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Friday, June 29, 2007

The Other Kind of Nut

Please note that I am not talking about genuinely ill people, simply those slightly exotic folks whom we often refer to by euphemisms and colloquialisms such as fruitcake, dingbat, crackpot, etc. Speaking of euphemisms, there is a list of them on the BBC page on Madness (about 3/4 of the way down the page). The English language can be fun to explore. Just look under "crazy" or "foolish" in a thesaurus and you'll find many synonyms. Here's a challenge for you--try to come up with a synonym using every letter of the alphabet without using a thesaurus. I'll get you started: A = asinine B = balmy

So how about watching a film about eccentricity? We have Zorba the Greek [DVD ZOR], Monty Python and the Holy Grail [DVD MON], After Hours [DVD AFT], The Madness of King George [VIDEO MAD], The Gods Must Be Crazy [VIDEO GOD], Cosi [VIDEO COS] (okay, this one takes place in a mental institution, so the characters are ill, but it is a fun film), King of Hearts [VIDEO KIN] (this one takes place in an asylum also, but really, I'm not poking fun at the mentally ill). I just realized we don't have Crazy in Alabama in our collection! We'll have to remedy that!

One last suggestion. Listen to the song "Crazy" by Patsy Cline on her 12 Greatest Hits CD [CD COUNTRY CLI]. If you didn't know it before, you'll learn that love can make you a little nutty!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


There are two kinds of nuts, the ones you eat and the ones referred to in the expression, "nutty as a fruitcake." Today I'm going to talk about the edible ones. Why? Why not! I love nuts!

Nuts are often touted as one of the miracle foods that fight anti-aging and various health conditions. The key is to not overdo, which sometimes can be hard if you're snacking on nuts!

Here's a little nut information you probably didn't know (from www.foodreference.com):

Cashews are native to the Americas, but widely cultivated in India and Africa since the 16th century. You never see cashews for sale in the shell because between the outer and inner shells covering the nut is an extremely caustic oil. The outer shell must be roasted or burned off with the oil (the smoke is also an irritant). The kernels are then boiled or roasted again, and a second shell is removed.

No wonder cashews are so expensive!

Peanuts aren't a nut, they're a legume! Not that it matters. They're still yummy. And nutritious, too! They have many fans, and promoters, including the Peanut Institute and the National Peanut Board. The Planters Peanuts people also has a site with nutritional information and recipes.

Peanut butter cookies, the crisp ones with fork criss-crosses on the top, used to be one of my favorites. (I gave up cookies about 5 months ago. Boo hoo.) There are several peanut butter cookie recipes for you to try in The Magic of Peanut Butter: 100 New and Favorite Recipes by Skippy [641.6565 MAG].

I've found that peanut butter is very good on a cold pasta salad. Take 1/4 cup peanut butter, blend it into 1/2 cup hot water. Add 1/3 cup soy sauce and a heaping teaspoon of honey. Mix well. Add chopped garlic (about 1 clove) and a little ginger (use fresh if you have it, I don't, so I use powdered ginger). Pour over cooked pasta, mix well, and refrigerate. You can sprinkle some chopped peanuts on top for extra crunch, celery, too. I'm not a fan of onions, but for those who like them, add chopped scallions/green onions.

Here's an educational coloring sheet on peanuts.

Tomorrow I'll speak about the other kind of nuts!

Warning: the Internet may contain traces of nuts.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That (June Edition)

Here are a number of things that have grabbed my attention recently:

1. An unusual bookshelf. This may work in a bookstore, but I can't see it in a library, unless you have an very large library with very few people browsing the shelves.

2. An article on the Camel Library. Who woulda thunk it, but we have two books in our collection that talk about camels in relation to libraries: The Library Book: The Story of Libraries from Camels to Computers by Maureen Sawa [J 027 SAW], and My Librarian is a Camel: How Books are Brought to Children around the World by Margriet Ruurs [J 027.42 RUU].

3. Keith Olbermann's Harry Potter Spoiler. It comes with this warning: "Stop reading now if you don't want to know the ending!" If, like me, you're not a huge Harry Potter fan, then you can click and read. Otherwise, you'd better wait until next month. Our children's room has a calendar counting down the days to the big release.

4. The Pimp My Bookcart Contest is accepting entries! If you want to see last year's winners, click here. I suppose this contest is something only a librarian could get excited about!

5. Michael Moore's newest film, Sicko, is being released this week. I was fortunate enough to attend a preview screening last Friday in Manchester that included a Q & A with Moore. No matter what your political affiliation, this film is worth seeing!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tell Your Story

StoryCorps, a joint project of NPR and the American Folklife Center in D.C., is coming to NH. I usually listen to Morning Edition out of WBUR in Boston, and they air StoryCorps recordings on Friday mornings around 8:30 am. I've found myself many times in tears on my way to work, or sitting out in the parking lot until a story is over! If you're interested in participating, visit www.nhpr.org (click on the orange box in the upper left hand corner) to make a reservation. You can also listen to previously aired stories or read them in I Thought My Father was God and Other True Tales from NPR's National Story Project [973.9 I].

You might be inspired to explore family history, or you could start collecting oral histories here in Windham. These will get you started:

Baum, Willa K. Oral History for the Local Historical Society. [907.2 BAU]

Greene, Bob. To Our Children's Children: Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come. [809 GRE]

Moyer, Judith. Ask and Listen Oral History for the Classroom: A Manual for Teachers. [372 MOY]

My History is America's History: 15 Things You Can Do to Save America's Stories. [929 MY]

Video Reflections: How to Tape and Interview Your Relatives. [929 VID]

Monday, June 25, 2007

Next Thing You Know They'll Be Renting Foreheads

You may not agree with his politics, but Jim Hightower has recorded some valuable commentaries on cultural/social aspects of America. One from last week is entitled, Ads Everywhere, and it addresses the ubiquitous commercial advertisement. It is well worth listening to! Hightower states, "Most Americans already encounter 5,000 ads a day." I believe it! Advertising is a part of life, and as such, we become immune to it with continuous exposure. That is why advertisers and ad agencies are constantly searching for new ways to attract customers. Maybe not to the point of renting out foreheads, but that day can't be far away!

I'm greatly disturbed by the unending barrage of ads, and I wonder how our children will ever come to appreciate the simple things in life when they are constantly told they need to buy something to be happy. If you're interested in reading more on the subject of children and advertising, here are two titles:

Linn, Susan E. Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood. [[658.834 LIN]

Schor, Juliet. Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer. [305.23 SCH]

Of course the library too, must compete in advertising its services. We want to let Windham's kids know that the library has some great boredom busting activities lined up for the summer! Karen and Jane have really gone all out this year!

I'm a bit conflicted about advertising in that I thoroughly enjoy looking at old ads such as those found in Paper Advertising Collectibles: Treasures from Almanacs to Window Signs by Robert Reed [741.6 REE], and watching early tv commercials. The American Marketing Association has a web page dealing with the history of advertising that you might like to visit.

For plain old fun, pick up Japanese Jive: Wacky and Wonderful Products from Japan by Caroline McKeldin [428 MCK]. Not only are the products wacky, but so is the packaging, and, I can only imagine the advertising campaigns that would accompany such products as "Cow Brand Beauty Soap" and "Armpit Ray"!


Friday, June 22, 2007

Trash With a Fancy Name

On Wednesday I mentioned the trash that the space shuttle astronauts encountered. Yesterday I talked about the beach. Today I'm going to combine the two and talk about beach trash, which has a fancy name--flotsam.

I'm currently reading a fascinating little book called, Washed Up: The Curious Journeys of Flotsam and Jetsam by Skye Moody [910.914 MOO]. In it, are strange stories of objects, such as ambergris (a.k.a. whale puke), hamburger beans, and more, that travel and survive, the earth's mighty oceans. I highly recommend it!

For kids we have the Caldecott winning picture book, Flotsam, by David Weisner [JP WEI], and Out of the Ocean by Debra Frasier. Frasier's illustratrations combine real photos with cut paper illustrations. Another book, entirely true, is Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion [J 551.462 BUR] by Massachusetts resident, Loree Burns. Be sure to check this one out, it's fantastic!

Many seaside communities once thrived on the flotsam that washed ashore after shipwrecks. The Wreckers, by Iain Lawrence [YA LAW], is a fast-paced historical novel that reveals a secret about one of these communities.

Finally, I'd like to put in a plug for one of my all-time favorite movies, Local Hero [DVD LOC]. This film takes place in a small Scottish village where the inhabitants all hold several jobs. One character lives on a shack on the beach where his meager living is made by salvaging the gifts of the sea. It's also a picture of the way multinational corporations buy their way into communities. A funny, yet thought provoking, film.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


This is the week of the annual Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpture Competition. If you wait until the weekend to go, you'll be faced with considerable traffic congestion. It is suggested that you go after prime beach hours (say later than 3:00 pm today!) to avoid the crowds.

On a non-competition beach day, you may want to try your hand at building your own sandcastle. Look for inspiration and instruction in Sandcastles: Great Projects: from Mermaids to Monuments by Patti Mitchell [736.9 MIT].

Can't get to the shore? Read a beach book or two to your little ones, here are small sample [all JP]:

Calmenson, Stephanie. Hotter Than a Hot Dog!

Cottle, Joan. Miles Away from Home.

Hubbell, Patricia. Sea, Sand, Me!

Lies, Brian. Bats at the Beach. (This one is really fun! If you're lucky, you may get a glimpse of Brian touring around New England this summer in his Bats-at-the-Beach-mobile!)

Roosa, Karen. Beach Day.

Yee, Brenda. Sand Castle.

By the way, happy first day of summer! Elaine, have you seen my infradito?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I heard a brief snippet this morning about the space shuttle's close encounter with mysterious space debris. It reminded me of a few of my favorite picture books that deal with the subject of alien beings. There is a series about Professor Xargle who explains common creatures or occurrences to a class of young space creatures. The books are subtitled "Translated into Human by Jeanne Willis." We have Earth Hounds as Explained by Professor Xargle, Earth Tigerlets as Explained by Professor Xargle, and Earth Weather as Explained by Professor Xargle [JP WIL]. Here's Prof. Xargle telling his class about summer:

Earthlets who have nothing better to do go out in the hot and lie in nests of brown sugar. They wear only their underfrillies and rub each other with butterglob. Then they stretch out in the shape of a star. When they turn brown, it means they are cooked. But never eat them.

Did you guess this is a beach scene? It is SO much better to read it with Tony Ross's illustrations!

Here are a few other titles for you to explore:

Butterworth, Nick. QPootle 5. [JP BUT]

Cazet, Denis. Minnie and Moo and the Potato from Planet X. [E CAZ]

Corey, Shana. First Graders from Mars (series). [JP COR]

Pinkwater, Daniel. Guys from Space. [JP PIN]

Yorinks, Arthur. Company's Coming. [JP YOR] (I love this one, too!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Those Crazy Artists!--Part 2

Who knew, when I wrote about crazy artists yesterday, that last night I would see a program on WGBH about Vincent van Gogh! I was flipping through the channels and came across Simon Schama's Power of Art--van Gogh. Talk about crazy artists!

I would suggest visiting the site www.vggallery.com. You won't believe the number of van Gogh's paintings that are on-line. We've seen the same paintings over and over again, such as Starry Night with its swirls and splashes of color, or the self-portrait with a bandage that was a result of van Gogh's self-mutilation, and we've become convinced by the art, that the painter was crazy. If you take the time to look at some of the thousands of his works, you'll find that he was a great experimenter. He would paint the same images multiple times using varying colors. The changes in color or pattern evoke different moods in the viewer. Here are two examples of portraits of Joseph Roulin:

Some of his work is quite lovely, as opposed to quite disconcerting! The variety is astonishing.

I think we've done a great disservice to van Gogh by focusing almost exclusively on his mental instability!

As convenient as it is to view art online, it's sometimes nicer to sit with a art book and take your time poring over the pages. Pick up one of these on your next visit to the library:

Charles, Victoria. Vincent Van Gogh. [759.949 CHA]

Schapiro, Meyer. Van Gogh. [759.9492 SCH]

Or, if you'd like to read about the high-powered world of fine art, take a look at Portrait of Dr. Gachet: The Story of a Van Gogh Masterpiece by Cynthia Saltzman [759.9492 SAL].

For kids, we have an illustrated book that explores methods of making art employed by van Gogh and his friend, Gauguin--The Yellow House: Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin Side by Side by Susan Goldman Rubin [J 759.4 RUB].

Monday, June 18, 2007

Those Crazy Artists!

Haven't you heard artists referred to as crazies? You can be an artist without being crazy!

Do I hear you saying, "I'm not an artist!" Sure, you are! This is from Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles [701.15 BAY]: "In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive....Even talent is rarely distinguishable, over the long run, from perseverance and lots of hard work."

Aside from artistic temperament, perhaps artists' craziness is a result of working too hard, or, breathing in toxic substances contained in their art supplies!

If you have children, grandchildren, teach children, or like to dabble yourself, you might be interested to know what to look for on labels when purchasing art supplies. The Children's Health Environmental Coalition have produced an article to help you out. (There's also a site that sells non-toxic materials. I'm not necessarily endorsing this vendor, simply making the information available.)

Okay, so, I've convinced you that you can be an artist, and you can do it safely. Now you're uncertain as to what supplies you will need to get started. Take a look at The New Artist's Handbook by Ray Smith [702.8 SMI], which will introduce you to materials and equipment, procedures and techniques, for making 2-dimensional art (computer artists will need to look elsewhere).

If you want to encourage children to make art, then the best way to do so is by modeling behavior. In other words, make art! This book will provide you with direction and specific projects: Encouraging the Artist in Your Child (Even If You Can't Draw): 101 Failure-Proof, Home-Tested Projects for Kids Age 2-10 [700 WAR].

Here's my suggestion for launching an art project: borrow the book, Arty Cats [704.9432 ART]. You'll find interpretations of the domestic cat done by old masters, impressionists, symbolists and surrealists, and moderns. Contemporary artist Vicky Cox plays with the images that appear in the book. Of course, I'm partial to cats, but you can pick any object or thing, and interpret it in a number of different ways. Borrow a book or two of impressionist or surrealist art for inspiration, and go at it!


Friday, June 15, 2007


I often go to the Hunger Site where I can click to help feed the hungry of the world.

Unfortunately, there are hungry people in the United States, in New Hampshire, and right here in Windham! Think about donating to the Shepherd's Pantry at this time of year, too. People need food now, and not just at Thanksgiving time!

Michael J. Rosen edited and illustrated Food Fight: Poets Join the Fight Against Hunger with Poems to Favorite Foods [J 811 FOO]. This book of children's poetry is a delightful way to introduce poetry to your kids, and, is a great way to approach the subject of hunger. Our copy, is signed by the illustrator and three of the poets!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Goodbye Mr. Wizard

Decades ago, before the rise of PBS, the television networks attempted some educational children's programing. Watch Mr. Wizard, which appeared on Saturday mornings from 1951-1965, was one. Mr. Wizard, a.k.a. Don Herbert, passed away this week. Herbert's NY Times obituary made this interesting point:

During the 1960s and ’70s, about half the applicants to Rockefeller University in New York, where students work toward doctorates in science and medicine, cited Mr. Wizard when asked how they first became interested in science.

To see the depth of Mr. Wizard's influence, visit the official website's guestbook to read some of the comments that have been posted since his death.

To watch a few video clips, go to this page on the NPR site.

Of course Mr. Wizard's program appeared around the same time as the "space race" between the Soviet Union and the United States. During that period, society made a concerted effort to promote science. Perhaps, in Mr. Wizard's memory, we should make an effort to promote science to today's kids. Here are a few places to start:

Hann, Judith. How Science Works. [J 507.8 HAN]

Kramer, Stephen P. How to Think Like a Scientist: Answering Questions by the Scientific Method. [J 502.8 KRA]

Popular Mechanics for Kids series. [J DVD POP]

Science for All Children: A Guide to Improving Elementary Science Education in Your School District. [372.3 SCI]

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Take a Whiff

I love this time of year when the peonies in my yard bloom. Their fragrance is exquisite. If only they would stay in bloom longer. Cut peonies will be beautiful for no more than a day or two and then what you'll be left with is a vase full of naked stems, and a tabletop full of wilted petals!

Here's a poem about peonies by Jane Kenyon:

Peonies at Dusk

White peonies blooming along the porch
send out light
while the rest of the yard grows dim.

Outrageous flowers as big as human
heads! They're staggered
by their own luxuriance: I had
to prop them up with stakes and twine.

The moist air intensifies their scent,
and the moon moves around the barn
to find out what it's coming from.

In the darkening June evening
I draw a blossom near, and bending close
search it as a woman searches
a loved one's face.

from Constance found in Collected Poems [811.54 KEN]

Surprisingly, The Random House Book of Scented Plants by Roger Phillips [635.968 PHI] doesn't even cover peonies! What's up with that?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


It has long been speculated that an increase in the cases of autism in children is a direct result of mercury in childhood vaccinations. Supposedly, studies have proven this is not true, but thousands of claims have been made by parents of children with autism, and now, the question is being dealt with in federal courts. If you go to our shelves, under the number 616.8588, you will find many books dealing with autism. The increase in demands on our collection on the subject would appear to back up the claims of increasing cases of autism!

To learn about this condition, try The Autism Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping, and Healing by Karen Siff Exkorn [616.8588 EXK].

To read about the link between vaccination and autism, try Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy by David Kirby [614.47 KIR].

MSNBC has a considerable collection of on-line articles on Autism: The Hidden Epidemic? that includes a video. Additional information can be found on the Cure Autism Now Foundation site.

Civics 101

Civics class--I must have had one, but I don't remember a thing. I wish I had paid closer attention! Today I took a vacation day, and, in a rather round-about way, ended up in Concord at a NH House committee meeting. The rules and the protocol alone gave me a headache!

I think I need to read up on how government works. If I learn about the U.S. Congress, I'm sure there are things that might apply to state government. I'll probably start with a children's book such as The Congress of the United States: A Student Companion by Donald A. Ritchie [J 328.73 RIT]. If a well-written children's book explains difficult concepts so that a child can understand, then there's a chance I'll absorb the information! I could then move on to a book like How Congress Works and Why You Should Care by Lee Hamilton [328.73 HAM].

Do you have children? If so, you could take it upon yourself to introduce them to government. One place to start is by watching A Bill's Journey to Law. Ben's Guide to U.S. Government For Kids is good also, especially since it has different presentations for different age levels. Don't be surprised if you learn a little something!

Your kids may get to visit the NH State House on a school field trip, but if not, take them yourself! To prepare, there is much information about our state government found on-line. Don't forget to visit the cafeteria too, when you go!

Coincidentally, as I was driving to Concord today for the hearing, I heard a segment on WBUR's On Point that covered earmarks, a.k.a. pork barrel spending. (Unfortunately that particular segment isn't available for you to listen to on-line.) Then, on the drive home, I heard a story on All Things Considered about the roles of Congress and the president in governmental spending. It too, addressed "pork." This is what I learned: this year, there were 36,000 requests for earmarked projects! Good grief!

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Worms Crawl In, the Worms Crawl Out

...the worms play pinochle on your snout.

Remember that childhood song? Despite the bad rap that worms get, they're really quite useful little animals. Charles Darwin had this to say about earthworms, "It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures."

Okay, so it's fair to ask, "why in heaven's name is she talking about worms?" Simple, I walked by the picture book section earlier and was struck by the colorful cover on a book called Compost! Growing Gardens from Your Garbage by Linda Glaser [JP GLA]. In it is a basic explanation of composting for very young children, but sadly, it neglected to mention earthworms. With earthworms, you don't even need to turn the pile, the worms do it for you. Using worms in composting is called vermicomposting. (From the Latin vermis = worm. Think vermicelli which means "little worms.")

You can read up on worms and composting in these:

Appelhof, Mary. Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up & Maintain a Worm Composting System. [639 APP]

Stewart, Amy. The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms. [592.64 STE]

For more information about earthworms and vermicomposting visit the Earthworm Digest site.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Don't Forget to Look Up

The New Old South Church

Yesterday I had the opportunity to ride through Boston. Since I wasn't driving, I was able to look around. I especially enjoyed looking up at the roofs and gargoyles and gingerbread details.

Next time I go, I may take along a copy of A Field Guide to American Architecture by Carole Rifkind [720 RIF] so that I'll know what it is I'm looking at!

The Boston chapter of the American Institute of Architects created the AIA Guide to Boston, written by Susan and Michael Southworth [917.44 SOU], which will take you around to some interesting sites (to those who like architecture!) in Boston. Unusual architectural details are listed, most of which you would miss if you never looked up!

Three other books may be of interest to those of you who are willing to look up (and down and all around):

Harris, John. Historic Walks in Old Boston. [917.44 HAR]

Purdom, Laura. Secret Boston: The Unique Guidebook to Boston's Hidden Sites, Sounds, & Tastes. [917.4461 PUR]

WalkBoston: Walking Tours of Boston's Unique Neighborhoods. [917.446 WAL]

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sixty-three Years Ago...

"In the early-morning light the beaches of Normandy were shrouded in mist. The intermittent rain of the previous day had become a steady drizzle, soaking everything. Beyond the beaches lay the ancient, irregularly shaped fields over which countless battles had been fought and countless more battles would be fought." from The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan [940.5421 RYA]

This is the anniversary of D-Day--the Allied invasion of Normandy that signaled the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany. Many books have been written about this the invasion. Here are a few:

Ambrose, Stephen. D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II. [940.54 AMB, also on audio AB 940.54 AMB]

Collier, Richard. D-Day 6 June 1944: The Normandy Landings. [940.5421 COL]

June 6, 1944: The Voices of D-Day. [940.54 JUN]

Last weekend, at Book Expo, I was fortunate to hear filmmaker, Ken Burns, speak about his upcoming PBS series, The War. Burns said that after The Civil War, he and his crew decided to never do another film about war. But...Burns found that 1,000 WW II veterans are dying each day! Many vets have refused to speak of the war with those closest to them, so, unless some outside observer recorded their stories, they would be lost forever. Burns took on the task. The seven-part series premiers on September 23.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Weather advisories were flying into my inbox this afternoon, with warnings such as, "severe thunderstorm capable of producing nickel size hail," and "winds in excess of 60 mph." It's kind of exciting to watch a thunderstorm move in--the building black clouds, the whipping winds, the flashes of lightning.

Here's a poem by a Canadian writer, Archibald Lampman (1861-1899), that captures the excitement:


A moment the wild swallows like a flight
Of withered gust-caught leaves, serenely high,
Toss in the windrack up the muttering sky.
The leaves hang still. Above the weird twilight,
The hurrying centres of the storm unite
And spreading with huge trunk and rolling fringe,
Each wheeled upon its own tremendous hinge,
Tower darkening on. And now from heaven's height,
With the long roar of elm-trees swept and swayed,
And pelted waters, on the vanished plain
Plunges the blast. Behind the wild white flash
That splits abroad the pealing thunder-crash,
Over bleared fields and gardens disarrayed,
Column on column comes the drenching rain.

Today would be a good day to experience both the weather and poetry. If you have kids, share one of these books with them:

Hopkins, Lee Bennett, selector. Weather. [J 811 HOP]

Noisy Poems. [J 821 NOI]

Pomerantz, Charlotte. Thunderboom!: Poems for Everybody. [J 811.54 POM]

Talking Like the Rain: A First Book of Poems. [J 821.008 TAL]

If you'd like local weather advisories delivered to your inbox, just sign up here.

I'm Back!

Book Expo is over and I'm home again with a ton of books, fond memories, and a hole in my muffler from a killer NY pothole!

After walking for hours each day, I felt like this photo of the exhibit area--OUT OF FOCUS!

The Harry Potter "Knight Bus" was parked outside. The bus is traveling around the country to promote the soon-to-be-released final book in the series. This picture is about as close as NH's readers are going to get to the bus. Only presidential hopefuls bother to visit NH!

We saw a demonstration of how to make a genuine Junior's New York Cheesecake. We also got to sample a piece of monster cake that was composed of thin layers of chocolate cake and chocolate cream filling surrounding a regular-sized cheesecake. The whole thing was iced with chocolate frosting and sprinkled with chocolate chips. To tell the truth, I would have preferred a piece of plain cheesecake! Too much of a good thing is TOO MUCH!

Of course, after the Expo ended one evening, we took the obligatory tourist walk around Times Square:

Can you believe this--