Aunt Jemima

Lately, Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup has been making the news. Quaker Oats, which now owns the brand, says it will retire the Aunt Jemima name, as it reminds customers of slavery and racism. This brand of pancakes was first sold way back in 1890, with the image of Nancy Green on its container. Ms. Green was indeed born into slavery, but was a free woman by the time her face graced the boxes of pancake mix on grocery shelves. She served pancakes to folks at the 1893 Worlds’ Columbian Exposition, and people loved her warm, friendly personality. She won an award for showmanship, and remained a spokesman for the company until her death in a car accident in 1923.

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How Risky Is It?

I read – with great joy – that my local public library now has re-opening dates! The first milestone will come next Monday, when they will open their outside book drops. I have three books and a music CD that I have been wanting to return for over three months, but was unable to do so. A week after that, we will be able to pick up our holds, albeit in curbside fashion. I have had a book on the hold shelf for three months now, and can’t even remember what it’s called.

In July, the ultimate will happen – we will be able to step foot in the library! It will reopen with restrictions. Probably no internet stations, story times, or sitting in cushy chairs to read for a while. Likely there will be a limit on how many people can be in the library at a time. But at this point, anything will be a gift. I realize that having a library open is considered somewhat risky because people will be handling some of the same books, CD cases and audiobook boxes. But I think we are having to accept that almost everything we do now has at least some risk to it. We just have to decide personally how much risk we are willing to take.

An online article did a great job of rating 36 common activities according to how risky they are, and why.

Here’s a summary of their take on risk:

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Exposure Notification from Apple and Google – May 25, 2020

It’s not often that Google and Apple work together. But since the pandemic, they have found common ground by adding a tracing feature to their cell phone operating systems that will work with government/health department apps being developed. When the apps are added to phones, people’s movements will be traced, and phones will record if you have been close enough to an infected person to become infected yourself.

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A Library’s Nightmare

The public library in Midland, Michigan has been having a rough time. Like other libraries across the country, they had to close their doors back in March when the coronavirus reached the area. About a week ago, heavy spring rains prompted a flash flood warning. Then both the Edenville Dam and and the Sandford Dam burst, sending water tumbling toward the town of Midland. Thousands of residents made an emergency evacuation.

What about the town’s library? One of the library employees stayed overnight in the library to monitor the situation. By 3:30 am, other workers joined her. Water had begun to seep into the lower level of the building, where they had about 80,000 books. They tried setting up barricades to block the flow of water but it only slowed the flooding.

Grace Dow library 2(photo credit: Midland Daily News)

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Spam Calls Are Declining?

Last month I read two articles online that claimed the number of spam phone calls were going down, thanks to the coronavirus.  The articles were on websites that I would consider reputable. The first one was on USA Today:

The other article was posted in the Los Angeles Times:

I checked my phone. Hmmm, the number of unknown or “spam likely” calls was down. But over the next few weeks, I started being flooded with text messages that seem to be spam. Never had I received so many unsolicited messages! Here’s a few of the text messages sent to me:

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Is It Hoarding Or Is It Saving?

Americans Create New Economic Threat With Savings

(photo credit:

Today an opinion article was posted on CNN’s home page that claimed that Americans are creating an economic threat by saving their money instead of spending it. I read the article. Because of the uncertainty of the times, many people have sharply curtailed their credit card usage, and are making a concerted effort to clear off the debt they already have. Our nation’s credit card charging has dropped off to a level not seen since the beginning of 1989. In addition, they are socking away savings when they can, based on the worry that their jobs and income may not return to pre-pandemic levels. The rate of savings has jumped to a level last seen in 1981, when Ronald Reagan was president.

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When Will The Public Libraries Reopen?

2020-05-05 Gray Public Library in Maine reopening a

It’s true – you really don’t appreciate what you have until you no longer have it. As an avid reader, I have been waiting to hear when our local library will re-open. So far, the news has been very discouraging. It closed half-way through March, like most of the public libraries in the country. They announced that the library would be closed through April. Then the date was pushed ahead to May 15. Now it is closed through May, with all physical items checked out not due until June 5th.

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Van Jones and local job listings

Van Jones(photo credit:

I started the day in the usual way – coffee, cereal, and a check of both the local and the national news. Starting with CNN, I noticed an article by Van Jones, a well-known social justice advocate who focuses on the rights of African Americans. The title caught my eye: “I’m someone Covid-19 could easily kill. Here is what I’m doing about it.”

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The Gift Of Easter

Easter pic(photo credit:

If you google “Easter 2020” on your computer or phone and look at the images suggested, they are all of the bunnies and colorful candy variety. Society has trivialized this day for decades. The original Easter morning was anything but trivial. Jesus had been unjustly beaten for hours,  and put to death in the most horrifying way that society could come up with. He allowed this to happen to pay for the sins of every person on earth. His bloodied, lifeless body was wrapped and put in a borrowed tomb.

On the third day – the day we call Easter – He came back to life, and left the tomb. And that, my friends, is what Easter Sunday is all about. Not egg hunts. Not sugary treats. Not even huge family dinners where everyone gorges on ham, candied yams, and apple pie. Yes, it’s good to spend time with your family, and laugh, and play games with the kids. But maybe, just maybe, since so many of us are under stay-at-home orders to battle the coronavirus, we can spend this Easter appreciating the sacrifice that Jesus made out of total love for us.

Try listening to these wonderful Easter songs:

Nicole C. Mullen – “My Redeemer Lives”

Don Francisco – “He’s Alive”

Sandi Patty and Larnelle Harris – “I’ve Just Seen Jesus!”

While We Are Home

Well, the coronavirus has managed to change the lives of almost everyone around the globe. Most of us are confined to home in an attempt to slow the contagion to a manageable amount for hospitals. While watching, waiting, and praying for relief, we have been the opportunity to do a lot of things that we deemed ourselves “too busy” to do in normal times. Here are some of the things I found to do while at home:

Vacuum out the car. Even though the car hasn’t moved in a week, it is now clean and tidy, and will probably stay lookin’ good for a long time!

Transfer photos from the cell phone into your computer, label and save. Most people have taken a bunch of pictures with their phone, and that is where it sits. I went through and selected which pictures were worth saving and which just needed to be tossed. It freed up a lot of space on the phone.

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