Playing For Change Scholarship Christmas


With Christmas sneaking up faster than a Canadian winter; ponder a gift of musical change. Playing For Change takes music to some of the poorest countries in the world. With schools in Nepal, Mali, Rwanda, Thailand, Ghana and South Africa – Playing for change has established safe havens where hope is built around music. Music releases trauma, builds confidence, teaches skills and gives purpose and structure to young lives. Lives that might otherwise fall by the way side.

Be creative – take PFC donations at your office, make your own Playing For Change video to share on the PFC website. Involve your kids school – dedicate a few hours a week; involve the students – have them perform PFC style. Put up posters in your community; invite people to perform at a community Playing For Change day. Or make a donation in someone’s name as a gift of “change”.

It’s no secret – I stand behind, and believe in the power of music. Ponder a Playing For Change Christmas.

Dollar Store


Pondering the past decade or so,  I can’t honestly remember my first dollar encounter. Dollar stores have become second nature; more prevalent than corner groceries, dollar stores crept into the market place like stealth bombers. The lure of inexpensive wrapping paper, household gadgets and craft supplies presented themselves as the bee’s knees. My dollar marriage soured around the time a cheap “energy saving” dollar store lightbulb burst into flames. Burst may be a bit of an exaggeration – it was more like toxic smoke spewing from the coil as alarming heat snaked it’s way to the business end. I wasn’t  surprised, I was mad at myself for being stupid – you get what you pay for.

Dollar stores have become one of the fastest growing businesses in North America. Once upon a time people wanting to invest in a franchise looked at fast food – move over hamburgers – dollar stores now trade on the stock exchange. Not content with gift wrap and plastic tubs, they fancy themselves as grocers, pharmacists and home décor specialists. There was a time when WalMart meant the end of small retailers – now Wal Mart has dollar stores to fear.

The web is ablaze with stories on WalMart; debate over the percentage of goods made in China surface every other day. Wal Mart may have started the cheap at any cost craze – dollar stores close the deal. Dollar stores have become such a way of life, I see no turning back.

I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry; consumers have become so stupid, all that matters is the sticker price. It doesn’t seem to bother anyone that suicide nets are being installed in Chinese factories – conditions being so abhorrent, workers jump to their deaths rather than face another day. Nary a thought is given to banned chemicals or pesticides in food products – as long as that bag of garlic powder or honey bear is only a dollar, everybody is happy. Dangerous levels of lead in children’s toys or cosmetics – who cares, it only cost a dollar.

http://mjperry.blogspot.ca/2012/02/interesting-facts-of-day-dollar-stores.html

Nice Tail ISON


Comet ISON has been busy; now just visible to the naked eye, it sports a 16 million KM. tail. Science is scratching it’s head, the jury is out as to what ISON is up to. Something happened on Nov. 13/14, it might have been the nucleus fragmenting or maybe just sizzle and cosmic ice splutters as it approaches the sun.  On Nov. 21 ISON will be within the range of NASA’s STEREO HI-1A, astronomers fingers are crossed for views offering a little insight. Nov.28 will prove interesting – ISON’s tip will enter the sun’s atmosphere; many believe this will herald ISON’s demise.

Despite all the fizzle and fuss, most scientists believe ISON is still intact. Known as a “sun grazer” comet for it’s upcoming appointment with solar atmosphere, if ISON manages to survive, December skies will positively glow with ISON theatrics.

ISON photographed by Michael Jager on Nov. 17, Ebenwaldohe, Austria

The absolute best link to ISON’s timeline, courtesy NASA….

http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/timeline-of-comet-ison-s-dangerous-journey/#.UoxjCdKTjMM

For those who can’t live without “real time” updates; spaceweather’s Real Time Comet Gallery….

http://spaceweathergallery.com/index.php?title=ison

Oh George


Call it luck, fate or karma; the name isn’t important. For the sake of argument, I’ll call it karma – karma as in “what goes around, comes around”, “you reap what you sow”, or a simple “karma’s a bitch”.

I don’t see our lives as a journey towards judgement day. I don’t believe in “pearly gates” or “gates of hell” – I see life as a brief opportunity, a nearly impossible set of circumstances allowing us to exist simply by being on the right planet at the right time. I happen to believe in physics, and with that belief comes my sense unimagined possibilities wait patiently for understanding. I can’t scientifically define my hunch; I am however certain there are scientific explanations for karma eventually kicking the ass of those who taunt her.

Take George Zimmerman; when acquitted of all charges in the murder of Trayvon Martin, it would be fair to say my foundation exploded with outrage. Zimmerman walked away – accepting his fate proved difficult – I wasn’t in the court room, my opinion was something I had to suck up and get over. Thank goodness for karma; that ever present force, waiting patiently in the corner for a chance to make things right. Karma surely had a hand in Zimmerman’s arrest today. Karma had to know – it was only a matter of time before this man exposed his true nature. People like Zimmerman can’t help themselves; if we’re lucky, a few of the jurors in his murder trial are thinking “holy crap, what have I done?”.

Don’t beat yourselves up second thought jurors, karma understands you did what you thought best. Zimmerman’s arrest today for aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief is his bad nature, not yours. Pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend during an argument, trying to barricade himself in the house by pushing furniture against the doors, previous run ins with police for speeding or alleged assault on his ex-wife – karma will eventually take Zimmerman down.

Bad people can’t help themselves; they can’t play charades for long. Karma eventually catches up with the George Zimmermans of this world. Karma laughs at plea bargains, hail marys and phoney acts of decency. Karma  has you pegged George, she’s watching with satisfaction as you implode. Oh George – did you really think you had us fooled?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/george-zimmerman-accused-of-pointing-shotgun-at-girlfriend-1.2430923

Vancouver People


I can’t take credit for Vancouver people; my husband is the photographer. Perhaps I’m biased, that said – photography illuminates images that seldom register as we walk down the street. He’s taught me to look with both eyes open, to gaze beyond obvious and embrace ragged edges of humanity with compassion.

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All photos – http://www.flickr.com/photos/15574096@N00/