Don’t Miss the Greek Food Fair

by James on June 1, 2017

This is it: “always the first weekend in June.”

The Greek Food Fair is one of my favorite Des Moines events of the year, and the day is upon us. It begins tomorrow – June 2, 2017 – and runs through Sunday – June 4.


St. George Greek Orthodox Church is on 35th Street and Cottage Grove just south of University. Map

If you are like me, you’ll see a LOT of people you know, and you can count on seeing me.



by James on May 30, 2017

This morning (May 30 2017) reported that the City of Des Moines is starting to spray for mosquitoes.  To me the article by reporter Tommie Clark seemed a little heavy on speculation and a little short on the information I wanted to know. Perhaps I can fill in a couple of gaps.

The City of Des Moines has a Mosquito Control Program. The City’s website discusses quite well the areas of special concern, what you should do personally to eliminate mosquito breeding areas, to a small extent the justification, and how to prevent spraying at your address.

What materials will the City spray? The City will use BIOMIST® 4 + 4 ULV (See the Safety Data Sheet, also called the SDS.)

What is in the BIOMIST product?

BIOMIST® 4 + 4 ULV has two active materials suspended in mineral oil. The mosquito killing insecticide portion is permethrin, a commonly used insecticide.

A second chemical (piperonyl butoxide) is added to increase the effectiveness of the permethrin insecticide.

Are there any precautionary restrictions? The company’s Safety Data Sheet suggests that if you want to know that information, you will have to go find it yourself and then read the product label if you are that interested. OK, it took me a minute to get the product label, but I got it. (The Product Label.)

As a chemist did I find anything I thought was important in the SDS or the product label? Yes, I did – quite a  few things, but I will mention only 4.

1. Like many chemicals we encounter permethrin is toxic enough that it is regulated.

2. Because it is absorbed via skin and eyes, you (and especially your children) don’t want to be out in the mist when the City applies it (after 8 in the evening).

3. You’d better hope that the City workers applying it are well trained.

4. It’s lethal to bees. If you have bees or are trying to protect bee habitats, you can request that your property be exempt from the spraying by calling (515) 248-6099 and requesting the City not spray at your address. I called and the City worker was very professional and accommodating.

There is much more information. You will have to read the rest and make your own judgments.

Personally I have a minuscule fear of the West Nile virus and no fear at all of the Zika virus which has not been found in Iowa. To suggest that we are spraying for mosquitos because of the threat of the Zika virus is a logical fallacy known as a red herring.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

(The mosquito image was taken in 2006 by Professor Frank Hadley Collins at the University of Notre Dame. That image and others are in the public domain and can be found at .)


Happy birthday, Charles Boycott

March 12, 2017

Happy birthday, Charles!

Charles Cunningham Boycott was born on March 12, 1832. It’s a long story from there, but I will give you the short version with my twist.
Charles Boycott was a British Protestant, and at about 40 years of age he landed a job in largely Catholic Ireland as a rent collector — from tenant […]

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A little Iowa civil rights history

January 16, 2017
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The time is always right to do what is right. – MLK Jr.
How tall will we stand today? Iowa has a noteworthy civil rights history with regard to racial equality. If you would like to read much more than this essay, there is a toolkit available on the State of Iowa website, as well as […]

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Paula Abdul Provides A Powerful And Tenacious Example For The Final 2013 Smart Talk Connected Conversations Series

May 8, 2013

by David Borzo

Don’t let the beautiful smile and the provocative dance moves and videos throw you; don’t let some of the American Idol stories lead you to a wrong conclusion; don’t let her slight stature fool you for even one minute: Paula Abdul is a powerful performer who has used talent, intelligence and – she’s […]

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The Final 2013 Smart Talk Connected Conversations Heats up with Paula Abdul

May 1, 2013

by David Borzo

The temperature is being turned up for the final 2013 SmartTalk Connected Conversations™ next week with Paula Abdul, the pop idol, dancing star, top–40 diva and of course famous American Idol judge. But long before she became that always interesting and sometimes controversial idol judge, she was a performer at the highest levels […]

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Lara Logan Makes An Impact On The Smart Talk Connected Conversations

April 24, 2013

by David Borzo

CBS News reporter and CBS 60 minutes reporter Lara Logan gave a mesmerizing and unscripted talk to a captivated audience at the Des Moines Civic Center.  Her story is a powerful testament to human endurance and fortitude. I don’t like to throw such expansive terms around, but this celebrated journalist provided an extraordinary […]

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The 2013 Smart Talk Connected Conversations Continues Next Week with Newswoman Lara Logan

April 16, 2013

by David Borzo
The 2013 SmartTalk Connected Conversations™ takes quite a serious turn next week with the highly decorated CBS 60 minutes journalist Lara Logan. Lara has made a name for herself with bold reporting from war zones for more than two decades, holding a prominent spot among the world’s best foreign correspondents.  But it was on […]

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King Peggy Speaks of Personal Destiny, God and Standing Up For Human Rights

March 13, 2013

by David Borzo

Yes, King Peggy is a woman, and yes there are some other women kings in Africa, but it is a highly unusual situation. We learned at SmartTalk this week about Peggy Bartels of Washington D.C., who accepted her “true path” in life when fate called. By considering God, her ancestors and the great […]

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“King Peggy?” You Need to Check Out This fascinating Story at The Next SmartTalk Connected Conversations

March 8, 2013

by David Borzo

A certain Peggy Bartels was born in Ghana in 1953. In her early 20’s she moved to the USA and Washington D.C., getting a position in the Ghana embassy. So far so good. But then in 2008 she received a call in the middle of the night from across the world, telling her […]

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