Monthly Archives: January 2008

California Dreamin’ on such a Winter’s day

Everybody pretty much thinks that we have no winter in Southern California. That’s not exactly true. This time of the year the mercury ranges from high 40s F to low 60s F. Before you people back east start laughing out loud, remember that “cold” is a relative term. I lived in the New York City area as a child, and I know what a frigid winter feels like. However, now that I am accustomed to warmer weather, 40 degrees is very cold to me now. Some Southern Californians are in denial – they persist in wearing shorts and sandals, then stand around freezing pretending they are warm. Brrrrr! Add wind and rain and you get very low wind chill factors sometimes..

Anyway, here is a little portrait of winter in my neighborhood. This is my next-door neighbor’s birch tree. There are always crows at her house; today was no exception. Doesn’t it look rather chilly?



Filed under Life, Musings

Red Tape

Yesterday I took the time to write emails to both California senators and my local representatives, as well as the Metropolitan Water District regarding my concerns about water fluoridation. This was what I wrote:

Is the flouridation of our drinking water a permanent situation? I protest the addition of fluoride to our water supply (beginning October 2007) here in South Orange County on the basis of health issues. A new report by Reuters explains some of the health risks associated with water flouridation.

I would like to know if these programs are scheduled to be terminated in the near future to make our drinking water safe again.

I plan to write to my elected officials on this matter as well. Thank you.


Here is the only response I received so far, this from the Metropolitan Water District. Not a peep from the elected officials yet. I must say this was a very speedy and informative response, although it underscores the amount of bureaucracy involved in bringing about change:

I appreciate both your concern and interest in Metropolitan’s Drinking Water Fluoridation Program. Metropolitan’s decision to fluoridate it’s drinking water supplies was made by an official action of its Board of Directors; Metropolitan’s Board governs Staff activities (including fluoridation) and adopts all policy on its treatment and operations.
Any decision to stop or reverse Metropolitan’s Fluoridation Program must be initiated at this level. You therefore have two options to stop Metropolitan’s current fluoridation treatment option: 1.) convince its Board to reverse their 2004 decision or 2.) have the current law mandating drinking water fluoridation changed.

Edgar G. Dymally
Water Quality Section
Metropolitan Water District
of Southern California

I love the way that’s worded – “convince the board” or “change the current law”. It’s as simple as that!!

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Filed under Ecology, Health, Life, Politics

Read this before your next sip of tap water…

Scientific American Has Second Thoughts About Fluoride

fluoride, water fluoridation“Editors for Scientific American believe recent studies suggest that fluoride raises the risks of disorders affecting teeth, bones, the brain and the thyroid gland, and in general “scientific attitudes” about fluoridation may be shifting.

“Fluoride, the most consumed drug in the USA, is deliberately added to 2/3 of public water supplies theoretically to reduce tooth decay, but with no scientifically-valid evidence proving safety or effectiveness,” says lawyer Paul Beeber, president of the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation.

Meanwhile, according to environmental reporter and director of New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program Dan Fagin, “There is no universally accepted optimal level for daily intake of fluoride.”

After analyzing hundreds of fluoride studies, researchers found that fluoride:

  • Alters endocrine function, especially in the thyroid
  • Causes dental fluorosis in young children
  • May lower IQ
  • May increase the risk of bone fractures

Because scientific evidence suggests that water fluoridation is ineffective and dangerous to health, over 1,200 professional are now urging Congress to stop water fluoridation.”

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Filed under Ecology, Health, Life

World Clock

This is rather thought-provoking. A statistical picture of the planet’s events in real time…

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Filed under Life

Short Circuit

Every night at 9 pm my mom calls me to let me know that she’s OK. I asked her to do this because I was worried about her being alone all the time. So the phone rings at 9 and knowing it’s her, I usually listen to the answering machine message, determine she’s OK, and go on with what I’m doing.

Why do I do this? Why don’t I just talk to her every night?

Because I hate talking for long periods on the telephone. My mom just doesn’t know when to stop talking. I realize she’s probably lonesome, but she goes on and on about her health down to the most minute detail and it drives me crazy. I do listen sympathetically for the first 5 minutes or so, and then some kind of overload switch gets flipped in me. She would keep me on the phone for an hour if she could.

I guess because I have health problems of my own, I get annoyed hearing about the health issues over and over. I feel some guilt about this, but I can’t help it. I want to keep a positive attitude and while I’m happy to commiserate with someone occasionally, I just can’t hang in as a regular, constant event. I don’t like to talk about my health challenges to others – I feel it’s a boring topic. I only wish the same courtesy was extended to me.

So what I do is take what she is saying and offer a positive spin on whatever the problem is. Then she says “sometimes it’s good to just complain and have someone listen without offering solutions”. I disagree, I don’t believe in complaining at length.

What’s a gal to do? The end result is that I pick up the phone about 3 days a week and try to listen to her “physical report card”. I consider that a compromise. I love my mom and I know she won’t be around forever.


Filed under Life, Musings

Hey! Don’t throw that away!

This is not my own original work or research. I thought it so important however, that I present it from the website . I hope this will help spread the word about recycling objects you may not have thought could be recycled. Cut and paste any links you are interested in into your browser.

21 Things You Didn’t
Know You Can Recycle

CAQ73 Garbage. Americans produce more and more of it every year, when we need to be producing less. Even the most waste-conscious among us can feel overwhelmed by the amount of household waste that goes beyond what municipal recyclers and compost bins can handle. That’s why our editors spent the summer of 2007 investigating the state of waste management in our country, putting this list togther for you, explaining how we can get serious about the three R’s – reducing, reusing, and recycling — and divert more waste away from landfills. (To download the entire recycling issue of the Quarterly, visit our archives page.)1. Appliances: Goodwill accepts working appliances,, or you can contact the Steel Recycling Institute to recycle them. 800/YES-1-CAN,

2. Batteries: Rechargeables and single-use: Battery Solutions, 734/467-9110,

3. Cardboard boxes: Contact local nonprofits and women’s shelters to see if they Boxcan use them. Or, offer up used cardboard boxes at your local listserv or on for others who may need them for moving or storage. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, accepts them for resale.

4. CDs/DVDs/Game Disks: Send scratched music or computer CDs, DVDs, and PlayStation or Nintendo video game disks to AuralTech for refinishing, and they’ll work like new: 888/454-3223,

5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to your local Goodwill outlet or shelter. ShirtsDonate wearable women’s business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs, 212/532-1922, Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding. Consider holding a clothes swap at your office, school, faith congregation or community center. Swap clothes with friends and colleagues, and save money on a new fall wardrobe and back-to-school clothes.

6. Compact fluorescent bulbs: Take them to your local IKEA store for recycling:

7. Compostable bio-plastics: You probably won’t be able to compost these in your home compost bin or pile. Find a municipal composter to take them to at

8. Computers and electronics: Find the most responsible recyclers, local and national, at

9. Exercise videos: Swap them with others at

10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion’s Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses Glassesare reground and given to people in need.

11. Foam packing: Your local pack-and-ship store will likely accept foam peanuts for reuse. Or, call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council to find a drop-off site: 800/828-2214. For places to drop off foam blocks for recycling, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers, 410/451-8340,

12. Ink/toner cartridges: pays $1/each.

13. Miscellaneous: Get your unwanted items into the hands of people who can use them. Offer them up on your local or listserv, or try giving them away at or giving or selling them at will also help you find a recycler, if possible, when your items have reached the end of their useful lifecycle.

14. Oil: Find Used Motor Oil Hotlines for each state: 202/682-8000,

15. Phones: Donate cell phones: Collective Good will refurbish your phone and sell Cellphoneit to someone in a developing country: 770/856-9021, Call to Protect reprograms cell phones to dial 911 and gives them to domestic violence victims: Recycle single-line phones: Reclamere, 814/386-2927,

16. Sports equipment: Resell or trade it at your local Play It Again Sports outlet, 800/476-9249,

17. “Technotrash”: Project KOPEG offers an e-waste recycling program that can help you raise funds for your organization. Use Project KOPEG to recycle iPods, MP3 players, cell phones and chargers, digital cameras, PDAs, palm pilots, and more. Also, easily recycle all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges with GreenDisk’s Technotrash program. For $30, GreenDisk will send you a cardboard box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees. 800/305-GREENDISK,

18. Tennis shoes: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring. One World Running will send still-wearable shoes to athletes in need in Africa, Latin America, and Haiti.

19. Toothbrushes and razors: Buy a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor from ToothbrushRecycline, and the company will take it back to be recycled again into plastic lumber. Recycline products are made from used Stonyfield Farms’ yogurt cups. 888/354-7296,

20. Tyvek envelopes: Quantities less than 25: Send to Shirley Cimburke, Tyvek Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234. Quantities larger than 25, call 866/33-TYVEK.

21. Stuff you just can’t recycle: When practical, send such items back to the manufacturer and tell them they need to manufacture products that close the waste loop responsibly.


Filed under Ecology

Advice Not Taken


Filed under Humor, Politics