Davenport Library Podcast #3 – General Patton scolds QC Man

032008.jpgImagine being so valuable to Uncle Sam he gives you an unlimited expense account and has bombers dispatched across the ocean just to pick you up. All this, and none of the rules that restrict enlisted men.

Welcome to the life of a plucky and resourceful Air Force Civilian Technician and Quad Citian named Harold Labonte, in this week’s Davenport Public Library Podcast #3.

The Armchair Traveler – New York Stories

New York storiesNew Yorkers by Cathleen Schine

The novel centers around the inhabitants of a block in New York. Dogs connect the protagonists and are nearly as well realized characters as their owners. You get real insight into urban, yet small town neighborhood life. Sad and funny and poignant.

Quality of Life Report by Meghan Daum

New York City tv producer moves to a midwest town to do a story and ends up staying. A reversal of the usual Midwesterner comes to New York theme.

Smith and Wetzon” mystery series by Annette Meyers

New York is a vital part of these books – the shops, neighborhoods and characters that make up the city, as well as the culture of Wall Street, where the two partners work as headhunters.

Gone to New York by Ian Frazier

Essays about leaving the Midwest and living in New York. “Out of Ohio” will resonate with Iowans, and “In the Stacks” will speak to library users. Stories about bags in trees, the history of typewriters and the Holland tunnel are fascinating in their accessible research.

Through the Children’s Gate by Adam Gopnik

Bittersweet and philosophical essays about how the city has changed and how it is adapting to families and children who make New York their home.

Tolstoy Lied by Rachel Kadish

Tracy is a professor at a New York university, working on a thesis that the literary establishment rejects positive themes. Academic politics and trends in literature are vividly brought to life. Elements of mystery and romance enliven what sounds like a dry plot.

Next time, The Armchair Traveler visits Florida.

Lie Down and Be Counted!

Cat napDid losing that hour of sleep leave you feeling like you could use a nap today? Well, you’re in luck because the first Monday after the return of light saving time is officially National Napping Day. This observance is designed to make people aware of the health and productivity benefits of napping, especially at the workplace.

To help convince your boss that workplace napping is a great idea, check out The Art of Napping at Work by Camille and William Anthony (154.6 Ant) The authors present everything from nap management to ideas for converting the napaphobics among us.

When presenting your case for the necessity of nap time at work, don’t be afraid to drop the names of famous nappers like JFK, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, “Nap-olean” Bonaparte, Johannes Brahms, Jim Lehrer, and Bill Clinton. If these highly effective people napped, shouldn’t we all be able to catch a few winks at work?

As National Napping Day is observed let’s also remember that on March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and nap time has never been the same since.

What about you, do love naps as much as me?

It’s About Time! 7 Observations about Springing Ahead

clock1.jpgGet ready folks, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 A.M. on March 9th. Here are some things to think about as we spring forward.

1. The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time.

2. No daylight is actually saved. But who wants to say Daylight Shifting Time?

3. Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rica, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and Arizona. Notice all these locales are nice warm spots? They probably don’t care so much about shifting their sunny hours.

4. Change your smoke detector batteries.

5. The idea of Daylight Saving Time was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin.

6. The Energy Act of 2005 changed the starting and ending dates of DST. Lobbyists for this provision included the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores. Lobbyists against included the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Parent-Teacher Association.

7. Now the Easter Bunny will have more time before the sun rises to hide eggs.

Revenge of the Nerds

Picture of NerdsWhen thousands of computer guys and gals put their competitive spirit into an effort, you benefit and companies suffer. Here is a greatly abbreviated list of some excellent programs you can install on your computer for free, thanks to their efforts testing and writing code to one-up one another. Depending who you ask, some folks find them better than their paid equivalents.

1)Open Office – A knock off that is fully compatible with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc). Open Office is updated far more frequently, and does not cost several hundred dollars. It costs $0. I uninstalled Microsoft Office because I liked this one better.

2) AVG – Free antivirus program. Works pretty good. You can’t NOT have an antivirus program. That’s asking for trouble.

3) Comodo – There are a lot of creeps out there that would love to get into your computer through the Internet. Run Comodo Firewall and keep them out. Doesn’t make your system run like molasses like some of the so-called total protection programs you can buy.

4) Spybot – When the creeps get in your computer, how do you get rid of the junk they drop all over the place? Spybot Search and Destroy is an excellent spyware detection and removal program. Run it and see for yourself how much they’ve already dropped all over your computer without your permission.

5) Gimp – Would you like to edit your photos but don’t want to spend a few hundred on Photoshop? The GIMP doesn’t have as friendly of an interface, but it does let you do advanced editing beyond crop and resize for the low low cost of nothing.

See what happens when you can get techies to stop playing World of Warcraft for a few minutes?

The Armchair Traveler – Italy

Armchair TravelerEscape with the Armchair Traveler to beautiful Italy. These are not all “travel” books per se, but they will transport you from the frigid Midwest to warmer climes.

Without Reservations: the Travels of An Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach

Steinbach immerses herself in the neighborhoods and culture of European cities she travels to, but she is at her best when describing the thrills, hardships and annoyances of traveling alone.

As the Romans Do: The Delights, Dramas, and Daily Diversions of Life in the Eternal City by Alan Epstein

Again, Europe is seen through the eyes of an American, so the smallest of details of daily life are recorded and celebrated. Epstein describes the communal lifestyle of Rome (hanging out in the piazzas and raising children as a community) He revels in the elegant and beautiful art of conversation and sense of style that is particular to Romans.

Italian Journey by Jean GionoVenice

Written right after WWII, this is an elegant and elegiac view of northern Italy, and Venice, in particular.

An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser

Suddenly single, the author decides to take a trip to Italy where she begins a romance and a journey through Italy. An unsentimental but sensuous memoir.

The Fall of the Sparrow by Robert Hellenga

This novel merges the midwest and Italy, as a classics professor travels to Italy to attend the trial of terrorists responsible for his daughter’s death. (the author teaches at Knox College in Galesburg).

The Dark Heart of Italy by Tobias Jones

Jones balances his love for Italy with the realities of political corruption, Italy’s obsession with soccer and beauty, and Silvio Berlusconi

Next week: the Armchair Traveler visits New York City.

4 Fun Facts About Leap Year

Leap Year is February 29Of all the months of the year to add a day to, why did they pick February? I would have voted for May or June or maybe September, but February? Someone needs to pay for this….

In the meantime, here are some fun Leap Year Day facts:

1. People who are born on February 29 are sometimes called Leaplings. They celebrate their birthday on either February 28 or March 1 (there’s no hard and fast rule on that) on non-leap day years.

2. An extra day is added every four years to balance the calendar. Contrary to what you learned in school, a year is not 365 days long; it is 365.24219 days long. The Julian calendar (we’re using the Gregorian calendar now) did not adjust for this difference and the calendar got out of sync with the seasons. Now an extra day is added (again, why February?!) every four years except for century years that are not exactly divisible by 400 (got that?)

3. In some cultures Leap Year Day is the day that women may propose marriage to a man, or it is the day that women can ask a man on a date. In America, it is sometimes the occasion to hold a Sadie Hawkins dance, named for a character in the Lil’ Abner comic strip who was looking for a husband.

4. It’s called a “leap year” because the extra day means that a calendar date (such as your birthday) which falls on consecutive days of the weeks during non-leap years, will skip a weekday this year thus “leaping” over a day. For instance, if your birthday fell on a Monday last year, this year it will fall on a Wednesday rather than a Tuesday (clear as mud, right?)

You can find more fun calendar facts like this for every day of the week in Chase’s Calendar of Events. Ask for it at the Reference desk.

Davenport Public Library Podcast #1

The Davenport Public Library is happy to announce the creation of our own weekly-ish podcast. The intent of the program is to focus on the Quad-Cities community and library issues in general.

Some of our podcasts will present the highlights of interviews conducted with local area veterans as part of the World War II/Korean War oral history project conducted . Our very first podcast looks at the experiences of area veteran Robert Rubley as a minesweeper (15:01).

Please subscribe to this free show in the Itunes music store so you’ll get a piping hot MP3 every time a new episode comes out. Or, just stream them off this blog by hitting “Play” below.

Just a Reminder….

Both locations of the Davenport Public Library (Main St and Fairmount) will be closed today, Wednesday February 27 for a Staff In-Service. We’ll be busy honing our skills and learning how to create the best possible library for you. Plus, we get to wear jeans, so we’re pretty excited! We’ll be open again our regular hours on Thursday (9:30am-5:30pm at Fairmount, 12pm-8pm at Main)

Mental Floss Magazine

mental-floss.jpgA fairly recent addition to the Fairmount Library’s magazine collection, Mental Floss is

…an intelligent read, but not too intelligent. We’re the sort of intelligent that you hang out with for a while, enjoy our company, laugh a little, smile a lot and then we part ways. Great times. And you only realize how much you learned from us after a little while…

Recent articles:

  • “3 Extreme Ways to Go Green”
  • “Actually, It IS Rocket Science: NASA’s Brilliant, Far-Out History”
  • “Waropoly: How History’s Most Popular Board Game Helped Defend the Free World”
  • “10 Songs that Changed the World”

Remember, you can check out magazines from the library, including the current issue, for one week.