September 30, 2009
September 29, 2009
The picture above was taken from a collection of photos about Paul Theroux book about the great American road trip.
I was struck by this particular photo. It evoked the thought of the partnership between the farmer and mother nature. The weather is no silent partner in the endeavor, and with it's uncertainty it has the upper hand.
The Drawbridge of Dignitaries
Submitted by chollisr on Mon, 09/28/2009 - 9:20pm.
At the time of the Memorial Bridge's design, planners anticipated a dock for berthing the ocean-going ships of foreign dignitaries visiting Washington, D.C. Such ships would ply their way up the Potomac River and through the drawbridge span, shown in detail here. Immediately upstream of the bridge was a dock featuring a sweeping array of steps on the river's eastern bank up to the Lincoln Memorial. This dock was seldom if ever used, and is now gone. The steps are still there, however, serving as the extreme western limit of the Mall.
[Steps perhaps better known as the Watergate. - Dave]
When I was stationed there in the late 1950's those watergate steps were used for musical concerts. A barge was placed at the foot of the steps for the stage. Having very little money in those days, my wife and I were very appreciative of what we were able to observe for free. The entertainment was very first class. The airplanes flying into the then called Washington National airport were very noisy but we loved it.
September 28, 2009
Since the current issue of my favorite team is trying to set new records for how many games they can lose in a season, I will dial back my memory to a time when we had the services of one Leroy Paige, better known as SATCHEL.
Go to OPEN LETTERS to read the review of the new book and more about Satchel.
Satchel was a pitcher and philosopher. Here are some of his more famous thoughts:
1. Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
2. If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
3. Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
4. Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society – the social ramble ain’t restful.
5. Avoid running at all times.
6. And don’t look back – something might be gaining on you.
September 27, 2009
September 26, 2009
September 25, 2009
September 22, 2009
September 21, 2009
One of most obvious reasons for the decline of small American towns besides losing it's industrial base is what this article calls it, the hollowing out of small towns. It is the losing of our best and brightest young people to college and the newly minted graduates go on and never look back. This article, from a new book, explains what is going on in the study and whose ears the problem has and the hope that some answers will come and save rural America from becoming one vast wasteland.
September 20, 2009
September 19, 2009
a style of art and literature developed principally in the 20th century, stressing the subconscious or nonrational significance of imagery arrived at by automatism or the exploitation of chance effects, unexpected juxtapositions, etc.
My idea of surrealism is our dreams we have from time to time that make no sense at all, but leave you with bits and pieces of pictures that you wonder what was all that about?
September 18, 2009
September 17, 2009
Heavyweights: When F. Scott Fitgerald met Gene Tunny
from The Literary Traveler
A.J. Liebling, the writer who first called boxing "the sweet science," once said, "A boxer, like a writer, must stand alone." For centuries it seems, writers have had a unique and enduring fascination with boxers and boxing. From Homer to Nelson Algren to Joyce Carol Oates, writers have revealed an obsession for the sport that, at first glance, seems odd. However, Liebling's statement may explain the connection: both writers and boxers face their opponents--another boxer, a blank page--alone. Both know the pitfalls and the rewards of solitary struggles.
On September 23, 1926, when boxer Gene Tunney defeated Jack Dempsey, stripping him of his heavyweight title, the boxing world and many of its fans took the blow personally. Thomas Wolfe, who was still an aspiring writer at the time, wrote in a letter to his lover Aline Bernstein, "I shared in every circumstance of a champion's humiliation. It was not he who was beaten, but myself." However, Gene Tunney quickly earned a winning reputation of his own, captivating the world with his singular blend of physical strength and high intelligence.
One of the most surprising fans of Gene Tunney was F. Scott Fitzgerald.
F. Scott Fitzgerald had met many impressive people in his life, but his biography Some Sort of Epic Grandeur reveals that he was particularly impressed with Tunney when he met him at a New York party in 1927. Although the account of Fitzgerald's association with Tunney lacks detail, the story suggests that Fitzgerald had come into New York City from Wilmington, Delaware to attend the party, which was given in honor of Tunney. All night, Fitzgerald is reported to have "stuck close" to Tunney, and when the time came Fitzgerald "did not want to leave."
Perhaps it was Tunney's intellectual qualities that appealed to Fitzgerald. Tunney was known to be a gentleman boxer, a fighter who gained advantage over his opponents by using as much brain as brawn. His ability to outthink and outbox his opponents earned him 67 wins and only one loss in his long career. Perhaps Fitzgerald was aware that Tunney was a man who loved literature. Tunney was somewhat of an enigma because of his literary leanings. Fans, who were used to less literate fighters, were intrigued. In a 1927 article, Tunney wrote a response to one of his fans' biggest questions: "What are your favorite books?" He responded by downplaying his bookishness:
[. . .] I have a genuine interest in books, or rather the ideas contained in them. It is a hobby with me just as Jem Mace, a bare-knuckle champion of the 1860's, played the violin, and Jem Ward, another prize ring title holder, painted pictures. Because a man is a boxer it doesn't follow that he has to be illiterate.
Tunney went on to admit that he had read a great number of classics, listing Shakespeare's tragedies among his favorites. The truth was that Tunney could quote passages from Shakespeare. One day he would even go head to head with Irish Writer George Bernard Shaw in a "quote-off" contest. Shaw won, but Tunney was a tough competitor--so tough that Shaw went on to develop a 20-year correspondence and friendship with him.
Tunney's unwillingness to promote himself as a reader and thinker revealed the same humility that informed all of his interactions and won him many friendships. For example, when asked if he and Dempsey had spoken during their famous bout, Tunney replied with the same generosity of spirit:
We did very little talking. Early in the bout Dempsey hit me a low punch. He did it unintentionally. He fought a clean, sportsmanlike fight. As the blow fell below my belt, I merely called his attention to it by saying: "Keep them up, Jack! Keep them up!" Dempsey said in acknowledgment: "Excuse me, Gene."
Tunney defeated Dempsey twice and retired the undefeated champion in 1928, having lost only one fight in the history of his career. However, he exhibited a respect and admiration for Dempsey throughout his life. Years later, Tunney and Dempsey were friends and visited one another often.
Like Tunney, Fitzgerald was also known for his generosity, and may have seen a kindred spirit in the boxer when he met him that night in 1927. For example, Fitzgerald was active in promoting younger writers in whom he saw promise, often bringing them to the attention of Scribners' editor Maxwell Perkins. Also, Fitzgerald literally gave away money and items of clothing to friends although he and Zelda were often in financial straits. Friends of Fitzgerald's noted that, at certain points in his career, he may have tried to disguise or cure his own unhappiness by attempting to make others happy.
In 1927, Fitzgerald was struggling to recapture the youth and popularity that he had enjoyed after the publication of his first novel, This Side of Paradise. Although The Great Gatsby is today considered one of the greatest American novels, upon publication in 1925 the novel had produced disappointing sales, and Fitzgerald was having difficulty settling down to work on the project that would eventually become Tender is the Night. Combined with the fact that his marriage with Zelda had been strained by her relationship with French naval aviator as well as his attraction to young actress Lois Moran, these hard knocks had Scott, at 30, struggling.
Fitzgerald and Tunney were both 30 years old when they met. Although Fitzgerald was eight months older than Tunney, he admired to the prizefighter, recognizing a man at the top of his game. Whether or not Tunney had read Fitzgerald and felt a mutual admiration is unclear. What does seem clear is that Fitzgerald was reaching out, seeking to make some connection with Tunney.
The most revealing information about Fitzgerald's state of mind occurred after the party. After finally agreeing to leave Tunney and the soiree, Fitzgerald took a taxi back to the Plaza, where he was staying. The night was stormy. From the back of the cab, Fitzgerald saw a paperboy standing in the rain. He opened the door and bought every one of the boy's papers.
The sad warmth that has, for me, come to define Fitzgerald's writing is here in this account of his life--the tendency toward kindness, the desire to connect with others, the vulnerability of always being both insider and outsider. One can envision Fitzgerald as one of his own characters--a desperate Gatsby, a boyish Amory Blaine. To Fitzgerald, Tunney must have been one of those glittering people with who so many of his characters desired to associate. At 30, Tunney had reached the height of his career and was able to revel in his success. At 30, Fitzgerald had written arguably the greatest work of his career but had no clue what an impact he would ultimately have on American literature. At that moment, Fitzgerald had no way of knowing that it would be his name that would be synonymous with the jazz age and the "lost generation" even 110 years later.
Fitzgerald's true emotions and motivations that night can only be speculated. Tunney's reaction to Fitzgerald is unrecorded as well. Had he read Fitzgerald's work? Did he recognize that a heavyweight of a different color stood beside him? These questions provoke the imagination, especially in the minds of those who seek to understand the link between writers and boxers. Certainly, to have stood ringside on the rainy night F. Scott Fitzgerald met Gene Tunney would have been enlightening. Certainly, it would have been a knockout of a time.
September 16, 2009
Summer is ending, and so are some of the critters life's. Here are a few of what is in store for some of our co-inhabitants of the planet.
The total lifespan of the grasshopper will take around about a year. Each stage of the life cycle takes a different amount of time and breaks down as so:
* Egg - The eggs spend about 10 months in a dormant stage, normally over the autumn and winter months.
* Nymph - This stage takes about 25 to 50 days and results in a fully formed adult grasshopper. The nymph will moult five times during the nymph stage, each is about 5 to 10 day apart.
* Adult - The adult normally lives for about 30 days. It takes 14 days for them to become sexually mature and mate, and a further two to three weeks to lay the eggs. After this the adult will die and the life cycle will start again.
the lifespan of a housfly is about 20-30 days.
Bumble bees can live inbetween Summer and Spring unless they are killed inbetween then. They are very dumb.
A cricket usually lives less than one year, though as , if they can find a warm house, or better, someone to make them a home and provide water and food, their life span can be lengthened. As a rule though, as winter approaches, the female will look for the perfect spot to lay her eggs. This is generally on the ground. When spring arrives, the new cricket, or nymph, hatches looking very muck like an adult cricket, only minus his or her wings. Through several molts, casting off their skin, they grow larger, and develop their wings. Below 32 Degrees they will die so most do not make it through the winter.
The average lady bug lives 4-6 weeks.
An ant's lifespan is usually about 90 days. Harvester ants tend to live longer, usually from 2-6 months.
Also known as fireflies, lightning bugs are part of the beetle family. This means they are not actually bugs and not actually flies either. Beetles are a breed of their own. When they glow, they are communicating with their fellow fireflies. Males and females communicate and, as they
signal with their glow, the male moves closer and closer until the male gets to the female and they mate. Their pattern of flash is how they determine one species from another. The female remains on, or close to, the ground while the male is the one flying around signaling for a female mate.
Lightning bugs are carnivorous. They eat small insects and snails. They hang out in the ground or sometimes find a home in old damp wood lying around. Their larvae live in the ground, just under the surface and also feed on small insects or snails. Some adults have been known to only feed on nectar to sustain energy long enough to mate.
A lightning bug's glow comes from its abdomen. There are special chemicals inside a firefly's abdomen called luciferin and luciferase. These chemicals react with oxygen causing their special glow. There are many different species of lightning bugs and they all have different patterns of flashing. If the female attracts the wrong species she eats the male! The females have been known to trick males of other species by mocking their flash for this very purpose.
Lampyridae is the scientific name for a lightning bug. They hide out all through winter and come out in the spring. They are nocturnal creatures, meaning they only become active at night time. During their off season and the daytime they like moist swamp-like places where food is plentiful.
Adult fireflies live only long enough to mate and lay eggs, usually 1 to 4 weeks. Some lightning bug larvae can live up to a year. How long they can live during winter and fall hugely depends on the climate and how much food is available to them. Generally though, for larvae, their lifespan lasts from one mating season to the next when they have sufficient amounts of food.
Lightning bugs are best known and loved by children. It is a fun summer pastime to go out and collect fireflies in a jar and just look at them and wonder. For adults, it brings back memories and a special youthful feeling. Those that wonder as children may grow up to be Entomologists, specializing in fireflies. An Entomologist is one who studies insects as a profession. Either way, child or professional, we can all appreciate the light show they perform on a warm summer night even though now we know they are just looking for dates or dinner!
September 15, 2009
This piece about Norman Rockwell along with many other literary articles can be found at Literary Traveler
Norman Rockwell's Cover Story
Norman Rockwell produced 4,000 works during his lifetime, yet his popularity is based on the covers he produced for The Saturday Evening Post, published by the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia. Rockwell's relationship with the Post and Curtis spanned six decades of this century, from 1916 to 1963.
All 321 of Rockwell's covers from the Post are featured in the Atwater Kent Museum, where Philadelphia history lives. The museum's exhibit, right across the street from Independence Hall, is the first to explore thematically Rockwell's work and artistic life, and will be on view through December, 2002. His connection to the city is emphasized by a small exhibit-room made to resemble the office of the editor whom the artist visited with sketches of proposals for covers.
Buy artwork by Norman Rockwell at Art.com
Known as the "boy illustrator" in his early years, Rockwell became the first art editor of Boy's Life magazine at 19. He was also an avid illustrator of children's books and magazines. Yet, no amount of success could equal his secret ambition of doing a cover for the Saturday Evening Post, in those days it was considered America's greatest show window for an illustrator. It traces its origins to Benjamin Franklin, who produced the first issue, then called the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1728. The Gazette became the Post in 1821. In 1897, Cyrus Curtis bought the Post and with editor George Horace Lorimer created the prototype for the national mass circulation magazine.
"I used to sit in the studio with a copy of the Post laid across my knees," Rockwell once wrote. "Must be two million people look at at cover, I'd say to myself. All looking at that cover. And then I'd conjure up a picture of myself as a famous illustrator, surrounded admiring females, and being wined and dined by the editor of the Post, Mr. George Horace Lorimer."
What worried Rockwell most was that Mr. Lorimer wouldn't like his work, and that the great editor's influence would put the damper on his work with the kids' magazines and the pulps. Thus, he feared, he would end up "doing wrappers for penny candies."
In March, 1916, after a friend finally convinced him that he was as good as anyone, a reluctant 22-year-old took two oil paintings to Philadelphia to show to the Post editor. "All the way up the steps of the Curtis Publishing Co. building," he later recalled, "All I could think of was what Adelaide Klenke (friend of the family) once told me: I had the eyes of an angel and the neck of a chicken." He almost turned around and left.
Had he done so, those two paintings would not have been bought for the handsome sum of $75 each. Those two million Post readers would have had to look at candy wrappers to see a Norman Rockwell illustration.
When his dream came true, Rockwell exclaimed, "A cover on the Post! Two covers on the Post. $75 for one painting. An audience of one million! I had arrived."
He greatly underestimated just how far he had arrived. In over six decades, he became the most famous artist in America. Millions of people have been moved by his pictures, and his work has been reproduced more often than Michelangelo's, Picasso's and Rembrandt's put together. His obituary in Time magazine, 1978, read: "Rockwell shared with Walt Disney the extraordinary distinction of being one of two artists familiar to nearly everyone in the U.S., rich or poor, black or white, museum goer or not, illiterate or Ph.D."
Norman Rockwell was born in Manhattan in 1894, and although he never lived in Philadelphia, his connection to the city through Curtis Publishing Company is obvious. From 1976 through 1997, The Curtis Center Museum of Norman Rockwell Art, was a popular attraction at the building on Independence Mall that originally housed the publishing company. When that museum closed it doors, it generously donated most of its collection to the Atwater Kent, because of Rockwell's close ties to the city.
Norman Rockwell saw America through rose-colored glasses and he painted it that way. He explored an image that included what Rockwell called "the commonplaces of America," which he said were "the richest subjects in art: Boys batting flies on vacant lots, little girls playing jacks on the front step; old men plodding home at twilight, umbrellas in hand..."
Among the framed Post covers in the Atwater Kent Museum is Rockwell's most popular, Saying Grace It depicts a woman and a child saying grace in a busy restaurant as other diners observe them with curiosity. Curator Jeffrey Ray said, "It was suggested to Rockwell by someone who saw an Amish family saying grace before eating at a Horn & Hardart restaurant on Chestnut St. in Philadelphia."
During the Second World War, Rockwell made his real visceral connection with his public and Americans at large. The Four Freedoms, displayed in the exhibition, helped raise 16 million dollars in War Bonds when Rockwell took the original oil paintings on tour. "Rockwell's wartime imagery," said graphic artist Milton Glaser, dealt with nostalgia and yearning...or with the myths that gave people the strength needed to win the war." He gave us four men around a drugstore counter in "Anytown, USA" listening for the news of D-Day, while other popular periodicals were publishing photographs of Omaha Beach.
A thematic section features home front warriors such as Rosie the Riveter and the Armchair General, a cigar-smoking guy with a map on his lap listening intently to war news on the radio.
"The Stoltz brothers grew up in Northeast Philadelphia when Rockwell was at the height of his popularity," explained Beryl Rosenstock, Marketing Director. "They became fascinated by Rockwell's art and had collected a full series of Post covers. Anticipating an influx of tourists for the Nation's Bicentennial celebration, they displayed them in the Curtis Building. For the next 21 years they were a popular attraction, and when they closed we jumped at the offer to display them here. Our visitors have now increased 30 percent."
Specific, illustrative details were Rockwell's trademark. The originality and the care that went into each of his paintings is evident.When you look at his Post covers it is like taking a time machine back over 80 years. You are able to experience a part of America's heritage. Each painting shows an endearing situation and tells a story we all recognize; a Runaway kid; a boy bends over for a doctor's Shot; a girl with a Black Eye and a satisfied smile sitting outside the principal's office.
A small room in the exhibit evokes a Rockwell Studio. Look closely at the artist's easel and you can follow how one sketch of a scene succeeds other sketches that eventually turn into a finished Post cover. Nearby are various objects that Rockwell used as props for his paintings, such as a painter's scaffold and a barber chair.
Another area in the exhibit is where visitors can sit on a sofa and chairs around a coffee table and look at old Saturday Evening Post magazines.
Although Rockwell is best known for his depictions of Americana, he was an accomplished commercial artist as well. Working for more than 150 companies, he produced some 800 advertisements, calendars, illustrations, logos and mastheads. Ironically, among his last published ads were a series for Rock of Ages Corporation, a manufacturer of headstones. Soon after, Rockwell died on November 8, 1978.
Few magazines of today regularly use illustrations. Photography replaced the art. Given these circumstances, it is doubtful that we will see again an illustrator of Norman Rockwell's talent and popularity.
Joe Curreri is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia.
September 14, 2009
Minnesota Twins batter Justin Morneau fouls a ball off his cheek during the first inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on in Toronto on Wednesday.
While on a baseball theme here is a painting by Norman Rockwell. I don't remember seeing this before.
September 13, 2009
Check out more sandwiches at www.insanewiches.com.
September 12, 2009
September 11, 2009
September 9, 2009
FIRST, A LITTLE FUNNY: TOUGH LOVE
CHECK OUT THESE SKIES OVER TORONTO, I LOVE THE COLORS:
WHAT SAD DAYS MY PARENTS AND SOME OF YOURS LIVED THROUGH. I NEVER WENT HUNGRY, BUT I KNOW THEY DID FROM TIME TO TIME, A SHARED JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER; FRIED APPLES FOR A MAIN DISH; THEY SURVIVED AND BECAME FRUGAL UNTIL THEY DIED A HALF CENTURY LATER.
September 7, 2009
I wish all of you who labored daily in this year of 2009 a day of rest and relaxation. Labor day has become a day I don't really understand anymore, or I should say it is getting more and more difficult to understand what is going on. A day or two ago I read a piece, a very convincing piece about the labor unions being the cause of General Motors demise. I doubt it, but it was well written by an obviously intelligent man about a union out of control, and documenting the final knife in the jugular taking voluntary lay-offs while receiving 95 percent of their pay as the coup d'etat for the company.
I don't think so. If I can put in my one and half cents (down from 2 cents before recession) on the matter, I remember years ago when the Japanese were starting to burst GM's bubble of invincibility and GM, in a move of such arrogance it boggles my mind even today, years after and years before the Japanese finished them off. You could almost hear them in the board room saying we can leave off the glove box door, and perhaps making full size tires an extra. The name of that monstrosity, the answer to Japan and their Honda and Toyota was the General Motors Chevette. In the meantime, while snapping their suspenders and lighting up a big fat cigar, and saying something like, "that oughta take care of those foreigners for a while. We'll start a 'Buy America' campaign and everything will be fine", as they line up for more big fat bonuses. The arrogance of it still reverberates today as they close factory after factory.
More of our economic dilemmas which I don't claim that I understand what is going on. The labor unions, which yes, I think are still in business, maybe for the sole purpose of being one of the free markets pinatas, still around and so easy to blame.
The Free market, roaring through the world like Pattons army of tanks, has in 2008 and 2009 all but demolished the banking system, the aforementioned auto industry, and the housing market. Now they want to blame it on the 'Government', even though the free market has swindled trillions of dollars from victims too numerous to mention. It must be because of that new untested socialists- leaning guy from Chicago.
But back to my premise. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me and about a kazillion other citizens of the good ole USA how this great thing NAFTA, which takes jobs to other lands and raises the wages of people in Zambezi or Columbia, is good for us. Bill Clinton was all for it, and Dubya Bush along with his Dad ditto.
Anyways Happy Labor Day citizens, whatever that means in 2009.
Comment...Just read your interesting article about Labor Day. I well remember, back when GM was having trouble selling their cars, president, (daddy) Bush, Lee Iaccoca et al went to Japan and arrogantly demanded they buy American cars. Daddy Bush threw up all over the place and the Japanese quietly agreed to buy more GM products. President Regan rapidly slapped a $2,000
tax on Japanese autos. The results were that Japan sold more vehicles than ever.
I had the misfortune to own a Chevette and it was a piece of junk. Had starter problems from the start. The GM people couldn't find the problem and on my own, I discovered an engineering flaw. The starter mother mounting bolds were just slightly off resulting in the solenoid not engaging the fly wheel. I wouldn't have a GM product if they gave it to me.
I have worked with a union contract and without one and believe me, union contracts are better...Argus
September 6, 2009
Bright Light at Russell's Corners
1946 George Ault Born: Cleveland, Ohio 1891 Died: Woodstock, New York 1948 oil on canvas 19 5/8 x 25 in. (49.9 x 63.4 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Lawrence 1976.121 Smithsonian American Art Museum
4th Floor, Luce Foundation Center
Libraries are changing, although from my perspective, for the better. My local library is something that I would not like to be without. It has modernized with the times offering bigger and better services such as computers, larger AV section, use of the large spaces to instruct and entertain children and adults. It is a pride of the community, illustrated by its passing the final test of getting funding every time it must come before the people in the polls. But it is changing.
Google wants to digitize all books, and once that goes through the court system and everyone is satisfied they are not losing something, copyrighting, etc. it will be done. The Kindle is Amazons entry in the non-paper book business. It's coming.
The NEWSPAPERS, the daily printed on paper newspapers are an endangered species, we all know that. Information is delivered faster, and more completely by other methods electronically.
Times are indeed changing. Some we will like and some we won't, but they will and are changing.
The future of libraries, with or without books
(CNN) -- The stereotypical library is dying -- and it's taking its shushing ladies, dank smell and endless shelves of books with it.
Libraries are trying to imagine their futures with or without books.
Books are being pushed aside for digital learning centers and gaming areas. "Loud rooms" that promote public discourse and group projects are taking over the bookish quiet. Hipster staffers who blog, chat on Twitter and care little about the Dewey Decimal System are edging out old-school librarians.
And that's just the surface. By some accounts, the library system is undergoing a complete transformation that goes far beyond these image changes.
Authors, publishing houses, librarians and Web sites continue to fight Google's efforts to digitize the world's books and create the world's largest library online. Meanwhile, many real-world libraries are moving forward with the assumption that physical books will play a much-diminished or potentially nonexistent role in their efforts to educate the public.
Some books will still be around, they say, although many of those will be digital. But the goal of the library remains the same: To be a free place where people can access and share information.
"The library building isn't a warehouse for books," said Helene Blowers, digital strategy director at the Columbus [Ohio] Metropolitan Library. "It's a community gathering center."
Think of the change as a Library 2.0 revolution -- a mirror of what's happened on the Web.
People used to go online for the same information they could get from newspapers. Now they go to Facebook, Digg and Twitter to discuss their lives and the news of the day. Forward-looking librarians are trying to create that same conversational loop in public libraries. The one-way flow of information from book to patron isn't good enough anymore.
"We can pick up on all of these trends that are going on," said Toby Greenwalt, virtual services coordinator at the Skokie Public Library in suburban Chicago.
Greenwalt, for example, set up a Twitter feed and text-messaging services for his library. He monitors local conversations on online social networks and uses that information as inspiration for group discussions or programs at the real-world library.
Other libraries are trying new things, too.
The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, in North Carolina, has a multimedia space where kids shoot videos and record music. It also runs a blog dedicated to gaming and hosts video game tournaments regularly.
Kelly Czarnecki, a technology education librarian at ImaginOn, a kids' branch of that library, said kids learn by telling their own stories.
"Our motto here is to bring stories to life, so by having the movie and music studio we can really tap into a different angle of what stories are," she said. "They're not just in books. They're something kids can create themselves."
Czarnecki believes that doesn't have to come at the expense of book-based learning.
The Aarhus Public Library in Aarhus, Denmark, takes things a step further.
The library features an "info column," where people share digital news stories; an "info galleria" where patrons explore digital maps layered with factoids; a digital floor that lets people immerse themselves in information; and RFID-tagged book phones that kids point at specific books to hear a story.
"The library has never been just about books," said Rolf Hapel, director of the city's public libraries.
Jason M. Schultz, director of the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California at Berkeley Law School, said libraries always have served two roles in society: They're places where people can get free information; and they're community centers for civic debate.
As books become more available online, that community-center role will become increasingly important for libraries, he said.
"It depends on whether we prioritize it as a funding matter, but I think there always will be a space for that even if all the resources are digital," he said.
Some libraries are trying to gain an edge by focusing on the "deeply local" material -- the stuff that only they have, said Blowers, the librarian in Ohio.
"How do we help add that value to a format like the Internet, which is expansively global?" she said. "So we look at what do we have here that we could help people gain access to by digitizing it."
That material can be used to start community discussions, she said.
This shift means the role of the librarian -- and their look -- is also changing.
In a world where information is more social and more online, librarians are becoming debate moderators, givers of technical support and community outreach coordinators.
They're also no longer bound to the physical library, said Greenwalt, of the library in Skokie, Illinois. Librarians must venture into the digital space, where their potential patrons exist, to show them why the physical library is still necessary, he said.
A rise in a young, library-chic subculture on blogs and on Twitter is putting a new face on this changing role, said Linda C. Smith, president of the Association for Library and Information Science Education.
Some wear tattoos, piercings and dress like they belong on the streets of Brooklyn instead of behind bookshelves. They're also trying on new titles. Instead of librarians, they're "information specialists" or "information scientists."
Libraries like the "Urban Media Space," which is set to open in 2014 in Aarhus, Denmark, are taking on new names, too. And all of that experimentation is a good thing, Smith said, because it may help people separate the book-bound past of libraries from the liberated future.
"It's a source of tension in the field because, for some people, trying to re-brand can be perceived as a rejection of the [library] tradition and the values," she said. "But for other people it's a redefinition and an expansion."
In the United States, libraries are largely funded by local governments, many of which have been hit hard by the recession.
That means some libraries may not get to take part in technological advances. It also could mean some of the nation's 16,000 public libraries could be shut down or privatized. Schultz, of the Berkeley Law School, said it would be easy for public officials to point to the growing amount of free information online as further reason to cut public funding for libraries.
Use of U.S. public libraries is up over the past decade, though, and many people in the information and libraries field say they're excited about opportunities the future brings.
"I came into libraries and it wasn't about books," said Peter Norman, a graduate student in library and information science at Simmons College in Boston who says he's most interested in music and technology. "Sure I love to read. I read all the time. I read physical books. But I don't have the strange emotional attachment that some people possess."
"If the library is going to turn into a place without books, I'm going to evolve with that too," he said.
September 5, 2009
Wow, I am a buckeye fan now and all my life, but there was something about the grit of the Navy team today that almost had me rooting for the upset which almost happened. It was of course the old David versus Goliath story. The midshipmen having to follow the rules set out for all the future officers against the mega giant OSU and their mega fan base with pro scouts in permanent residence to whisk away the best of the batch after a year or two prepping for the big ten perennial among the front runners. But it turned out okay and the buckeyes survived, barely, to run smack into USC next week, where OSU might indeed be the David against USC the goliath. So it goes in sports.
This from Barnes and Noble: what is the saddest book you've read?
September 4, 2009
John Glenn has lived an amazing life during his 88 years on the earth (and in space). In addition to flying planes in World War II and serving four terms as a senator from Ohio, Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth.
Now he has the right stuff to dot the "i" with the Ohio State marching band before the Buckeyes play Navy this Saturday. Glenn will be joined by his wife for the honor during halftime of the Ohio State alumni band's script Ohio formation.
The dotting of the "i" started more than 70 years ago and has become one of college football's top traditions that is usually reserved for a fourth- or fifth-year sousaphone player.
The Glenns will join a select group of non-band members that have dotted the "i," including comedian Bob Hope, golfer Jack Nicklaus and legendary Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes.
While Glenn was a naval officer, he has made clear his intention to cheer for the Ohio State. The school's public affairs school is named for Glenn and the retired U.S. senator delivered a commencement speech at the school this past spring.