Too many people refuse to take the impact of plastic bags, trash, and debris in the oceans seriously.

For some it is as simple as out of sight and out of mind.  If they can’t see it (the destruction caused by plastic trash), it cannot possibly be an issue to grapple with.  For others, the attitude they present is,”don’t bother me with facts, my mind’s made up!”

I happened across this video of a Bryde’s whale dying after having eaten plastic trash.  This was confirmed after the necropsy as this brief clip shows.

If you think this was a very rare occurrence, think again.  The following is from a recent post from The Nature Conservancy:

Plastics: 1, Marine Mammals: 0

Plastic bags, plastic cups, plastic sheeting, plastic bottles, plastic toys, plastic, plastic, plastic. There’s even a patch of Pacific Ocean — thought to be at least the size of Texas and dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — that is just plastic and other trash, bobbing along at the surface, circling in the current.

Still, plastics aren’t the only problem, just one of the most obvious. All over the world, animals (especially marine mammals and sea turtles) are dying from eating our trash.

  • Last December, seven sperm whales washed up on an Italian beach — all of them dead from plastic (and, let’s be fair, other debris like rope, tin cans and other containers) in their stomachs.
  • In 2008, it was a dead sperm whale near Point Reyes, California. Its stomach contents? An astonishing 450 pounds of fishing net, some kind of mesh, braided rope, plastic bags and one plastic    comb.
  • In 2006, scientists reviewed 371 sea turtle necropsies (an autopsy of an animal) since 1968 and discovered that one-third of the turtles had likely died from eating plastic.
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    Jamie Oliver's show Food Revolution is must see TV

    If you or anyone in your family is overweight you need to watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on Friday evenings at 9 PM.

    We are a fatter, less healthy country than at any period in our history. We consume more calories than can be used by our bodies while we exercises less.  We are paying price

    The number of obese people has grown to epidemic proportions since the 1970’s.  An impassioned Jamie Oliver is trying to do change the tide and bring sanity back to the way we eat. After watching the first two episodes of his new series, it is easy to see why fully 30% of the US population is obese or morbidly obese.Jamie

    If you think our schools are doing a good job addressing the nutritional needs and obesity problems facing our kids you’d be wrong! If your child’s cafeteria serves food like the schools in Huntington, West Virginia, described as America’s unhealthiest and most obese city, where the show is being shot the chances are you are raising an unhealthy child who will grow into an unhealthy adult.

    To read the rest of this article go here


    Kirstie Alley's new A&E show & her Weight loss Diet

    OK, I’ve a watched a few episodes, and I wish I could say I think Kirstie is going to succeed at her latest attempt at keeping the weight off.  Sadly, I don’t.  I get the impression that she wants to lose the 80 lbs she’s gained … but not really.

      Kirstie is one of those people I can’t help rooting for.  I want her to succeed despite the paparazzi who want her to stay as big as blimp;  the better to take pictures of, don’t ya know.

    Here’s my advise to Kirstie and anyone who says they want to lose weight.  Do your prep work first.  You can’t turn eating habits and patterns on and off like a light switch.  You need to be mentally and spiritually ready to move forward understanding that keeping weight off is a life long commitment!  I’ve said this before, losing weight is the wrong goal.  The proper goal is developing a life long set of eating habits that will keep the weight off!

    So, how does a person do that?  Well, to begin with, start by reading the best diet book I ever read.  Actually it isn’t a diet book, its a self improvement book that was featured on Oprah several years ago.  It is entitled. If Life is a Game, These are the Rules, by Cherie Carter-Scott.  I want you to pay particular attention to the first chapter in the book, Rule One … You will receive a body.

    When reading this chapter, it  occurred to me that when God gives us a body upon entering the earth, the body we leave with if the one we created!  When I was younger I remember being told that every single decision we make in life, no matter how small, will impact our lives forever.  And so it is, every morsel we put into our mouths impacts our lives.

    If you truly believe that your God given body is to supposed to be treated as a holy vessel for your soul, how then can you justify trashing it?  I know that this is an oversimplification on many levels, but it is none the less, a legitimate question you have to ask and answer for yourself!

    If you are still with me, here’s your prep work before you embark on a diet.  For the next 2 weeks you are to

    • write down what you eat,
    • when you eat it,
    • and note you are eating because you are really hungry,
    • because you are bored,
    • because you are stressed or unhappy.

    Keep track and don’t cheat.  If you cheat you are only cheating yourself.  Get yourself one of those little calorie counter books that are always near grocery store check out counters and add up the calories at the end of the day.  Charting the next 2 weeks will give you information you need to proceed and succeed.

    Why am I asking you to keep track of what you’re eating?  Because most of us are unaware of the junk we put into our bodies … sometimes we eat without thinking.  Every time you put food or drink in your mouth you should be aware if you are eating to live or living to eat.  Two very different things!

    Remember it is very difficult to move forward if you don’t know where you’ve been.  Good luck and I’m cheering you on!



    For the record, I am officially sick and tired of politicians, issue orientated extremists of every size and shape who believe because they feel a certain way about an issue that we all must believe and act as they do.

    The Shot - Pearl District Bistro

    This is an issue orientated site that makes every attempt to treat the people who come here as adults.  I present the facts, give you my reasoning, and then judge that you will make the best decision for you and your family.

    The unnecessary use and misuse of plastic is a tragedy that is nothing short of an ecological nightmare.  The damage done to the oceans, the environment, to fish, birds, and sea creatures of every type in incalculable.  That having been said, my preference is that people make the appropriate changes WITHOUT government intervention.

    Now comes a New York politician, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn,who introduced a bill on March 5, that would fine restaurants $1,000 for each violation of using salt when they cook.

    A THOUSAND DOLLAR FINE FOR COOKING WITH SALT!  That’s it, I’ve had it Jack!  The following is for Mr. Ortiz and all others of the same ilk:

    • Trying to eliminate salt from people’s diets while (possibly) laudable is a personal health decision that is of no concern of yours or the State of New York … I’m a grownup and I don’t need you to tell me how to eat.
    • Fining restaurant chefs for using salt when they cook, when salt can be found in nearly everything we eat (from ketchup to cereal) makes absolutely no sense.
    • If I decide that I want a chef to use less salt in a particular recipe I can ask for that change now, as I have in the past when I eat Chinese food (all that soy sauce don’t you know).
    • Eliminating salt when cooking is a akin to a sacrilege, as any decent cook will tell you.  It is needed not only for flavoring but is necessary when canning, making some breads and pastries, pickling, etc.
    • There is no single food substance that is all good or all bad. Salt, sugar, eggs, milk, meat, all have drawbacks when eaten in excessive amounts, but that doesn’t mean that we ban them because of the irresponsible behavior of a few.

    Mr. Ortiz, grow up and find a real issue like the unnecessary use of plastic!  Oh ya … keep your hands off of my salt shaker!


    Food Network "Stages" Iron Chef America White House Episode – Those Veggies didn't Come from "Le Jardin Extraordinaire"

    I gotta admit, I’m miffed. Emeril (BAM!) Lagasse, Bobby Flay, and Mario Batalli all lied to us.  Was that a bit strong? Well, maybe they fudged the truth is more like it.

    I watched that episode of Iron Chef, the one where Michelle Obama made a brief appearance to announce that the show’s “secret ingredient” was to be the vegetables from the White House garden.

    All through the hour the audience heard Emeril droning on and on about the superior quality of the White House vegetables they were cooking with.

    Now it turns out our four competing chefs weren’t cooking with these vegetables extraordinaire after all. Turns out that the veggies used in the episode were locally sourced (and by extension not from the White House garden) according to a spokesperson for Food Network.

    White House vegetable garden

    Photo courtesy of The Food Network

    The Baltimore Sun is reporting

    that the vegetables used in the Jan. 3 episode of the Iron Chef — which were supposed to have been harvested from the White House vegetable garden — were actually stunt doubles.

    First Lady Michelle Obama famously appeared with competitors Bobbie Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batalli, who were joined by White House chef Cristeta Comerford, and charged them with making healthy meals with whatever they could find in the garden.

    Apparently, the time lag between the White House harvest scene filmed in October and the cooking competition filmed a week later in New York was too great for the vegetables to have remained fresh.

    It is also reported  here that the ratings for the White House Iron Chef of America special “set new viewer records for Food Network. ….With about 4.6 million viewers, it was the highest rated and most-watched show in Food Network’s history.”



    This one really got to me.

    Last week, if you missed the story, the New York Times did a story on clothing retailer, H&M.  It seems that they have been tossing out and destroying perfectly good clothes that they could not sell; cutting the fingers off of gloves, putting knives and scissors to shirts, jackets, etc.

    At the back entrance on 35th Street, awaiting trash haulers, were bags of garments that appear to have never been worn. And to make sure that they never would be worn or sold, someone had slashed most of them with box cutters or razors, a familiar sight outside H & M’s back door. The man and woman were there to salvage what had not been destroyed.

    In the process of researching this story, it turns out that the practice of tossing and destroying goes much further than one chain. It being reported that Wal-Mart is a participant in the same practice.  The question is how many other retailers are engaged in the same wasteful practice?

    A Wal-Mart spokeswoman, Melissa Hill, said that she had been unable to learn why new clothing with the store’s tags had been destroyed, but she added that the company typically donated or recycled such items.

    There is an update.  H&M has agreed to no longer continue this hateful, wasteful practice.

    “It will not happen again,” said Nicole Christie, a spokeswoman for H & M in New York. “We are committed 100 percent to make sure this practice is not happening anywhere else, as it is not our standard practice.”

    Ms. Christie said that H & M’s standard practice was to donate unworn clothing to aid organizations. She said that she did not know why the store on 34th Street was slashing the clothes, and that the company was checking to make sure that none of its other stores were doing it.

    Had it not been for the persistence of Cynthia Magnus, a graduate student at the City University of New York, we may never have known about this needless destruction of clothing and goods.


    Why Is There Carnauba Wax in My Gummi Bears?

    Imagine my surprise, when by happenstance I checked the ingredients on the back of the bag of one of my favorite gummi candies.

    Let’s see … corn syrup, sucrose, gelatin, apple juice (that’s good, right?), natural and artificial flavor, carnauba wax.

    Hey, wait a minute, what’s that doing there? Isn’t carnauba wax for the outside of my car?

    Know what really makes me so unhappy?  It’s not as if I’m not aware that one should always read the ingredients of anything that we decide to ingest.  I do know that, but really, is nothing sacred?

    Guess what?  I now know carnauba wax is put in a variety of foods in addition to be used on my floors.  As this writer from FitSugar notes:

    I didn’t know this, but carnauba wax is often called the “queen of waxes.” It’s a hard substance, so it’s used to make durable coatings for floors and cars. It’s also used in polishes, varnishes, and beauty products like mascara, deodorant, and lipstick. In foods, it’s used as a coating or anti-caking agent, and can be found in frosting, candies (such as Altoids and Tic Tacs), gum, gravies, and sauces.

    All of this leads me to another imponderable. Why is my chewing gum individually packaged in plastic?

    For years we got along fine with our Chiclets packaged in a paper product with cellophane to show the gum product. 

    Now, most gum is hermetically sealed… in plastic! The gum will last 15 minutes and the plastic that will last many hundreds of years longer than the gum. 

    Isn’t this just a bit excessive?  Really, the operative word is silly. This is a silly, nonsensical use of plastic.



    As Kermit already knows, it’s not easy being green, particularly when you are trying to eliminate the unnecessary use of plastic from your life.

    I’ve been writing about using less plastic in all of its forms for close to two years hopeful that with education and persistence that change would come.  Change is taking place, but it is moving at a snail’s pace … partly because some people are resistant to any type of change regardless of the necessity, partly because the plastics industry is too ensconced in consumer retail products to let go, partly because retailers and grocers find it easier to talk about being green than about actually effecting change.

    We all know talk is cheap.  Let’s face it, retailers, grocers, manufacturers of consumer products do almost NOTHING to help.  In fact, these businesses are the largest contributors to the plastic mess we face in our environment.

    A whopping 52% of plastic trash that ends up in landfills and the oceans comes from grocers and retailers.  Walk into any grocery store, walk the aisles, and look at how much plastic is used in place of alternative packaging that includes paper composites.

    As we move rapidly into the New Year, it is time to put companies on notice that they are equally responsible for helping reduce the amount of unnecessary plastic used in this country.

    Who’s on our 2010 “hit list” of companies that do little or nothing to address this world wide pollution problem ?

    Big box retailers like Target, Wal-Mart

    Home Improvement chains

    Grocery chains, convenience chains, drug chains

    Electronics stores

    Discount chains

    Celebrate the New Year by pledging to continue your fight to reduce and reuse plastic products.  Join me in 2010 as we move to a more direct approach with companies and corporations that have yet to take the necessary steps to reduce plastic usage and the resultant plastic trash.

    <a href=””>Contextual Links</a>


    What You & Your Family Need to know about Pancreatic Cancer

    The following article was written in the LA Times in September shortly after Patrick Swayze died of pancreatic cancer.

    The article is filled with up to date information you and your family should be aware of.  Pancreatic cancer is a silent killer.  Symptoms of the disease are vague, which is why it is usually detected only it its advanced stages.

    November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month.

    With Patrick Swayze’s death today comes a highly public reminder that the cure rate for pancreatic cancer is abysmal. This year, an estimated 42,470 Americans will be diagnosed with the disease. And an estimated 35,240 will die.

    Smoking can increase risk, as can obesity, diabetes, family history and other factors. But there simply aren’t obvious signs of the disease in its early stages, and detection can often come too late. (Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer earlier this year; hers was indeed caught fairly early.)

    The disease is broken down into two basic types: exocrine tumors and endocrine tumors, as the American Cancer Society explains. Exocrine tumors are the most common and are usually malignant. Endocrine tumors are much more rare and the malignancy rate is more complex. (Steve Jobs was diagnosed with the endocrine type several years ago.)

    The National Cancer Institute offers a good overview of the disease. Of special note, it includes a link to clinical trials.

    Besides studying genetic factors and trying to improve detection, researchers are trying to improve the effectiveness of the drugs now commonly used to treat cancer of the pancreas — and to devise new therapies as well.

    Here’s an overview of new treatment approaches, according to the American Cancer Society. Included targeted therapies that attack only specific types of  cells or vessels, immune therapies that bolster the body’s ability to fight the disease and more.

    Similarly, the Lustgarten Foundation offers descriptions of the Pancreatic Cancer Genome Project and the Pancreatic Cancer Biomarker Initiative specifically. The former identified specific mutations and signaling pathways and is expected to shape research for years to come. The latter aims to find new detection and screening options.

    For a truly impressive, or inspiring, database, there’s this list of pancreatic cancer researchers and their projects, via the Pancreatic Cancer Research Map. It’s searchable by investigator, area of research, state, etc.

    And, for a sample of recent research into pancreatic cancer, the Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins University offers a selection of presentations.

    All of which is to say, the work continues.

    – Tami Dennis


    Chris Jordan: Awareness Through Art

    If you haven’t viewed the art of Chris Jordan take some time,  and do yourself a favor.  His ability translate social and environmental concerns into visual art we can all understand is immense.

    He has published several books including “Intolerable Beauty – Portraits of American Mass Consumption”, “In Katrina’s Wake – Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster”,  “Running the Numbers – An American Self Portrait”, and “Running the Numbers II – Portraits of Global Mass Culture”.

    Click the link below from Daily Art Fix and Enjoy!

    Chris Jordan: Awareness Through Art

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