Archive for June 2013

Get Into Medical School Pt. II – Best Undergraduate Major for Medical School

Get Into Medical School Pt. II: Find Me a Major!

In the last blog (Part I of this five-part series), I went over the least you should know about the med school applications process. In this blog, I will begin supplying all you potential matriculants with some helpful websites, ebooks and pdfs, and most importantly – charts! Yes, charts are great evaluation tools for putting the schools into perspective for you. For instance, if you are an Asian American female with a 3.2 GPA and a 28 MCAT score, you can evaluate the percentage of others in this exact demographic group and situation that got into medical school last year from the AAMC charts below. You can also assess your application to see how it stacks up against the competition at various schools based upon their average GPAs and MCAT scores (most schools publish this info) if you would like.

Click here for OFFICIAL charts galore!

But, please do yourself a favor and DO NOT base whether or not you apply to a school SOLELY on the charts! There are so many other factors that trump GPA and MCAT score. REMEMBER – GPAs and MCATs are used for initial screening most of the time. Whether or not your personal goals and mission(s) align with that of the medical school’s is far more important for your admission decision.

a) MCAT and GPA are to help you get through the door.

b) Personal statement and application is to get you a secondary application (supplied by each individual medical school).

c) Secondary applications get you the interview, and…

d) the interview makes or breaks you for admittance. This is a good way to look at the whole process at this point.

Which Major?

It truly does not matter which major you choose as long as you take the minimum required courses listed below. Other than that, you can major in anything from biomedical engineering to classical culture (seriously, I’ve seen a classical culture and music major get in over Bio majors)! Take me for instance – my main degree is a Liberal Arts degree (Religion & Philosophy).

Biology and Chemistry majors are the most plentiful applicants, so naturally the majority of matriculants are Bio. or Chem. majors. Plus, most of the required courses to get into medical school are classes that fit well into the course requirements for most Bio. or Chem. majors; therefore, many pre-med advisors mistakenly tell their students that Bio. or Chem. is the best way to go, as far as majors, for getting into medical school. Makes sense right? They pre-med advisors have read the charts displaying that the majority of matriculants were Bio. or Chem. majors, and they know that this pathway has traditionally been what all doctors have taken (previously, to be a doctor meant that you were basically a scientist first). WRONG! Not in this day and age…remember: cookie-cutter doctors are now boring and horrible and communication with their patients.

I chose religion because I am interested in it, and if you want to know about a person and his or her culture, learn about his or her religion. Religions affects every aspect of the human experience. Even for atheists – the way they vote, what they feel is relevant to the societal framework, is all somewhat governed by even their lack of religion. And, no, I am not one of the fanatics that says atheists have no moral values and are not good, etc. I majored in religion to combat these types of mentalities and view people as a beautiful product of what they believe and the experiences they have encountered. Anyway, enough about why I chose religion and philosophy as my major. What do you like?

 *Interesting Fact*

Did you know that according to the MSAR (2000 – 2001), only .5% of med school applicants were philosophy majors in 1998; however, a little more than 50% of them were accepted! Compare this to only 39.9% acceptance of Biology majors!

Read about it here on Clemson University’s website

 Read here from the State University of New York’s website about the low acceptance rate of Bio majors for med school from 2006 stats

Click here to see how 2011 applicants and matriculants did on the MCAT by major

What Courses?

The minimum courses every  pre-med student should take are:









2 math classes

2 English classes

For the most part, the second parts of chemistry and biology are a continuation of the first part. For instance: BIOLOGY 102 might follow BIOLOGY 101; however, sometimes a student may choose to take BIOLOGY 101 and then General Zoology as the second biology. Check with the medical schools for which you intend to apply to see how they feel about it. Most medical schools will tell you all they care about is two classes of general biology, chemistry, physics, and organic chemistry. Some schools, like Medical College of Georgia, even affords the option for a student to take Organic Chem. I and Biochem. In lieu of taking the Organic Chem. II class.

If you want to just add a cherry on top of things, throw in these classes and the admissions board will love it:





But, never take a class to impress the admissions board at the expense of declining in GPA. As the Oracle of Delphi said: “Gnothi sauton” or “Know Thyself” and never pile on more than you can handle. This raises more questions than lauds from the committee.

*Next Blog* In the next blog I will discuss the difference between DOs and MDs and possible alternatives just in case you change interest and direction career-wise at some point during the process.

Brown is the New Black

The following poem was originally published in the 2013 edition of Old Red Kimono; however, the version was slightly different. It spawned from a conversation that I had with one of my Latino friends. We were discussing the issues and struggles of being Hispanic American, and this poem is meant to reflect those struggles conveyed to me. The comments are not reflective of my opinions, but are a compilation of thoughts and statements made by others. Finally, I am not trying to make a political statement with this poem, but my intent is to raise awareness. Thanks!

Brown is the New Black

My little brown friend told me,

“Brown is the new black”;

I told him this is America,

And he should learn to pay tax.


He said that he does –

with every purchase, he pays a share.

He said he’d also pay more,

Once we stopped the immigration scare.


He claimed that his skin,

was a scarlet letter for hatred;

He said illegal gringos

don’t receive such damnation.


I told him “go back where you’re from!”

He told me to do the same….hmmm.

I told him learn to speak English,

This is America! I exclaimed.

He told me Jesus didn’t speak English either.

Oh, he was putting me to shame.


I asked how he felt, always hidin’ around –

Was it worth it? Why not give in?

Always being profiled, for the color of his skin;

I mean, he must be hard- headed,

had he not learned his lesson?

He told me, ask my grandma for the answers to my questions.


So, I did.


And, she said this,

“Baby – now, let me tell you right here, just how it is:

Now-a-days, brown’s the new black; I saw this as a kid.

And us colored folk ought’ be more compassionate than we is.

You’d have thought by now we’d learn to live and let live.

We’ve got to live together – by someway or somehow.

‘We may have all come on different ships,

But we’re on the same boat now!’”

Friday Fright Night

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book titled My Perfectly Imperfect Life (or Something Like That): Based on a True Story…

Friday Fright Night

Just last night, something made such a loud “thud” in the other room that my wife thought Jesus was coming back. She sat upright in the bed – screaming – and, shook the devil out of me. I leaped up from the bed to the floor in one continual move, and my daughter came running and screaming into our room from hers – at least that’s what she said. However, recent developments (and a confession in order to get ice cream from Bruster’s) revealed that my daughter, Nadine, had actually already sneaked into our room a few minutes earlier – that was routine though. But, what was not routine, was my wife shaking me, screamingly, and telling me to go see what that noise was. Actually, that’s fairly routine too, now that I think of it.

Anyway, after I quickly assessed the situation, and figured why we were all screaming at the tops of our lungs, I was ready to proceed with my investigation. I still don’t know why I woke up yelling; I guess because everyone else was so it made sense in that moment. My daughter was hiding under the covers (because everybody knows this gives you immunity from boogeymen and thieves alike). It’s like the boogeyman’s going to be like “Dang, she’s got a cover over her, I gotta look for someone else now.” Perhaps he won’t know who or what she is because she’s “under-cover?”

Anyway, my wife was standing over by the window giving herself a half-hearted attempt at a reassuring hug, and I was in my Tennessee PJ’s ready to go commando on somebody…no, not that way, but Arnold Schwarzenegger-style. Come to think of it, maybe I don’t mean it that way either considering the whole housekeeper/maid incident.

I proceed into the next room with a baseball bat in hand to find my cat licking herself with a cool tranquility that makes me wish I could be so care-free. Not that I would want to lick myself out in public or anything, but I would like to not have a worry in the world at this very moment because I would be sleeping in an ideal world. But this wasn’t an ideal world, and it certainly wasn’t an ideal situation. So, I got mad at this very moment because I wanted to be asleep, and someone was trying to break into my domain. I try a different tactic than my cat – which would involve putting me all out in the open. So, I yelled out, “If somebody’s in here, you better come out now!” I know not to go running from room to room blindly. Heck, I watch scary movies, so I know the propensities up for which my skin color sets me. How’s that for trying to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition?

Anyway, after a long waiting period, and searching the house from top to bottom, I find nothing unusual. I retire back to the bedroom to find my wife sitting on the end of the bed, drinking a bottle of water nervously, and my daughter looking frightened like she’s seen a ghost or something. She was now standing by the window where my wife once stood. They had traded places on this early freaky Friday-morning occasion. I decided to interrogate them both now to find out just what this loud noise was. In short, my wife “thought” she heard a noise loud enough that it could’ve been Jesus returning, but then again, she concedes, it all might have been in her dream. My daughter also verbalizes that she did not actually “hear” a noise at all, but rather she just started screaming because my wife, Jessica, did. So, I now feel certain that it had all stemmed from a dream. But, one last investigation remained. My daughter tells me that she keeps feeling a draft come over her that is chilling her to the bone. And, on the Discovery Channel, she once heard on that show Haunting that this indicates a ghost is passing by.

I looked at her, so innocent in her little night gown with the moonlight glistening off of the white material in a luminous fashion, and gave my thought careful consideration before answering her. Most parents know that this type of question could easily be a trap, for if I say it’s all in her head, she will know I’m trying to bluff her because I might be scared myself. On the other hand, if I tell her that it didn’t happen, she will think I’m like the typical dad in those Haunting series that doubts and doubts until the ghost finally possesses him in the end, and lastly, if I tell her that some do say that chilling wind-blasts within closed rooms from nowhere are indicative of a ghost passing by, well…there goes my sleep for the next few months.

I looked at her again, so innocent like a movie scene…she’s a spitting image of her mother with her hair seemingly flowing in the wind and her looking so scared in the eyes as if to say “Daddy, please solve this issue for me because I’m too afraid to move from my spot unless you give me some serious answers.” I come to her rescue and tell her to shut the A/C vent she’s standing over and get in the bed over on her mom’s side.

Another night, another superhero feat accomplished by daddy….I love this imperfectly perfect life of mine, at least until morning comes…tune in next blog – same batty time, same batty website. THE END.

Georgia Highlands Speech Competition (Affirmative Action)

The following is my award-winning speech on affirmative action. I delivered it at the inaugural GHC Speech Competition in 2011. The type of speech was persuasive. Feel free to drop me an email to initiate conversation. You don’t have to agree with me; I enjoy conversation. Heck, I may even change my mind! I’m always seeking truth – not defending my position to the point of irrationality. Thanks!

Affirmative Action Speech

A Humble Lesson in Humility

The Following is an excerpt from my forthcoming eBook titled: “Lessons from the Village…”

A Humble Lesson in Humility

I believe I am the most humble man in the world. In fact, I know of no one who has more humility than I do. Of course, there is something wrong with these statements. A person who truly possesses the quality of humility will not brag. However, humility is a characteristic worth noting. In my humble opinion, no greater virtue exists.

“Humility,” the English noun, derives from the Latin humilitatem (nom. humilitas) which means “lowness” or “insignificance.” The word “humble” comes from the Latin word humilis, meaning “lowly” or literally humus (of the earth).  In English, “humility” literally means the quality or condition of being humble.

We have all eaten humble pie a time or two. Some may refer to the act as eating crow – a disgusting scavenger bird for which it was a humiliation to eat. Rudyard Kipling illustrates this idea graphically in his story “The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes.” Surprisingly, humble pie actually comes to us from the term “umble” pie, a medieval meat tripe dish. Umbles are the inner parts of an animal (offals) such as the heart and liver, etc. – considered to be low-class victuals. Not much was needed to eventually put the “h” in front of it to have a nice punderful way of now saying “humble pie.” Isn’t that punny?

Much like Morrowbie Jukes, I found myself one day declaring something I would never do. My wife and I began our marriage in an extraordinary manner – financially anyway. We got married when she was 17 and I was 21. We somehow convinced her mother to sign the papers giving Jessica (my wife) the legal right to marry. Life was great for us, with many laughs. For instance, do you know how funny it was when we went out with friends and she was 19 years old? By then she was married and had a child, was attending college and managing a store, but she still could not enter certain restaurants! I was a lead person at a government-contracting facility with over 500 employees, and she was a dollar store manager. We were not yet 23 and had amassed more in cash than any couple we knew personally – $20,000 to be exact. No one had to tell us – we already knew we were rich.

We frequently made donations to the Goodwill Center and Salvation Army for tax purposes. I dreamed of one day handing out one of those big Ed McMahon checks to some lucky person or facility and appearing on the front page of the paper. Or maybe I would go somewhere and put on a fake hard hat, hold a shovel toward the ground, have my picture taken, and say that I broke ground helping with some new building project. I had pretty big dreams, huh? My britches were pretty tight, and my hats were a little small back then. Anyway, as I saw many of my friends getting clothes and other items from the Salvation Army or Goodwill Center (some of which I had even donated), I often wondered why they didn’t just become good, upstanding Christian citizens like my wife and me. We went to church, gave tithes and prayed, and Voila! God gave us money and positions because he wanted us good, upstanding Christians to be happy. Now if I had been a betting man at that point, I would have bet the bank account and house that such hubris would eventually get me into trouble – and it did.

My wife and I decided we had enough money in savings (the $20,000 bank account) for her to quit her job and begin nursing school full-time while I transferred to a part-time job. Life was still great…until one night our daughter got attacked by a dog. The attack was so horrible it left meat barely hanging on under her right eye socket, with visible bone showing. Her face required plastic surgery in at least three places. Without plastics getting involved, permanent scaring was inevitable. We told the doctors we wanted whatever it took in order to save our child, while affording her minimum scaring and a safe procedure. They in turn told us it would be $20,000 up front to begin the process! With all of our life savings drained, plus two new credit cards maxed out at $5,000 each, and my two new part-time jobs (making it three total), I realized something; I was now the one frequently going to the food shelter, Goodwill center, and Salvation Army myself in order to provide for my family. For the first time, I understood that life is no respecter of persons, and neither is God. It does in fact rain on the just and the unjust – just the same. During those times, my wife had to suspend school for a semester because someone had to hold our daughter throughout the whole night, for our daughter could not roll over against her face.

Now, I have learned to be thankful for both the good times and the bad ones. Furthermore, I cannot help but think of the Bible verse that reads, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12 ESV) For this reason, I never miss a chance to eat a nice slice of humble pie. Either way you cut it, I also prefer mine with a lot of hummus on it to boot, and I believe that has much deeper, more nutritious roots in it than chickpeas!

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Time for a New Car…Thank You, Phoenix

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book titled My Perfectly Imperfect Life (or Something Like That): Based on a True Story…

Time for a New Car…Thank You, Phoenix 

Sometimes, you know when it’s time to get a new vehicle. For instance, if you have a pre-rehearsed line because every time you pull up at a red light or go through a drive-thru, someone informs you that your car is smoking…this might be a sign to get a new vehicle. Or, if every time you go grocery shopping, you leave the doors wide open on your car, hoping that someone will care enough to steal it – only to come out and find that no one cared….this might be a sign to get a new vehicle. By the way, whenever your car catches on fire – this is a good sign too. And, it happened to me one day.

My wife had been on me about buying a new car. I told her that we didn’t need one. Whenever my Ford Tempo would start smoking, I would just reposition the oil cap, and it was good for at least another 30 miles. By then, when it started smoking again, it was time to refill it with oil anyway – a sort of built-in smart-failure device system to remind me.

I went out looking for a new job anyway just so I could afford a new car just in case my Tempo broke down. I called her “Temperance” because she reminded me how good it was to have achieved this “fruit of the spirit” and not want for anything too flashy. My wife called her “Temptress” though, because she always seemed to “tempt” my wife to want to burn her. In fact, I would have thought my wife was the responsible arsonist for what happened at Kimoto Tech had I not seen it with my own eyes!

It was a typical off day for me, and we were young, wild, and free – well, free for every 30 miles until I had to re-oil “Temperance.” I was going from job site to job site, filling out applications with my wife, and then we pulled up at a place in my home town named Kimoto Tech. This place specializes in ink jet coated films and specialty substrates for large-format printing according to their website. All I know is, when you pull up, there is a big sign that reads “NO SMOKING ON PREMISES – HIGHLY EXPLOSIVE AND FLAMMABLE MATERIALS.” I parked the car in the lot, and my wife told me she thought the car was on fire. I told her she was overreacting. Old Temperance always smoked like that after parking her on a hot day.

“No, I think I smell something burning!” My wife exclaimed.

“Well dear,” I said, “I’m about to go into this building where they burn materials. I’ll check out the car when I come back out, but I’ll bet you’re smelling the fumes in the air from this plant.”

After I got out, I noticed items falling down from under the engine area of the car. “Get out now!” I exclaimed. My wife jolted out of the car, and I immediately thought of one thing…my Men’s Health magazines! I carried several around in my car for reading purposes whenever my wife took too long inside the grocery store. So, I go to read them a lot.

Anyway, I ran into the now burning car with her tugging on my arm and got all three of them out. Then we went into the plant and politely waited for the secretary to address us. I tried to butt in on her conversation with some other applicant whom she apparently knew from way back, because she was promising he would get hired and asking about his “mom an’nem” while simultaneously managing to ignore my wife and me. I tried to tell her about our situation twice but was silenced with an assertive “Sir, please wait your turn,” followed by an, “I said HOLD ON.”

“We’ll just wait our turn,” I told my wife, “until she at least acknowledges that we are people too.” After all, she’s right. We shouldn’t try to butt-in, it’s not polite. After she exchanged documents with the potential employee – meaning she took his application and he took her written-down cell phone number and heart that was openly-displayed on her sleeve, she acknowledged us with a “we are not hiring at the moment, but we are taking applications.”

“Thank you for telling me this ma’am,” I explained, “But, I am here to tell you that my car is on fire out in your parking lot.”

“What!?! What!?!” she exclaimed.

I tried to tell her again, but I assumed that she heard me since she called in all sorts of codes over the intercom and within minutes, fire trucks, policemen, and people of distinction were out on the lot surrounding our now charred car.

“This your car, son?” asked one man of distinction.

“Yes sir, it is.” I confessed.

“You work here?” he asked.

“No sir, but I was trying to get a job here. That’s why I’m out here now – I just turned in my application. But, I believe I’ll just postpone for now and just wait until I have reliable transportation to apply again.” I said.

“Well,” he said, “we’ll remember you.”

I never re-applied out there. Instead, I got a job offer from another plant where my friend and I carpooled until we could afford a car of our own. But, that man sure was nice out at Kimoto Tech. I hate that I never got to take him up on his offer though…unless he meant it sarcastically. Who knows? But, my wife was happy because we got another car. And, you know what they say…a happy wife makes a happy life. Tune in next time – same batty time, same batty website. THE END.

Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams

The Following is an excerpt from my forthcoming eBook titled: “Lessons from the Village…”

Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams

I believe we all like to look at a few good church signs now and then. Some of my favorite are as follows: “Jesus – Don’t Miss Him for the World!”; “What in the World are You Doing for Heaven’s Sake?”; “Don’t Be So Open-minded That Your Brains Fall Out!”; “Wal-mart is Not the Only Saving Place.” I saw one sign that paraphrased an Oscar Wilde quote; it read, “Forgive Your Enemies – It Messes with Their Minds.” Another one that I came across caused quite a stir, although it had good intentions. The church sign read, “Call 911, This Church is on Fire!” But, after a few short days the sign had to be reworded to say, “Please Don’t Call 911, But This Church is on Fire!” apparently many 911 calls had ensued.

My favorite church sign though is one that read, “Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams.” How sweet is that? Many of our worse temptations come from our own personal forbidden fruits – which always seem to taste the sweetest. Of course, the whole concept of forbidden fruit comes to us from the Garden of Eden in the Bible. For whatever reason, it was frequently symbolized in Renaissance paintings as being an apple. Although the origins cannot be ascertained, many scholars believe the apple’s inclusion came as a result of mixing Greek mythology with Biblical history. In the Greek story known as the “Judgment of Paris,” a golden apple is plucked by the goddess of discord, Eris, and taken to a party. On the apple was inscribed “for the fairest one.” Three goddesses fought over who should deserve the prize apple, and Zeus decided for a mortal, Paris, to make the call. The story then proceeds with Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena all tempting Paris and revealing sexual parts in order to persuade his decision.

In Latin, a nice pun exists between apple and evil – both words are listed as malum! This Latin root word serves as the basis for such words as “malady,” “malignant” and “malfunction.” According to legend, the apple that Adam ate following Eve’s persuasive dialogue got stuck in his throat. For this reason, we now have an “Adam’s apple!” It is quite interesting though that an apple became the tainted fruit. I mean after all, it was fig leaves that Adam and Eve used to make garments following their sinful act. Therefore, would not a fig be the most logical speculative fruit?

At any rate, my daughter is now six years old. I have noticed the hint of rebellion in her. If I ask her to eat any of the M&M’s except for the blue ones, because they’re my favorite, guess which ones she begs for permission to eat? In St. Augustine’s timeless book “Confessions,” he tells of the famous “pear-picking” story. He would steal pears from his neighbor’s yard, not because he was hungry, but only for the thrill of stealing pears. Upon deeper reflection, St. Augustine states that he does not even like pears and did not even want them at that time! Judges in chapter 14 in the Bible tells of a great story regarding forbidden sweets – it’s about Samson.

Now, Samson was a Nazarite. This is not to be confused with a Nazarene. A Nazarene was someone from Nazareth like Jesus Christ (who was sometimes referred to as “the Nazarene”). A Nazarite was someone who took the Nazaritic vow found in Numbers chapter 6, which meant they would abstain from the following: drinking wine or any similar drink, cutting their hair, coming into contact with anything dead. Many people remember Samson’s incident with Delilah and declare this his downfall; however, Samson actually backslid on his Nazaritic oath long before Delilah.

In Judges 14, we see Samson secretly killing a lion in verse 6, but being careful not to tell his mother and father what he had done later. I wonder why? Well, the Bible stresses that Samson had “nothing in his hand” and that it was the overwhelming “spirit of the Lord” that came over Samson to give him this kind of strength. Afterward, in verse 8, when he is going back to get his fiancé, he sees the carcass of the lion laying there with a swarm of bees surrounding some honey. Then the rest is told in 14:9: “He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.” (NIV) Whoa! Wait a minute! So, Samson literally killed something, and then after he had caused the death, he actually went back and willfully, voluntarily reached into the dead carcass of it just because a sweet morsel caught his eye!?!  Here is the crux of the story.

God had given Samson super-human powers that he would not have otherwise had in order to slay something that was upon him and meant him harm. The Bible compares Satan to a “roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV) How many times have we had some hidden sin, or some consuming lust or sick behavior that we could not shake, but by the grace and mercy of the Lord, he allows us to conquer it bare-handedly? But, then what do we do next? We reenact what Samson did; we go back to that which God has helped us to slay, and we reach back into that dead carcass to stir it up again! Let a dead dog stay dead! Why did Samson do this? And, why do we do this all the time? We often rekindle an old sin because something sweet or tasty has brought our attention back to it.

Samson notices the sweet honeycomb with the buzzing bees surrounding it laying there in the dead carcass. Therefore, this causes his lust to overtake him, committing him to do an act that he knew was against God’s will. Often, we follow suit. Perhaps your sin is a pornographic site and you just couldn’t get away from it despite many attempts. God finally allows you the strength to conquer and slay your situation, but then you start wondering if any new material has been uploaded since your last visit. So, you re-visit it just out of curiosity. Do you know what the Bible says happens when we stir up old conquered sins? It’s pretty scary: read Luke 11:24-26.

Something interesting is revealed in this story too. Notice that Samson cannot just eat the fruit himself. He has to offer it to someone else. We don’t like to feel alone when we do things we know are wrong, do we? That’s why there are porn communities on the internet. So that we can justify our lusts of the flesh and feel that it’s alright – we are not alone. We like to have a sort of camaraderie for comfort when we do our deeds. Hence, Eve tempts Adam after biting the fruit, and St. Augustine went with friends to steal pears. Likewise, Samson offers the honey to his parents as well and does not tell them anything of where it came from. Sound eerily familiar? What we see here is a cycle. The duped become the dupers; the sick become the viruses themselves. For whatever reason, we do not like to suffer alone.

In conclusion, I would like to say this: whenever we pray to God to give us the strength to conquer some habit, sin, deeply rooted lust, etc., and he actually does what we pray for…let’s be careful not to go back and stir it up again later – no matter how sweet the forbidden fruit may seem. Remember: “Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams.”