Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Our 2 cents on the frugal front

Number one, of course - get a library card! The card is free! CD's magazines, audio books, print books, free free free! Now back to our program. Any women's magazine from the last 50 years will include tips on money-saving, although you might not be interested in making your own mop heads. Some of our books on the frugality are from the 90's but let's face it. Saving soap scraps in an old pantyhose leg hasn't changed much. For those of you solvent enough to own a computer stop surfing the internet looking for things to buy! If you actually need something and want to get it on eBay DON'T LOOK AT ANYTHING ELSE!!!!! Set up a timer, have a significant other come drag you off the computer, wait until you're done shopping before you feed the cat. The cat will come get you. Or stop in at a library and use our free internet, then your time is automatically limited. Here's hoping things get better soon!
Frugality aids

Monday, March 30, 2009

Not getting better all the time.

As the job situation remains tight you may need extra assistance in finding a position. If you're still a little stunned and need some help jump-starting your job search, the Des Moines Public Library web site had some useful links for you. First of all, if you've been laid off you can go straight to file for unemployment benefits. Then you can narrow your job search to Federal jobs. Dick Bolles, Mr. "What Color is you Parachute" operates a site - JobHunters Bible.com - with excellent resources. The links to resume and cover letter aids look especiallly useful. And Iowa Workforce Development's site includes a listing of Job Fairs in Iowa. Good luck with the hunt!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Last Chance for the Adult Reading Program

Sunday is the last day to get your book reviews in! Now you want to read short books so you'll have more review slips and that will increase your odds of winning a Borders gift certificate! You're no dummy. With these titles you can get several books read and catch up on your modern classics at the same time!

The old man and the sea / Ernest Hemingway
The stranger / Albert Camus
Daisy Miller / Henry James
A Christmas carol / by Charles Dickens

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Make it Up as You Go Along

Today is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day! At least according to Wellcat Holidays in Lebanon Pennsylvania, who apparently take the whole holiday thing one step beyond Hallmark. Haven't you always wanted to have a day set aside to celebrate things you like? Oprah showcases her favorite stuff all the time in her magazine. Hey, instead of Pufferbilly Days you could celebrate puppy bellies! Because puppy bellies are so fat and the fur is so soft.... OK, that was lame. You could come up with a much better one! My Favorite Sweatshirt day! This could be a good thing. Or very, very bad.

Source: Chase's Calendar of Events

Graphic Source: LEARN NC

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Howdy, Doody!

On a television show called The Triple B Ranch, puppet Howdy Doody was first exposed to an adoring public. In 1947! Who knew there was TV back then? And why do I care, you ask? Because I found this really cool graphic from the patent application for the Howdy Doody puppet. It never occurred to me that you'd patent a marionette. Mr. Howdy here doesn't appear to have especially complex string array. It's not like he's itchin' to be a real boy. But hey! We have an entire book devoted to the phenomenon that was Doody. Enjoy.

Say Kids! What time is it? : notes from the Peanut Gallery/ by Stephen Davis.


Monday, March 23, 2009

AViD Action

The Authors Visiting in Des Moines series is here (Yay!)and as usual the line-up is great. Lawrence Block is speaking Friday May 22nd, 7 PM at Hoyt Sherman Place. I read Hit and Run, one of his newest books, because I wanted to get a taste of his work. It didn't hurt when the reviews mentioned part of the book takes place in Des Moines. I always get a kick out of reading fiction that mentions where I live and this was no exception. Block got most of it right, but a Denny's appeared a couple times and I don't think there is a Denny's in Des Moines anymore. Sloppy research or wishful thinking? Hit and Run is the latest in a series about hit man John Keller and you might want to start at the beginning and work your way up. Dot, who is the 'sidekick character' - some of us will recognize it as the Eve Arden/Joan Cusack role - is especially entertaining. Here's the series, in order:

Hit man

Hit list

Hit parade

Hit and run

Friday, March 20, 2009

Latin Mottos (the dead language, I mean)

It's Friday, so you need a new generator, right? Pop into the Latin Motto Generator and whip up something profound. Say you're all about knowledge and fame. Your battle cry will sound much better as 'Scientia et Fama'! Or if you live your life based on the principle 'From Steadiness, Beauty', say instead 'Ex Constantia Pulchritudo'! Pulchritudo. It deserves being said more than once. Something a little (a tiny bit) intellectual? 'Memory Chose the Wise Ones' equals 'Memoria Sapientes Elegit'. Unfortunately you can't type in your own words and the ones they offer are pretty limited, but still. A little effort and you sound mighty smart. To someone who doesn't speak Latin anyway.

Want the real thing? Knock yourself out with our Latin Dictionaries

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reruns - Returning Options

Did you know that you can return your items to any of our six buildings, no matter which library you checked out at? Well you can! Plus as a bonus you can use our drop boxes for any-time returns. Check out Monday morning at East Side, return to South Side Saturday evening - all over town, any time of day! Could it be more convenient? Well probably, but this is pretty darn cool.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Statistics

So maybe everything can be reduced to statistics. Or not. Here are some fun numbers for St. Patrick's:
1. More than 80% of Americans avoid being pinched by wearing green. Didn't know about that custom? Got a green marker?
2. Four-leaf clovers are rare, with only one for every 10,000 three-leaf clovers.
3. The most leaves ever found on a clover? 18 18! I'm not sure if that's glorious or gross.
4. The world's first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in New York City 247 years ago.
5. Americans spend almost $4 billion on St. Patrick's Day.
6. Let's hope it's not all on green beer. I made this last one up. It's not a statistic anyway.

Our Ebscohost online resource has great articles on St. Pat's. Access it from home with your Des Moines Public Library card number and PIN
Source: Fast Company; Mar2009 Issue 133, p28-28, 1/5p

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's Sickening

The first computer virus appeared November 18, 1983. Now doesn't a virus need a network? At this point the Internet was that nasty dark screen and you had to type in every URL. How many people were using it then? Still Fred Cohen, a computing student, wrote the first virus. Didn't unleash it. Both users would have been devasted. Plus, I suppose, the U.S. government but they were just using the network to run the country.
In 1987 Brain, the first computer virus to be released, is set upon us.
In 1989 IBM releases the first commercial antivirus product.
Over 700,000 new computer viruses were identified in 2007 according to Symantec.
More than you wanted to know? Me too.

Computer Weekly 11/18/2003
PC World; Dec 2000, Vol. 18 Issue 12, p193
Macworld; Jul2008, Vol. 25 Issue 7, p26-26

Friday, March 13, 2009

Franchises on Top

According to Entrepreneur magazine these are the top 5 franchise businesses: 1. Subway 2. McDonald's 3. Liberty Tax Service 4. Sonic drive-in 5. Intercontinental Hotels group. So Subway has more franchises than McDonald's. Can you believe it? Is it the whole health-conscious thing? Not by me, I always get a BMT. More processed meat, please! And Sonic is so high on the list! How many do we have, one in the whole metro? They do have really good milk shakes though. It's good to know who's getting the most of our hard-earned dough. And it looks like I'm not the only one who doesn't like to cook!

Source:Entrepreneur; Jan. 2009, Vol. 37 Issue 1, p134-134, as provided by EbscoHost

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Easy Poems

You gotta love modern poetry. I'm a big e.e. cummings fan myself. I find his scorn for capitalization and the traditional layout of a poem invigorating. But that may have something to do with years of diagramming sentences. How fun is this:

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did

Makes you wonder it that's what Fred Astaire felt like. Then there is poetry that could just as well be a note on your fridge:

William Carlos Williams
This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

Did you notice the poems are short? Gotta love modern poetry.

e e cummings books

William Carlos Williams

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Remember the Curbliners!

Friday January 24th, 1964 was the last time the public got to ride the Des Moines curbliners. There were only two lines were running by then, West Des Moines-Fairgrounds, and University-Sixth Avenue. The diesel buses were already zipping around town, so this was a sentimental journey. Now the following day two private groups - one from Chicago and one from Waterloo - chartered curbliner rides. So the little guys did take a trip January 25th. Afterwards, the power lines were cut and the curbliners were sold for junk. But it's so cute! Look at it, how could anyone junk it. Stupid progress. And convenience. And necessity.

Des Moines Tribune, 1/23/1964 p. 1

Graphic Source: Illinois Railway Museum, photographer Ray Piesciuk

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quartered Territory

So I got my bright new Alaska quarters and thought it was over. I was very sad because I'd really had fun looking for each new state design. Then, I'm getting my favorite meal at my favorite Mexican place on the Skywalk, and there in my hand is a quarter so blindingly shiny that it had to be freshly minted... but it didn't look like any of the ones I had. It's a Washington D. C. coin! The U.S. Mint, in a last-ditch effort to keep me entertained, is issuing quarters for D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. I didn't know where the Mariana Islands of any stripe were but the U.S. Mint provides a handy-dandy map. For that and more information on the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program visit the U.S. Mint site. In case you're as excited as I am.

For a list of books regarding the Wonderful World of coins, click here.

Graphic source: Dover Samples

Monday, March 9, 2009

International Women's Day

It even includes women who've never left the country! What did you do yesterday to celebrate? Guess what Russian women were doing on the first ever IWD? It was 1913 and they were working for peace right before World War I. Working - it's what women do. Inside or outside the home. And the women who do both are like superheros, I am in awe of them. As kids when we were asked who our heros were I wanted to choose a female. And in the early sixties we weren't taught much about women's accomplishments, so I'd say my sisters were my heros. Turned out I was right. So while you were honoring Harriet Tubman and Marie Curie - who certainly deserve it - maybe some of you appreciated the everyday women who keep their world going. And what the heck, even those of us who can barely get out of the bed in the morning. We could use the encouragement.

A Fine Selection of Books about Women

Friday, March 6, 2009

Soul Food Festival

The food! Oh my goodness the food! Forest Avenue Library's Friends' group presents their annual Soul Food Festival, so dig out those elastic-waist pants. Yes you'll want as much room as possible. Let's see, my personal favorite red beans and rice, (the textures! the flavors! the heat!) my husband's favorite corn bread, everyone's favorite cherry cobbler, or you might love black-eyed peas. Sweet potato pie? All very reasonablly priced. They've been producing this extravaganza for over 25 years, so these folks really know what they're doing. 1326 Forest Avenue, 11 to 3. Don't forget those pants.

Look for the libraries' soul food cookbooks here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Women with Hammers

You are aware that this is Women in Construction Week? I thought so. Women have a long history of wielding construction tools, especially when they entered the workforce to keep the factories going during World War II. But even if you aren't interested in making a career out of this, it can be mighty handy to know how to fix your own home. Saturday March 7th, the Handy Woman Seminar will provide instruction on a few home improvement and maintenance techniques. Wander on into the Grand Meeting Wing at the Central Library from noon to 4.

Chix can fix : 100 home-improvement projects
Room for improvement : change your home! enhance your life! with tools, tips, and inspiration from Barbara K!
Dare to repair : a do-it-herself guide to fixing (almost) anything in the home
Photograph courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

AWARE of Art

Have you seen the metal sculptures at the Central library? They are the work of artists David Williamson. My favorite is the one that looks like a birdcage and you can stand inside it. And do you know where Mr. Williamson gets the material for his art? (I know, questions, questions!) Why, his sculptures are made of junk that gets dragged out of our rivers during the Project AWARE clean-up days. Sure, they pull out your usual tires and UFO's, but lots of metal comes out and that's where crud ends and art begins. Right at the tip of Williamson's torch. Hear him speak at noon tomorrow, March 5, at the Central Library. Click here for more information. The photo at left was taken on the first morning of the first ever Project AWARE clean-up! Historic!

Graphic courtesy Gerry Rowland

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Paul Harvey's Rest

Now Paul Harvey is gone. As kids we would hear his broadcasts when the family drove to Ft. Dodge or Livermore for grandparental visits. I always liked the little personal stories, the 'rest of the story'. Once he told a comparatively complex tale of how the economy collapsed because somebody decided not to buy a pair of shoes and the whole thing snowballed. I don't think that's what happened this time. Another end of an era for us boomers. Guess we should get used to it. Thank goodness for Joan Rivers, who appears to have had herself coated in some kind of ceramics. I don't think she's going anywhere any time soon.

The rest of the story by Harvey, Paul
Paul Harvey's The rest of the story / Paul Aurandt
More of Paul Harvey's The rest of the story / by Paul Aurandt

Graphic Source: eLibrary Photo by Chris Kelly/Getty Images 2002

Monday, March 2, 2009

Black and White Delight

Old horror movies. There's nothing like them for sheer atmosphere and the slow build-up of dread seen in shadows. Not like the movies today with every drop of blood thrown in your face, why in my day, grumble grumble... Anyway! Here are some fabulous black and white movies. Some of the old special effects may induce laughter instead of nightmares, but is that a bad thing?

The Thing from Another World. Genuinely scary, the moment when the scientists move out on the ice to show the sheer size of what they've found is chilling. (Ice? Chilling? I slay me.)
Nosferatu: a symphony of horror. The lighting in this film is so stark, every scene is etched in fear. And you have got to see Max Schreck in this, the make-up is iconic.
Speaking of iconic, Metropolis is one of the most influential movies. The robot that C-3PO resembles, the dehumanized workers, the mad scientist with an artificial hand - all are instantly recognizable.
We have many more black and white shockers, check out the list to your right for the titles of a few.