Horseback Librarians

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I love librarians.  I wish they ruled the world.  So, I heard this great story on NPR the other night that was all about librarians on horseback.  I was simply gob smacked.  I’d never heard of such a thing, but wow, was it cool.

So, the history is that in 1935, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) as part of the New Deal, hired women librarians to be part of the Pack Horse Project to deliver books long distances by either horse or mule in the Appalachians and other rural distracts for both education and support.  Because of the Great Depression many schools had been closed, and the illiteracy rate kept going up.  This of course was not a good thing for the country, and the belief was that if books and magazines could be delivered directly to the families, this would encourage parents to teach their children to read.

Many of the books had been donated by richer citizens.  Also, the librarians fixed up old books, and put together “scrapbooks” with articles and stories they believed that their readers would be interested in.  Each pack could carry about 100 books, and the librarians carried these books to homes and schools about once a month.  These books were then sent on to other locations.  The librarians tracked which books and scrapbooks had gone where so that people wouldn’t get the same books over and over again.  They also offered reading lessons to citizens.

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This was not a walk in the park for the librarians.  They needed to be able to provide their own horse/mule.  Many of these were rented.  The “roads” they traveled were difficult, and the hours were long.  However, they were often the only ones with a job and provided for their families.  The Pack Horse Project employed about 200 librarians, and they in turn they established 30 libraries, and serviced about 100,000 people.

In 1943 the funding for this project stopped, but the vision remains.  To this day there are bookmobiles in many areas of the country that provide books to both inner-city neighborhoods and rural areas.  As I said, librarians are awesome!

 

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Alcohol and You

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We all know that alcohol consumption is big business.  Many t.v. shows seem to “push” drinking by having the characters drink when they come home from work, Madame Secretary and House of Cards come to mind here.  Being me, this has always made me uncomfortable.  I didn’t grow up in a drinking family…in fact, we only had some wine at holiday dinners. One memorial night, my Dad partook too much and was extraordinarily sick for two days.  This of course, turned me into a skeptic regarding the joys of drinking.  I later learned that my initial thoughts were correct.  And, since alcohol is a depressant I tend to drink not at all.  However, I’ve been told by many that the health benefits out way the negative impacts, and, of course, the old “everything in moderation” attitude.  I don’t know about that, there are plenty of things that I wouldn’t do, even in “moderation”.

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However, a recently published study shows that alcohol consumption leads to health problems.  After studying the results of hundreds of studies, researchers concluded that alcohol consummation was the seventh leading risk factor in death.  The more you drink, the higher your risk factor rises for many diseases, including cancer, tuberculosis, strokes, heart disease, along with diabetes, and other diseases.  I’ve left the link to the study below.

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While there are many out there who are saying that the research is flawed, this is not the first study that has stated the there is no amount of alcohol use that is “good” for you.  I’ve also left a link to a report regarding money and “scientific” research into the benefits of alcohol.  Like all money-making endeavors, follow who paid for the study, and you will find out who stands to benefit from a specific outcome.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31310-2/fulltext#seccestitle70

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/3/21/17139036/health-effects-alcohol-moderate-drinking-nih

 

 

The End of Summer

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Labor Day is just around the corner.  Have you fulfilled all your summer dreams, or have you simply had a great summer of not accomplishing much?  To tell the truth, I’m in the latter group, and have very few regrets, although I do know that my September is going to be much busier than my August.  Creatively I wrote more than I initially thought, since I’ve been writing a haiku per day – a little project that I was under the mistaken impression would be relatively easy – hah!  However, the best part of this project is that I’ve been taking a photo per haiku, which has been pretty fun.  While I haven’t even touched my novel, I have had a lot of ideas, and have written a couple of 600-word short stories – which, again, is a whole lot harder than you would think.

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So many books, so little time!

Other than that, my summer has been pretty much me sitting around with a book in my face.  I haven’t gotten much done at all…however, now that maybe some cooler weather is on its way – I hope! – I will ramp back up and start getting more of my goals accomplished.  I hope that you enjoy the last weekend of summer!

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Summer is for Reading!

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As you all know, this has been a summer of record highs all over the world.  Basically, there have been fires on almost every continent this year, and just about everyone has suffered from the heat and humidity.  As a person who really dislikes both heat and humidity, and does not have air conditioning, I’ve been surviving by getting my heavy work done in the morning, and sitting in front of a fan while reading in the afternoon and night.  Much as I love to read, and I’ve been able to read a lot, but I’d prefer to be comfortable.

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So, my belief that not only is that summer for reading, but every other season is for reading, too! I’ve gotten through a record number of books this summer thanks to the heatwave and humidity.  What have you done to get yourself through this extremely hot and humid summer?

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2018 Summer Heat Wave

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This summer has been unbearable in New England.  The humidity levels have been outrageous, we have had day after day of unexpected torrential downpours that are reminiscent of downpours in Florida.  Since there are many people who don’t have air conditioning (my family included) life has been something to be endured.

So, since I don’t have t.v., and my newspaper is often not delivered, I decided to see just what in the heck is going on.  Unfortunately, the news is dire.  Get ready for more and more of this.  There have been record heat recorded all over the world.  Heat waves that are over and above anything seen before.  Not only that, but we’ve had drought and wildfires all over also, not just in the U.S., but also Sweden (!).

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I suggest that we start doing something about this.  Extreme weather will be on its way also…hurricanes, etc. etc.  Are you hurricane ready?  I know I’m not.  How have you been coping with the heat?  I’ve been standing in an ice-cold shower before bed every night.  During the day I’ve been reading while sitting in front of a fan.  Work-outs happen in the early morning, and it’s been over a week since I took a walk outside.  I’m dreaming of snow storms and the cold weather.  It can’t come fast enough for me!

 

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/23/world/global-heatwaves-climate-change-wxc/index.html

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/27072018/summer-2018-heat-wave-wildfires-climate-change-evidence-crops-flooding-deaths-records-broken

 

Why Are People from Honduras Seeking Asylum?

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As we all know, there are a lot of people from Central and South America seeking asylum at our southern border.  However, I haven’t really seen much information regarding the reasons why they’re seeking asylum.  We’ve all heard about the gangs, etc. but not the reasons why these countries are falling apart.  Since I’m an information seeker, I decided to look into one of these countries and let you know why there are so many problems there.  My first pick was Honduras since this was the country that caught my eye.

In my reading I found out that in the early 1900’s U.S. banana companies set up shop in Honduras, bribed government officials, gained control of over 1 million acres of land and sent the resulting money and crops to the U.S.  This buy-up of land converted Honduras into a one-crop economy, setting the entire nation up for massive poverty.  At the same time, U.S. military was used to prevent any uprising against the corporations by the citizens of Honduras, while the banana companies gained monetary control of the country.  By the time Regan was president, Honduras was often referred to as “U.S.S. Honduras”.    Honduras was also used as a place to train the Contras of Nicaragua, which in turn increased the U.S. military presence in Honduras.  This militarized Honduran society and brought about a crack down of any and all resistance to the government, thus squashing democracy.  The U.S. was also instrumental in disrupting the coffee trade under the policy of “globalization”, which led to the destabilization of this industry.

All this has led to an increase in military, a loss of human rights, and many human rights violations.  When the citizens elected Manuel Zelaya, a progressive president in 2006, his promise of reforms upset the ruling oligarchy, who then staged a military coup to overthrow the elected government.  Poverty is a huge problem, with drug lords and a corrupt government, police and military working together.  The U.S. is also at fault for militarily supporting this coup against the wishes of the 35-member Organization of American States.

So, this is a quick over-view of the problems in Honduras.  From what I have seen, the other countries from which asylum-seekers are coming have a history with the U.S. that is much the same.  Clearly, the fault is not with the people who have walked thousands of miles seeking asylum.  I’ve left some links below for your education.  Once again, nothing happens in a vacuum, and we need to look at the history of a problem before we start assigning blame.

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https://theconversation.com/how-us-policy-in-honduras-set-the-stage-for-todays-mass-migration-65935

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/opinion/in-honduras-a-mess-helped-by-the-us.html