Back With a Vengeance
Make Toys Not WarThe national office of the War Resisters League implores holiday shoppers to consider toy choices with a clear head and heart. November 24 and 25 are the International Days to Stop War Toys, a reminder that children learn violence through their play. No local branch has contacted this column; if there are any local exchanges for violent toys, please forward info and we'll pass it along. WRL@igc.apc.org 800/WRL-YOUTH.
Work Your Assets OffWorking Assets celebrates 10 years in the biz of socially relevant credit and long distance services which benefit activist efforts around the globe. Parentals and grand-parentals: Here's a fine way to show your raging, idealistic spawns that you are truly interested in their future world. Set 'em up with a gift certificate for long distance phone service or if you're really liquid (and not concerned about staying that way), give 'em their own credit card. 800/788-0898, individuals; 800/789-7022, organizations.
From the Little Acorn...
ACORN Housing is a non-profit that helps folks pre-qualify for home mortgages. The real estate market is maze-like enough without factoring in elements like iffy credit, tight budgets, or discrimination - those road blocks can make the trek home nearly impossible. ACORN's next Homebuyer's Class is Wed., Nov. 29, 7pm, at the Oak Springs Library. 444-1207.
...the Mighty Oak Doth Grow
The Giving Tree is another in the growing list of innovative not-for-profits that kills two birds with one stone. Whoa! Wrong metaphor! If anything, the Giving Tree makes good things grow, not keel over. One donation to the Giving Tree supports the Austin Child Guidance Center's work in children's mental health services and sponsors the planting of a native tree. Sponsorships are available through the end of the year at three $$ levels: $125, $250, and $500. 451-2242.
Like a Fish Needs a BombDerail yourself from the chain stores: The tireless crankers at Bikes Not Bombs are gearing up for another Bike Sale, Sat., Nov 25, 10am-4pm at Wheatsville Co-op, 3101 Guadalupe. Our experiences with the organization have been wheely great. As they pedal their wares, you won't feel framed: In fact, you'll probably coast away with a fine bike and a sprocketful of chains. Good customer service is spoken here: If anything brakes, they can handle it, bar none. So cruiser on down and support the cause of sending used bikes to Central America.
Heed the Call UpShare yourself and check out these volunteer opportunities:
*The Texas Runaway Hotline needs volunteers to fill in for regular volunteers out of town for the holidays. The Hotline receives over 2,000 calls per month and expects their typical 125% increase over the holiday season. 463-1980, volunteers; 800/392-3352, hotline.
*Exporting our culture (read: consumer goods) is as favorite an American pastime as buttressing icky dictatorships. In a fair twist, here's an open-armed method for welcoming other cultures right into your own home: The Academic and Cultural Exchange seeks host families for students from Brazil or Croatia. 800/484-5678, x 6643.
*MADD as hell and not going to take it any more, these moms offer info on how to make these seasons less bright (with fewer ambulance lights) and invite all to wrap red ribbons on rear-view mirrors as a reminder to drive sober. 442-6441.
*"Who told you you could wear my sweater???" "Put my records away!" "I swear to god, I'm gonna tell mom!" If you have latent revenge hang-ups over big siblings, disregard this notice: Big Brothers and Big Sisters hold volunteer meetings, Mon., Nov. 27 & Thu., Dec. 7, 6-7pm, and Sat., Dec. 16, 11am-noon. But if you have a big heart and would like to be a great pal to a cool kid, then by all means, call. 472-KIDS.
Blue Lights AnonymousOn the feel-good holiday shopping tip:
*The Children's Shelter & Assessment Center, an agency serving abused and abandoned kids, is selling Holiday Cards. And whatever bonus the kids get from these sales, they'll have earned it, as they designed the greetings themselves. Packs of 16 cards sell for $12.99. 258-4579.
*Austin is home to the bloomin' National Wildflower Research Center. Situated on 42 acres of Hill Country heaven, the center boasts a heck of a gift shop - a fine holiday gift destination, to be sure. While you're at it, sign up a flower child as a member. A place in the floral coterie comes with unlimited, free admission to the facility ($3.50 per, otherwise), discounts to the gift store, factsheet service, educational programs, and a free newsletter. 292-4200.
*Pueblo to People holds their annual holiday sale of Latin American goods to benefit the Quakerly peace and justice outfit American Friends Service Committee, Sat. & Sun., Dec. 2 & 3, 9am-5pm. The Pueblo works specifically with craft and agricultural co-ops in Latin America, which means both the wholesale and retail ends of this operation benefit good causes. 474-2399.
*Texas Memorial Museum hosts the annual Holiday Museum Market, Thurs., Nov. 30, 4-9pm. They tout discounts of 20% off of unusual gifts from around the planet. 471-1604.
*Over 150 area businesses throw their gift certificates in the ring for this year's Holiday Bizarre Bazaar at City Grill, Nov. 24 - Dec. 23, 5:30-10:30pm, nightly. The month-long sale is a great way to lob a surgical strike on the holiday gift certificate front. They'll have a stunning array of certs available from $5 to $150, for food, clothing, nights out (restaurants, theatres), nights in (hotels) and high-end consumables (bikes, home furnishings). More on this next week. 479-0817.
*From the Fashion-Faux-Pas File: Topping this year's list of must-to-avoids, the Rush Limbaugh Tie celebrates the last gasping milliseconds in the Large One's allotted 15 minutes. 'Tis no joke, kids, this is no spoof. At least one area retail monolith hopes to cash in big on the ditto nooses. We can't imagine less than a wholesale, lemming-like exodus at the mere sight of the puffy pontificator pictured on the display.