Kiva (a charity) was launched in the fall of 2005 by Matt and Jessica Flannery of San Francisco, after Jessica heard about Dr. Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank.
Kiva has made more than $35 million in loans from about 311,000 lenders to more than 50,000 entrepreneurs in 43 countries. It has a 98.13 per cent repayment rate. All the donations to Kiva go directly to the entrepreneurs. The lenders can select the small business owners themselves and follow their progress.
For instance, loans to women in Guatemala helped them to buy sewing machines to make clothes to sell in their community.
There are many different organizations and charities that support Kiva. You could start a group at your job or school and organize potluck dinners, bikerides and other events to help them.
This is a hand up and not a handout.
I'd like to thank Melanie Sparkes (my niece) for helping me think about great stuff for kids on the internet. Hopefully, this blog entry will help any teen or preteen who's starting out on "The World Wide Web".
Throughout the years, people have communicated with funny stuff on T shirts. Here are some of my favourites.
If you want to find more interesting T-shirt sayings, check out this page.
The person who sings the song below created some of TV's most popular game shows.
For anyone buying or selling a house in the United States, "Flip This House" should be required viewing. In today's marketplace, the value of a house doesn't appreciate naturally, it happens with blood, sweat and a fair amount of cash.
Armando Montelongo is the star of the show and he handles his clients with tough love, a tight budget and gritty determination.
The episode that I saw yesterday, really left an impression in my mind. This couple bought a crummy house for $92,000.This was $50,000 more than it was worth. It was dirty, the walls were cracked, it was rat infested, the plumbing didn't work, a room was off center, etc. etc.
Armando had to kick of the butt of the husband to get the garage cleaned up and get other work done on time.
It wasn't an easy job and Armando swore a lot which resulted in more money for the couple's renovations.
At first, the couple wanted to sell the house for the original cash value, but after two weeks of all out renovating, they developed "Pride Of Ownership" and decided to keep it.
The house was independently appraised for $125,000 which was better than expected.
There's no easy journey to a value added product like a restored house. It requires a vision by the owners and mortgage lenders to make it happen.
It's been a tough year economically for the U.S. and the world, rising food, commodities and oil prices have taken their toll. Added to the above are the continuing subprime crisis/credit crunch and concerns over Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
Fortunately, the feel good movie of the year has arrived in "Momma Mia". I saw stage productions of Momma twice in Toronto and enjoyed both productions immensely. Louise Pitre as "Donna" was a standout in Toronto and New York.
From the reviews, I've read, Meryl Streep did a fine job in the lead role. Apparently, a fan letter to the New York cast in 2001 helped her to get the main part.
All the excitement and adventure of discovering new relationships are there in the music and the story line.
"Grease" of the 20th century has now been replaced by "Greece" in the 21st century.
The bishops of this council were regarded like prophets of the New and Old Testament by fundamentalists. They took the inner spiritual path of Christ and dogmatized it into a man-made religious insurance policy for getting to Heaven.
The battle of the "Gospel Within" (i.e. The Gnostics) and "Gospel Without" (i.e. The Roman Church) reached a turning point at Nicaea. The emperor, Constantine, threw his support behind the Catholic Establishment. The Gnostics were branded as heretics going to Hell and the followers of the Roman bishops were blessed and going to Heaven.
Fundamentalists have always been very critical of those that don't share their literal and dogmatic views of scripture. This is seen in their condemntion of Christian sects like the Mormons or the Jehovah Witnesses.
This criticism even extended to Oprah Winfrey who discussed some of her religious views on her TV show. They mocked her and said she started her own religion, "The Church Of Oprah".
My own particular fixation with Christianity was the whereabouts and condition of the early church from 100 AD to the present/2008.
Christians have "The Mind of Christ" and we're connected to each other like a grapevine. This should give us access to the memories and experiences of millions of Christians who went before.
I have written many blogs on my visions of the Christian Brotherhood as it now exists. Please check the entries on the right panel.
I believe we've made first contact with "The Federation Of Jesus Christ". All it took was "One Moment In Time".
But isn't it great to hear the sound of speculators losing billions of dollars on market volatility.
Has oil topped out? Have financials bottomed out? Has stagflation set in? On and on, investors ask economists and financial gurus these questions. The experts look into their "crystal balls" and come up with the usual long or short winded explanations of what is happening and what is going to happen.
This fortunetelling makes good press releases, but it really doesn't tell anyone whether we're going to hell or making a recovery.
Whether you're bull or a bear depends on the mood you're in.
What is reported in the media are fixations over commodities, energy futures and financial incompetence.
Personally, I think we've reached the end of an age (i.e. The 20th Century Oil Based Economy). The 21st century will be based on alternate energy sources like solar power.
Stock markets always look into the future and for "the next big thing."
Speculators and investors are clinging to what they have or trying to get back what they've lost.
The old stock market game is over and the new one has begun.
I'm on a limited buget these days because I'm trying to pay off the mortgage on my house.
I orginally started off playing backgammon for money many years ago. I won more than I lost but gradually my buddies moved away and my gambling interests turned to blackjack, craps and sports gambling. I won a little bit at blackjack and craps, but not sports betting.
Presently, I play "Hold "Em Poker" for free at Poker Stars. I've amassed $35000 in play money over the last month. When I was playing for real money, I made $10 to $15 dollars playing in nickle and dime tournaments.
Most of the time, I play within a designated limit like $50 in any gambling game.
I'd love to buy some good green stocks and see them double in price, but right now, my extra cash is spoken for. I'm not going to go in debt to place a bet on some trendy energy or tech stock on the TSX, the Dow or anywhere else.
My number one investment is my house and that takes precedent over "a gambler's rush on a big bet".