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Archive for May, 2008

I’ve been making the rounds of the local elementary schools, talking up the summer reading club.

On one school visit, I passed a classroom where a teacher was bellowing out, “A, G, F….!” repeatedly as her class of 23 grade schoolers were all blowing unmusically on recorders. All I could think of was, “What horrible thing had she done in some past life to deserve that fate?!”

The recorder: Instrument of the Devil! I think the Spanish Inquisitors may have used them…

Recorder.jpg

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Ah, spring…..and once again many a young man’s thoughts have turned to: “what kind of freaky, weird crap can I ingest to make me high?!”

Which brings us to today’s advice: DON’T LICK TOADS! Really. Don’t.

Or anything that is produced from toad by-products. No crunchy frog chocolates for you.

And just how desperate do you have to be to want to do that anyway?! I mean, have you seen a toad? Personally, being a nature geek, I find them to be quite cute and endearing but that still doesn’t make me want to plant a big smoochy on them. (You can listen to one of my favorite summer sounds…Eastern American toads calling…here).

Read a cautionary tale here: Yes, you can die. Read more of the medical stuff here, of reactions from eating toad soup (just stick with the salad).

Ish.

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Yep. I did it. I laundered money.

It turns out there was a dollar bill stuck in my jeans and it went through the washer and dryer. I’d like to say that the whites were whiter but really it just looked a bit faded and crumpled. However, it got me thinking…”just what ARE these bills made of that they can withstand that kind of beating?!”

Turns out it is not paper money at all…but a combination of cotton and linen. (I was going to take a picture of said bill but there are all these crazy restrictions on how you can photograph money and I’m just too lazy to go through all those hoops).

Finding this out led me to all kinds of obscure facts about U.S. money…this site has a lot of good info about how money is made. And here’s an interesting tidbit for ya:

  • “Have you ever wondered how many times you could fold a piece of currency before it would tear? About 4,000 double folds (first forward and then backwards) are required before a note will tear.”
  • Hmmmn…sounds like a job they gave to an intern to determine…”OK, Suzie, here’s a dollar. Now, sit here and fold and unfold it…oh, and count those folds, would you.”

    You can also find out that the first African-American signature on U.S. currency was from the unfortunately named gentleman, Blanche K. Bruce. Who would name their son Blanche?!

    If you ever wondered what to do with shredded and mutilated money, look here. An actual free service for taxpayers! Who knew?! I also discovered that there is such a thing as “currency residue.” Apparently, the destroyed, shredded, left over bits from money can be turned into roofing shingles, greeting cards (when you really care enough to send the very best), wall paper and fuel pellets (money to burn!).

    As Mister S. would say, “Fascinating.”

     

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    Pease Porridge Hot

    No, no…not a post about colds, I assure you. Instead, I found this great book called Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood by J. Sherman and T. Weisskopf.

    How can you resisit a title like that?! They complied lists of all the chants and songs we used when we were kids. The memories came flooding back! Remember the ‘Diarrhea Song”? Or how about “Found a Peanut”?

    Sadly, not to sound like an old fuddy-duddy (“kids these days…”) but I think kids probably aren’t learning these anymore with our current ultra-sensitive environment.

    Of course, some things HAVE changed…remember when you could sing a nonsense song while riding on the bus about killing your teacher ( “Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay, There is no school today, Our teacher passed away, We killed her yesterday!”) and no one would actually DO that (and you wouldn’t be expelled for singing it). Scary times today.

    The book also discussed where kids picked up these tunes. Most, like me, learned them from camp or from siblings. School actually comes in at number three. There are some pretty graphic rhymes in the book and some with disturbing origins. But, I will leave you with this innocuous one:

    Please forgive my being rude,

    It was not me, it was my food.

    It got so lonely down below,

    It just came up to say hello.

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    –Yes, the blog looks different. I’m experimenting with a new format, so it may change again.–

    While I do enjoy the benefits that computers have brought to the library (quick searching, databases, book editing) for librarians, I am also wistfully wishing for those times when you didn’t have to deal with endless computer questions.

    Because it’s not enough that you expect me to know EVERYTHING about books (“I was in here last week and saw this book over there about this big {holds hands apart} with a blue cover…I’m sure you remember it, what was the title?”), ferret out OBSCURE data in the blink of an eye (“I’m searching for an address for an old college buddy…his name is Paul Williamson and he used to live in New York…{waits 30 seconds} What, you haven’t found it yet?!”), now you also want me to be your own personal Geek Squad/IT staff/Help Desk?!

    Now, I’m not completely computer illiterate (notice you are reading a blog here…) but I do have my limits. But patrons seem quite irate that I cannot solve all their computer problems immediately with a click of my magic mouse. They also fail to grasp that I cannot take 2 hours to explain the intricacies of the Web to them personally (that’s why we offer computer classes).

    Sigh.

    So, in honor of them, I offer the following video link (I think I will use her Computer Whisperer technique next time):

    Hmmmm…oddly ironic here, but WordPress is having tech difficulties pulling up the add in video screen so you’ll have to just visit the YouTube site here: Computer Trouble

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