Friday, November 21, 2014

Poetry Friday--Thanksgiving's Comin'

Next week is Thanksgiving and the supermarkets have been jam-packed all week. This weekend will be hellish if you've waited until the last minute to shop for your Thanksgiving feast.

So many people, so much food, and so little thought given to the origins of those foods.

Today, I've selected a short poem that addresses where our foods come from. It is found in an older anthology titled, My American Heritage: A Collection of Songs, Poems, Speeches, Sayings and Other Writings Dear to Our Hearts collected by Ralph Henry and Lucile Pannell [810.8 HEN].

The poem is by Elizabeth Coatsworth, who wrote for children and adults. She lived from 1893 to 1986 (93 years).

To think I once saw grocery shops
With but a casual eye
And fingered figs and apricots
As one who came to buy!

To think I never dreamed of how
Bananas swayed in rain,
And often looked at oranges
Yet never thought of Spain!

And in those wasted days I saw
No sails above the tea--
For grocery shops were grocery shops,
Not hemispheres to me!

Can you imagine what Coatsworth would have thought of today's super stores? I'm still perplexed by mangoes (how to tell they're ripe, how to store them, etc.), would Coatsworth have even recognized the fruit's name? Or what about a dragon fruit? Or a taco shell?

By the way, one of my all-time favorite books was written by Elizabeth Coatsworth, The Cat Who Went to Heaven [J COA]; it won the Newbery Medal in 1931. If you've never read it, I recommend you pick it up--I'm sure you'll like it.

My American Heritage was published in 1949 making it 65 years old (and, it probably should be retired since I'm the only one who ever takes it out)! [Interesting aside: there's a sheet of library "General Regulations" pasted to the endpapers. One of the regulations reads, "No person will be allowed to take from the Library more than one book at a time, for his own use, and this privilege shall be allowed to every resident of the town eight years of age." ONE BOOK! Imagine that!]

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. For Poetry Friday readers, come back in two weeks, since the Library will be closed next Friday.

Today's Round-Up is being held at Tapestry of Words. (Isn't that an awesome blog name?)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Study

There are some foods that most of us consider to be comfort foods despite recent studies that seem to prove otherwise! The NPR website reported on a study written up in Health Psychology back in August.
Results: Comfort foods led to significant improvements in mood, but no more than other foods or no food. Conclusions: Although people believe that comfort foods provide them with mood benefits, comfort foods do not provide comfort beyond that of other foods (or no food). These results are likely not due to a floor effect because participants’ moods did not return to baseline levels. Individuals may be giving comfort food "credit" for mood effects that would have occurred even in the absence of the comfort food.
I think the scientists just don't understand the concept of comfort as being a reminder of home, or friendship, or love. Silly scientists!

The biggest comfort holiday of all--Thanksgiving--is next week. I'm sure there will be many foods served that day that people will think of comfort foods--and not because they measurably change one's mood! Despite what the NPR piece had to say about comfort foods and their un-healthiness, people will continue to eat them.

For folks who really should avoid comfort foods for various reasons, we have these titles:

DiSpirito, Rocco. Now Eat This! 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All under 350 Calories. [3M ebook]

Gordon, Elizabeth. The Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook: Every Recipe Is Free of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, and Eggs. [641.5631 GOR]

Hagman, Bette. The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods: More than 200 Recipes for Creating Old Favorites With New Flours. [641.563 HAG]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Comets, Part 2

Yesterday, we looked at the Rosetta Mission and its landing on a comet. Today, I'd like to talk about comets and their representation in art.

We own a book devoted to the graphic depiction of comets, Fire in the Sky: Comets and Meteors, the Decisive Centuries, in British Art and Science by Roberta J. M. Olson [704.9 OLS]. And also a book of art and poetry about space for kids, Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian [J 811.54 FLO].

The Public Domain Review issued a collection of illustrations found in books--some from many hundreds of years ago. They've titled the collection, "Flowers of the Sky." The image below is taken from that collection.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


There are some amazing things going on in the world of science this week. One of the most amazing to my mind is the Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and, super-amazing is the recording of the sounds of the comet's vibrations! The media has been calling it "singing."

The Mission's Philae lander finally came to a halt after bouncing!

This story is not without its suspense--on Friday there were reports that the lander was on its side, and that if it was not able to free itself, its solar panels wouldn't be able to charge the batteries and the Mission would come to a halt! It sounds like the plot for movie, doesn't it? Over the weekend, the lander went into standby mode, but it is hoped that when the comet changes position in relation to the sun, the panels will recharge.

The L. A. Times has a timeline for the Mission here.

For those kids who find the Rosetta Mission as fascinating as some of us adults do, they can learn all about comets in the books found in the J 523 or adult 523 sections:

Of course, once the Rosetta Mission returns, there will be a slew of new books to update our knowledge of comets!

Monday, November 17, 2014

888,246 Poppies

I didn't want to forget to post this little video about the moving display of poppies that was set up to commemorate, what we call Veterans Day, and what the British call Remembrance Day, November 11. The day denotes the end of World War I at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. This year, the British have gone all out in remembering the day because 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of the war.

The poppy display surrounding the Tower of London has attracted scores of visitors. You can read more about it here.

Most people associate red poppies with the holiday we celebrate in May, Memorial Day. The poem most closely associated with the poppy is this one (click on the image to enlarge for easier reading):

Photo by Harry Pope, poem added by Diane Mayr.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Poetry Friday--The Steigs

Today is the anniversary of the birth of William Steig, the creator of such fabulous books as Dr. De Soto and Shrek! [both JP STE]. Steig was born in 1907 and passed away just shy of his 96th birthday in 2003. He wrote a book about what his life was like in 1916 called When Everybody Wore a Hat [J B STE]. Steig grew up to become a cartoonist and an author/illustrator. His brother Arthur was a artist, a developer and purveyor of art materials, and a poet (but not widely published as I only found one book listed in the Library of Congress catalog, Communication [1944]). William's wife, Jeanne (wife #4), was a poet, too. That's a whole lot of creativity in one family!

Jeanne and Steig collaborated on at least two illustrated books of poetry Alpha Beta Chowder, and, Consider the Lemming [J 811 STE]. Consider the Lemming is an book of short animal verses--light-hearted and a wee bit edgy. Here are two poems that tickled my funny bone:
The Pig

The pig is held in ill repute;
He's thought to be a coarse-grained brute.
A slurper-up of slops, the swine,
He's never asked indoors to dine.
But if the loathsome pig were fed
On marzipan and fine white bread,
And if he were allowed to shower
And dust himself with scented flour,
And spend a week in Cannes or Florence,
Would we still hold him in abhorrence?
Or would we find ourselves recanting,
And cry: "Oh, Pig, thou art enchanting!"

The Opossum

The opossum, as everyone knows,
Is prehensile of tail and toes.
It carries its young in a pocket
And plays dead if you happen to shock it.
The opossum is ugly and vicious.
Fricasseed, it is highly nutritious.

Keri Recommends is the place to be for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Stop by and tell Keri I said, "Hi!"

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's World Kindness Day!

Every year, since 1998, November 13 has been celebrated as World Kindness Day in conjunction with the World Kindness Movement. Kindness Matters states,
World Kindness Day is to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race religion, politics, gender and zip codes.

We can all benefit from kindness and we can all practice random acts of kindness. The trick is to teach children about kindness and to make acts of kindness as natural as saying "Hi."

There are many organizations and initiatives that focus on kindness including Random Acts of Kindness, The Be Kind People Project, and The Great Kindness Challenge for kids.