Monthly Archives: December 2014

Last Update of the Year

Last Update of the Year

I have been trying to make it over here to do an update before the end of the year, but this has been my first opportunity to do so.   First, let me thank my 590  wonderful subscribers and other readers for your continued support.  I appreciate each and every one of you and hope you have gained something from being a part of my life through this blog.   I wish each of you a happy and prosperous 2015.

As I approach the end of 2014, I have made some big changes in my life.  First, I have eliminated some unhealthy familial relationships that were dragging me down,  and have grown closer to other family members.  Both moves proved to be freeing and healing.

I have begun a regular meditation and yoga practice.  I am making art again.  I still have a four point in grad school and am slated to graduate this summer.   As for friendships….every single friendship that I had at the end of last year is still in place.  One, in particular, is stronger than ever, and I feel so blessed because of this. (4).

r     Rene Best musician

Life here has been a December whirlwind!  I took a couple of fun little trips…some that I can talk about, and some that I can’t.  However, my break from school proved to be no break at all.  I had a difficult midterm that took an entire day to complete, two discussion papers to write, a paper on women in leadership roles and a psychometric analysis of a psychological testing instrument used to determine levels of creativity.  Eeeee!  I still have two papers left to write before the fourth, but I’m fairly certain I will be able to complete them on time.  I have also been finishing up a lot of work projects that I had to finish by tonight.  Those are completed and sent to my editors, so I feel great about that.

The good news is that John is home, and we have been having the best time!  We took Ingrid Christmas shopping and to Peacock lane.


We spent a quiet Christmas together at home, then went to our daughter’s house for gift exchange and a delicious dinner.  My son in law, who makes THESE  gorgeous knifes and teaches black smithing,  hand forged an incredible cheese knife for me. I am so proud of it!  (I love handmade gifts best of all!)   For the handle, he used exotic wood that had some naturally-formed cracks in it.  He ground up turquoise, suspended it in resin and filled the cracks with it.  The picture does not do it justice.  This is a gorgeous knife! He also hand carved a beautiful wooden spoon for me and gave them both to me in a nice wooden holder.  So talented, he is! Thanks, Nate!


John wanted to do something extra special this year, so surprised me with a trip to Sun Mountain Lodge   up in the beautiful Cascades. What an incredible trip! It was cozy and romantic, stunningly beautiful and gave us the opportunity to get caught up after spending a long time apart.  We loved it there and want to go back in the spring.


Met some friends there, and were able to parlay the journey into a side trip Seattle where our granddaughter, Maya, is visiting from the East Coast.  We were absolutely thrilled to learn that she plans to return to the Pacific NW.  We have missed her in the 5 months she has been gone!

ingrid and maya

We stayed with our darling friends, Sheryl and Dylan and really enjoyed the company.  Sheryl is like family to us.  It was high quality, beautiful family time.  We visited and took Ings to the park.  We went out for dinner.  We went to an incredible display of Christmas lights.  It was so much fun.  I feel so happy just thinking about it.

ings and sheryl

Much, much more has happened, but I haven’t the time to write about it all.  Tonight, we are going to join our friends, Toni and Peter, as we did last year, for dinner, drinks and dancing.  We’ll start the evening off at a little wine bar known as “Arrivederci” and then meet other friends in another location to ring in the New Year together.  There won’t be any redneck bars and plastic cups in the mix for this year,  but as my friend pointed out, I’ve always been more of a crystal stemware type anyway, so it all works out. 🙂  I know I’m loved.  I’m happy.

I’m lucky….and I know it.


Be safe and have fun!

Give this Baby some Volume…and a full screen, please.



Oh….and he was on Letterman a short time ago, so it’s not just me….

Rest in Peace, Joe Cocker.



Singer Joe Cocker, best known for his cover of the Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends, has died aged 70, his agent has confirmed.

The Sheffield born singer-songwriter had a career lasting more than 40 years with hits including You Are So Beautiful and Up Where We Belong.

His agent Barrie Marshall said Cocker, who is reported to have been battling lung cancer, was “simply unique”.

Sir Paul McCartney said he was a lovely guy who “brought so much to the world”.

Known for his gritty voice, Cocker began his singing career in the pubs and clubs of Sheffield in the 1960s before hitting the big time.

He was propelled to pop stardom when his version of The Beatles’ With A Little Help from My Friends reached number one in 1968.

He performed the song at the famous Woodstock Festival in New York state a year later.

His duet with Jennifer Warnes, Up Where We Belong – from An Officer And A Gentleman – hit number one and went on to win both a Grammy and an Academy Award in 1983.

He was made an OBE in 2007.

Whydon’tcha Just RIP My Heart Right Out of my Chest?


Love with your mind

Love all that you’re seein’

Love all that is real

Love all that you know….


Sometimes only country music can speak the language that one needs to hear or convey. There is no other language like it….and yes, I do adore many, many music genres and musicians….from Marilyn Manson to Chet Baker, from Laura Nero to the Grateful Dead to Dave Matthews to  Patsy Cline, from Jason Mraz to Karlheinz Stockhausen to  The Who to Mozart to, oh, I don’t know…Roy Rogers?.  I love the Beatles, the Stones, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, All, The Allman Brothers, Leon Russell, Lakestreet Dive, Fiona Apple,  Alice Cooper, Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, The Sex Pistols, The Black Keys,  The Kinks, Karla Bonoff, Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, Wild Man Fisher and on and on and on…… Tonight, however,  I became convinced that John Fullbright’ speaks the language of his music better than all of the above musicians combined.  He’s just simple, down home folk…but he was what Janis Joplin was talking about when she plead, “…take another little piece of my heart.”  After listening to this song over and again…my heart is mincemeat, I tell ya.

  • So…..this is a story that my friend, Vicki, who is  Fullbright’s official social media director,  tells about the first time she ever heard him sing.  I, Stacy, have been listening to this particular tune over and over and over again, crying my eyes out.  This kid can write music!  (John, not me….although, actually, I DO write a little music…I’m writing a C&W song called, “Call Me When The Coast is Clear,” and another called, “But You Don’t Even Love Her,”…but that’s another story for another time.)   This song is a tear jerker.  The lyrics are profound, and, of course,  I dedicate it to my dearest, darling love.

     Here’s what Vicki says:

This is The Song. This is The Song. In 2008, I went to the Blue Door to see a friend whom I hadn’t seen in quite a few years. There was a guy from Austin there, and he was hosting a song swap, and he had my friend, Wendy, playing, and a couple of other guys, and this kid, see. And I had just gotten home from a road trip to Tahlequah; I was so tired, I probably wouldn’t even have gone, except for I had no idea when I’d have another chance to see Wendy, so I gathered myself up and went. And I was sitting there, kind of slumped down in my chair, listening, and my friend Dana, who was sitting next to me, elbowed me in the ribs and said, “Pay attention to this kid; he’s the real thing.” And I nodded, yeah, yeah, okay…… and then he started singing this Song. “Cherish these times…” And I just lost it. And I sat up in my chair and said, “WHO THE HELL IS THIS KID,” — because seriously, he was barely even 20 years old at the time — “AND WHAT IS HE DOING WRITING SONGS LIKE THIS, OMG???” And the rest is kinda history. I’ve been on his team almost ever since. *g* (And yes, I am telling you that he was a teenager when he wrote this song.)

Finding New Music

Finding New Music

How do you expose yourself to new music?  If you’re like me, you’re always on the prowl for something fresh, new and different to listen to.  I enjoy music from all kinds of genres, from high opera to classic rock…I grew up in old fashioned C&W territory and hated country music the entire time I was growing up, but I love and appreciate it now.  My  favorite, these days, is the creative alternative musician that does not have to rely on high tech productions to send chills up and down my spine.  Lake Street Dive sends me to the moon.  Many thanks to my good friend, Jimmy A. for turning me on to this group a year and a half ago.  They are fantastic!

and I love Eli Leib.  My friend, Kevin, turned me on to him. :

One way that I find new music to listen to is to go to the website of a local music venue that I really love, the Aladdin Theater or to simply drive the 8 minutes it takes to get there from my house, and see shows randomly, whether I’ve heard of the band or not.   I’ve never seen a show there I didn’t like, except for the time that a certain famous guitarist (whose first name is Leo)… was so drunk he could barely perform…but other than that…I’ve had a good time every time I’ve gone, and I’ve been turned on to some great bands.  I can surf to their site, write down the names of everyone they have booked, go onto the web and download some music and 9 times out of 10, I love what I hear.  I discovered the Floydian Slips through the Aladdin.

Another way that I find new music is to simply ask.  I recently asked my friends on Facebook to comment with videos that knocked their socks off.  Here are some of them:

The great Miche Braden:

And this one by Rising Appalachia…I adore this song, “Swoon”:

My daughter-in-law, Katherine shared this one with me.  She taped it herself.  How lucky she was to get to see Moji being plucked from the audience for one of the most mind-blowing sessions yet!  Wow!

My friend, Shannon Kringin (from the Goddess Kring Show in Seattle) sent me this hilarious chicken people video.  Mind blowingly bizarre!! :

My friend, Annie, sent me this gorgeous rendition of K.D. Lang singing Lenard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.  (I’ve never heard a bad version of this song:

Anyway…so there are some ideas for finding new music.   It’s a good thing to always remain open to new talent, new sounds and new ideas in music.  Of course, sticking with some that you’re already intimately familiar with can be pretty sweet, too.  🙂

What is Libertarianism in America?


This is an adapted version of an article that first appeared on NSFWCORP. Published daily online and monthly in print, NSFWCORP is The Future of Journalism .***

The True History of Libertarianism in America: A Phony Ideology to Promote a Corporate Agenda

Before Milton Friedman was earning plaudits as an economic genius, he was a shill for the real estate industry.

Every couple of years, mainstream media hacks pretend to have just discovered libertarianism as some sort of radical, new and dynamic force in American politics. It’s a rehash that goes back decades, and hacks love it because it’s easy to write, and because it’s such a non-threatening “radical” politics (unlike radical left politics, which threatens the rich). The latest version involves a summer-long pundit debate in the pages of the New York Times, Reason magazine and elsewhere over so-called “libertarian populism.” It doesn’t really matter whose arguments prevail, so long as no one questions where libertarianism came from or why we’re defining libertarianism as anything but a big business public relations campaign, the winner in this debate is Libertarianism.

Pull up libertarianism’s floorboards, look beneath the surface into the big business PR campaign’s early years, and there you’ll start to get a sense of its purpose, its funders, and the PR hucksters who brought the peculiar political strain of American libertarianism into being — beginning with the libertarian movement’s founding father, Milton Friedman. Back in 1950, the House of Representatives held hearings on illegal lobbying activities and exposed both Friedman and the earliest libertarian think-tank outfit as a front for business lobbyists. Those hearings have been largely forgotten, in part because we’re too busy arguing over the finer points of “libertarian populism.”

In his early days, before millions were spent on burnishing his reputation, Friedman worked as a business lobby shill, a propagandist who would say whatever he was paid to say.  That’s the story we need to revisit to get to the bottom of the modern American libertarian “movement,” to see what it’s really all about. We need to take a trip back to the post-war years, and to the largely forgotten Buchanan Committee hearings on illegal lobbying activities, led by a pro-labor Democrat from Pennsylvania, Frank Buchanan.

What the Buchanan Committee discovered was that in 1946, Milton Friedman and his University of Chicago cohort George Stigler arranged an under-the-table deal with a Washington lobbying executive to pump out covert propaganda for the national real estate lobby in exchange for a hefty payout, the terms of which were never meant to be released to the public. They also discovered that a lobbying outfit which is today credited by libertarians as the movement’s first think-tank — the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)— was itself a big business PR project backed by the largest corporations and lobbying fronts in the country.

The FEE focused on promoting a new pro-business ideology—which it called “libertarianism”— to supplement other business lobbying groups which focused on specific policies and legislation. It is generally regarded as “the first libertarian think-tank” as Reason’s Brian Doherty calls it in his book “Radicals For Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern Libertarian Movement” (2007). As the Buchanan Committee discovered, the Foundation was the best-funded conservative lobbying outfit ever known up to that time, sponsored by a Who’s Who of US industry in 1946.

A partial list of FEE’s original donors in its first four years— a list discovered by the Buchanan Committee — includes: The Big Three auto makers (GM, Chrysler and Ford); top oil majors including Gulf Oil, Standard Oil, and Sun Oil; major steel producers US Steel, National Steel, Republic Steel; major retailers including Montgomery Ward, Marshall Field and Sears; chemicals majors Monsanto and DuPont; and other Fortune 500 corporations including General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Eli Lilly, BF Goodrich, ConEd, and more.

The FEE was set up by a longtime US Chamber of Commerce executive named Leonard Read, together with Donaldson Brown, a director in the National Association of Manufacturers lobby group and board member at DuPont and General Motors.

That is how libertarianism in America started: As an arm of big business lobbying.

Before bringing back Milton Friedman into the picture, this needs to be repeated again: “Libertarianism” was a project of the corporate lobby world, launched as a big business “ideology” in 1946 by The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. The FEE’s board included the future founder of the John Birch Society, Robert Welch; the most powerful figure in the Mormon church at that time, J Reuben Clark, a frothing racist and anti-Semite after whom BYU named its law school; and United Fruit president Herb Cornuelle.

The purpose of the FEE — and libertarianism, as it was originally created — was to supplement big business lobbying with a pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-economics rationale to back up its policy and legislative attacks on labor and government regulations.

This background is important in the Milton Friedman story because Friedman is a founding father of libertarianism, and because the corrupt lobbying deal he was busted playing a part in was arranged through the Foundation for Economic Education.

According to Congressional hearings on illegal lobbying activities 1946 was the year that Milton Friedman and his U Chicago cohort George Stigler arranged an under-the-table deal with a Washington lobbying executive to pump out covert propaganda for the national real estate lobby in exchange for a hefty payout, the terms of which were never meant to be released to the public.

The arrangement between Friedman and Stigler with the Washington real estate lobbyist was finally revealed during a congressional review of illegal lobbying activities in 1950, called the Buchanan Committee. Yes, there was something called accountability back then. I only came across the revelations about Friedman’s sordid beginnings in the footnotes of an old book on the history of lobbying by former Newsweek book editor Karl Schriftgiesser, published in 1951, shortly after the Buchanan Committee hearings ended. The actual details of Milton Friedman’s PR deal are sordid and familiar, with tentacles reaching into our ideologically rotted-out era.

False, whitewashed history is as much a part of the Milton Friedman mythology as it is the libertarian movement’s own airbrushed history about its origins; the 1950 Buchanan Committee hearings expose both as creations of big business lobby groups whose purpose is to deceive and defraud the public and legislators in order to advance the cause of corporate America.

The story starts like this: In 1946, Herbert Nelson was the chief lobbyist and executive vice president for the National Association of Real Estate Boards, and one of the highest paid lobbyists in the nation. Mr. Nelson’s real estate constituency was unhappy with rent control laws that Truman kept in effect after the war ended. Nelson and his real estate lobby led what House investigators discovered was the most formidable and best-funded opposition to President Truman in the post-war years, amassing some $5,000,000 for their lobby efforts—that’s $5 million in 1946 dollars, or roughly $60 million in 2012 dollars.

So Herbert Nelson contracted out the PR services of the Foundation for Economic Education to concoct “third party” propaganda designed to shore up the National Real Estate lobby’s legislative drive — and the propagandists who took on the job were Milton Friedman and his U Chicago cohort, George Stigler.

To understand the sort of person Herbert Nelson was, here is a letter he wrote in 1949 that Congressional investigators discovered and recorded:

I do not believe in democracy. I think it stinks. I don’t think anybody except direct taxpayers should be allowed to vote. I don’t believe women should be allowed to vote at all. Ever since they started, our public affairs have been in a worse mess than ever.

It’s an old libertarian mantra, libertarianism versus democracy, libertarianism versus women’s suffrage; a position recently repeated by billionaire libertarian Peter Thiel — who was Ron Paul’s main campaign funder in his 2012 presidential campaign.

So in 1946, this same Herbert Nelson turned to the Foundation for Economic Education to manufacture some propaganda to help the National Association of Real Estate Boards fight rent control laws. Nelson chose to work with the FEE because he knew that its founder, Leonard Read, agreed with him on a lot of important issues. Such as their mutual contempt for democracy, and their disdain for the American public.

Read argued that the public should not be allowed to know which corporations donated to his libertarian front-group because, he argued, the public could not be trusted to make “sound judgments” with disclosed information:

The public reporting would present a single fact—the amount of a contributor’s donation—to casual readers, persons having only a cursory interest in the matter at issue, persons who would not and perhaps could not possess all the facts. These folks of the so-called public thus receive only oversimplifications or half-truths from which only erroneous conclusions are almost certain to be drawn. If there is a public interest in the rightness or wrongness of corporate or personal donations to charitable, religious or education institutions, and I am not at all ready to concede that there is, then that interest should be guarded by some such agency as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, an agency that is in a position to obtain all the facts, not by Mr. John Public who lacks relevant information for the forming of sound judgments…Public reporting of a half-truth is indeed a significant provocation

So in May 1946, Herbert Nelson of the real estate lobby, looking for backup in his drive to abolish federal rent control laws on behalf of landlords, contacted Read with an order for a PR pamphlet “with some such title as ‘The Case against Federal Real Estate Control’,” according to Karl Schriftgiesser’s book The Lobbyists.

What happened next, I’ll quote from Schriftgiesser:

They were now busily co-operating on the new project which the foundation had engaged Milton Friedman and George J. Stigler to write. It was to be called Roofs and Ceilings and it was to be an outright attack on rent controls. When Nelson received a copy of the manuscript he wrote Read to say, “The pamphlet…is a dandy. It is just what I wanted.

The National Association of Real Estate Boards was so pleased with Milton Friedman’s made-to-order propaganda that they ordered up 500,000 pamphlets from the FEE, and distributed them throughout the real estate lobby’s vast local network of real estate brokers and agents.

In libertarianism’s own airbrushed history about itself, the Foundation was a brave, quixotic bastion of libertarian “true believers” doomed to defeat at the all-powerful hands of the liberal Keynsian Leviathan and the collectivist mob. Here is how libertarian historian Brian Doherty describes the FEE and its chief lobbyist:

[Read] would never explicitly scrape for funds… He never directly asked anyone to give anything, he proudly insisted, and while FEE would sell literature to all comers, it was also free to anyone who asked. His attitude toward money was Zen, sometimes hilariously so. When asked how FEE was doing financially, his favorite reply was, “Just perfectly.”… Read wanted no endowments and frowned on any donation meant to be held in reserve for some future need.

And here is what the committee’s own findings reported—findings lost in history:

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Foundation for Economic Education exerts, or at least expects to exert, a considerable influence on national legislative policy….It is equally difficult to imagine that the nation’s largest corporations would subsidize the entire venture if they did not anticipate that it would pay solid, long-range legislative dividends.

Or in the words of Rep. Carl Albert (D-OK): “Every bit of this literature is along propaganda lines.”

The manufactured history about libertarian’s origins, or its purpose, parallels the manufactured myths about one of big business’s key propaganda tools, Milton Friedman. As the author of The Lobbyists, not knowing who Milton Friedman was at the time, wrote of Friedman’s collaborative effort with Stigler:

“Certainly [the FEE’s] booklet, Roofs or Ceilings, was definitely propaganda and sought to influence legislation….This booklet was printed in bulk by the foundation and half a million copies were sold at cost to the National Association of Real Estate Boards, which had them widely distributed throughout the country by its far-flung network of local member boards.”

There’s no idealism here. The notion that libertarian ideas have captured the political imagination of millions in this country is a root problem: if we’re going to escape the corporate oligarchy that is running this country–their ideas can’t possibility be the alternative solution. This movement has to be recognized for what it is.

On the Breeze….



This is Ingrid.  With each passing day, my heart is yet more captivated by her charm .  She spent the night with me last night, and we took a beautiful, long walk together this morning.  It was one of those magical Portland mornings…and the sun was out… rare for December…and we had much to talk about.

She said she would miss me when I die, and I told her:

Ingrid, after I am gone, when you feel the breeze brush against your cheek, that will be me, kissing your cheek and telling you how much I love you.

When you are outside and the wind picks up one of your beautiful locks of red hair, that will be me, smiling and laughing because I am happy to see you.

When you are sad, all you have to do is think of me, and I will wrap my spirit arms around you until you feel ok again. 

When you are happy, I will be right there with you, happy because you’re happy…and sometimes, I might tickle your toes just so I can hear you laugh.

When you miss me, Ingrid, know that I am there.  You can close your eyes and see me.  I will find ways to talk to you.

Ingrid responded:  That‘s good, Gams….because I love you to the moon and back.


Another Reason to be Proud of my Daughter!

There are countless reasons why I am proud of my daughter, Sarah, (Ingrid’s mom).  One of them is because she has worked so hard as part of its Board of Directors, to organize and affect the upcoming  opening of the Portland Toy Library.  What follows is the article that recently appeared in the Oregonian Newspaper:

PDX Toy Library to open in Southeast Portland with a mission of promoting play

Cat Davila, founder, president and director of PDX Toy Library, says her daughter, Lilah Hurst, was the inspiration for her new nonprofit. (Courtesy of Cat Davila)

Portland’s newest library, opening next month, will be all about play.

The PDX Toy Library, an all-volunteer nonprofit, has a mission of lending out high quality toys and play equipment to help infants and children up to age 8 with their physical and educational development.

Its founder, Cat Davila of Southeast Portland, a former nanny who is now a full-time mom to a 5-year-old daughter, said she came up with the idea several years ago, when her daughter was about 2 and a half.

“She became really interested in board games and just wanted to play one after another all day,” Davila said. Davila began wishing she could trade in the games she had for new ones. When she learned that toy libraries existed, she decided to start one in Portland.

The idea also fit with her interests in child and family welfare, the sharing economy and environmental sustainability, she said. And, she said, “I always wanted to be a librarian.”

The PDX Toy Library, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, now has five board members, all volunteer moms from Southeast Portland, Davila said. They will start out in an approximately 300-square-foot room they’re renting from Sunnyside Centenary United Methodist Church, with hopes of moving to a larger space once they can afford to do so, Davila said. She also plans to use an adjacent room for storytimes, craft times and other events.

PDX Toy Library
Address: 3520 S.E. Yamhill St.
Phone: 503-610-6061

The library will be open only to paid members, with 12-month memberships for $100 and three-month memberships for $30. Those who sign up before the library’s planned Jan. 17 opening will receive discounted memberships of 15 months for $100 and six months for $40. Oregon Trail Card holders will receive a 50 percent discount on memberships.

There is no limit to how many people can use a membership, Davila said, but members will be limited to checking out three items at a time for two weeks.

The PDX Toy Library will have its first event from 10 a.m. to noon Monday, Dec. 22, with a storytime, balloon animals, snacks and ornament decorating; those interested in memberships can sign up during the event. Donations of $5 per child are requested to cover entertainment costs; additional donations are requested for the snacks and crafts.

The first day of checkouts is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Davila said she and the rest of the library board are still working out library hours, but hope to open three days a week, including Saturdays. In the meantime, the organizers are seeking donations of gently used toys and games for the library’s collection and to sell to help cover operating expenses.

The concept of toy sharing isn’t new to Portland. In the Woodlawn neighborhood in Northeast Portland, for instance, the approximately 115 member families of the nearly 3-year-old Woodlawn Swap N Play can swap not only toys but also clothing, books and baby gear while taking advantage of an indoor play space, said director Beth Ivester. In the Woodstock neighborhood in Southeast Portland, the Southside Swap & Play cooperative (formerly Sunnyside Swap Shop) provides its approximately 105 member families with the opportunity to share and swap toys, books, clothing, games, art supplies and baby gear.

And at the West Slope Community Library in Washington County, patrons can check out board games such as Qwirkle, Ticket to Ride and Word on the Street.

Nationally, toy libraries have been around since the 1930s, said Judith Iacuzzi, the executive director of the USA Toy Library Association, based in Evanston, Illinois. The 30-year-old association has about 350 members in more than 30 states. (Three Oregon toy libraries are listed on the association website, two in Hood River and one in Medford. The one in Medford is no longer operating, nor is the one listed at a Marina Way address in Hood River. The third couldn’t be reached Monday.)

Iacuzzi said the first official toy library was established in Los Angeles during the Great Depression after a store owner saw children stealing toys and got the idea of starting a lending program.

Most of the association’s member libraries are affiliated with larger institutions, such as community libraries, hospitals, social services agencies or child care programs, Iacuzzi said. The freestanding toy libraries are often affiliated with the disabled community, she said.

Either way, they share a mission “to provide quality play experiences in a localized environment with specialists who can help select toys and advise parents or the caregivers on the quality of the toy or the play experience,” Iacuzzi said.

The association uses the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio as a resource for choosing toys.

The Dangers of Spirulina Usage

The Dangers of Spirulina Usage
You see, it isn’t the Spirulina itself that is necessarily dangerous.  It is the accompanying contaminants found WITH the spirulina.  This supplement should NEVER be given to children! 

By Michael Greger, M.D.

Original article found HERE. <—-click

On his first day of life, an infant was hospitalized with seizures. Researchers concluded that his mother’s daily spirulina use starting in the fourth month of pregnancy was likely to blame. I’ve talked previously about the liver and nerve toxins present in many spirulina supplements, but the supplement companies swear up and down that spirulina doesn’t produce those toxins, and they may be right….

(See video Infant Seizures Linked to Mother’s Spirulina Use).

But if spirulina doesn’t produce toxins, how is it that toxins are found in spirulina supplements on store shelves? It appears to be contamination of spirulina with toxin-producing blue-green algae.

For example, if we look at the new U.S. Pharmacopeia safety evaluation of spirulina, researchers conclude that “the available evidence does not indicate a serious risk to health or other public health concern when spirulina is properly identified, formulated, and used.” Ah, but that’s the catch. Spirulina is often grown and collected in open lakes and we have no idea what other algae are going to crop up.

The researchers reported a range of adverse reactions of people taking spirulina products, ­­but they attribute these issues to non-spirulina algae toxin contaminants within spirulina supplements. So unless there’s third-party testing of each batch (which no company could presumably afford to do), I continue to encourage people to avoid spirulina (and blue-green algae) products.

If one still wants something green to sprinkle on their popcorn, I’d recommend chlorella instead (Is Chlorella Good for You?).


UPDATE:  Spirulina could cause muscle breakdown and liver cancer. In March of this year, another video was posted, this one on it’s potential to cause neurotoxicity:…, but fortunately, “…kale is cheaper”, and many other fruits and vegetables can prevent numerous cancers, see for example:….

Sources Cited:

G. Moulis, A. Batz, G. Durrieu, C. Viard, S. Decramer, J.-L. Montastruc. Severe neonatal hypercalcemia related to maternal exposure to nutritional supplement containing Spirulina. Eur. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 2012 68(2):221 – 222

R. J. Marles, M. L. Barrett, J. Barnes, M. L. Chavez, P. Gardiner, R. Ko, G. B. Mahady, T. L. Dog, N. D. Sarma, G. I. Giancaspro, M. Sharaf, J. Griffiths. United States pharmacopeia safety evaluation of spirulina. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2011 51(7):593 – 604

Cox PA, Banack SA, Murch SJ, Rasmussen U, Tien G, Bidigare RR, Metcalf JS, Morrison LF, Codd GA, Bergman B. Diverse taxa of cyanobacteria produce beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine, a neurotoxic amino acid. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Apr 5;102(14):5074-8. Epub 2005 Apr 4.

Torres-Duran PV, Ferreira-Hermosillo A, Juarez-Oropeza MA. Antihyperlipemic and antihypertensive effects of Spirulina maxima in an open sample of Mexican population: a preliminary report. Lipids Health Dis. 2007 Nov 26;6:33.

Cingi C, Conk-Dalay M, Cakli H, Bal C. The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Oct;265(10):1219-23. Epub 2008 Mar 15.

Mazokopakis EE, Karefilakis CM, Tsartsalis AN, Milkas AN, Ganotakis ES. Acute rhabdomyolysis caused by Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis). Phytomedicine. 2008 Jun;15(6-7):525-7. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

Keeping Portland Weirder….and Weirder…


One never knows what to expect here in my Portland neighborhood.  Early this evening, I was walking my puppy, and I kept thinking I heard the Star Wars theme being played on a bagpipe somewhere in the distance.  As I proceeded down Division Street, it got louder and louder.  When I got to the corner of about 30th and Division, I happened across this dude at the very end of his tune:


Portland.  Ya gotta love it.

My Unruly Toddler

My Unruly Toddler

For the most part, my chihuahua is a good girl.  She is completely house trained.  She is obedient.  She is smart….She does tricks……but when I try to talk on the phone.  Watch out!  She is just like a mischievous toddler!

She is not allowed to go into our bedroom unsupervised…but today, when I was on the phone, she did anyway.  One, by one, she dragged shoes out of my closet…socks from the hamper….and her toys, and set them at my feet until she had accumulated this nice pile right in front of me!


I probably would have been irritated with her if she wasn’t so cute.

Ah….but she is cute.  She most certainly is.

beebe headshot

I’m so happy that I have her.