Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Craft Week - Keep it Clean

Did you know soap-making is a popular craft? Soap being made by people like you and me! (Well, you). Not only can you determine the look and shape of the soap, you can make it for different purposes. Soap to scrub, soap to soften, soap to fizz. Best of all depending on the brand of ingredients you use you can mix your own fragrance. Is that the best? Wonder if anyone wants to smell like chocolate.

A link to books on the not-as-prosaic-as-you'd-think world of Soapmaking.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Craft Week - Knit One

Want to make gifts for the holidays? Aauugh!!!! It's too late!!!! You should have started in May!! Sorry about the panic, it's just that I've already seen stuff in the stores. Stuff. Shudder. Anyway, we'll be having Craft Week here at the Blog du Randomness. So you can all panic! Or if you'd like to knit a present you might want to try out the Knitting Club. It used to be restricted to the youngsters, but it's just been opened to adults! Bring your own needles and yarn, and there will be a staff member there to assist, so come even if you are a beginner. Plus it's always extra fun to knit in a group. So I've heard. The Club meets once a month at the Central Library and here are the upcoming dates.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 3:30 PM
Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 3:30 PM

Click here for a list of knitting books in the Des Moines Public Library system.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Brand New Bird

Don't you just love it when a newly-discovered species is cute as a bug. Way cuter than a bug. Especially while so many species are endangered there are actually animals out there we have never seen before. 'We' being Western scientists, not the people who actually live next door to the bird. From Gabon Africa, we bring you the olive-backed forest robin. I had no idea there were robins of any kind in Africa. Shows you what I know. And this is not a case of wishful thinking on the part of the scientst's part, they actually did DNA testing to make sure the species was new.

New Bird Species Discovered In Gabon, Africa
Science Daily August 16, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Invented the Snopes

Today is William Faulkner's birthday. Yippee! Whoohoo! Happy Birthday to... Oh wait. I suspect he wasn't a 'yippee kind of guy'. However I would not have guessed he was the kind of guy to be a cadet pilot in the R.A.F. in 1918 in Canada. While he is identified as a Southern writer, the gentleman was obviously a man of the world. Plus he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Statuesque Ladies Vocalize

You've been dying to know this:
QUOTATION: The opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

Here goes: April 1978. The first basketball playoff game between The San Antonio Spurs and the Washington Bullets. After the game Dan Cook, sports broadcaster and writer for the San Antonio (Texas) Express-News, announced that 'The opera isn't over until the fat lady sings'. Meaning, while the Spurs had won once, the series wasn't over yet. Bullets coach Dick Motta borrowed the phrase later when the Bulls made it to the championships. Then the quote became widely known and was often mistakenly attributed to Motta. He may have been the one who substituted 'ain't' for 'isn't'. Might as well take all the credit.

The Washington Post, June 11, 1978, p. D6. as referenced in:
Source: Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989. Entry NUMBER: 1817

Photo Source: George Eastman House

Monday, September 22, 2008

Banned Books Week

Once a year, the American Library Association asks us to be aware that all across the country people are demanding certain books be removed from library shelves. This is called a 'challenge' and ALA keeps track of many of them. I poked around through some of their lists, and here's what surprised me right off: the Captain Underpants series of children's books is often challenged. Hey, the title alone makes me laugh. I haven't read these books, but apparently I should. I'm obviously missing out! How did he become the Captain, and whose underpants are being worn? Ah, the age-old questions posed by books that are apparently found offensive.

American Library Association Banned Books Week

Friday, September 19, 2008

Let your Chalkboard do the Talking

Another fun graphics generator found by noodling around the web. Noodling is actually a highly profitable activity and now you, our public, will benefit. Not in a life-changing way perhaps, but ain't we got fun.

Just pop in to GlassGiant.com and make your own! Taunting allowed. There's lots of advertising, but that's why it's free.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Auto Repair Database - Classy

Did you know that the East Side Library is Car Repair Headquarters? They've had a wide selection of automobile repair books for years, but now they are tackling the wonderful online world of carburetors. Because not everyone who fixes cars knows all about computer searching. (For that matter not everyone who breathes does. You see where I'm going with this. Not picking on car repairers).
So the East Side Library is offering classes on the use of our Auto Repair Reference Center database. This source has tons of information and once you've got the hang of it, by using your Des Moines Public Library card number and PIN you can access it from any computer that has internet. The PIN is generally the last 4 numbers of your telephone number. Classes last about an hour and here are the currently scheduled dates:

09-18-2008 11:00 AM
10-16-2008 4:00 PM
10-23-2008 4:00 PM
10-30-2008 4:00 pm
11-20-2008 4:00 PM

To sign up for a class, just call 283-4152 and press 3. Then get your brain chockful of wiring diagrams. What could be more fun?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

You Named Me What?

Apple, Tallulah, Fifi Trixibell - yes, we're looking at you Bob Geldolf. Feed the world and call your child Fifi. Tsk. Believe it or not, celebrities don't have the exclusive on ... well, interesting names for their progeny.
Want to out-do them? You probably don't need it, but here's some help:
The worst baby name book ever / David Narter

What not to name your baby / by Joe Borgenicht

Bertha Venation : and hundreds of other funny names of real people / Larry Ashmead

Here are some actual names found on Reference USA by our crack name-research guy:
Eileen Dover
Soda Popp
Paige Turner
Mike Easter
Calvin Hobbes
Crystal Ball.
Some of these need to be said aloud to get the full effect. Then you can say, as I did, oh, right.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Even-more-dysfunctional-than-usual private eye

Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor series. If you like your protagonists self-destructive, occasionally sober, alcoholic, and drug addicted, miserable in relationships and smart enough to be aware of all this, have I got a series for you! Could it be more light-hearted? One of the attractions is that the books take place in Galway, Ireland and you get plenty of local flavor. Man, you can almost taste the Guinness and chips. The mysteries are pretty good, the side characters interesting, and the books are fast reads. As usual, I started with the most recent book in the series. That worked out OK, but I wish I would have read them in order. Here's a list so you can avoid my fate.
Book 1 The guards
Book 2
The killing of the tinkers
Book 3
The Magdalen martyrs
Book 4
The dramatist
Book 5
Book 6

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thoughts From Emily Post

Her 1922 edition that is:

When staying at a country house visiting maids stay on the third floor.
People not only had a maid they had more than one.

...etiquette is no flummery of poseurs aping the manners of their betters...
Well, duh.

Guests, ... do not take off their hats at a lunch party even in the country...
What if you're wearing your cap backwards? It's like you're not even really wearing it.

One should never call out a name in public, unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
As in case of train? Runaway bus?

Ah, Emily. We kid because we love. Times have changed, Emily has responded, and her current books are quite useful. Especially when the mother of, well, anyone, wants to argue about seating at a wedding. Or the father. Emily Post's Etiquette. Sometimes you just have to know how it's done.

Source: Bartleby.com

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Home... Fixing One

Now you've got your house and, well, yippee! But of course it's not perfect, there are little things here and there that need tweaking and painting and ripping out and stop! This is plenty of work. Here we have the little helpers that are such a boon to people like myself who are a danger to themselves and others when attempting household repairs.

Books at the Des Moines Public Library

Do It Yourself
Instructions for a multitude of home projects from painting, to plumbing, to HVAC, and tons of other projects.

Be Jane
Home improvement projects written by women for women.

Information for this week's Home series was provided by Marci Behm, Information Services, Central Library

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Home... I Want One

Tired of pouring your money into a rental that will never give you any sweet, sweet equity? Or are you getting ready to move to your next home but want to be better-armed this time out? Our books and guides below will help you evaluate a house, understand the buying process, and get moved in. Help is good.

Books at the Des Moines Public Library

Freddie Mac Guide to Buying and Owning a Home
Freddie Mac, “a stockholder-owned corporation chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing.”

Buying a Home
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Neighborhood Finance Corporation
NFC has special lending products for homebuyers purchasing in targeted revitalization areas of Des Moines. Some lending products include forgiveable loans, no money down, and/or no private mortgage insurance requirements. Contact NFC for more information.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Home... Hanging On

We'll be doing a few posts on the current housing situation and homes in general this week. Let's get the tough one out of the way first. Ah, foreclosure. A scary scary word. But if you have to deal with one - or want to avoid one - there are resources for you. Here are some good starters:

Iowa Foreclosure Hotline
Office of the Attorney General, Iowa Department of Justice

Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Freddie Mac Guide to Avoiding ForeclosureFreddie Mac, “a stockholder-owned corporation chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing".

Monday, September 8, 2008

Library Card Sign-Up Month

Oh, that first library card. My siblings and I couldn't wait until we were old enough to get our own cards and check out our very own books. In the old Carnegie, children's books were in a semi-circle area of the basement and I would just go there and wallow. Unfortunately, I was limited to the number of books I could carry and my arms were short. Crushing. If you've never had a card, get one. Your first card is free and you acquire access to an unbelievable stash. You know the drill - books, CD's, Internet access, and did I mention books? Still my favorite. Make sure you check out a shiny new book when you get your shiny new card. There is nothing like it.
Photo courtesy: redjar Flickr

Friday, September 5, 2008

Local History - Glamourpusses of the Prairie

So many fabulous, fabulous, Hollywood Stars come from Iowa. We all know about John Wayne and Fred Grandy, Donna Reed. Then there's Michelle Monaghan who was so good in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and seriously underused in Gone Baby Gone and is from Winthrop, Iowa. Michael Emerson, king of the enigmatic goggle eyes (What is he thinking? No one knows.) was born in Cedar Rapids. Fictional Captain Kirk was born in Riverside Iowa, but non-fictional Terry Farrell from Cedar Rapids played Jadzia Dax on Deep Space Nine for 6 years. She quit to be on Becker. Go figure. Are you intrigued? You know where to go. Click here for the Iowa-Hollywood Connection page on the Local History Wiki. See if you can find one more star from Cedar Rapids. It's some kind of talent hothouse up there!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Local History - Buses & Trolleys &...Oh My!

And Streetcars and Curbliners, for pity's sake! Could there have been any more modes of public transportation in Des Moines? Not enough rivers for gondolas, I suppose. What the heck is a 'curbliner' anyway? I've never heard of these, did downtown Des Moines have special curbs that the 'liners' grabbed on to? So many questions. Fortunately the Local History Wiki is there for you. Nice timeline and informational bits, click here to go directly to Curbliner Central.

Photo courtesy: Thomas Hawk, Flickr

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Local History Combustion

As in cars. Yes, Des Moines, Iowa had an Automobile Industry. We produced beauties like the Hawkeye and the Monarch, of which there are no known survivors. (Foul play? Evidence is thin. OK, non-existent. But it's fun to think about.) A few hardier models were the Mason - designed by Fred Duesenberger, no less - and the cars that rolled off the Ford Assembly Plant on Grand Avenue. You had no idea, did you? Me either. And I know you want more, so click right here and read all about it in our Local History Wiki.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Local History Lucky

How lucky you ask? Way lucky! Librarians at the Des Moines Public Library have been working day and night to make local history information available to you. We currently call it the Local History Wiki ,cause, you know, we're hip to this Internet stuff. The coolest information is here, and let me tell you, this stuff is not easy to find on your general web. For the most part, the information is from paper sources. Or even microfilm. One foot in the future, one in the past, that's us. We're all about balance. Here's a baseball tidbit to get you started. Did you know that in one year the Des Moines baseball team had 3, count'em, 3 different names? Click here and slide down to the bottom of the page to get the names. And when you're not using my oh-so-handy blog links to get to the Local History, here's how you access it.
1. From our home page, http://www.desmoineslibrary.com/, click on Blogs/Wikis
2. In the green column to the left, click on Local History Wiki
3. Click on the link http://desmoinespubliclibrary.pbwiki.com/
4. Noodle around to your heart's content.
We'll have more on the Local History Wiki this week - Stay tuned!