21 September 2012

Special birthdays

No, not mine.

Tolkien Books
(courtesy "Jemimus," Flickr Creative Commons)
Today is the 75th anniversary of the publication of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit

It's the birthday of both Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins (even in Middle Earth, this was kind of a fun coincidence for the uncle-nephew set).

And, today is Stephen King's birthday.

Is it a stretch to say that Tolkien & King have quite a bit in common?  I don't think so. 

20 September 2012

What's wrong with this picture - redux

I won't bore you with a rant on how expensive gas is.

But if I'm going to pay nearly $4/gallon, I deserve better signage.

I know how to pre-pay,
and I know how to pay in advance.
But how exactly do you prepay in advance?

Does that mean I have to pre-prepay? Prepay even before I've thought about paying?

Ugh.  Someone buy me an electric car.

18 September 2012

I think I was born for this

Sunday night I was contacted by City Councilor Al Livingston, asking if I would be willing to serve on the Public Library Advisory Board.  I was so surprised, it took my breath away!  What an honor.  Of all the ways that I could spend my volunteer time, this might be my very best, favorite way.

I was invited to make a few remarks at Council session last night, as part of my appointment and "election."

My remarks just scratch the surface of what libraries mean to me:

14 September 2012

What can $10 buy you?

This awesome stack, for one thing.....

If you've ever bought a book at GoodWill, raise your hand! And then tell me: what book? How did you feel?

11 September 2012

Who wants to live forever?

For the remembrance of 9/11, I wanted to read something that had this sad day as part of the plot.  A story that shows that New York has endured, and will endure.

New York, 1660
(image: New York Historical Society)
Pete Hamill's Forever is the tale of Cormac O'Connor, an Irish man born in 1728. An English earl (and slaver) kills both Cormac's mother and father and hastily sails for New York.  So Cormac pursues him from Galway to Manhattan to fulfill his Celtic blood oath and avenge their death.  During his miserable voyage, he takes pity on the African men & women caged below-deck in even more deplorable conditions, soon to be sold. 

New York in 1740 is just a village - Manhattan above Wall Street is thickly forested and wild. Cormac maintains his friendships with several of the men who were aboard ship with him (now slaves were sold to New York owners) including Kongo, the babalawo, a shaman.  Cormac had saved Kongo's life aboard ship.  In 1741 Kongo saves Cormac's life, and then offers him immortality, with two conditions: he must really "live," not just "exist," and that he can never leave Manhattan.

If you had all the time in the world, what would you do?

07 September 2012

Things Fall Apart

Published in 1958, Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart tells of the tragic undoing of Okonkwo, a proud man living in a village in the Niger River valley in the era of Europe's African colonization. 
Okonkwo was clearly cut out for great things.  He was still young but had won fame as the greatest wrestler in the nine villages.  He was a wealthy farmer and had barns full of yams,and had just married his third wife.  To crown it all... he had shown incredible prowess in two inter-tribal wars.  And so although Okonkwo was still young, he was already one of the greatest men of his time. (p. 8)
Pride goeth before a fall (Proverbs 16:18), but it is far more than Okonkwo's pride that unravels this world.

04 September 2012

Texting while driving - the Early Years

How I WISH I could be half as funny as Grammarly.

Soapbox moment: I'm actually a big pain-in-the-neck when Dear Husband tries to text-and-drive, so while I poke a little bit of fun here, I support the Maine legislation that recently went into effect increasing the fine for texting and driving. (Does that also include reading-a-book-while-driving?  KIDDING!)

Don't text and drive.  Also, definitely don't do it when you're driving your great-great-grandmother's car.