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Help for Those Who Help Themselves

Self-Help Books
As of 2016, the self-help movement comprised an unregulated, $9.9 billion dollar industry in the United States alone. (That number does not include the amount spent on medications.) Self-help experts have become household names: Tony Robbins, Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, Stephen Covey, Deepak Chopra, Zig Ziglar, and more. Reading such books as Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus (1992) by John Gray, Ph.D. to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) by Stephen Covey, DRE, people seek to improve both their personal and professional lives.

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Hoist the Jolly Roger!

Pirates in Literature
As the phenomenal success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series demonstrates, pirates never go out of style. The romanticization of pirates continues in from the ancient Greeks to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Pericles, and Antony and Cleopatra to Robert Louis Stevenson’s enduring classic of Treasure Island to J. M Barrie’s Peter Pan and Wendy to Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (based on the two unfortunate characters from Hamlet) to the Dread Pirate Roberts in William Goldman’s spoof titled The Princess Bride.

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Honey, I’m Home!

Honey
Ancient and sweet, produced by insects vital to agriculture and plant reproduction, and possessing surprising chemical properties conducive to health and healing, honey occupies a longstanding and well-deserved place in humankind’s lexicon of cuisine, medicine, and literature.

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Matchmaking

Harvest Time Celebration of Romance
September brings a change of seasons, summer to fall with the plentitude of the annual harvest sparking optimism, celebration, and romance. Harvest time presents the perfect opportunity to celebrate the union of families with extravagant feasts. Before the wedding and attendant revelry, however, the bride and groom must agree to marry. Thus arose matchmaking, the process that brings eligible men and women together for the good of their families and communities.

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Hawai'i Statehood

On March 18, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the Admission Act that turned the islands of Hawai'i from a territory and into a state. It would officially become America’s 50th state on August 21 that same year. The support for statehood appeared to be overwhelming. Of a population of 600,000, 155,000 registered voters, and 140,000 votes cast, Hawaiian statehood garnered 93% of the vote. The statistics show bold support for statehood, but historical accounts paint a murkier picture. 

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Paul Celan

Between Two Tongues
Language is a human act, and poetry proves this. There are few more difficult and equally rewarding poets than Paul Celan. Celan's dense and rhythmic poetry requires multiple readings from multiple angles—the more readers knows about his life, the more access they'll have to what the poem speaks to.

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Philosophies of the Urban Foot

Psychogeography
In his influential 1953 essay "Formulaire pour un Urbanisme Noveau" ("Formulary for a New Urbanism"), Ivan Chtchegov wrote, "We are bored in the city, there is no longer any Temple of the Sun ... We are bored in the city, we really have to strain to still discover mysteries on the sidewalk billboards..."

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A More Real Realism

Stream of Consciousness
At the turn of the 20th century, nearly all forms of expression opened their borders to experimentation. Literature was no exception. Most novels written prior represented human thought and interaction as straightforward, back-and-forth dialogue mixed with flat descriptions of place and people. This was reality on paper.

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Shaping History

The Evolution of Women’s Hairstyles
There have been many memorable hairstyles throughout history from Cleopatra’s Egyptian-style bob to Queen Elizabeth I’s curled up-do to Marie Antoinette’s voluminous beehive.
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The Day After

Hangover Cures
There are countless reasons to celebrate: birthdays, weddings, retirement, holidays, or other milestone occasions. In many cultures, music sets the scene and revelers often celebrate by enjoying a meal with some champagne, wine, cocktails, or other alcoholic beverages. 

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Where Is Everyone?

Smallest Populations Worldwide
Many conversations and news headlines worldwide highlight the destinations on the planet with the highest populations. China and India continually top the list with approximately 1.42 billion people living in China and 1.35 billion in India. 

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The Tooth Fairy

Legends and Plays
Many children around the world are well acquainted with the Tooth Fairy—a fantasy figure in Western and Western-influenced cultures. According to folklore, when children lose baby teeth, they tuck them underneath their pillows at bedtime. During the night, the Tooth Fairy flutters in and replaces the tooth with a small amount of money or a token gift.

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Milton Bradley

The Inventor of Smart Fun
Games and recreations did not idle the mind of Milton Bradley. His board games challenged players' cunning, comprehension, and strategy. One hundred fifty-eight years after the launch of the eponymous Milton Bradley Company, children and adults alike seek his inventions, and the inventions he inspired, as a way to connect with friends and family in an intellectual, stimulating manner.

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Association Football

The People’s Game
The world's most beloved, practiced, and watched sport, association football, is the common denominator for almost every class, culture, and ethnicity of people. FIFA's World Cup, an international tournament held every four years, brings fans, players, and nations together in record numbers. This year, 32 teams compete in Russia for the coveted Jules Rimet trophy, and billions across the globe cheer for their favorite teams.

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Country Music

Individualism Set to Music
Country music plucks the heartstrings of millions of fans across the globe. Its sentimental lyrics, deliberative,romantic, or both, have resonated with people since the early 1920s. In the past few decades, artists like The Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift, and Garth Brooks, have propelled the early American musical genre into an international phenomenon, but even these superstars are in tune with the traditions and sounds that comprise country music.

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Healing the Itch

Natural Remedies
In many parts of the world, summer means outdoor activities and biting insects. Thirsty little bloodsuckers include mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, lice, bedbugs, and fleas. Mosquitoes belong to the Culicidae family and are found on every continent except Antarctica. Black flies, horse flies, and deer flies range from five millimeters in length to 25 millimeters. They deliver painful bites. Body lice, head lice, and crab lice latch on for a lifetime, dining on their host’s blood. Of lice varieties, only the body louse transmits disease. Bedbugs lurk in mattress seams, electrical outlets, cracks in flooring, shoes, upholstered furniture, carpets and can survive for months without feeding. When they do find a host, they gorge themselves. Fleas move from animals to humans with equal enthusiasm and carry disease, most notably bubonic plague. Chiggers, deer and dog ticks, mange mites, and other biting bugs burrow under the skin to suck their hosts’ blood. Ticks transmit Lyme disease and Rock Mountain spotted fever.

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Social Seduction

Ballroom Dancing
In centuries past, the delicate act of social introduction for the upper echelons of society occurred in the ballroom. Closely chaperoned, eligible bachelors and unmarried ladies became acquainted, conversed, and developed relationships all with a trifold purpose of exercise, social networking, and finding a spouse in these civilized settings. In glittering ballrooms and dressed in their finest clothes, Europe’s gentry and North America’s moneyed class hunted for wealth and status.

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Prince (Not So) Charming

Merriam-Webster defines Prince Charming as the wonderful man who fulfills the dreams of his beloved. By any standard, every fairytale hero deserves the appellation. The ultimate goal of fairytale heroines, of course, is marriage, preferably to a wealthy (if not aristocratic) gentleman. Before one begins to fume at this traditional pigeonholing of feminine ambition, one must remember from whence these ancient tales arose.

Prince Charming as a standard character appears in our favorite fairy tales: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Rapunzel. The earliest acknowledged use of the appellation “Prince Charming” (or “King Charming”) appears in The Blue Fairy Book (1889) by Andrew Lang, in which the hero’s name is “Charming.” In The Green Fairy Book (1906), Lang calls the hero “King Charming.” The trope continues in The Red Fairy Book by Lang.
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The Celebrity Chefs of Yesteryear

The airwaves abound with cooking shows, some featuring the cuisine of famous chefs and others contests judged by famous chefs. Cable TV even has an entire network devoted to food and its preparation. However, if asked to name the top chefs in the world, most people might automatically include Julia Child, whose culinary expertise first aired on television in 1963 with The French Chef. Child remains a recognized name after her death in 2004; however, other chefs gained relative fame and relative fortune long before mass media took the world by storm.

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Poetry and Truth

The Slant
According to Wallace Stevens, poetry is truth. He wrote, “For a poem to be true, it must come from an ever.” But what might “ever” be? That constant, the eternal, what is simultaneously everything and nothing … there are words we toss around for it, but the “ever” is inherently indescribable. Such it is for truth, which is perhaps why poetry is best suited as its companion. 

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