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Friday, December 28, 2018

Poetry Friday--Winter Morning Walks

Winter Morning Walks [811.54 KOO] is a slender volume of one hundred postcard poems that Nebraskan poet, Ted Kooser, sent to fellow writer, Jim Harrison.

Kooser, recuperating from a bout with cancer in the late 1990s, began a daily practice of walking and writing a small poem to fit on a postcard. Each poem is prefaced with a single sentence about the conditions outdoors.

Photo courtesy National Archives.

Here is the poem dated December 28:
Windy and at the freezing point.

There are days when the world
has a hard time keeping its clouds on,
and its grass in place, and this
is one of them, tumbleweeds
huddled up under the skirts
of the cedars, oak trees
joining hands in the windy grove.
Even the dawn light, blocky
with pink and yellow and blue
like a comics section, quickly
fluttered away, leaving a Sunday
the color of news.
What a masterful little poem! Sadly, a dozen years from now, readers may no longer understand the references to a comics section, and, the news.

Head over to see Donna at Mainely Write. She is hosting the last of this year's Poetry Friday Round-Ups from her new home in PA.

Finally, join me in wishing a happy retirement to Library Director, Carl Heidenblad! He has new adventures in store.

Happy New Year to all! See you in 2019.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Romantic Comedies

Yesterday we looked at the category of film known as the "Screwball Comedy," which featured socialites and other members of the upper classes; its heyday was the 1930s and early 40s.

World War II, and the equalization of the social classes led to a type of film more broadly known at the "Romantic Comedy," in which the main characters came from all walks of life. You'll also find that many of the romantic comedies from this period include music. And quite of number of them balance the comedic elements with rather serious social issues!

Look for these romantic comedies from the 1950s and 1960s:

The Apartment (1960). [DVD APA]

Can-Can (1960). [DVD CAN]

How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965). [DVD HOW]

Love With the Proper Stranger (1963). [DVD LOV]

Operation Petticoat (1959). [DVD OPE]

Pillow Talk (1959) [DVD PIL]

The Seven Year Itch (1955). [DVD SEV]

Some Like it Hot (1959). [DVD SOM]

Three Coins in the Fountain (1959). [DVD THR]

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Phew! Now You Can Sit Down

The rush of the holidaya is over! Now you can sit down and put your feet up and relax. Since you're relaxing, you may as well watch a movie. But, nothing too heavy. A laugh or two would be nice...

So, how about a good, old-fashioned "screwball comedy"? If you're not familiar with the term, here's how Wikipedia describes it:
Screwball comedy is a subgenre of the romantic comedy film that became popular during the Great Depression, originating in the early 1930s and thriving until the early 1940s. It is widely known for satirizing the traditional love story. Many secondary characteristics of this genre are similar to film noir, but it distinguishes itself for being characterized by a female that dominates the relationship with the male central character, whose masculinity is challenged. The two engage in a humorous battle of the sexes, which was a new theme for Hollywood and audiences at the time. What sets the screwball comedy apart from the generic romantic comedy is that "screwball comedy puts its emphasis on a funny spoofing of love, while the more traditional romantic ultimately accents love." Other elements of the screwball comedy include fast-paced, overlapping repartee, farcical situations, escapist themes, physical battle of the sexes, disguise and masquerade, and plot lines involving courtship and marriage.

We have a nice classic movie collection and it includes a number of screwball comedies such as these five:

Bringing Up Baby (1938). [DVD BRI]
An heiress determined to catch a zoologist uses her pet leopard, Baby, to get his attention.

The Front Page (1931). [DVD FRO]
An unscurpulous newspaper editor tries to convince his star reporter to do one last story about a condemned man awaiting execution while at the same time, he tries to prevent that same reporter from marrying.

It Happened One Night (1934). [DVD IT]
A rich young woman marries an idle playboy against her father's will. Her father holds her captive on his yacht but she escapes and, while on her way to New York, becomes entangled with an unemployed news reporter.

The Thin Man (there were six films in "The Thin Man" series released 1934-1947). [DVD THI]
The jaunty whodunit that made William Powell and Myrna Loy the champagne elite of sleuthing. Nick and Nora Charles combine screwball romance with mystery.

Top Hat (1935). [DVD TOP]
Rogers and Astaire are caught up in a mistaken-identity plot, in which Rogers assumes that Astaire is already married and is alternately charmed and disgusted by Astaire's advances.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Poetry Friday--Phenomenal Sky!

If you happened to have been in New Hampshire's north country last week, you may have been lucky enough to see a wonderful display of sky phenomena. Surprisingly, I didn't learn of it from our regional media. I discovered it on Facebook from someone who had read about it in the Washington Post!

Photo of ice halos by Steve LeBaron and posted on NH Department of Transportation Facebook page.

The Washington Post article explains the science behind the unusual atmospheric conditions. It is a fascinating account!

The picture above puts me in mind of moonbeams, and moonbeams led to "Heigho, My Dearie" by Eugene Field. It is also known as "Orkney Lullaby," but is titled "Heigho, My Dearie" in our copy of Poems of Childhood by Eugene Field (with illustrations by Maxfield Parrish) [J 811 FIE]. It is a reproduction of the original "Scribner Illustrated Classic" volume published in 1904.
A moonbeam floateth from the skies,
Whispering: "Heigho, my dearie!
I would spin a web before your eyes--
A beautiful web of silver light,
Wherein is many a wondrous sight
Of a radiant garden leagues away,
Where the softly tinkling lilies sway,
And the snow-white lambkins are at play--
      Heigho, my dearie!"

A brownie stealeth from the vine
      Singing: "Heigho, my dearie;
And will you hear this song of mine--
A song of the land of murk and mist
Where bideth the bud the dew hath kist?
Then let the moonbeam's web of light
Be spun before thee silvery white,
And I shall sing the livelong night--
      Heigho, my dearie!"

The night wind speedeth from the sea,
      Murmuring: "Heigho, my dearie;
I bring a mariner's prayer for thee;
So let the moonbeam veil thine eyes,
And the brownie sing thee lullabies--
But I shall rock thee to and fro,
Kissing the brow he loveth so,
And the prayer shall guard thy bed, I trow--
      Heigho, my dearie!"

Laura Shovan is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up today from Maryland. Be sure to stop by!

After today I'm taking a brief break from blogging. I plan to begin again on December 26, so, for now, I'll wish everyone happy holidays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Holiday Cooking

Hanukkah, St. Nicholas Day, Bodhi Day have passed. Las Posadas, the Winter Solstice, Pancha Ganapati, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve (and Day), and the Three Kings Day remain. There are many, many others to celebrate, too, at this time of year. Almost all involve sharing food.

Explore different holidays through special food items. Look for these books, and then break out those pots, pans, and mixing bowls:

Berenstain, Mike. The Berenstain Bears' Holiday Cookbook: Cub-Friendly Cooking with an Adult. [J 641.568 BER]

Copage, Eric V. Kwanzaa: An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking. [641.592 COP]

Kaufman, Cheryl Davidson. Cooking the Caribbean Way. [J 641.59729 KAU] (Look for other areas of the world which are covered in the "Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbooks" series in the children's room. The individual titles all cover holiday cooking.)

Lemoine, Yvan D. Foodfest 365!: The Officially Fun Food Holiday Cookbook. [eBook]

Nathan, Joan. Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook. [eBook]

Simonds, Nina. Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes. [J 394.26 SIM]

Zalben, Jane Breskin. To Every Season: A Family Holiday Cookbook. [J 641.568 ZAL]

Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


The online site, goodreads, has been sharing book recommendations for more than a decade and has been steadily growing since it is readers, like you, who review books. 2018 is also the tenth year goodreads has issued a "best of the year" list, which is voted on by readers in the goodreads community. The 2018 list was determined on the basis of more than five million votes! You read that right, 5,000,000+!

Find the 2018 results here.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Billy Strayhorn

On November 30, the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, announced the acquisition of the Billy Strayhorn archives. If the name, Billy Strayhorn doesn't ring a bell, then how about "Take the 'A' Train"?

Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn collaborated on more than 200 pieces of music, the most famous being "Take the 'A' Train."

Saxophone player, Joe Henderson, recorded a tribute album, Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn [CD JAZ HEN], which includes "Take the "A" Train."

Friday, December 07, 2018

Poetry Friday--Winter Lights

We're in the middle of the Jewish festival of lights, Hanukkah, which runs through Monday, December 10, so it's the perfect time to share a poem from the amazing collection by Anna Grossnickle Hines titled, Winter Lights: A Season in Poems and Quilts [J 811 HIN]:
Small Miracles

Hanukkah lights,
another each night,
until there are
eight in a row.
Flames romp on their heads,
and I don't go to bed
until they burn
down to their toes.

Just this small part of the quilt that accompanies the poem will give you an idea of the intricate fabric design and craft work found in the book:

If you're not familiar with Winter Lights, be sure to check it out for it is a celebration of all types of lights of the season from solstice fires to Christmas tree lights to Nian lanterns to the glow of the moon!

Visit Elizabeth Steinglass for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up!

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Edison and Recording

This is truly a momentous date for on December 6, 1877, inventor and visionary, Thomas A. Edison, recorded himself reciting the simple children's poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

The idea that sound could be recorded and then played again and again, must have been an absolute marvel to 19th century citizens.

Today, our options have increased many-fold and the modes of recordings have gone through numerous changes--from wax cylinders to shellac 78s to tape to vinyl to...

Some of the history of recording can be found in A Century of Recorded Music: Listening to Musical History by Timothy Day [780 DAY].

Do you think even Thomas A. Edison could have envisioned the sound recording capabilities we have today?

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

President Polk and the Gold Rush

What do you know about President James K. Polk? If truth be told, I know absolutely nothing!

In looking, I found that on this day in 1848, James Polk announced the discovery of gold in California and set in motion the part of U. S. history known as "the California Gold Rush."

For a quick brush-up (a minute's worth) on Polk, watch this:

And, here's a short film on the how the Gold Rush began:

Many in the east traveled west in search of gold. A true story of those who were left behind in Keene, NH, can be found in Sisters of Fortune: Being the True Story of How Three Motherless Sisters Saved Their Home in New England and Raised Their Younger Brother While Their Father Went Fortune Hunting in the California Gold Rush by Nancy Coffey Heffernan and Ann Page Stecker.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Marble Science

On Thursday, December 13, 4:00 pm, the SEE Science Center of Manchester will be at the Library to conduct a maker space program for kids in grades three and up. "Magnetic Marble Race" challenges kids to think outside the box. Participants will be divided into small groups and will engineer a course for a marble to travel at a slow rate of speed. However, the marbles they will be working with are not glass, but magnets in marble-shaped form.

Through experimentation and play, the kids will learn more about the science of motion and magnetism. If they'd like to do some pre-reading, our children's room science section has books on magnetism in J 538. Look for The Science Book of Magnets by Neil Ardley, or Science Experiments with Magnets by Alex Kuskowski.

Just for fun, watch this video of a good old-fashioned glass marble race and think about motion and gravity:

Monday, December 03, 2018

Do You Have a Business Plan?

If you're all finished with holiday shopping and you have a little time on your hands this month, consider this: December is "National Write a Business Plan Month."

If you have a small business, do you have a plan? If you don't have a business, do you have a plan for your career?

Before 2018 comes to an end, write a plan. You may find it will enable you to move forward when you seem to have been spinning your wheels.

Look for these to help you get started:

Blanchard, Kenneth H. Full Steam Ahead!: Unleash the Power of Vision in Your Company and Your Life. [AB/CD 650.1 BLA]

Covello, Joseph A. The Complete Book of Business Plans: Simple Steps to Writing Powerful Business Plans. [658.4 COV]

DuDell, Michael Parrish. Shark Tank: Jump Start Your Business: How to Grow a Business from Concept to Cash. [658.1 DUD]

Elizaga, Karen. Find Your Sweet Spot A Guide to Personal and Professional Excellence. [eBook]

Hawley, Casey. 10 Make-or-Break Career Moments: Navigate, Negotiate, and Communicate for Success. [650.1 HAW]

Selk, Jason. Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life. [eBook]

Williams, Edward E. Business Planning: 25 Keys to a Sound Business Plan. [eAudioback]