Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Mindfulness ~ positive thinking

At lunch today, I advised my best friend that I would try from now on to be positive and never negative.  My mother's oft-repeated adage was "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  So how best to tell you that my apartment complex sent out a notice about a Community Yard Sale?
"Sign up for your very own table to sale all your goodies at!!"  (sell)
My inner word nerd will no longer weep in despair, but assume people can learn.  So here's a link to Common Errors in English Usage.  Now ... do I send them the link?  Or not?  (Yes, I noticed the "at" at the end of their sentence, but I'd better not comment.)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Readathon ~ End of Event Meme

A Readathon tradition!  In your final Readathon post, answer these questions and then link to it with the Mr. Linky [on the Readathon blog].

1.  Which hour was most daunting for you?
I'm in the Eastern time zone, so Hour 19 meant 2:00 a.m.  That's when I went to bed and to sleep.
2.  Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat is nine related short stories, so I was able to read in small snatches between errands and other things I had to do.
3.  Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Nope, it was wonderful, as usual.
4.  What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

5.  How many books did you read?
Two, but only completed one.
6.  What were the names of the books you read?
  • Krik? Krak! ~ by Edwidge Danticat (short stories)
  • Bookends ~ by Liz Curtis Higgs (novel)
7.  Which book did you enjoy most?
8.  Which did you enjoy least?
It wasn't a contest.
9.  If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
10.  How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again?  What role would you be likely to take next time?
I signed up after the Readathon was already underway, so obviously I'm unable to resist it.

Mini-Challenge ~ Cover Me

Mini-Challenge for Hour 18:  "There are two ways to participate.  1.  Vote for your favorite in each category by leaving a comment (when challenge is over come back and I’ll have them tallied up).  2.  Post your own winners in said categories and leave a link in the comment section [at Stacy's Books].   I encourage you to do both!"

Okay, here are my votes by category.

1.  Best Title ~ Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls
2.  Best Dressed ~ The Smart One
3.  Cutest Couple ~ Jane Austen, Game Theorist
4.  Most Delicious Cover ~ Homemade Love
5.  Cutest Animal ~ Love Saves the Day
6.  Cutest Kid ~ From the Kitchen of Half Truth
7.  Best to Avoid in a Dark Alley ~ A Natural History of Dragons
8.  Best Tatoo ~ Maya's Notebook
9.  Best Cover ~ Fly Away

Mini-Challenge ~ Six Word Celebration

Dewey's cat in 2007.
Mini-Challenge for Hour 17:  "Your challenge is to create a six-word celebration of Dewey's Read-a-Thon.  Go on, you know you want to!  Add the link to your Six-Word Celebration or the ACTUAL six word celebration to the comments [at Estella's Revenge]."

"Dewey's cat was a reader, too."

Yes, this is totally accurate, unbiased reporting.   In my post about her cat, I quoted what Dewey herself wrote on her blog in January 2008.  The cat claimed to be reading Finnegans Wake.  No kidding!  Dewey, however, wasn't sure she believed her.

Sunday Salon ~ the Bard's day

[cartoon by John Taylor, borrowed from]

Simon @ Stuck in a Book has put together a quiz called Bible or Bard?  Here's what Simon says:
"23 April, as every schoolchild knows, is probably the birthday, and definitely the deathday, of England’s most famous writer:  William Shakespeare, often known simply as the Bard.  (We don’t know his exact birth date, but he was baptized on 26 April, and it lends his life an appropriately poetic balance to assume he was born and died on the same day.)"
You did, of course, know that Shakespeare is known as the Bard of Avon, right?  Anyway, take the quiz and let me know how well you did in choosing whether the words were from William Shakespeare or the King James Bible.


The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place ~ by E. L. Konigsburg, 2004, YA fiction, 8/10

Instead of book beginnings, that I often do on Fridays, this is the ending of The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place.  The final words of the book, copied from page 296.
So the history of the towers has not come to an end.
But the telling of it must.
Oooh, this resonates with me, and I really really must use it myself.  Now.  Because E. L. Konigsburg has died, here's how I read those lines.
So the telling of stories has not come to an end.
But stories from E. L. Konigsburg have.
And the world is poorer for it.  May she rest in peace, even as the stories she published live on.


Yesterday, I took part in the 24-Hour Readathon.  It had already started when I caved in and signed up.  It's going still, for eight more hours after I have this scheduled to post automatically.  Here's what I've been reading (I may add to this list before it's over):
Bookends ~ by Liz Curtis Higgs, 2000, fiction

Krik? Krak! ~ by Edwidge Danticat, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995, short stories
1.  "War is a raquet!"
2.  "It was my soul income."
3.  "He road the horse."
4.  "That rode is full of potholes."
5.  "My rent is do today."
6.  "I need a chain length fence."
(chain link fence)
7.  "Does anyone have a wheelbarrel they want to sell?"
My inner word-nerd weeps in despair.  Yet maybe it isn't as bad as it seems.  Maybe we can blame technology for some (most?) of these word mistakes, based on comments like this one on Facebook, which was followed by its own correction:
8.  "I would have missed the hole thing!"  (whole)
The next sentence said it all:  "Whole ... iPad touch screen and I are on the verge of a breakup!"  I find my touch screen annoying, too.  Others may have a problem with auto-correct.  I wouldn't want a machine to automatically change what I type.

The Sunday Salon's Facebook page has links to other blogs.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mini-Challenge ~ Turn the Page

Mini-Challenge for Hour 16:  "For this challenge, you must turn to page 32 of the book you are currently reading (or the nearest page with text on it) and find the most entertaining phrase to complete the following sentence:  'I would rather read than ________ any day!'   Post your sentence in the comments [at Reflections of a Bookaholic] so everyone may enjoy!  Don't forget to include the title of the book you are reading and your email so I can contact you.  Let the laughs begin."
"I would rather read than sit motionless observing the Madonna any day!"
That's from page 33 of Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat.

Mini-Challenge ~ Share a Quote

Mini-Challenge for Hour 14:  "Share a quote from the book that you are reading or books that you've read during this read-a-thon.  I love quotes, so I would really love hear the one that made a big impression on you.  Or that you've found it completely hilarious!  Or that you've simply found it beautiful!  Doesn't have to be long or anything."

Here are the opening lines of Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat:
"They say behind the mountains are more mountains.  Now I know it's true.  I also know there are timeless waters, endless seas, and lots of people in this world whose names don't matter to anyone but themselves."
The young man behind these thoughts is at sea, drifting in a flimsy boat away from Haiti.  Makes me wonder:  How endless are those seas, anyway?

Mini-Challenge ~ Picture It

Mini-Challenge for Hour 11:  "Take a picture of the place and/or book you are reading currently and post it somewhere – twitter, your blog, your choice.  Leave a link in the linkie so I can check them out!"

The picture of a boat above oops! is not where I am, but where one of the characters is.  He's in a boat escaping from Haiti, along with a bunch of other folks.  The boat is probably bigger than this one I found online, but the sun is getting to the character.  Me?  I'm reading near the bookcases I showed you in my previous self-portrait.

Mini Challenge ~ Book Cover Quiz

Click twice to enlarge
Mini Challenge for Hour 10:  Here are 17 cropped thumbnails of well known (and some not-so well known) book covers. Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to name as many of books and their authors as you can! (So marks will be out of 34.) Just drop your answers into the Google form below the covers and hit submit, it is as easy as that!"

I know very few of these, but I'll record the ones I do recognize.

Book 1 ~ Sleeping Beauty
Book 2 ~ The Hungry Caterpillar
Book 3 ~
Book 4 ~ The Great Gatsby
Book 5 ~
Book 6 ~
Book 7 ~
Book 8 ~
Book 9 ~
Book 10 ~ Where the Wild Things Are
Book 11 ~
Book 12 ~
Book 13 ~
Book 14 ~
Book 15 ~
Book 16 ~
Book 17 ~

Mini Challenge ~ Best and Worst Covers

Mini Challenge for Hour 7:  "Look up one of the books you're reading for the read-a-thon on Goodreads or Amazon, pick out two or three covers and describe which one you like the best, which one you like the least and why."  Then leave a comment at Reading My Way Through Life.

I'm reading Bookends by Liz Curtis Higgs.  Both of these are paperback books, though the library copy on the left was shelved in 2000, when the book was published, and the darker cover is being sold online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble right now.  Today.  I like the dark one better, maybe because it looks more solid to me.  Maybe because white covers get lost against the white background of my blog page.

Mini-Challenge ~ Self Portrait

Mini Challenge for Hour 5:  "Post a self-portrait and link your blog at the Estella Society."  I love their illustration, using Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring.  Mine isn't nearly as cute, so I put Vermeer at the top.

Here's a photo of me playing the piano with one hand while holding the camera out to the side.  It took several tries to actually get myself in the photo.  Notice the bookcases lining the wall.  Ah, yes, the books!

Mini-Challenge ~ Retitle Your Current Book

Mini Challenge for Hour 4:  Retitle your current read with something clever, post it on your blog, and link back to Geeky Blogger's Book Blog.

Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat could be re-titled:
Kept in Our Hearts

Readathon ~ updates

This is very last minute, since the readathon started an hour ago, but I just signed up in spite of myself.  This post is for updates.  The "hour" links to the Readathon page, and the "title" links to additional posts on my blog (if I posted one).

Hour 1 ~ 8:00 a.m. ~ Introductory Questionnaire
1)  What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.
2)  Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat.
3)  Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Grapes, chips 'n' dip — maybe even together, since I started the day with a mashed banana on waffles.
4)  Tell us a little something about yourself!
Reader, writer, blogger, mom, grandmother, great-grandmother, retired pastor, teacher, friend.
5)  If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?  If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
Different means reading without Kiki.  Looking forward to the mini-challenges, even though they take time from my reading.
Hour 2 ~ 9:00 a.m. ~ Books Read Database
Hour 3 ~ 10:00 a.m. ~ Book Appetit
Hour 4 ~ 11:00 a.m. ~ Retitle Your Current Book
Hour 5 ~ 12:00 noon ~ Self-Portrait
Hour 6 ~ 1:00 p.m. ~ Book Puzzle
Hour 7 ~ 2:00 p.m. ~ Best and Worst Covers
Hour 8 ~ 3:00 p.m. ~ Book Sentence Challenge(s)
Hour 9 ~ 4:00 p.m. ~ Clear the Cobwebs
Hour 10 ~ 5:00 p.m. ~ Book Cover Quiz
Hour 11 ~ 6:00 p.m. ~ Picture It

Hour 12 ~ 7:00 p.m. ~ Mid-Event Survey
1)  How are you doing?  Sleepy?  Are your eyes tired?
It's been a busy day, so I haven't read as much as I had hoped.
2)  What have you finished reading?
Nothing, yet.
3)  What is your favorite read so far?
Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat
4)  What about your favorite snacks?
I'm eating mindlessly, while reading, except when my son had lunch with me today.
5)  Have you found any new blogs through the readathon?  If so, give them some love!
I haven't been visiting around much.
Hour 13 ~ 8:00 p.m. ~ Cooking the Books
Hour 14 ~ 9:00 p.m. ~ Share a Quote
Hour 15 ~ 10:00 p.m. ~ The Casting Couch
Hour 16 ~ 11:00 p.m. ~ Turn the Page
Hour 17 ~ 12:00 midnight ~ Six Word Celebration
Hour 18 ~ 1:00 a.m. ~ Cover Me
Hour 19 ~ 2:00 a.m. ~ You Can Do Whatever You Want (bed ... sleep)
Hour 20 ~ 3:00 a.m.
Hour 21 ~ 4:00 a.m.
Hour 22 ~ 5:00 a.m.
Hour 23 ~ 6:00 a.m.
Hour 24 ~ 7:00 a.m. ~ End of Event Meme
Courtney said at Hour 13:  "This is Dewey Day and we only get it twice a year."

Caturday Kitty ~ likes his vacuum

This cute kitty is either licking or kissing the vacuum.  Most cats run away from the loud noise of a vacuum cleaner, but this one got his paws on one and refuses to give it up.  Watch the video online.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Beginning with ~ lost words

Let's Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition ~ by Lesley M. M. Blume, 2013
As we all know, nothing falls out of fashion like fashion.  History has relegated thousands of adornments to the ash bin, from togas to bustles to turbans.  Yet, somehow these "glad rags" always manage to stage comebacks, sneaking into our modern wardrobes in various guises.  Once-fashionable words, on the other hand, have far less comeback savvy.  Once a word or phrase is regarded as passe, it usually stays on the "Don't" list forever, with little hope for redemption.  It seems dreadfully unfair, but as our grandparents used to say, "That's just the way the cookie crumbles."
That's the opening paragraph of this book.  The sub-subtitle of this book is "A Collection of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful Words, Phrases, Praises, Insults, Idioms, and Literary Flourishes from Eras Past."  And here's part of the online description of the book:
From all-overish to zounds, the vintage vernacular collected here will make any reader the cat's meow among friends, relations, and acquaintances.
Book Riot asked people to share the good old-fashioned words and phrases they would want to bring back into common use.  Can you think of others to add to this list they collected?
bee’s knees
cat’s pajamas
hot diggity
you’re darn tootin’
Huh!  I'm so old I'm still using some of these.  Didn't know they were extinct — or nearly so.  I'm not extinct yet, but today IS my 73rd birthday.  You whippersnappers should respect your elders and be nice to me, at least for today.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The book list challenge ~ A to Zen

I got these titles from The Book List Challenge, which says, "100 books to read before you die."  Who says?  I want to know, since no credit is given.  Six years ago, as only my fourth post ever on this blog, I made a list of a hundred books I chose myself, after counting 50 books I'd read on this list.  Everyone chooses different books as best or most important or must-reads.  I have read 40 of the 100 books of this newest list, though "most people" according to the makers of the book list challenge have read "fewer than 10" of them.  How many have you read?  What must-read book would you suggest that is not on this list?

1.  1984 ~ by George Orwell (1949)
2.  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ~ by Mark Twain (1885)
3.  The Alchemist ~ by Paulo Coelho (1993)
4.  Alice in Wonderland ~ by Lewis Carroll (1865)
5.  All the King's Men ~ by Robert Penn Warren (1946)
6.  All the Pretty Horses ~ by Cormac McCarthy (1992)
7.  The Ambassadors ~ by Henry James (1903)
8.  And Then There Were None ~ by Agatha Christie (1939)
9.  Anne of Green Gables ~ by L. M. Montgomery (1908)
10.  Beloved ~ by Toni Morrison (1987)
11.  Brave New World ~ by Aldous Huxley (1932)
12.  Brideshead Revisited ~ by Evelyn Waugh (1945)
13.  Bridget Jones's Diary ~ by Helen Fielding (1996)
14.  The Call of the Wild ~ by Jack London (1903)
15.  The Canterbury Tales ~ by Geoffrey Chaucer (late 13th century)
16.  Catch-22 ~ by Joseph Heller (1961)
17.  The Catcher in the Rye ~ J. D. Salinger (1951)
18.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ~ Roald Dahl (1964)
19.  Charlotte's Web ~ by E. B. White (1952)
20.  Cloud Atlas ~ by David Mitchell (2004)
21.  The Color Purple ~ by Alice Walker (1982)
22.  A  Confederacy of Dunces ~ by John Kennedy Toole (1980)
23.  Count of Monte Cristo ~ by Alexandre Dumas (1844)
24.  Crime and Punishment ~ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1866)
25.  Darkness at Noon ~ Arthur Koestler (1940)
26.  Don Quixote ~ by Miguel de Cervantes (1605)
27.  Dracula ~ by Bram Stoker (1897)
28.  Dune ~ by Frank Herbert (1965)
29.  The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test ~ by Tom Wolfe (1969)
30.  Fahrenheit 451 ~ by Ray Bradbury (1951)
31.  A Fine Balance ~ by Rohinton Mistry (1995)
32.  Go Tell It on the Mountain ~ by James Baldwin (1953)
33.  The Golden Notebook ~ by Doris Lessing (1962)
34.  Gone with the Wind ~ by Margaret Mitchell (1936)
35.  The Good Soldier ~ by Ford Madox Ford (1915)
36.  The Grapes of Wrath ~ by John Steinbeck (1939)
37.  Gravity's Rainbow ~ by Thomas Pynchon (1972)
38.  Great Expectations ~ by Charles Dickens (1861)
39.  The Great Gatsby ~ by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
40.  Gulliver's Travels ~ by Jonathan Swift (1726)
41.  Hamlet ~ by William Shakespeare (1603)
42.  The Handmaid's Tale ~ by Margaret Atwood (1986)
43.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ~ by J. K. Rowling (1997)
44.  The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter ~ by Carson McCullers (1940)
45.  Heart of Darkness ~ by Joseph Conrad (1899)
46.  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ~ by Douglas Adams (1979)
47.  Howard's End ~ by E. M. Forster (1910)
48.  In Search of Lost Time ~ by Marcel Proust (1913)
49.  Invisible Man ~ by Ralph Ellison (1952)
50.  Jane Eyre ~ by Charlotte Brontë (1847)
51.  The Kite Runner ~ by Khaled Hosseini (2003)
52.  Les Misérables ~ by Victor Hugo (1862)
53.  Life of Pi ~ by Yann Martel (2001)
54.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe ~ by C. S. Lewis (1950)
55.  The Little Prince ~ by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1943)
56.  Little Women ~ by Louisa M. Alcott (1868)
57.  Lolita ~ by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
58.  Lord of the Flies ~ by William Golding (1954)
59.  The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings) ~ by J. R. R. Tolkien (1954)
60.  Madame Bovary ~ by Gustave Falubert (1856)
61.  Main Street ~ by Sinclair Lewis (1920)
62.  The Maltese Falcon ~ by Dashiell Hammett (1930)
63.  Memoirs of a Geisha ~ by Arthur Golden (1997)
64.  Middlemarch ~ by George Eliot (1874)
65.  Midnight's Children ~ by Salman Rushdie (1981)
66.  Moby Dick ~ by Herman Melville (1851)
67.  Naked Lunch ~ by William S. Burroughs (1959)
68.  Native Son ~ by Richard Wright (1940)
69.  Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) ~ by Philip Pullman (1995)
70.  The Old Man and the Sea ~ by Ernest Hemingway (1952)
71.  On the Road ~ by Jack Kerouac (1957)
72.  One Hundred Years of Solitude ~ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (`970)
73.  A Prayer for Owen Meaney ~ by John Irving (1989)
74.  Pride and Prejudice ~ by Jane Austen (1813)
75.  The Remains of the Day ~ by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
76.  The Scarlet Letter ~ by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)
77.  The Secret Garden ~ by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
78.  The Secret History ~ by  Donna Tartt (1992)
79.  A Separate Peace ~ by John Knowles (1959)
80.  The Shadow of the Wind ~ by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (2004)
81.  Sister Carrie ~ by Theodore Dreiser (1900)
82.  Slaughterhouse-Five ~ by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
83.  Sons and Lovers ~ by D. H. Lawrence (1913)
84.  The Sound and the Fury ~ by William Faulkner (1929)
85.  Stranger in a Strange Land ~ by Robert Heinlein (1961)
86.  Swallows and Amazons ~ by Arthur Ransom (1930)
87.  The Time Traveler's Wife ~ by Audrey Niffenegger (2003)
88.  To Kill a Mockingbird ~ by Harper Lee (1960)
89.  To the Lighthouse ~ by Virginia Woolf (1927)
90.  A Town Like Alice ~ by Nevil Shute (1950)
91.  Tropic of Cancer ~ by Henry Miller (1934)
92.  Ulysses ~ by James Joyce (1922)
93.  Under the Volcano ~ by Malcolm Lowry (1947)
94.  War and Peace ~ by Leo Tolstoy (1869)
95.  Watership Down ~ by Richard Adams (1972)
96.  The Way of All Flesh ~ by Samuel Butler (1903)
97.  The Wind in the Willows ~ by Kenneth Grahame (1908)
98.  Winnie the Pooh ~ by A. A. Milne (1926)
99.  Wuthering Heights ~ by Emily Bronte (1847)
100.  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ~ by Robert M. Pirsig (1974)
Here are a few I might have included on such a list.  These are simply ones that came to my mind while I was typing up this post.
The Stranger ~ by Albert Camus (1942)
The Plague ~ by Albert Camus (1947)
The Brothers Karamatzov ~ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1880)
A Tale of Two Cities ~ by Charles Dickens (1859)
Time and Again ~ by Jack Finney (1970)
On the Beach ~ by Nevil Shute (1957)
Possession ~ by A.S. Byatt(1990)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ~ by Mark Twain (1876)
The Secret Life of Bees ~ by Sue Monk Kidd (2002)
The Trial ~ by Franz Kafka (1925)
Cold Mountain ~ by Charles Frazier (1997)
The Giver ~ by Lois Lowry (1993)
A Thousand Acres ~ by Jane Smiley (1991)
I added dates to the books on today's list so you can see how old (or new) the books are.  Other lists:  In 2008, I shared a list of 100 new classics from Entertainment Weekly.  The Modern Library's 100 Best Novels is actually two lists, one from the Board and one from the Readers.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Library Loot ~ April 24-30

E. L. Konigsburg holding The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place in the dust jacket she painted.
The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place ~ by E. L. Konigsburg, 2004, YA fiction
"I Prefer Not To."  That's Margaret Rose Kane's response to every activity she's asked to participate in at the summer camp to which she's been exiled while her parents are in Peru.  So Margaret Rose is delighted when her beloved uncles rescue her from Camp Talequa, with its uptight camp director and cruel cabinmates, and bring her to stay with them at their wonderful house at 19 Schuyler Place.   But Margaret Rose soon discovers that something is terribly wrong at 19 Schuyler Place.  People in their newly gentrified neighborhood want to get rid of the three magnificent towers the uncles have spent forty-five years lovingly constructing of scrap metal and shards of glass and porcelain.  Margaret Rose is outraged, and determined to strike a blow for art, for history, and for individuality and no one is more surprised than Margaret Rose at the allies she finds for her mission.
Me...Jane ~ by Patrick McDonnell, 2011, children's (biography), 9/10
In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee.  As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of "a life living with and helping all animals," until one day she finds that her dream has come true.  One of the world's most inspiring women, Dr. Jane Goodall is a renowned humanitarian, conservationist, animal activist, environmentalist, and United Nations Messenger of Peace.  In 1977 she founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), a global nonprofit organization that empowers people to make a difference for all living things.  With anecdotes taken directly from Jane Goodall's autobiography, McDonnell makes this very true story accessible for the very young and young at heart.  This is a Caldecott Honor Book.
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women ~ by CatherineThimmesh, 2000, children's (history)
In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have come up with ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better.  Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie).  What inspired these women, and just how did they turn their ideas into realities?  From Sybilla Masters, the first American woman with a documented invention (although the patent had to be in her husband's name), to twelve-year-old Becky Schroeder, who in 1974 became the youngest girl to receive a patent, this book tells the stories of the obstacles these women faced and their remarkable victories.
Library Loot is co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader, encouraging us to share titles of books we’ve checked out of the library.  Add your link any time during the week, and see what others got this week.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The $2 bill

I noticed this story on Facebook because I have a $2 bill in my wallet.  Does anyone else carry around a $2 bill?  Or even have one around the house or some place?  Yes, these really are spendable money.  But read this story about what one man claims happened to him.


On my way home from work, I stopped at Taco Bell for a quick bite to eat.  I have a $50 bill and a $2 bill.  I figure with the $2 bill, I can get something to eat and not have to worry about irritating anyone for trying to break a $50 bill.

Me:  "Hi, I'd like one seven-layer burrito please, to go."
Server:  "That'll be $1.04.  Eat in?"
Me:  "No, it's to go."  At this point, I open my billfold and hand him the $2 bill.  He looks at it kind of funny.
Server:  "Uh, hang on a sec.  I'll be right back."
He goes to talk to his manager, who is still within my earshot.  The following conversation occurs between the two of them:
Server:  "Hey, you ever see a $2 bill?"
Manager:  "No.  A what?"
Server:  "A $2 bill.  This guy just gave it to me."
Manager:  "Ask for something else.  There's no such thing as a $2 bill."
Server:  "Yeah, thought so."
He comes back to me and says, "We don't take these.  Do you have anything else?"
Me:  "Just this fifty.  You don't take $2 bills?  Why?"
Server:  "I don't know."
Me:  "See here where it says legal tender?"
Server:  "Yeah."
Me:  "So, why won't you take it?"
Server:  "Well, hang on a sec."
He goes back to his manager, who has been watching me like I'm a shoplifter, and says to him, "He says I have to take it."
Manager:  "Doesn't he have anything else?"
Server:  "Yeah, a fifty.  I'll get it, and you can open the safe and get change."
Manager:  "I'm not opening the safe with him in here."
Server:  "What should I do?"
Manager:  "Tell him to come back later when he has real money."
Server:  "I can't tell him that!  You tell him."
Manager:  "Just tell him."
Server:  "No way!  This is weird.  I'm going in back."
The manager approaches me and says, "I'm sorry, but we don't take big bills this time of night."
Me:  "It's only seven o'clock!  Well then, here's a two dollar bill."
Manager:  "We don't take those, either."
Me:  "Why not?"
Manager:  "I think you know why."
Me:  "No really, tell me why."
Manager:  "Please leave before I call mall security."
Me:  "Excuse me?"
Manager:  "Please leave before I call mall security."
Me:  "What on earth for?"
Manager:  "Please, sir."
Me:  "Uh, go ahead, call them."
Manager:  "Would you please just leave?"
Me:  "No."
Manager:  "Fine.  Have it your way then."
Me:  "Hey, that's Burger King, isn't it?"

At this point, he backs away from me and calls mall security on the phone around the corner.  I have two people staring at me from the dining area, and I begin laughing out loud, just for effect.  A few minutes later this 45-year-oldish guy comes in.
Guard:  "Yeah, Mike, what's up?"
Manager (whispering):  "This guy is trying to give me some" ... (pause) ... "funny money."
Guard:  "No kidding!  What?"
Manager:  "Get this.  A two-dollar bill."
Guard (incredulous):  "Why would a guy fake a two dollar bill?"
Manager:  "I don't know.  He's kinda weird.  He says the only other thing he has is a fifty."
Guard:  "Oh, so the fifty's fake!"
Manager:  "No, the two dollar bill is."
Guard:  "Why would he fake a two dollar bill?"
Manager:  "I don't know!  Can you talk to him and get him out of here?"
Guard:  "Yeah."
Security Guard walks over to me and......

Guard:  "Mike here tells me you have some fake bills you're trying to use."
Me:  "Uh, no."
Guard:  "Lemme see 'em."
Me:  "Why?"
Guard:  "Do you want me to get the cops in here?"
At this point I'm ready to say, "Sure, please!"  But I want to eat, so I say, "I'm just trying to buy a burrito and pay for it with this two dollar bill."

I put the bill up near his face, and he flinches like I'm taking a swing at him.  He takes the bill, turns it over a few times in his hands, and he says, "Hey, Mike, what's wrong with this bill?"
Manager:  "It's fake."
Guard:  "It doesn't look fake to me."
Manager:  "But it's a two dollar bill."
Guard:  "Yeah?"
Manager:  "Well, there's no such thing, is there?"
The security guard and I both look at him like he's an idiot, and it dawns on the guard that the guy has no clue and is an idiot.  So, it turns out that my burrito was free, and the manager threw in a small drink and some of those cinnamon thingies, too.

Made me want to get a whole stack of two dollar bills just to see what happens when I try to buy stuff.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Google is interactive ~ for Earth Day

Google Doodle is interactive today, for Earth Day.  My friend Kathy wrote on Facebook:  "If you haven't done it already, check out the Google home page. Their logo today is dedicated to Earth Day, and it's interactive. You can make flowers grow, make bears come out of the caves, and make the sun and moon rise and set."

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Salon ~ a book headboard

DIY Book Headboard was an serendipitous online discovery, and I know I'll never do anything like it (for one thing, it takes up a lot of wall space).  But what a fun and creative idea!  Since I like pictures, as you can tell by looking at my blog, I'd have at least some illustrated pages showing in any headboard I tried to create.  Maybe I'd use a row of art books.  This bland whiteness would weary me — give me some color somewhere, please!  One of the comments following the article was along that same line:
"A kid's headboard perhaps with children’s illustrated books."
So do you think this whimsical headboard is a path to sweet dreams?


Mary Wrightly, So Politely~ by Shirin Yim Bridges, 2013, children's, 8/10
Mary Wrightly is the best-behaved little girl around.  She always politely says please and thank you and even “I’m sorry” when something isn’t her fault.  But when a shopper comes between Mary and the blue elephant toy she wants to buy for her beloved baby brother, will Mary just let the woman walk away with it?  Speak up, Mary!  The charming illustrations capture the spirit of this gentle look at how asserting oneself is not rude — and is even occasionally out-and-out necessary.
Published April 16th, this book looks at the question of whether it's possible to be too good.  In the 1980s, I did assertiveness training at Chattanooga State and DeKalb Community College in Atlanta.  This book catches girls even earlier and and shows them it's okay to stand up for yourself.  It was hard for my college students to understand the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness.  This book makes it clear, I think, that Mary and other girls are not being aggressive when they make their needs and wishes known.  In our culture, it's a compliment to say a boy (or man) is aggressive, but not so for girls and women.  Our little girls need books like this so they don't get lost in the shuffle, and boys need it to see a girl speaking up for herself.  I rate this very good book an 8 of 10.

And you thought that was simply obsessive!  It's true, though, that I want my papers perfectly aligned before stapling them — or before using my hole punch.  It's so much easier to turn the pages in a notebook if they are lined up.  Is there another nerd among those of you who read my blog?

For nerds who like games, tell me, "What's wrong with this picture?"


E. L. Konigsburg died yesterday, Saturday, April 20.  Have you read any of her books?  My favorites by her are The View from Saturday (1996) and  From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1967).  I met Konigsburg when she was in Chattanooga.  It's sad to realize she won't be writing any more books.

The Sunday Salon's Facebook page has links to other blogs.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Grammar Cat ~ on Kiki's Caturday

Grammar Cat -
Kiki, born 13 years ago today, was offended when LOLcats showed silly "kittehs" unable to spell.  She considered herself an erudite cat, as you can read for yourself in a Caturday post from 2010.

Kiki (April 20, 2000 ~ June 8, 2012) was a rather special cat, fond of blogging about books she read.  Not only could Kiki spell correctly, but she also understood quite a few languages "cat talk, dog talk, most bird languages, and human speak," as she put it.  She also lived with three horses before she came to live with me, but I don't know whether or not she spent much time with those horses.  I'm just glad she spoke my language.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Beginning ~ black, poor, and female

Mom and Me and Mom ~ by Maya Angelou, 2013, memoir, 8/10
"The first decade of the twentieth century was not a great time to be born black and poor and female in St. Louis, Missouri, but Vivian Baxter was born black and poor, to black and poor parents."
This is Maya Angelou's most recent book about her life, this time telling us about her relationship with her mother.  Read more about the memoir in my Sunday Salon post.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ashley Judd's memoir

All That Is Bitter and Sweet ~ by Ashley Judd, 2011, memoir, 7/10
Ashley Judd found her calling:  as a humanitarian and voice for those suffering in neglected parts of the world.  As she worked with suffering women and children in Asia and Africa, she realized that she was struggling with her own emotional pain, stemming from childhood abandonment and abuse.
I started this post about a month ago, when I learned that Ashley Judd (her blog) might run against Mitch McConnell for his Kentucky U.S. Senate seat in 2014.  I wanted to know more about her and was impressed by what I found.

So I got her memoir from the library and started reading it.  Oops!  When I was beginning to really like this woman, she decided not to run for office.  Nevertheless, what she wrote is very informative.  Not only did I see Asia and Africa through her eyes, but I also learned about her own feelings of isolation and depression.
"A familiar, gnawing emptiness haunted my days and nights.  I could feel the trapdoor underneath me opening again.  I was having trouble modulating my behavior; I'd swing back and forth between being paralyzed and overdoing whatever I undertook.  I might be able to confidently lobby archconservative Senate majority [*] leader Mitch McConnell in his chambers, but I couldn't seem to manage the simple task of finding a comfortable chair for my writing desk. ... I could become irritable and unreasonable without knowing it and was unable to place things in their proper perspective" (p. 163).
* Actually, according to Wikipedia, Mitch McConnell "has been the Minority Leader of the Senate since January 3, 2007."
Because the subject is heavy, reading was slow.  I would take long breaks in between reading chapters or even sections of chapters.  For that reason, I rate this book 7 of 10, a good book.  It made me think, and I do believe she would make a good senator.  Since she lives in Tennessee (my state), maybe someday she'll run for office and I can vote for her.

Perspective can influence perception

Things like this fascinate me.  It reminds me that you and I don't see or understand things in the same way, even when we look at what we assume is the "same thing."  Your life experiences and mine are so different that we have different perspectives, of necessity.  You assure me what you see is a square, and I insist it's spherical — or at least round.  Hmm, I've even started opposing my own argument.

From the camera's angle, we could even assert that there's a diamond in the blue light and an oval in the yellow light.  To add to the confusion, I want to know why the dark circle on the right is solid — since the object making the shadow seems hollow to me, like a rolled-up piece of paper taped together.  Why isn't the shadow ring-shaped, with light flowing brightly through the middle?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Library Loot ~ April 17-23

The Twelfth Planet ~ by Zecharia Sitchin, 1976
This is the first of seven books in The Earth Chronicles series.
Book I: The 12th Planet, 1976

Over the years, startling evidence has been uncovered, challenging established notions of the origins of life on Earth — evidence that suggests the existence of an advanced group of extraterrestrials who once inhabited our world.  The first book of the revolutionary Earth Chronicles series offers indisputable documentary evidence of the existence of the mysterious planet Nibiru and tells why its astronauts came to Earth eons ago to fashion mankind in their image.   The product of more than thirty years of meticulous research, this book treats as fact, not myth, the tales of Creation, the Deluge, the Tower of Babel, and the Nefilim who married the daughters of man.   By weaving together the biblical narrative with Sumerian and Babylonian clay-tablet texts, it challenges the established notions of the origins of Earth and mankind, and offers a compelling alternative history and prehistory of both.

Book II: The Stairway to Heaven, 1980

Where did mortal man go to join the immortal Gods?  Was the immense and complex structure at Giza an Egyptian Pharaoh's portal to immortality?  Or a pulsating beacon built by extraterrestrials for landing on Earth?  Sitchin unveils secrets of the pyramids and hidden clues from ancient times to reveal a grand forgery on which established Egyptology is founded, and takes the reader to the Spaceport and Landing Place of the Anunnaki gods — "Those Who from Heaven to Earth Came."

Book III: The Wars of Gods and Men, 1985

Thousands of years ago, the Earth was a battlefield.  Those wars would shape our destiny — terrible conflicts that began lifetimes earlier on another planet.  Parting the mists of time and myth, Sitchin takes us back to the violent beginnings of the human story, when gods — not men — ruled the Earth.  In a spellbinding reconstruction of epic events preserved in legends and ancient writings, he traces the conflicts that began on another world, continued on Earth, and culminated in the use of nuclear weapons — an event recorded in the Bible as the upheaval of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Book IV: The Lost Realms, 1990

In the sixteenth century, Spanish conquerors came to the New World in search of El Dorado, the fabled city of gold.  Instead, they encountered inexplicable phenomena that have puzzled scholars and historians ever since:  massive stone edifices constructed in the Earth's most inaccessible regions, great monuments forged with impossible skill and unknown tools, intricate carvings describing events and places half a world away.  Who were the bearded "gods of the golden wand" who had brought civilization to the Americas millennia before Columbus?  Who were the giants whose sculpted stone heads in Mesoamerica still mystify to this day?  Sitchin uncovers the long-hidden secrets of the lost New World civilizations of the Olmecs, Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas, and links the conquistadors' quest for El Dorado to the extraterrestrials who searched there for gold long before.

Book V: When Time Began, 1993

They came to Earth thousands of years ago to usher in mankind's first New Age of scientific growth and spiritual enlightenment.  Under the guidance of these ancient visitors from the heavens, human civilisation flourished — as revolutionary advances in art, science and thought swept through the inhabited world.  And they left behind magnificent monuments — baffling monoliths and awesome, towering structures that stand to this day as testaments to their greatness.  Sitchin draws remarkable correlations between the events that shape our civilisation in millennia past — pinpointing with astonishing accuracy the tumultuous beginning of time as we know it, and revealing to us the indisputable signature of extraterrestrial god indelibly written in stone.

Book VI: The Cosmic Code, 1998

Many thousands of years ago, a group of extraterrestrials from another planet guided the evolution of life on Earth — determining the existence and nature of humankind as we know it today.  How did the master builders from the stars construct the miracle called man?  Is the DNA that is at the core of all life in the universe a "cosmic code" that links Earth to heaven and man to God?  Sitchin unveils writings from the past to decipher prophesies, and reveals how the DNA-matched Hebrew alphabet and the numerical values of its letters serve as a code that bares the secrets of mortal man’s fate and mankind’s celestial destiny.

Book VII: The End of Days, 2007

Sitchin shows that the End is anchored in the events of the Beginning, and once you learn of this Beginning, it is possible to foretell the Future.  Sitchin presents compelling new evidence that the Past is the Futur — that mankind and its planet Earth are subject to a predetermined cyclical Celestial Time.  In an age when religious fanaticism and a clash of civilizations raise the specter of a nuclear Armageddon, Zecharia Sitchin shatters perceptions and uses history to reveal what is to come at The End of Days.

The first volume of the series is the only one I checked out — and the only one my library has.  I listed all seven together for my own edification.  These books interest me because I read Sitchin's Genesis Revisited (1990), a companion volume, and rated it 9/10, an excellent book.

Library Loot is co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader, encouraging us to share titles of books we’ve checked out of the library.  Add your link any time during the week, and see what others got this week.