Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Nurses: Uniforms and Scrubs

Above is the old image of a nurse - female, white uniform and cap.  Nurses, of course, haven't looked like that for a long time now.  In the United States and the UK, for example, about 10 per cent of nurses are male.  A 2013 study for the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of males in the profession has more than tripled since the 1970s.

An increasing number on males are becoming nurses

The image of nurses has undergone a major transformation over the years.  Think of  Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the founder of modern nursing, or Cherry Ames, the main character in a series hospital mystery novels published between 1943 and 1968.  Nightingale and the fictional Cherry Ames, bear scant resemblance to today's nurses. Although today's nurses are just as dedicated, they certainly have a different appearance.

Florence Nighingale

Cherry Anes

It is highly unlikely that nurses are ever going to revert to wearing all-white uniforms. The main reason is that most nurses don't want to wear the traditional uniforms. They argue that white uniforms stain more easily and are more expensive to clean.  In addition, they are not suited to the increasing number of males in the nursing profession. Scrubs are preferred because they are considered more comfortable and more practical.

However, the absence of white uniforms has created some difficulty and also some discombobulation. Identifying nurses has become far more problematic for hospital patients and visitors  It is not often easy to distinguish them from doctors, lab technicians and other medical personnel in hospitals.  They all seem to be wearing scrubs. Perplexed patients are frequently left wondering which person in scrubs is a nurse.  I underwent a surgical procedure last summer and found it quite a challenge to identify the nurses.

Here is my point.  In order to avoid confusion, there should be a clearer way to identify and distinguish nurses.  Name tags don't really solve the problem.  They are not easy to read from a distance, especially for those of us with poor eyesight.  It is evident that nurses require some type of identifying feature, or perhaps they could wear comfortable non-white uniforms.  There has to be a better way.

- Joanne

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Barack Obama: His Legacy

Rather than protect wasteful tax loopholes for the few at the top, we should be investing more in things like education and job creation and job training that we know grow the economy for everybody.  And rather than lock in tax breaks for millionaires, or make it harder to actually enforce existing laws, let’s give tax breaks to help working families pay for child care or for college. And let’s stop rewarding companies that are shipping jobs overseas and profit overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here.

- President Barack Obama
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, April 5, 2016

As Barack Obama nears the end of his presidency, the 44th President of the United States must be reflecting on his legacy. He's had a rough time in office due to the machinations of conservative Republicans and Tea Party supporters. Will history treat him more kindly?  I certainly hope so.

Let me be clear.  I am not an apologist for President Obama or any politician.  I'm not saying that Obama's a 21st century Abraham Lincoln.  I'm merely arguing that he has been underappreciated and underrated.

From the beginning of his first term in office, Republicans and Fox News tried to discredit him.  They endeavoured to portray him as an outsider, a foreigner and "not one of us."  The so-called "birthers," including Donald Trump, claimed that he wasn't really born in Hawaii and that he was probably born in Kenya or Indonesia.  His middle name is "Hussein," so they implied that he had sympathy for Islamic extremism.  What utter nonsense!  What claptrap!  Unfortunately, too many Americans were hoodwinked.  According to polls, they actually believed this to be true.

Soon after his inauguration, President Obama had to deal with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  His steady hand and his investment in infrastructure helped the United States through a crisis that wouldn't have happened if there had been more regulations on American financial institutions.

In addition, Obama inherited the fallout from George W. Bush's ill-advised and ill-fated invasion of Iraq.  According to a 2013 report by scholars from the "Costs of War" project at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, more than 190,000 people had been killed in the decade since the invasion began in 2003.  The war will cost the United States $2;2 trillion, including the funds needed to provide for veterans until 2053.

Every step of the way, the Republican-controlled Congress has tried to impede Obama's attempts at progress.  For example, the President supports more stringent gun-control legislation.  He is sickened by the preponderance of gun violence in the United States, particularly after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  In fact, he told the BBC that his failure to pass "common sense gun safety laws" in the United States "even in the face of mass killings" is the biggest frustration of his presidency.

President Obama has been called a "socialist" because of the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as "Obamacare."  He has been called a "socialist" because he has endeavoured to provide health coverage to the vulnerable and he has opposed tax breaks for the most wealthy segment of American society.

Here's what President Obama has accomplished:

* Over 20 million Americans who didn't have health insurance before, have it now.  Ask them if they'd be willing to go without health insurance again.

* The current U.S. unemployment rate (April 2016) is 5 per cent.  When Obama took office in January of 2009, it was 7.8 per cent.  In 2008, the last year of George W. Bush's presidency, the jobless rate jumped from 5 percent to 7.3 percent.  In October of 2009, during the economic downturn caused by the Great Recession, the unemployment rate rose to 10 per cent, the highest level of Barack  It decreased steadily from then on.

Here is a chart, provided by the U.S, Bureau of Labor, showing the U.S. unemployment rate from 2006 to the present.


* In his recent statement on the economy, Obama called on the Republican-controlled Congress to close corporate tax loopholes such as "inversions," a kind of merger in which an American company purchases a foreign counterpart and then relocates to that county in order to reduce its taxes.

* He has taken action on climate change while right-wing Republicans refuse to accept the severity of the situation.  Despite reliable scientific evidence to the contrary, they deny that it is a problem or they hide their heads in the sand.

* He has restored diplomatic relations with Iran and removed many economic sanctions against the country in exchange for the limiting of Iran's nuclear program.  This may not be a perfect deal, but it's certainly preferable to tension between the two nations and uncertainty about Iran's nuclear intentions.  Not surprisingly, Donald Trump, the Republican Party's presumptive nominee for president, has been vocal in his criticism of the deal and has stated that he would revamp it.

During his final year in office, Obama has seemed more relaxed.  He doesn't have to be concerned with being re-elected, so he has a freer reign to do accomplish what he wants.  He can really be himself and fight for what he believes.  It's unfortunate, though, that during he two terms in office, race relations do not seem to have improved in America.  As the first African-American U.S, president, Obama has had a historic opportunity to make significant progress in that area.  It seems to me that he just hasn't been particularly successful in soothing strains between blacks and whites.

On Friday, May 27, 2016, Barack Obama will make a historic visit to Hiroshima, Japan, where the first atom bomb was dropped by the United States on August 6, 1945.  He will become the first sitting U.S. president to tour the site of the world's first nuclear bombing, where he will be accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

This is a bold move on the part of the President and the prospect of Obama travelling to Hiroshima has stirred up controversy. He will, however, stop short of apologizing for American actions in 1945. He told Reuters news agency that the main purpose of the visit is to "reflect on the nature of war" and the suffering it causes.  He said it's "a happy story about how former adversaries came together to become one of the closest partnerships and closest allies in the world."

- Joanne

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fun with Words: Paraprosdokians

One of my interests is having fun with language. I really enjoy word games, figures of speech  and wordplays.  Among my favourites are paraprosdokians.  That's right - paraprosdokians.  It's quite a mouthful, isn't it.  It sounds like the name of a creature in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.  

"The term "paraprosdokian" is derived from Greek words meaning "against" and "expectation."  A paraprosdokian is actually a literary device in which the last part of the sentence or phrase is surprising, shocking or unexpected.  It can be found in prose and poetry and has been described as a "linguistic U-turn."  In baseball parlance, a paraprosodokian is a phrase that "throws you a curve."  The latter part of the phrase causes you to rethink the first part.

Former British prime minister Winston Churchill was an absolute master of paraprodokians.  An example of a Chuchillian paraprosdokian is "There but for the grace of God - goes God."  Sir Winiston also once famously remarked: "You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing - after they have tried everything else."  He reportedly described his political rival, Clement Attllee, as "a modest man, who has much to be modest about."  Concerning democracy, Churchill made this well-known declaration: "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried."  He had some advice too:  "If you are going through hell, keep going."

Churchill: A master of paraprosdokians

Paraprosodokians are often employed by comedians and satirists for humorous or dramatic purposes, Stand-up comics frequently use "one-liners" because the set-up and the punch line are in a single line. Henny Youngman's "Take my wife . . .please!" is perhaps the most famous one-liner.

Not surprisingly, comedian Groucho Marx was fond of paraprosdokians.  He uttered the following zinger: "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it."  Groucho also uttered this comment: "Time flies like a an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." Here's another one from him:  "I once shot a diplomat in my pyjamas.  How he got in there I'll never know.".  And another:  "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.  Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."" Finally, I just can't resist one more from Groucho:  "She got her good looks from her father.  He's a plastic surgeon."

Groucho Marx

Homer Simpson, the animated star of The Simpsons, has gotten into the act too.  He stated: "If I
could just say a few words . . . I'd be a better public speaker."

Here's one from the much-married Zsa Zsa Gabor:  "He taught me housekeeping; when I divorce I keep the house.”

Albert Einstein has been credited with"the following observation: 'The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."  However, there is no substantive evidence that the brilliant scientist ever made such a statement.

Mahatma Gandhi, the spiritual father of India, proved he could be quite adept at using paraprosdokians. Here is what he once quipped: "What do I think of Western civilization?  I think it would be a very good idea."

This paraprosdokian is attributed to playwright Oscar Wilde: "Some cause happiness wherever they go.  Others whenever they go."

Number 16 presents 35 paraprosdokians for your enjoyment and edification:

1.  If you can't sleep, count sheep.  Don't count endangered animals.  You will run out.
2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you . . . but it's still on my list.
3.  Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear then speak.
4.  If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
5.  We never really grow up - we only learn how to act in public.
6.  War does not determine who is right, only who is left.
7.  Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
8.  To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
9  I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
10, In filling out an application, where it says, "In case of emergency, notify , , , I answered "a doctor." 
11. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy,
12.  You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
13,  I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.
14.  To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
15.  Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
16.  You're never too old to learn something stupid.
17.  I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find one now.
18,  They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
19.  Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations. On my desk is a work station.
20,  I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paycheques.
21.  Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
22,  A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
23,  Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
24. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
25. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
26. Silence is golden, duct tape is silver.
27. Where there's a will, there are relatives.
28, Of course I agree you're a wit . . . even if your're only half right.
29. Sometimes I pretend to be normal.  But it gets boring . . . so I go back to being me.
30, She often stood outside in order to be outstanding.
31,  Do not argue with an idiot.  He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
32.  The food here is terrible . . . and such small portions.
33.  You don't seem to be yourself lately.  So tell me, what brought about such an improvement?
34.  Your argument about the Middle East is sound . . . nothing but "sound."
35.  The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.

- Joanne

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bugs You'll Want in Your Home

Here is an infographic about bugged-themed furniture and decor.  I  hope you enjoy it.  Perhaps it will provide you with some hone decorating ideas.

- Joanne

Bugs You'll Want In Your Home

Bugs You'll Want In Your Home by Terrys Fabrics.