I decided to split this already-existent post from last year, since it was lengthy, attracted a lot of views, but only due to its being a mixed bag of topics.

So I decided to separate the donut section from the social responsibility section and the random pretty things 🙂

1.  Panera.  I love your coziness, despite its being mass-market and manufactured.  I love that you supply warm, fragrant bread to America.

And now, I love you more.

I love that you have a non-profit, experimental movement going.  I am very glad that the Panera Cares Community Cafes (first opened in Dearborn, in Detroit) became successful.  I am really interested in seeing how this framework functions in real-life.

Panera Cares

via Good Magazine

Okay.   A slightly bigger hooray.  Apparently, the Panera Cares concept doesn’t even have its own official website, nor is it emblazoned on the official Panera site.
I have great respect for CEO Ron Shaich, assuming that this decision (to not toot their own horn) was made on purpose — meaning because he/they wanted to be discreet and not just use the project as a CSR-PR thing, like other companies who trumpet what they “do for the community”.

2.  Not that we didn’t know that poverty is dehumanizing, and is, probably, the tyrant that enslaves the largest number of human beings in this decade.  But, I am still thankful that someone actually conducted a study on how it is psychologically debilitating.

I think we go about our lives every day, too absorbed in our own concerns (yes, like Mister Donut launching a new line in Japan), that we gloss over how unfair the world is.  How so much human potential is unrealized because a significant portion of the world has no access to proper education, sanitation and nutrition.  I am no politician.  I am no NGO worker.  In fact, I am the most self-absorbed person I know.  And lazy and scared, when it comes to “doing things for the greater good”.  But, I do eventually want to put my heart and sweat into something that helps democratize learning.  I want to give people everywhere an equal shot at life.

Just a wish.  Thanks, again, Good.

Just this evening, I was walking down the street and a kid tried to sell me flowers.  He said he was hungry.  I told him I’d buy him a burger, because I know certain rings/syndicates take advantage of street urchins and use them for money.  He changed his reason and said he needed to also feed his sibling.  They needed money to take to school for food.  I was suspicious, yes, but what could you do, right.

I wanted to sit with him.  Talk to him about his life and how it was.  But, at that time, I don’t know if and what that could have helped.  Or if he had adult partners that could be lurking in corners, waiting to jump vulnerable passersby.
So, I just walked briskly and fished for my wallet.  I asked him what level he was in, in school.  He said he was in 4th Grade.

I wish I could talk to him more, you know.  In the end, I just gave him money.

That may not be the noblest thing to do.  I just showed him how to wheedle his way further into people’s hearts.  I think I even taught him good marketing-slash-theatrics.  That he had to weave a good story to sell himself better.  I proved, in my small act, that mendicancy worked, and that he could really get by with just asking people on the street for cash.
So what should I have done?  Any better ideas, world?

3.  Hmm.  Coming back from that serious and somber concern is difficult.
But, I will continue with other nice things I saw on the web today.
I enjoyed the customizable stencil that artist Glan Levin came up with (also found via Good).

I like how he co-opted the “street art” thing, and married it with infographics.  It’s kind of like Internet for walls, for me.  Meaning it takes the main strength of the web which is disseminating info and putting things in users’ hands, and, literally, takes it to the streets.

Golan Levin Infoviz Graffiti

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