Archive for January 31, 2014

Unemployed FINALLY Put in their Place

People who lost jobs in the recession got hit twice: once when losing their jobs, then again when nobody would hire someone who had been out of work for six months or a year.  I guess the reasoning was that if people wanted to work rather than sponging off of unemployment insurance they would have found jobs by now.  This may have been true for some people, but certainly not for the majority, who were trying to feed their families on unemployment money, let alone have luxuries like rent and health insurance.

President Obama is trying to change that by going to large employers and asking them to place the long-term unemployed back in line for jobs.  He’s doing it publicly enough that maybe companies who refuse to give up their unreasonable prejudice against the long-term unemployed will be “outed” and embarrassed enough to reconsider.

It’s about time these willing workers are put back into their proper place–the workplace.



The Humanity of Einstein

We think of Albert Einstein as the most influential physicist of the 20th century and one of the greatest scientists of all time.  Here’s a glimpse at his humanity:

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” — Albert Einstein




Help! My Kitchen is Attacking Me!

Maybe it’s getting me back for doing little to improve it for 45 years.  When we found ourselves holding cabinet doors closed with Scotch tape, we thought it was time for some remodeling.  We emptied everything into boxes, which we shoved aside for the three weeks it took to install new cabinets.  Now I’m going through those boxes, trying to figure out where to put stuff in this new configuration.

The Kitchen Goblins had to have been at work, hiding things, drying up bottles of liquid, and caking layers of dust over everything.  As I wash off items, I’m discovering three bottles of soy sauce, dried-up bottles of food coloring, pieces from two different fondue gizmos, containers with lost lids and lids with lost containers, and three dog toys that have been missing for more than a year.

The spices have been the most challenging.   Now that I have a spice cabinet, I want to organize it.  But what do I do with the several duplications of spices (how much oregano can I really use in a year?) and ones I don’t remember ever buying or having a use for (what the heck do I use dill weed for, anyway?)?  I even discovered a battered 8-ounce can of Hershey’s Cocoa–the price tag of 79 cents gives you an idea of how long I’ve had that.  Because my “green” heart won’t allow me simply to toss out all these items, there’s more work to find a spot for the extras…and hope that I remember that they’re there.

Yes, my kitchen, which should be grateful for the make-over, is attacking me–not outright, you understand, but in subtle ways.  I’m winning the battle, though.  Soon I’ll be busily enjoying my new kitchen….  Now, where did I put…?



“Pro-Life” Should be Pro Life

I’ve been reading the signs on the news coverage of the recent San Francisco Walk for Life.  A common one is “We’re the Pro-Life Generation.” The positive message and fact that they were doing something to spread the message really appealed to me, because I believe that all human life is sacred.

For the same reason, though, the signs make me uncomfortable.  I’ve been wondering if those same people and same signs–maybe with some other action to back them up–will ever appear outside a prison at execution time.  Or at a City Council meeting where upscale housing decisions are being made that will put more people out on the streets to become ill and endangered.  Or at restaurant garbage cans where perfectly good food is thrown out, food that could feed hungry families at shelters and soup kitchens.  Or at a legislative session that, instead of fixing the food stamp program lawmakers are cutting it, meaning more poor children experience malnutrition, hunger, and food insecurity.  Or outside nursing homes where the sick and elderly are mistreated, abused, neglected, and in an environment that hastens their deaths.

I applaud the anti-abortion people for their demonstrations (except for the bad apples who feel it their duty to hound and humiliate rather than inform, encourage, and pray).  Unfortunately, too many of them think that stopping abortions, therefore preserving pre-born human life, is all there is to being Pro-Life.  Those people need to change their label to what it is–“Anti-Abortion,” which sounds negative but is more descriptive.  All the rest, the true believers in life, should expand their conviction toward honoring and preserving human life–from womb to tomb.



Leave this World in Style

Planning for the inevitable?  Think about going back to how things were done until a century ago (to stop grave-robbing).  Have a green burial: no embalming, so no earth-harming formaldehyde; and caskets and shrouds made of biodegradable materials–maybe your favorite blanket.  Be laid to rest in a park that’s dedicated to keeping the surroundings in a natural state.  Be a style-setter, your final act showing your friends what “earth to earth” means to our planet.  The bonus is that you save about half the cost of a regular burial.

       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.]

Personal Note: 2000+ Thank-Yous

First, thank you, Devon Fuentes.  I don’t know you, where you live, or anything about you, but I appreciate you–the 2,000th person to sign up as a subscriber/user on my blog.

When my son finally convinced me to start a blog, I thought nobody would read my gripes against people’s foibles, politics, and such, my tirades against injustices I see, my suggestions for making a more just world (and a greener one), my musings about the idiocies of the English language, the quotes and videos that I thought were worth passing on, even my soft-sell of my books.

Not that hundreds of people read each day, but at least some usually do.  On the days when the stats tell me nobody was listening, I chalk it up to faulty stats (ha!) and consider that day’s post an entry in my daily–and public–journal.

Thank you–Devon and all 2,000+ of you.  I’ll let you know who is #3,000.  Meanwhile, I hope you visit me often.



Perfect Time for Mentoring a Child

I’m participating this month in National Mentoring Month and invite you to do the same. A mentor can change a child’s life, especially those children living with poverty. All it takes from us is a little time to read to a child, help with homework, take him to a park or playground, sit and talk to her—whatever says to that child, “You really DO matter.”  What the mentor does is help build the child’s self-esteem while helping build academic, intellectual, and social skills that he has little chance to work on otherwise.

An easy way to get involved in mentoring is to volunteer at a nearby school or library—both have literacy programs.  Check with your local branch of Big Brothers/Sisters.  A church, synagogue, or mosque often is aware of families they serve who have a child who would benefit from mentoring.  Find an agency that works with at-risk youngsters.

If you’re not comfortable working with children, adults need mentoring, too. Many need help learning to read and to improve their English speaking skills, for example.

Become a mentor this month.  Make a difference in a life.



Pre-What? A Heated Debate

Don’t get overheated by arguing for the old ways.  With our modern, well insulated ovens we don’t really need to pre-heat for most non-cake/ pastry items. So don’t do it. Also, rather than losing up to ¼ of the heat by opening the oven during baking, use the window to take a peek.  And turn off the heat a few minutes in advance to let the trapped heat finish the job. (By the way, if it’s winter, turn off the oven and open its door to release the trapped heat into your home.)  It makes sense to use our ovens wisely.

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.]



Death of an Historical Reminder

I’m watching the slow death of a San Francisco Bay Area tradition that reminds us of our ongoing struggle as a nation toward true brotherhood. Yes, it harkens back to establishing freedom for the Blacks, but it’s also a prompt to consider our attitudes and behaviors toward people of all races, creeds, and nationalities.

I’m referring to the Freedom Train—the only official one in the U.S.—sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Assn. of Santa Clara Valley.  Ridership is down after 29 years, supposedly because the NAACP withdrew its support a few years ago over acceptance of donations made by San Jose police at the same time they (allegedly) were mistreating minorities.

Whatever the cause, as of this morning, only 300 tickets have been sold, and if more people don’t pay the $15 ($10 for seniors, disabled, kids under 18) to ride and celebrate on Monday, this will be the last year for the train.

If you live in the SF Bay Area and are interested, go to to purchase a ticket today (must buy ticket there).  Otherwise, see if there’s an unofficial Freedom Train in your area.



A Bob Marley Gem

There’s more to Bob Marley than his music. Think about what he says in today’s Thoughtful Thursday quote:

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”