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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Eyes the Size of Oranges, Hooks at the End of Tentacles...

A horror flick creature? No, a colossal squid weighing nearly two tons--and, it's real! In case you missed the news of this fascinating specimen now being examined by scientists, check out these articles from the British paper, The Independent, Colossal Squid Goes Under the Knife in New Zealand, and, Study of Colossal Squid Reveals Biggest Eyes in World. Or, you can check the museum in New Zealand where the work is being done.

We don't have any books on colossal squids (scientific name: Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni), but we do have several on giant squids!

Ellis, Richard. The Search for the Giant Squid. [594 ELL]

Sherry, Kevin. I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean. [JP SHE]

We also have an adult novel dealing with a squid, and, it was very well-reviewed! The Highest Tide [F LYN] by Jim Lynch. Here's the publishers description:
One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley sneaks out of his house and goes exploring on the tidal flats of Puget Sound. When he discovers a rare giant squid, he instantly becomes a local phenomenon shadowed by people curious as to whether this speed-reading, Rachel Carson obsessed teenager is just an observant boy or an unlikely prophet. But Miles is really just a kid on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his bickering parents will divorce, and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him. As the sea continues to offer up discoveries from its mysterious depths, Miles struggles to deal with the difficulties that attend the equally mysterious process of growing up.

(For those of you in book clubs, this might be a great title for discussion.)

Okay, who's up for a little fried calamari?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I love them. They, and fresh peaches, are the two best things about summer. Now there's another reason to eat them--they may prevent wrinkles!

Tomatoes have long been touted as healthful foods. If you haven't heard about the benefits, click here. So, now that you know of their anti-aging properties, there's no excuse not to add more tomatoes to your diet!

For recipes, we have Lee Bailey's Tomatoes [641.65642 BAI], a cookbook which includes a recipe for a tomato souffle! I don't know if I can get my mind around that one!

Souper Tomatoes: The Story of America's Favorite Food by Andrew F. Smith [641.65642 SMI]. Smith looks broadly at tomatoes, and then more specifically at tomato soup. Interesting reading for a tomato lover like myself.

If your child won't eat tomatoes, borrow this book to read together: I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child [JP CHI]. I won't give away the ending!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Library Buildings

I spent the day in Portsmouth at the brand new Portsmouth Public Library. The library is the first LEED certified "green" municipal building in New Hampshire. Even though the day was cold, rainy, and dark, the building was filled with natural light. Very nice!

If you are interested in library buildings from an historical and aesthetic point of view, have we got a book for you--Carnegie Libraries Across America: A Public Legacy by Theodore Jones [027.473 JON]. There were 85 Carnegie libraries built in New England, and 68 are still being used as libraries today according to the website, www.necarnegies.com.

Dudley-Tucker Library in Raymond.
Built in the Colonial Revival Style, and not the Classical Revival Style
that is typical of most Carnegie libraries.

Check out the other Carnegies in New Hampshire!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Poetry Friday (On a Saturday!)--Baseball

Yesterday was exceptionally busy, so Poetry Friday fell down a few notches on the list of priorities. Since this is my Saturday to work, I figured I'd post today. So, today's poetry topic is BASEBALL. Not only is baseball America's premier summer sport, it is also the subject of many poems!

This is from "Analysis of Baseball" by May Swenson:

It’s about
the ball,
the bat,
and the mitt.
Ball hits
bat, or it
hits mitt.
Bat doesn’t
hit ball, bat
meets it.
Ball bounces
off bat, flies
air, or thuds
ground (dud)
or it
fits mitt.

Read the complete poem here.

Paul Janeczko, a poet from Maine, has collected some of his baseball poems in That Sweet Diamond: Baseball Poems [J 811 JAN]. This is from a poem called, "Section 7, Row 1, Seat 3":

She measures life
in baseball time:
born the year Yankee Stadium opened,
married the summer of The Streak," Ted's .406,
son born during Jackie Robinson's first season,
daughter born two days after
the "shot heard, 'round the world,"
alone since the Yankees' last pennant.

There's also haiku collected in a book called Baseball Haiku, which is on order, but if you'd like to experience a little baseball haiku before the book comes in, check out this blog.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Baby Names

BBC News reports that in Kenya there is a trend toward naming newborns after famous people such as Kofi Annan, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton! I find it interesting that these newborns were given the names in hopes that "the baby will adopt the traits of the person it has been named after." Ponder that for a while...

Several weeks ago, on American Idol's Idol Gives Back segment filmed in Africa, former Idol, Elliott Yamin, found out that a baby had been named after him. He was quite moved by the experience.

Names are important for the both the child and the parent. The Hidden Truth of Your Name: A Complete Guide to First Names and What They Say about the Real You [929.4 HID] states,
There are powers that are inherent in a name, and there are very distinct ways in which a name can control one's destiny, for good and bad. The powers associated with names have been studied by mystics for centuries, but this is the first book to digest their findings for the layperson.
Pretty heady stuff, huh?

Other books in our collection are a little less intimidating, such as Name Your Baby's Destiny: Assisting Parents, Personnel Managers and Playwrights by Guy Gifford [929.4 GIF], or The Perfect Name: A Step-by-Step Guide to Naming Your Baby by Jeanine Cox [929.4 COX]. If you're really stuck for a name for your baby, your pet, or your main character (if you're a writer), consult The Baby Name Bible: The Ultimate Guide by America's Baby-Naming Experts by Pamela Redmond Satran [929.4 SAT]. With 50,000+ names, you should be able to find something!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another Reason for Not Skipping Breakfast

Now this is interesting--a woman can choose the sex of her child by her diet! Yes, it's true, I read it in the newspaper! ;-) The Independent had an article today, "Mother's Diet Linked to Baby's Sex," which started off like this:
The trend to skip breakfast could be altering the male/female balance in the population, scientists say.

A study of 740 first-time mothers has shown that women who ate breakfast cereals around the time of conception were more likely to produce sons.

Higher calorie consumption favours the birth of boys and both have declined in industrialised countries over the past 40 years.

As if we needed another reason not to skip breakfast! If you don't know the other reasons, here are two:

  • After fasting overnight, your blood glucose levels are low. Your brain needs glucose for mental functions--like your job, duh!

  • If you don't eat breakfast you may increase your chances of becoming fat (at least if you're an adolescent)!

  • Look in our 641.52 section for books specifically on breakfast; Ken Haedrich's Country Breakfasts [641.52 HAE] is one. Or books on entertaining will often have simple brunch recipes that would be good for breakfast. Rachael Ray's Open House Cookbook: Over 200 Recipes for Easy Entertaining [641.55 RAY] is just one example. Ray's recipes are also available on her website, www.rachaelray.com. For Ray's scrumptious sounding recipe, "Tortilla Scrambles," click here.
    For other egg recipes look for The Farmstead Egg Cookbook by Terry Golson [641.675 GOL].

    Don't forget to eat each morning, and by that I don't mean a donut!

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Happy Earth Day--Let's Go Green!

    Warning: Generalization ahead! Doesn't it always seem like we Americans wait until the last possible moment before we take an interest in what is good for the environment?

    I hope that this sudden interest, a result of the rising gas prices, food shortages, etc., continues. Remember back to the oil embargo days of the 70's when we waited in line for gas? After that, there were many efforts to explore alternative energy sources. What happened? Gas became plentiful again and we stopped caring. Can we sustain an interest this time around? Let's hope so--this time the stakes are too high to ignore.

    So, let's look at some available library materials that deal with going green:

    Berthold-Bond, Annie. The Green Kitchen Handbook: Practical Advice, References, and Sources for Transforming the Center of Your Home into a Healthful, Livable Place. [613.2 BER]

    Brown, Lester R. Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble. [333.7 BRO] This book was recently updated as Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, and is available to download as a PDF from the Earth Policy Institute. There's a lot of other interesting things to look at on the site, too!

    David, Laurie. Stop Global Warming: The Solution is You! [363.738 DAV]

    Ewing, Rex A. Power with Nature: Solar and Wind Energy Demystified. [621.47 EWI]

    Green Living: The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth. [363.7 GRE]

    MacEachern, Diane. Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World. [333.72 MAC].

    Monbiot, George. Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning. [363.73874 MON]

    Motavalli, Jim. Forward Drive: The Race to Build "Clean" Cars for the Future. [629.2293 MON]

    Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Easter's Manifesto. [613 POL]

    Residential Green Building Guide: A Web Source Book for New England. [690.837 RES]

    Rogers, Elizabeth. The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time. [333.72 ROG]

    Who Killed the Electric Car? [DVD 629.2293 WHO]

    Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st. Century. [333.7 WOR]

    Here in Windham, the Windham Independent is running a "Green" issue later this week. Make sure you pick up a copy!

    There is also a group that is working on environmental issues here in town, Go Green Windham, they have a website that will be functional shortly gogreenwindham.org, so check it out in a day or two!

    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Mark Twain

    Ninety-eight years ago today writer Mark Twain (born Samuel L. Clemens) died after a brief illness. The Washington Post noted in a timeline published upon Twain's death, that he was best known for his work, The Innocents Abroad [F TWA]. Today, I'll wager than almost no one has read that particular novel, but The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [F TWA, also AB/CD TWA] is often required reading in America's schools.

    Personally I think of Twain as a great American humorist, and I've collected many of his quotes over the years as they always make me laugh, especially this one:
    Of all God's creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.

    Here are a few more:

    All generalizations are false, including this one.

    Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.

    Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.

    To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.

    We have the best government that money can buy.
    (If he had lived today, I think Jon Stewart would have had Mark Twain on his show as a frequent guest!)

    If you'd like to read more quotations, visit twainquotes.com, or borrow The Comic Mark Twain Reader: The Most Humorous Selections from His Stories, Sketches, Novels, Travel Books, and Speeches [F TWA].

    Grant and Twain: The Story of a Friendship That Changed America
    by Mark Perry [920 PER] makes for some interesting reading for, according to Perry, we may not have had The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or U.S. Grant's autobiography if the two men had not met and formed a friendship.

    If you're ever in Hartford, visit the Mark Twain House and Museum. The restoration work was magnificently done!

    Friday, April 18, 2008

    Poetry Friday--Favorites

    Since this is National Poetry Month, I thought I'd share my favorite poem with you. It's short--a haiku by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)--
    shell of a cicada
    it sang itself
    utterly away

    I've also seen it translated as
    a cicada shell
    it sang itself
    utterly away

    I'm partial to the first. I think it presents a stronger image with the emphasis on the shell that is left behind. I'm also quite taken by the idea that the little cicada sang so intently as to disppear! Nice. And done with just nine words.

    To read more about Basho, look for The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa [895.6 ESS].

    For more favorite poems, you can visit the Favorite Poem Project: Americans Saying Poems They Love site, or borrow either of these two books from our collection:

    Americans' Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology. [808.81 AME]

    Poems to Read: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology. [808.81 POE]

    What's your favorite poem? Feel free to use the comments section below to let us know.

    Thursday, April 17, 2008

    Tartan Day

    Yesterday I took a vacation day and spent it at the State House in Concord viewing our legislators at work. When the day opened at 10:00 am, I found that it had been designated "Tartan Day" in recognition of NH's Scottish heritage and the Scottish roots of many of those in the NH House. The ceremony started with bagpipes and dancing. Many of the legislators wore their family tartans in one form or another--from plaid pants, to ties, to kilts. If I had only known, I would have worn my Ferguson plaid tie. My maternal grandfather was a Ferguson, so I have a bit of Scotland in my blood, too.

    I could spend some time in the library's genealogy section and research my ancestors. Here are just two books I'd consult:

    Baxter, Angus. In Search of Your British & Irish roots: A Complete Guide to Tracing Your English, Welsh, Scottish & Irish ancestors. [929 BAX]

    Jonas, Linda, and Paul Milner. A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Scottish Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage. [929 JON]

    If you have a "clan," and you don't know what your tartan is, check out this site where you can find a ton of information.

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    A Titanic Error in Judgment

    The events of the past are continuously being re-examined in an effort to answer the question "Why?" This is evident in the sinking of the Titanic--a recent report claims that more passengers may have survived except for the fact that "cheap" rivets were used in the ship's construction. Read the story here.

    The tunnel collapse collapse in Boston, the rivets on the Titanic--two examples of poor judgment. The rush to finish a job, or to do it on the cheap, often results in loss of life. Arthur Miller, in his moving play, "All My Sons" (found in Collected Plays, 1944-1961 [812 MIL], explored the effects of guilt on a person who used poor judgment during World War II manufacturing.)

    To read more about the Titanic disaster, look for these books, which go into some of the investigations: Titanic Voices: Memories fromm the Fateful Voyage [910.4 TIT], and The Titanic Conspiracy: Cover-Up and Mysteries of the World's Most Famous Sea Disaster by Robin Gardiner [363.12 GAR].

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    Tax Day Ranting...

    Today's the day to get your tax return sent in. (As if you needed a reminder!) People moan and groan about taxes, but they really should stop a minute and think about all that taxes do for us as a nation.

    On the local level there's the library. We have a fabulous library here in Windham thanks to the generous support of our taxpayers (despite the "thumbs down" we recently received). I want to reiterate that taxes go to pay for items that cover the range of reader interests--not just the interests of any one particular taxpayer! In case you missed it, I'll quote a part,
    Thumbs down to the Nesmith Library...for the leftist, Marxist, anti-American display of books in the lobby bookcase. They would have no job and no building to display their fascist propaganda if not for the taxpayers of Windham...
    I want to point out that the display in question was on Black History Month! The writer of the "thumbs down" letter didn't like the fact that we displayed a book about Martin Luther King, Jr., and one about Malcolm X. Whatever an individual may think about the men in question, there is no denying that they are a part of African-American history! End of rant!

    But, seriously, federal taxes go to pay for our infrastructure (bridges, roads, etc.), for our health (research, planning--think about a future outbreak of bird flu, etc.), for our environment, etc. When all is said and done, I don't mind paying taxes. My mother taught me that it is good to share!

    If you'd like to explain or discuss taxes with your children, look for Funding the Nation by John Hamilton [J 336.2 HAM] and Taxes by Norman Macht [J 336.2 MAC]. Teachers may find this page useful.

    For adult books on the topic, visit the 336 section.

    And, smile, you're a good citizen!

    Monday, April 14, 2008

    A Titanic Film

    On this date in 1912, the unsinkable ship, the Titanic, went down. There has been a plethora of items created that deal with the Titantic's sinking, but perhaps the most famous is the film Titanic [DVD TIT] starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Back in 1997 the film swept the Academy Awards. It was nominated for 14 Oscars and won eleven, including "Best Picture," "Best Actress in a Leading Role," "Best Visual Effects," and "Best Original Song." The "Best Director" Oscar went to Titanic's director, James Cameron, who became fleetingly ultra-famous for his role in directing the blockbuster. (We have the book, James Cameron's Titanic [791.43 KIR], which was photographed by Douglas Kirkland.) Since that time, it seems that Cameron's work has been mainly in doumentary films and television.

    It was the male lead, Leonardo DiCaprio, who made the film as popular as it was. With DiCaprio's fresh good looks he was the reigning Hollywood "hottie" for several years! He wasn't nominated for "Best Actor" in his role as the young hero, Jack, but none of the under-16 girls who flocked to the movies seemed to care! Here's the trailer:

    DiCaprio has gone on to star in many roles after Titanic, including Catch Me If You Can (2003) [DVD CAT], The Aviator (2005) [DVD AVI], and The Departed (2007) [DVD DEP]. He even garnered a nomination for his 2005 role as Howard Hughes in The Aviator, but he lost to Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray [DVD RAY]. Look for Leonardo to play Theodore Roosevelt in Martin Scorcese's film The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, to be released some time in 2009.

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    Poetry Friday--Help is on the Way!

    If you are not a regular reader of poetry, it may be that you think you it is something too complex for you to tackle. If that's the case, visit the Poetry Foundation where you can look at a few of their Reading Guides. I'd suggest reading the poem first, and then reading the commentary. Really, poetry is nothing to be afraid of!

    You could have guessed there'd be a book called How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love With Poetry! We have it! It's written by Edward Hirsch [808.1 HIR]. This from the Preface:
    My idea is to present certain emblematic poems I care about deeply and to offer strategies for reading these poems. My readings are meant to be instructive and suggestive, not definitive, since poems are endlessly interpretable.

    "Poems are endlessly interpretable," is the key. Your reading of a poem is as valid as anyone else's!

    Mary Oliver's A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry [808.1 OLI] takes you one step further--to at least thinking about writing poems of your own.

    Have fun!

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    The Sounds of Spring

    I love to wake in the morning now to the sounds of birdsong. That, and flowers, are the best part of spring. We don't yet have the abundance of flowers we usually get at this time of year due to the erratic winter, but the birds are out in full force!

    Why not help out our little feathered friends by putting together a birdhouse? We have a good number of birdhouse books including:

    Haus, Robyn. Make Your Own Birdhouses and Feeders. [J 690 HAU]
    For simple and easy family projects, pick up this book written for kids. One of the most unique feeders in the book is the "Edible 'Birdhouse' (with an Oat-Thatched Roof)." This cardboard feeder is not a real house, but rather is a different take on the peanut butter birdseed projects that kids usually make using pinecones.

    Jenkins, Alison. Birdhouses: From Castles to Cottages--20 Simple Homes and Feeders to Make in a Weekend. [690.892 JEN]
    This colorful book provides step-by-step instructions accompanied by photos of each step. And the best thing about it is the finished products LOOK like something that someone has made. This is not a bad thing--it shows the reader that not everything has to look as though it came out of a box!

    Laubach, Rene, and Christyna M. The Backyard Birdhouse Book: Building Nestboxes and Creating Natural Habitats. [692.892 LAU]
    This book not only gives instructions for making birdhouses, it also provides an abundance of information on the birds that nest in these boxes. You'll find habitat needs listed as well as possible problems.

    McGhee, Colin. Rustic Birdhouses and Feeders: Unique Thatched-Roof Designs Built to Audubon Specifications. [692.892 MCG]
    I love this one! Thatched roofs for birds--who woulda thunk it? This book also includes a house for bats! If you live near a source of water, you may want to attract bats to keep the mosquito population under control. (Sadly, there is some mysterious disease that is now killing off scores of bats in the Northeast!)

    If you'd like to identify the birds that are singing outside your bedroom window, borrow this set of DVDs: Audubon Videoguide to 505 Birds of North America [598 AUD].

    Wednesday, April 09, 2008

    Video Gaming

    I attended a library co-op meeting this morning where the speaker, independent library consultant, Beth Gallaway, spoke on video gaming in libraries. I found it enlightening to hear the arguments in favor of having programs for teens and multi-generational groups using video gaming--from social interaction to creative thinking. According to Gallaway, video games are simply another literary format that libraries must carry and promote. She likened them to records, movies, television, videos, etc., all of which initially frightened book lovers, but which have come to be embraced by the public at large, and shortly thereafter, by libraries.

    To learn more about video games and literacy, look for What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee [794.8019 GEE]. To quickly see what gaming is all about, grab a copy of the magazine, Electric Gaming Monthly [YA MAG ELE].

    An interesting sidenote: the director of the Nashua Public Library mentioned that video-gaming actually started in Nashua with the development of "Pong" at Sanders Associates. I looked it up and found that although Sanders first applied for a patent, another game had actually been developed earlier, but no patent had been applied for. Here's the story.

    Three popular video games that are often used in public library programs are "Dance Dance Revolution," "Guitar Master," and "Rock Band." Social video gaming something worth investigating I think. I'd definitely like to try one or two of the games! I tried DDR last year, but I did it with a bunch of teens. It's the quickest way I know of to be made to feel like an old fart!

    Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    Here's to a Great Season!

    At long last the Sox are home in Boston! Time to get out those Papelbon and Youkilis teeshirts!

    I hope the Sox give us as many thrills in '08 as they did in '07!

    To start the baseball season off well-read, here are a few relatively new baseball titles to look for on your next visit to the library:

    Canseco, Jose. Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball. [B CAN]

    Cook, Sally and James Charlton. Hey Batta Batta Swing! The Wild Old Days of Baseball. [J 796.357 COO]

    Goode, Jon. Pitching with the Papelbons. [JP GOO]

    Holley, Michael. Red Sox Rule: A Season in the Life of a Manager. [796.357 HOL]

    Krantz, Les. Reel Baseball: Baseball's Golden Era, the Way America Witnessed It--In the Movie Newsreels. [796.357 KRA]

    Ortiz, David. Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits. [B ORT]

    Since tickets to a Red Sox game are "scarcer than hen's teeth," you may not be able to go to Fenway. Consider attending a Red Sox minor league team. The Fisher Cats host the Portland Sea Dogs several times during the 2008 season!

    Go Sox!

    Monday, April 07, 2008

    Climate Change

    There are some who will argue about whether or not humans are the cause of global climate change, but I don't think there are any who will argue that climate change is not happening!

    The Museum of Science in Boston has an exhibit, Double Exposure: Photographing Global Climate Change, that makes the signs of change painfully obvious:
    Leading the Museum of Science was one way founding director Bradford Washburn shared his love of learning; his photographs were another. Beginning in the 1930s, Washburn shot over 8,000 black-and-white photos of mountains and glaciers as he suspended his aerial camera from planes and shot rolls of eight-inch film.

    In viewing Washburn's photographs, environmental photojournalist and former Boston Globe reporter David Arnold wondered how global warming may have altered these icy landscapes. In 2005, he began retracing Washburn's steps and re-shooting these photographs from the same angles and vantage points the pioneering mountaineer had used decades earlier. Although Arnold captured the same terrain, the recent images are vastly different and provide powerful evidence of how our planet is changing.

    To sign up to use the library's pass to the Museum of Science, click here.

    If you don't want to travel to Boston, you can see the photos at the Double Exposure website. To hear an interview with reporter David Arnold, click here.

    The following is a small sample of the items on climate change in our collection:

    Cox, John D. Climate Crash: Abrupt Climate Change and What It Means for Our Future. [551.79 COX]

    Dimming the Sun. [DVD 551.6 DIM]

    Flannery, Tim F. The Weather Makers: How Man is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth. [363.73874 FLA]

    Kunstler, James Howard. The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of the Oil Age, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century. [303.4973 KUN]

    Lynas, Mark. High Tide: The Truth about Our Climate Crisis. [363.736 LYN]

    Friday, April 04, 2008

    Poetry Friday--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    I don't know if King was intentionally a poet, but parts of his speeches could very easily be written out as poems. Take this from his last speech, given 40 years ago last night,
    I don't know what will happen now.
    We've got some difficult days ahead.
    It doesn't matter with me.
    Because I've been to the mountaintop.

    And I don't mind. Like anybody,
    I would like to live a long life.
    Longevity has its place.
    I'm not concerned about that now.

    I just want to do God's will.
    He's allowed me to go up to the mountain.
    And I've looked over.
    I've seen the promised land.

    I may not get there with you.
    But I want you to know, that we,
    as a people will get to the promised land.
    I'm happy, tonight.

    I'm not worried about anything.
    I'm not fearing any man.
    Mine eyes have seen the glory
    of the coming of the Lord.

    Peace to all.

    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    Whom Do You Trust?

    For years now, we've heard that we should drink 8 cups of water (2 quarts) a day. Last night on the news I heard that there is no evidence to prove that drinking that much water is good for you!

    Then this morning on NPR I heard the same thing! Fine...it would be a relief not to have to suck down all that water and then rush off to the bathroom every 20 minutes, but, I may just stick with my 2 quart routine. Know why? Because six months from now, someone is going to come along and release a study saying, "yes indeed, you DO need to drink all that water." So whom do you trust? You trust yourself. It may just be a coincidence, but since I started the 2 quarts a day, I've found that I have less congestion in my lungs. And now, with allergy season starting up again, I certainly don't want to add to my congestion!

    One thing that really bothered me (RANT ALERT!), was this from the NPR piece:
    "Water is a great strategy for dieters because it has no calories," says Madeline Fernstrom of the University of Pittsburgh. "So you can keep your mouth busy without food and get the sense of satisfaction."

    But water is not magical, she adds. Other zero-calorie options such as diet sodas are fine, too.

    Why in heaven's name, would someone promote drinking diet soda with all its added chemicals? DRINK WATER! Drink tap water and stop paying for all those fancy waters that come in plastic bottles (and end up as trash--the number of bottles that are recycled is disturbingly small)!

    We have become much too obsessed with fancy labels on things that are readily available for no, or nearly no, cost! Go to CNN.com, type in "Water that's gone to the dogs" and click CNN VIDEOS for a story about bottled water for dogs! What has this world come to?

    Here's a book by someone who is a strong advocate for drinking lots of water, Your Body's Many Cries for Water: You Are Not Sick, You Are Thirsty!: Don't Treat Thirst with Medication by F. Batmanghelidj [616 BAT]. Look for books to be released over the next year that will argue the opposite position!

    Again, trust yourself, but a word of advice--don't drink soda instead of water!

    Wednesday, April 02, 2008

    A Grand Reopening!

    After a year of rebuilding, the Currier Gallery of Art has opened again. The Currier was always what I considered a "do-able" museum, that is, you could see the whole thing in one visit. I'm hoping that with the expansion, it can still possess this quality of intimacy. Admission to the Currier is free from March 30 to April 6. Don't forget that we have a library pass for the Currier, so when this week's free admission has ended, please visit our museum pass webpage.

    From the website:
    To celebrate the completion of the expansion, all galleries will be devoted to the display of the museum’s collection for the first six months after reopening. Some areas of the installation will be temporary. One gallery will be dedicated to "Celebrating New Hampshire Artists," which will include works in all media by the most accomplished artists working in the state.

    After this first celebration of the collection, the museum will host an exhibition called, "Andy Warhol: Pop Politics." The exhibit
    will present together for the first-time Warhol’s paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs of political figures. Timed to coincide with the 2008 presidential election, this exhibition will offer a thought-provoking and entertaining look at the leaders who shaped the twentieth century through the eyes of Pop artist Andy Warhol.
    "Andy Warhol: Pop Politics" opens on September 25 and runs through January 4, 2009.

    Andy Warhol is the subject of a picture book for children, Uncle Andy's [JP WAR]. The book was written and illustrated by Warhol's nephew, James Warhola, and tells the story of young James' visit to his uncle Andy's studio in New York City.

    For a sample of Warhol's art, look for Andy Warhol by Eric Shanes [700.92 SHA]. And, to see the work of Warhol in relation to the other pop artists of the era, there are American Pop Icons [709.04 AME] and Pop Art: Selections from the Museum of Modern Art [709.04 POP].

    Tuesday, April 01, 2008

    Hate and Violence

    Last night, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College hosted a lecture by Northeastern U. professor, Jack Levin.

    Levin, who has a shock of white hair, and a wild mustache, started off his lecture with a light-hearted look at all the ways he has been mistaken for other people--from Albert Einstein to Captain Kangaroo. Unfortunately, once he launched into his topic, hate and violence, the laughter subsided. It is deeply disturbing to hear a catalog of hate crimes that have recently occurred in the United States and elsewhere around the world. When Levin told us that hate crimes against Muslim people increased more than 1,600 percent after 9/11, we were stunned.

    Want to look at the statistics on hate crimes? The FBI has statistics up the whazoo, click here. Of course, these statistics rely upon agencies reporting crimes, and the reporting is voluntary, so you'll find statistics like this for 2006: in the state of Alabama, only 1 hate crime was reported. In the state of New Hampshire, 34 were reported. Is NH a more hate-filled state than Alabama? I doubt it.

    It would be nice if we, as civilized people, could do something to counteract hate and violence. Levin left us with this word: empathy.

    We have these books in our collection, which would be especially good for those who work with, or raise children:

    Starting Small: Beginning a Program of Anti-Bias Education [370.117 STA].

    Stern-LaRosa, Caryl and Ellen Hofheimer Bettmann. The Anti-Defamation League's Hate Hurts: How Children Learn and Unlearn Prejudice [303.3 STE].

    Thomson, Barbara J. Words Can Hurt You: Beginning a Program of Anti-Bias Education [372 THO].

    If you want to "Stand Strong against Hate," click here and add your name.