Book recommendation

A stranger-than-fiction true tale:

In 1910, the United States—its population exploding, its frontier all but exhausted—was in the throes of a serious meat shortage. But a small and industrious group of thinkers stepped forward with an answer, a bold idea being endorsed by the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and The New York Times. Their plan: to import hippopotamuses to the swamps of Louisiana and convince Americans to eat them.


You can get the book here, free if you have Prime.


“We are not content to accept the endless growth of relief rolls or welfare rolls. We want to offer the forgotten fifth of our people opportunity and not doles. That is what this measure does for our times.
Our American answer to poverty is not to make the poor more secure in their poverty but to reach down and to help them lift themselves out of the ruts of poverty and move with the large majority along the high road of hope and prosperity.”

–Lyndon Johnson, 1964


Run Boy, Run

I was cleaning house and listening to music, when James Taylor’s “Her Town, Too” came on. While it played, I kept thinking, “This should have been an Eagles song.” Of course, I had to look it up—the song was performed with and written by J.D. Souther, who wrote or co-wrote several Eagles songs. Here is a pre-Eagles song by Souther and Glenn Frey, calling themselves Longbranch Pennywhistle. That’s Shreveport’s James Burton on lead guitar.

Souther was never an Eagle, but his influence is definitely heard in early Eagles recordings.

How to avoid sunburn

From Ask the Past:

“Take Deer’s Marrow, put it into a sufficient Quantity of Water with Wheat-Flour, and let them settle; then take some Ounces of what subsides to the Bottom and mix it well with a sufficient Quantity of the Whites of Eggs. Plaister your Face with the said Paste when you go to Bed at Night, and wash yourself the next Morning with warm Water. This Method is excellent to prevent Sunburn.”

Abdeker: Or, the Art of Preserving Beauty

"Lady with Parasol"-- John Singer Sargent

“Lady with Parasol”– John Singer Sargent

How to avoid MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)

MERS was first reported in 2012 in (you guessed it) the Middle East. It is caused by a coronavirus, and has very serious morbidity and mortality. The illness has recently been in the news with an outbreak in South Korea, where, so far, six people have died and another 87 patients have been confirmed to have the disease.

The World Health Organization has recently come out with a recommendation to avoid this deadly disease: Don’t drink camel urine.

Yeah, I know that will be tough to give up. Obviously there is human-to-human transmission, but it seems that the reservoir may be in bats*, which transmit it to camels. The thought is that drinking camel’s milk or urine (more common than you might think in the Arabian peninsula) may be introducing the virus into the human population.

In 2013, an intrepid reporter for Vice sampled the substance while in Yemen. “The taste of warm piss is, as you would expect, disgusting,” he wrote. “But when it’s mixed with camel milk, as it traditionally is, it’s even worse.”

*Bats sure do seem to harbor some bad-news human pathogens, including rabies, Ebolavirus, and now MERS-CoV.