all abuzz because someone stole their Catamount mascot while it was being repaired at a sign shop in South Burlington. This cat weights 200 pounds, which (like the time last fall when someone stole a Chick-Fil-A cow off a billboard) begs the question: How in the world do you transport something like that without getting caught, and where the heck do you hide it? (UVM is offering a reward for its safe return.)