Archive for October 31, 2013

Free Halloween Horrors

On Halloween, save your money on haunted houses, scary pumpkin patches, horror films, and the like.  Witch  If you want to be scared…really, really scared…just go shopping and look at the prices.



Polio & War

Despite what the WHO said years back, polio has NOT been eradicated. In fact, unrest in the world is helping the previously fewer cases to grow toward an epidemic in some areas. In 2012, Nigeria reported 122 cases, Pakistan 58, and Afghanistan 37.  Today’s news tells us that at least 10 cases have been reported recently in Syria. What do these countries have in common? War.  Violence and fear among people drives them into lifestyles that allow them simply to survive.  People get spread out into less accessible (and, they hope, safer) areas, and the last thing on their minds is to get immunized against polio. Under these circumstances, even countries with mandatory immunization–and Syria is one of them–find that avoiding gunfire and bombs trumps compulsory programs that no one is enforcing.

Maybe it’s because I contracted polio during the time when America was recovering from WWII. Or that I see so many preventable diseases (malaria, pneumonia, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, etc.) spreading during and right after  a war. Or that the most common victim of such diseases is someone living in poverty and the ravages of war. But it seems clear to me that a major preventative of polio and other communicable diseases is peace.



Movie Review: “Captain Phillips”

I was a bit surprised by this film.  I’d heard the complaints from crew members that the story deviates from the truth and that Capt. Phillips wasn’t exactly the hero the film portrays.  I knew it was a fairly long movie–would I be bored with endless water and evil-acting, inhuman pirates?  Still, it WAS starring Tom Hanks….

It was a great film.  Non-stop edge-of-seat action which didn’t depend on wrecked cars, bloody gun battles, and sex scenes that lasted longer than humanly possible.  Good acting.  Interesting characters.  Realistic story-line in terms of the problem of piracy along the African coast and the fact (as recent events attest) that Americans are perceived as prime targets for kidnapping because we’re all rich.  There was even a hint of an actual social justice concern (close to my heart): poverty-stricken men making a living, often reluctantly, by hiring on with the pirate boss, who considers them worthless and expendable because there are so many of them.

I’m sorry, Capt. Phillips crew members, but I thought this was a movie well worth seeing.


Snoopy Americans

So, we’ve been snooping into the business of 35 other countries’ leaders.  And they’re mad as a wet bloodhound at us.  I don’t blame them.  On the other hand, I can’t help wondering if they’re upset because we’re snooping or because their technology to do so is behind ours.  Is the U.S. in trouble because we’re doing something totally against what others would even consider doing–or because we got caught?



Over-Medicating the Earth

Left-over prescription medicines are a big problem.  We can’t flush them down the toilet because they’ll pollute our water. Tossing them into the garbage means they’ll end up in the landfill, where birds and animals can get to them and be harmed.  Instead, we can donate them to San Jose Flying Doctors (279-8445).  Also, we can go to or to recycle them.  Some pharmacies will take them, too, if you ask. Otherwise, we must learn how to safely dispose of them ourselves.

 Leaf 6

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

The Responsibility for Andy’s Death

Someone is to blame for the Sheriff’s shooting 13-year-old Andy Lopez, a kid out playing.  Here are the possible guilty parties:

The 24-year veteran sheriff’s deputy who shot the Santa Rosa teen after Andy didn’t heed his commands to put down the gun.

The perpetrators of tragic mass shootings such as Sandy Hook and Columbine, whose actions slither into the minds of law enforcement when faced with guns and kids.

Andy, who waved the gun around playfully and refused the deputy’s repeated orders to put it down.

The friend who let Andy borrow a toy that was so realistic as to put Andy into potential danger.

The father, who told Andy several times to be careful but didn’t take the replica AK 47 away from him before he went out into public.

The manufacturer, who made the orange tip–indicating that this was only a toy–easy to break off rather than an integral part of the toy.

Society in general, which glorifies people using guns to kill in war, hunting, and stand-your-ground, and which encourages everyone to exercise his Constitutional right to carry a gun, have one on the night stand, put one under his store/shop’s counter, and collect weapons such as the AK 47 whose only purpose is to kill large numbers of people (unless you’re a hunter with bad aim and no intention to eat your kill).

Who’s to blame for the death of Andy Lopez?



Anne Frank’s Take on a Better World

Anne Frank suffered in mind, body, and soul in a dark, dangerous world and still had this to say:

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

[There’s a meaty idea for Thoughtful Thursday and every day.]





Our Kids are Sinking Financially

 Young adults have lost TWO-THIRDS OF THEIR NET WORTH since 1984.

21- to 35-year-olds: Your median net worth has dropped 68% since 1984. It’s now less than $4,000.

That $4,000 has to pay for student loans that average $27,200 [and are skyrocketing]. Or, if you’re still in school, for $12,700 in credit card debt.

With an unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds of almost 50%, two out of every five recent college graduates are living with their parents. But your favorite company may be hiring. Apple, which makes a profit of $420,000 per employee, can pay you about $12 per hour.

–Paul Buchheit, Common Dreams, 11/19/12



Some Left Over Advice

What to do with all those left-overs?  Eat ’em for lunch or side-dishes. Trade with a neighbor for a different flavor. Feed them (in moderation) to your dog. Plan better so you don’t have them. If you have a little even after careful planning, compost them in your yard.

Americans must cut down on the food we simply throw away.  In the U.S., 25% of all food that is produced goes to waste—enough to fill 12% of the landfills.

Leaf 6

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



Francis: A Misguided Pope

Look at the outrageous things Pope Francis is doing!  He sent $270 (200 Euros) to a Venetian woman in her 80s who had been mugged, robbed on her way to the hospital to visit her ill husband.  On World Environment day he actually linked all life together, saying that ignoring the poor and wasting food instead of sharing it with the poor is not what we should be doing.  Then, two days ago, he called a German bishop to Rome to chastise him for his lavish spending habits, including the $42 million he spent on his own home.  All the while, this new-Pope-on-the-block has been living simply (no lavish Papal apartment for him) and encouraging others to do so.

What’s wrong with this man?  Does he somehow believe–and want us to believe—that Jesus lived a simple lifestyle, focused on the poor, taught the disciples to look after the vulnerable people they met, and shared what he had with others for the good of the whole community?

What kind of a church does Pope Francis think he’s striving for?  What kind of a world does he want to see come about?

In today’s world, where we MUST look out for #1, how misguided can he be?!