Help me raise money for a soup kitchen in need. A baby drummer plays heavy metal. And the L.A. Times, inexplicably, cancels sick days and vacations


**Two quick thoughts before we get rollin’ on a Wednesday: 1, This Bill Cosby scandal is getting worse and worse by the day; these rumors about him and sexual assaulting women have apparently been around for years, but only now are more and more ladies going public with his behavior. If true, what a disgusting stain on a man so many admired.
And two, with most of the teams I root for having terrible years, I sure am glad to have college basketball back. Duke and its fantastic freshmen looked great in beating Michigan State Tuesday night. Gonna be a really fun year in college hoops.

I try not to ask my loyal readers for financial donations for causes, but for the second year in a row I’m breaking that rule, because my wife and I are once again raising money for the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen here in Manhattan.

One morning a week I volunteer a few hours there, on 28th St. and 9th Avenue here in Manhattan. Open for 31 years, the soup kitchen serves more than 1,000 meals daily, making it the second-biggest such facility in America (apparently there’s a bigger soup kitchen in San Francisco).

It’s a wonderful place, staffed by about 40-50 volunteers per day. Some of us serve the food, others clear the tables, hand out drinks, cut up vegetables in the kitchen, etc. And truthfully, it’s more than a soup kitchen; Holy Apostles also helps the homeless in so many other ways, with free counseling services, free haircuts and toiletries, and often blankets and other clothes, along with free legal services, too.

Funding, as you might expect, is always a problem for the soup kitchen; food donations do come in, but I’ve been told that 80 percent of the food and supplies is purchased by Holy Apostles (in case you were wondering, there is no religious affiliation with the soup kitchen.)

Once again the kitchen is having its annual Fast-A-Thon, where this Thursday volunteers like me will eat only one meal a day to “walk in the shoes” of our patrons, and we’re raising money to help support the great work the kitchen does.  I know the holidays are coming up and budgets are tight, but if you get any enjoyment from this blog each day, I’d ask you to please consider a small donation to our fundraising page.

Thank you so much, it really is a great cause.

**And now, an adorable baby named Wyatt, playing heavy metal on the drums, as his parents watch and videotape (somehow I don’t think my wife will let me try this with our 2-month-old son. But I’ve already sang some Guns N’ Roses to the boy when he couldn’t sleep, so there’s a good chance metal is already in his brain…)


**Finally, I thought I’d lost the capacity to be shocked at how horribly newspaper publishers and owners can treat their employees, having been a journalist for two decades and seen the horror stories.
But congratulations, Tribune Co. and the L.A. Times, you’ve managed to shock me.
I read this story Tuesday in the L.A. Observer, reporting on the Tribune Co., owners of the Times, eliminating sick and vacation days for all of the Times’ employees.

“Starting January 1, staffers will no longer be able to bank vacation — because they won’t automatically earn or be entitled to any vacation, sick days or floating holidays. To get any time off, a reporter or editor will have to go to a supervisor and make a case “subject to their professional judgment and to the performance expectations of their supervisor that apply to their job.”

So basically you have to prove, or justify, to your supervisor why you deserve a day off, a sick day, or a vacation.
How humiliating. How demeaning. Welcome to the newspaper world in 2014.



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