Chocolate, Easter bunnies and child slavery

The first step in making cocoa is to harvest the cocoa pods, open them up and remove the beans. This is how it happens. (Screenshot from "The Dark Side of Chocolate")

I went to lunch with a friend last week and we stopped in at a local gourmet chocolate shop. The place was mobbed with people stocking up on the upcoming Easter holiday but all I wanted to do was ask the owners if they knew where their cocoa came from. Chances were quite good that the cocoa they used to make their sweet goodies was harvested by child slaves. I wondered if the people filling their shopping baskets knew that 42% of the world's cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast, where children … [Read more...]

The egg is empty! (Easter photo)

"But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.  Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this ..."

I was out in the yard this morning and found a tiny, delicate half of a bird egg resting on the ground. My first instinct was to look up to the tree branches overhead, knowing that up there somewhere is a nest with at least one newly hatched baby being cared for by his mother. The small egg, recently occupied and now emptied. The shell shed and left behind, the new life taking its first breath under the glorious morning sunshine. What a symbol of the new life Jesus gave to us. May you … [Read more...]

My dog Bandit explains Valentine’s Day

bandit logo photo

My dog Bandit often steps in when I'm overloaded with other work, so I thought I'd share part of his column on Valentine's Day! You can read the entire piece on his blog, www.MyNameIsBandit.com: "It is time for Valentines Day, the day when people go around telling other people how much they love them or they try to get people to fall in love with them. It's all hearts and hugs and kisses and love. "But it is all a big lie. Really, those people are trying to kill you. "First, a naked … [Read more...]

Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter

Visit Punxsutawney Phil, the prognosticating groundhog, on Facebook

It happened today at 7:20 AM on Gobbler's Knob, PA. Punxatawney Phil, the prognosticating groundhog, crawled from his burrow and made his annual prediction and the verdict is: six more weeks of winter. Where I live, in Western NY, we haven't even had six weeks of winter yet. So I hope that we're not going to get it all packed into the next month and a half! This was Phil's 126th prediction - well, Phil or one of his family members. Although the folks in Punxsutawney insist there has … [Read more...]

The real family behind “We Bought A Zoo”

On December 23, the movie "We Bought A Zoo," starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, hits theaters. It's the story of a father who, following his wife's untimely death, moves his young family to the California countryside to renovate and re-open a struggling zoo, Rosemoor Wildlife Park. But did you know that the film is based on a real story? The real Benjamin Mee was a reporter for the UK's The Guardian. When his father died, his mother wanted to sell her home and move to something … [Read more...]

Electric eels power holiday display at Living Planet Aquarium (video)

The Living Planet Aquarium, in Sandy, UT. just south of Salt Lake City, has created a shocking display for Christmas: a light display powered by electric eels. Now that's an eco-friendly idea! A Christmas display in the "Journey To South America" gallery is blinking by using the energy generated by an electric eel in a nearby tank. "We took the voltage produced by the eel via stainless steel electrodes and used it to power a sequencer," said Terry Smith, Project Manager at Cache Valley … [Read more...]

5 reasons not to give a pet as a Christmas gift (and one idea how to do it, if you insist)

Too cute!

There's nothing cuter than the image of a fluffy little puppy under the Christmas tree, big red bow tied around is neck, surrounded by brightly wrapped packages, just waiting for your children to pad downstairs in the their little jammies as they cry out with delight. Oooh! Aaaah!! A puppy! That, my friends, is one dangerous image. Christmas is not the time to introduce a new puppy to the family, especially if it's a surprise gift. Unlike the ugly sweater Aunt Edith sent from Peoria or … [Read more...]

Patheo blogger Rev. Carl Gregg and his Christmas pups! (photo)

Rev. Carl Gregg and hi Christmas pups!

I love writing at Patheos and I love meeting my fellow bloggers. What better way for all of us to get to know each other than through our pets! This is Patheos blogger Carl Gregg with his two dogs, both rescues: the black and white, 20 lb. terrier mix named Dobby Templeton ("She's our house elf", says Carl) and the 15-week-old, (already!) 19 lb. hound/boxer with a brindle coat named Scout "Boo Radley" ("Think To Kill a Mockingbird", he says). Carl's blog is "Pluralism, Progressivism, … [Read more...]

My pup waiting for Santa (photo)

My dog Scout, waiting for Santa!

Since I asked readers to share photos of their pets I thought I'd share one, too! This is my dog, Scout. Back in May, when he was just five years old, he was diagnosed with canine lymphona. It was in his spleen, his lymph nodes and likely his digestive tract. Without chemo, the doctors gave him 30 days to live. Knowing my pup and how much he hates going to the vet, plus the grim prognosis that even with three months of weekly treatements he would have possibly three months remission, we … [Read more...]

Coke’s white can campaign to help polar bears backfires

White holiday can on the left, Diet Coke can on the right.

White holiday can on the left, Diet Coke can on the right. When Coca Cola rolled out its new campaign last month to support the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the company had a noble goal: celebrate the polar bear and commit up to $3 million to WWF's polar bear conservation efforts. The plan was for Coke to make an initial donation of $2 million to WWF and then invite others to join the effort by texting to donate $1 to WWF. Coca-Cola would match all donations made with a package code by … [Read more...]


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