The Real Reason We Watch the Super Bowl

For a lot of people, football is only a secondary reason to watch the Super Bowl. The real reason so many people watch – the Super Bowl commercials! Companies have paid vast sums for a prime 30 or 60 second spot, counting on being seen by a huge television audience. There is an emphasis on new, clever and innovative, an unofficial competition for the favorite or most-talked-about commercial of the day. Economic hard times have meant the commercial spots aren’t as expensive as some years, but the National Football League and NBC have had no trouble filling the time available.

Not only can you can catch previews for this year’s commercials at Super Bowl Ads, you can view the top commercials from the past ten years (my favorite is Cat Herding from EDS, shown here), catch up on the latest breaking Super Bowl commercial news and, after Sunday’s Super Bowl, watch and vote on your favorites from this year.

Just in case you watch the Super Bowl for the actual football game and would like something to keep you going until training camp starts up again in July, check out these videos from the library:

Friday Night Lights, Season 1 and Season 2. One of the best shows on television about the lives and loves of the people of Dillon, Texas where high school football reigns supreme, now without commercial interruption!

We Are Marshall. Based on the true story of how a small West Virginia college overcame one of the worst disasters in sports history when a plane crash killed most of their team and coaches.

The Longest Yard. Remake of the classic prisoners vs prison guards football game.

Brian’s Song. Another true story, this one about the friendship between Chicago Bears star Gayle Sayers and Brian Piccolo. There won’t be a dry eye in the house.

Rudy. The triumph of the little guy overcoming all odds, a tribute to hanging onto your dreams.

The Express: the Ernie Davis Story. Another inspirational true story (football is full of them) about Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.

Super Bowl Fever


Super Bowl – those words bring visions of chips, Buffalo wings, friends, half time spectaculars and commercials. And, oh yeah – football.

In the beginning there was the National Football League, created in the 1920s. A young upstart, the American Football League, began in 1960. The Super Bowl was established to determine the best professional football team in America when the NFL and AFL merged in June, 1966.

The first Super Bowl – which was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game until 1969 – was played on January 15, 1967 when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10. Excitement about the Super Bowl really took off in 1970 when Joe Namath guarenteed the underdog New York Jets would defeat the Baltimore Colts (they did, 16-7)

The 43rd Super Bowl will be played this Sunday with the Arizona Cardinals taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers. The winning team will be presented with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after the beloved coach of the Green Bay Packers. To get a feel for the history of the game of football, be sure to read The Best Game Ever by Mark Bowden, a brilliant portrait of a single game that changed the history of American sports. This game was played December 28, 1958 between the hardworking, blue collar heroes Baltimore Colts and the glamour boys New York Giants. Many consider this the making of the Super Bowl competition.

Now settle back with some Buffalo wings, chips, pop and friends to enjoy the game.

Coffee, Anyone?

p10100331In honor of Cams Coffee House’s grand opening at the Fairmount Street Library, here are some novels to enjoy while you partake of their wares:

Grounds for Murder by Sandra Balzo is the first in her coffee-themed mystery series, starring Maggie Thorsen, a Milwaukee coffee shop owner. Her books provide a fun way to get insider knowledge of the coffee shop culture. There is always a healthy competition among the city’s coffee shops and baristas.

The Various Flavors of Coffee by Anthony Capella. “A well made cup of coffee is the proper beginning to an idle day,” says Robert Wallis, a marginal poet with great belief in his artistic, as well as coffee, expertise.Through a chance encounter, he gets a job in the coffee trade and travels the world, encountering romance and evolving into a more interesting and complicated human being. Because his task is describing the nuances of coffee, this is the perfect book to enjoy while sipping a dark, bold brew.

Espresso Shot by Cleo Coyle is the eighth in her Coffeehouse Mystery series. Clare Cosi is the manager of the Village Blend, in Greenwich Village. Romantic interest is provided by encounters with Detective Mike Quinn, as Clare repeatedly encounters foul play. Again, caffeine fiends will enjoy the coffee industry details, and the New York setting.

To complete the experience, slip in the lovely and soothing soundtrack to Sleepless in Seattle, while you sip your Cams latte, (made with SBC, Seattle’s Best Coffee).

Cabin Fever?

blizzardSome ideas to occupy the long winter days and nights in your cabin:

Lasting Moments is a new scrapbooking magazine. Leaf through pages on making bracelet party favors, ideas for Valentine’s Day and how to organize your photos and tools.

Other scrapbooking and craft magazines are Creating Keepsakes, Memory Makers, Crafts ‘n Things, Quilter’s Newsletter, Bead Style and more.

(you don’t have to do anything; you can just look at the pictures!)

Weirdest book ever!!!

geek-loveGeek Love by Katherine Dunn is by far the weirdest book I have ever read. My good friend who read this for his book group described it which immediately appealed to my fondness for the extreme and freaky.

Geek Love is about the Binewski family of sideshow carnival freaks. The parents decided it would be truly special (and lucrative) to produce their own freaks. Lil, the mom ingests different toxic substances (ie. arsenic) during pregnancy to get the best all around results. The first Binewski child came in the form of Arturo the Aqua Boy who was born with flippers instead of limbs. Second and or third in the birth order is/are the Siamese piano playing twins Electra and Iphigenia. Next comes our narrator, Olympia who is a bald albino humpback dwarf. Lastly, is Furtunato aka “Chick” who at first appeares devastatingly normal. Chick eventually exhibits extraordinary telekinetic abilities and is wonderfully good hearted. Need I say more?

Only that the plot and story lines are as weird and compelling as the characters. Oh, and amazingly very well written.

The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam

submitted by Georgann

road-of-lost-innocenceThis inspiring true story is the author’s experience as a sex slave in Cambodia, how she broke free and how she now helps other girls find freedom. Somaly Mam is a simple woman, not well educated, and she tells her story in simple, frank language. I was hesitant to read it at first because I was afraid it would be too explicit and give me nightmares. Although she tells a heartrending story and she still suffers nightmares, it was not so graphic as to give them to me.

In The Road of Lost Innocence, Mam explains the series of tragic events that lead to her being sold into the sex slave trade when she was about 16. As she relates those years your heart just breaks. What all this woman lived through is just unbelievable.

Eventually Mam escaped and made a life for herself. Now she heads up an organization that helps other women and girls as young as six to also escape. She lives in constant threat to her life and to those of her children, but she perseveres. I was glad I took the risk to read this story. It is a story of hope well worth reading.

Frugal Librarian #3: Shopsmart Magazine

frugallibrarianThis brand new bi-monthly publication from the makers of Consumer Reports magazine has the slogan “no hype, no ads, just great buys.” It looks like the result of a crossbreeding between Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping, and Hints from Heloise.

For example, there are a lot of luxury items out there where name and branding is everything, since the average John Q. Spender knows nothing about the product and there is ridiculous markup.


When it came to wine, Consumer Reports put their best experts in the lab and tore off the labels. The results is one of the test’s white wine winners costing $5…the Frontrera 2007 from Chile.

Some products also claimed to be bargains or money savers and were junk. Enjoy a list of products to avoid.

Here’s a no-brainer on how to get it…check the latest issue out for free from the Davenport Public Library!

The Armchair Traveler – Washington D.C.

uscapitol2With the worlds’ eyes on our nation’s capitol, let’s get the point of view of cops, bureaucrats, lawyers, killers, diplomats and street people that populate the city year-round.

James Patterson’s Detective Alex Cross frequents the “gritty underbelly” of Washington. Alex Cross is a “homicide detective with a Ph.D. in psychology. he looks like Muhammad Ali in his prime. Cross works and lives in the ghettos of D.C. He’s a tough guy from a tough part of town who wears Harris Tweed jackets and likes to relax by banging out Gershwin tunes on his baby grand piano,” according to his creator.

Margaret Truman moved to D.C. at age 10 when her dad, Harry, was elected to the Senate. Compared to Robert Ludlum, she has an insider view of the Capitol’s neighborhoods, restaurants and institutions. For 28 years, she’s written a mystery almost annually, from Murder in the White House to Embassy Row, the FBI, Foggy Bottom and, most recently, Murder Inside the Beltway.

John Grisham’s The Street Lawyer starts out as a corporate lawyer and becomes an advocate for the homeless after a hostage situation radically changes his view of the legal profession. In true Grisham fashion, there are stolen files and conspiracy and a young, idealistic hero.

Hail to the Chief

Andrew Jackson, 1829

The big day is finally here – and for those of us living in Iowa where it has been an especially long political cycle, it sometimes seemed it would never come! Today the United States will inaugurate the first African-American President when Barack Obama takes the Oath of Office. The peaceful transfer of power is one of the great hallmarks of democracy, something America has maintained throughout her history, during peace or war, economic prosperity or depression. Plenty of reasons to celebrate.

To find out more about the 2009 Inauguration, visit the official website Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. You’ll find interactive maps, descriptions of the days events, Washington DC weather reports, and a history of past Inaugurations. You’ll even find – get this – the recipes for the food to be served at the Inaugural Luncheon (in case you were wondering what to do with that pheasant you’ve got in the freezer!)

The library, of course, has all kinds of Presidential information including biographies of every President as well as histories of the office. We even have a book about Air Force One, the President’s plane and a history of the White House. Here’s a sampling:

Air Force One: a History of the Presidents and their Planes by Kenneth Walsh

Union of Words: a History of Presidential Eloquence by Wayne Fields

The White House Garden by William Seale

First Dogs: American Presidents and their Best Friends by Roy Rowan

Real Life at the White House: 200 Years of Daily Life at American’s Most Famous Residence by John Whitcomb

Martin Luther King, Jr Day

mlkToday is a federal holiday, set aside to honor the Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Born in Atlanta, King was a Baptist minister that became active in the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. His eloquent speaking ability inspired millions of people and he won the Nobel Prize in 1964 for leading nonviolent civil rights demonstrations. King was assassinated in April, 1968.

Try honoring the memory of King by participating todays Martin Luther King National Day of Service; President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden and their families are planning on helping with volunteer projects in Washington DC today. The National Day of Service encourages everyone to contribute to their community, big or small, today and every day. Check their website for a list of local projects, or create one yourself!

By the way, even though many state and city offices are closed today, the Davenport Library will be open our regular hours – 12pm-8pm at Main and 9:30am-5:30pm at Fairmount. Have a great day!