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Friday, March 30, 2007

Ending the Week

Just a few philosophical thoughts to end the week. I attended a funeral this morning which brought to mind that fact that we are all alike. We are born, we live, and then we die. It matters not where we're from, what religion we practice, what color skin we have--death is a part of life, and the survivors all grieve.

On the way back to the library, I heard a story on NPR's Here and Now, about the recent Newsweek article on the last messages to loved ones of those who were killed in Iraq. I think the radio report was particularly poignant since it included audio clips, one of which is of a soldier singing a song for his children.

So, let me end by saying peace to all, especially to those who grieve the passing of a loved one.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Musings on Electronic Mail

Several weeks ago I mentioned the possibilities of spam inspired poetry, which I hope inspired some of you to look at spam in a new light.

While cleaning out my old email folders recently, I came across this message that I saved simply because I found it to be so amusing (please note, any spelling errors are those of the original emailer, and not Kurious Kitty):

Subject: Excape from divorce. Become a foreigner.

Need a new identity?
A new citizenship?
A new country to call home?
You are pre-approved. Many countries available.
Check it out.


My question is, how can anyone not be pre-approved?

Many countries available? Is St. Eustatius available? Or Niue? I'd even take Kiribati in a pinch!

Speaking of electronic mail, does text messaging make you feel like an idiot? It's like trying to figure out those vanity license plates that you know mean something, but what it is, is totally beyond you! We have a book that will help you wend your way through the maze of text messages: Text Talk: How to Talk Without Being Heard [YA 004.692 TEX].

To be honest, I'm stuck in the email age, so if you have anything to say to me, send it in an email, and spell it all out!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The View


Have you read about, seen or heard reported, the controversy surrounding the "view assessment" bill that was being discussed at the State House?

I'm not going to weigh in on the discussion one way or the other, but I thought I'd take this opportunity to point out some of the items that feature stunning photos of the gorgeous views we have here in our state!

New Hampshire: A Living Landscape. [917.42 RAN]

New Hampshire 24/7. [974.2 NEW]

White Mountain Wilderness. [917.422 MON]

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Beep! Beep!

Yesterday, President Bush spent time with American auto makers in an effort to promote alternative energy vehicles.

This is an issue we should have been working on since the time, 30 years ago, of the Oil Embargo. Unfortunately, once the supply of oil freed up again, people became less interested in saving energy and went right back to purchasing gas-guzzlers.

So, where do we stand today? Here are some items that deal with the quest for alternative fuels and alternative vehicles:

Anderson, Curtis D. Electric and Hybrid Cars: A History. [629.2293 AND]

The Car and Its Future. [629.222 CAR]

Tickell, Joshua. From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank: The Complete Guide to Using Vegetable Oil as an Alternative Fuel. [[629.2538 TIC]

Who Killed the Electric Car? [DVD 629.2295 WHO]

Visit the Department of Energy's website for information about fuel economy. There is also an Fuel Economy Guide available for 2007 and more information about alternative fuels.


Electric cars have been around for a long time--this picture is Thomas Edison with one of the first!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Parting

The title of my last post was "Leave 'em Laughing." What a difference a few days make. A neighbor passed away yesterday. It was totally unexpected and has left everyone in shock. So I'm sure you will forgive me if it's not business as usual today at Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet. I'll simply include this Emily Dickinson poem for your consideration:


My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,
So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.


found in Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson [811 DIC]

Friday, March 23, 2007

Leave 'em Laughing

Just a brief note today. Jane, the children's librarian, and I are headed to Worcester, MA for a conference on humor in children's and young adult literature. It should be fun AND intellectually stimulating.

One of the speakers is Gail Gauthier. Gail wrote a hilarious middle grade novel called My Life among the Aliens [J GAU] in which two brothers think that their mother's less than tasty meals are attracting visitors from far away, and I don't mean Worcester!

Another of the speakers is author/illustrator, Jarrett J. Krosoczka. We have several of his pictures books [JP KRO] including Punk Farm, the story of a farmer whose animals are part of a punk rock band. Krosoczka has a sequel coming out in the fall called, Punk Farm on Tour.

Rock on!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Listen, My Children, And You Shall Hear...

What's the next line?

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere

Many of you may have memorized this poem at school--especially if you were raised in Massachusetts!

Do you remember, though, who wrote "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere"? It was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.



The Library has a several illustrated copies of the poem in the children's room, the most recently published one being illustrated by Jeffrey Thompson [J 811 LON].

Adults might want to browse through Longfellow's Poems and Other Writings [811 LON].

This Sunday, at Sanders Theater in Cambridge, from 2:00 to 4:00, there will be a celebration of Longfellow's bicentennial.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Art Heist!


Last night on PBS's Independent Lens, a film called "Stolen" was shown. "Stolen" is a documentary about the search for the works of art taken from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in March of 1990. The film has all the elements of a thrilling mystery novel: a backstory--Isabella Gardner and her obsessive drive to collect great European art; an art detective, Harold Smith; numerous anonymous tips and leads; the Boston Irish mob, Whitey Bulger, and the Irish Republican Movement; power; and of course, the art itself. "Stolen," though, doesn't end like a novel--the mystery is not solved.

If you've forgotten the details of the theft, you can refresh your memory at the FBI or CNN websites. (Also at the America's Most Wanted site, but don't look for any depth there!)

Isabella Stewart Gardner was an avid art collector and a Boston socialite. The story of Gardner and her creation of the museum is contained in The Art of Scandel: The Life and Times of Isabella Stewart Gardner by Douglass Shand-Tucci [709 SHA]. (Shand-Tucci is one of the experts interviewed in "Stolen.")

The Friends of the Library of Windham (F.L.O.W.) purchases museum passes for the Library, and for several years has included a membership for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Sadly, the pass hasn't gotten as much use as it deserves, but if your curiosity has been peaked by "Stolen" make a point of reserving the pass and spending the day at one of Boston's treasures!

(If you missed seeing "Stolen" last night, it will be shown on NHPTV's channel 11 on Friday, 3/23 at 11:00 pm or Sunday, 3/25 at 10:00 pm.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The World in Your Hands


You can hold the world in your hands and explore its form! You can even play with it! It's amazing the number of teaching tools that are available on the internet. Teaching geography is a worthwhile endeavor if you ask me (speaking as a geography-challenged adult)!

Here are a few books in our collection to help you expose your children to the world:

Arnold, Caroline. The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World . [J 910.71 ARN]

Kenda, Margaret. Geography Wizardry for Kids: Over 150 Fun Projects, Games, Craft, and Experiments for Junior Explorers! [J 912 KEN]

Robson, Pam. Geography for Fun: Mountains and Our Moving Earth with Easy-to-Make Geography Projects. [J 910 ROB]

We even have a book of poetry about geography, Got Geography! with poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins [J 811.008 GOT].

Maps are keys
to secret places
vast new worlds
and unknown faces.

from "A Map and a Dream" by Karen O'Donnell Taylor

Monday, March 19, 2007

SQUAWK!


Here's a prime example of synchronicity: last week I mentioned the wild parrots in Brooklyn in my posting on pizza. Then on NPR's Weekend America there was a story about the Brooklyn birds. And, at the library, we received a copy of the film The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill [DVD WIL]. Three encounters with wild parrots!

I watched the film yesterday and recommend it highly! It is not only the story of the parrots, but also the tale of Mark Bittner, a self-appointed caretaker of the parrots for many years. It's a great look at the delightful fauna and flora of San Francisco, too! Don't miss this one!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Color Update


The day after the Academy Awards I ranted about Nicole Kidman's choice of a fire engine red dress for the ceremony. The color definitely did not suit her. I promised, at that time, to update our copies of the two classic books on color, Color Me Beautiful, and Alive with Color. Those books are now history! We've gotten two new titles and they're ready to go!

Eiseman, Leatrice. More Alive with Color: Personal Colors, Personal Style. [646.34 EIS]

Henderson, Vernonique. Color Me Confident: Change Your Look, Change Your Life! [646.7042 HEN]

Making use of the right colors works in other endeavors, too:

Callery, Emma. 1001 Ideas for Color and Paint. [747.9 CAL]

Lambert, Patricia. Controlling Color: A Practical Introduction for Designers and Artists. [701 LAM]

Pyle, Kathleen. Garden Color. [635.968 PYL]

Seely, Ann. Color Magic for Quilters: Absolutely the Easiest, Most Successful Method for Choosing Colors and Fabrics to Create Quilts You'll Love. [743.46 SEE].

One book that I absolutely love, love, love, is a children's book by Ariane Dewey called Naming Colors [535.6 DEW]. An author's note states, "Color is my passion. I became fascinated with how we describe the multitude of colors we see." My favorite part of the book is the index! The color names are accompanied by a stroke of color. It's a great way of putting a name to a color you might have been uncertain about, for instance, periwinkle blue.

Have colorful weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wouldn't It Be Loverly


...to sit down and watch My Fair Lady [VIDEO MYF] again? Today might be a good day to do it--it's wet and dreary outside, and, March 15 is the anniversary of the opening of the Broadway musical back in 1956.

The book and lyrics are by Alan Jay Lerner, and the music is by Frederick Loewe. The original Broadway cast included Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins and Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle. We have the original Broadway cast soundtrack [CD BROADWAY MY], as well as music and lyrics to some of the songs in The Definitive Broadway Collection [784.2 DEF]. The musical has stood the test of time from the movie version, which came out in 1964, through to the most recent (2007) revival on Broadway starring Kelsey Grammer as Professor Higgins.

I wonder if George Bernard Shaw would have approved of the musical adaptation of his play, Pygmalion [822 SHA]? I tend to think the music would have won him over! My favorite song from the movie is "With a Little Bit of Luck." I had a friend once, who insisted that her cat Fussel's favorite song in all the world was "I Could Have Danced All Night."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Is Pizza a Junk Food?


Interesting question. I suppose most people would say no, but that's because they're pizza lovers and need a weekly fix of dough, sauce, and cheese. It's kind of a stretch to say that sauce is a vegetable, but if you throw a few fresh tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, etc. on top then maybe it approaches nutritious.

The library's Big Cheese looked up pizza consumption and found that the average American eats approximately 29 lbs. of pizza annually! I'm afraid I fall way short of my share of pizza consumption, but I'm sure Carl makes up for it!

My personal pizza favorite is sauceless, but has sliced fresh tomatoes covered with feta and mozzarella! Yum!

If you want a pizza that's different, make it yourself following one of the recipes found in these books:

James McNair's Vegetarian Pizza. [641.8248 MCN]

Nick Stellino's Passione: Pasta, Pizza, and Panini
. [641.5945 STE]

Despite its junk food status, I think pizza is fantabulous, don't you? I know there are some little guys in New York who think so, too. They're wild parrots from Brooklyn!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wilfully or Maliciously

I read an article from the Shanghai Daily called "Shutterbugs Upset Bookstore Owners." Rather than buying books, people are taking photos of the pages they want! To tell the truth, I find this practice preferable to the one that we seem to be plagued with here at the library--pages ripped or cut out of books and magazines. This generally happens with craft or recipe books. If only the perp would spend ten cents for the photocopier, we'd all be better off! Obviously the perp does not realize that this act of destroying an item is in direction violation of New Hampshire law, RSA 202-A:24 Offenses Against Libraries. Any person who shall wilfully or maliciously deface, damage or destroy any property belonging to or in the care of any gallery or museum or any state, public, school, college, or other institutional library, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any such person shall forfeit to or for the use of such library, gallery, or museum, 3 times the amount of the damage sustained, to be recovered in an action in the superior court.

Unfortunately, in many instances the item is out of print and cannot be reordered, thus depriving the rest of the citizens of the town the use of the item. Here is an apt quotation: "Let us have but one end in view, the welfare of humanity; and let us put aside all selfishness in consideration of language, nationality, or religion." John Comenius And, I might add that we should put aside selfishness in consideration of others' use of library materials!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Kitties of the World Unite!


Today I must call upon kitties to rise up against those who will take advantage of our good nature!

Last Friday I was directed to a toyger story (thanks, Barbara). On Good Morning America there was a segment on the newly developed cat breed called a "toyger." The toyger looks like a tiny tiger, and thus received its name. As cute as it may be, do we really need another breed of cat? According to Barron's Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds by J. Anne Helgren [636.8 HEL] there are already 40 recognized breeds and a few additional experimental breeds! As reported in the GMA piece, these cats will sell anywhere from 800 to several thousand dollars each! I'm a fortunate kitty and have a good home, so I wish that some of that money could be spent instead on shelters for homeless and abandoned kitties.

I mentioned in my piece about exploited doggies, that cats are renowned artists, but I didn't mention the abhorent practice of using cats as canvases! Rise up you cats and refuse to be exploited--you're beautiful just as you are!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Doggies of the World Unite!


Kitties are not too fond of dogs, but when they are, pardon the pun, the oppressed underdog, we must speak out! There are human beings with too much time on their hands, who have invented harnesses for the exploitation of poor, intellectually challenged canines! They sell them under the guise of "exercise equipment" for large dogs. Look at this video clip--it is horrifying!

Find some other ways of having fun with your dogs! Here are two books with suggestions:

Borgenicht, Joe. Doggy Days: Dozens and Dozens of Indoor and Outdoor Activities for You and Your Best Friend--Tricks and Games, Arts and Crafts, Stories and Songs, and Much More! [636.7 BOR]

Rosenthal, Lisa. A Dog's Best Friend: An Activity Book for Kids and Their Dogs. [J 636.7 ROS]

I don't know about arts and crafts with dogs, but cats are world renown for their artistic talents! (And we're not dumb enough to be suckered into a harness!)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Forcing Spring

One of the first signs of spring is the blooming of crocus bulbs. Unfortunately, we're not there yet. The ground is frozen solid, so spring is a ways off despite the fact that we're turning the clocks ahead this weekend (don't forget).

You can still enjoy blooming crocuses by forcing the bulbs. It's easy to do with a pot and some soil.

Hyacinths are particularly good to force since you get the added benefit of their lovely perfume. You don't even need soil--just a jar and water for the roots. If you want to go all out, you can look for an antique hyacinth glass.

While you're waiting for spring. Start planning this summer's garden. Here are two books to get you going:

Garden Design Ideas. [712.6 GAR]

Rees, Yvonne. A Creative Step-by-step Guide to Garden Design. [712.6 REE]

Think warm thoughts!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

And Speaking of Croatia...




No, we haven't been speaking of Croatia, I just wanted to grab your attention. My friend, Marion Eldridge, recently went on a grand Mediterranean cruise. It was the trip of a lifetime! And, being a good friend, Marion wanted to share the beauty of that part of the world with us. She has been sending one picture at a time every day or couple of days. It's delightful seeing towns even older than the Revolutionary War era ones of New England. It gives a whole new meaning to the word "antiquity."

I was particularly impressed by Dubrovnik, Croatia. I'm one of those people who had to look up Dubrovnik in order to find out what country it's in! (Sad, but true.)

In describing her Mediterranean visits, Marion mentioned seeing a number of reliquaries--displays of sacred objects such as fragments of saints' bones. Call me crazy, but I am fascinated by the veneration of saints and hope to one day read up on the topic. I'll probably start with Magnificent Corpses: Searching through Europe for St. Peter's Head, St. Chiara's Heart, St. Stephen's Hand, and Other Saints' Relics by Anneli Rufus [235.2 RUF]. Marion directed me to a site with a picture of a reliquary of St. Ursula (Ursula of 11,000 virgins fame).



Here's an excerpt on St. Ursula from Magnificent Corpses: "St. Ursula's legend is one of Christianity's oldest and, if you like horror films, the most romantic. It is a tale of slaughter."

Whoa!



Pictures courtesy of Marion Eldridge.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Poetry?

Just last week I got an spam e-mail that I thought had the makings of poetry. Then, coincidently, while looking around the Nashua Telegraph site, I found an article by Jen O'Callaghan called "Find the Poetry Lurking in Your Junk E-mail." Has spam, in an effort to get through, disguised itself as poetry? Nah, but colorful words other than Levitra and "investment opportunity," tend to grab my attention!

If you're interested in poetry recognizable as poetry, you may want to listen to Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac. It is broadcast on WEVO, 89.1 in Concord at 7:00 pm, as well as on WGBH, 89.7 in Boston at 8:55 am. Keillor ends his daily five minute segment of literary and historical notes by reading a poem aloud.

Or, you can sign up for a weekly e-mail from the U.S. Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser. Kooser publishes a weekly column, "American Life in Poetry," in newspapers around the country.

Don't forget, National Poetry Month is in April every year! This year we have a special event planned for children on Saturday, April 14.

Monday, March 05, 2007

TV Viewing

Last night I watched The Lost Tomb of Jesus on The Discovery Channel. (Disclaimer: I should say I "mostly" watched. With commercials running every two minutes, it was hard to pay attention to the main attraction, in other words, I fell asleep a few times.) I thought it was rather interesting, but not being an expert, I can't comment on the authenticity of the findings. I will however, mention a few of the texts referenced in the documentary so that you can read for yourself.

Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament. [229.92 LOS]

The Gospel of Mary Magdelene. [229.8 GOS]

Josephus, Flavius. The Complete Works. [933 JOS]

If you want to learn more about the historical Jesus, visit the library's 232 section.

We've also ordered The Jesus Family Tomb by Simcha Jacobovici, one of the makers of the documentary shown last night. Check back in a few weeks!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Shelfari

Shelfari.com is a new social software site that I thought I would pass along to the faithful readers of my blog (all three of you). On the site you are able to put together a "shelf" of your favorite books. You can rate the books and write your opinion of each. Don't worry if you don't remember the author or title of a book, you can simply type in a subject and a list of books will be brought up. (You can also put in an ISBN, but I wonder how many people who are not librarians, booksellers, or writers know what an ISBN is?) It's a neat way of keeping track of your favorite books (necessary for those times when someone says, "can you recommend a good book?" and your brain freezes). You can also share your recommendations with friends, and, if your friends aren't yet a part of shelfari, you can send them an invitation to join! Visit the site and take a look around and start putting together YOUR list.


Earlier this week I told you I would let you know if I thought The Departed should have won Best Picture at this year's Oscars. Nope!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

National Pig Day!


Today is National Pig Day! Take your favorite pig to lunch--oh wait, wrong kind of pig! March 1 is the day to celebrate the flat-nosed, curly tailed animal that so often ends up as part of Carl's tuna and bacon sandwiches!

If you are home with your kids this school vacation week, spend some time today working on pig crafts and eating pigs-in-a-blanket.

What better way to spend National Pig Day than by reading about pigs? Kids' books are great sources of piggy characters. There's Ian Falconer's Olivia series [JP FAL]. Olivia is a pig with an attitude! There's the famous Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith [J KIN], source for the fabulous film, Babe [J VID BAB]. Readers just starting chapter books will enjoy a new series by Kate DiCamillo starring Mercy the pig [J DIC].

Of course, adult pig literature is represented by NH resident, Sy Montgomery's The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood [636.4 MON]. Several months ago, Montgomery spoke about her pig on NHPR. Give a listen!

Lastly, spread some piggy cheer by sending an ecard to a friend! Oink! Oink!