Like many of you, I've been trolling the web for the latest updates on the horror show that's playing out in New Orleans. This is what happens when politics trump good government. Disgusting.

I checked out Daily Kos and read an entry that makes a lot of sense. He talked of skipping Christmas gifts this year, and instead donating money to aid the victims of this national tragedy. I have already donated my would-be Christmas gifts for family and friends to the Red Cross. I know the refugees will need my HBO screener of the miniseries "Empire Falls" more than anyone in my social network--ditto my autographed "Will & Grace" mouse pad.

The devil on my shoulder told me this would be the perfect excuse to avoid the relative nightmare of Christmas shopping, what inevitably turns out to be a whirlwind of anxiety in the final days to the Big J's birthday. And I rarely actually send gifts off on time. So this year it crossed my mind that I could send out a card saying, "In lieu of a scented candle/sweater/DVD, a donation in your name has been made to [An Important Relief Effort].

But then I peruse the message board on Craig's List New Orleans and read post after post of Americans all across the country offering their homes to strangers, and the generosity gives me pause. And I wish I could offer that kind of help.

Since I'm an imperfect and somewhat selfish being, I'm thinking of compromise. I am going to make a donation to the Red Cross, AND I will blame Katrina (and George Bush, by extension) for a lack of gifts this year.

I don't know what else to say.