e-Quips

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

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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.

Pat

 

 

 

 

Congressional Research Reports May Soon Be Available to U.S. Citizens

Congressional Reserarch Reports logoThe Congressional Research Service does excellent  Congressional Research Service reports on a variety of subjects for the U.S. Congress.  They have been difficult to access for most U.S. citizens  Currently,  a few sites provide selected unclassified reports.  You can find some at  EveryCRSReport.com.   Another source is  the Federation of American Scientists.  

CRS Report Sample

Now The American Library Association (ALA) announces that victory in  a 20 year battle to make these reports available may be close  From the announcement: “Political insiders know that these reports, produced by the nonpartisan expert staff at CRS, are excellent sources of information about nearly every conceivable public policy topic. But CRS reports have not been routinely published, and so they have only been accessible to those with a connection on Capitol Hill or through an unofficial third-party source.”

 

Whistlepig, Groundhog, or Woodchuck

Ground hogHow much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

How much ground does a groundhog grind if a groundhog could grind ground?

How many weeds does a whistlepig wolf when a whistlepig wants to wolf weeds?

No matter what you call the Marmota monax, the large rodent is really the largest member of the ground squirrel family.  They hibernate in the winter, living off the fat they accumulate while chowing down from early Spring through mid-autumn.

Probably the most famous Ground Hog is  Punxsutawney Phil.  Every year on February 2 (Groundhog’s Day), they haul Phil out of his burrow in hopes that he will not see his shadow.

Ground hog day signGroundhog  Day is also known as Candlemas Day according to Wikipedia.  Wikipedia includes English, Scottish, and German poems that celebrate Candlemas Day.

From England, the poem:

 

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again

From Scotland, the poem:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There’ll be two winters in the year

From Germany, the poem:

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May

GRound Hog Day Movie locationIn 1993, Bill Murray starred in the Groundhog  Day Movie, where he played a weatherman who did not forecast a blizzard so he is forced to relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right.  Although set in Punxsutawney, PA, much of the film was actually shot in Woodstock, IL.  In 2016, Groundhog Day, the musical opened at the Old Vic in London and on Broadway in April 2017.

In 1996-1997 while American forces were deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Groundhog Day movie was a metaphor for every day seeming like the day before.  That metaphor has also been applied to the weather in San Diego where allegedly ever day in the summer is sunny and 75, with a change to sunny and 65 in the winter. The famous H words–hazy, hot, and humid– exist but nobody acknowledges that.

Is your life a groundhog day?  Have you ever been groundhog counting.  (They are bigger than squirrels so they can be easier to spot.)  Join in the conversation and share your favorite groundhog story.

 

Get Eclipse Glasses at Your Local Library (Maybe)

eclipse pathMonday, August 21 is Eclipse Day in the United States.  The solar eclipse will cast a shadow from sea to shiny (and along the path, shadowy) sea. Experts have been urging people to not look at the Eclipse without special glasses.  This includes looking at it through your camera, cellphone or any other device that does not have a special filter.

Atlas Obscura just posted a timely article that Eclipse Glasses may be available for free from your public library. “Many of the gratis glasses come from the STAR Library Network (or STAR_Net), a nonprofit that helps hook libraries up with science and technology resources. ”

Update info from Star_Net:

Since it was announced that public libraries were distributing free eclipse glasses, they have been overwhelmed with requests via email, phone and in-person. Most libraries have already given away their allotment of glasses. For those libraries that still have eclipse glasses, please be aware that these are intended for their eclipse programming events ONLY and not for general distribution to the public.

If your local library has run out of glasses, please click here to view a list of reputable vendors that may still be selling them. For kid-friendly ways to view the solar eclipse without the use of eclipse glasses, please visit our STEM Activity Clearinghouse for a variety of indirect viewing activities. 

This link shows all the libraries that the Star Network has sent eclipse glasses too–when it’s working http://spacescience.org/software/libraries/map.php.

Library LogoContact or visit your local public library to see if you can get a pair of these glasses.  Hopefully they will so you an safely enjoy whatever portion of the solar eclipse is visible from your neighborhood.

Safe viewing!

Word Musings

be-who-you-areRandom thoughts….

Why do we park in the driveway and drive on the parkway?

Why do generals in eat in a private mess while privates eat in a general mess?

A perennial classic:  If pro is the opposite of con, is congress the opposite of progress?

It is probably better to be pissed off rather than pissed on.

Is a smart ass better than a dumb butt?  Would your backside  know the difference?

If I am used, are you amused?

What is black and white and red all over?  Newspaper or a sunburned zebra?

It’s not how often you’re coughin’ that you have to worry about.  It’s the coffin they carry you off in that you should worry about.

She offered her honor.  He honored her offer.  All night he was on her and off her.

If someone flips you the bird, is that a digital offering?

Last night at church, someone wanted to sing badly.  Her wish was granted. When she stopped, our prayers were answered.

Why is wicked good (as in a positive word)) or wicked good (as in a phrase that means very good) in Massachusetts?

Dessert spelt backwards is stresedEvil is live backwards.

Did you hear about the agnostic dyslexic who wasn’t sure there was a dog?

For those of you old enough to remember Vietnam, was fighting for peace really comparable to screwing for chastity?

Don't sweat the petty things

Do you have a favorite phrase or word musing?  Join in the conversation and share your favorite phrase or verbal puzzlement.

 

 

Israel National Library Launches Online Database, KTIV

National LIbrary of Israel LogoIt began as an idea of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, to gather Jewish texts scattered in libraries and collections around the world and bring them to the new state as microfilm.  The database is called Ktiv, Hebrew for “written word,”  It contains nearly 4.5 million images from 45,000 manuscripts — slightly more than half of all known volumes. They include prayer books, biblical texts and commentary, philosophy, literature and scientific writings, in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Arabic and more.

The_National_Library_of_Israel_-_Vilna_Gaon_Map

 

Available from the Israel National Library site, KITV is called the International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts.

 

Magical Words or Magical Worlds?

Harry Potter logoHarry Potter started as a book, became a movie, and now  how his own Wizarding World in both California and  Florida.  There are books, websites, and college classes that explore the concept of what Wizarding World of Harry PotterHarry Potter means.  He also has his own Pinterest pages, action figures, and other merchandise and social media tie-ins.  J.K. Rowling is richer than the Queen of England according to the Daily Mail.

Star Wars is now a multi-generational film franchise that has spun off books, comic books, action figures, lunch boxes, toys, and a YouTube animated series.  What is the meaning of The Force?

 

Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien preceded both Harry Potter and Star Wars.  They were best selling books years before the movie trilogies.  In the 60s it even spawned a Mad Magazine parody.

Witches.  Warlocks. Wizards.  Gnomes.  Trolls.  Elves.  Fairies.  Necromancers.  Supernatural beings.

Unicorns.  Dragons. Hippogriffs..  Supernatural animals

Incantations. Spells.  Supernatural words.

DSC01985Many people also find magic in the natural world–the boundless, restless ocean; soaring majestic mountains; cathedral-like quiet of sun-dappled forests; stalking, staring predators, fragile, fluttering butterflies; fleeting fragrant flowers

Sunrise and sunset bridge the gap between dawn and dusk, daytime and nighttime, this world and the next.

Magic is all around us.  Do we believe in it?  What do we consider magic?  Is it white magic or black magic?  Can anyone do it?  Are miracles magic?   Is science magic?  What about religion?

What does magic mean to you?  Join in the conversation and share whether you believe in magic, in nature, in yourself.  What is your favorite magical story?   Do words cast a spell or do you need to see the image?  What are your sacred places?  Do you like to be in them by yourself or with others?  If so, who?

Reblog of Robert’s Rules of Order Blog Post

Robert's Rules of Order 1876Many of us have attended various virtual meetings.   I’ve been fortunate enough to attend civil meetings where the worst problem was trying to identify the voice of whoever was talking.  I am sharing this Robert’s Rule of Order blog post for those of you who may have to host or attend virtual meetings.   Hope it helps.

Have you ever attended a virtual meeting?  What are the pros and cons?  Join in the conversation and share your thoughts.  For me, the pros are not having to go anywhere, so less expense and hassle.  The cons are having to guess who’s speaking, technical difficulties with phone and/or computer, and difficulties in sharing info. Virtual worlds like Second Life offer a compromise where everyone’s avatar is sitting in the same virtual space.

 

Book Review: Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library bThomas Jefferson Builds a Libraryy Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by John O’ Brien (Honesdale, PA:  Calkins Creek, Imprint of Highlights, 2015).ISBN: 978-1-59078-932-2

The book is available from Amazon ($13.68),  Barns and Noble ($14.05) or Indibound ($16.95) as of August 2017.

This children’s book is recommended for 8-11 years and grades 3-6.

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library tries to make sense out of the conundrum that is Thomas Jefferson.  The book focuses on Jefferson’s life long love of reading to provide a narrative for what he does at different stages of his life.  The 32 page book covers Jefferson from childhood, where he supposedly had read the forty-six books in his father’s library before started school through his college years at William and Mary, his marriage and family life at Monticello, his call to government service as the author of the Declaration of Independence, and his return to public service, following the death of his wife, as Ambassador to France for five years.

Thomas JeffersonThe book skips over his time as  Washington’s Secretary of State (1790-1793) and resumes the narrative with Jefferson’s election as President of the United States.  During his presidency, “Tom doubled the size of the country and more than tripled the number of books in its library.”

In one of the many side notes, Rosenstock describes how Jefferson would add a T in front of the roman number I, which was the equivalent of a J in Latin.  This habit allowed people to identify books that had been owned by Jefferson.

Although these side notes provide additional information, it does make the book more confusing to read (literally and figuratively) since the smaller font in a light brown is not as easy to follow as the black text of the main narrative.

The cartoon drawings add a whimsical nature to the book and resemble the type of block print illustrations from the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The book does a good job of showing that Jefferson was not only a voracious reader, he was also a man of letters (writing at least 19,000 letters during his life time and two books:  Notes on the State of Virginia and Manual of Parliamentary Practice.)

Jefferson's Monticello

In an Author’s note at the end of the book, Rosenstock does an admirable job of mentioning that Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence (All men are created equal), was also  a slaveholder.  He inherited about twenty slaves from his father and between purchase and inheritance from his wife’s family, owned several hundred over the course of his life time.  The labor of those slaves,  provided “the time and the money to pursue his scientific interests, his book collecting, and his political career.” Since this is a children’s book, no mention is made of Sally Hemings.

Jefferson Building at the LIbrary of Congress

Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress

When the British ransacked Washington, DC in 1814, they burned many public buildings including the Library of Congress.  Thomas Jefferson gave his 6,500 book library to replace the 3,000 books burned by the British.  The book implies that Jefferson donated those books, rather than sell them  He used the money from the sale to pay off some debts.

Overall, the author does a good job of writing a children’s book about one of America’s founding fathers.  Using his life long love of reading as a metaphor, Rosenstock is able to weave many of the facets of Jefferson’s public and private life into her story.  The book does include acknowledgements and a select bibliography.

Study Hall or Study Haul

With a nod of the keypad to Target for the idea….

Back to school MBA students

back to school septemberSchool is about to start for many students from Kindergarten through Graduate School.  Long gone are the days for many of us, when the  Tuesday after Labor Day marked the beginning of the academic year.back to school store

Back to school sales seem to start before the 4th of July.  According to the National Retail Federation, “Total combined spending is expected to reach $83.6 billion, an increase of more than 10 percent over last year’s $75.8 billion.”  Many states offer tax free weekends to encourage people to pick up backpacks, pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, clothes, computers or tablets and dorm necessities like refrigerators and microwaves.  A local Salvation Army recently had a Red Kettle Drive to get school supplies for deserving kids who might not otherwise be able to have the necback to school backpack fill upessary backpack filled with school supplies.  Churches, civic groups, and various charities all have Back to School fundraisers or parties to fill backpacks with donated items.  (Note:  we are not even talking the Christmas sales season where  The BlackFriday.com site already has listings for Christmas 2017.)

When did going back to school become more important as a shopping requirement than an opportunity to catch-up with old friends, meet new friends and teachers, check what was new or changed in school?  (I realize that social media may make the whole catching up thing old school.)

back to school study hallDoes anyone go to school for the sheer pleasure of learning something new?   What is study hall used for now?  Was it ever a place to study or try to cram in the homework you didn’t finish the night before?  Instead of trying to chat with your friends, is it now a place to text or surf the Internet?

What do you like best or hate the most about going back to school?  Join in the conversation and share your back to school memory or nightmare.  Do you think it is more study hall or study haul?back to school rainbow

 

Library of Congress: Library Launches Free WWI Webinar Series.

Library of CongressLibrary of Congress: Library Launches Free WWI Webinar Series. “The Library of Congress is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into The Great War with a new free, online webinar series highlighting some of the Library’s most remarkable World War I resources, including documents, photographs, maps, and personal stories collected through the Veterans History Project.”