Friday, April 30, 2010

Arrrrrrrbor Day.

What do you get when you cross a pirate with a tree?  A larrrrch. A laurrrrrrel   A poplarrrrrrrrrrrgh.  Pathetic yet amusing.  Here's something sweet they do for Arbor Day every year in Godfrey, Illinois: throughout the year the Parks and Recreation Department hosts a Memorial Tree Program that plants trees for people in honor of their loved ones. Mostly flowering trees are used because they're pretty!  They're planted around a pond in Glazebrook Park. Then on Arbor Day tree lovers can stand around the pond and enjoy the pretty during a Memorial Tree Dedication.  Sounds like a lovely way to celebrate.
If you are interested in picking out a pretty tree for your very own property, we have some dandy books.
Ornamental Trees

Source:   Sentimental saplings: Annual Arbor Day event celebrates loved ones, by Jill Moon. The Telegraph,  (Alton, IL); 04/22/2010  as accessed through Ebscohost
Graphic credit:  Karen's Whimsey

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Find Yourself

Your online account has all kinds of entertainment opportunities.  Getting there: on our home page, click on Search in the upper right corner. Click on My Account. Input your Des Moines Public Library card number and PIN. Now you can:

Click on Items Out!  See what you have out and the due dates!   Check the boxes next to titles you want to keep longer then click on RENEW!   Is there anything being held for you?  Where are you in line for the next Evanovich book?  Find out!  Click on Hold Requests!  It's Colossal!   Fun for the whole family! Plus it's a handy way to keep track of your library life.

Des Moines Public Library

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poetry to Rhyme or not to Rhyme?

Rhyming poems.
Some are stirring, like Maya Angelou's Still I Rise:
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Some are sweet, like Helen Steiner Rice's  A Mother’s Love Is a Haven In the Storms of Life:
A mother’s love is like an island
in life’s ocean vast and wide-
A peaceful, quiet shelter
from the restless, rising tide.

But I'm a fan of free verse  Here's part of my favorite poem, e. e. cummings' Buffalo Bill's Defunct:
Buffalo Bill's
           who used to
           ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

Isn't that just fun?  Happy Poetry Month!
More Poetry Than You Can Shake A Stick At

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Medicine - Don't Take Just Anyone's Word for It

You know how many sites on the web give advice on medicine/supplements?  Approximately 4,098,772 gazillion.  How many are reliable and/or professional?  Probably less than 1 gazillion.  To play it safe, you can get drug facts from the National Library of Medicine.  You find access to "Drugs, Supplements, and Herbal Information" through their Medline Plus website.  They offer different ways to find a drug, so if you don't know what fluoxetine is you can just click on the letter P for Prozac. It refers you to fluoxetine, but you don't have to do a separate search, just click on the fluoxetine link!  I love these guys!  You get all kinds of facts, including answers to the ever-popular "What side effects can this medication cause?" question. When you have a question about the little pill you are washing down with whatever beverage (and with some drugs the beverage matters) here's a good place to start.
Medline Plus

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Gypsy In One Month!

May 26, 1948, Stevie Nicks was born. Well, Stephanie Nicks, the gal who goes to the grocery store, was born. The floaty romantic Ren-fest-dress-wearing Stevie Nicks was introduced to us by Fleetwood Mac in 1974. Such a girly-girl, then she opens her mouth and you hear this raspy yet luscious voice. Nicks was one of the few (maybe it was only her) women who were rock stars and didn't even pretend to be tough on stage. Even Pat Benatar who was about 3 feet tall and weighed as much as your average chicken, was ferocious. I forgot to mention that Stevie Nicks is a brilliant songwriter. Landslide. Enough said. All that and the coolest name ever. Happy Birthday to you - one month from now!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Argyle - It's Back!

And it's everywhere! Just to ensure you are not left out, here is a link to a Tartan Maker.  Not only can you design your very own argyle, you can make up a clan tartan!  If you make it neon there's a chance your combination has not already been used by an actual clan. 
OK, I had to dink around a little to figure it out. Here are some tips:
To change a color click on the box to the right of the band. 
Then click on the extreme upper left of the larger box so you can reset to white.
Now go to the rainbow stripe on the right of the box and click on the color you want.  Do this for every color you want to change
Click on Make It and admire your beautiful creation.  Just like the one to the left that I made.  I know you want one.  Who wouldn't!

Books on Clans and Tartans   In case you want to check out the real thing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Let's put Earth Day and gardening together.  Both have lots of dirt.  The Enquirer should be so lucky.  But back to my point, which is Earth Day plus gardening equals organic gardening!  Tackle the challenge of coaxing fine produce out of good old Iowa soil without the use of icky stuff.  Apparently there are lots of other ways of fighting off pests and diseases.  Case in point:  according to The gardener's A-Z guide to growing organic food, you can "Spray fruit trees with liquid prevent spread of fungus".  Yet another use for seaweed, Mother Nature's baking soda.
We have loads of books with information about Organic Gardening

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Anniversary of Ashes Blown Into Space

Happily, not of the volcanic type. On April 21 1997, a capsule carrying Gene Roddenberry's ashes was shot into space on a Pegasus XL rocket. Don't know if this kind of thing will happen again, what with the downsizing of the space program, but it couldn't have happened to a better guy. And apparently he could use this anniversary publicity. I was speaking with a young colleague lately about the original Star Trek.  He thought we were speaking of Next Generation!  Quelle horreur!  We have DVD's of the actual original Star Trek so there's no excuse.  Get to watchin', young-uns. 

Star trek, the original series. Season one  See, it says original series!  And it is not Next Generation.
Star trek, the original series. Season two
Star trek, the original series. Season three
Star trek creator : the authorized biography of Gene Roddenberry

SOURCE: Associated Press

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Attack of the Titans

Yeah, Clash of the Titans took a few - thousand - liberties with Greek Mythology.  Here's a highlight I've always wanted to see and they never put it in the movies:  Pegasus (and there's only one) actually springs from the blood of Medusa when Perseus cuts off her head.  Wouldn't you rather watch a horse growing out of Medusa's neck than, well, just about anything?  I know I would.  And Io.  For pity's sake, she was one of the beauties Zeus had a crush on and his wife was jealous so Zeus changed Io into a cow but Hera knew it was still Io and made Zeus give her the cow as a present and it was a whole thing.  More fun to watch, but I suppose not more fun for Io.  If you are in need of real entertainment  read the myths.  You would not believe the shenanigans that bunch got up to.
Greek Mythology Books

Monday, April 19, 2010

Placing Reserves Online

Put holds on your favorites from your very own home computer!
1. Find your book (cd, dvd, what have you) by typing in the search box at the upper right of the home page.
2. Click on the title of the item you want.
3. Just above "Copy/Holding Information" there's a box that says Request Item. Click on it!
4. Now we need your library card number and PIN - the PIN is usually the last 4 numbers of your phone number.
5. After you've entered those, click on Login.
6. Next you get to choose your pick-up place. To select a library different from the one that's showing, click on the arrow next to the box that has the library name in it.
7. Select your library by clicking on it.
8. And... click on request, get the message that your request has been successfully placed. Boom! you have reserved your stuff, sit back and wait to be notified that we're holding it for you.
We only pull items twice a day, so your reserves will not be pulled immediately.  For that, please call us at 283-4152 and press 3.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Three Good Biographies with Illnesses

No, the biographies aren't sick.  It occurred to me, as thoughts sometime do, that I'd read several biographies written by women who struggle with illness and manage to be quite funny about it.  How do they do it!  Here's a few enjoyable books from unlikely sources.

Cancer Schmancer  OK, it's Fran Drescher.  But you're reading, you don't have to listen to her voice.  It took this woman two years just to get her cancer diagnosed.  Then there's treatment, then the trials in her personal life. Yet on the cover she's still smiling like nothing bad ever happened to her. That's how the book reads.

Model patient : my life as an incurable wise-ass / Karen Duffy.  Remember Karen Duffy?  Nobody does.  She was an MTV-VJ very beautiful, very funny.  She has a rare form of sarcoidosis that caused a big lesion in her brain.  Duffy went through paralysis and terrible pain and now hosts House of Tiny Terrors on TLC.  Now that's resilience!

It's always something / Gilda Radner.  The book is about her life as a woman, not as a performer. After her long battle with ovarian cancer, we all know how this one ends.  Sigh.  Her voice comes through beautifully; reading the book is like having a chat with Gilda.  Sad but warming.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

National Frog Month

Could April get any better?  First Humor Month now National Frog month. Frogs are beautiful!  Bright blue dart-poison frogs; lemon and black; scarlet and black; deep coral; fire red.  Did I mention these are all dart-poison frogs?   Why are the pretty ones always murderous little fiends.  And that looong sticky tongue?  So swift it can snatch a bug and reel it on in faster than we humans can see.  The Indian water frog can run on the water for a few yards.  And you know how their eyes are up in those knobs?  If a frog is trying to swallow something especially large, she can pull her eyes down onto the roof of her mouth to apply pressure so that food goes right down the gullet.  Is it just me, or is that nasty?  Definitely weird.  Frogs totally deserve their own month.

Source:  Frogs / text by David Badger ; photography by John Netherton.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Eager Harbinger of Spring

You know spring is a'comin' when the AViD author series moseys on into town.  First up, Peter Hedges.  He is a Des Moines native, novel writer, screenplay scribe, movie director. "Why, I thought he just wrote novels," I hear you say.  Not only did Peter Hedges direct Dan in Real Life, he wrote and directed Pieces of April, and co-wrote the script for About a Boy. I have seen all of these movies and can personally attest that I really really liked them. By the way, the boy portraying the boy of About a Boy is all grown up and you might not recognize him, but he's a soldier in Clash of the Titans.  The young one, natch.  You can tell by the eyebrows.  Oh, and Peter Hedges will be speaking tonight at Hoyt Sherman Place Theater, 1501 Woodland Avenue, tonight at 7 PM!  Go see him, he's an interesting guy.

Peter Hedges' works

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sing With Me Now! National Library Week April 12-17

Let's announce the arrival of National Library Week with a song. Sung to the tune of Tom Lehrer's "National Brotherhood Week":

National Library Week, National Library Week,
We all love to check out books because that’s what we geek
Go to your local branch and just give us a chance
It’s only for one week, so …
Hey! Every week should be National Library Week.

In celebration, Franklin Avenue Library at Merle Hay Mall is asking people to sit and read (silently) in the window so shoppers passing by will see a live person reading. Just for fun! Plus small prizes. Call 283-4152 and press 3 to be transferred to Franklin and sign up for a half-hour. All ages welcome. For more information visit our 'Calendar of Events'.

Tom Lehrer fun:
That was the year that was. And the song MLF is NOT what you think it is. Stop that.
Revisited  Another fine CD of Lehrer's satirical songs.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Next Up: North Side Sale

Your bargain-hunting did not end with the East Side Library sale.  Oh no indeedy.  Coming to you tomorrow, Saturday April 10, is the the Annual North Side Library Book Sale!   You get an entire week to shop, the last day is Saturday April 17.  Did I mention it's Gigantic?!!  Here's what they'll be selling so take a deep breath.  Iowa materials, Life magazines, Look magazines, adult fiction, adult nonfiction, children's books, picture books, chapter books, children's nonfiction, teen books, audio books, videos, DVDs, music CDs!  Aaaahhh!  All sorts of media at ridiculously low, low, prices.  But not so low that the Friends of the North Side Library don't make some money.  That would be silly.

North Side Library location and hours

Thursday, April 8, 2010

National Humor Month

Remember the Saturday morning TV show Dinosaurs? With big animatronic puppets? In one episode, teenager Robby gulps down one of the rattish guys they keep in the fridge for snacks.  (They're dinosaurs.)  Anyway he feels guilty and coughs up the still-alive rat, which turns to Robby and with great dignity says:   "I had a hat".  Upon which the teen dinosaur coughs up the hat.  That is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.  Since April is National Humor Month I thought you'd like to know what makes me laugh.  OK, you don't really care.  So what makes you laugh?  Here's a variety of humor enablers:
Comedies on DVD

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fencing - In or Out

What with the no snow and warmer weather, you're starting to think outdoor projects.  Am I right?  Well how would you like a lovely fence?  Who knows, you might want a dog someday.  Or you might want to avoid visits from dogs you don't own.  See how that in-or-out comes into play here?  We have a nice selection of books that will assist you in attaining perfect fencedom.  The Fence Bible, for example, has your basic wood and ironwork enclosures.  But it also tackles stone, barbed wire (!), and brick.  Most of these (see exception in previous sentence) are very attractive as well as functional.  You know what they say about good fences.  In-or-out.
More Fences

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Prom Dresses - Party Like It's $19.99

Did I miss prom?  Am I too late?? Cause I want to talk dresses. When did prom dresses become so revealing that in the olden days only Cher would wear them to a formal affair?  And they are not cheap. One of my nieces went to prom in a dress from Schaffer's $9 sale.  She looked gorgeous and I will bring this up every time the price of prom dresses is mentioned.  Count on it.  I'm that annoying.  This time of year we get calls about any place that offers barely-used prom dresses for next to nothing.  Or actual nothing.  Here's the place!  Save yourselves!

The Glass Slipper
First Presbyterian Church, 3100 Easton Blvd.

HOURS: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Donations: Are accepted during closet hours, or make arrangements by calling Michelle Smith at 205-6144.

Source:  Des Moines Register  Mar 10, 2010 pg. 1 West Register,  as accessed through EBSCOHost 

Graphic Source:  Vintage Bulletin

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fee Changes Start Today - Just the Facts

Due to three years of budget cuts, as of today: 
1.   Audio books rent for $1 each.  Teen and Children's audio books still check out for free.  The check-out period remains 3 weeks, with 2 potential renewals. If someone has a hold on the audio book, it cannot be renewed.   Every time you renew an audiobook it will cost another dollar.  The overdue fine for all audiobooks remains $.25 per day.

2.  Children's videos and DVDs now cost $1.00 for a one week check-out.  Again there are 2 potential renewals, each of which will cost $1. If someone has a hold on a video or DVD, it cannot be renewed. The overdue fine for all DVD's and videos remains $.50 per day.

Thank you.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Human Atlas - Pull Over and Ask for Directions

I grew up with anatomy books that had transparencies stacked up to give you a view of every level of your innards. The classics.  Then holy katzenjammers!  Here's a photo of the cilia in your respiratory tract and they look like sea anemones, orange and purple and pink and yellow!  Another book has a photo of  beautiful, delicate kidney stone crystals.  So lovely, yet so evil.  And so much detail!  Maybe I just want to know where my gallbladder used to be. Ah, as with so many things, anatomy books have changed since my youth.  They're pretty cool now.
Human Anatomy Atlases

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's Day

Covering my ears, la, la, la, if I can't hear anything no one can pull a prank on me.  Ah, if only that were true.  Apparently the BBC is a legendary 04/01 prank-puller.  In 1957 they aired a recording of the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland. No, they actually showed footage of the  Swiss pasta-pickers gathering carbs.  Why Switzerland?  A Mystery. In 1965 they told the viewing public that Smell O'Vision broadcasting was on the way.  Was that a promise or a threat?  Just a joke!  In non-BBC related news, several wacky folks in Melbourne Australia put cling wrap around innocent people's cars in 2009.  Well, it was Australia.  Could have been worse.
Happy April Fool's Day!

Source: Geelong Advertiser; 04/02/2009, p14-14, 1  via EBSCOHost