Friday, April 25, 2008

The Red Cross is broke

Sad but true. Because of the current world food crisis, the price of staple goods is going up. This impacts primarily developing countries of course, but not only. People in rich countries with just enough to live on are more and more impacted. And consequently NGOs that help them face an increasing demand for food. In France, the Red Cross had planned to serve 32 million meals in 2008 (vs 30 million in 2007), but the President of the Red Cross was in all the media today saying that, with their current funds, they will only be able to serve 27 million meals. BTW, this torso belongs to someone famous on PDP, can you guess?


  1. I'd say it belongs to Michael !?! But I'd also say you have the same kind of shirt! at least the same kind of colour ;)) Very funny !! Am I right ?

  2. first ... the pic made me laugh sorry because of the open shirt but i like how it is composed inge

  3. I will check the answer tomorrow, if you give it!! I must wake up a bit earlier than usual, tomorrow (yes, it can happen ;)) So dodo for me now!!! Good night.

  4. It is sad that there are the uber ultra rich who blow money on the strangest things and then there are people without enough money to buy food.

    PS. Hello, Michael.

  5. Hel-looooooo dear Michael... ! Nice shirt. Great shot.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Eric, seems a tragedy doesn't it. The Red Cross does such good work.

  6. Once again Eric you’ve managed to highlight a very important issue AND give us a visually striking photo. The price of sky-rocketing price of food world-wide is being discussed heavily in the news in the U.S. and I hope we can all figure out a way to address this issue. Support your local Red Cross!

  7. The price of everything is skyrocketing. I just filled up my gas tank yesterday (sigh)...

  8. Tragically, this is becoming a pattern in so-called the "first world" - the place where, this week, a magazine will make hundred of thousands (if not millions) of dollars from an issue featuring a story on America's richest women and (their words, not mine) "how it feels to be filthy rich"! I'm pretty certain none of them are going to say it feels terrible and that they'd rather be dirt poor. Shielded from the reality most of us must contend with if we are to survive - and, yes, if we are to help others - people with one or two billion to their names, regardless of how much good they might be doing with SOME of it, shouldn't be the objects of our fascination in this way. Indeed, if the money spent on magazines needlessly telling us how much superfluous cash they have were diverted to bodies such as the red cross, the current crisis would be considerably alleviated.

    Guille: The next time I am asked my opinion of Gaudi's architecture, I might well say I find it to be "gooey"! (lol) And I was under the impression that you were heading off to Bern as well, to the Zentrum Paul Klee. You didn't go?

  9. The picture is very simple but very effective.
    Two weeks ago, I decided to give 10 euros per month to La Croix Rouge. I know it's not a lot but I can't give more and I think that even a little donation can be a lot for people who need it. I don't say that to show that I'm generous or something, just to say that everybody is able to give something, whatever the price.

    Girls, why did you say Michael?! He's not the only famous man who comments on PDP! (okay, he's the only one able to meet Eric here...). So finally I have to follow you. Michael?!!
    On his shirt, it's the sticker they give you when you give some money.

    Lucio, gooey is good too! LOL.
    I went to Bern, but I didn't visit Basel, I stayed "only" 4 days in Switzerland. The Paul Klee Zentrum was so great! The temporary exhibition ("the art to create") was quite interesting.

  10. In the past two days, the news has been covering a story about a shortage of rice. In the US. The "big box stores," such as Costco and Sam's Club, are threatening to limit the amount of rice each customer can buy.

    This is no real hardship on most Americans, but it indicates a terrible hardship on the people in the far east who produce the rice. I don't understand it all, but when the people like Lucio mentions seem so unaware of the people who beg on the streets, we've got a disconnect of utterly stupid proportions.

    Eric, thanks for the photo and this magnificent forum. Not to mention your gorgeous model.

  11. Well, look at this,

    now, a magazine for snobs. I bet all people featured in this magazine will be constantly harrassed for donations. Why would anybody want to flaunt their wealth when so many around the world has nothing at all. Doesn't seem real smart, but eh, what do I know.

  12. Conspicuous consumption is so vulgar, especially when your neighbor has little or nothing. I witness this vulgarity on a daily basis and wonder how long it will continue? How long before the "have nothing's" lash out and strike at those that flaunt their "buying power" on a daily basis. The restrictions put on purchases of rice here are because immigrants are buying 20 or more bags of rice and hoarding it for later shipment to their families in the Phillippines or India etc. The price for all grains is going up as fields that were previously used for food production are now used for the production of "bio-fuels". Of course everyone acts like they didn't know that this would happen, but I am sorry, I don't believe these people or "leaders" at all.

    Could that be "Michael" or "lutte-finale"???

  13. Dear TF & TF, so smart and wise, the two of you.

    What do we do? We talk. We vote. We share the info. Nothing seems to change.

    I keep thinking this internet thingy is our tool. It connects the world. I feel it's vital to the survival of the everyperson and we have to keep it free from the intervention of corporations. We've got to be able to share information from one side of the globe to the other, that much I know. I don't know much else.

  14. I left a message for my daughter re the Red Cross. She was in Iraq, Turkey -- the middle east -- as she is fluent in French and Arabic. I wanted to here her perspective on the Red Cross in the middle east. But, Alas, she is having boyfriend issues, and she is not in her right mind to speak about anything. Pour darling. So, I will blog on this another day.

    I love your body Michael. Very sexy!

  15. Michael needs a few golden chains to complete the disco king open shirt look:)

  16. PETRA : What do we do? We talk. We vote. We share the info. Nothing seems to change.

    Well, at least we do talk, vote, and share the info and if nothing else, it's still a good beginning. At least, Ruper Murdoch doesn't control every broadcast on the Net so, that's something already, no?

    To be truly influential and effect changes you have to have your money do the talking for you, I think, and preferably a lot of it.

    And since we're speaking of change, and voting, let me add a couple of words: I'm glad that Obama has come so far, for a number of reasons, but I think that people voting for him now thinking he will somehow wave a magic wand over the country and change everything for the better miraculously, are in for a rude awakening.

  17. Oh, by the way, here is that link again, in one piece this time, I think.

  18. I m not saying don't worry about it but we had this situation before. In 2002/03 thousands of people died in Malawi in what was known as the hidden famine. Then in 2005 UN scientists warned that 1 in 6 countries would experience food shortage that year.
    This problem is not new and whether the cause of food shortage is drought, floods or use of grains for ethanol, it is always a frightening prospect.

  19. Bonjour Michael- it can only be you !

    I agree with the rest of you about this issue, but I'm in a hurry so I don't have time to write a lot today.

    Have a nice day everyone :) !!!

    BTW Inge are you Danish ?

  20. no bettina half norwegian my father's side but you were close inge

  21. Must be Michael in a neat as a pin, blue, starched shirt. Wow.

    Yes, Eric, the world is now facing global starvation and that is caused by the price of oil. Do those making the money from that oil have any cares? I don't think so.


  22. Rose: You are totally right to say that the problems we are experiencing at the moment are not new, and that the dire warnings about what the future holds are, in a sense, old tunes being hammered out by new players.

    What I would like to add, though (and this is not in any way a criticism of you, Rose), is that there has also been an unprecedented escalation of both the irony and the tragedy of our global predicament. Firstly, because although science and technology continue to make staggering advances, their benefits remain (more often than not) accessible to only a privileged minority - by which I mean a wealthy and powerful minority, of course. And, secondly, because the social, economic, political and environmental dilemmas we are facing - and which future generations will surely curse us for having needlessly worsened - are spiraling out of control at an alarming rate.

    I'm sure I don't need to point out to anyone who drives a car, shops at a supermarket, or is paying off their home what this means in day to day terms - or what there is to be feared from the gathering ecological apocalypse. Indeed, I think the fact that we all KNOW just how bad things are (and just how bad they are going to get), and yet feel to powerless or too frightened to do anything other than those things which won't directly impinge on our own personal security and comfort, is a pretty clear sign of how sad and cynical we have become.

    Perhaps part of the problem is that we cling to the notion that in aiding someone else we shouldn't at the same time make things worse for ourselves: even when, for some people, this means retaining more funds and assets than they could possibly spend in a dozen lifetimes! I know this sounds alarmist, but when a building is burning one calls for a fireman, not a redecorator.

    Honestly, where's Madame Guillotine when you need her!!

  23. Tomate and Rose, your comments are heart felt and unpretentious. Thank you. merci

  24. .. and Lucio, your comment on the rich people featured in all these magazines was very good as well. I don't think I have much to add to the current discussion other than that I agree with what is being said ...

    One does feel quite powerless in the face of all these problems, but at least people are aware these days. You can't really stick your head in the sand and pretend that they do not exist - even if some politicians seem to be doing so still.

    "Let money do the talk" - yes, I suppose that might be the only way, because that seems to be what everyone is putting first and foremost ...

  25. Good morning, it's me again. I don't mean to monopolize the conversation here, but I just came by to apologize in case my comment to Petra yesterday sounded a little agressive or something. I can't tell. Sorry if it did, I certainly did not intend that.

    This picture hit a nerve because I attempted to collect donations for the Red Cross back around the time of Katrina and I remember too well the comments people made to me at the time ("Well, they don't *really* need it" and "you know [Tomate], your money is just going to line the pockets of a few and will never end up where you think it does," and not to mention "Hey, they were told to get out and they didn't, so why should we pay" ... that sort of thing). Meanwhile you could see on TV the images of these poor people sitting on top of their houses waiting for rescue, feeling completely powerless and overwhelmed. I don't know. So anyway, this picture hit a nerve for me.

  26. On a lighter note, I really don't know who the famous person might be. Tom Cruise? ;) Well, we know it's not Lynn or Monica... now, would could that be? It's hard to tell with only one button down. How about a follow-up picture of the same person with, oh, I don't know, NO shirt on? ;)

  27. There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher.
    - Victor Hugo

  28. Aggressive? I didn't take it that way.

    We all do what we can. I think it was Guille who said everyone can give something. Forget the rich, they don't understand. It's those of us in the middle who effect change. We're the majority. It's with us and our actions where hope lies. And our actions will have to take place on a day to day basis in our everyday lives.

    At least, that's off the top of my head after only one cup of coffee.

  29. The shortage of grain is not a physical reality; it's the manipulated results of futures trading. With low interest rates and a sluggish stock market, the very rich have found another way to make money. And if a few million people starve as a result of the shortages brought about by their market manipulations, too bad.

  30. I agee with Guille and Petrea. We all can do our part...and it is often those "in the middle who effect change" or at least can put enough pressure to bring about results. And that's with two cups of strong coffee. :-) As for the shirted guy...well, ah, erhh...I'll guess George Cloony since I hear Eric has been painting the town with him lately.

  31. "I know this sounds alarmist, but when a building is burning one calls for a fireman, not a redecorator." A point well made!

    Just reading the article tomate linked to again I am appalled that this Russian billionaire is spending $150,000,000 just to get this moronic enterprise started! What a joke!

    Well, I still haven't seen a Brinks truck following a hearse yet! It all makes me think of a couple of quotes, the first from Bob Dylan.."All the money they make will never buy back their souls"[Masters of War] The next quote was from the grandfather of Al Gore who was a famous US Senator from Tennessee.."If there was another race, other than the human race, I'd go join it"! With all of our modern technology, scientific advances,'s inhumanity to man continues. Bon Week-End tout le monde!

  32. Conspicuous consumption is criticized. Overindulgence outrages. But yet, most humans admire the conspicuous, the over, the "in", as opposed to the dull (whether gents or ladies.

    We can give, but our other everyday actions do the most. (How many "greens" drive a huge vehicle?)

    Do what you can, because we must. Keep the faith, baby.

  33. Hmm, too bad the photo ends at the collar.
    One way of helping to ease world hunger is by giving families livestock and training. I worked as a volunteer at Heifer Ranch in Arkansas, USA, and can recommend what Heifer International does.
    Please see
    Thanks for all the great and meaningful pictures and stories.

  34. I agree, Jeff. Thanks for the reminder to keep the faith. Just what I needed to hear today.

  35. Speaking of Tom Cruise (see TF's comment), I hear he and Katie just threw a 100,000 bash for their daughter's birthday. The shamelessness of such profligacy turns my stomach.

  36. I like this Petrea "I keep thinking this Internet thingy is our tool. It connects the world. I feel it's vital to the survival of the every person"

    Michael, Lois said: "I love your body Michael. Very sexy!" he he!

    Marie, you made me LOL "Michael needs a few golden chains to complete the disco king open shirt look:)"

    TF sorry "anyway, this picture hit a nerve for me." I could not know ;)

    I agree Tonton ""I know this sounds alarmist, but when a building is burning one calls for a fireman, not a redecorator." A point well made!"

    On a more general side, there is one thing I have not been able to check ; I have the feeling that globally the world wealth has increased a lot and that proportionally there are less starving people on the planet than, say, 100 years ago - even though the population must have increased by 2 or 3.

    Once again I have been investigating all this, it's just a general feeling.

    The bottom line being, though, that there are still probably a good 2 billion people with not enough food to fill their stomach...

  37. Eric, no worries :)

    So who's the celebrity? Inquiring minds want to know ...

  38. Hail to you, Dina! Heifer International is a terrific charity.

    Every year at holiday time, instead of giving presents to people with whom we do business, my husband and I donate to Heifer International in their names (either Heifer or Doctors Without Borders). It's better than trying to buy something for people we don't know on a personal level, and they always appreciate it greatly.

  39. Hand in hand with projects like Heifer International - providing training and livestock to others overseas - is to learn to produce your own food in a community garden. You are then "giving back" the fuel and other resource waste involved in industrial agriculture consumption. I see more and more families attempting the "locavore" challenge.

  40. Oooooh Lois loves your bo-dy, And she thinks you're se-xy.

    Lois and Michael sittin' in the tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.

    he he sorry about that, i've just been 9 years old in the above post. Can't shake it off now. Expect me to be mischievous all day.

  41. I read your blog not only for the gorgeous pictures, but for the social commentary.

  42. Yes, Valerie, I'm sure you mean the likes of Lynn's.

  43. That's sad about RC because they do such wonderful work.

  44. I waited until the end to leave any comments because I didn't know how to mix the two concepts. Yes it's me after a fund drive for the Red Cross.

    I will now find a way to get back at Eric...I promise...the May 7th picnic is just around the corner and the Seine is just over the edge...

  45. lol Petrea! Giggle...

    Michael well you're already a sometime guest photographer at my blog - this could be your opportunity.... see i said i'd be mischievous today.

  46. Very handsome michael!!!

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  48. It is time once more for everyone to
    plant a little garden, in the yard, on the patio, even on the windowsill.
    If everyone does it - imagine! And it would be organic!