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Join The Great Debate June 9, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Happiness, People.
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If you’re not busy, and looking for some interesting issues to chew on, Paula and I are enjoying a civilized “debate” over on her blog, Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror.

In her last post, using Tipper and Al’s pending divorce as a launch pad, Paula made some interesting observations (and raised some thought-provoking questions) about issues of import:

* success/failure 

* marriage/divorce 

* endings/beginnings

* celebrations

* asking forgiveness

Come toss your thoughts into the mix at:  Marriage, Divorce, Al and Tipper

Related posts:  Eat, Pray, Love . . . Tie the Knot? * Doubt * Live Your Life * But I Might Die Tonight * Art as a Way of LifeWater Over The Dam

Ode to My (e)-Books June 9, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Poetry, Writing & Writers.
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Yesterday, we featured Paula Tohline Calhoun’s Ode To My Books.  Today, as promised, she’s back with . . .

Ode to My (e)-Books                     By Paula Tohline Calhoun, Guest Blogger

Here’s to my books on a glowing screen, and also on CD
Still as good as they’ve ever been, even simultaneously!
On PC,CD-ROM, boom-box, Sony or Kindle,
The total amount of money you spend will
Depend on the types of gadgets you use
And the places you’ll be or the moments you’ll choose
To read or to listen: on the couch, in the car,
On the beach, as you jog – wherever you are!
For the great thing about these bits of technology
Is the writing’s still there! And with no apology
I’ll point out to those who are reading this now, your
Cyber-medium has brought you that power!
So here’s to our books! Whatever the media –
Be it poetry, fiction or encyclopedia,
The pleasures derived from reading will be
Forever available as long as we
Can dismiss the biases we have for dust-jackets
And learn to peruse an internet stack. It’s
nice to imagine that some day down the road
We’ll not be bent low by the large heavy load
Of books we’ve bought and need to build shelves for –
Now that is a dream worth stretching ourselves for!
(Just one problem I feel needs addressing:
What will we do when our flowers need pressing?)

Paula Tohline Calhoun ©2010

For more on Paula, and her writing, check out  her blog, Reflections From A Cloudy Mirror.

Related posts:  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland * A Writer’s Life For Me *  Eavesdropping on the Rooftop Literati * The Power Of Awesome * Austen & Dickens Had It Easy *  It’s In The Mail * Eat, Pray, Love . . . Tie the Knot???

Pursue Distractions June 9, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Gratitude, Magick & Mystery.
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Writing on the internet, be it blogging or writing on a site like WEbook, can be extremely distracting, especially if your goal is to write in long, solitary stretches without interruption. 

Tip #1:  view “distractions” as part of the process. 

Every place that I am led to while writing is just the path unfolding before me.  It’s all part of the journey.  

Just start and the way will appear.

If I get a review from someone I know, I often decide to go check out what they are working on.  

That’s how I stumbled across Tips and Traps one morning ~ RikScott  commented on a Pure Dialogue submission of mine, and I checked his WEbook Profile Page for a recent posting to see what he was working on.

Glad that I did.  

Tips and Traps, a lovely distraction, eventually led me here . . . to my own blog, Spirit Lights The Way.   Thanks, Rik! 

Tip #2:  Check out what Rik’s working on these days . . . at Uphill Writing ~ this morning’s post, Stringing Your Reader Along, touches upon finicky and fascinating feline friends.  

If I get a review from someone I don’t know, I go take a peek at whatever he/she is working on to see if I can discover a post written by the next James Joyce or Jane Austen.  

My efforts as a talent scout often bear fruit.  

Heading out on such meanderings is how I “discovered” AgriGirl’s BlogThe Only Cin, Global Mysteries, and My Literary Quest.  (Of course, Rik pointed me in the right direction on 3 of these 4 excursions). 

Rather than including an ever-expanding list of talented writers here, you’ll find them on my Blog Roll (located just to the right of the main corridor).

On my wanderings, while reading and providing feedback, inspiration often strikes ~ igniting The Spark of Creativity.  When it does, I rush back here to jot down my thoughts before they evaporate into the ether. 

“Rebate . . . Rebate”  

Most days, I feel like a kid in a candy store ~ there is always something to look at, gaze at, admire . . . or put back to select something even better.

In short, almost 100% of the time I spend wandering around the internet  is spent improving myself as a writer ~ whether I’m crafting my own submissions, revising something I’ve already written, reading someone else’s work, considering topics for future posts, providing editorial suggestions, or offering written feedback.

It’s all good!

When we LISTEN . . . anything in life can be our guide.

Related posts:  A Beacon in the Dark * Winks, Whispers, and Nudges * The Spark of Creativity * Our Field of Dreams * Our Internal Compass * The Power Of Awesome * A Writer’s Life For Me *  Five Easy (Albeit Practically Useless) Tips * Austen & Dickens Had It Easy * Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Living Green Tip ~ Solar Attic Fans June 9, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Sustainable Living.
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At the  The Tampa Living Green Expo, we picked up some new green tricks and reinforced some old ones.

Here’s an innovation to consider . . . use the sun to COOL your home.


Solar-powered Attic Fans  save  the environment and pay for themselves in energy savings.  Solar fans run on the sun and cost nothing to operate, reduce heat and moisture build-up in the attic, and lower cooling costs in your home.

Solar fans ventilate attic spaces properly, prolong your roof’s life, and make living spaces more comfortable.

As an added bonus . . . solar fans are eligible for 30% Federal Tax credit.


Save taxes!  Save energy!  Save the planet!

For more information, visit:  Solar Star and/or Daylight Concepts

Related posts:  Living Green Tip ~ Lighten Up Your Life * Living Green Tip ~ Be Water Wise * Join a C.S.A. * Health Benefits From Greening Your Life * No Impact Man: Gradual Change * Go Solar with . . . eSolar! * Green America

The Truth Behind Meat Labels June 9, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness.
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If you’re a carnivore, omnivore, or anything other than a herbivore, you should read The Truth Behind Meat Labels published by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in Greentips (May 2010).

A few facts culled from the article:

* Food animals raised in crowded CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) are fed grain grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

* To promote faster growth and compensate for unhealthy conditions, CAFOs add antibiotics to animal feed ~ accounting for about 70 percent of all antibiotics and related drugs used in the United States!

Read that again . . . 70% of all antibiotics and related drugs used in the US are fed to animals due to the unhealthy conditions in which they are raised.

This reliance on antibiotics to keep animals alive leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant diseases that are difficult and expensive to treat.

Labels on meat products can be deceiving:

Certified OrganicThis label, regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and verified by independent auditors, indicates that animals were raised without antibiotics or growth hormones and given only certified organic feed (i.e., grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides).

Livestock must also have year-round access to the outdoors and be on pasture at least 120 days, and a certain minimum percentage of their food must come from pasture.

Grass-fedThe “USDA Process Verified Grass Fed” label indicates that cattle and other ruminant animals were fed only grass, hay, and other forages and had continuous access to the outdoors during the growing season. 

CAUTION:  A “grass-fed” label that does not include the words “USDA Process Verified” means the producer’s claim was not verified by the USDA through on-site inspection.

No Antibiotics/Raised without Antibiotics. Indicates that animals never received antibiotics.  Meat from animals that received antibiotic treatment for illness cannot be sold with this label.

CAUTION:  This claim is approved by the USDA based on documentation provided by the producer, not by on-site inspection.

Other labels considered “truthful” by the USDA can be misleading to consumers:

Vegetarian Feed Indicates that animals were not fed animal by-products. However, meat from cattle fed an unnatural grain-based diet could also receive this label.

Free-Range/Free-Roaming. Indicates that poultry had access to the outdoors ~ but does not guarantee that they actually ventured outside or had access to pasture. 

For more information:  Labeling on Egg Cartons (HSUS)

Natural/All-Natural. These labels pertain to meat processing, not how the animals were raised.  Some producers use labels like “naturally raised” to refer to how they raised their animals, but these are approved on a case-by-case basis and are not subject to a consistent USDA standard.

To improve your health, and reduce the demand for inhumanely raised animals (cows, pigs, sheep, and chicken):

Tip #1:  Become a vegetarian or vegan.  Visit the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) for delicious and healthy menu ideas and recipes.

Order a Vegetarian Starter Kit (or view on-line) at: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

Download a Guide to Vegetarian Eating (PDF file) from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Tip #2:  If you must eat meat, reduce your consumption  to avoid ingesting chemicals, pesticides, growth hormones, and antibiotics at every meal.

Tip #3: Purchase meat produced in the most sustainable manner you can find and afford.  As indicated, the best choice is Certified Organic.

Tip #4: Buy meat from local farmers so you can ask about their practices and observe their operations.  This keeps money in your local economy and away from huge conglomerates (e.g., Perdue, Hillshire Farms, and Tyson).

Related posts:  Become A Voice of Compassion * A Trip to the Farmer’s Market * Join a C.S.A. * Got Milk?  Toss It Out!Go HSUS!  * All The Gory Details * Top Ten List ~ Vegetarian * Gradual Change