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Frog-monumental Event  

(photo from shopsnohomish.com)

How come I never heard about this before?!

This is too cool. Out Washington (the state) way it seems they use a frog instead of a groundhog to predict the weather:

Snohomish Slew, the Meteorologist Frognosticator extraordinaire and mighty small hero to all the weather weary’ “Gets the Jump” on Punxsutawney Phil and his shadowy claim to fame.”

Bonus points for you if you can work “frognosticator” into a sentence at work tomorrow! Of course, you will want to read about the legend of the frog (which involves Bigfoot, of course).

It is a little known fact, but I have a modest collection of all things froggie (books, figurines, even a frog-shaped purse). Yet, this woman trumps my paltry holdings with over 9,000 collectible (collectible? frog trading cards, perhaps?) frogs.

Want to know what Snohomish Slew predicted? Check his Facebook page – -hey, everyone is on Facebook!- – here.

But the best news is that they no longer release this invasive bullfrog into the wild. Here’s a fun article about that with a great line about how the frog compares to a famous groundhog: “How do we know that Phil doesn’t have a secret frog in his pocket?”

So true!

You just have to love a quote like this:

In some online discussion groups, Avatar fans report feeling “suicidal” after realizing the 3-D world of Pandora doesn’t actually exist.”

Bummer, dude. So…gee, at what point do they realize this fictional, movie- screen, animated world isn’t real I wonder? Scary.

Another great quote from the same article is: “Personally, I was kind of “bummed out” after seeing it — but that was regret over “spending $20 on a film that contains the line ‘That’s the flux vortex.'”

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but our teen volunteer (the droll, sarcastic one who is 17 going on 40, kind of like Richard Lewis back when he was, ya know, funny) did and said that it was a waste of money and a remake of Dances With Wolves.

Fail Blog has a great photo showing how Avatar is really Disney’s movie Pocahontas:

epic fail pictures

For more fun, check out these video mash-ups 😉

Texas

What a bunch of bull…

Everyone’s gotta have their fingers in the pie. It seems like things are getting to the point where we can’t go forward with any decision because we are trying to please everyone. Here is a prime example from Texas over social studies.

Now, I won’t pretend I don’t have my own opinions on what should be included or emphasized but my point is that in the end it doesn’t matter.

Having been a Texas student all through grades K-7, I can tell you that I don’t remember diddly about what was or wasn’t included in our social studies curriculum or that it had any impact over how I turned out as a person. (Although I do remember having to lug around a huge tome just on Texas history, but aside from learning how to draw the shape of the state and develop strong biceps I can’t remember anything from it).

What did shape my social studies learning? My own life experiences, my family, my friends, my community and my library. If we are lucky, the school will spark an interest in an issue (any issue!) and the student will pursue more learning outside the classroom.

Why pretend that spending 20 minutes in the classroom talking about Chavez or Columbus or Mary Kay will impact a student meaningfully? Sadly, the real issue is that with today’s educational system focused only on testing, I don’t think it will make any difference.

A great teacher makes a difference. Someone who can teach students to evaluate where information comes from and what biases it may or may not have…teaching critical thinking. Clearly that matters, as this report indicates,  Where We Read from Matters, but it seems hard to find.

Midnight is looming and, as is typical, I find myself thinking back on 2009.

Overall, it was a pretty crappy year. In 2009 I lost my full-time job. I also lost my best friend Linda. Still, I do have a roof over my head (although it desperately needs to be reshingled), food, clothing and family & friends and many other things to be thankful for.

But I miss Linda.

I just wish I had the skill to write something about her to do her justice. But she was the writer. I am only left with a quote that she told me she really liked from Rachel Carson’s letters:

“This is a postscript to our morning at Newagen, something I think I can write better than say. For me it was one of the loveliest of the summer’s hours, and all the details will remain in my memory: that blue September sky, the sounds of the wind in the spruces and surf on the rocks, the gulls busy with their foraging, alighting with deliberate grace, the distant views of Griffiths Head and Todd Point, today so clearly etched, though once half seen in swirling fog. But most of all I shall remember the monarchs, that unhurried westward drift of one small winged form after another, each drawn by some invisible force. We talked a little about their migration, their life history. Did they return? We thought not; for most, at least, this was the closing journey of their lives.

But it occurred to me this afternoon, remembering, that it had been a happy spectacle, that we had felt no sadness when we spoke of the fact that there would be no return. And rightly – for when any living thing has come to the end of its life cycle we accept that end as natural.

For the Monarch, that cycle is measured in a known span of months. For ourselves, the measure is something else, the span of which we cannot know. But the thought is the same: when that intangible cycle has run its course it is a natural and not unhappy thing that a life comes to an end.

That is what those brightly fluttering bits of life taught me this morning. I found a deep happiness in it – so I hope, may you. Thank you for this morning.”  Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964. Freeman, Martha

 

Or, should I say “humour”?

Either way, luv it!

Yeah, OK, I’m back to blogging.

Maybe.

Kind-of, sort-of.

So, when we last left our intrepid librarian she was getting downsized due to budget shortfalls. I think I am now classified as “under employed,” since I am holding on to my job but only as a very limited part time worker.

And now, with a new year, comes a new boss. Except that no one knows who that will be. Or just when, exactly, this mystery boss will actually start. We get to fly rudderless (crap, I’m mixing metaphors again…) for an entire month. Well, THAT should be interesting.

So, while we all ponder that, here is a very amusing yet disturbing report by Geoff Nunberg on the horrible state of Google Books categories/ tagging/classification:

“An edition of Moby Dick is classed under “Computers”: a biography of Mae West classified as “Religion”; The Cat Lover’s Book of Fascinating Facts falls under “Technology & Engineering.” A 1975 reprint of a classic topology text is “Didactic Poetry”; the medievalist journal Speculum is classified “Health & Fitness.””

Destination Unknown

Life is so strange, indeed…

I should know by Wednesday if I am going to be laid off at the library (or, possibly, next week as there are union thingies that must be done, too). My state is one of the very few where public libraries depend on government funding to run. And, hey, you just might have heard this somewhere or other, but it seems our economy has tanked.

So now our library has to figure out how to make up a 3 million budget shortfall. Next year, we can add 4 million to that figure.

Dire times for public libraries here. And dire times for those of us with little seniority. I’ve never been laid off before but it seems highly likely (if not next month then it will be in January).

Which gets us back to the age old question: Now what?

Stay tuned…

Which Way To Go? by theevilmightyf.

(photo by theevilmightyf on Flickr)

house centipede by myriorama. Photo by myriorama

OK, OK, they weren’t really attacking anyone.

And, strictly speaking, there was only…..oh, say….about….er…….one.

But it was the BIGGEST house centipede  I have ever (evar!) seen. You could feed a family of four off its meaty thighs, I tell ya (should you, you know, desire to eat centipede legs).

It didn’t even run away when I picked up the box it had been hiding under off the kitchen counter (no, I did the running away). Seriously, you could have put a saddle on this fella and ridden him away. He eventually got tired of hearing my whimpering and stalked off (the ground shook!) under the cabinets.

::shudders::

Moss Garden!

Ok, I really like the idea of having a moss lawn that you don’t have to mow…trouble is, not all parts of our lawn are shady. And I will have to check to see if the city has any regulations against this, too (they are BIG on restrictions around here).

Check this out!

Also, I really would like to find these little fellas hiding among the mosses. Of course, I will probably have to pull out the old microscope to see them, but still…

Actually, it would be cool to make a tardigrade puppet for story times…hmmmm. Take a look at this picture and tell me that doesn’t look like a Muppet.

Finally, you really should take a peek at this video since you get to see a water bear wearing a scarf!

At least, that’s how I imagine birds must view the cecropia moths….”Hey, look at that, Feathers, it’s a HUGE flying dinner! That ought to stuff the kiddies full!”

What?! Can’t I anthropomorphize a bit?

Anyway….

The moths have been emerging steadily with the current count at 3 females and 5 males. They all seem to emerge between 11 a.m. and Noon. By about 6 p.m., their wings are hardened enough to fly off if they choose. Of course, when they first come out of the cocoon, their wings are as fragile as wet tissue paper.

Oh, in case you do decide to have them emerge inside, you will want to put something below the cocoon, as they do empty their gut of all the wastes they have stored up over the winter. Yeah, it’s pretty smelly!

I was surprised that you can’t really tell which cocoon they emerged out of at first glance. Somehow, I pictured more carnage…kind of like Christmas Day with kids ripping open packages.

But, they manage to wriggle out a VERY tiny hole in the end of the cocoon and leave it intact. If you open the empty cocoon up, you can see the shed pupal case (complete with waste in the bottom that was squeezed out as the moth emerged…you are forewarned!).

I still have about 10 left that are sitting in the box. I’m wondering if they just didn’t make it. Here are some photos of the female vs the male antennae:

female antennae

Female above

male close an

Male above

I think there may have been something amiss with the latest female, as she and 2 males emerged on the same day. I expected the males to flock around here, but they ignored her and flew off. When I looked at her more closely, it appears she may have damaged herself emerging from her cocoon.

Here is a picture of her abdomen and then the close-up of what looks like a rip:

furry abdomen

female abdomen split A rip? She never flew (although she does pump her wings) and is still sitting alone in the lilac bush tonight, poor thing.

I just love it that these moths look like they are covered in shag carpeting, too!

fuzzy moth

And look at this beautiful wing pattern:

wing closeup

UPDATE: Turns out the female was O.K. I came back the next day to find her mating, so it looks like everything worked out for her. She did not lay her eggs on the lilac bush, though (whcih is good, because I really need to trim it back this year).

Also, 3 more males & 2 females emerged, leaving only 3 left in the box.