Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Thursday, March 31, 2011


This week my Library posted its 150th video to the MPL YouTube Channel.  Appropriately, it was an egg candling clip (by Broadway Gal), showing a live chicksoon heartbeat!  Inside the egg!  That's egg-citing by anyone's measure.

Remember to regularly check Broadway Gal's chick blog to see what's happening with the chicksoons in the egg incubator.  Hatching day(s) is (are) fast approaching!

Thanks to our loyal viewership, which is approaching 35,000 (we should reach that by the weekend), we have enjoyed some moderate success promoting our Library and its collections, programs, and services using YouTube (as well as other online social networking media).  We hope you enjoy our videos (book trailers, program trailers, music videos, local history videos, local talent videos--heck, we just have a ton of videos!)

Hey, I just thought of something.  Broadway Gal and Wild Thang handle our live-action movies.  Could you suggest some ideas (in the comments section below, or via email to as to some library-related videos you would like us to produce?  Here's a laundry list:

  • Live-action movies, featuring MPL staff, teen council, volunteers, loiterers, etc., promoting Library-related stuff
  • Book trailers for books in which you're interested
  • Program trailers for library programs in which you're interested
  • Local history videos you'd like to see
  • Other video ideas?
Let us know what you'd like to see on our YouTube Channel.  We will keep posting videos as long as the YouTube folks give us the free online storage space.  It beats real work, for sure.

Where's the Food, If This is a Celebration?  Just Asking,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Library Promotions News Beat

More National Library Week: Presenting Our New Program Trailer!

Continuing our anticipated celebration of National Library Week (April 10-16, 2011), we present our program trailer that forecasts a foreboding future if folks forget (what great alliteration!) how important libraries are to their everyday lives.  Although library services appear to be "free," they must be funded, and in the case of public libraries or academic libraries at public institutions, we taxpayers must pony up the cash.  That's not a popular theme these days, but it is important to remember what happens to governmental services when the money stops.  It is a mistake to take these things for granted.

I hope you enjoy the program trailer.  As always, Scowl-Face stayed up until the wee hours (prime kitty roaming time) to finish it.  Also as always, soundtrack music is courtesy of The Music Man, who we think is a gifted composer.  If you want to know good music, ask a cat.  We know everything.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I've Got a Poster, Too! Wanna See?! Wanna See?!!

by Harley Quinn
MPL "Cub" Reporter

Hey, everybody!  I've got a poster, too!  Cauli told you about her poster, but she didn't say a thing about mine.  That hurts my feelings!  (sniff)

Well, I'm going to tell you right now all about it.  The Lady With the Red Hair read me a book last night, and we took a picture and everything, and then we made it into a poster for National Library Week.  You can see how excited I am to be reading my very own book (Donkey-Donkey, by Roger Duvoisin [Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2007, is a recent edition]).

This was the book I was reading!
(a childhood favorite of The Music Man)

TLWRH reading to my-way

[That's Moi, Harley.  French for me.  Not "my-way" (eye-roll). -- Cauli Le Chat.]

Don't we just look so cute reading there?  You people patrons out there should read to your kitties and slobberdogs and bunnies and guinea pigs and birds and fish and . . . .  We like to read along, too!  The pictures are so colorful, and so much is happening, and the words sound really neat.  We like to turn the pages, too.

If you're not blessed with kitties or slobberdogs (or other critters), you could always read to your little children people, if you have one or more.  They seem to enjoy it, too.

Love This Whole Reading Thing Just to Pieces,
Harley Quinn
MPL "Cub" Reporter
Nose-in-a-Book Club News Beat

P.S.  Here's one of our Library's videos promoting reading.  Put your nose in a book today!

April (Snow) Showers Bring May (Frozen) Flowers

by Jules Le Chat
Special Feline Correspondent
Nature News Beat

I know it isn't April for a couple of days, and flowers have already poked their tops through the spring soil, so they don't have to wait until May.  But the old saw goes, "April showers bring May flowers," and so we're stuck with it.

If this old saying is true, then please explain what I'm seeing outside the Indiana Roving Reporter Room windows.

It Sure Isn't Dandruff
 That, my friends, is snow falling.  It's the end of March, for Pete's sake!  This is NOT what I ordered when I put in my springtime weather request (you have to file in triplicate, by the way, using old-fashioned carbon paper between the pages).  Who do I email to set this nonsense straight?

It's snowing MUCH harder than it looks in these photos

Most of the time, I'm a cheerful, friendly type of feline (unlike Cauli, who, like Scowl-Face, is mostly irritable).  But this weather has me steamed!  Things had better become more spring-like in short order, or else I won't be renewing my subscription to World Weather Almanac.

Hoping the Flowers Will Be Okay Despite the Chill,

Jules Le Chat
MPL Special Correspondent
Nature News Beat

P.S.  This situation calls for "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow," by Frank Zappa (from his 1974 album, ' [i.e., Apostrophe]).  Zappa's music may have been eccentric, but he was a groundbreaking musician by any standard.

National Library Week (April 10-16, 2011): Create Your Own Story @ MPL

National Library Week is April 10-16, 2011.  You should celebrate by reading, and then, to relax, read some more.  You could also read while you're waiting for the week to arrive.

The slogan for this year is "visit your library today and create your own story."  Quoting further from the official American Library Association (ALA) poster:

  • Today’s libraries can help you discover a new and exciting world. Take advantage of the free access to books and computers, homework help, assistance with resumes and job searches, accurate financial information, adult education courses, support for new Americans, CDs, DVDs and much more. Don’t forget, your librarian is information smart and can help you find the right answer @ your library.

I am pleased to be an unofficial spokesperson (ALA doesn't know me from Garfield) promoting this important event at my Library.  Here is my poster, which has been posted (as posters are wont to do) here and there.

I Read; You Read; We All Read for Good Reads
(Sounds better with the "scream for ice cream" phrasing)
Click image to enlarge; feel free to print & distribute to my loyal fans

Visit the American Library Association (ALA) web site to read more about National Library Week.  April is School Library Month, too, so students, visit your school library, as well as your public library.

You may download the official ALA National Library Week poster from here.  Author John Grisham is honorary chair, so he gets his picture on the poster.  Mine is MUCH nicer, because if features moi.  Plus Mr. Grisham has beady eyes (not unusual for lawyers).  So what if he's made a gazillion dollars writing bestsellers?  Okay, that's pretty impressive, I'll admit.  But I'm much cuter, don't you think?  (Exercise caution in answering; I've got sharper claws than Mr. Grisham.)

I'll admit that Mr. Grisham's poster is really nice.  Most importantly, we are all encouraging you folks out there to read! read! read!  Visit your favorite libraries (naming names, I hope ours is at the top of your list) and check out a bunch of books (or DVDs, CDs, playaways, video games, etc.); plus, take advantage of all our other many free resources, programs, and events.  If you can't find it at your library, then you don't really want it.

Not Quite Home, But My Library is Pretty Darn Close to It,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
ALA News Beat

Leppies Were Never This Far Out

Yesterday the Leprechauns packed up and left my Library, opening the door for an entirely new, and much more disquieting, group of "squatters" who have now invaded and settled down around the place.  They appear to be bizarre types of hopper-dudes.  I have never seen the likes of some of them.

One of Our Chicksoons Has Escaped the Incubator!
HELP, Broadway Gal!!

By far the most frightening is the giant winged tiny tot that surely must have escaped from the egg incubator in Broadway Gal's part of the Library.  It is huge and fluffy and yellow and much too big for me to put in a headlock.  Call me a wuss-kitty, but I'm hiding beneath this plant until it leaves the building.

A Safe Hiding Place (I Hope!)

These hopper-dudes look nothing like Morgan the MCPL Library Bunny, whom you all have met before.  Morgan is big, but she looks like a bunny should.  (Sorry, Morgan, if I called you a "he" before. Frankly, it's hard for me to tell.  People do the same thing with me.)  These hop-along critters that appeared atop bookshelves, in chairs, and against counters and walls at my Library are definitely abnormal.  I ask you, from whose nightmares did these ghastly beasties spring?

Mean-Looking Hopper Dude
(I'd Be Mean, Too, If My Head Were So Lopsided)

Glad to See People Dress Up Other Animals
in Ridiculous Clothing

I Bet This Guy Hears Everything
Going on at the Library
(Gets Good TV Reception, However)

Check out who (or what) replaced Leppy in the chair by the main entrance.  That's a people-sized . . . ???

Looking Pretty Relaxed (Like Leppy),
if You Catch My Drift (Again)

What are these hopper-dudes up to?  Why have they invaded my turf?  What is with their weird outfits?  A roving reporter wants answers!

Standing by the Item Return Slots at Circulation;
I Won't Be Returning Any Books or Videos
Anytime Soon, You Betcha

Even our own "dead poets' society" has been afflicted with this sudden absence of fashion sense.

Willie and Hank, Those Are Fashion Faux Pas

Until these hopper-dudes make for the sunset or the hills, whichever are closer, I'll be hanging out in the MPL Children's Outdoor Garden, about which I've previously blogged on several occasions.

At Least Morgan is a Friendly Hopper-Dude,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Leporid News Beat

P.S.  Allow me to reprise one of our hopper-dude book trailers from one of Scowl-Face's favorite books.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Everyone's a Butler Bull-(Slobber)-Dogs Fan Now!

Now that Butler University's men's basketball team has accomplished what no other Hoosier college in NCAA Division I competition has done--earn back-to-back berths to the NCAA tournament final four--pretty much everybody who is anyone (and is interested in college basketball) has become a Butler Bulldogs backer.  Bandwagon-jumping supporters of this Cinderella team are happy just to have standing room only on the championship train.  Loyal fans have known all along that Butler is just that good, and so this late-season success is no more surprising than last year's championship game, which, by the way, Butler should have won against Duke, if there were any justice in the world.

We at Mooresville Public Library wish to express our support for this grand group of basketball whiz-kids (and coaches).  We have some ties to the institution, you know.

Butler Bull-(Slobber)-Dogs Faux Mascot
(With Cheer Sign)
Proudly Showing Our Support at the
MPL Information Desk in Adult Services

First, let's get square on the team mascot.  All canines are slobberdogs; no offense (or defense) intended, but, hey, that's what they do.  Ergo, the Butler team nickname (and mascot) must be Bull-(Slobber)-Dogs.  Bull-(Slobber)-Dogs are tenacious to the max, and that's why Butler chose this breed for its teams.  Mental and physical toughness are the school's bywords, so the fit is to a proverbial T.

Next, our alleged connections to this fine academic institution of higher learning.  Some of us (i.e., Scowl-Face), the big dope, passed up a full academic scholarship to attend a big state school to the south, which will remain nameless (the school, not the south--modifier phrase placement is a tough nut in English grammar).  Others of us are related (by blood and/or marriage) to Butler graduates.  Most of us have walked upon its ancient, learned grounds.  Many have enjoyed concerts in acoustically-fine Clowes Memorial Hall.  Some have repeatedly interviewed for jobs at the school (e.g., Scowl-Face).  A few more were given parking tickets there.  The connections, as you can readily see, are deep and heartfelt.

So we extend our bestest and wellest (surely not proper words, but, hey, why not?) wishes to Butler's brave boys of the hardwood.  Win the national championship.  No team in America deserves it more.  You can take that to the bank.

No Stranger to Posting Up and the Hook Shot Myself,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Former Forward (Starting, of course), Nine Lives Corporation AFAU (Amateur Feline Athletics Union) Basketball Team (2006-2009)

(You can look it up.)

P.S.  Watch our book trailer for Go, Dog. Go! and revel in the title cheer!  Onward and upward, Butler, to victory!

Calling a Time Out! Huddle Up!

Some of my Library colleagues have been forgetting to clock-in and clock-out using our relatively new computer timekeeping software.  It's run on a PC in Office Boss's office (say that really fast a few times--it's fun!)

Time Clock Computer

Payor Pal tells me that it is simple to use, provided you don't play too rough with the mouse (I like to chase it and pounce on it!).  The screen seems simple enough.

What Could Be Easier Than This?

The problem, my sources tell moi, is that staffers sometimes forget to clock-in and/or clock-out.  Payor Pal even put out this cute inflatable reminder in front of Office Boss's office door (still hard to say fast several times).

Payor Pal's Inflatable Reminder to Clock-In/Out

It's a microphone and a feather boa.  Don't ask.  (Watch this if you really want to know.)

Looks like my colleagues need somewhat stronger reminders to do the inning and outing business.  It seems pretty straightforward to me.  Felines always want out when they're inside, or vice versa.  We are said to be "always on the wrong side of a door," according to Gramps G-Man.  So I'm down with the ins and outs of clocking.  But what about my human buddies?  How may I help them remember?

We have lots of timely reminders scattered around the building.

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?  (Ask Chicago)

What if we made hats out of those two round clocks?  How about necklaces?  Wait, that probably wouldn't work.  People already wear clocks on their wrists, and that doesn't remind them about the computer clocking.  So what would be an effective reminder?

The Lady With the Red Hair, who majored in sociology in college, tells me that a system of behavioral reinforcement based upon rewards or punishments is an effective way to train a person's memory.  Rewards work best when the subject can anticipate receiving an immediate gratification following a desired behavioral performance.  How could we put this sort of thing into practice?  I've got it!
Reward for Desired Behavior (Clocking on PC)

Placement of Reward in Proximity to
Performance Location

What better incentive could anyone ask for?  Problem solved!  Those cans of tuna-in-oil, by the way, are my consulting fee.

Glad to Help My Library Colleagues,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov Journalist of the Moment

P.S.  Here is some timely music that I hope you'll enjoy.  Our book trailer for The 13 Clocks, by James Thurber, features as its soundtrack "Melted Clocks" by Danny Buckley (from the CD The Persistence of Memory [2011]).

In this 1969 video, Chicago (the band, not the city) performed "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is," from their debut album, Chicago Transit Authority (1968).  (Thanks to the Lady With the Red Hair for this timely suggestion.)

Anybody who listened to alternative rock radio (or, really, any rock radio) during the past decade must have heard "Clocks," by Coldplay, from the CD A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002).

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Really Big Five-Oh-Oh-Oh!

Thanks to my loyal readers, my blog should reach 5,000 viewings sometime during the next day or so.  That means a great deal to moi, believe you me.  I hope my readers have been enjoying what I have to say about whatever I'm talking about (even I don't know, sometimes).  Our primary objective is to have fun, but we're also looking to keep you informed about Mooresville Public Library, inter alia.  (Now I'm mixing Latin with the occasional French.  Romantic languages--those derived from the Romans, i.e., Latin--are all similar.  These include French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, and a bunch more derivatives.  See here, now.)

Anyway, thanks for following my blog.  I'll try to keep my feline ramblings interesting.  If you sense any staleness, let me know in the comments section.  Also, you could read Scowl-Face's blogs (here or here) to get a comparative sense of actual, bone-crushing boredom.  Makes mine look really top-drawer, I'd say.

Appreciative and Grateful to My Loyal Readers,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Countdown to Glory News Beat

P.S.  Speaking of countdowns, here's a television video of Len Barry singing (well, lip-synching) "1-2-3" (1966).

There are a couple of other great count-in songs.  Perhaps the most famous is George Harrison's "Taxman," released on the Beatles album, Revolver (1966).  This is an especially timely song, as it is at the end of March and beginning of April each year in America, because federal and state personal income tax returns are due April 15.

Counting in on "You Told Me," the first track of Headquarters (1967), are the Monkees, who are actually playing their own instruments (along with some studio musicians and producer Chip Douglas on bass) on this Mike Nesmith tune.  Especially impressive is Peter Tork on banjo.  This was the band's first fully self-produced album and was their best team effort overall.  The album, like each of the Monkees' first four LPs, reached number one on Billboard's top 100 album charts.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tober, Morgan, & Je Take On DST

"Farmer, farmer, put away the DDT now," sang Joni Mitchell in "Big Yellow Taxi" (1970).  Substitute DST for the toxic pesticide, and you have today's topic:  daylight savings time.

Tober, the Thorntown (Indiana) Public Library Cat, and Morgan the Library Bunny (at Morgan County [Indiana] Public Library) have each tackled DST on their blogs (Tober) and Facebook (Morgan).  They are must reads, so get cracking:

From what I gathered reading Morgan's FB responses, folks around these parts were overwhelmingly displeased with DST.  Maybe it stays light later, but at this time of year it stays dark longer in the mornings.  So it seems as if the darkness is just getting shifted around, but the length of daylight and darklight (wait, that's not quite right) are the same, no matter what arbitrary time codes one assigns to a 24-hour period.

I realize that the basic objective is to shift time forward so there is more daylight in the summer evenings, during which people are supposed to leave their homes and spend more money out there in commercialism-land, but it hasn't trickled down to the folks I hang with at my Library.  Some of them lived in Montana (some were born there, but they don't remember, to misquote "Never Been to Spain," written by Hoyt Axton and recorded by Three Dog Night on the LP Harmony [1971]), and it stayed light there until after 10 p.m. on summer nights, and they didn't spend any more money because of it.  "You can't spend what you ain't got," sang the Lady With the Red Hair in a honky-tonk during her high plains drifter days.

Tober had the right idea about DST:  Get a jar, let the sunshine in, screw on the top, and there you have it:  saved daylight.  (Wasn't "Let the Sunshine In" a song from the musical Hair [debuted in October, 1967] and covered by the Fifth Dimension in 1969?)

All I know for sure about DST is that I lost an hour's sleep when we "sprang forward" a short while ago (Days? Weeks? Where does the time go?), and I won't regain it until we "fall back" in November (or thereabouts).  Seems like a lot of trouble just to adjust my sleeping times.

DST Tires Me Out, So It's Naptime For Sure,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Timing is Everything Joke News Beat

P.S.  Lots of time-related music to honor in today's postscript, so let's get right to it.

The Byrds (Live at the Fillmore, 1969) sang Chris Hillman's magnificent "Time Between," which appeared on the group's Younger Than Yesterday album (1967).  For an instrumental version, here's a twofer video below (the instrumental is the second offering, so you'll first have to listen to the original 45 r.p.m. mono single of "Eight Miles High" (1966), which isn't bad, all things considered, and is, of course, a fabulous song).  "Eight Miles High" is not a drug song; it's a chronicle of the band's first tour of England in late 1965.  The title refers to the plane's cruising altitude.  Actually, it was originally entitled "Six Miles High," which was the true height at which the plane was cruising across the Atlantic, but Gene Clark suggested changing it to eight because it sounded better and also was similar to a then-recently released Beatles tune, "Eight Days a Week."  Ironically, Gene left the band before the British trip because he had a pathological fear of flying; he boarded the plane and then disembarked, effectively exiting the Byrds as well (although he continued to jam with them in the recording studio).  David Crosby even sang a lyric about the experience in his song, "Psychodrama City" (1966).

Here's a live television performance of "Time Has Come Today," by The Chambers Brothers (1968).  The full-length recording is embedded below.  This is one of my all-time favorite songs from those bygone days.

It's Spring . . . Or Not

March 20, 2011, at 7:21 P.M. (E.D.T), according to the almanac.  (I don't know which almanac; what am I, the Shell Answer Man?  If you get that joke, you're way too old.)  The almanac says it was here on that date and time.  To the minute.  It's printed on paper, for crying out loud!  How much more set in stone could it be?  Well, that's a mixed metaphor, but it is also beside the point.

The vernal equinox.  Here, I'm better explaining with pictures.

Get the Picture?

It has officially been Spring for nearly a week.  So why, may I ask, have the temperatures plummeted to well below freezing, and snow is falling (as I write, but probably not as you read) in the southern Hoosier latitudes?  What is the deal here?  At the beginning of this week, we had 70-degree weather. Now we don't even top 40 degrees.  (Fahrenheit, not Celsius, which we Yanks still call Centigrade.  They [Celsius and Centigrade] are almost, but not quite, the same thing.  See here.  We Americans try never to keep up with the rest of the world.)  To put it as precisely as possible, this bites.  Big time.  In fact, it frostbites.

You may not notice the bone-aching chilliness in the air, but we roving reporters, who must spend most of our time outdoors to track down those exciting stories you're expecting with your poached egg and burnt toast, are cold to the core.  Which begs the question:  why "poached" eggs?  Did somebody steal them before they were cooked?  Isn't that what poachers do?  You don't think anybody poached the eggs in our Library's incubator, do you?  No, it couldn't be; since the Knight in Shining Armor took up residence by the MPL Youth Services Information Desk, you can't get within a hundred feet of that thing.  Anyway, the chicksoons are growing already in those eggs, and people don't eat eggs after that starts happening.  (Neither do I, by the way.  I'm a canned-tuna-in-oil type of feline gal.)

So, in short, it's below-freezing cold out here, and there are no warm fires burning anywhere close to moi that could provide live-preserving warmth and comfort.  Of course, there are fires burning at some homes around town.  Not to name any names, but you know who you are.  How many invites do you think came my way?  If you said the proverbial goose-egg, then you're right on the mark.  Even those faux fireplaces at my Library, which, you may recall, I mentioned in previous blogs, would be preferable to this Ides Icicles of March nonsense.

That one fireplace, which sits at the north end of my Library's grand hall (or chamber or piano or something grand), between the MPL Giving Tree and MPL Directors' Mug Shots, actually produces real, warm, cozy heat.  So why am I not lying directly in front of this catnapper's paradise?  Two words: no fob.  Why not?  Two more words:  Boss Lady.

Library staff ordinarily have key fobs by which to gain ingress at the staff door.  Fobs looks something like this:
  Typical Key Fob Like Many of Our Library Staff Carry

These fobs emit some sort of supersonic, high-frequency, you-can't-hear-it-but-I-can electronic signal that triggers the staff door's locking mechanism, so that the door magically unlocks and allows staff to enter.  Staff, that is, except moi.  I have no fob, because Boss Lady won't give me one.  Why?  This will knock your socks off; it's because I don't have trouser pockets or purses (or, like Scowl-Face, fanny packs), in which to carry one around.  Hey, wait a tick--remember this photo of moi?

Tell Me Honestly--Is That Not a Fanny Pack, or What?

Clearly, I have a fanny pack.  If having someplace to stash one's key fob is a prerequisite for issuance of same, then I obviously qualify.  The logic is irrefutable.

So, Boss Lady, the only choice left to be made is the fob color.  Grey is okay, but I prefer jet black, for obvious reasons.  Just leave mine in Scowl-Face's mailbox.  Then I can come into the Library after hours and sit before the roaring fire (well, the fire's fake, but the heat is quite real and soooo relaxing).  Of course, one of my colleagues will need to be present to serve me warm beverages (like moo-juice warmed in a saucer near the fire) and some of those delightful sandwiches you eat with your paws.  Volunteers?  I'm thinking Queen Settler.  She makes really tasty sandwiches.

No Mustard, By the Way,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
After-Hours Roaming News Beat

P.S.  Enjoy "Fire!" by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown (1967), as shown on the British television program Top of the Pops (1968).   Some reviewers called this "Black Metal" before there was "Heavy Metal," but at the time of release, it was categorized as psychedelic rock.  Labels are not terribly important; whether or not it sounds cool is the thing.  You be the judge.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thinking Inside the Box

I found this sitting underneath the new large print shelves at my Library.

Old Fashioned Suggestion Box

With the ubiquitousness of email and instant messaging, an old fashioned, paper-repositing, wooden suggestion box is something of an anachronism in modern, high-tech libraries.  But there are loads of patrons out there who hate electronic communication and prefer the reliable pencil-and-paper method of exchanging ideas.  Unlike computer networks, paper doesn't "crash," and the only impediment likely to prevent a message being written is a broken pencil lead (which, needless to say, is actually graphite mixed with a clay binder).

Are you curious about what might be inside this relic of expressionism (to mis-coin a phrase)?  So was I.

Patron Suggestion for New DVD Acquisitions

Apparently, a patron has suggested that the Library purchase additional sets of the classic television comedy program, Mystery Science Theater 3000.  The official MST3K website provides ample information about the show for those unfortunates who never saw it during its 1988-2002 run (counting reruns) on the airwaves, including cable giants Comedy Central and the (formerly known as) Sci-Fi Channel.  Here's the low-down:  the show riffs really bad movies--the worst you can find, as the theme song says.  A fellow marooned in space with two robot pals is forced to watch these horrible movies as part of an experiment by mad scientists seeking to rule the world.  (So much for the back-story.)  It is all just an excuse for some good-natured ribbing of some horrendously awful motion pictures.  The typical two-hour show averaged over 700 jokes, so there are laughs aplenty.

Incredibly, our Library has a book trailer about the MST3K Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, which we don't actually have in our collection anymore (a donated copy disappeared).  It will give you some idea, too, what the whole business is about.

Our Library already has several donated VHS episodes of the series and one--count 'em--one set of 4 DVDs (including four episodes).  Clearly, we need more.  If you agree, email Boss Lady at and let her know that you'd like more Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Only don't tell her I suggested it.  More hot water, I don't need!

Thinking Crow T. Robot & Tom Servo Are Truly Cool,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
TV Classics News Beat

P.S.  We invite you to watch a snippet of MST3K.  This segment riffs the short, Why Study Industrial Arts? (approximately 10 minutes).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's Inside That Easter Egg? Can I Look-See? Can I? Huh! Can I?

by Harley Quinn, MPL "Cub" Reporter

It's my first big assignment!  My first solo story, my first byline. . . .  This is soooo egg-citing!  I'm supposed to investigate the mysterious Easter eggs that were left in the staff mailboxes at my Library.  Here's the one found in Scowl-Face's mailbox:

Curious Hard-Shelled Easter Egg
Lurking in Scowl-Face's Mailbox

This egg has a strangely rigid, hard shell that feels slippery on the surface--not wet but difficult to hold in your paws.  When you push it over, it rolls a few times, and you can (gasp!) hear something rolling around inside the shell!  It's simultaneously puzzling and enticing.  What could it be in there?  What could it be?!

Can I break open the egg, Cauli?  Can I?  Huh?  Just a quick look-see.  Please, please, please, please, can I please?  Pretty please?

(Calm yourself, Harley.  This is why she's still a "cub" reporter.  -- Cauli Le Chat.)

Okay, I just can't stand it another minute!  That egg must be broken now!

What's All This Then?
Where's the Fluffy Winged Dinner?

This is certainly not what I eggs-pected.  There appear to be about a half dozen hard-shelled sweet chocolate hideaways (most likely they are people snacks), along with a sweet-smelling and -tasting chewy red dude--probably also a people snack.  I'll ask the Lady With the Red Hair to subject them to various chemical and physical tests.  She's an authority on chocolate.

Test results are in!  After performing a mastication test, the Lady With the Red Hair has scientifically determined that
  • The chocolate hard-shells are chewable and tasty;
  • The sweet red dude is like a gummy bear and laced with sugar;
  • Red dude is also chewable and tasty.
There you have it!  Sweet red dude is delicious!  Little round hard-shell chocolate hideaways are likewise delicious.  Quite a pleasant culinary surprise in this green Easter egg.

There was no indication who left the Easter eggs behind in the Library staff mailboxes.  I can only surmise that it must have been the Easter bunny.  The evidence is compelling:  Unnaturally hard, slick eggshells . . . chocolate hideaway chewables . . . sweet little red dudes.  The deduction is obvious.

I am eagerly awaiting reports from my Library colleagues to determine the contents of their eggs.  Until then, I remain,

Harley Quinn,
MPL "Cub" Reporter
Chocolate Bunny News Beat

P.S.  Enjoy this cute video called "Easter Bunnies," which shows the top five bunny stories, according to the person who posted the video.  Sorry about the advertisement at the beginning!  There's just no escaping commercialism.

Boss Lady Equips Her Ace Reporter

Boy, am I one lucky feline!  Boss Lady, who runs my Library, makes sure that her staff has the vital equipment needed to perform outstanding work.  Being an ace reporter, there are certain accoutrements necessary for getting the facts straight and the story organized.  First and foremost, a reporter must have a truly chic, yet fully functional, notebook.  Boss Lady, who understands the value of preparation and foresightedness, was once again ahead of the curve and purchased just the ticket.

"Scratch Pad"
Every Feline Roving Reporter Should Have One

Ready to Report!
"Just the Facts, Ma'am"

I bet no other feline roving reporter is this well-equipped to deliver the latest, breakingest news as it happens, right here and nower than now.  (Whoever's in charge of American English dictionaries should add those two not-words-but-oughtta-be in that last sentence.)

All set to get those news scoops, Boss Lady.  Thanks!  I'll make you so proud.

Look Out, Stories, Here I Come!

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Best Equipped on the News Beat

P.S.  In the old days, before the Internet, a reporter sometimes had to transmit his or her story to an editor via telegram to meet a deadline.  Here, then, is the definitive pop song about telegraphic messaging:  "Western Union" (1967), by the Five Americans (performed live on the Steve Allen Show).  For the uninitiated, the "da-ta-da-ta-da" choruses are intended to mimic the Morse Code sounds made by operating the telegraph key set.

Cat Books Aplenty!

One of my duties at my Library is to catalog new acquisitions.  Unlike my people colleagues, this does not mean that I type a bunch of mumbo-jumbo into MARC (MAchine Readable Catalog or Cataloging) Records so that patrons and reference librarians can find where stuff is shelved.  My type of cataloging involves finding feline books and doing the "readers' advisory" thing by writing about them.  Which brings us here.

(As an aside, let me just say that I have the utmost respect for cataloging librarians.  Theirs is the most difficult and essential responsibility in all of librarydom [not a word, but oughtta be].  Catalogers are the S.W.A.T. teams or special forces of librarianship.  Only the best and brightest need apply, and, at the risk of affronting my reference-oriented colleagues, catalogers give me more frequent snacks.  Okay, Lady With the Red Hair, where's that "Mr. Jackson" you promised me if I sang catalogers' praises?)

For the record, I have the greatest respect for reference librarians, too (except, of course, for Scowl-Face).  They are the "masters of the know," and if you don't think so, just try finding any information through any medium.  I guarantee that reference librarians can find more and better information faster, everytime.  (Go ahead and put down a "Mr. Hamilton" to bet on it.  You'll lose, unless you're a reference librarian yourself.)

Back to the readers' advisory thing.  Our Library has some jim-dandy books about cats in our EASY reading collection (targeted to patrons just beginning to read, or for children to whom caregivers are reading), or our R2R (Ready-to-Read, Level 2) collection, for readers who have started reading but have not yet moved up to chapter books.

Titanicat, by Marty Crisp
Illustrated by Robert Papp
(Sleeping Bear Press, 2008)

This beautifully written and illustrated book tells the tale of Jim, a lad whose job aboard the S.S. Titanic was to care for the ship's cat and her newborn kittens.  What happened to them makes moving reading.  Since everybody knows the Titanic sank after striking an iceberg shortly before midnight on April 14, 1912 (it sank early next morning), one would assume that the story's outcome could be predicted, but cats are full of surprises.  Although fictional, the story is based on statements from Titanic survivors.

Cat Dreams, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Illustrated by S.D. Schindler
(Orchard Books, 2009)

Sure, kitties dream.  All intelligent life forms dream.  In fact, I am prepared to go so far as to say that all life forms dream, and that existence itself is the grandest dream of all.  (Okay, enough metaphysics.)  Have you ever wondered what cats dream about?  Science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin offers her imaginative insights in this book, along with vivid illustrations by S.D. Schindler. 

The Pig is in the Pantry; The Cat is on the Shelf
by Shirley Mozelle (illustrated by Jennifer Plecas)
(Clarion Books, 2000)

Mr. McDuffel forgot to lock the door when he left, which is like putting a huge, neon-flashing welcome sign for eight barnyard animals who sneak into the farmhouse and raise the roof with their hilarious antics.  The watercolor illustrations are whimsical, which fits the alliterative text and silliness of the situation.  Young readers will enjoy counting animals and telling time as they see what mischief the critters get into. It is an excellent read-aloud book.

Mr. Pusskins and Little Whiskers: Another Love Story
by Sam Lloyd
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007)

When a kitten is introduced into the household, any older feline will tell you how irritating the youngster becomes.  Just ask my pals, Biscuit, and his protégé, Junior (of Junior's Farm), or Gracie ("Baby"), all of whom had to endure Harley, a kitten who is my "cub" reporter.  In the story, Emily introduces  a kitten, Little Whiskers, to Mr. Pusskins, an older cat.  Mr. Pusskins is the likeness of Scowl-Face in Mr. Lloyd's delightfully descriptive illustrations.  Little Whiskers is just too cute for words. It is a bumpy road for the purr-fectly mismatched duo, but sweetness triumphs over surliness.  Lesson to learn there, Scowl-Face.

Bad Kitty, by Nick Bruel
(Roaring Brook Press, 2005)
MPL Call No. R2R BRU

This title seems unduly harsh.  Are cats ever truly bad?  It's mostly people who misunderstand or misinterpret our behavior--in short, they overlay badness onto us through their perceptions.   Worse, people frequently do things that are just plain infuriating to us felines. Since we don't speak people languages (although we clearly understand them well enough), we must exhibit our displeasure through behaviors that people label as "bad."  Author/artist Nick Bruel describes this process in colorful progressions of pictures and definitional words, which will build young readers' vocabularies (in English, anyway) while teaching the moral that one should atone for bad behavior by being good.

Some Titles in the Rotten Ralph Series
by Jack Gantos (illustrated by Nicole Rubel)
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2009)

Ralph is a "rotten" cat because he behaves however he likes, regardless of consequences.  When people do that, it's self-indulgent; with felines, it's creative free expressionism.  Nonetheless, Ralph learns that all actions have consequences, some of which can be unpleasant.  The colorful drawings are fun, and the stories will engage young readers while imparting some useful life (or nine lives) lessons.

Cat in the Hat Songbook, by Dr. Seuss
(Piano score and guitar chords by Eugene Poddany)
(Random House, 1967)

You can't talk about kitty books without mentioning The Cat in the Hat series by Dr. Seuss.  The songbook is loaded with fun tunes packed with Seuss silliness that kids and adults will enjoy singing.  These are great for small groups, especially if somebody can play guitar or piano (like The Music Man, who writes musical compositions for our Library).
The Summer Cat, by Howard Knotts
 (Harper & Row, 1981)

This book describes my personal story, although it was written 30 years ago.  Nobody knew where Apple Blossom came from in the evenings, or disappeared to during the days, but this calico cat was much beloved.  Mr. Knotts' black-and-white illustrations may seem quaint to modern readers, but they pictorially describe what's happening along with the text, which young readers should find challenging and engaging.  Loving has its limits when what you love belongs to someone else.  But love is good.  Can't argue about that.

If you have young readers (or read to them), check these books out at my Library.  You can view our online catalog on our website (click "catalog" on the menu along the left side of our home page).

Reading Makes Me Hungry, But, Then, What Doesn't?,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Good Books for Younger Readers News Beat

P.S.  Enjoy Nashville Cats, by the Lovin' Spoonful (1966).