Thursday, September 30, 2010

Take a Picture

As my husband and I drove past A and E the other day, I noticed the cow statues and thought to myself: "Wouldn't it be cool to have your picture taken with the cows?  I'll bet there are lots of places in Des Moines that would make a great backdrop for a snapshot!"  Down by the river the Chinese Pagoda is a bright little flower.  The Pappajohn Sculpture Garden has a wide range of art - love the horses. How about the Traveler's Umbrella?  You can't exactly climb up there but a friend suggested you might be able to pose yourself at ground level so it looks like you're holding a teeny tiny bumbershoot.  At the Des Moines Art Center you can actually position yourself inside a couple of the cairns (eggs).  I'm sure I'm missing all kinds of nifty places. Suggestions?
A book with photos of Des Moines:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What do You Have to Say for Yourself, Carl August Sandburg?

When in Des Moines on Thursday 3/13/1939 Mr. Sandburg did not have much to say in regards to his work.  But he was willing to chat about other subjects while the wife of Drake President D. W. Morehouse was ferrying Sandburg to catch his train, with reporter Robert W. Roet tagging along.  Sandburg had spent the previous evening singing and playing the guitar (!) at the Morehouse's home. Carl, that rogue,  mentioned he had dated the wife of Judge O. S. Franklin while attending college in Galesburg.  Then he averred that interviews 'made goulash out of his statements anyway'.  Sounds like a fun car ride.

Source:  Des Moines Tribune, 3/16/1939 p. 16

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Alcohol, Raisins, Arthritis, Oh m.....What?

You remember Paul Harvey.  The broadcaster, who died in February 2009, wielded a significant amount of influence in the Heartland.  Here's a surprise:  Mr. Harvey aired an arthritis remedy that consisted of gin-soaked raisins.  I forgot - golden raisins.  No garden-variety school-lunchbox raisins need apply. Apparently after his broadcast mentioning this, sales of golden raisins in areas with more elderly people shot up.  Oh the power of the media!  If you prefer a more modern remedy, Consumer Reports on Health says fish oil supplements may help arthritis sufferers.  Gin-soaked golden raisins sound like more fun.  If you like raisins.

Source:  Des Moines Register 5/29/1995 p. 3A
Consumer Reports on Health; May2010, Vol. 22 Issue 5, p1-5, 3p, 4 as accessed through EBSCOhost

Monday, September 27, 2010

Uncrunchy Serials

Serials are a little different in our catalog.  Your Fodor's travel guides, your World Almanac's, your magazines.  Say you want to put a reserve on one of these babies.  For a novel you'd just search the title, click on the title, click on Reserve Item and pop in your library card number and PIN.  Serials are wily.  Actually, the computer needs to know which exact copy you want, because we have many many issues of People Magazine.  So here is how you reserve an item that is part of a serial:
When you get to that which you desire, say, Fodor's Prague and Budapest, click on the title. But wait, you cry!  There's only one of these!  Still part of a serial, have to follow the steps. To the left under Item Information click on Holdings.  Next under Copy/Holding Information over to the right click on Request Copy. Now you can mosey on through the rest of the usual reserve process.  And just to keep things interesting not all travel guides are serials. One or the other reserve processes should work.  Remember, we're here for you.  283-4152 press 3.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Say Forensics!

The age-old question.  Why the heck does the word 'forensics' apply to both CSI and high school debate teams?  I am not kidding here. Is the guy to the right giving a speach or testing some gunk?  Origin of the word 'forensics':  from the  Latin forensis meaning public, from 'forum'. That makes sense for the debate definition.  But it doesn't say anything about finding our how old a bug on a body is. Actually the first definition for forensics offered by Webster's is "belonging to, used in, or suitable to courts of judicature or to public discussion and debate"   The CSI stuff still seems like a bit of a stretch. But those of you interested in the bug kind of forensics will be happy to know we have beau-coup books for your enjoyment.

CSI-type Forensic Science Books

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month! Wheee!

Quick, before you miss it!  If you don't have a library card, now is an excellent time to get one. Bring in photo ID and something with your current residential address and we can get cracking.   Cold weather's a'coming and you don't want to be stuck at home left to your own devices.  That can lead to Projects, plumbing tools strewn about the kitchen floor, getting out the sander you haven't used in years, you get the picture. Just say go.  To the library!  Ha!  Ha!  So get a card and Read a Book!  Read a Book!  You'll Get Hooked!  Once You've Looked!  So Reaaaaaaaaaad aaa Booooooooook!  I'll stop now.  Of course your library card also brings you access to CD's, movies, online resources, it never ends.  But because it's National Library Card Sign-Up Month, let's all Read a Book!!! 
You could start with these, I loved them! They're different!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Now What is the Yellow one for?

Yellow's not so great.  You thought blue was the ultimate prize?  There are ribbons even better than the blue one. According to the Iowa State Fair Board in 1961, two colors were better than blue and there were lots of other colors in general.  Ready? Go!
Royal Purple -- Grand Champion
Lavender -- Reserve Champion
Blue -- 1st
Red -- 2nd
White -- 3rd
Pink -- 4th
Yellow -- 5th
Dark Green -- 6th
Light Green -- 7th
Tan -- 8th
Gray -- 9th
Light Blue -- 10th
Notice how the colors get less vivid after 6th place?  Maybe those ribbons are modest.  And you do run the risk of mixing up Lavender and Light Blue.  But the Iowa State Fair is so much more than ribbons.  Here's a book about the Iowa State Fair that looks like fun for all!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

ACT Practice, Practice, Practice,

Do you know about our fabulous online resource, the LearningExpress Library?  LEL includes actual study guides for exams like...  the ACT!!  Practice online from the comfort of where ever you keep your computer!  Here's how:
1. On our homepage, click on Online Resources.
2. Choose Learning Express Library.
3.  Enter your Des Moines Public Library card number.  The whole thing.  Add your PIN which is usually the last 4 numbers of your telephone number.
4.  You will need to set up an account - just a user name and password of your choosing - whether you use the database in the library or from home. The only reason this is required has to do with one of the database's coolest features.  If you don't complete a test in one session it remembers where you stopped and holds your place! So it has to know who you are.
5.  LearningExpress also asks you for an email address. You Do Not Have to Provide One.  Just click on Continue.  You can also click on Do Not Show Me This Again if you want them to cut it out.  So go on now and study for your ACT.  Doesn't matter if you forgot your book at school.  We're not even sorry.
LearningExpress Library Test Preparation

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jelly Roll Morton Birthday

The jazz man's legal name was Ferdinand Joseph Morton born September 20, 1885 in Gulfport, Louisiana.  He came from a long line of Creoles in that fine state.  Mr. Morton was a talented musician, playing at least three instruments - harmonica, guitar and piano.  The last one got him in hot water.  Around the age of 17 he started playing piano in, ahem, 'houses of ill repute'.  As a result of this his great-grandmother got so mad she tossed him out of the family.  Which was of course was pretty tough on Jelly Roll.  (Is there a musician with a yummier name?)  But as his career continued he became well known as a musician, composer and snappy dresser. He pioneered the  diamond-in-the front-tooth look. But his real groundbreaking work was in publishing compositions. The "Jelly Roll Blues" published in 1915, was probably the first jazz orchestration ever printed.  Morton died in 1940 of "cardiac decomposition".  Yikes.  His life was the basis for the Broadway musical "Jelly's Last Jam".  Hardly anyone gets a diamond in their tooth and a Broadway show about their life.  Too cool.

Source:  Dictionary of American Biography, 1973 as accessed through Ebscohost

Friday, September 17, 2010

Read my Palm

No less an authority than Cosmo says palm reading is hot right now.  Oh wait, I should clear this up.  I am not talking about a small electronic device.  Although you'd be amazed how many articles on those gadgets are listed under 'Palm Reading'. I refer to the art of using the lines on a person's hand to tell their future. Apparently business is good for psychics now.  Maybe because the palm reader is one of the few people who will most likely give you good news.  What are you paying them for, anyway?  Their time and expertise, that's what.
In England you can have your palm read by phone after downloading the required application.  The phone takes a picture of you palm, the palmist reads the hand in the photo, you get an answer.  Is there nothing a cell phone can't do?  So if you send a photo of your palm with your Palm phone you get a Palm palm reading.  Perfect for cheerleaders.  Sound it out.

RCR Wireless News; 4/4/2005, Vol. 24 Issue 14, p16-16, 1/9p
Cosmopolitan; Apr2010, Vol. 248 Issue 4, p214-214, 1p,
 Both as accessed through Ebscohost
Palmistry Resources

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sondheim and Silvery Song

Apparently there is no rhyme for silver.  I was unaware.  Yet this is so important that no less than Stephen Sondheim was moved to write a poem in regards.  It goes like this: To find a rhyme for silver
Or any "rhymeless" rhyme
Requires only will, ver-
bosity and time.
See what he did there?  If you add will and ver you get a rhyme for silver.  That would be cheating, except I believe anything goes in the mad, extreme world of poetry. 
Sondheim's ditty appeared in the letters section of Time magazine as reported by Willard Espy in his book "Words at Play". That Sondheim is a funny funny guy.

Source:  Des Moines Register, 5/18/1979 p. 8

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dog Breeds

Popular dogs. You know, the ones that hang out together at lunch, wear the right clothes, have perfect hair and go to each others parties.  Here is a list of the most popular dogs in the U. S.  Of course they were only looking at registered breeds, so that leaves mutts and mash-ups (cockapoos, anyone?) out.  I thought I'd try to use the word 'mashup' before it goes completely out of style.  Which I hope will be soon.

Most popular breeds by number of dogs registered:
(1) Labrador retrievers 100,736
(2) Yorkshire terriers 41,914
(3) German shepherds 40,909
(4) Golden retrievers 34,485
(5) Beagles 33,722

My personal favorites are:
Great Pyrenees; Labs; Corgis; Mutts/Mixes of the 'poo' variety; Yorkies.  Ordinarily I'm not a fan of tiny dogs, but the little Yorkies I've met have been happy to see me without the yapping.  And I got to pet a Great Pyrenees at the RenFaire.  Heaven.

Source:  Time for Kids; 4/24/2009, Vol. 14 Issue 24, p3-3, 1/4p, as accessed through Ebscohost

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just a Mockingbird

 This week we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird.  It is one of the few books that I consider to be perfect.  Sad, but perfect. The 6-year-old main character, Scout was the first fully-realized tomboy I'd met in literature.  She didn't want an add-a-pearl necklace, she wanted to climb a tree.  She was smart. But still a child, whose magical thinking accepted the presents in the tree hollow as a natural occurrence. She is amazing as is her brother Jem.  Amazing real.  After achieving such perfection, Harper Lee continued to write but produced no other novel.  So she settled down living in New York and with her lawyer sister Alice Lee in Monroe Alabama, where she grew up.  Read the novel. See the movie.  Then read Harper Lee's biography for insight into how it is she produced one perfect book.
To Kill A Mockingbird - novel
To Kill a Mockingbird - movie
Mockingbird : a portrait of Harper Lee / Charles J. Shields
Mockingbird events in the Des Moines Public Library system.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Way Outer Limits

On Sept 13,1963, The Outer Limits premiered. This poor cousin of The Twilight Zone built tension like nobody’s business, what's that noise outside? A giant alien? Maybe.  Did you know that it was two episodes of The Outer Limits that provided the foundation for the Terminator movies? The episodes were: Soldier, in which a human killing machine is transported back from the future; and Demon with a Glass Hand, who is sent back from a future in which earth has been conquered by aliens - and discovers he is a robot who for the next 1200 years must guard that which will save human kind. Both episodes were written by Harlan Ellison, who sued (you do not mess with Harlan Ellison). Ellison is now acknowledged in the writing credits for Terminator and I know we’re all very excited for him.  The following would be an excellent introduction to Ellison's work:
The essential Ellison : a 35-year retrospective

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ren, not Stimpy, Faire

Weather permitting, my husband and I are going to the Renaissance Faire this weekend.  I want to ride the pony and climb up in the tree house.  What am I, 10?  Apparently so.  The clothes folks wear are so cool it's fun just to watch people parade around.   Lots of velvet and pearls and dress styles that are flattering for those of us who are not thin.  Although I imagine it would be more difficult riding a pony or climbing a treehouse garbed thus. Garb.  That's what you call ren faire clothes. If you are interested in creating your own beautiful dresses, vests, various forms of garb, the following books might be helpful. You can be ready for next year's festival! 

Des Moines Renaissance Faire

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Popular Crowd

According to The Top Ten of Everything, these are the Bestselling English-language authors OF ALL TIME.

How is that even possible?  Purportedly they've each had sales of 4,000,000,000.  Kind of makes J. K. Rowling  look like a piker with her measly 400,000,000. 
Enid Blyton ????????  (British children's book writer; published 8 in 1986 alone.)
Dr. Seuss

Aha! There is a caveat next to the list.  Apparently the numbers are estimates, especially for the older books.  The records on Shakespeare's book sales from the 18th-19th centuries probably aren't too accurate. This may also explain how dear sweet Barbara Cartland wound up on the list.  However, most of her books were published as inexpensive paperbacks and goodness knows she was prolific.  Romance readers, here's a little validation.  There you go.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I can Do it Myself

I'm reading Last rituals : an Icelandic novel of secret symbols, medieval witchcraft, and modern murder.  By Yrsa Sigurdardóttir.  I know! But I decided I didn't have to pronounce this so I'm good.  Anyway the main character is a lawyer and the mother of two, one a little girl.  Get this:  she brushes her daughter's teeth.  Now this kid is at least 6, and her arms and hands work just fine.  Every time I picture this it stops me reading long enough to think what? Then I get over myself.  Anyway I thought you'd like to know about toothbrushes.  Some kind of tooth cleaner has existed since around since 3000 B. C., the first being a stick rubbed against the teeth.  In 1498 the Chinese began to use boar bristles attached to a length of bone or bamboo.  In 1938 nylon bristles arrived and the modern toothbrush was born. Hurray! My source for these tidbits (Everyday Mysteries, Library of Congress) includes a photo of a 4-year-old nonchalantly brushing her own teeth.  She must be gifted.  Or I am unnaturally obsessed with oral hygiene practices in Iceland.  You decide.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Hours at Forest and North Side Libraries

Tuesday, September 7th, it all begins!
New Forest Avenue hours: 
Mon: 12-8
Tues: 10-6
Wed: 10-6
Thurs: 10-6
Fri: Closed
Sat: 10-5 the first and third Saturday of the month
Sun:  Closed

New North Side hours: 
Mon: 12-8
Tues: 10-6
Wed: 10-6
Thurs: Closed
Fri: 10-6
Sat: 10-5 the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.
Sun: Closed
There's even a little poem to help you remember the hours -  here!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Closed for Labor Day - Have an Enjoyable Holiday

All six locations of the Des Moines Public Library are closed today in observance of Labor Day.  We will open tomorrow, Tuesday September 7th.
The calendar may not admit it but summer is closed for the season. I'm still wearing white if I want to.  At least it'll be white until I get salsa all over it.  May you all eat something potentially messy and extremely tasty today!

Graphic Source:  The Simple Dollar

Friday, September 3, 2010

Labor Day Closures Start Today; Folksy Weather

All locations of the Des Moines Public Library are closed Friday September 3rd through Monday September 6th.  We will reopen Tuesday September 7th.  (Friday is a furlough day so the staff does not get paid.) 
And now a  morsel of folklore from the Old Farmers Almanac:
"Married in September's golden glow, smooth and serene your life will go."

If you cottoned to that quote, you might enjoy this book:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Save Your Bacons! Plus Closed Friday 9/3 through Monday9/6

This always confuses me.  There's a Francis Bacon from the Elizabethan Era who is presumed by some to have written Shakespeare's plays.  Then there is the contemporary artist Francis Bacon who, last time I visited, had a painting in the Des Moines Art Center that scared the bejaybers out of me.  Can't be the same guy but what are the chances of there being two famous Francis Bacons?  Turns out, pretty good.

Francis Bacon of then: 1561-1626. Apparently the Shakespeare thing is pretty much poo-pooed now.  He was a famous politician, philosopher, scientist and writer. This Bacon is considered by some a founder of  modern science, and occultists claim him as one of their own.  Busy guy.
Francis Bacon of now: 1909-1992.  Known for his disturbing paintings of anything he painted.  OK, maybe not everything is disturbing but Oh My. The one that frightened me depicts a pope sitting in a chair, the paint swiped across him in such a way that the pope appears to be, well, very upset.  Painter Bacon was a prominent artist whose paintings might appeal to occultists.  But not the ones who prefer paintings of flowers.  I was stretching there to provide a connection as I do not have the patience for 6 degrees.
Now try to remember these two.  I may have to ask you about them later.

Source:  Biography Resource Center
Elizabethan Bacon, Books by
Painter Bacon Books

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Phineas Gage and his Trusty Tamper

You know that guy who had a huge spike blast through his noggin and lived to tell the tale?  That was Phineas Gage.  The spike was a tamping iron and it was huge, weighing in at 13 pounds.  He was working on the railroad, pounding explosives into a hole and Boom!  The tamping iron not only went through Phineas' head, it kept going and landed dozens of feet away.  Now post-brain-piercing Mr. Gage underwent a profound personality change, from an ordinary fellow to a bad-tempered guy who drank too much.  Scientists said "Hmmm. If damage to his brain changed his personality, maybe there's a link!"  Years later (1994) the University of Iowa used their electronic imaging technology on Gage's skull and affirmed cause and effect. In 2009 a portrait was found that is believed to be that of Phineas Gage.  He looks pretty good under the circumstances.

Smithsonian, Jan 2010 v40 i10 p8(3) as reproduced in the Biography Resource Center