Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Features is a Treasure Trove

My Library has a treasure trove of local, county, and state historical (plus genealogical) resources available for patrons' perusal.  Naturally, we have a video playlist for that.  If you'd like to browse individual videos in this playlist, click in the usual spot.  If you're made of sterner stuff and want to watch the whole enchilada, that play button below is waiting.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

National Pawshake Day, It Should Be Called

Today (June 28) is National Handshake Day.  First of all, the name is all wrong.  It should be National Pawshake Day.  So let's get that sorted out right now.  Second, felines do NOT -- it bears repeating -- NOT -- shake paws.  That's a slobberdog trick to amuse humans.  We cats have much more dignity.

 Definitely a People Thing
 Okay, Where's My Treat?  I Get a Treat For Doing This, Right?

So NOT Going to Happen, Fella

We kitties greet others when we feel like it.  It's not an on-command thing.  And we don't greet with paws.  We touch noses or rub ankles with our bodies or give head-butts.  Greeting is on our terms, people--take it or leave it.

This holiday is celebrated, according to the online sources I examined, to encourage people to be friendlier and to recognize handshaking as a universal human greeting.  I think that last part is pretty much a done deal.  The handshake is as much a part of greeting (at least in western culture) as "hello."  Well, I guess folks shake hands to seal a deal.  It is a gesture of agreement.  But it is often a gesture of greeting.

For moi, I don't like having my paws touched by anybody.  Steer clear, or you'll discover that my claws protract as well as retract.

Better Wash Your Hands After Shaking a Slobberdog Paw -- Just Saying,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Holiday News Beat

P.S.  The Secret Handshake (Luis Dubuc, who plays all the instruments and sings) is described as an "electronica/soul project."  More musicians were used during some live performances.  TSH self-released Dubuc's first full-length album in 2004 and, according to Dubuc's Twitter post (Sept. 21, 2011), TSH was "pretty much over" by 2011.  "TGIF" is from the album My Name Up in Lights (2009).

P.P.S.  Woody Guthrie was amused by a youngster's practice of shaking everybody's hand by way of introduction, so he wrote "Howdjadoo" to commemorate the experience.  [The song is included in the four CD set, The Asch Recordings, Vol. 1-4 (1999)].  Guthrie's legendary folk music was filled with social commentary and political insight, but he often just composed and performed cute little songs like this.  When he first heard the tune, Scowl-Face thought it was a commentary about politicians.  Ol' Scowlly over-thinks everything.  The song may have been written for one of Guthrie's children, but its origins remain unclear, according to the liner notes to The Asch Recordings four CD set.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jet Lag For a Toucan Must Be a Real Drag

Sammy the Toucan posted another video (first night there) on Broadway Gal's ALA blog. Sorry I can't embed the video here, but you may watch it by clicking you-know-where.

Sammy said that jet lag was setting in.  Jet lag for a toucan must be a real downer.  True statement, as Sammy would say.

Broadway Gal said the hotel where they're staying has awful, snail's pace Internet access, so she's going to post pictures and videos later.  Works for moi.

No sign of Flat Seven in the video.  If I know Flat Seven, she was either snoozing on the balcony, or she was raiding the mini-bar.  That would explain why she hasn't filed any roving reporter stories yet.

Hope to See Everybody Home Soon,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
ALA BigBash News Beat

P.S.  Speaking of hotels, here's "Holiday Inn," by Elton John, from the LP Madman Across the Water (1971).

My Recommendation For Official Hometown Tune

Remember, back in March, when temperatures were in the mid- to upper-80° F. range, I said it was hot enough for Old Settlers? Well, Old Settlers is only a little over a month away (August 5-6-7, 2012), and right now we're slated for triple-digit F. temperatures for the end of the week. So, now it's truly hot enough for Old Settlers.

What is this Old Settlers about which I type? If you're new around these parts, you might well ask. Like everything else, we have a video for that.

History of Old Settlers Picnic, Parade & Festival
Held Annually Each August in Mooresville, Indiana

Did you know the Town of Mooresville, Indiana (and the Old Settlers festival itself) has an unofficial theme song?  You do now.

Want to hear the song (and read some of the lyrics) in a promo trailer?  If you've seen and heard it before, give it another play.  Maybe you've forgotten, and it will seem like new again.  Works for Scowl-Face.  He can't remember anything.

Family History Month (October) promo trailer
featuring "Old Settlers" as soundtrack
(with more lyrics than the video below)

Promo Trailer for "Old Settlers,"
a folk song written by MPL staff & volunteers

We think that the Mooresville Town Council should formally adopt "Old Settlers" as the official theme song of our community.  Just saying.

Actually, Mooresville has another unofficial theme song, written by the Rev. Dr. Frank C. Huston in 1935, called, simply, "Mooresville."  If the Town Council doesn't like "Old Settlers," they should choose Rev. Huston's song as the official town tune.

Anyway, my hometown deserves its own theme song.  Hey, even I have one!  It just goes to show.

Visit the Library's Booth at Old Settlers,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Old Settlers News Beat

P.S.  No musical closer today.  Who could top "Old Settlers"?  Just saying.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dream Weaving in July

made this handy, dandy Independence Day basket

The Lady With the Red Hair is offering another introductory basketweaving workshop at MPL on Saturday, July 14, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Cost is $5 per person for supplies.

Want to see what type of basket you could be making at the upcoming workshop?  Sure you do.

Make this crafty candy basket!
Amaze family & friends with your talents!

Click here to register for the workshop.  You'll have fun and take home an attractive, functional candy basket.  What's not to like?

I'd Keep Kitty Snacks in Mine,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Crafts News Beat

P.S.  We can't use Green Day's "Basket Case" as a musical closer, because it has "naughty" lyrics.  I read the lyrics to "The Basket," by the Guillemots, and they look sufficiently "clean."  The song appeared on the CD Walk the River (2011).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sammy the Toucan's Video Post @ ALA

Sammy the Toucan has posted a video report from the 2012 American Library Association (ALA) national bigbash.  You won't want to miss it!  Click here to visit Broadway Gal's blog to watch.  (Sorry I'm unable to embed the video viewer here, but it's uploaded directly to Broadway Gal's blog.)

Might Gear Back the Caffeine & Sugar, Sammy -- Just Saying,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
ALA Conference News Beat

P.S.  Parrots remind moi of "parrotheads," which reminds moi of Jimmy Buffett.  Here's my favorite Buffett tune, "Come Monday," which first appeared on the LP Living and Dying in 3/4 Time (1974).

Where the New Blogs Will Be

All of the Library's blogs will be moving to our new website, which should be launched sometime next month, if all goes according to Hoyle.  At least, that's the plan.  That means our blogs hosted by Blogger (mine included) will be discontinued.  That makes moi sad, but change happens, so we have to go along with it.

Once our new website is launched, you may access the Library's blogs by visiting the blogs web page.  Just click COMMUNITY on the menu bar and select BLOGS.

The new website URL is the same as our old one:  That makes it easier to find.

All of my 700-plus blog postings here will remain active, so folks may peruse them at their leisure.  Just browse the blog archive listing along the right-paw side, or use the handy blog search tool in the upper left-paw corner.  I will continue posting to this blog site until the Library's new website is officially launched.  So things won't change for awhile yet.

Glad You're Reading My Blogs,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Library Blogs News Beat

P.S.  Tbe Byrds performed a cover of "The Times They Are a-Changin'," by Bob Dylan, on the television program Hullabaloo (broadcast October 4, 1965).  The song was included on the group's LP Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Resourceful Sailing Slobberdog

Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952) wrote some of my favorite children's books.  Who doesn't love Goodnight Moon?  Or The Runaway Bunny? Or Little Donkey, Close Your Eyes?  Or Nibble Nibble?  I could keep this up all night.

Margaret Wise Brown

Golden Books posthumously published The Sailor Dog (also known as Scuppers the Sailor Dog) (1953) (illustrated by Garth Williams), which was reissued in 2001 minus four pages of illustrations and text.  What did the publisher omit from the original 1953 edition?  That always makes moi suspicious.  (I'm reminded of the late Ray Bradbury's experience with his publisher's censorship of later editions of Fahrenheit 451, ironically a book about censorship.)  On the technological plus side, an interactive CD-ROM edition was released in 1996, so that was pretty forward-thinking of Random House. book reviewer Christine Whittington reported the content from the 2001 excised quartet from the 1953 original:  "The thing to watch out for in this new edition is that four pages of illustration and some text from the original edition are left out--the airplane scene, fishing scene, and the little house at night with smoke coming out of the chimney."  She recommends keeping an old copy, if you have one from your childhood--you of the 1950s generation--but she encourages readers to buy a new copy for today's youngsters "to chew on."  (I'm guessing she doesn't mean that literally, unless those young readers are slobberdogs or felines.)

What's the book about?  Our book trailer gives a hint.

This Scuppers fellow is quite the resourceful slobberdog.  Plus he's a fine sailor.  I especially like the yellow raincoat.  That hat is just too cute! Like all of Brown's children's books, the rhythms are captivating, and the wordplay will hold youngsters' rapt attention.  The illustrations by Garth Williams (1912-1996) are sweet and endearing, as always.  The story has adventure, excitement, inventiveness, perseverance, and exotic destinations.  It's Treasure Island for slobberdogs.  (Okay, maybe not. There are no pirates, after all.)  How about Robinson Crusoe for slobberdogs?  A better analogy, to be sure.

Garth Williams, Illustrator of Many Classic Children's Books

If you're an early reader right now (say, preschool or early elementary ages), then your grandparents (possibly great-grandparents) thrilled at Margaret Wise Brown's many outstanding children's stories.  This was one of them, and you don't want to miss out.  Try to find a 1953 edition, if you can.  I'd love to see those missing four pages.  For Evergreen Indiana library cardholders, try here and here.

I'd Look Spiffy in a Yellow Raincoat -- Just Saying,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Readers' Advisory News Beat

P.S.  Want to see a video adaptation of The Sailor Dog?  I'd rather read the book, but some folks enjoy videos, too.  There's a place for all media in early literacy.

That's One Mighty Impressive SpokesShrimp

Broadway Gal's latest report is posted to her ALA blog.  She spent a lot of time talking librarian about outcomes and statistics and measurement and stuff over which we felines, frankly, are not enthralled.  Then she posted some photos that really caught my attention.

Flat Seven & Sammy clean their plate
at P. F. Changs

Who needs dishwashers when you have Sammy the Toucan and "Flat" Cauli VII (Flat Seven) on the case?  That is about the cleanest plate I've ever seen.  Wonder what they were eating?  It would have had to have been something both a parrot and a cat would enjoy.  Hmmmmmm . . .

That's One Mighty Impressive SpokesShrimp

Broadway Gal uploaded a couple photos of her and Sammy posing with Spiderman and a huge shrimp from the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.  I thought that was fictional from that Tom Hanks movie (and Winston Groom's book upon which it was based).  Definitely too large to be a swimming dinner for Flat Seven!

To see the Spiderman photo and read about our crew's adventures (and, of course, you know you want to), click here to visit Broadway Gal's ALA blog.

I Hope You Got Spidey's Pawtograph, Broadway Gal,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
ALA Conference News Beat

P.S.  See, there really is a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.  Here's an advertisement to prove it.

P.P.S.  No discussion of Forrest Gump would be complete without reference to "Weird Al" Yankovic's song, "Gump," which appeared on the CD Bad Hair Day (1996).  The song is a parody of "Lump," by The Presidents of the United States of America.  Here is the official music video.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

More Than Cataloging, To Be Sure

Ever wonder what technical services librarians at my Library do?  An easier question to answer would be:  What don't they do?

Click Play Button to Start Promo Trailer
(But You Knew That Already)

Pretty Versatile Cataloging Staff, To Be Sure,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Library Staff News Beat

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lounging Poolside

Broadway Gal filed her second report on her American Library Association (ALA) adventure trip way out in southern California.  Looks like Sammy the Toucan and "Flat" Cauli VII (Flat Seven) have settled right into the L.A. routine.  Click the images to bigify.

Waiter, we'll have three of those cute drinks with the umbrellas

Already, Flat Seven is cavorting with famous movie stars, or at least their likenesses.  That makes sense, since Flat Seven is herself my likeness.

Flat Seven meets the John Wayne statue

Broadway Gal says she has been meeting librarians galore.  We think she, Flat Seven, and Sammy should visit Sparkle the Designer Cat while they're out there.  A trip to California wouldn't be complete without a visit with the world's most famous feline blogger.

Looking Forward to Further Updates,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
ALA Conference News Beat

P.S.  I'm pretty sure I've used "Pool Party," by the Aquabats, as a musical closer before, but, hey, when a song fits, well, it fits.  If you'd like to read the previous posting, knock yourself out.

Friday Features Goes Promo

Click here to select from individual promo (or program) trailers from this playlist, or click the player button above to play the entire list.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Explore to Learn Goes Into Outer Space

The Golden State Will Never Be the Same

Broadway Gal, "Flat" Cauli VII (Flat Seven, for short), and Sammy the Toucan are heading to Anaheim, California, to attend the American Library Association (ALA) annual national conference bigbash.  The Golden State will never be the same.

Seatbelt, Flat Seven.  Just Saying.

I'm borrowing some photos from Broadway Gal's ALA blog, but you should go straight there to read all about their ALA adventures.  You know where to click.

I'm guessing that Sammy the Toucan was up in the pilots' cockpit asking a billion questions about what all those buttons and controls do.  Broadway Gal was doing the photographer thing, of course, but she was also planning her itinerary for the ALA bigbash.  So many workshops, so little time.

Stay Out of the Airline's Complimentary Peanuts, Flat Seven,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
ALA Conference News Beat

P.S.  Musician Lisa Loeb performed at the ALA Midwinter Conference (January, 2012).  She followed with a book signing for her new children's sing-along book.  You may take a peek on  Lisa looks like a classic librarian, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Water Volcano Becomes Winged Dinners' Bath

The water volcano in the MPL Courtyard has become a bathhouse for neighborhood winged dinners.  If you have microscopic vision like Superman, you might be able to make out some of my feathered meals friends dousing themselves in the drink.  Scowl-Face took these photos from inside the Library, because, he said, he didn't want to go outside and scare-off the little fellas.  I'm guessing he just wanted to remain in the air conditioning, which, frankly, hasn't been working all that well lately, at least in the Community Room.

Click to Bigify
(like that would help much)

Boss Lady says we should approach our patrons to see how we may assist them.  Can do!

How may I help you, winged dinners?
(or is this a self-serve food bar?)

I like my din-dins nicely washed, I must say.

N'yum N'yum,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Library Courtyard News Beat

P.S.  Thinking of winged dinner baths reminded moi of "Splish Splash" (1958), by Bobby Darin, who co-wrote the song on a bet with the famous New York City disc jockey "Murray the K" (Murray Kaufman).  Murray bet that Darin couldn't compose a song that began with the lyrics, "Splish, splash, I was takin' a bath," which Murray's mother, Jean Kaufman, had suggested.  Darin won.  His single reached #3 on the U.S. pop singles charts.  This recording may be one of the rare original 45 r.p.m. discs released with the echo effect.  In any event, it's plenty loud.  Those VU meters should not be hitting the red, dudes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Website Teaser

If you visit our current website, you'll see this teaser banner:

I've blogged about this before, but we're getting closer to launching our new website, so it's time for another teaser.

Click Images to Bigify

Sorry I can't tell you more details, but it's all really hush-hush, and I don't want to cause any firement issues (as Tober the Library Cat would say).  If any arise, Boss Lady, blame Scowl-Face for posting this teaser.  He's practically deadwood, anyway.

I can reveal that the new website will be MUCH more user-friendly, interactive, and visually engaging.  There will be loads of great content, too.  It will just be so incredibly super, you can't even imagine.

When will the big launching be?  Can't say.  That, too, is a secret--for now.  Soon, baby, soon.

Why No Cauli Le Chat Web Page, Boss Lady?  Just Asking,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
New Website News Beat

P.S.  Speaking of teasers, here's "The Wind," from the LP Teaser and the Firecat (1971), by Cat Stevens.

Quite the Starry Night, Indeed

by Junior, of Junior's Farm
MPL Special Feline Correspondent
Arts & Crafts News Beat

Broadway Gal, Miss Alicia, and many young volunteer patrons have made terrific progress on the Starry Night Mural in my Library's Youth Services Department.  Just some touching-up, and the project should reach completion.  You know you want a look-see.

Click Images to Bigify

Pretty darn outstanding artwork, I'd venture.  See what painting-by-numbers can do?

Another Great Youth Services Project, Broadway Gal,

Junior, of Junior's Farm
MPL Special Feline Correspondent
Arts & Crafts News Beat

P.S.  Ha!  Beat you to it this time, Cauli!  Arts & Crafts are MY turf.

P.P.S.  Hey, Junior--four words:  Delete key; administrator status.  Just saying.  ~ Cauli.

P.P.P.S.  The Music Man composed an entire album based upon Salvador Dali surrealist paintings.  The album's called The Persistence of Memory (2011).  The music CD and sheet music are available in our Evergreen Indiana online catalog.  Here is one of the Library's book trailers that used a selection from this album as its soundtrack.

Guaranteed to Brighten Your Day

The Library's own composer, whom I call the Music Man, has the second selection completed to his work-in-progress, the symphony Electric Buzzards.  It's called "A Beautiful Day to be Alive."  It is uplifting and glorious.  I guarantee it will brighten your day.  That's a Cauli promise--you can take it to the bank.  (What they'll give you for it is anybody's guess.)

You know how to make it play

This is the second selection (to the first movement?  Not sure about the proper musical terminology) of the symphony.  A preliminary album cover appears below.  I doubt this will be used for the final CD, but we have to have something to upload.  It's the law.

Electric Buzzards, by Danny Buckley, MPL Composer
(Completed work due to be released in 2013)

For the album's backstory, see my previous blog posting.  The piece is meant to sharply contrast with the previous selection, "Prelude."

Feeling Much Better Already, Thank You Very Much,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Library Music News Beat

P.S.  My Library used this music as the soundtrack to this book trailer.  More to come, I'm sure.  We love making videos around here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Soaring in the Heart of a Free Spirit

Who hasn't wanted to fly higher and faster than the rest of the crowd?  It takes tremendous dedication, hard work, and a willingness to walk to the beat of a different drummer.  Society generally rewards conformity, because it is predictable and manageable; but she (or he) who breaks from the pack finds personal rewards far beyond imagining.  Individual spiritual growth carries its own treasures.

This, then, is the basic theme to the novella Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach.  First published 42 years ago, it had reached the top of the fiction bestsellers lists by 1972, having sold (then) over a million copies.  It has undoubtedly sold several million more in the intervening decades.  Characterized as a "fable of self-perfection" by some reviewers, it was one of the first spiritual, non-denominational books ever read aloud to moi.  I liked Jonathan immediately, because he had much of the feline in him--free spirit, independence, determination, commitment, and spiritual growth--all qualities practically any cat has in abundance.  I put aside the whole predator/prey thing and saw Jonathan as a fellow earth traveller who was searching to become--to be--more than he had been.  Pretty good life's goal, that.

This novella is uplifting on every level.  It is well worth an afternoon's reading delight.

No Winged Dinner Jokes Today,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Readers' Advisory News Beat

P.S.  Neil Diamond composed the beautiful soundtrack to the movie adaptation of Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973).  Here, probably from the film (I've never actually seen it--sorry), is a ten-minute excerpt featuring "The Odyssey" (from the soundtrack).  This album may be Neil Diamond's greatest musical work, although it's difficult to single-out any one of his multitude of fine recordings.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Save Moi Some Crawfish, If You Please

Click to Bigify

Around these parts, we believe Mardi Gras is a state of mind.  We know that the New Orleans Mardi Gras bigbash happened awhile ago, but that doesn't stop our town from having a good time kicking off the start of official summer.

On Thursday, June 21, 2012, from 5 to 9 p.m., in downtown Mooresville, Indiana, the streets will be overflowing with food, fun, music, and excitement as the Mardi Gras Block Party, sponsored by Zydeco's restaurant, Citizens Bank, the Mooresville Chamber of Commerce, and a host of downtown and local merchants, gets underway in earnest.

As you can see from my blog posting last year, there will be tons of fun happening.  The food will be fantastic, the music will be way cool, and there will be lots of "booths" set up (including the Library's, I'm sure) that will be well worth your time to visit.

Save Moi Some Crawfish (i.e., Crayfish), If You Please,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Downtown Parties News Beat

P.S. Elvis Presley and Kitty White (i.e., Jean "Kitty" Bilbrew) sang "Crawfish" as the opening song to the movie King Creole (1958).

Friday Features Gets Healthy With Science & Medical Books

Click here to select from individual book trailers in our Science, Medical, & Health playlist from the MPL YouTube Channel.

This should complete our book trailers playlists.  If you want to peruse a listing of all 163 book trailers that we have currently uploaded (that's five hours and two minutes of video, total), here's the place to go.

We have other types of video playlists besides book trailers, so next week we'll begin posting those.

Lots of Great Books to Read @ MPL,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Friday Features News Beat

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Flat" Caulis Travel Logging All 'Round

My Library's summer travel logs are going to be overflowing with exciting details as several "Flat" Caulis are simultaneously heading toward all compass points.

We know, for instance, that "Flat" Cauli V (Flat Five) has been sojourning near and far on her library critters world tour.  Flat Five (who might have been Flat Six in disguise--all "Flat" Caulis look alike, even to moi) is still visiting Morgan County Public Library (in Martinsville, Indiana, with branches throughout the county)--we suspect she may have decided to live there so she can have lots of fun with Morgan the MCPL Library Bunny--but, through the miracle of bilocation (or photocopying), Flat Five is also simultaneously travelling to Westfield Washington Public Library (in Westfield, Indiana) to pal around with some cool swimming dinners fish who live and work there.  What's more, Flat Five is also-also visiting Porter C. Bibliocat at Anna Porter Public Library in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  The library critter world tour is in full swing, for sure.

Meanwhile, Flat Seven has just secured passage with Broadway Gal to the American Library Association (ALA) annual national bigbash in Anaheim, California, on June 21-26, 2012.  This is THE professional event for American librarians, so Broadway Gal will be plenty busy attending workshops, learning new librarian stuff, and getting freebies from the vendor exhibits.  Hopefully, she'll have time to take Flat Seven to Disneyland.  I haven't been there since one of my previous nine lives, when I jumped the fence and did an early version of the roving reporter thing.  Beware of cotton candy, Flat Seven.  Just saying.  I learned the hard way.

Waaaaay Too Sticky For Us Felines

Hopefully, Flat Seven will be filing reports (with Broadway Gal's help, I'm sure) as to all the tremendous fun happening out there in Anaheim.  Flat Five, of course, has been prompt and thorough in her journalistic reports on her library critter world tour, so we may expect further details as they are forthcoming.

Goo-on-a-Stick, Is What I Call It,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
"Flat" Cauli Travel News Beat

P.S.  Broadway Gal's trip with Flat Seven makes moi "California Dreamin'," by the Mamas & the Papas (1965).  Here is a video montage of some live and television performances by the group from way back in the day.

Defoe Chronicles the Plague (Historical Fiction)

Historical fiction has become a popular genre for modern readers, but it is hardly a modern tool in the writer's laptop.  English author Daniel Defoe (ca. 1660-1731) wrote A Journal of the Plague Year (1722), which is a fictionalized eyewitness accounting of the Great Plague (i.e., the bubonic plague, or "black death") epidemic that invaded London in 1665, when Defoe was about age five or six.  The authorship when the book was first published was attributed to H. F. (the eyewitness), who was, in reality, probably Defoe's uncle, Henry Foe, whose journals Defoe must have consulted for the copious details he provided about the plague's outbreak and infiltration of London.

Daniel Defoe (ca. 1660-1731)
English merchant, journalist, political pamphleteer, and novelist
Best known today for his novel Robinson Crusoe (1719)

Great Hair, Mr. Defoe (eye-roll)
(Engraving by M. Van der Gucht, after a portrait by J. Taverner, early 18th century)

Despite its fictionalization (if that's a real word) of the horrific events that transpired in the mid-1660s, readers initially considered Defoe's novel to be nonfiction.  Some early 20th century historians even gave Defoe the nod for having crafted an authentic historical account of the tragedy.

Samuel Pepys (1633-1703)
Eyewitness chronicler to the 1665 London Plague
Tory member of Parliament for Castle Rising & Harwich
and Chief Secretary to the Admiralty

Defoe's was not the only factual rendering available to early 18th century readers, however.  In his diaries, Samuel Pepys described in vivid detail the depopulation of parts of London and the consequential mass exodus to escape the pestilence.  Pepys' work is quite readable, although Defoe was perhaps the better writer, given his extensive journalistic experience.

What may have spared London from complete annihilation was, ironically, the Great London Fire of 1666, which killed most of the rats (and bacillus-carrying fleas) that were spreading the disease.  A catastrophe may have prevented a cataclysm, but it was small consolation to Londoners who suffered through both apocalyptic calamities.

Did you know that there is a children's nursery rhyme (still sung today) that recounts the onset of plague symptoms?  The final word is thankfully omitted from modern renditions.

Ring a Ring O' Roses,
A pocketful of posies,
Atishoo!  Atishoo!
We all fall down [dead]!

One of the first visible symptoms of bubonic plague infection is the development of round, rose-colored spots on the skin in the regions of the lymph glands, which formed swollen buboes (soon followed by necrotized tissue turning black).  It was believed that the disease spread through bad-smelling air, so carrying fragrant flowers or a posy of herbs was commonly thought to thwart the illness (no such luck, I'm afraid).  Incessant sneezing was considered a certain sign that a victim would soon succumb, and death was the inevitable result.

Too bad for London in 1665 that the germ-theory of disease hadn't been devised yet.  Knowledge of antibiotics could have saved millions over the centuries.  Still, Defoe's albeit fictional record of actual historical events gives modern readers insight into how earlier urban societies dealt with health crises within the range of their knowledge, social customs, and general understanding of life and its many mysteries.

Moithinks Defoe Needs a New Wig--Just Saying,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Classical Historical Fiction News Beat

P.S. Evergreen Indiana library cardholders may check-out A Journal of the Plague Year from our online catalog.


P.P.S.  History teachers searching for ways to educate while entertaining students sometimes resort to macabre methods of instruction.  Here, intended strictly as an educational supplement, is a music video called "Black Death," a parody of "Hollaback Girl," by Gwen Stefani.  As the video description states, "It's hard to find a song to parody for such a gruesome subject. Our apologies to Gwen's fans, but it's for the cause of education!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bradbury 451

Ray Bradbury passed over on June 5, 2012.  At my Library, Programma Mama has put up a book display of many of Bradbury's classics, including this one (for which we made this book trailer).

MPL Book Trailer #17
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is the greatest censorship novel ever written.  Well, I haven't read all censorship novels ever written, but I really, really liked Bradbury's, and I can't imagine any other writer improving upon the theme.

 Click Images to Bigify

Bradbury wrote with panache across the fictional horizon--although he was best known as a science fiction author--and his prose frequently waxed poetic.  For this reason, some readers found some of his works to be difficult going.  But the rewards were well worth the effort.

I think the Music Man once said that The Martian Chronicles was one of the best short story collections ever written.  It rivaled Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy in impact and popularity.  It has been years since my minions read either to moi, but I remember enjoying them immensely.

You should check-out anything by Ray Bradbury at your favorite public library.  You will discover ideas both sublime and spectacular.

Prepare to be Dazzled,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Readers' Advisory News Beat

P.S.  "Rocket Man" (1972), written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, was based upon Ray Bradbury's short story, "The Rocket Man," which appeared in Bradbury's short story collection, The Illustrated Man (1951).  Elton John's song first appeared on the LP  Honky Château (1972).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Get to Know ... Biker Babe & Scowl-Face (G.T.K. MPL Staff Series)

MPL Staffers Biker Babe and Scowl-Face answered our questionnaire awhile back, so let's get to know them better.

Why I call her Biker Babe

Minions, cue the Steppenwolf.

"Born to be Wild," by Steppenwolf (1968), used in the
soundtrack to the movie Easy Rider (1969).

Actually, "Born to be Wild" is not about bikers per se; rather, it is about hot rods (automobiles, for anyone under age 20) street-racing.  After Easy Rider, however, the song became synonymous with motorcycling.

Want to hear a cool biker ballad from Easy Rider?  We've got time.

"Ballad of Easy Rider," by the Byrds (1969)
from the album by the same title

Roger McGuinn of the Byrds wrote "Ballad of Easy Rider," but purportedly Bob Dylan was co-composer, although he was not officially credited on the single or album.

Biker Babe is one of our all-purpose staffers.  She works in practically every patron service department.  She may be found working on the circulation team; as an adult or youth services reference librarian; adding or deleting items from the catalog; and arranging displays in the public glass display cases.  You name it; she does it.  In public libraries of our size, an employee needs to be well-rounded.  Biker Babe covers the spectrum of library services quite effectively.  She has worked at MPL for nearly nine years.

Scowl-Face from his college professorship days
(23 years ago, in this photo)

Long-time readers know Scowl-Face as my comic foil.  By comparison, he makes moi look truly magnificent.  His title is somewhat in flux at the moment, but he has historically (no pun intended) been known as the MPL Indiana Room historian.  (He used to be called the Indiana Room librarian, but that was changed last year, if memory serves.  No clue why.)  He was also called the reference coordinator for awhile, but that title seems to have gone by the wayside.  Ol' Scowlly has worked at the Library for almost five years.

Biker Babe's favorite childhood library memory was "the quiet atmosphere."  She grew up in a household with six kids, so peace and quiet was at a premium.  Scowl-Face chose to share a college memory as his favorite "childhood" library recollection.  If you read his treasure trove blog, you may have already seen it.  If not, then you should click here.

For Biker Babe, what makes working at MPL fun is that "no day is the same."  That's understandable when you're working practically everywhere at any time.  For Scowl-Face, it's a combination of local history and social media.  He uses both extensively in his library work.

Favorite colors (lavender for Biker Babe; blue for 'Ol Scowlly) is straightforward enough.  What about favorite music?  Biker Babe votes for "Nothing But Strings," which we presume refers to Nuttin But Stringz.

Nuttin But Stringz performing live on the
TV show Americas Got Talent (2008)

Scowl-Face's favorite musician/composer is The Music Man, who is the Library's composer.  If you've watched any videos from the MPL YouTube Channel, then you've heard his original music.  But he is also a stellar guitarist and plays excellent piano.

Danny Buckley playing classical guitar at
Thursday Night Recital, Millikin University
(Oct. 15, 2009)

Dream Big, Little Pig, by Kristi Yamaguchi
(Book trailer by Janet E. Buckley;
music soundtrack by Daniel E. Buckley)

Biker Babe moved to Monrovia, Indiana 24 years ago, so she is just a few miles west of MPL.  Scowl-Face moved to Mooresville in 1995 but has been occasionally hanging around the town since 1977.  Neither was born in town--Biker Babe was born in Beech Grove at the now-defunct St. Francis branch hospital, and Scowl-Face was born in Lafayette--but we won't hold that against them.

As we have gotten to know the MPL staff, the one common denominator has been their earnest desire to provide quality patron services and their commitment to doing the best job possible.  That may sound like a cliche, but, here, it is actually true.

Take Moi For a Ride, Biker Babe,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
MPL Staff News Beat

P.S.  The Millikin University student composers' forum III performed "Starmap to Orion" (2009), by Danny Buckley, on February 18, 2010, at Kaeuper Hall in the MU School of Music.  For a DVD of additional musical performances at Millikin featuring the Music Man, Evergreen Indiana cardholders may check it out in our online catalog.