As the story wrapped, some witless twit behind the CNN anchor desk made the flippant comment, "Gee, I hope he gets a refund."
At that point, I began to worry - will people in this country truly grasp the magnitude of what has happened? Or are we so clueless and apathetic that we'll brush it off as a sad little event that blips onto the radar of our consciousness until the next season of American Idol begins or some classless wide receiver pretends to drop his drawers in the end zone during a playoff game?
But thankfully, this cataclysmic event has remained in the forefront of our minds and the outpouring of support has been remarkable.
Considering the scale of what happened, it is important to maintain the relief effort and help those less fortunate cope with the events of Dec. 26, 2004. With so many people affected, it's hard to determine the best way to contribute, and with so many aid organizations, one often wonders where exactly contributions will end up. But here's a chance for the members of one community to directly assist the efforts of another halfway around the world.
On Saturday, Jan. 22, various bars throughout Hoboken will participate in a fundraiser for orphans in the village of Kurukkalmadam, Sri Lanka. While the 300 occupants of the orphanage survived the tsunami on the building's roof, the numbers of needy have swelled to over 3,000, and costs at this one facility have skyrocketed to $10,000 per day.
To assist with the massive effort, over two dozen bars and restaurants throughout the Mile Square have agreed to set out collection plates this Saturday. In addition, bartenders will contribute a percentage of their tips, to be matched by bar owners.
Funds raised will be sent directly to the orphanage in Kurukkalmadam, via Father Michael of St. Francis Church (310 Jefferson St., Hoboken).
As of press time, the list of participating venues includes:
340 Grill (340 Sinatra Dr.)
Bar None (84 Washington St.)
City Bistro (56 14th St.)
DC's (505 8th St.)
Duffy's (239 Bloomfield St.)
The Gaslight (400 Adams St.)
Hobson's Choice (77 Hudson Pl.)
The Jefferson (1319 Washington St.)
Liberty Bar (61 14th St.)
Louise & Jerry's (329 Washington St.)
The Madison (1316 Washington St.)
McSwiggan's (110 First St.)
The Mile Square (221 Washington St.)
Mulligan's (159 First St.)
The Nag's Head (359 First St.)
Oddfellow's Rest (80 River St.)
O'Donoghue's (205 First St.)
The Quays (310 Sinatra Dr.)
The Quiet Woman (557 First St.)
Scotland Yard (72 Hudson St.)
The Shannon (106 First St.)
Sky Bar (96 River St.)
Tazzo (230 Washington St.)
Texas-Arizona (76 River St.)
Trinity (300 Sinatra Dr.)
Willie McBride's (616 Grand St.)
(All addresses are in Hoboken)
Check with participating venues for any drink specials. A few places are offering $2 domestic draughts to anyone who can pronounce Kurukkalmadam (a task that's bound to grow more difficult as the evening wears on).
Any more venues that wish to participate should contact Ann from Duffy's at (201) 963-5512 (after 4 p.m.) or Sean Miller from www.hoboken-bar.net (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thanks in advance to all bar owners, bartenders and bar patrons for your contributions. Additional thanks to Hudson Eagle Distributors and Anheuser-Busch for assisting in the promotion of the event.
(Be sure to raise a glass to all our troops - particularly my buddy Alex of the USMC on the USS Bonhomme Richard, currently deployed to Indonesia to assist with the relief effort. Cheers, brother.)
******************************************************* Christopher M. Halleron, freelance writer/bitter bartender, writes a biweekly humor column for The Hudson Current and websites in the New York Metro area. He spends a lot of his time either in front of or behind the bar in Hoboken, New Jersey where his tolerance for liquor grows stronger as his tolerance for society is eroded on a daily basis. Feel free to drop him a line at email@example.com.