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.






Taking Books to the People, Part 6: Book Smugglers

East Prussia and LIthuania.jpegAtlas Obscura on July 21, shared the fascinating story of 19th Century Lithuanian book smugglers.  Tsarist Russia tried to stamp out the native Lithuanian language and religion, hoping to force the Lithuanians to become loyal to the Russian cause.  With a  huge population difference, a military revolt was not a good proposition.  Instead, Lithuanians printed Lithuanian books in East Prussia and smuggled them back to Lithuania. Called the knygnešiai, the smugglers faced imprisonment, exile to Siberia and possibly death if caught.

How far would you be willing to go to be able to read what you wanted, in the language of your choice?  Join in the conversation and share you opinion on your right to read.

Precedent vs President

White HouseSince  1993, the Republicans and the Democrats have traded off White House residents every eight years.  Each president has been considered unprecedented  because of where he was from, his family background,  his skin color, or the size of his bank account.  Bush (1946), Clinton (1946), and Trump (1946) are early Boomers and Obama (1961) is a late Boomer.  (Boomers were born between 1946-1964 according to Google and Wikipedia.)

Before becoming President, Clinton and Bush were both governors.  Clinton and Obamastates red amd blue were both lawyers.   Bush worked in the oil industry and Trump worked in the real estate industry.  All four are married and have children.  Three of them also have grandchildren.

President (noun) – elected head of a republican (Small r) state or the celebrant at the Eucharist

Presidential (adjective) – relating to a president or presidency, having a bearing or demeanor befitting a president; dignified and confident.

Precedent (noun) – an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.

Precedent (adjective) – preceding in time, order, or importance

Precedential (adjective) – of the nature of or constituting a precedent or having precedence

George WashingtonGeorge Washington was our first president and he set many of the precedents that are followed to this day–including adding “So help me God” to the end of the oath of office when being sworn in as President, introducing the President as Mr. President, and leaving after two terms.  Franklin Roosevelt was the only President that broke with that precedent.  He died early in his 4th term in 1945. Franklin Roosevelt

Passed by Congress in 1947, and ratified by the states on February 27, 1951, the Twenty-Second Amendment limits an elected president to two terms in office, a total of eight years. However, it is possible for an individual to serve up to ten years as president. The amendment specifies that if a vice president or other successor takes over for a president—who, for whatever reason, cannot fulfill the term—and serves two years or less of the former president’s term, the new president may serve for two full four-year terms. If more than two years remain of the term when the successor assumes office, the new president may serve only one additional term.

What do you think of presidential precedents?  Are they optional or mandatory?  Join in the conversation on precedent or president.  If you do respond, please be polite and respectful to those with differing opinions.



Library Catalogs–Mostly Gone But Not Forgotten

card catalog-open drawerFor centuries, the library catalog was the eponymous symbol of a library.  It provided  one of the first taxonomies for library materials–Author, Title, Subject.  Although it has mostly been replaced by online catalogs and search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo, it was the original analog search engine. (An old apothecary cabinet maybe it’s closest relative.)

Library History Buff traces the history of the card catalog back to November 1789 during the French revolution when inventory takers used the backs of old playing cards to “write down the bibliographic description of each confiscated book.”

The cards in the old card catalog were originally written by hand and were later typed.  That Library of Congress began the sale and distribution of pre-printed cards in 1901.

Recently the Library of Congress in collaboration with Chronicle Books published a new book called the Card Catalog:  Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures with foreword by Carla Hayden.Card-Catalog_flat-cover-768x917

The Washington Post wrote a nostalgic review of the new book. https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/what-libraries-lost-when-they-threw-out-the-card-catalog/2017/07/07/5432821c-632f-11e7-a4f7-af34fc1d9d39_story.html?utm_term=.3b5218b2e937

I remember one time in a post library when a patron came in to complain that she literally could not find the book in the small wooden catalog.

Do you remember the days when library cards were first filed above the rod so that somebody else could check them?  I also remember the parents that did not recognize why it was a problem when their children gleefully threw all of those above-the-rod cards onto the floor in piles.   (These were the same children who loved to throw the JE books off the shelves.)  When we would mention it to the parents they gave us the blank, you’ve got to be kidding and/or crazy stare.

In November, 1982, American Libraries published an article entitled, 101
Uses for a Dead Catalog Contest.
The Journal is published by the American
Library Association.
–from Heidihorerman.com

What is your favorite card catalog story or memory?  Join in the conversation and share your favorite tale of the card catalog.  I remember in Library School (this was decades before they all became iSchools)., that I had to do a Skelly project. (The was research in the Social Sciences.  I chose Women in the Military.)  It was a laborious  task of over one hour to finally discover titles under United States–Armed Forces–Women.  By Service it was United States–Army (or Navy or Marine Corps)–Women.  Who would have guessed? Obviously not me.






Alms for the Pour

Carinal Point winesAt the Cardinal Point Winery in Afton Virginia,  I saw the sign attached to a half carafe next to the register, “Alms for the Pour”  I thought it was a very clever take on a tips jar.  Usually the message is Tips Make You Sexy or Are You Feeling Tipsy (which might have been a cause for concern in a winery.)

Alms (noun) in historical context, money or food given to poor peAlms for the Pour.jpgople (pour people?)

Poor (adjective) – lacking sufficient income to live at a comfortable or normal level in society or worse than normal, expected, or desirable.

Pour (verb) -to cause a liquid to pour in a steady steam from a container by holding the container at an angle or to prepare a drink

If you fail to get sufficient liquid into your glass, you might say “Poor pour, pitiful me.”



If the wine is of poor quality you may need the spit jar to dispose of the unwanted spit jar 2remainder.  If you use the spit jar too often you are less inclined to live alms in the tips jar.

Hint–If you are doing a lot of wine tasting, it is recommended that you use the spit jar rather than swallow the wine and increase your chance of getting intoxicated.  Swirl-Sniff-Sip-Swallow normally. Swirl-Sniff-Sip-Spit if tasting in quantity.

What is your favorite tip jar sign?  Join in the conversation and share your favorite beverage tasting experience.  Was it beer, wine, a distillery, or a cidery?  Have you ever been to a water tasting, where they compared tap, with various still or sparkling waters?



21st Century Library in Australia

Celia of Fig Jam and Lime CordialCelia@Fig Jam and Lime Cordial writes a delightful blog about “living well in the urban village.”  From the about page, “My husband Pete and I live a blissful existence with our two sons in the Great Southern Land. For the past couple of years, we’ve been on a quest to make as much of our food as possible from scratch – something we refer to as “quasi-sustainability”. Whilst we’re not obsessive about it, we’re definitely enjoying the adventure!”

Celia’s latest post describes her recent venture to her local main library, Ashfield.  She is amazed at what she found.  (I have been a librarian for over 30 years and some of what she found is news to me too.)  Many of the resources are online and free.  (Note that free to patrons does not necessarily equate to free to the library.)  She even includes a yummy recipe for granola that she finds in an online cook book.

Ashfield Australia Library

Read her blog post, “Granola and 21st Century Public Libraries” and discover what may be waiting for you, at your local library.  (You will probably want to check out some of her other blog posts too.)

Join in the conversation and share what you find the most unusual or unexpected at your public library.


Forthright on the Forth

orginal American flagOur first amendment guarantees us Freedom of Speech.  “Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.”

Over the years, certain limitations have been added.

Freedom of speech does not include the right:

  • To incite actions that would harm others (e.g., “[S]hout[ing] ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”).
    Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).
  • To make or distribute obscene materials.
    Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).
  • To burn draft cards as an anti-war protest.
    United States v. O’Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968).
  • To permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration.
    Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988).
  • Of students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
    Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986).
  • Of students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event.
    Morse v. Frederick, __ U.S. __ (2007).
Americans take their Freedom to Speak very seriously,  We usually prefer to transmit rather  than receive.  We want to give others the benefit of our opinion, even if many around us prefer to not to have it.  With social media, reading is another way to get our point of view across.  Does anyone remember the ‘olden days’ when you had to be careful about discussing religion or politics?
Selective deafness can be a survival skill, not a social skill.    Is the delete or mute button our new best friend?
What is your stand on freedom of expression?  Join in the conversation and share a moment when you wished you had spoken up or had remained silent.   Use your freedom of expression to perform a verbal random act of kindness.
Happy 4th.flag uniform patch

Charlotte Serber: Nuclear Librarian

Charlotte SerberLibrary as a multi-purpose space is not a new idea.   In the remote town of Los Alamos, New Mexico during World War II, while Oppenheimer and his scientists were developing the nuclear bomb, for the wives of the scientists the library was “also .. a social hotspot. Los Alamos, barren as it was, had few communal spaces. For many residents, especially for the wives of the scientists, it became a venue to catch up, trade concerns, and exchange gossip.”

Atlas Obscura posted a piece on June 23 2017, “The Librarian Who Guarded the Manhattan Projects’ Secrets” by Michael Waters.   It tells the story of  Charlotte Serber who established and ran the library and document room.  In order to set up the library, she had to teach herself  the Library of Congress classification system.  Her all-female staff were composed of the Atomic wives and Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps officers.

Serber was the only female in a leadership position, although scientists like Leona Wood and Mary Lucy Miller were instrumental in the development of the bomb.  Serber was also the only group leader not invited to the  test  at Trinity Site in July 1945 because the site “did not have the proper ‘facilities’ for women”.

Training to overeat or choo choo on chew chew

chewing--beaverDo we train ourselves to overeat?  When you were a child did your parents tell you finish all of your food because children were starving in 1) Appalachia,  2) India, or 3) China?  Did you ever really aspire to be a member of the Clean the Plate club?  Were you an eager beaver at meal time? Let’s chew on this concept a bit.


Chew (verb) –  to perform the act of chewing or grinding something with your teeth or to meditate on something or to scold someone harshly

Chew (noun) – the act of chewing

choo-choo (noun) – baby talk for train or locomotive

choo choo train cartoonHave you ever told a baby or small child to open his/her mouth to let the choo-choo come in when you are trying to get him/her to eat the next mouthful?  Do you make chug chug and whistle noises while you do so?

Did you ever get chewed out for not finishing your dinner or hiding it in your pocket or feeding it to the dog?

How many of those finish your plate moments have now become don’t eat everything on your plate moments?  Are we training ourselves to overeat by the parental compulsion to make sure that the young child eats everything on the plate?  They usually said you had two choices  “Take it or Leave it”, but how many of them really let you leave?

Are we what we eat?  If we are, are you sweet, spicy, tart, tough, soft, or a mixture? Were you a member of the Clean the Plate club? Join in the conversation and share your favorite or most traumatic childhood eating incident.

Taking Books to the People, Part V: Bookmobiles

National Book Mobile DayAccording to the American Library Association, April 12, 2017 was National Book Mobile Day.

It has been celebrated since 2010 on the Wednesday of National Library Week.

Although most people think of the normal bus and van types of book mobiles, other transportation forms have also served as book mobiles:  burros (Colombia) elephants (Thailand), horses (England and the U.S.), camels (Uganda) and a ship (Norway).



In 2011,  PBS did a special on the biblioburro.  Colombia grade school teacher, Luis Sorriano uses two burros to bring books to the children of Magdalena Province.

According to Ebook Friendly, “A first bookmobile in the world was horse-drawn and operated in 1857 in Cumbria county in North West England. It was aimed to increase the lending of its books to enthusiastic local patrons.”

During the Depression, American librarians used horses to take books to the underserved populations of Appalachia and other rural areas.

According to Wikipedia,  “A bookmobile or mobile library is a vehicle designed for use as a library. It is designed to hold books on shelves in such a way that when the vehicle is parked they can be accessed by readers. Mobile libraries are often used to provide library services to villages and city suburbs that otherwise do not have access to a local or neighborhood branch library. They can also service groups or individuals who have difficulty accessing libraries, for example, occupants of retirement homes. As well as regular books, a bookmobile might also carry large print books, audiobooks, other media, IT equipment, and Internet access.

Camp Pendleton Book MobileCamp Pendleton owns the only Bookmobile in DoD.  Of course, the base is so huge that it is approximately  13 miles to the main library once you enter the base from I-5.

Although the number of book mobiles has declined over the years, interest in book mobiles has not faded.  Pinterest has a  number of book mobile images.

Atlas Obscura did a pictoral history with vintage photos of Travelling Libraries, including a World War I era military book mobile.

WWI era bookmobile

Do you have a favorite book mobile story or memory?  Join in the conversation.  When I was at the Ft Myer Library in Arlington, VA, one of our volunteers, Kae Fahey, told me how she used to take the book mobile out to the Nike Missile site in the Herndon/Drainsville section of Fairfax  County.  Kae was barely 5 feet tall and weighed less than 100 pounds.

Double letters–double trouble?

DictionariesHave you ever wondered why some words have double letters and some words don’t?   If you want to change plan to the past tense, you need to double the N–planned.   If you just added the ed, it would be planed.  The same rule is applied to the past tense of stop–stopped.  However, if the word is stoop, then you just add the ed–stooped.  Pronunciation is one of the major reasons why some words have double letters and some do not.

Is a winer, someone who wines?  According to the Urban Dictionary, it is Whining Child
” (o)ne who whines and dines; typically drinking cheap red wine out of a bag-in-box”  I  would have thought that would be whiner.  Which one is actually the winner?

Assume is the classic ass u (and) me.  With that acronym, It is easy to remember that assume has a double S.

What about unnecessary–two N‘s and two S’s?  Are both double letters really necessary or needed (which has two ED‘s).

Mississippi and TenneseeMississippi–Tennessee.  States with multiple redundant letters.  I had a friend from Tennessee who shared a  cheer with me–T, E, Double N, E, Double S, Double E–Tennessee! Learning that cheer meant I could always spell at least that state correctly.

If you googlelogo_color_272x92dp double letters, you will find several results.

Words with Double Letters – Panopy

Words 4 letters long. Back to: Main Page. Back to: Top of this Page. Double letters at 1st position: eels, oops, ooze; Double letters at 2nd position: been, good, …

Words with Double Letters – English Grammar Rules & Usage

grammar.yourdictionary.com › … › Word Lists › Words with Double Letters
There is a much larger number of double letter words when you add a letter to make a 4 letter word, such as ball, been, beer, beet, beep, bell, boom, boot, book, bull, butt, call, cell, coon, dell, doll, door, doom, fall, fell, feel, feet, foot, food, fool, fuss, full, gull, gall, hall, hell, heed, heel, hill, hull, …
Nov 25, 2016 – I’m not a native speaker but I see it this way: Two consonants in a word give us a different pronunciation like in: apple and aple are different in …

Word Whizzle Double Letters answers!

l l t o d o a a d p p m i g g e r k y o m s. Theme: Double Letters. The puzzle is 5×5 size and you will receive 5 points for this answer. Answer: topper, llama …

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It’s quick and easy. Heartspring commented on the list doubleletter-words. Double letters lost in the crypt.

Some people have contests on words where the first letters are doubled  like aardvark and llama or the second letters are doubled like look and beet, or the third letters are doubled like letter and ladder.  You get the idea….

Which double letter words do you find the most troublesome?  Have you ever doubled a letter and found that was a word where the letter did not need to be doubled?  Join in the conversation and share you favorite or least favorite double trouble-double letter word.