Archive for May 31, 2014

Simple Ideas Bear Repeating

It can’t be repeated too often:  remember to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle every chance you get.

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.]


PLEASE Get Shot!

The situation is approaching dangerous. Measles, supposedly eliminated 14 years ago, is again alive and growing in the U.S.  The 288 cases reported in 18 states is the largest outbreak in those 14 years, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is NOT hopeful that those are the last ones.

Too many American adults have not been vaccinated, and far too many are not giving their children that protection.  We never know when we’ll go to a ball game or movie and sit next to someone who wasn’t vaccinated before traveling (need two shots if traveling to some parts of the world) and is now carrying the deadly disease.  Or we may take our small child to a birthday party where another child hasn’t been vaccinated but has been visited recently by a relative from another country and given the “gift” of measles that haven’t exhibited symptoms yet.

It’s not worth the chance–or your child’s life.  PLEASE, make sure that everyone in your family and circle of friends has been vaccinated against measles.



Wisdom of Maya

Some Thursday Thoughts from Maya Angelou:

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

“While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation.”



Goodbye, Maya

I’m going to miss Maya Angelou.  I admired her as a poet–may some of my poems be as deeply human as hers some day–as well as a person who put her early life’s adversities and injustices into a personal force to fight such inhumanity aimed towards others.  She was Woman at Womanhood’s best.



Wedding Bells for Priests?

The Pope is reconsidering celibacy for priests?  Maybe.  After receiving a letter from a group of priests’ girlfriends last week, the Pope said,  “The Catholic Church has married priests in the Eastern rites….Celibacy is not a dogma of faith; it is a rule of life that I appreciate a great deal, and I believe it is a gift for the Church. The door is always open, given that it is not a dogma of faith.”

For Catholics, such a papal utterance is akin to the parting of the Red Sea.  Maybe this Pope, who has done so much to return the Catholic Church to the simpler, more human-family-oriented church of the Apostles and early Christians…just maybe he’ll return this “rule of life” to those same olden days.  If priests could marry, the church would have more men joining up, which would help the dwindling ranks.  There would likely still be orders that stick to this “rule of life”–a division in the church that Ireland had to work through in its early Christian days.  A man could choose to join one of those if he felt it was the right thing to do.

Will that change come in Pope Francis’ lifetime?  We’ll see, but I won’t hold my breath.

[Full disclosure: I am a practicing Catholic.]


A Remembrance for Today

A few years ago I experienced the Arizona Memorial in Hawaii.  The visit began with a film showing the horrors of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  My eyes blurred with tears.  Then there was the choppy boat trip to the monument, a short distance from other coffin-ships which suffered the same fate as the Arizona.  So many names filled the wall behind the altar-like steps, and the hush of the crowd echoed the silent voices trapped deep beneath us.  Little was said on the trip back to land, but one absurd, disturbing comment shocked me into  realizing that we’ve learned so little since then: “At least we got even when we hit Hiroshima.”

This Veterans Day I’m thinking the Canadians are right to call it “Remembrance Day.”  It’s important to remember and honor our veterans, those who fought for our way of life.  It’s even more important to remember that, as a human family, we should work toward a time when the reason for such occasions, and comments like that woman’s, are only adistant bad memory.

Hug a veteran, and pray for peace.



Click Away–It Makes Sense

Graduations, weddings, family BBQs…it’s the season for picture-taking.  Feel virtuous about using a digital camera instead of your old film-using one. The Earth benefits as you save money. Since you  store most pictures on your computer and print only some, you use less paper, developing chemicals, and water, and no chemical-laden film.  It makes sense.

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.]


They’re smuggling pregnant women

[This information greatly disturbed me.  I did what little I can–signed the petition.  It’s from, a 35-million-strong global campaign network.]


Nine months pregnant and in chains, Haben’s* torturers beat her ruthlessly demanding a $35,000 ransom from her husband. She gave birth in shackles, beside other terrified captives, with only rusty metal to cut the umbilical cord. It’s unbelievable that this is happening in 2014!

Amazingly Haben survived — but she is one of thousands of East Africans who have been abducted by criminal trafficking rings, and tortured in Egypt’s Sinai until their desperate families pay huge ransoms for their freedom. If we can show Egypt’s leaders that this dirty secret is out and damaging the Sinai’s tourism reputation as the ‘Red Sea Riviera’, they could break the trafficking rings, and free these slaves. 

Every hour these men, women and children are in captivity is an hour too long. Sign the urgent petition now and forward it to everyone. When we reach 1 million signers, Avaaz will raise a massive media storm to pressure Egypt to act:

If we can stop human smuggling in the Sinai — one of the most notorious routes for human trafficking in the world — we can strike a blow against a trade that imprisons nearly one million people a year.    

And it’s possible. Let’s start it all with a million person movement to end this horrific trade in human suffering. Sign now and share with others:


Our community has stepped in repeatedly to help those trapped in terrible conditions. Last year, we helped rescue migrant Indian labourers trapped in Bahrain. And we’ve helped provide food and medicine to those trapped in Syria. Now let’s help liberate those being tortured in Egypt.

With hope and determination,

Nick, Ari, Bissan, Alice, Wissam, Ricken and the entire Avaaz team

*Haben is a pseudonym, but her story is real.


Egypt/Sudan: Traffickers Who Torture (Human Rights Watch)

Extortionists, smugglers preying on Eritrean refugees, report says (Globe and Mail)…

Egypt/Sudan: Refugees face kidnapping for ransom, brutal treatment and human trafficking (Amnesty International)…

The Human Trafficking Cycle: Sinai and Beyond (EEPA Report)  

Thousands of Eritreans ‘abducted to Sinai for ransom’ (BBC) 

Egypt’s Sinai: Trafficking, torture and fear (Al Jazeera) 

Human Trafficking Statistics (Polaris Project)





What Life’s About

Life isn’t about what I’ve done, what I should’ve done, what I could’ve done….It’s about what I can do and what I will do.  (Unknown)



I’ve Been Abusing My Blue Jeans!

I’m so sorry.  I didn’t know.  I thought I was doing a kindness by washing my blue jeans after a few wearings.  Now I find out I’m just plain WRONG.  According to this morning’s news (I still can’t figure out who decides what’s “news” and why), I should wash those jeans only once in a great while at most, possibly never.  Washing harms color and shape.  Instead I’m supposed to freshen them with a spray of white vinegar or–are you ready for this?–vodka, and hang them outside in the breeze to freshen them.  To kill off any bacteria that may be growing on them, I place them in the freezer for a day or two.

My only comment to this is, “You learn something new every day, if you aren’t careful.”