Archive for October 20, 2012

Earth-Friendly Tip: Dog Poop

 

When taking the family dog on a walk, pick up his “gifts” with biodegradable poop bags. To be even kinder to the environment, bring the bag home and flush the contents.

[For more easy, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to www.Smashwords.com/books/ view/7000, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. Or download a free copy from your favorite e-tailer.]

Thoughtful Thursday: Educate the Taliban

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  —  Nelson Mandela

 

[Is that why the Taliban feared Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani teen who spoke out in favor of education for girls?  Do they fear education so much that they felt they had to shoot and try to kill her?]

Loma Prieta Love

This 23rd anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake actually brings back good memories. I remember reports of neighbors knocking on doors to check on each other. People in the streets helping one another to safety. Office mates leading even co-workers they didn’t like down shaky stairs. I remember sharing of food, water, electricity, battery-operated lighting, candles, camp-cooking equipment, and blankets. I remember displaced families being taken into homes or offered the use of RVs stored in driveways.  I remember children being comforted by the nearest adult while another adult captured a wayward pet and placed it into the child’s arms.

I remember all this, and much, much more.  All of it adding up to our saying to each other, “Let’s put aside our differences in opinion, political leanings, race, economic status, religion, and all the other things that divide us.  For now, let’s just take care of each other.”

What saddens me is that it takes such a gut-wrenching event to remind us to do what we should be doing, without pause or question, every day.

 

Election Alert: Don’t Cancel Your Own Vote

WHAT TO DO ABOUT THOSE CONFLICTING SETS OF PROPOSITIONS ON THE BALLOT! I’ll just vote No on both–but that’s just what the people who put the second one on are counting on my doing in my confusion.  OK. I really like one, but the other sounds like it has merit, too, so I’ll vote Yes on both. THEN what happens?

Actually, you may be helping to pass the one you like a lot less.  Look at Props. 30 and 38.  They’re very similar in their general intent, which is to help the schools. They go about it differently, though, including who is taxed in what way for how long, what restrictions are included and how they affect a school’s chances for planning ahead, who proposed it (do you prefer a group or a single person?), and who’s giving the big bucks to support it (again, groups vs. the actual proposer, anti-tax groups, educational groups, etc.).  I weighed all of these things and came to my own personal decision.  I like some of the provisions of the one I’ll vote No on, but I’ll still vote No.

Why?  Because there’s a possibility that both, as independent propositions, may get enough votes to pass.  If so, the one with the most Yes votes is enacted and the other is discarded.  If I were to vote Yes on both, there’s a possibility that, if both pass, my additional vote on the one I like least will affect the numbers, giving that one more votes than my favored proposition.

I can’t have both, or the best provisions of both.  That means I must vote Yes on one and No on the other.

Guns, Knives, & Change

Neighborhood shootings have decreased!  Yea!  Or maybe news reports of them have lessened because of all the recent cases of stabbings.  As I watch the news each morning, I’m unnerved by the multitude of violent acts one person commits against another on streets not far from my home.  I thought the many daily shootings were bad enough; but now I fear the trend of harming each other in an up-close, personal, look-’em-in-the eye way as opposed to pulling a trigger at a distance, often not even caring where the bullet might hit.

We need to end all this.  More police might help, although education and lessened poverty would help more.  I need to think seriously about what I can do to promote positive change in these two areas.  In fact, we all need to do that.

Costco to the Rescue

 

I was dreading going to Costco alone.  I had heavy items to pick up (darned dog eats too much!) and no one to go with me to help.  I rolled through the door in my scooter, wheeling a forearm-guided basket beside me, when I was accosted by a Costco employee who inquired about my need for help.  I told him I’d get the small things and then ask for help on the big items.  He wouldn’t hear of it.  He found out what I wanted, then, once I gave in, he grabbed the basket and invited me to join him.  Because he knew where everything was located, he made short work of my list.  This was the least time I’ve ever spent in there.  Meanwhile, we chatted like old friends.  He brought the basket to check-out, helped to process the items, pushed the cart to the door, and told the receipt-checker there that I could use some assistance out.  He bid me farewell and made me promise to ask for help anytime I needed it.

From there, I was approached by another, equally friendly employee who took my cart to my car and loaded it.  He, too, reminded me that they were there to be of service.

I admit that I’m bad at asking for help. It wounds my independent spirit.  However, although  I hate shopping of all sorts, that very short  trip was actually pleasant. I wouldn’t have expected that from a store as big and ware-housey as Costco.  I’m comfortable going back for my next (yuk!) shopping trip.

At this point, Costco employees are my heroes!  They know how to treat people with kindness and without condescension.

Thoughtful Thursday: When to do Right

 

“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” — Nelson Mandala

 

 

High Heels on Toddlers

 

Girls aged 6-10 and even younger are a target-market for high-heeled shoes. This trend for 3” wedges (by fashionable designer Michael Kors) and 2” – 2.25” heels (by Kenneth Cole and Jessica Simpson Kids) was started by the daughter of actress Katie Holmes, Suri Cruise, who has been wearing heels since age 4.

Is it, as Suri’s mom says, just a “harmless dress-up game”?  Not according to the experts.  Studies have revealed possible permanent damage to the knees, hips, tendons, and backs of women in their twenties who make a habit of wearing even 2” heels.  Imagine what heels do to the bones and tendons of growing young girls.

What is the purpose of wearing high heels, anyway?  It’s to make a woman look taller and her legs seem longer, more powerful, and sexier.  The same for little girls.  In other words, these heels sexualize girls at a very young age, and such sexualization only adds to their attraction when pedophiles and sex offenders are on the prowl.  In addition, it helps form a body image that, experts say, is not healthy but is reinforced by what the children see in movies, on TV, and in magazines—all of which convinces a little girl that she is expected to be pretty, sexy, thin, flawless (like those airbrushed models in magazines), and alluring.  She has to deal with this throughout some of the most insecure years she will experience in her life.

As parents, it’s our job to protect our children from harm and potential harm.  Moms and Dads, think twice about that cute pair of high heels for your daughter’s birthday present.

Do Only Criminals Protest?

 

Ever notice how many protesters have their faces covered?  This is true all over the world, including here in the U.S.  Yet we have freedom of speech.  If I’m expressing beliefs and opinions I truly believe in, why don’t I want people to see my face?  If I’m hiding my identity because I’m doing something illegal, like smashing the store windows of people not involved in what I’m protesting against, and if I think that’s the right and moral thing to do, I should stand up to be counted–and let everyone see face.

I understand the cover-up in countries where the regime will arrest and execute me just for speaking out, but not here in America. Come on, protesters, let’s see your proud, righteous faces as you sling that brick.

 

Cheerios: The Champion Over Poverty

 

Well, any breakfast food, really can battle poverty.

A study done by the journal Appetite and reported recently in the Wall Street Journal indicates that breakfast is, indeed, the most important meal of the day–for school children, at least.  Using 1000 children in poverty as their subjects, researchers found that, early in the school day, kids who  had no breakfast before school tested out slower and less accurate on cognitive and memory tests as compared with kids who did have breakfast that morning. Girls without breakfast found it even harder to focus than boys.

In other words, breakfast matters.  It has been established that education is the most effective tool to dig oneself out of poverty. If undernourished children can’t concentrate, they can’t learn effectively. If they can’t learn, they can’t live up to their full potential.  If they can’t fulfill that potential, they’re stuck in the continuing spiral of poverty, a condition that dehumanizes them and costs society in terms of both money and our self-image as a nation of opportunity.

That’s why I support schools’ offering free breakfasts and lunches. If my small amount of tax money can take these on-the-edge children and provide them with the potential to become productive, successful adults, fine with me.