Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Video is taken from the main page of the Earth Hour site
*This is not a perma-link for this article. To find the article discussed in this blogpost, open your browser's "find" application (on PC's it is usually control and F). Paste the following: It's easy being green. Voila!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I'm frightened and delighted by this video. I'm disturbed and scandalized and yet, still I watch. I guess it's appropriate that it's imitating a Britney Spears video, since her life makes me feel all those things and then some.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I don't know about you, but if this was an all points bulletin going out in my hometown and I was an abnormally large chicken, I'd feel pretty lousy. And lousy is precisely how Henrietta, the 266-pound chicken of our tale--The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater--feels after being forced to leave her home. First, she is sold to a young boy to feed his family on Thanksgiving day by a mad scientist that genetically modified her. Then, after being saved a fate of sharing a table with stuffing and cranberry sauce, she is kicked out of her new home after a dog starts a fight with her. To make matters worse, she has no where to go and no one to feed her. If you were in Henrietta's shoes, what would you do?
I'll tell you what! You'd rummage through rubbish bins, nicking all kinds of potato chips and other scraps to fill your hungry belly! You'd hide amongst the tallest buildings in your hometown, hiding from all those that fear and persecute you! You'd run from screams and shouts that made you feel as if you were a horrible chicken being! And saddest of all, you'd never know that your best buddy Arthur was looking to bring you home the whole time!!! Well. That's if you were Henrietta.
This book is quite entertaining, especially once some of the scientist's other modifications are thrown into the mix. The enjoyment factor is quadrupled for anyone from Hoboken, or at least familiar with the city of a square mile. Every so often a street name cropped up and I would squeal with delight that someplace my feet actually walk on a semi-regular basis was immortalized in this delightfully funny book. I can only imagine a kid from Hoboken (or the surrounding area) reading it and thinking, "Washington! That's where my favorite pizzeria is!!" A splendid book all around and a fairly easy read. But, then again, it is set in New Jersey, so it's pretty obvious that it lends itself to being awesome.
The only aspect about this book that may raise a few eyebrows of child readers is the lack of leash laws. This effect may be doubled on the face of a reader from Hoboken, as everyone knows it is NOT customary to let your dogs out the front door in the morning and expect them to come home at night, as the book suggests. It is common knowledge that any dog living in Hoboken is on a tiny leash, followed closely by a well-dressed yuppie carrying some type of pooper-scooper. Also, the dogs MUST be dressed in teeny little coats that may or may not match that of their yuppie owner in the winter months, such as the setting of the book. Other than that snippet of a "fact" found on one page in the book, the tale is quite timeless!
*No actual news reports from the Hoboken Chicken Emergency were harmed in the making of this blogpost. Any and all newscasts have been dramatically reproduced by the executor of this blog for theatric purposes.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
For the record, I no longer have aspirations to live in Kentucky.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I have been abandoning my duties as a blogger and for this, I am deeply sorry. It started with a missed Throwback Review and snowballed into the first Tuesday in a good long while without any mention of Harry Potter. I do not like to offer excuses and explanations, and have said nothing as a result.
To remedy this, I want to explain that my absence has not been a result of too much leisure activities or being bogged down by work. I am simply reexamining my metadata choices (tags, for the non-library folk out there) to make sure they represent exactly what I wish them to. Anyone who has read this blog over the past month has witnessed my secret love of metadata transform into a public (and quite obsessive) love affair and can understand this leave of absence. My problem is, if I post more before coming to a firm conclusion, I will provide a larger pool of posts to edit and therefore, extend my absence further.
I am sorry and look to be back in time for the next Pottertastic Tuesday. Thank you.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Serious stuff: Thank you Children's Illustration for introducing me to this image created by Abner Graboff from I Know An Old Lady. A few more of Graboff's pictures can be found at Eric Sturdevant's flickr account.
According to a post on The Chronicle of Higher Education, there are a select few public libraries in Arizona forgoing the traditional Dewey Decimal system. And while the comments are littered with several librarians whose reactions might suggest that such a move is blasphemy, there are a few points in support of it.
The article argues from an academic standpoint, which is understandable when considering the source, but the libraries in question are public libraries. Personally, I think it might be a good move, depending on the patrons. One of the comments suggested that better library instruction is called for, not an overhaul of the entire classification system. That is just plain silly. Anyone familiar with CISSL or the campaign for school libraries led by names like Carol Kuhlthau and Ross Todd would know that we are already attempting better instruction. Despite our best efforts, children are still not grasping Dewey. How can they when dogs are separated from other animals? Kids don't strategize their searches thinking, hmmm... I bet dogs would be located under applied technology because they are domesticated. And raising pets is probably referred to as animal husbandry. Yeah, that's the ticket... Not!
There is a growing body of academic research pertaining to children and their understanding of categorization. (Trust me, I had to read pretty much all of it for a paper last semester. If you're interested, here is a large portion of my bibliography. Knock yourselves out). Liz Cooper's findings were especially interesting in light of this article, because when children were asked to come up with categories for their own libraries, they came up with suggestions rather similar to those found at a store like Barnes and Noble. So, perhaps it is the library that needs to change, since children's cognition and understanding is a tad harder to mold.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Harry Potter Personality Quiz by Pirate Monkeys Inc.
Monday, January 14, 2008
What Privileges Do You Have?
(developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. Blog meme taken from A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy)
Instructions: Bold the true statements.
1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children's books by a parent.
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18.
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18.
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs.
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs.
16. Went to a private high school.
Practically. I mean, Hunterdon Central is practically a private high school in public school's clothing.
17. Went to summer camp.
From the age of 4 to 14. I still have my Princeton Y shirt from the first summer. It was a dress and now... well, it's more of a belly shirt that I can't seem to talk myself into wearing now that I graduated undergrad. When did I get all conservative? Hmph.
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18.
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
Mostly. I bolded half.
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child.
I don't know if it counts, since it was painted by my father. But let me tell you, he's pretty damn good with the oils.
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
This is tricky, since my mom and I didn't, but my dad and company do. Such is the life of the divorced kid.
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
Again, my dad and stepmom not moms.
25. You had your own room as a child.
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18
I had my own phoneline for a few years, then I got a cell phone halfway through high school.
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
Went on a cruise with marching band?
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.
Grand total: 14
(the two half-bolds joined together for one whole bold line)
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Now that classes have definitely been ceased for a few weeks now, I'm realizing that my lack of regular blogging outside of Pottertastic Tuesday was not because I had no time, but merely a lack of motivation. To ensure that my blog contains something other than various tidbits relating to Harry Potter, I have decided to incorporate a second weekly item into the blog-orino. That's right folks, the Throwback Review will be broadcast from this dinky blogspot every Sunday evening to remind you of the wonderful books of days past. There are only two qualifications a book must meet in order to find itself featured in this lovely little section:
- It must be written for children or young adults.
- It needs to be at least ten years old, preferably more.
- I must check it out from a library, because what's the point of telling you about it otherwise?
So without further ado, I give you the very first Throwback Sunday Review
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
What makes the Alice books interesting, as far as "throwbacks" go, is Pyllis Reynolds Naylor continues contributing to Alice's trials and tribulations. Even though this book was originally published fourteen years ago, the perils faced are still very relevant to young readers. In fact, the only aspect of it that could potentially be dated is that Naylor does not once refer to Alice McKinley as a "tween." And while these days labels are a lot friendlier to those in-between kids, the stress of not-quite needing a bra at all times is no less annoying and confusing.
Beginning with Miss Alice's birthday, the narrative follows Alice and company through some hard lessons for young girls just coming into their "raving beauty." All around her, Alice finds out first hand what girls must do for one another in order to protect themselves against men of the grabby-handed variety. Naylor is able to subtley educate her young readers as to the right and wrong ways to handle these tricky situations while remaining true to the narrative and not sounding as if she is trying to hard. Put simply, this is a wonderful way for girls aged eleven through fourteen to find out not only how to compose themselves if they are stuck in one of these traps, but also illuminates the dangers of dressing too old for one's age.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
First, the juicy metadata. Apparently authors and publishing companies are really into flipping around the copyright information. Because this book is the second book I read over winterbreak that deviates from the boring ole slop of yesteryear's books. Though, of the two, this one is more overt, seeing as the information is splayed out on odd angles across the page. Oh! And not only does the author include footnotes, but he (or is it she?) includes an appendix! The appendix features a glossary defining all sorts of circus slang, but that's not all! It also teaches the reader a nifty card trick. Sweetness! Now I can blend in when I show up at my ten year high school reunion telling everyone I joined the circus immediately after graduation and impress them with my skills.
On to the less pleasant task of my post. Sigh. Much as I enjoyed this book, I had an overwhelming sense of deja vu. The author refuses to go on with his/her story at intermittent points because the events portrayed are too horrific. The author also reveals strange details about him/herself by informing the reader that dark chocolate from Europe (with a high cacao percentage) is a preferred vice. And the biggest aspect of this book that seemed a little too familiar is that the author's mysterious identity. Now, don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and don't think that it intentionally replicated A Series of Unfortunate Events, but the similarities are kinda scary. I definitely recommend this book if a kid just finished Lemony's books and is hungering for more.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
But I don't just love the story lines and surprising twists that Jo Rowling throws in there. Oh no, because if that was all, it would get super-duper boring reading the same thing over and over again. At some point, I lost count of exactly how many times I read each Potter book, but it's exceedingly excessive, that much I know. I read the book in discussion today, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, at least eleven times since my fourteenth birthday--no joke. And yet, only one of the last times I read the book did I even notice this tidbit.
Now that I've superfluously built up suspense, I can reveal this little fact from the books that prove, yet again, JK Rowling's a Genius. That's right, she gets a capital G. What of it? I'm tangenting again, sorry folks. So, any dolt can look at the table of contents and discover that chapter eight is entitled "Flight of the Fat Lady." And while some people are less oblivious than I and may have spotted this prior to the tenth reading of the book, others may not know that this flight is mentioned later on in the text. In chapter fifteen ("The Quidditch Final"), after the fat lady is restored, the password is a word that here means a flighty woman. The proof is on page 295 (Scholastic hardcover):
They passed the security trolls, gave the Fat Lady the password ("Flibbertigibbet"), and scrambled through the portrait hole into the common room.
Rowling didn't have to include the password there; the sentence totally would have worked otherwise, but she did. Know why? As the Beastie Boys might concur, she's crafty. Oh JK, how I love thee so. It is to you and your brilliant universe I devote my Tuesday, every Tuesday honoring here in this hallowed blog. I can only hope that I can penetrate all the little crevices of these books with subsequent rereads.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
What am I talking about here people? I'm talking about dialogue markers and how the simple decision to exclude them takes the reader deeper into the prose. How, in the case of this book, the exclusion can mirror the confusing situation the characters are facing and make them that much more identifiable. And, luckily for the author, this decision leads to pages and pages of straight up dialogue and nothing else. Not gonna lie, I occasionally had to count back some lines to figure out exactly who was speaking, but it worked for this story. Perhaps, it works for this story only.
One thing that I'm still not sure if I am in complete agreement over (but could possibly get behind for This. Story. Only.) is using ellipses to indicate that no characters are talking. Literally--this story only. Why is that? Because using only ellipses is horribly tacky and an insult to narration. But An Abundance of Katherines is different because of the aforementioned lack of dialogue markers, and consequently, a lack of narration. I'm still not in love with it. I'm hoping it grows on me, but I have an immense allergy to the dreaded dot dot dot.
All in all, John Green gets away with loads more stuff than everyone else could dream about in this book. Loads.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Fuse 8's Best 2007 Books
Jim's computer is quite slow and annoying me at the moment, so I suppose my list shall be tiny for now. Alas. Anyway, it is time to bring you the following Pottertastic Tuesday materials. In honor of my missing the duty of librarianship, I shall supply you with five interesting Harry Potter memorabelia finds that are just plain weird. First at bat is this ridiculous fleece blanket that is not complete without a giant picture of Daniel Radcliffe's face.How did Warner Browthers know that my bed is yearning for a larger than life image of Mr. Radcliffe? It's like they are mindreaders, for serious. Perhaps they know that I need something to match this Maurader's Map pillow that does not actually contain the map of Hogwarts. What good is a Maurader's Map without a freakin' map? And while I am in my new Pottertastic bedroom, if I should want to read my Harry Potter (Bloomsbury adult versions, please people--Scholastic is sooo last year) books, I'm clearly going to need a light by which to read. Everytime I just incanting "Lumos," nothing happens so, I must resort to eckeltricity. Fortunately, this Triwizard Cup lamp was made for this very purpose. Phew!