A blog dedicated to word play such as parodies, puns, and word parallels and stories about libraries that you may not have heard before.



Hope you enjoy the ride and the fun.

Please let me know if there is word that deserves a riff or a library that has a story to share.

Thanks for joining me in the blogosphere.







The Fall of the Courtesan

Cove of the lake.JPGFall is not mistress of her own domain this year.  Instead of strutting in with lower temperatures, less humidity, and  a bright mass of colors, she has imitated August’s lack of rain, higher daytime and nighttime temperatures, and stick-to-your-skin humidity.  The grass and leaves are still a mixture of browns and greens. Summer does not want to leave and Autumn is letting her stay as long as she wants.

Autumn at Linden.JPGNormally Fall enters as a brassy strumpet-vibrant  look-at-me colors, skirt lifting breezes, a cricket crescendo to mark the waning light and declining temperatures.  The light is waning, but most of the temperatures are not.  The only insects trying to sneak into the house are the unwanted stink bugstink bugs.  These primitive looking insects seem to hark back to an earlier  age.

This year fall is doing a subtle strip tease.  The wind haphazardly scatters  random handfuls of brown leaves–enough to litter the porch and sidewalks, but not enough to create a pile worth raking, burning, or jumping into.  She can’t seduce with us overwhelming sensory sights, sounds, and smells.  She musts entice with a hint of color here, a murmur of leaf crunch there, the brief scent of composting leaves early in the morning, the occasional relief of a cooler breeze on our still bare arms.Lake at Peaks of Otter.JPG

Front of Peaks of Otter Lodge.JPGApple cider, pumpkins, and chrysanthemums have become the produce of choice at local farm stands.  Many of the regional farmers’ markets will  shut down in the next week or two, unless the absent frost prolongs the growing season.  Wineries have completed their grape harvest, except for grapes like petite manseng which are normally harvested last..

The leaf peepers keep pushing back the weekend of peak foliage. Normally the 3rd weekend of October for Central Virginia, this may be one of the years where many trees still have green leaves at Thanksgiving.


Will fall make an appearance this year, or will it silently slip away?  Will  Winter  suddenly announce itself with frosty breath and blackened plants?  Meteorological winter does not arrive until December 1, but the season seldom read the calendar.

Join in the conversation with your view about whether this is a typical fall.



Below the Streets of DC: LC Book Conveyor

Map of 100 year old Capital Hill Steam Tunnels – Dashed lines show the original tunnels, solid lines mark the 1950 expansion. steam-tunnel-map

Who  knows what lurks beneath the streets of Washington, DC?  Rats, explosions waiting to take out unsuspecting manhole covers, Metro, policy wonks, cables, aging water pipes?  Around the buildings of Congress, there are also pedestrian passages that let Congressmen, Senators, staffers, and other associated hangers-on to scurry beneath the often grid-locked streets above.


There used to also be the Library of Congress Book Conveyor Tunnel. Designed by then Library of Congress Superintendent, Bernard Green, it was intended to transport books from the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, back to the House of Representatives chamber at 600 feet per minute, when the Jefferson Building was constructed in 1898 to replace the previous library in the Senate wing of the Capital.

At tJeffersn Building Main Reading Roomhe time it was an engineering marvel with pneumatic tubes to send the book request to the Library. “Handwritten requests for documents would come in via pneumatic tube, and the text would make its way to the central desk on an intra-library system. From there it was walked down into the basement and whisked through the tunnel conveyor at 600 feet per minute. This whole literary orchestra took just five minutes, likely less time than it would take your average contemporary congressman to pull up an arcane PDF through LOC.gov.

capital building

The book tunnel was demolished in 2000 to make way for the underground Capital Visitor Center.  However, it is still possible to walk some of the underground pedestrian terminals around the Library of Congress.

For more information and photographs, check out this Gizmodo article.

Squirrelly in the Fall

 From “When Fall Comes to New England”
by  Cheryl Wheeler

The frost is on the pumpkin

The squash is off the vine

And winter warnings race across the sky

The squirrels are on to something

And they’re working overtime

Foxes blink and stare and so do I.

squirrel had been digging in potThe squirrels have become frenetic in their urge to  bury  nuts.  Flower pots, dirt under the back porch, any seemingly random spot in the yard can at least temporarily, catch a squirrel’s attention as burial spot for nuts. They are caching nuts–which can produce future nut or oak trees or squirrel food for the winter.  “Researchers from the University of Berkeley found that the rodents organized their nut stash by quality, variety, and possibly even preference. The arrangement is referred to by researchers as “chunking.”

Squirrels, aka tree rats, are members of the Sciuridae family and are a form of rodents that include tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, and prarie dogs.  People seem fascinated with the little pests.  One of the best ways to see them is watching someone feed them directly under a “Don’t Feed the Squirrels” sign.  Children and senior citizens appear to be squirrels biggest fans.

Marvel Comics launched a new girl superhero in 1991, when LA high school student Doreen Green, became Squirrel Girl after being bullied by her classmates because of her mutation.  She has since teamed up with other superheroes.squirrel girl costumed

Squirrels are found on every continent but Australia and Antarctica.  January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day and was founded in 2001 by North Carolina wildlife rehabilitator Christy McKeown.  Squirrels have brought the power grid down more often than hackers because of their four front teeth that can grow up to 6 inches a year.

What is your squirrel story?  Do they make you squirrelly with their antics?  Join in the conversation and vote whether you think that squirrels are cute or just tree rats with a better marketing campaign than other rodents



Library of Mistakes

Great recession road signsFor many of us, the Great Depression (1929)  is a history lesson, rather than a memory.  However, the more recent Great Recession (2008) may still be a lingering reality or a painful memory.  On October 11, Atlas Obscura published an article on a Scottish Library dedicated to lessons learned from the Great Depression and the Great Recession.


It’s a case of “smart people doing stupid things.”


Birmingham Northern Rock Bank Run in 2007

In both 1929 and 2008, economic experts everywhere claimed to know exactly what theyCircuit City Going Out of Business were doing, yet not a single person could fix the series of mistakes that crashed the world’s economy. To avoid future financial catastrophes, a library in Edinburgh, Scotland has compiled a collection of sensible economic literature that aims to educate the next generation of economists.

Visits by appointment only. Register at libraryofmistakes.com/register.

Kardos, the Masked Marauder of Monterey

In the mid 1980s, we lived in Navy housing.  The back of our townhouse overlooked Monterey Bay, at the top of a steep wooded hillside. My husband was attending the Naval Post Graduate School.

racoons at teh glass doorOne evening, we noticed a raccoon on our back deck.  His  muddy paw tracks decorated the door as  he tried to force the sliding glass door open. He stared intently into the living room, while eating one of our recently planted tulip bulbs.  While  he watched us, his left paw knocked an empty flower pot filled water all over the muddy prints on the wooden deck. Seeing what a klutz he was, wraccoon tracks snippede named him after one of my husband’s classmates who had been asking asking if any one wanted to do a joint thesis as soon as he met them.

The next night he returned.  This time he finished off half a plant as he once again tried to force his way into the den.

After that Kardos became almost a nightly visitor.  He would sit outside for about 15-20 minutes watching us and trying to force his way into the house.  We learned that Kardos liked dog biscuits and peanut M&Ms but did not care for rice cakes.

racoon puppetWe also got a raccoon puppet.  When Kardos would make an appearance, we would stage the puppet by the  door so that the real and puppet raccoons were at eye level.  Kardos seemed fascinated how this raccoon could get inside the house, but he could not. I’m not sure if he realized that the inside raccoon was an imposter.

For over a month, Kardos was a regular visitor.  He took very few days off.  After one such brief hiatus, he returned with strangely yellow, glowing eyes.  He seemed nervous and twitchy, even for him.  Later that evening, a second raccoon showed up for the first time.  That was when we learned that Kardos was actually a Kardette.

We only saw Kardette, as we now called the raccoon, one more time.  She came back for a brief visit.  We never did learn if she had babies.

Raccoons are highly intelligent animals and quite dexterous about getting into houses.  They can also carry rabies.  We were lucky the Kardette never managed to get into the house.   In retrospect, we were very stupid to feed her.

Have you ever been fascinated by wildlife outside your door?  Did you ever interact with it?  Join in the conversatoin and share your wild animal story.

Professional Day at New York Comic Con

New_York_Comic_Con_2016_-_Flash_(30149376146)Emily Drew writes: “New York Comic Con and New York Public Library teamed up for the first time on October 5 to enhance the convention’s offerings to educators and librarians. Following in the footsteps of the collaboration between San Diego Comic-Con and San Diego Public Library, Professional Day’s 24 sessions were held throughout the day in NYPL’s historic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.”…



NYCC 2016

To read more about the San Diego Comic-Con/SDPL event, click here.

Happy Teen Read Week

Teen Read Week runs from October 8-14 and is  sponsored by ALA’s Young Adult Library Service Association,   “There are lots of great ideas to help you plan a successful week for your teens in the Teen Read Week Manual and discussions happening on the forum.”

Teen Read Week Logo

If you are at a loss on what YA books to recommend the group also has  list of the 2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults.

Teen_Area.jpgThe titles listed below are from part of the Top Ten List.

*Berry, Julie. The Passion of Dolssa. Viking Books for Young Readers. 2016. 496p. ISBN: 9780451469922. In thirteenth-century Provence, Dolssa, branded a heretic after claiming to speak with God, flees her hometown. She’s rescued by Botille, a matchmaker who runs a tavern with her sisters. Their lives become inexorably linked when Dolssa’s gifts as a healer and miracle worker bring the church’s wrath to the village.

Female of the Species*McGinnis, Mindy. The Female of the Species. Katherine Tegen Books. 2016. 352p. ISBN: 9780062320896. The social hierarchy of a small-town high school is revealed through the voices of Alex, Jack, and Peekay, who are still haunted by the brutal rape and murder of Alex’s sister years ago. Alex, however, is on a quest for vengeance.

*Medina, Meg. Burn Baby Burn. Candlewick. 2016. 320p. ISBN: 9780763674670. Nora López graduates from her Queens, New York, high school in the summer of 1977–a summer marked by a heat wave, arson, and the Son of Sam murders. But there are things to fear at home, too, as her family disintegrates amid the overwhelming power of her brother’s violent streak.

*Reynolds, Jason. Ghost. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. 2016. 192p. ISBN: 9781481450157. His dad shot a gun at him, and “Ghost” Crenshaw has been running ever since. When Ghost challenges a runner to a race, he ends up on the team himself. But it’s one step forward and two steps back as Ghost channels his anger to become part of the team.

Salt to the Sea*Sepetys, Ruta. Salt to the Sea. Philomel Books. 2016. 400p. ISBN: 9780399160301. It’s near the end of WWII and four refugees travel on foot during January to board the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship bound for safety. This is the story of the lesser known tragedy of the doomed ship.

*Shusterman, Neal. Scythe. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2016. 448p. ISBN: 9781442472426. In a distant future in which humanity has practically conquered death, the population is controlled by Scythes, the only beings capable of causing death–and teens Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch have just been chosen as Scythe apprentices.

sun is also a star*Yoon, Nicola. The Sun is Also a Star. Delacorte Press. 2016. 384p. ISBN: 9780553496680. Daniel decides to let fate dictate his life and NaTasha doesn’t believe in fate. But today, NaTasha will believe in anything if it allows her to avoid deportation. Either by fate or coincidence, Daniel and NaTasha meet and fall in love in a single day–but will it all end if Natasha has to go back to Jamaica?

*Zentner, Jeff. The Serpent King. Crown Books for Young Readers. 2016. 384p. ISBN: 978-0553524024. One is the son of a snake-handling preacher serving time in prison. One is a fashionista with New York dreams. One escapes an abusive life in fantasy novels. These high-school seniors in a small Tennessee town consider the options for their future.

Is your library celebrating Teen Read Week? Join in the conversation and share your favorite Young Adult novel.

Prey for the Dead

When I was  a child around Halloween we used to chant “Pray for the dead ’cause the dead can’t pray for you.”

Pray  (verb) – address a solemn request or expression of thanks to a deity or other object of worship.

Pray (adverb) – used as a preface to polite requests or instructions as in pray continue.

Prey  (noun) – an animal that is hunted and killed by another for food.

Prey (verb) – hunt and kill for food.

zombies word

zombie world walkI started thinking about prey for the dead.  First I thought Zombies, which might be Prey for the Undead.  I have an avatar friend whose persona is a Zombie in Second Life.  Llud told me that Zombies prefer live victims because they like the screaming and running around.  Since a zombie avatar is the only zombie I know, I can’t refute her logic

Then I thought about vultures.  Dead things are their prey but they are still alive  Same thing with maggots and other rotten flesh eaters.

Like any other curious 21st century information seeker, I then turned to the  Google.

I found a Prey for the Dead: Walking Dead trailer on Youtube.

prey for the dead posterA poem entitled “Aprey for the dead books the Dead Prey Upon Us” by Charles Olson.  Prey for the Dead, Book 1 by C.A. Earl on Great Reads. Prey for the Dead musical group on Sound Cloud.

Then I found something called Tertiary Consumers.  This may finally be my answer to Prey for the Dead.


Do you ever think about praying for the dead?  Day of  the Dead is celebrated from October 31 through November 2. It is a Mexican holiday and has also become very popular in the United States.  Disney/Pixar is making a movie to premier around Thanksgiving Day, called Coco about La Muete or Day of the Dead.  Join in  the conversation and share your thoughts about Day of the Dead or Zombies or just Prey for the Dead.


New Online Portal at the Library of Congress

Library of Congress LogoFrom    Research Buzz, Oct 4, 2017 – Library of Congress: New Online: A Redesigned Portal for Librarians and Archivists. “The Library of Congress provides many resources to support information professionals worldwide. To streamline access to that content, we’ve redesigned our portal for librarians and archivists. The new portal highlights the standard library functions of acquisitions, bibliographic access, preservation and public service, providing an overview of these activities at the Library and links to a wealth of content and documentation in each area. A new banner on the opening page features each of the four library functions and offers access to our most popular online catalogs and quick links to content for library professionals: the Library of Congress Classification Outline, BIBFRAME and MARC21.”

I tried doing a sample search on Lighthouse Libraries–lots of results but no much on lighthouse libraries.

Light House LIbray search in new LC portal

Searches can be limited by format, date, location, collection, contributor, subject, language and access condition (print or online). Results can be viewed in list, gallery, grid, and slideshow.   They can be sorted by relevance, title, title (descending), date, date (oldest first), shelf order, and shelf order (reverse).

The keyword search produces some very odd results. For example, a query for Armed Services Editions also retrieved books on Courts Martial, Law of Armed  Conflict Deskbook, 2015, and Rise and Progress of the English Constitution, 10th edition.



Archivists Rock!

village voice logoThe Village Voice features an article about the “archives division of the New York Public Library”  Archives house collections that nobody else has.  This is Ground Zero for research.  A few collection been digitized, like  many of the papers of Dr. Theodore Suess Geisel at the Geisel Library of the University of California, San Diego.  However, most are only available at whichever archive keeps them.

The New York Public Library has a very rich trove of treasures in its archives.  What treasures does your public or academic library hold?  Join in the conversation and share the treasures/collections of your favorite archives.  Two of my current favorites are Archives II in College Park, MD where I am copying deck logs of the USS Midway (CV-41) for the Midway Museum’s Library and the Special Collections at the National Defense University in Washington, DC.  NDU has the collections of many of the  Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was instrumental in getting a replica of the courtroom where the Lincoln Conspirators were tried built in the same building space where the trial took place.  (NDU is on the site what was the Federal Penitentiary during and after the Civil War.)