Quip–a witty remark.  E-Quips (think e-book or email) is hopefully a witty blog  – dedicated to word play such as parodies, puns, and word parallels and stories about libraries that you may not have heard before. It has also expanded to include a few book reviews, nature essays, stories about military and veterans, and tips about writers and writing. It has evolved into a sort of online journal



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.







Little Free Libraries Get a Slice of Pizza Hut

pizza hut little free libraryPizza Hut has had a long tradition of supporting literacy going back to 1984 when the company started BOOK IT!  According to Atlas Obscura’s Pizza Hut’s Little Free Libraries Look Exactly Like Pizza Huts:

“Then-President of Pizza Hut Inc., Art Gunther, had a son with severe reading difficulties. That led to the creation of BOOK IT! in 1984, which Gunter later called “the most important thing I have ever done in my working life.” As of 2017, 14 million children in America had participated, earning personal-pizza rewards for reading.

While still active today, BOOK IT! has a special nostalgia for bookworms of a certain age. It’s inspired love letters, apparel, and, in 2014, free pizza for alumni of the program in celebration of its 30th anniversary. Even Aldrich tells me she participated in BOOK IT! The program also served as a tentpole for Pizza Hut’s The Literary Project, which promotes reading and distributes books around the world.”

Lynda Carrier-Metz is the chief marketing manager of Restaurant Management Company of Wichita. “In 2016, Carrier-Metz won a $10,000 volunteer grant from Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands to construct 20 book-exchange boxes in front of restaurants. According to Carrier-Metz, it came down to combining community involvement with “what people were doing already”: that is, going to Pizza Hut. “In many towns, the libraries aren’t open after 5 or 6 p.m.,” she adds. “We wanted them to come to Pizza Hut and bring their books, and get other books.”

It’s a franchise, rather than a national endeavor. Carrier-Metz teamed up with Branden Pedersen of Little Free Library. With the Yum! funding, they whipped up a design. “It’s kind of the iconic Pizza Hut look,” says Pedersen. Then, an Amish woodworker, Daniel Bontrager, built them.”

“In December of 2016, Pedersen drove to Wyoming and Montana to deliver the goods: 20 Little Free Libraries. He installed most of them at Pizza Huts across the two states, and the remainder he handed over to be installed at Pizza Hut locations in Texas and Kansas. A staff member at each restaurant, Pedersen says, became the steward of each, responsible to “keep it in good repair, fill it with books, tell people how it works, and encourage them to use it.””

Click here to read more about Little Free Libraries.

Re-blog of Books Banned in the 21st Century

Banned Book Week BookcartThe twenty-first century is eighteen years old.  In that short time, at least ten books have already been banned in different countries.  From You:An Introduction by Michael Jensen in Austrailia through The Peaceful Pill Handbook by Philip Nitschke (also banned in Australia), Listverse as put together a  list of ten titles that have been banned since the Millenium began. Not all of the books have been banned by Australia, some are banned in parts of the U.S., Qatar, and, the Netherlands among other countries.

The Chickens of Key West

“They’re in the food chain.  Just not ours.”  Tom, Conch Train Engineer

key west chicken posterOver a half century before Castro. Cubans flocked to Florida, especially Key West, to handmake Cuban cigars for the American market.  They brought their foods and customs with them, including cock fighting.  When cock fighting was made illegal in the 1970s, the Cubans allegedly let the chickens and hens run free in protest. With few natural predators, the birds multiplied and now run freely all around Key West.

The Florida Keys are a bird sanctuary, which includes the chickens.  They have been feral for over a century.  Considered a nuisance by some and a symbol of Key West’s quirkiness by others, the Gypsy chickens, as they are locally called,  are a favorite tourist photo op.  The meat is allegedly dark and gamey, so even if they were legal to kill, they would probably not taste like a Purdue chicken or even KFC.

A recently sighted nesting pair of eagles and sometimes ospreys do make the chickens part of their food chain.

key west chicken thief

At one point, Key West hired a chicken whisperer to catch the birds and release them on the mainland.  For a few years in the early 2000s, Conchs (freshwater and saltwater) took sides in the Key West Chicken Wars.   Some people wanted Key West to offer the chickens sanctuary and others thought they were a health hazard.  Today, the chickens are cock of the walk on the Key West tourist scene.



Do You Have a Social Media Guide?

social media dos and dontsOne of the top five tips for new bloggers is to develop a social media presence so you can cross fertilize your blog postings  (and provide broader access) across a variety of social platforms.  Word Press provides widgets that will allow you do to this almost seamlessly.  (No, I am not doing any this; I’m just saying it’s available.)

As you spread you blog pollen as far as possible, have you thought about maintaing a consistency to your brand?  A social media guide can provide you with some excellent tips on how to do this.  One social media guide I just discovered from reading an American Library Association Connect email was from Sprout Social.

From the intro to the Guide, “We’ve all seen our fair share of social media fails over the years. From small startups to international corporations, no brand is immune to making mistakes on social. The sad part is most of the embarrassing slip-ups brands make can be easily avoided by creating and following a social media style guide.

Investing a little time into creating a social media style guide can save you from big mistakes. When everyone knows the guidelines, they’re on the same page. So there’s less confusion about whether or not it’s ok to Tweet an inappropriate photo or respond to upset customers with a series of swears.”

social media icons

Blogging Advice: Five Tips When Serving up a Conversation

Conversation is an informal exchange of ideas.  Many bloggers recommend it as a way to tennis-quote-john-mcenroeconnect with your followers.  Start a conversation with them and invite them to respond.  Communication becomes a  two-way street.   So you serve up a topic like a tennis player does with ball, expecting the conversation or ball to behave in a particular manner.

Unlike tennis, conversation is not always played out on a smooth surface.  You may get a vicious backhand or perhaps a backhanded compliment.  Some people respond with a swift overhead slam sending your clever serve zinging in a direction you never anticipated.  Sometimes they lob troll-like retorts dripping in inuendo.  If you are lucky, your reader will set up a nice volley with you that can be enjoyed by the audience and people who may want to join in the game. Will this fortutious conversation be a game, a set, or a match?

tennis quote--serve well

How do you handle a conversation that goes in an unexpected direction?

  1. Remain flexible on how the topic evolves.  You may learn something new or get ideas for future blog posts.
  2. Retain a sense of humor.  Some people thrive on antagonism or the anonymity that an online presence provides.
  3. Ask questions if you do not understand what the respondent is writing about. None of us knows everthing.
  4. Acknowledge the participant.  How many of us have participated in a conversation with a friend or family member that died upon entry because there was no response–not even a grunt of acknowledgement?
  5. Practice, practice, practice–improve your writing skills, your analytical capabilities, your powers of observation, your tolerance for the foibles others.Tennis quote--racket

Salt of the Earth

salt avery islandTo say that someone is “salt of the earth” is to praise them highly.  The phrase comes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, “Ye are the salt of the earth.”  The word salary comes from the Latin for salt money.  Legend says that Roman soldiers were paid their salary in salt. Although today we live in a world of too much sodium thanks to our diet of processed foods, salt is necessary for a healthy diet.  The lack of salt is one of the contributing factors to the South’s defeat during the Civil War according to this Atlast Obscura article.


Before refrigeration, salt was one of the primary ways to cure meats like pork and beef.  It was also used to cure leather.  Pork and the South have gone together for centuries.  At the start of the Civil War, the Union realized that one way it could hurt the South was by restricting their ability to import or make salt.  They did this by destroying any salt processing plant, blockading the export of cotton and the import of goods like salt, coffee, and sugar, even smashing pots that were used to boil salt water down to salt. The enslaved population that were forced to work in the salt mines (or other salt producing enterprises) were often the source of information about where these salt producing locations could be found.


Meeska, Mooska, Mousketeers

Mickey Mouse HeadThose of us that are old enough to remember the orginal Mickey Mouse Club may remember the chant:  Meeska, Mooska, Mouseketeers, Mouse Cartoon Time now is here.

Today is the birthday of the Mickey Mouse Club, which began in 1955.

Who was your favorite Mouseketeer?  (Mine was Annette–I even read fiction that included Annette as the teen-aged heroine in the 1960s.   One time on Sirius 60s on 6, one the DJs’ (maybe Pat St. John) showcased two songs.  One written by Jimmy Dood (Head Mousekeeter), was a song about Annette for her to dance to (that was frankly a little creepy) and one where Annette sang Pineapple Princess.  (Pineapple Princess was nicely sung, a typical teen ballad where someday she’ll grow to become her Hawaiian boyfriend’s Pineapple Queen.) )


So put your Mouse ears on sing Happy Birthday to the Mickey Mouse Club.

Finish with this:

Now Mouseketeers
There’s one thing we want you
Always to remember
Come along and sing our song
And join our family
Through the years we’ll all
Be friends
Wherever we may be.
Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
Forever let us hold our
Banner high

Reblog of 10-Famously Hard-Core Female Spies

Mata Hari and Belle Boyd may be two of the more famous spies on this list, but there are others that you may not have heard of.  Whether it’s feminine charms, photographic memory, nerves of steel, or patriotism, each of these women were successful spies for a variety of nations.


Cathedrals of Nature

notre dame cathedralTechnically, a cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of the bishop. From Wikipedia, “The term “cathedral” actually carries no implication as to the size or ornateness of the building. Nevertheless, most cathedrals are particularly impressive edifices.”

However, the cathedral like feeling–a sacred place where sunlight filters through a canopy of leaves or casts sharp silhouettes; a place of peace; soaring grandeur; the sound of infinite silence, wind, birdsong,  insect chorus, surf,  or whale calls; can be anyplace outside that gives us a sense of   majesty, peace, perspective, and gratitude.                                          Notre Dame Cathedral  

cathedral rockCathedral Rock near Sedona, AZ is one such place.  It is one of the most photographed places in Arizona and part of it’s famous red rocks.  From Wikipedia, “Cathedral Rock is located in the Coconino National Forest in Yavapai County, about a mile (1.6 km) west of Arizona Route 179, and about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) south of the “Y” intersection of Routes 179 and 89A in uptown Sedona. The summit elevation of Cathedral Rock is 4,967 feet (1,514 m).[1″

I was lucky enough to visit Sedona in 2017 and fell in love with the place.  The soaring red rocks, the dark evergreen plants garlanding the feet of the rocks, the clear turquoise skies with their whispy white cloud all combined to convince me this is one of the loveliest spots in the  United States.  I need to go back to experience a vortex and buy that elusive piece of turquoise jewelry that captures Sedona for me.

Another place is the Monterey peninsula.  Monterey Bay has “one of the deepest submarine canyons on the west coast of the United States. The canyon head lies just offshore of Moss Landing on the Central California coast. From there, the main channel meanders over 400 kilometers seaward to a depth of more than 4,000 meters on the abyssal plain. Repeated mapping in certain areas of the canyon have shown that the terrain changes substantially every few months due to large sediment-transport events involving both debris flows and turbidity currents.”  It is also home to the Montery Bay acquarium with its enormous kelp forest tank.  Watching the sunlight filter through the kelp leaves provides that same cathedral like sense that watching sunlight filter through the the forest trees does.  I was fortunate enough to live in Monterey in the mid 80s and visit it whenever I can.

Monterey 031

Just south of the Monterey is Big Sur, where the Santa Fog coming in Pt SurLucia mountains tumble down to the Pacific Ocean.  As you travel Highway 1 you are suspended between earth and ocean, mountain and sea, sometimes between sun and fog, forest and meadow.   What you lose is radio reception.

The highway winds in and out of the redwood forest.  At other times it is a narrow two lane road with the ocean 200 feet below you and the mountain 1000 feet above you.  There is not a lot of room for the bikers, joggers, and hikers who also travel this route.

Anne Marie Garden Bishop Statue 20180904.jpg

Sunlight through trees is another cathedral like place.  At AnneMarie Gardens near Solomons, Maryland, we even saw a stone statue of a bishop.

The Celts had a term for such places where the sacred and the secular meet and the distance between heaven and earth grows thin.  They called them Thin Places.  I think that natural cathedrals are thin places.  Where are your thin places?