Browsing "Current Events"
Jan 14, 2018 - Current Events    No Comments

What’s this about ‘shit-hole’ countries

In about six weeks, I am headed for a shit-hole… if one listens to the current president.  This presents somewhat of a dilemma because why would one voluntarily give up life ‘in the best country in the world’ to go live and work in a ‘shit-hole’ country?  Call me crazy I guess. Some of these countries are struggling right now. Some of them are facing poverty, famine, war, natural disasters, and political strife, but all of the countries on this list are home to citizens who deserve respect and who deserve to be treated without assumption, judgement, or insult. All of them are countries of origin of regular people who are trying their best – either in their home countries or as immigrants – to survive, work hard, contribute to society, and make their lives and the lives of their loved ones happier and healthier.

Of course, I’m not yet there, and of course, my opinion could align with the president, but from everything I’ve heard and read Madagascar is an amazing place with amazing people, incredible biodiversity, and I will truly be lucky to serve on the Great Red Island.

The Peace Corps has three goals, one of which is to promote friendship among Americans and the national of the countries they serve, and thanks to the president, he has made my job infinitely harder.

Current and former non-shit-hole countries where Peace Corps has had volunteers

So, in alphabetical order, here are a few countries whose citizens do not come from shit-hole countries.

  • Afghanistan
  • *Albania
  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Antigua and Barbados
  • *Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • The Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • *Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • *Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • *Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • *Burkina Faso
  • Cabo Verde
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • *Central African Republic
  • *Chad
  • *Chile
  • *China
  • *Colombia
  • Comoros
  • *Costa Rica
  • Cote d’Ivorie
  • Crotia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • *Dominican Republic
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Dominica
  • *Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • England
  • *El Salvador
  • Eritrea
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Finland
  • France
  • *French Guiana
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • *The Gambia
  • *Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • *Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • *Guinea-Bissau
  • *Guyana
  • *Haiti
  • *Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • *India
  • *Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • *Jamaica
  • Japan
  • *Jordan
  • *Kazakhstan
  • *Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • *Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • *Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxomberg
  • Macedonia
  • *Madagascar
  • Malaysia
  • *Mali
  • *Malawi
  • The Maldives
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • *Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • *Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • *Morocco
  • *Mozambique
  • *Namibia
  • Nauru
  • *Nepal
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • *Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Northern Ireland
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • *Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Palestine
  • *Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • *Paraguay
  • *Peru
  • The Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • *Republic of the Congo
  • Romania
  • *Russia
  • *Rwanda
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leon
  • *Senegal
  • The Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • *Somalia
  • *South Africa
  • South Korea
  • South Sudan
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • St Kitt’s and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • *Sudan
  • *Suriname
  • *Swaziland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • *Tajikistan
  • *Tanzania
  • *Thailand
  • *Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • *Tunisia
  • *Turkey
  • *Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • *Uganda
  • *Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • *Uruguay
  • *Uzbekistan
  • *Vanuatu
  • Vatican City State
  • *Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • *Zambia
  • *Zimbabwe

and last but certainly not least,

The United States of America

Mar 27, 2016 - Current Events    No Comments

Modern Medicine, circa 1900


Eric Johnson, Eve Hewson, Clive Owen in ‘The Knick’/Image © Mary Cybulski/Cinemax

I admit to being a nerd…especially when it comes to medicine, or more accurately the history of medicine.  Medicine today is strangled, but this is not about that.  I have recently discovered the TV show The Knick.  As per usual, I am late to the party as season 2 finished up last fall and it is uncertain whether of not, despite it’s good reviews, it will return for a season 3.  For those who have been living under a rock (much like myself) or completing nursing school (much like myself), here’s a quick synopsis:  Medicine, or more precisely surgery, in 1900’s New York City at a hospital  called The Knickerbocker or The “Knick” was a dangerous proposition. (To be fair, surgery anywhere in 1900 was a dangerous proposition.)  The Knick’s chief surgeron is a fellow named John Thackery (very loosely based on Dr. William Halsted, who happens to be one of my medical heroes). Thackery has a very serious cocaine addiction (because in 1900 cocaine was a wonder drug and it’s addictive properties were not known at all) as well as revolutionary – if not mildly terrifying – ideas that turn patients into guinea pigs at a time when doctors were only slightly more knowledgeable about medicine than barbers.


I travel a fair amount, and not just to the beach for R&R, and in my travels, I’ve been to Semmelweis’ lab in Budapest, and the Old Operating Theatre Museum in London (you should totally go by the way, especially if you like The Knick)

you see, just like the TV show.

Summary:  The Knick is awesome.  It’s bloody; it’s gruesome.  It’s realistic.  But there’s only two seasons, and I have binged watched it in a whopping two days.  I have had to turn to books to get my fix.  A few I’ve discovered so far:

Fever by Mary Beth Keane: The search for Typhoid Mary, who is responsible for a massive outbreak of typhoid fever, is a fascinating side-plot during the first season, and Keane writes a great fictionalized account of the actual Typhoid Mary.

Genius on the Edge: The Bizarre Double Life of Dr. William Stewart Halsted by Gerald Imber: The character of Dr. John Thackery is loosely based on Dr. William Stewart Halsted, and this biography is a fascinating examination of his personal and professional life.

Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery by Richard Hollingham: Though it covers a broader period than The Knick, having a sense of where these surgeons and their work sit in the larger history of medical history is helpful for context. And it does shed some serious light on surgery during the Victorian era.

Dr. Mutter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz: Often described as the P.T. Barnum of the surgical theater, Dr. Mutter’s flamboyant approach to medicine is a great primer for appreciating Dr. Thackery’s methods

Apr 28, 2013 - Current Events, Wanderlust    No Comments

Are we really this dumb?

With all the ‘news’ out there floating around about the two brothers that are suspects in the Boston marathon bombing, I came across this headline…

Ambassador: Czech Republic and Chechnya two very different places

Read more:

Really?  are we that dumb that we don’t know that the Czech Republic, home of Prague, and several centuries worth of positive history is not the same place a Chechnya–an area that was once part of USSR and has pretty much been fighting someone in its entire history?  If  there is an actual need for a story like this, then it is a sad, sad day for history and geography teachers everywhere.

Prauge’s astronomical clock


not Chechyna

My winter visit to the Castle yielded a much better view than in August… when it was 100 degrees and full of people.