Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sounds Like Something You'd Put in Your Lawnmower

The 80-35 Music Festival, that is.  This delightful, boisterous, decibel-producing event takes place right by the Central Library and as a result said library will be closed this Saturday.  Four other library locations will be open their regular hours, 10-5.  So you have many many options for filling your library needs.  Just speculating, but there's a good chance you would not have been able to find a parking place downtown anyway.  Plenty of free parking at the East Side, Forest, Franklin, and South Side libraries!  (All locations will be closed Monday in observance of the July 4th holiday.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I hate walnuts.  Peanuts are delicious, almonds are pleasant, most other nuts are inoffensive.  There I am, reading a horrible serial killer mystery and savoring a luscious brownie when Bleah!  Once I hit that walnut I can't taste anything else.  Remember the other day when I wanted a panacea?  OK, you don't, but anyway.  It appears that the vile walnut is in the running as a sort of cure-all.  Some of the potential positive effects of walnut chewing - still in testing:
     Lower your risk of breast cancer.
     Lower your risk of heart disease by diminishing the 'ratio of cholesterol to HDL ("goood") cholesterol'. 
     Get a brain boost
I still don't think I'll be choking down a handful of walnuts any time soon.  More for you! 

Saturday Evening Post; Nov/Dec2006, Vol. 278 Issue 6, p68-70
Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter; 7/09, Vol. 27 Issue 5, p6
As accessed through EBSCOhost;  DMPL library card required for access.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Speeding? Really?

According to the Moines Tribune 4/4/1979 p. 8B, the first speeding ticket was issued in 1902.  Ford and their affordable assembly-line cars weren't even available yet.  According to AAA there were approximately 23000 cars wandering around the U. S. at this time. So it's not like they were a big problem.  Want to know how fast the speed-demon was going?  Mr. T. H. Shevlin of Minneapolis was tearing along at over 10 miles per hour.  He could have hit a cow.  Cows are really slow.  Who knows if T. H. could find the brakes in time.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Anyone Need Help Applying for a Job Online?

They make it hard to get a job if you don't have computer skills.  Many employers will only accept online applications, and then you have to have an email address so they can contact you. Not easy for computing newbies. The Forest Avenue Library and the Central Library are working with ISED (Iowans for Social and Economic Development) to provide assistance. Through Opportunity is Knocking you'll get help using the computer for job searching and applying for jobs. It's all free!  And for those of you reading this, feel free to pass this along to your acquaintances whose computer skills are not quite up to your level.  You thought I was an idiot, didn't you?  "If I can find this blog, I already know how to use a computer.  Duh."  Don't think I can't hear you.

The programs are offered:
At Forest Avenue Library, Tuesdays and Thursdays 1 PM
At Central Library, Mondays and Fridays, 1 PM

List of sessions on the DMPL Events/News Calendar

Friday, June 24, 2011

Color Me Sleepy

Color Psychology: the supposition that the color you choose to paint your room may have a profound effect on your mood. If you wish to feel:
Dynamic - Jewel Tones!  Forget the coffee because you won't be able to sleep anyway!
Nurturing  - Aahh, pastels. When you need to run screaming from your dynamic room you can cuddle up in your baby blanket colors.
Whimsical  - Bright but toned down from the jeweled hues. The energy is more lighthearted.  Your playtime room!
Tranquil  - Gentle blues, gentle greens, water tones.  Pretty much you walk in this room keel over and fall asleep.  I'd put the mattress just inside the door.
Wasn't this fun?  Especially since I exaggerated everything!  For something resembling actual facts, take a look at this article:
the colors of life. 
Positive Thinking, Mar/Apr2008, p38-45, 8p,
as accessed through EBSCOHost

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Want a Panacea and I Want It Now!

A real one. That works.  Panaceas! Cure-alls, snake oil, patent medicines, the stuff of quackery.  Here are a few of the nostrums from the 1887 Sears and Roebuck Catalogue, found under the heading Patent and proprietary medicine:   
Hoble's Sprague Kidney Pills
Jayne's Tonic Vermifuge
Piso's Consumption Cure
Schenck's Mandrake Pills
Fellow's Hypophoshites
Hire's Root Beer!!!! At least this one probably didn't do any harm.
Aren't mandrakes the screaming roots in Harry Potter?  Vermifuge!  It is to shudder.  I'm so rattled I have to go take some scullcup now.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The 1902 edition of the Sears, Roebuck catalogue

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Your Brain - One Simple Secret To Losing the Flab?

You can use brain exercises to keep yourself sharp while you and it inevitably age.  One book with 'brain teasers' is Visual IQ Tests.  Know how I figured out this book is British?  I open it up and the first question I see is "Which bottle is not proper?"  Ummm - the one eating spaghetti with its fingers?  By the way, I picked the wrong bottle.  And I think that test was an easy one.  Now scientists are saying brain exercises delay the onset of dementia, but once dementia hits it gets worse faster in patients who did brain exercises.  However the amount of time spent in this declined state is shorter than it is for brain non-exercisers.  If you keep up with your crosswords and Sudoku and brain push-ups, you may still get dementia and it may get worse faster but it won't last as long.  Definitely still worthwhile, just not quite what we'd hoped.

Source:  Active minds delay dementia, at first. USA Today 9/2/2010
as accessed through EBSCOHost
Brain Exercise Resources

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tornado Tragedies

Oh, those heart-breaking photos from Joplin.  The devastation of  what they hold dear - as we all know, it's not just a house - is hard to comprehend.  Of course much worse is the loss of life.  153 folks have died in Joplin Missouri as a result of this tornado.  I don't remember Iowa having twisters causing harm on a level anywhere near Joplin's.  You have to go back over a century.
On June 30, 1860 a tornado ripped through 6 Iowa counties. Hardin, Linn, Marshall, Cedar, Jones and Clinton counties were hard hit. 125 people were killed by this 'Camanche' tornado. The storm was named for the town of Camanche which was leveled by its ferocity.
On July 6, 1893, 71 citizens died when a tornado nearly wiped out the small town of Pomeroy.  As a poignant memorial, the people of Pomeroy have posted online the names of the victims of that storm. 
People Killed in the Pomeroy Cyclone on July 6, 1893
Des Moines Register 07/25/1989 p5A

Monday, June 20, 2011

If you want it ...

You know how you can call us to request that we purchase an item not yet in our collection?  Sure you do.  Now you, the dedicated reader and library user, can make requests online!  Even at 3 in the morning when your jammies can't sleep.  Just go to our online catalog, and at the top one of your options is Suggest a Title.  Click on this and you are in our Patron Suggestion Form, the patron being you.  The form is a long one and we do need all that information.  There are 10 spots on the form with little orange asterisks next to them and all those spots must be filled in.  It's so cool that you put in the link to the book/movie/cd/what-have-you because then we're sure we are getting the one you want.  A few tips.  It's less likely that we will buy a book more than a couple years old unless it's replacing a classic.  Barnes and Noble lists all kinds of books that are available in Nook form only, so beware these if you want a print book.  All the online bookstores list out-of-print items, so if it says 'not available' that's one to avoid.  To prevent the electronic burial of your friendly library employees we are setting a limit of 10 requests per month.  Have fun, Library Nation!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


When I was young, I had a Creepy Crawlers maker.  I loved it.  It was a metal mold plate, and you squeezed in colorful glue type stuff then heated it up. I made my own rubbery centipedes, worms, spiders, etc.  What was I thinking?  Centipedes totally freak me out and worms are not my friends. The best part was that my dad had me make some so he could use these as fishing lures.  Yeah, I was cool.  However real lures have real names. This title gives you some idea:  Luremaking : the art and science of spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, jigs, and other leadheads.  Here's some great names from Field & Stream's The 50 Greatest Lures of All Time:  Dardevle Spinnie; Mepps Aglia; Zara Spook; Gitzit; Storm WildEye Swimbait (sounds like the name of a racehorse); Gibbs Pencil Popper; Little Cleo; and finally the Curly Tail Grub, which my friend says could be a friend of SpongeBob's. If it is somebody is in trouble.  SpongeBob is a powerful force, woe to the fisherman who dares spike the Curly Tail Grub.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ice Cream Days in Le Mars Starts Today!

Today the weather in Le Mars is supposed to be sunny with a high of 79 degrees.  Perfect for the opening of Ice Cream Days!  I'm sure you've heard that Le Mars is the Ice Cream Capital of the world.  Here are two reasons Le Mars totally wins.  Wells is the world's largest family-owned and run ice cream manufacturer. Plus the company is the world's largest manufacturer of ice cream in one location. It's all in Le Mars, baby!  Which explains why an estimated 10,000 people will attend the festival in this small northwest Iowa town.  Still not enough for you?  They plan on having 3-on-3 basketball games. You know you love those.  One last enticement: Wells Blue Bunny is the official ice cream of Sea World.  Splash.

Source:  Chase's Calendar of Annual Events

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

There Wasn't Even a Leaking Dike?

We all know the story.  A folktale from Northern Europe:  there once was a boy who noticed a hole in the dike where water was leaking.  Nobody would listen to him about it so he put his finger in the hole and saved the town.  Huzzah!  There's more to it but you get the jist.  Guess what?  There was no folktale/legend/fairytale about a boy and a dike and a flood.  Mary Mapes Dodge made it up out of whole cloth for her book "Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates" (published in 1865).  In the book, this heroic story is read aloud in one of Hans's classes.  So it's not even Hans who put his finger in the leak.  That didn't stop throngs of U. S.  tourists  who visited the Netherlands from asking to see the dike featured in the story.  There is no dike!  The Dutch never heard  of the story.  To stop the whining in 1950 a statue of  "Pieter",  the non-existant flood-stopping kid, was erected in Spaarndam. Are those Dutch an accomodating people or what?

Monday, June 13, 2011

What Has Corn Done For You Lately?

According to the National Corn Growers Association, one bushel of corn provides:
1.  33 pounds of sweetener - hmmm, could it be the ubiquitous high-fructose corn syrup?  Doesn't say.
2.  31.5 pounds of starch
3.  1.6 pounds of corn oil
4.  2.6 gallons of fuel ethanol

All this from about 56 pounds of raw, passionate corn.  Wonder what that bushel could bench press?

Source:  Des Moines Register 3/17/1996 p.4G

Friday, June 10, 2011

Re-Minder: Pay Your Fees Online!

If you happen to have accrued the odd fine here and there, or lost an item or two, now you can take care of those online! Here's how to make the magic:
1. Get out your MasterCard or Visa credit or debit card.
2. In the blue box to the right on our home page click on MY ACCOUNT. 
3. Now click on the gray "Pay Fees" tab at the top. 
4. Click on "Pay from Credit Card".
5. Enter your complete library card number and PIN.  Your library card number appears on your card and starts with 2170400.  For many of you the PIN is the last 4 digits of your telephone number.
6. Click on Submit.

Now you are in Payment Land.  The total amount owed appears at the top.  If you don't want to pay it all at one pop, you can change the number in the "Amount to pay" box.
Fill in your card number, expiration date, Zip Code and CW2/CID number.  This last is on the back of your credit card and consists of 3 numbers.  Click on Submit.

Once the transaction is complete you have the option of printing out a receipt.  If you have made a partial rather than a full payment, the balance due will be included on this receipt so you get to see the amount still on your card. We are trying to make it easier for you to take care of your Des Moines Public Library card account online.  Just being helpful.  We wish everyone a fee-free life, but stuff happens. To all of us!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Garage Sale Season

I was at a garage sale last weekend and purchased a 1950's Samsonite train/makeup case for a dollar!  And I Love It!  Many of you may wish to divest your homes of extraneous possessions, so have a garage sale. A couple tips from Better Homes and Gardens:  Clean stuff!  That doodad is ever-so-much more attractive if it is sparklin'.  Display things vertically if you can - that gives you more space to work with and catches the buyer's eye. Use every weapon in your arsenal to triumph! If I'm lucky I'll be there to buy something dazzling. 

An article on how to price your stuff:
For What It's Worth., Aug2009, Vol. 32 Issue 14, p47-50,
accessed through EBSCOHost

Better Homes & Gardens, May2011, Vol. 89 Issue 5, p84-90, 4p,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It HAS A Name

Captcha.  That is the word for the messed-up series of letters and numbers you have to decipher and type into a box in order to access the web site you are trying to use.  The point is to keep spammers out.  I know that because it says so right on top of the wonky letters. Captcha stands for, believe it or not:  “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.”  THE Turing, he of the Turing Test was involved in its development.  THE Turing Test which can tell the difference between a human and a computer, without looking.  I think captchas are reeeeallly annoying if I can't figure them out.  If I can they're kind of fun puzzles.

Brand spankin' new book on the Turing Test:  The most human human : what talking with computers teaches us about what it means to be alive / Brian Christian

Source:  Laser Focus World, Jul2009, Vol. 45 Issue 7, p72-72, 1p
as accessed through EBSCOHost

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hungry Yet?

I finally read the Hunger Games so now I'm heavily invested in the casting for the movie.  What!  You've never heard of Hunger Games? Oh, you've been too busy keeping up with the Twilight Saga.  Gotcha. Hunger Games 101: in a dystopian future residents of each of the 12 Districts are required to send tributes, in the form of two young people, to the annual Hunger Games. But the Games aren't your lighted-hearted Olympics.  Tributes are required to fight to the death and 'young' includes 12 years old. The whole thing is televised and viewing by friends and family and, well, everybody, is mandatory.  I was surprised by how moving the book is.   There are some very tender moments and less carnage than I'd presumed.  But there is some carnage. So Katniss is the main character and Jennifer Lawrence has been cast in that role. If you have any doubt at all that Lawrence can play a tough young woman check out the movie Winter's Bone, she's amazing.  So they did good with Katniss.  Josh Hutcherson from The Kids Are All Right will be Peeta. Hutcherson can be sensitive without being gooey. Another good choice. So I am on the Hunger Game bandwagon big time and recommend you all read it.  It's just a darn good book.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bust a June

There's only one song about June that has managed to stick in my noodle. Remember this?  'June is bustin' out all o-over, all over the meadows and the hill..."  These immortal lines are from the musical Carousel.  Also known as the birthplace of the inspiring (or icky, depending on your viewpoint) 'You'll Never Walk Alone' and the improbably cheerful 'A Real Nice Clambake'. Carousel is not one of your top-ten musicals, and yet we have it on CD!  That's the kind of library we are.  We have Starlight Express, from Andrew Lloyd Weber on an off day.  Can't remember any songs but I don't roller skate either.   Bells Are Ringing, Comden!  Green!  Jule Styne! And I do recognize a song from this one - The Party's Over.  "They've burst your pretty balloon and taken the moon away."  Wow.  Stick a fork in that party.  So if you're looking for a musical soundtrack and your entertainment of choice is not well known, check in with the DMPL.  You'd be amazed. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Genealogist Season - Hey! Out-of-Town Genealogists

Due to an unfortunate series of budget cuts, the Des Moines Public Library cannot offer you research services. However, the State Historical Society of Iowa Library (yeah, and you thought our name was long) posts a Professional Researchers List. Two things to keep in mind: A. 'professional' means 'paid'  B. The State Historical Society of Iowa Library "neither endorses the researchers on the list, nor assumes responsibility for the researchers' availability, schedule of fees, or research results". They just offer the list as a courtesy. Which is really nice, you don't have to find researchers one at a time. We do offer an index to the local newspapers. Keep in mind: A. 'index' means just a list of articles, not the articles themselves. To use, go to our News and Obit Index. Type in the person/subject your are researching. If you find some articles you'd like, take the complete information - including page number - to your local library and they can get a copy for you through the Inter-Library Loan system. So we can't conduct research for you, but we can make a nifty research tool available. Happy hunting!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

No Bonking!

Bonking is when you clobber somebody, right?  Right in the kisser!  Turns out bonking is a cycling term.  And I don't mean cycling as in the washing machine.  Here's what happens:  you are on your bicycle, tricycle, cycle of choice.  But you are not merrily toodling around, you are roaring down the road, maybe doing that thing where you stand up and pedal which is always impressive.  Then whammo!  Your body has used up all your sugars, all your energy and in protest it screams to a stop and you go flying over the handlebars.  I made that handlebar part up.  But it could happen!  Because when you bonk you haven't eaten enough and your body has nothing to work with.  You get fatigued, light-headed, might have tremors, palpitations, confusion, tunnel vision! Hopelessness!  Hostility!  Bonking is bad.  So eat and bring food along when in the mood for strenuous biking.  Say, on RAGBRAI - you can't be sure when the next pie stand will pop up.

Bicycling, Dec98, Vol. 39 Issue 11, p24, 1/
Denver Examiner, March 20th, 2009

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Female Basketball

Girls Basketball in Iowa.  My grandmother played high school basketball.  And she was born in 1900, folks. So silly me, I thought girls basketball was both ancient and ubiquitous in our fine state.  Surprise!  I didn't have a clue.   Des Moines schools did not start girls basketball competitions until the fall of 1973.  You always think of the metropolitan areas breaking ground, cutting the edge, up-to-dating.  Many small towns like Linn Grove and Mallard have been playing girls basketball since the 1920's. So Des Moines was only 50 years behind.  Of course, Des Moines had multiple schools and lots more girls to deal with, so maybe that was part of the delay. Here are the six teams that took to the court in 1973:

Source: Des Moines Register 1/14/1973 p. 4B