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.

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Seanchai Library Turns IX–Part 2

Caledonia Skytower answers some questions on the background of Seanchai Library and how she got started there.

Seanchair on 13 April._005

1)  How long have you been involved with Seanchai and how did you get started?

I have been involved with Seanchai Library since August of 2008.  The Library had opened the previous March. The leadership of the West of Ireland Charity Estate had asked Derry McMahon to open a library to compliment the features of the Estate.

I was still fairly new to Second Life, and I had taken to searching in the viewer for places I had always wanted to visit on Earth, so I could explore their virtual iterations.  Ireland was pretty near the top of the list.  That’s how I found West of Ireland.  There seemed to be a lot of great things going on there.  I found a place on a stretch of shore and was about to log out when someone named Shandon Loring (now my co-leader of Seanchai Library) IM’d me and greeted me, telling me that they told stories every evening, and inviting me to come the next evening.  I did.  And that, as they say, was just the beginning.

2) Does Seanchai have a governing board?  If not, how is it managed?

For most of the last 9 years we have essentially been a confederation of volunteers, working cooperatively.  90% of our operations are charitably based, and involve the donation of time and treasure – no one makes a dime.

Derry McMahon, our founder, was Head Librarian until she retired from that position in December 2012.  Derry worked with a small group of core staff to coordinate the larger program.  When Derry retired I assumed the mantle of “Lead Staff”.  I work along side our Chief Storyteller, Shandon Loring, to coordinate our programming and planning. For the last year or more that has meant that I took the lead on the SL program (because there has been a lot going on) and Shandon took the lead in our branch operations on other grids.  We are blessed with a dedicated corps of Seanchai staff and affiliated storytellers. It is really a wealth of talent.

In 2015 we piloted our EXPLORE program, based in Kitely, to develop what we do into a tool for educational, language arts experience augmentation.  Some of our staff would do this, what we do, full time if we could.  So we began developing small projects and have been working to position ourselves as a service provider to non-profits and educational institutions.

3)  Are there any changes planned for year 10?

Moving towards such an auspicious celebration we are taking the time to review where we are, and where we think we are going. I say “think” because we have discovered so much in the last 10 years.  I doubt seriously if any of us had the vision in 2008, or even 2010 that we would be where we are right now. I think any healthy, forward-looking plan needs to allow room for discovery, as well as the inevitable unexpected.

So, we’ll see where this review process takes us. To me, it is important that we move into the next few years with a clear, united vision – something everybody owns,  We are not what we were 10 years ago –  even five years ago. So what do we do with what we have achieved?  and how do we leverage what we have learned moving forward?  Those are the sorts of questions we are asking.

In the more tangible sense, we will be continuing The Dickens Project,  Last year we were on a half region, thanks to the support of Kultivate Magazine.  Hopefully we will, at the very least, unfold Dickens’ classic on that much space again.  Those plans are in process now.  We will be continuing our Storyteller’s Sandbox series in June, to provide a forum for the growing number of independent storytellers to present in a larger forum.  We are also have three EXPLORE projects in the developmental stages.  All are pending funding support, and all would take place in 2018.  That could be quite a year!

4)  How do you pick the programs and charities?

From the very beginning Derry believed, as I do, that people need to read what they love – books and stories that they are excited about.  So we ask our staff to submit tittles that they are interested in and I try and balance them out so that our offerings remain diverse.  I tend to schedule everyone else first, then fill in the holes myself with whatever we are lacking.  Most of the time that is pretty successful.  Every now and then we’ll have an odd couple of weeks.  In the beginning of January this year we got incredibly dystopian and surreal for a couple of weeks.  I found myself thinking, “How the heck did that happen?”

Seanchair on 13 April._003As for the charities, we used to do it by rotating the choice among the lead staff of four, and we would all review the choice and weigh in.  Now, Shandon and I review and choose.  He is good at finding new charities that might not have come onto our radar before.  All charities are vetted through GuideStar and Charity Navigator.  I have spent 30 years in the non-profit sector and so there are things I specifically look for.  We try and focus on charities where they function with lean overhead, with a lot of focus on program impact.  We work to balance charities that have global impact against those where the efforts are more localized.  We also try and balance types of endeavors: ecology, education, human welfare, and literacy of course!

5) How difficult has it been to expand into other virtual worlds?  Was it hard to coordinate the yesterdays event in Kitely and SL?

I am often quoted as saying, “Virtual Worlds are all alike, until they are not.”  In truth, even though grids look the same, they all work a little differently.  Part of that is technical.  Part of that is cultural.  Even though the tools of communicating and creating community look similar, how they are used is very specific to the social culture.  In some cases, like in the Open Sim metaverse, there are grids that are in their infancy … they exist in a server in someone’s house.  So how they foster community and the tools they use to promote that are still developing.

Seanchair on 13 April._006

Shandon has been the go-to person in Kitely from the beginning, and he has invested a lot of time and effort monitoring how the culture there has been developing, and building relationships.  I think that is really key to developing new audiences.  Like anything else it is based on relationships, built one at a time in some cases.  People throughout virtual worlds continue to ignore that reality.  It doesn’t matter whether you are opening a dance club at InWorldz, or an Ice Cream shop on a corner in San Diego, you have to build and maintain relationships to make it successful.  You can’t just open your doors and say “y’all come!” and expect it all to happen by osmosis.

Shandon Loring tell a tale in voice

                                       Shandon telling story in voice at Seanchai Library

I think some of the tools Shandon has been working with to connect our audiences in different grids is some of the most exciting work we have going.  The biggest drawback to maintaining operations in multiple grids, is the need to duplicate all efforts.  The Anniversary party held simultaneously in two grids was more work than one party would have been, but it was less work than two separate ones.  It gained a critical mass that we would not have been able to create otherwise, and that has benefits in terms of community exposure and consciousness.

6)  Is there anything you would particularly like people to know Seanchai?

There has always been a great deal of pressure to be everything to everyone.  There are plenty of people doing great work in language arts and spoken word, and I feel we have always understood our own priorities.  We use live voice presentations, and a variety of degrees of immersion, to inspire people to engage with literature.  From that they read, they buy books, they patronize their local libraries.  We encourage them to share the stories that interest and excite them. Some of folks have even begun writing their own adventures.  We emphasize that stories are an important, essential element of the human experience.

Seanchair on 13 April._002

                  An  audience listening to a program at Seanchai Library

While I would love to increase our accessibility – I dream of a day when someone will develop an ASL interface – we still reach a lot of people with what we do.  It isn’t for everyone. There are no dance poles.  But I think we do a pretty decent job of being open, welcoming, and of fostering community around the shared experience of stories, read aloud.

Sometimes the simplicity of what we do, and the profound impact we have on the individuals in the community we have grown, overwhelms me.

Do you like to hear stories told in voice?  What are your favorite stories to hear or tell?  Join in the conversation and share you favorite story listening experience.  What was it?  Where were you listening to the story?

Egging Them On

Did you see the house that got egged last night?   Wonder who egged the pranksters on?  Bet they weren’t good eggs at all. The yolk was on them when the cops showed up.  The eggs weren’t the only runny things. That cracked me up. Guess the planning wasn’t egg-quisite enough although their defense was that they were just egg-spressing themselves. I’m dying to know who they were. If it were my house, I would think they were just being shell-fish.

Egging- verb or gerund, to urge someone on to do risky or foolish.  Also a prank where people throw eggs at a house, people or cars.

eggs (humpty dumpty)There is something about making Easter eggs or trying to avoid children shouting and hunting for Easter eggs that can bring out the rotten or hard boiled egg punster in many of us.  Bet Humpty Dumpty is not the only one who will take a great fall during the scramble to find all the eggs.

Have you ever been to the White House Easter Egg Roll?  According to the website (which features a count down to the event, “(t)he first Easter Egg Roll of the Trump Administration will be held on Monday April 17th, 2017 from 7:30AM – 6:45PM. Thousands of lucky guests from across the nation will gather on the South Lawn of the White House for games, storytelling, entertainment and egg rolling. ”

eggs (white house easter egg roll)

Eggs-bunny and flowers

What is your favorite egg pun, cartoon, or Easter Egg Hunt memory?  Join the conversation and share your egg-quisite memories.

Egg-bunny on a surfboard

Taking Books to the People, part 3: ALA and World War I

One hundred years ago this month, President Wilson asked Congress for a Declaration of War on April 2, 2017.  The war had been raging in Europe since 1914 and had reached a stalemate.  Congress granted Wilson’s request  with  Public Resolution 65-1, 40 STAT 1

WWI map of Europe

In 1917, the American Library Association, “…Executive Board appointed the Committee on Mobilization and War Service Plans (later the War Service Committee). Soldier marching off to warALA undertook to supply books and periodicals to military personnel, at home and overseas. The initial campaign raised $1M for camp libraries, as well as including a book drive.”

At that time ALA membership was only about 3,300, and between 1917 and 1920, the group:

  • mounted two financial campaigns and raised $5 million from public donations
  • erected thirty-six camp libraries with $320,000 in Carnegie Corporation funds
  • distributed approximately 7-10,000,000 books and magazines; and
  • provided library collections to over 500 locations, including in military hospitals.

This 1917 effort marked what was to become the military Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Libraries.    After the U.S. declared war on April 6, 1917, “an ALA representative met with Secretary of War Newton D. Baker. As one participant noted, Secretary Baker kept “a room full of senators and diplomats and other dignitaries waiting” while he developed plans to provide adequate library facilities for the Doughboys. Shortly thereafter, the ALA established a Committee on Mobilization and War Service Plans to examine ways of ensuring that Army personnel would have quick and easy access to books, newspapers, and magazines. Within three months of declaring war, the U.S. Commission on Training Camp Activities invited the ALA to assume responsibility “for providing adequate library facilities” for thirty-two of the Army’s cantonments.”

In addition to providing books for the troops, WWI also provided an opportunity for women to assume more leadership roles in ALA.    They served as camp librarians, military hospital librarians, as well as members of the Library War Services Committee.WWI hospital

Putnam (Librarian of  Congress during WWI) didn’t want women serving in Camp Libraries.  Today the majority of librarians are women, both in civilian and military libraries around the world.  Do you know any military librarians?  Do you know any currently serving military or vets who have used military libraries?  Join in the conversation and share your favorite libraries go to war story.

Whining about Wine

In 1965, the Rolling Stones released a song, “I can’t get no satisfaction.”  Some days are just like that–no wine at all, wrong kind of wine, no corkscrew, nothing to chill the wine with, etc.

Wine-Noun, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes.

Wine- Verb, to entertain someone by offering them food and drink

Whine-intransitive verb, to make high pitched or plaintive sound, to complain with or as a whine

Men are like winesome turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.” – Pope John XXIII

If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” Anthony J. D’angelo

“Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.” –  Francis Bacon

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” – Galilieo Galilei

Don’t let the incidents which take place in life bring you low. And certainly don’t whine. You can be brought low, that’s OK, but don’t be reduced by them. Just say, ‘That’s life.'”–Maya Angelou

Language is wine upon lips.” – Virginia Woolf

“I maintain that two and two would continue to make four, in spite of the whine of the amateur for three, or the cry of the critic for five.”  — James Whistler

“From wine what sudden friendship springs.” –John Gay
What are your favorite wines or whines?  Join in the conversation and share your take on wining and dining or whining while dining.

Seanchai Library Turns IX

The avatars and the worlds may be virtual but the voices are real and so is the library.

Seanchai 9th Birthday in SL--Chili cookoff_009

On Sunday, March 26, Seanchai Library celebrated it 9th Anniversary in Second Life (where these pictures were taken) and in Kitely at the same time.

No, we are not. It is hard to believe: nine years ~ 108 months ~ 3,287-ish days ~ Thousands of hours of stories ~ Hundreds of Authors ~ Dozens or Genres. this week at Seanchai Libraries in #secondlife, #kitely,  live in voice

According to it’s blog, “Seanchai (“Storyteller” in Irish) Library celebrates the Celtic tradition of stories told around the hearth or in the pub to friends, family, and welcomed strangers. Seanchai Libraries bring stories of all kinds to life, in Virtual Worlds: Second Life, InWorldz, & Kitely on the Open Metaverse. ”

The celebration focused on chili, of all types.  Stories were told in voice, about different types of chili, the affects of chili (with comments in text chat that the avatars were grateful that smell was not one of the senses supported in virtual worlds), and a bit about the history of chili and it’s role in popular culture.

(Top left picture:  Guests hearing the chili stories.  Top right picture:  Seanchai founder Derry McMahon and Bear Silvershade telling a few chili stories.  Bottom picture, current Seanchai head. Calendonia Skytower standing next to the Chili Recipe box as she tells yet another chili story.)

Guests had the opportunity to take a box of notecards filled with over 60 different chili recipes.

Seanchai Library Box of Chile Recipes_001 

Biblio Latte and her box of chili recipes.

Example of one of the chili recipes:

Maine–White Lobster Chili

While this is by no means a traditional chili, the flavorings and the heartiness of this soup are reminiscent of the traditional dish. This preparation of lobster can take the higher level of seasoning of the chili powder because the beans are cooked in the lobster stock so the dish has a strong lobster flavor. Instead of the. usual cheese, though, this is great topped with creme fraiche. and fresh chives.

Probably the tantalizing and delicate flavor of lobster meat is found at its best in a fresh boiled “chicken” lobster, weighing one to one and a quarter pounds. A lobster of this size is estimated to be four or five. years old. And the tail meat will be tough if you boil it longer than from eight to ten minutes.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small “chicken” lobsters
  • 1 onion
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups great northern beans
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp ground toasted cumin
  • 112 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt
  • cracked pepper


  1. Dice half the onion, celery and carrot into large pieces, place in a 6 quart or larger saucepan or stock pot \.Vith the bay leaf, peppercorns and 3 quarts of \.vater and bring to a boil.
  2. Put lobster into pot and boil for 15 minutes, remove the lobsters, strain the broth and set aside.
  3. Fine dice remaining onion, celery and carrot.
  4. Heat the pan and olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion, celery and carrot until translucent, add garlic and saute a bit more. 5.Add \.Vater, chili powder, cumin and white beans and cook until beans are done, about 45 minutes.
  5. Remove lobster from shell, rough chop and add to soup.
  6. Finish with cream and cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

Following the chili cook-off and recipe exhange, the group enjoyed dancing to tunes spun by inworld DJ Dano Bookmite.

In addition to story telling and other ‘live’ events, since 2011, Seanchai also  has also offered visitors and guests the opportunity to make voluntary donations to a variety of charities that change bi-monthly.  Seanchai does not officially represent any of these charities.  Charities range from Reach Out and Read to Habitat for Humanity.  Donations average a little of $100/month. According to Seanchai Quick Facts: “Between January 2011 and January 2015, Seanchai Library made charitable donations totally $2,853 to 16 non-profit organizations around the world, doing good work in a variety of areas including environmental heath, housing, education, peace, social justice, and wildlife preservation.”

Have you ever participated in a virtual world?  Is so, which one(s)?  Join in the conversation and tell us what role you think that Seanchai and other virtual libraries do fill and or could fill.

Cant, Can’t, Kant and Decant

It’s cant that you can’t decant the wine.  Did  Immanuel Kant say this?

Cant, A Gentleman's GuidCant-Noun, meaning hypocritical and sanctimonious talk, also a phrase or catchword that is temporarily in fashion

Can’t-contraction for can not

Kant– A German philosopher who is considered the  father of modern philosophy. According to Wikipedia, he “argued that the human mind creates the structure of human experience, that reason is the source of morality, that aesthetics arises from a faculty of disinterested judgment, that space and time are forms of our sensibility, and that the work as it is “in-itself” is independent of our concepts of it.”

Decant-verb, meaning to gradually pour wine or some other liquid from one container to another without disturbing the sediment.

The Little Engine That Could was famous for saying “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”  How much responsibility do we have for what we can accomplish or can’t accomplish?

Is it cant to say you are woke (aware) of a topic, high key about an idea,  or in a calm (cool) ship (relationship)?

Would you drink red wine if it were not decanted?

Are you a can-do or can not do kind of person?  Do you use cant in your everyday conversation?  Do you read Kant for pleasure?  Do you like to decant wine to drink while you read Kant?  Join the conversation and share your favorite can’t/cant/Kant/decant stories.

Taking Books to the People, Part 2: Lighthouse Traveling Libraries

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”  When Keats penned those word about 1818, he did not know he might have been talking about the Lighthouse Traveling Libraries.

Books glasses on a desk. Both the wooden cases and the books and magazines contained in them brought joy to the isolated lighthouse keepers and their families.  Even today an empty case sitting in a lighthouse can conjure up images of long ago.

The February 1885 issue of Library Journal quotes from the Arnold B. Johnson article on “Lighthouse Libraries” that he originally wrote for the Christian Union. “The case for the books is so arranged that it ‘has a double debt to pay.’ Let it be shut, locked, and laid on its back, and it is a brassbound packing-case, with hinged handles by which it may be lifted ; stand it on a table and open its doors, and it becomes a neat little bookcase, two shelves high, each twenty-one inches long, one adapted to hold ten octavos of the size of a bound volume of the “Century,” and the other the right height for holding good-sized twelvemos.

The Light House Establishment  introduced the Traveling Libraries  in 1876.  They were issued to the lighthouses as part of the quarterly allotment of food, supplies, fuel, and other commodities. Each book was marked in the front with the Establishment’s  bookplate.

Property of Lighthouse Establishment  Each case was numbered and circulated among the 755 lighthouses and 22 lightships.  There were 15 light house districts and it was the responsibility of the inspector to also examine the library cases when he did the inspection of the light keeper and his station.

According to Johnson, “As a matter of fact many of these cases contain on the lower shelf ten volumes of bound magazines, and on the upper a judicious selection of biography, history, popular science, and good novels—from twenty-five to thirty volumes, according to thickness. A little space above the second shelf, about an inch and a half high, is utilized on one side by a copy of the New Testament, with Psalms, the octavo pica edition of the Bible Society, and on the other by the octavo edition of the Prayer Book, with hymnal attached…”

If a light keeper or his family wanted to check out a book from the box, he or she had to sign and date which book was checked out and when it was returned.

closed travelling lighthouse library box

Have you ever visited a lighthouse and seen the bookcases?  Join the conversation and share which lighthouse you visited.  What was your favorite part of the light house?

This is the lighthouse library at the Big Sur Light Station.  It is probably circa 1950, when the Coast Guard ran the Light Station.  Light Stations were larger than Light Houses.

Monterey 057

Marital Law and Martial Law

Typos–spelling one word when you meant to spell another can lead to some interesting mix-ups.  Marital and Martial are one typo away from each other.

Marital law–is more commonly known as Marriage law.  According to Wikipedia, Marriage law refers to the legal requirements that determine the validity of  marriage, and which vary considerably among countries.

Martial law (noun) is defined as a law which is temporarily imposed on a state or a country when civil authority breaks down or during wartime military operations.

When the partners in a marriage are no longer civil to each other, does marital law then become marital law?  In martial law, all parties are not created equal.

In earlier times, both marriage partners were not created equal–the man usually had more authority over joint property, the children, and his wife.    Who’s the boss in most marriages today?  Do two husbands, two wives,  polygamists or polyandrists make a difference?

The laws in many states did not recognize common law marriages–is that common?

What correlations can you make between marital law and marital law?  Join in the conversation and share your take on the topic.

Taking Books to the People, Part 1: Little Free Libraries

If you like books and reading, one of the best discoveries walking around a neighborhood or mall is the Little Free Library Program


Operating under a “Take a book, Return a book” philosophy, the Little Free Library Program began in 2009, when Tod Bol of Hudson, WI made the first Library in the shape of a one roomed school house in honor of his mother, who was a school teacher who loved to read. He filled the library with books and set it up in his front yard.  The concept proved so popular the he made other little libraries to give away.  Rick Brooke from the University of Wisconsin saw the do-it-yourself project and two decided to collaborate. Inspired by library philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the two of them used Carnegie’s original  goal of establishing 2,508 libraries as the same goal for the number of Little Free Libraries to be established by the end of 2013. (That goal was reached by August 2012).

The program has proven to be a success.  It has been awarded the Innovations in Reading Prize by the National Book Foundation and the two founders were listed as ALA Movers and Shakers in 2013.  They were picked up by many news sources including NBC Nightly News, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Readers’ Digest in 2014.  By 2016, they surpassed 50,000 registered Little Free Libraries worldwide.

UTC Little Free LIbraryIf you are interested in starting a Little Free Library, the website can help you out, including a variety of Little Free Libraries that you can buy, if you don’t want to build your own. It gives you tips for starting a library, what types of zoning requirements you may have to meet (it varies by location), what a steward (caretaker) is, how to stock, register and promote your library.

Free Little Library Book cover

In 2015, Margaret Aldrich, wrote The Little Free Library Book, which tells the story of the Little Free Library.  The book was published by Coffee House Press.  In addition to telling the history of the Little Free Library, it also offers hints on how to run a Little Free Library.

Have you ever used a Little Free Library?  Did you take a book or leave a book?  What did you read?  Join in the conversation and tell us where your favorite Little Free Library is.   Include a picture, too, if you have one.

Change a Dog into a Cat and other Easy Tricks

I can change a dog into a cat in 3 easy steps.  I don’t even need a magic wand or a magic spell.






I can also change Black into White using a similar technique,  but requiring more steps

Black and white camera image











Server cartoon                      And finally fish into meat.








Do you now any other word combos?  Join in the conversation and share your favorite word conversions.