Thursday, November 20, 2014

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Study

There are some foods that most of us consider to be comfort foods despite recent studies that seem to prove otherwise! The NPR website reported on a study written up in Health Psychology back in August.
Results: Comfort foods led to significant improvements in mood, but no more than other foods or no food. Conclusions: Although people believe that comfort foods provide them with mood benefits, comfort foods do not provide comfort beyond that of other foods (or no food). These results are likely not due to a floor effect because participants’ moods did not return to baseline levels. Individuals may be giving comfort food "credit" for mood effects that would have occurred even in the absence of the comfort food.
I think the scientists just don't understand the concept of comfort as being a reminder of home, or friendship, or love. Silly scientists!

The biggest comfort holiday of all--Thanksgiving--is next week. I'm sure there will be many foods served that day that people will think of comfort foods--and not because they measurably change one's mood! Despite what the NPR piece had to say about comfort foods and their un-healthiness, people will continue to eat them.

For folks who really should avoid comfort foods for various reasons, we have these titles:

DiSpirito, Rocco. Now Eat This! 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All under 350 Calories. [3M ebook]

Gordon, Elizabeth. The Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook: Every Recipe Is Free of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, and Eggs. [641.5631 GOR]

Hagman, Bette. The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods: More than 200 Recipes for Creating Old Favorites With New Flours. [641.563 HAG]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Comets, Part 2

Yesterday, we looked at the Rosetta Mission and its landing on a comet. Today, I'd like to talk about comets and their representation in art.

We own a book devoted to the graphic depiction of comets, Fire in the Sky: Comets and Meteors, the Decisive Centuries, in British Art and Science by Roberta J. M. Olson [704.9 OLS]. And also a book of art and poetry about space for kids, Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian [J 811.54 FLO].

The Public Domain Review issued a collection of illustrations found in books--some from many hundreds of years ago. They've titled the collection, "Flowers of the Sky." The image below is taken from that collection.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


There are some amazing things going on in the world of science this week. One of the most amazing to my mind is the Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and, super-amazing is the recording of the sounds of the comet's vibrations! The media has been calling it "singing."

The Mission's Philae lander finally came to a halt after bouncing!

This story is not without its suspense--on Friday there were reports that the lander was on its side, and that if it was not able to free itself, its solar panels wouldn't be able to charge the batteries and the Mission would come to a halt! It sounds like the plot for movie, doesn't it? Over the weekend, the lander went into standby mode, but it is hoped that when the comet changes position in relation to the sun, the panels will recharge.

The L. A. Times has a timeline for the Mission here.

For those kids who find the Rosetta Mission as fascinating as some of us adults do, they can learn all about comets in the books found in the J 523 or adult 523 sections:

Of course, once the Rosetta Mission returns, there will be a slew of new books to update our knowledge of comets!

Monday, November 17, 2014

888,246 Poppies

I didn't want to forget to post this little video about the moving display of poppies that was set up to commemorate, what we call Veterans Day, and what the British call Remembrance Day, November 11. The day denotes the end of World War I at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. This year, the British have gone all out in remembering the day because 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of the war.

The poppy display surrounding the Tower of London has attracted scores of visitors. You can read more about it here.

Most people associate red poppies with the holiday we celebrate in May, Memorial Day. The poem most closely associated with the poppy is this one (click on the image to enlarge for easier reading):

Photo by Harry Pope, poem added by Diane Mayr.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Poetry Friday--The Steigs

Today is the anniversary of the birth of William Steig, the creator of such fabulous books as Dr. De Soto and Shrek! [both JP STE]. Steig was born in 1907 and passed away just shy of his 96th birthday in 2003. He wrote a book about what his life was like in 1916 called When Everybody Wore a Hat [J B STE]. Steig grew up to become a cartoonist and an author/illustrator. His brother Arthur was a artist, a developer and purveyor of art materials, and a poet (but not widely published as I only found one book listed in the Library of Congress catalog, Communication [1944]). William's wife, Jeanne (wife #4), was a poet, too. That's a whole lot of creativity in one family!

Jeanne and Steig collaborated on at least two illustrated books of poetry Alpha Beta Chowder, and, Consider the Lemming [J 811 STE]. Consider the Lemming is an book of short animal verses--light-hearted and a wee bit edgy. Here are two poems that tickled my funny bone:
The Pig

The pig is held in ill repute;
He's thought to be a coarse-grained brute.
A slurper-up of slops, the swine,
He's never asked indoors to dine.
But if the loathsome pig were fed
On marzipan and fine white bread,
And if he were allowed to shower
And dust himself with scented flour,
And spend a week in Cannes or Florence,
Would we still hold him in abhorrence?
Or would we find ourselves recanting,
And cry: "Oh, Pig, thou art enchanting!"

The Opossum

The opossum, as everyone knows,
Is prehensile of tail and toes.
It carries its young in a pocket
And plays dead if you happen to shock it.
The opossum is ugly and vicious.
Fricasseed, it is highly nutritious.

Keri Recommends is the place to be for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Stop by and tell Keri I said, "Hi!"

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's World Kindness Day!

Every year, since 1998, November 13 has been celebrated as World Kindness Day in conjunction with the World Kindness Movement. Kindness Matters states,
World Kindness Day is to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race religion, politics, gender and zip codes.

We can all benefit from kindness and we can all practice random acts of kindness. The trick is to teach children about kindness and to make acts of kindness as natural as saying "Hi."

There are many organizations and initiatives that focus on kindness including Random Acts of Kindness, The Be Kind People Project, and The Great Kindness Challenge for kids.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Are You Waiting For?

If you're planning on making gifts or homemade decorations for the holidays, time is running out!

We recently added two new titles to our collection that may provide you with some simple and easy ideas. The first book is Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love by Blair Stocker [745.5 STO]. If you love it, then chances are, the giftee will also love it. A few of the fun and simple projects are: hand-woven placements made on a board-and-nail loom, wall hooks made of sturdy forked twigs, a tabletop garden, second-hand oil paintings which are embellished with beads and other trinkets. Some of the projects, like the felt pot handle covers could be adapted so you can have your kids make them as gifts. Simply having the kids hand-stitch the edges with yarn, rather than sewing by machine, should do the trick!

Don't be put off by the second book's title: Artful Christmas: 30 Elegant Craft Projects by Susan Wasinger [745.59412 WAS]. The projects may look elegant, but they're not necessarily difficult--ornaments can be made from paper, glue, and glitter, and others from cut and folded playing cards. A purchased foam wreath is wrapped in wide satin ribbon and decorated with hat pins and metallic beads. There are a number of more extensive projects, too, if you have the time and the skills.

If these two titles are out when you visit, we have plenty more in our crafts section to satisfy your creative decorative and gift-giving needs.