Friday, May 19, 2017

Empowering Girls by Maxine Rose Schur

 After strolling through the unrelenting pink princess aisles for girls at Toys R Us, seeing toy after toy with images of skinny, impossibly pretty royalty and the overwhelming emphasis on “prettiness,” I’ve come up with a new toy mirror for girls.  Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror™ is a plastic hand mirror, large but light to hold. When a young girl lifts the mirror, the technology is activated: soft music plays, clouds swirl and in a moment the child sees, as if arriving from faraway, a 3-dimensional fairy godmother type figure coming closer.  This is Princess Lily. The music stops and Princess Lily’s face now fills nearly the whole mirror surface. She speaks to the girl from the world of the mirror. She tells the child, a fun bit of poetry, sings a short song, provides an affirmation or empowering suggestion. What Princess Lily says is unpredictable: sometimes playful, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always supportive. After she speaks her words to the child, she vanishes within clouds so the mirror becomes once again simply a mirror in which the child sees herself, but perhaps in a different, more positive way because of the reassuring words just imparted to her. 

I posted the idea on a site called JazWings and if I can get 100 people to vote for it--- which means they like the idea-no money involved, then the parent toy company, JazWares will consider it. I’m asking everyone concerned about empowering girls from an early age to please vote and to provide feedback for improvement.  This is very important but it’s easy. Here’s how:

Access the site through Facebook or through
NOTE from Ginny: Try this link first. I may take you directly to the VOTE page.

Otherwise Go to Community

Sign up (register) (takes no more than a minute) and no, you won’t be spammed.

Click on Discover and scroll down to Princess Lily's Enchanted Mirror.

Give it one to five stars then press the Vote button.  If you do it right, you'll get a message "Thanks for voting."  

If it's confusing or difficult, I'm happy to call you and walk you through it. It should take just a minute or two at the most! My email is

There is no money or any kind of obligation with it, it's just a vote.

Thank you in advance for your support and feedback. I very much appreciate it.

Maxine Rose Schur (

To understand why I’ve created this toy idea, read on:

Since the 1995 publication of the landmark book Reviving Ophelia* there has been greater awareness of the importance of a strong self-image for young girls to counter the “beauty-perfect” images that pervade the media through television, movies, video games, toys and advertising.  The book and subsequent research have brought to light the insidious impact the popular media and societal pressure have on the self-image of young girls who learn at a very early age that being pretty and attractive to boys is a measure of self-worth and social success.  The research revealed that even the self-esteem of strong, confident girls diminishes dramatically from the age of seven as they become more exposed to mass culture.

Because children are learning new behaviors and “wiring their brain,” affirmations can be particularly effective with them. Research shows that positive self-belief developed in childhood stays throughout life. When children hear words of praise and encouragement, they learn to praise, and respect themselves. Once affirmations are learned, they work by coming to mind when that belief is challenged.  Also, the more an affirmation is repeated, the stronger it becomes.

Also of importance, affirmations are believed to be the most powerful when said or heard while looking into a mirror. Young girls introduced to this concept may feel more comfortable and self-assured looking at themselves in the mirror as they mature.

Because the mirror is programmed with hundreds of words of encouragement and because they take a varied form: rhymes, riddles, charming, unexpected thoughts, serious affirmations and questions, the toy does not present as didactic, nor can it quickly become predictable as are the current crop of toy mirrors. Rather Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror continues with each use to be unpredictable—surprising, fresh and above all, more fun.

Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror is accompanied by a small storybook that tells the story of Princess Lily and her three empowering sisters, the enchanted land in which they live and how the mirror came to be “enchanted.”  It also includes a guide for parents in giving positive affirmations and modeling and encouraging the self-awareness of feelings.

Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror reflects to the child not merely her external appearance, but her inner strength and beauty.  The mirror anticipates the child’s age-appropriate anxieties, concerns and doubts and gently and creatively suggests behaviors and thoughts to challenge them. In this way, Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror functions as both a toy and a psychological tool.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Good News for Dolphins and Orcas

France bans captive breeding

"Living in captivity and being forced to perform shows for the public has been proven to take a terrible toll on the physical and psychological health of marine mammals. When confined in a space that severely lacks stimulation, dolphins and orcas grow frustrated and become aggressive – something that never happens in their natural habitat. The only documented instances of orcas attacking humans have happened in captivity. Additionally, dolphins often start to display zoochotic behaviors similar to symptoms of prison neurosis when left in a tank that prohibits them from exercising their intellect and social skills. Extremely stressed animals are known to engage in acts of self-mutilation, like throwing themselves against the walls of their tanks. Those and other symptoms even lead to feeding captive marine animals pharmaceuticals – SeaWorld has admitted to medicating their orcas with psychoactive drugs similar to valium." OneGreenPlant


This is the French version of How to Speak Dolphin. I'm thrilled that the French have taken steps to end the terrible lives we have submitted these intelligent mammals to.
Lolita, 45 years in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium

Lolita's prison for 45 years  

and France is not alone


Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Just hold still, and we'll pry the jaws off."

Safe Capture of Pythons 

Bless Carl Hiaasen 
and the Miami Herald

Maybe this is the reason Florida Wildlife officials 
felt the need for safety instructions.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Love Dolphins and Eating Tuna?

There are a few big surprises in this list. I thought buying albacore made eating tuna fish safer for dolphins. And I thought buying tuna at Trader Joe's made it safer yet. Wrong. Trader Joe's and Costco are in the red zone along with Target and Walmart. We can make a difference. Shop wisely.

To view the individual rankings and why they are ranked that way, click on the Greenpeace shopping guide, then on the individual cans.

2017 Tuna Shopping Guide

Open Tuna Can
How does your can stack up?
We’ve ranked 20 well-known canned tuna brands that can be found in grocery stores nationwide based on how sustainable, ethical, and fair their tuna products are for our oceans—and for the workers that help get the products to store shelves.
If you’re going to buy tuna, make sure to choose a responsibly-caught option.

How the Brands Ranked

Wild Planet Tuna Can

#1 Wild Planet

American Tuna Can

#1 American Tuna

Whole Foods 365 Tuna Can

#3 Whole Foods

Ocean Naturals Tuna Can

#4 Ocean Naturals

Hy-Vee Tuna Can

#5 Hy-Vee

Wegmans Tuna Can

#6 Wegmans

Giant Eagle Tuna Can

#7 Giant Eagle

Albertsons Open Nature Tuna Can

#8 Albertsons

ALDI Northern Catch Tuna Can


Ahold Delhaize Food Lion Tuna Can

#10 Ahold Delhaize

Kroger Tuna Can

#11 Kroger

Target Market Pantry Tuna Can

#12 Target

Costco Kirkland Signature Tuna Can

#13 Costco

SUPERVALU Wild Harvest Tuna Can


Chicken of the Sea Tuna Can

#15 Chicken of the Sea

Trader Joe's Tuna Can

#16 Trader Joe's

Bumble Bee Tuna Can

#17 Bumble Bee

Great Value Tuna Can

#18 Walmart

H‑E‑B Tuna Can

#19 H‑E‑B

StarKist Tuna Can 

Chicken of the Sea is owned by the world’s largest tuna company—Thai Union. Thanks to your support, Thai Union is exploring ways to ensure its products are responsibly caught. It’s up to us to ensure that Chicken of the Sea commits to protect the oceans and human rights.

Tell Chicken of the Sea to clean up its act!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

How can anyone drink this---?

Cluwak - Coffee Luwak - Tasting is Believing

Indulgence pack: Kopi Luwak Gold (200g) + Black (200g) Labels

Kopi Luwak Indulgence Pack 

Price: $349

What they want you to believe

"Kopi Luwak Gold Label beans are sourced from the Bengkulu plantations in Southwestern Sumatra, Indonesia, where freely roaming wild palm civets can choose the best and the ripest coffee berries through a process of natural selection. Digestive mechanisms enhance the flavor of the ingested whole coffee beans, resulting in an orange winey flavour with a hint of roasted truffles."

Do you really believe they have workers walking around collecting Civet "dropping?" Or is this the more likely truth?


Kopi Luwak is also known as caphe cut chon (fox-dung coffee) in Vietnam and kape alamid in the Philippines. It is coffee that is prepared using coffee cherries that have been eaten and partially digested by the Asian palm civet, then harvested from its fecal matter.[6][7] The civets digest the flesh of the coffee cherries but pass the beans inside, leaving their stomach enzymes to go to work on the beans, which adds to the coffee's prized aroma and flavor.[6] 0.5 kg (1 lb) can cost up to $600 in some parts of the world and about $100 a cup in others.[8]

A 2012 investigation by The Guardian newspaper found Indonesian civets held separately in cramped cages. The animals were force-fed a debilitating diet of coffee cherries in conditions described by the Traffic charity as "awful" and "horrific".[9] There is a campaign under way to encourage "ethical civet coffee".[10] Evidence suggests that the SARS virus crossed over to humans from Asian palm civets ("civet cats") which raised concerns over the safety of civet coffee.[11][12] 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Death in Slow Motion

 Trump gives pen to Dow's CEO
Do you see a link between the mindset of men who permit the use chemical warfare on their own citizens? Or is it just me?
On the same day Syria's president unleashed nerve gas on his own citizens, Donald Trump signed an "executive" order stripping away a number of environmental protections including the use of the Dow Chemical pesticide, chlorpyrifos, then handed the pen he signed with to Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical.

Chlorpyrifos is an endocrine disrupter, meaning it can cause "adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects," according to the National Institutes of Health. In other words, it's harmful to the brains of children.

Mother Jones
UPDATE (3-29-2017): EPA director Scott Pruitt signed an order denying the agency's own proposal to ban chlorpyrifos, according to a Wednesday afternoon press release. "We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment,” Pruitt said in a written statement. “By reversing the previous Administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making – rather than predetermined results.”

By Friday, President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency will have to make a momentous decision: whether to protect kids from a widely used pesticide that's known to harm their brains—or protect the interests of the chemical's maker, Dow AgroSciences.

The pesticide in question, chlorpyrifos, is a nasty piece of work. It's an organophosphate, a class of bug killers that work by "interrupting the electrochemical processes that nerves use to communicate with muscles and other nerves," as the Pesticide Encyclopedia puts it

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

About as Appalling as it gets

The dissection of Marius, at the Copenhagen Zoo, on February 9, 2014.
From the Jan. 16, 2017 New Yorker
My father was Danish. Rorby is a Danish name. This makes me none to proud of that fact. Not only do I think this is appalling on so many levels, I also don't think it's something children should be exposed to. I remember too clearly the day my first dog died. My Yankee parents moved to Florida and didn't know about heartworms. I was five when Butch and I raced up our porch stairs and he fell over dead. I was 9 or 10 when Mom took me to see the circus. We stopped to watch the elephants parade through downtown Orlando. Right in front of us, one of them collapsed and died. We never went to that circus, or any other. 

I write realistic animal stories, but I sure as hell wouldn't want a child of mine exposed to this inhumane practice. I'd like to continue laboring under the belief zoos teach us to respect and value animals, and are a refuge for the endangered. This practice, even if necessary on a financial level, teaches children to view animals as something less than we humans are. Teaching disrespect for nature only adds to our egocentric view of the world and is at the root of habitat destruction and the loss of animal (and plant) species. 

The Culling

Killing Animals at the Zoo


At Danish zoos, surplus animals are euthanized—and dissected before the public

"One afternoon last January, two years after staff members at the Copenhagen Zoo surprised many people by shooting a healthy young giraffe, dissecting it in public, and then feeding its remains to lions, another Danish zoo was preparing for a public dissection." 

"The Copenhagen Zoo has considered, and rejected, the idea of breeding animals that could be supplied to visitors as meat."

I guess we can consider this a moral high mark. GR