Archive for November 29, 2014

Cure for Frosted Windshield

Don’t waste plastic or paper trying to keep frost from your windshield.  Instead, be more earth-friendly by coating it the night before with a mixture of 3 parts white vinegar and 1 part water.  Wake up to a clean, frost-free car window.

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.]

Pardon Me! (Gobble, Gobble)

President Nixon invented the pardon–at least for Thanksgiving turkeys.  In the midst of controversy about pardoning people involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, he joked about granting a pardon for that year’s turkey that was slated to be sent to the petting zoo instead of the dinner table.  And the term “pardon” stuck.

The whole tradition has an interesting history.  Read about it at “Why Presidents Pardon Turkeys–a History.”  As you gobble up the historical facts, remember this: they don’t have any calories, as opposed to the 4000 or so you may have consumed yesterday.


Bag It!

This time of year we tend to eat out more–a quick bite in the midst of shopping or leisurely dinner after a tiring day.  Carry a couple of baggies in your purse for use as doggie/people bags so you avoid using a restaurant’s single-use plastic or Styrofoam containers.  The bags can be washed out, turned inside out until thoroughly dried, and returned to your purse or car glove box (remember to grab them on the way in to eat).

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.]

Borowitz on Immigration: Tongue Firmly in Cheek

I have an admission to make: I like Andy Borowitz.  I don’t always agree with him, but his satire appeals to me.  He’s uses an equal-opportunity sword, slicing into Democrats and Republicans and anybody else when he thinks they need to be cut down to size. Today I share with you his reaction to the politics and human faces surrounding the latest immigration controversy.

Please read “Republicans Accuse Obama of Treating Immigrants Like Humans.”



Mike Nicols on the American Dream

Today’s Thursday Thought comes from the multi-talented German immigrant who passed away yesterday, Mike Nicols.  His quote offers an interesting view of what Americans hope for and dream of:

“There’s nothing in the American dream about character.  It’s a serious flaw.”



Warm and Cozy and Safe

Baby, it’s cold outside.  Yes, it’s starting to be cozy-up weather, a time when thoughts turn to….space heaters.  They’re convenient and effective, and you don’t have to warm up rooms you aren’t spending time in.

BUT, be safe.  A third of all house fires are cause by space heaters that overheat, melt, tip over, or are used improperly.  You’ve probably had that one stashed in the closet for years.  Time to replace it.  Newer ones have better safety features, like anti-tips, automatic turn-off at overheating, and protections against fabric that leans against it, catching fire.  Look on the box for the features of various brands.  (You can also see what Consumer Reports, Comparaboo, or another research company has to say about those brands.)  Buy the one that does the best job and, above all, is safest.

When you get it home, remember to plug it into it’s own dedicated socket (no rats nests of plugs piggy-backed into that poor socket) and keep it three feet away from flammable items.

One more thing–if you have friends or relatives (especially older or disabled ones), pass on this info to them.  Maybe even buy them a new heater for Christmas.

Once again, dear readers, please keep safe.  I need you!

Sad News: No More Chocolate

Get out your Kleenex, fellow chocolate-lovers.  Soon the cocoa plant–chocolate is made from its seeds–may be be no more.  Disease and pests are killing off cocoa crops, thanks in large part to monoculture, a cultivation method that makes the plants especially susceptible.

The main cause, though, according to many experts, falls in the lap of business. Although large corporations rake in the money, farmers have little incentive to grow cocoa because they make less than $1 a day doing so–not enough to support a farmer and his family.

Researchers are studying ways to save cocoa, which will take years. Right now, farmers can help by using sustainable farming methods in place of monoculture. They’re willing to do that, but it will take teamwork, with governments and us, so that farming this crop is practical.  Governments need to enact Fair Trade Agreements. Note that this isn’t “free Trade” but “FAIR Trade.” That’s a system in which more of the money goes to the actual workers and small farm owners rather than big agribusiness (people who’ve never even stepped foot on a farm).  As for us, we should buy Fair Trade chocolate for ourselves and as gifts, thus supporting the farmers who will then cultivate more cocoa for us to enjoy.

This is something to think about during this upcoming season of indulging ourselves.  Save chocolate and improve peoples’ lives: urge our legislators to make Fair Trade agreements, and buy Fair Trade chocolate.



Kids Are Not Good Business

This morning’s news brought a disturbing statistic: 1 in 3 American children are homeless, and 2 1/2 MILLION kids were without a home sometime during last year–so says the National Center for Family and Homelessness.  (For details, read the article in The Guardian.)   The two main causes are the impact of domestic violence and lack of affordable housing.

It’s this second cause that shouldn’t exist.  In the same news I learned that Candlestick Park in San Francisco is slated to become a luxury shopping center, hotel, and housing.  You can bet it won’t be affordable housing!  San Francisco is doing the same kind of project there that they’ve done at Hunter’s Point and the shipping yard.  The argument for the Candlestick Park venture is that it will create 3000 permanent jobs.  I can’t help wondering, though, where those service and hotel workers filling those jobs will live.  They won’t earn enough to live at that complex or anywhere else in pricey San Francisco, or down the road in nearby cities, either.  If they’re among the many under-employed homeless people, they can’t put a roof over their children’s heads.

I’d like to see the $1 BILLION this project will cost put into something more practical and humane.  We can live without another upscale shopping center, hotel, and fancy condos.  But how long can our kids survive living on the streets?

Oh, I forgot.  That wouldn’t be good business.



Save the World with a Clean Refrigerator

I thought Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day (today) was funny, until I opened my fridge.  What I saw reminded me that 1/3–½ of the food produced in the world goes to waste while starvation and food insecurity are widespread. We use a huge amount of water and polluting energy to make food that just ends up in the landfill. So I’ve turned over a new lettuce leaf.  I’ll buy only what I need, buy locally grown produce whenever possible, and try growing some myself.  I’ll be creative with leftovers and aging foods, eating them before they’re wasted (my freezer helps here).  Maybe I’ll organize a potluck with friends so we can share.   If I have too much fresh produce or non-perishable items, I’ll donate them to the local food bank.  I know I’m not perfect and will have to dispose of some spoiled food.  But it won’t be much, and I’ll compost it rather than tossing it into the garbage can or wasting water by using the disposal. The money I’ll save will go to organizations fighting hunger.  It seems like the least I can do.

Fewer Taxes for Corporations?

Poor FedEx, Amazon, Ikea, Pepsi, JP Morgan, Proctor and Gamble.  They feel they pay too much in taxes.  So they keep searching for ways around paying.  Now, thanks to Luxembourg, they and other corporations have a new path to minimizing their taxes.

That bothers me on so many levels.  The more people (yes, the courts have declared that a corporation is a person) who don’t pay their fair share of taxes, the more the rest of us have to pay if we want adequate basic services.  It means that people in poverty have less chance at life-sustaining jobs, therefore slimmer chances of lifting themselves up into a better life.  It means higher profits for corporations but not lower prices for us.

Get details about this new corporate tax break at the Sum of Us website.