Wednesday, September 29, 2010




The Hermiston Public Library outreach program Elderlibraries has been asked to provide services to Ashley Manor, the adult care facility.

We need a volunteer who can give one to two hours every three weeks to take books to Ashley Manor residents.

If you are interested in helping with this important program please stop by and talk to Sue, our Volunteer Coordinator, for full information and an application. Or call her at 541- 567-2882.

All adult volunteers for the library must be willing to submit to a background check.

Monday, September 27, 2010

An Effective Cover Letter

An Effective Cover Letter

Your resume is NOT the first thing an employer might look at. Your cover letter, the one-page summary you attach to your resume is the actual portal to next step in getting an interview.

Toni Bowers lists seven essentials for writing an effective cover letter. You can read the entire article here:

Here are the highlights of the article.

Determine what the employer is looking for and meet that need.

Keep your cover letter short and to the point.

Don't repeat the contents of your resume.

Try to remain positive.

Write in clear and accessible terms.

Write your cover letter, let it sit for a few hours, and then reread it.


That last tip still echoes in my mind: PROOFREAD! Toni writes that many recruiters have told her that they will toss a cover letter and resume in the trash if there is a typo.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

RAH! RAH! RAH! Recycle Area Hurrah! RAH! RAH! RAH!

Does your Local Neighborhood Food Store strive to keep its recycle area or container return area clean and safe? Let's recognize them!

Here's how to do it:

Make a point of looking at your local food store's recycle area.

If it looks clean and safe, dash inside and tell the manager or assistant manager, "Thanks! The Recycle Area looks clean and safe!"

And then, dash home and click your browser to this blog: 

Add a comment telling us the name of your store (you don't have to say what town, although you can if you want), and why you thought their recycle area was worthy of a shout out.

Remember, we're looking for positive comments. We want to recognize the good work of our local stores in maintaining clean and safe recycle areas.


R. A. H. Stands for Recycle Area Hurrah!


My Neighborhood Food Store Recycle Area looks MUCH better!

A quick run downtown to pick up some fresh pineapple and strawberries allowed me to take a peek at my latest adopted Cause...and it looks great!

As I parked, I could see a couple of orange-vested store employees mopping the concrete floor surrounding the container-return machines. The bottlecaps were swept up, trash disposed, and the squeaky-clean floor appeared  hygenic, safe, and inviting.

Thank you! Thank you, Neighborhood Food Store, for listening.

I purchased my fruit and asked a clerk to direct me to the manager. She pointed me to Checkstand #5, where the Acting-Manager was working. As I stood near the end of the checkstand, Acting-Manager smiled pleasantly at me. I quickly told her, "Thanks for cleaning the Recycle Area; it looks much better!"

She thanked me in turn and seemed to be genuinely appreciative of the gesture.

Felt good. gave me another great idea! (This one's going to go viral, I just know it!)

Here it is: Let's every one of us actively look for an opportunity to give our own Local Neighborhood Food Store a hearty RAH!: Recycle Area Hurrah!

Here's how to do it:

Make a point of looking at your local food store's recycle area.

If it looks clean and safe, dash inside and tell the manager or assistant manager, "Thanks! The Recycle Area looks clean and safe!"

And then, dash home and click your browser to this blog:

RAH! RAH! RAH! Recycle Area Hurrah!

Add a comment telling us the name of your store (you don't have to say what town, although you can if you want), and why you thought their recycle area was worthy of a shout out.

Remember, we're looking for positive comments. We want to recognize the good work of our local stores in maintaining clean and safe recycle areas.

That's it! We'll together compile a blog's-worth of appreciation for stores who make an effort to keep their recycle areas clean and safe.

Remember: R. A. H. stands for Recycle Area Hurrah!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Update: Neighborhood Food Store

Yesterday I visited the website of my Neighborhood Food Store (not their real name) and entered a comment on their Contact Us page, briefly describing my experience with the Recycle Area and including a link to my blog. Got a quick email response back today. Didn't expect one until at least tomorrow, today being Sunday. Thanks, NFS!

They apologized for the mess (and they used that word, "mess"), and their message did not contain any bit of rancor or impatience or coldness. That's a definite plus...I kind of expected to get a demerit for not contacting the store manage directly.

They asked for the exact location of the store. There's only one store of that brand in Hermiston...kind of a lame question to ask...but I Googled the store, snapped a screenshot of the listing and sent it to corporate headquarters with a note saying thanks, here's the address, and I resorted to only one short, snide remark which I quickly apologized for (but did not delete).

Drove by the store tonight, checked on the RA...much better! Bags of trash gone, no discarded containers on the ground. Bottle caps strewn all over still, so they didn't get the broom out, but their improvement level has risen from about a 1 to perhaps a 3 or 4.

Still hoping for some small cafe tables and Italian music.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dear Neighborhood Food Store,

Dear Neighborhood Food Store,

Looks nice. From this side.

But walk a bit closer, just before the main entrance, and glance left, into the recycling area.

Here's the view from the other end:

Not nice.

I shop here often. The aisles are wide and the prices are fair. Good selection of fresh and baked foods. Nice deli. Even a Starbucks. High-tech, too...they have several Self-Checkout stations...just scan the barcodes, swipe your card, and you're done.

They have a Blockbuster Express video vending machine.


But their recycle area is...atrocious.

It's never very clean, and the machines sometimes don't work, but tonight it was at its worst. I had to dash downtown for a couple of cans of tomato soup. It was about 5:00 PM. I parked on the side of the store nearest the recycle area and walked through it to the main entrance, and returned to my car the same way. Almost scary. Certainly repulsive.

I was halfway home when an idea struck me. And the idea grew. By the time I got home it was a definite plan. Grab the camera and dash back. Snap some pics. Go home and write about The Idea.

So, here's The Idea.

Dear Neighborhood Food Store,

Please clean up your mess.

Thank you,

A Loyal Customer

Seriously, there are at least two easy, quick, inexpensive ways to do this thing better.

First Thought: Think AARP.

Have your store manager pass the word to all the employees that the store will hire someone, perhaps a retired person who likes people (and bottles and cans) to care for the recycling area. Ask that person, the Recycle Area Technician (just made that up...pretty good, huh?) to keep the bottle caps swept up, greet the customers cheerfully, and help the customers turn their bottles and cans in. They could work part-time and set their own hours.

Tell the RAT (not sure about the acronym...might have to rethink the job title) that lunch is paid by the store. Anything from the deli or bakery, and coffee from Starbucks.

I can easily envision a couple of patio tables and chairs set out near the entrance. Print up some coupons for free coffee at Starbucks available for customers who come by. Make sure the RAT is provided free refreshments during the afternoon.

Make the Recycle Area attractive, clean and friendly.

Second Thought: Think ARC

Same setup, but hire someone from the local ARC, someone challenged with a physical or mental disability, but able to learn to work the Recycle Area.

Get creative. Get outside the box. Get moving.

Thank you.

Call me.

We'll do lunch.

Your Loyal Customer,

Milt Reynolds
Hermiston, Oregon
September 17, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Apple Seeds and Cyanide

Apple Seeds and Cyanide

I offhandedly posted a comment that I eat apples...cores, seeds, and all. I chew on the stem until it tastes and feels like a used toothpick, and then I spit it out.

Several responses to my post have given me cause to examine closely my preferred method of eating apples. I'd heard that apple seeds contain a small amount of cyanide, but I'd also heard that it's harmless unless one were to eat an immoderate amount of apples, much more than a person could stomach in one sitting.

But I didn't really have any research to support either position: Are apple seeds poisonous or healthy?.

So I went searching.

One hour's worth of time spent searching the internet has given some interesting, semi-scientific, good-enough-for-me evidence that eating an apple's worth of seeds a day, or even three or four apple's worth, is not harmful. At worst, it may introduce a tiny amount of cyanide into my body, at a level which my body can easily detoxify. At best, it provides a tiny amount of cyanide into my body which may help guard against cancer.

Cyanide occurs naturally in many plants as a part of sugars. (

Wikikpedia explains that natural cyanides appear to defend plants against herbivores. (,

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the lethal dose for hydrocyanic acid (HCN) is 50 milligrams.

I couldn't find a reputable source for how much cyanide is in an apple seed. That highly classified information is contained in several scientific documents which would cost me upwards of $30 or more to download, and the question just isn't that important to me. (,

However, I did find an interesting, but not scientifically supported, article entitled: How To Kill Yourself With Apple Seeds.

According to Jarvissa, one gram of dry apple seed contains 0.6 milligrams of HCN. This calculates to around 85 grams of dry apple seeds...around half a cup.

That's a lot of apples.

Cyanide is only a very small portion of a natural substance found in plants from the Prunis family, which includes apples, cherries, apricots, peaches, almonds, millet, lima beans, soy, spinach, bamboo, and cassava root (used in tapioca). This natural substance is called amygdalin. Enzymes in our body breaks amygdalin into glucose, benzaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide. (

Raw amygdalin and a modified version, called Laetrile, are widely promoted as alternative cancer treatments. (

The U.S. National Library of Medicine posted several instances of toxic effects suffered by people ingesting Laetrile in massive quantities as treatment for cancer. One woman experienced fever, headache, cramps, eye irritation, and big words for "sick" following a regimen of 1500 milligrams of Laetrile daily. A man experienced muscle and nervous system weakness after a daily dose of 500 milligrams of amygdalin. In both cases, symptoms disappeared when the drugs were discontinued. (

I have no intention of eating more than two or three apples a day. In actual use and practice, I eat one apple, seeds and all, only about three times a week. One apple has about five seeds. Even if I eat three apples for every meal, every day, that's only 15 seeds per day...maybe a spoonful?

Everytime I eat an apple core and chomp the seeds and swallow them down, I envision an ugly, voracious herbivore being scared to death of taking a bite out of me.

And that's a good thing!

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Break the Chain

Break the Chain

This is a summary of

Experienced internet and e-mail users can easily recognize a new user: they forward an inbox-ful of email chain messages, urban legends, feel-goods, and end-of-the-world alarms.

I usually forgive a new user - for a few weeks anyway - but I don't have too much patience with emails that are obviously rehashed versions of decade-old chain letters and alarmist screams for attention, forwarded by friends who should know better.

E-mail is wonderful for immediate, personal communication between individuals. It is extremely poor for accurate mass-mailing.

Forwarded messages are particularly vulnerable to abuse. Internet users should ALWAYS carefully consider whether to forward a message, whether to one person or to an entire group. USUALLY, the forwarded message has been corrupted or blatantly perverted by multiple senders before you've received your copy of it. By sending it on, you are endorsing and recommending the message and the messenger, with little justification or validity behind it.

Here are four sites that you can easily use to verify a suspect email:


These sites have at least ten years of experience in tracking down hoaxes, chain letters, and urban legends. They can be trusted to give the straight scoop.

Do internet and e-mail users have a responsibility to verify messages before forwarding them?


It's an abuse of e-mail systems, a deceptive habit, and a perversion of communication to simply pass on false information under the blanket attitude of "It can't hurt, and it might help!"

An excellent resource for the proper, honest, responsible use of e-mail can be found at

John R. Ratliff created in 1999. His mission is to educate people about the shortcomings of e-mail as a means of distributing information to the masses.

Ratliff has nearly 20 years experience with computers and the internet: researcher, editor and web designer. A degree in industrial/organizational psychology, and more than ten years of communications and public relations experience give him a expert status in print, radio, and television programs throughout the world. adheres to four basic principles:

1. E-mail was designed for person-to-person communication.

2. People act differently online than in real life.

3. E-mail poses significant privacy and security risks.

4. Both sender and recipient have a responsibility to check facts before passing them on.

What is a Chain Letter?

A chain letter is any message sent by e-mail or posted on chat rooms or bulletin boards that encourages the recipient to forward it to others. This includes:

  • Virus warnings
  • Missing or sick child alerts
  • Jokes
  • Good or bad luck wishes
  • Get-rich quick schemes
  • Editorials
  • Health advisories.

What does "break the chain" mean?

"Break the chain" means to consider the limitations and implications of using e-mail to broadcast a chain letter.

Ratliff does not suggest automatically deleting a chain letter or stopping its spread. Rather, he recommends that you ask yourself if there is a better way to distribute the information, or a better source for it.

E-mail is not reliable: it rarely remains true and faithful to the original as it circulates.

E-mail is not valid: the source of the information is often lost (or concealed), and the sender of the e-mail is easily made anonymous or falsely named.

There are far better ways for broadcasing information to a large audience.

Forward with care, and only if you can personally vouch for the facts you send.