Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buying North American

Last week, I posted an article someone sent me about buying overseas products. I don't know if you read it, but I've been checking the labels on everything I buy since I read it. I believe it's important -- I feel I have to do something to help the economy, even if it's something small. Small, to me, is better than nothing at all.

Today, I got another email. This one is from a Canadian about buying only North American products, but it sends another clear message. Let's get out heads out of the sand and do our part, people ...

"Think About What We Buy

For example, the "Our Family" brand of mandarin oranges says right on the can, "from China", but for a few cents more, you can buy "Liberty Gold" or "Dole" from California.

Also watch buying pickles. A lot of the no-name pickles come from India. "Bick's" are from Canada, and they're worth the small difference in price.

Another example is canned mushrooms. The no-name brand is from Indonesia. Right next to them on the shelf, is the "President Choice" brand. This is a product of Canada. That's what went into my grocery bag.

Also check those little fruit cups we give our children. They use to be made here in Canada in the Niagara region until about 2 years ago. They are now packaged in China!

The Chinese have exported inferior, even toxic, products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in North American markets. The media wrings its hands and criticizes the Obama Administration and the Harper Government for perceived errors. 70% of North Americans believe that trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should just be suspended.

Well, DUH ... why do WE need to wait for the North American governments to suspend trading privileges? We should simply do it ourselves!

Take the time to look on the bottom of every product you buy. If it says "Made in China" or "PRC" (that now includes Hong Kong), either choose another product, or none at all. You'll be amazed at how dependent we've become on Chinese products -- AND you'll be equally amazed at what you can do without.

Do we really need plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use real ones. Let's benefit the North American farmers. Easter is just one example, the point is, let's not wait for the government to act. Let's go ahead and take back control and send a message of our own as consumers.

Canadian Thermos bottles were made here in Canada for many years. Thermos sold out in the 1990's. Now the bottles that keep our food hot or cold are now made in China! We Canadians
lost about 200 jobs!

Think About This:

If 200 million North Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that's a 4 billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor, fast! Is there a downside? Some Canadian and American businesses will feel a temporary pinch from having foreign stockpiles of inventory.

The solution? We can give them fair warning and send our own message. Most of the people reading about this matter are already planning, for one month, not to purchase anything made in China. That's only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th of the total, or 8%, of their North American exports. Then they will at least have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance, careless production and lawlessness are worth it.

Even better, start now and don't stop -- read the labels on everything you buy in every store you shop in. Spread this message to everyone you know. Let's show them all, the governments AND the foreigners, that we are intelligent North Americans, and NO ONE will take us for granted.

On the other hand, if we can't live without cheap imported goods for one month out of our lives, we deserve everything we get."

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Other World

by CJ Heck

There's another
world I visit
in my sleep
when the day's
are unbuttoned
and unzipped,
cast off to
crowd the laundry
in the hamper.
My pillow, like
a giant sponge,
sops up the
stress and worry,
spilling from an ear
or from my
cluttered mind.
There, life
is always fair
and good guys
finish first,
so my number
nearly always
wins the prize.
I fly on dragons,
a super hero,
or take magic carpet
rides, reading minds
and casting spells,
solving problems,
even mine.
Asleep, I'm safe,
and time
stands still.
Wrinkles are gone,
varicose veins
now beauty marks.
Mirrors are kind.
They say
I'm the fairest
in the land
and never
show me silver
in my hair,
while tiny genies
in my lamp
grant every wish.
That world
is a haven,
where I can live
in fairy tales,
or Peter Pan
in Neverland,
and watch as
angels weave
magic into love
and happy endings.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

School Visit Article: THE DAILY PRESS

'Barking Spiders' Author, CJ Heck, Shares Poetry with Students
The Daily Press, St. Mary's, PA
by Amy Cherry

Poet and children's author,
C.J. Heck, of DuBois, PA,
recently met with Fox Twp.
Elementary School students
during a series of presentations,
sharing her children's poetry
with K thru 5th grade students.

Fox Township Elementary School students recently enjoyed a visit by children's poet, C.J Heck, of DuBois.  As the author of the children's poetry book, "Barking Spiders and Other Such Stuff," Heck was invited to speak to students about her work.  Christine Kuhar, Fox Twp. Elementary principal, said the book is very popular among the school's students.

During her interactive presentations, Heck read from her book of poems, as well as selections from the soon-to-be published "Barking Spiders, Too" and "Me, Too, Preschool Poetry" books.  In addition, CJ discussed the background for some of the poems and told some of the classes where her inspiration for the poems comes from and why she writes from a child's point of view.

She also taught the students a tongue twister, which she learned from her mother at a young age.  Students were very entertained as they attempted a difficult tongue twister -- here is only one part from it: "Could ya, would ya, honey please, will ya, won't ya, can't ya, don't ya wanna? Gee ya said ya would ..."

In concluding her presentations, Heck always leaves time for questions from inquisitive students. According to Heck's answers to some of the questions, she wrote her first poem in the fourth grade, stating that her teacher made the experience very exciting. She has been actively writing since 1975.  Much of the content of her work was inspired by things her siblings said or did while they were growing up in Coshocton, Ohio, and later, her three daughters inspired her further. Now at 61 (I know, because one of the students asked her how old she is), Heck gets her inspiration from her nine grandchildren, and she told the students she even tests her newest poems out on them.

When one student questioned Heck as to why she wanted to become an author, Heck replied that she didn't start out wanting to be an author.  "I just liked writing poems. My middle daughter encouraged me to do something with all the poems I had written," Heck said.  She also encouraged the students: "You can all be authors. Just work at it and don't ever give up.  If it's what you want, be persistent.  When you have an idea, write it down right away. I have written ideas on napkins, menus, church bulletins and even on my hand."

Heck interacts with youth of all ages during her numerous school visits with preschool up to eighth grade students. She also conducts poetry workshops and participates in book fairs, library visits and programs for adult audiences.

This year, Heck hopes to get two or three more books published, including a preschool poetry book entitled, "Me Too, Preschool Poetry" and the aforementioned "Barking Spiders, Too."  Her current book was published by SterlingHouse in 2000, and it's still available at all of the major online retailers, her website store,  and The Book Nook in Punxsutawney, PA. People interested in her work or having her visit their school may also visit her website Barking Spiders Poetry for Children.

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