I started with Ballistics, but I don’t believe it matters which one you pick up to begin. Just begin.
The “title” page reads thus: “A cool tool is...anything useful that increases learning, empowers individuals, does work that matters, is either the best or the cheapest or the only thing that works.” The inside and back covers are divided and indexed into 31 separate topics such as Craft, Dwelling, Edibles, Big Systems, Mobile Living, Storytelling, Aurality, Science Process, and Somatics. Sold yet? Ok, there is also another index by the specific name of the tool and QR codes in each and every entry to link you straight to the web, usually the manufacturer’s specific site or Amazon. The back cover alone also gives you options: Raise backyard chickens, Erect an igloo, Publish an ebook, or Design your own fabric. Kelly and his team inform you in the first seven pages that all entries and/or links are as updated as possible, provide a FAQ, a How To Use This Book primer, and a handy supportive entry of a book on de-cluttering your life. Sounds counter-productive, right? Not really. Think of it as a non-threatening “abandon hope all ye who enter here.” Kelly plays the wide-eyed Tools R’ Us Virgil to your drooling Dante.
This seems like a sales pitch, I know. As if I’m the underground marketing intern for Kelly’s company; but the title is self-published and most of the profits go right back into the people and materials that shaped the book in the first place. The best part is that you can spend hours slowly thumbing through it and not even think of purchasing anything. Opening it randomly now, this is what I find: Three Jaw Brace, Virtual Piano, Silicone Pinch Bowls, and Etymotic Research Earplugs. If you put this title on hold down at your local library, make sure you bring a big bag as this book is like a yoga mat for cats. Your brain, your budget, and your exposure to stuff that’s actually productive, however, will most certainly need their own personal Corpse pose. Enjoy.
When would you like to have lived? I sometimes wonder what I would be doing if I lived in a different time. What would my life be like? The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer has helped me learn about life in England during the reign of Elizabeth I, 1558-1603.
There is lots of beer. It is safer than the water. I will be drinking about a gallon a day. Unless I am a gentleman, I won’t be able to afford wine. A strong nose and lots of perfume are helpful as there are many noxious smells. The growing populations only add to the problem. The Elizabethan people don’t enjoy the stink, but there often is nothing they can do.
Does Elizabethan England sound interesting? Why not take a trip back and see if it is for you.
When the brothers abruptly part ways, Don Ernesto and Don Alejo negotiate for performers. The latter bargains poorly and is left with eight sub par performers and a diving pig. The circus seems all but finished, but their story is only beginning. The quest for survival and rediscovering who they are takes over fanfare-laden dreams.
Stumbling into the nearby town with all the pageantry they can muster proves futile. Years of abandonment are visible, as is the lack of a sustainable habitat. As reality sets in, the vacant houses offer an invitation of unknown normality to settle down and leave the transient life. What does permanence mean for people who only know the circus? Who will they be if they aren’t performers? What does their future hold?
It’s not pretty.
This novel in verse is short and sweet, sometimes dark, but leavened with rhymes that are so clever I’d sometimes have to stop and give a whoop of pleasure before returning to the story. At one point, a 1950s secretary named Helen, her affair with her unworthy boss having ended badly, is remembering the scene she made afterwards at a memorable office Christmas party.
...Where feeling misused, she had got pretty plastered,
And named his name, publicly, called him a bastard.
The details are fuzzy, though others have told her
She insulted this one, and cried on that shoulder,
Then lurched ‘round the ballroom, all pitching and weaving
And ended the night in the ladies lounge, heaving.
The story jumps through the whole 20th century through a number of loosely connected characters, and is more a series of character studies and vignettes than a novel. Terrible things happen to some of these characters, but what shines through more than anything else is Rakoff’s pleasure in life and his pleasure in observation.
Towards the end, a chapter about Clifford, a character who is dying of AIDS, ends with these lines:
He thought of those two things in life that don’t vary
(Well, thought only glancingly; more was too scary)
Inevitable, why even bother to test it,
He’d paid all his taxes, so that left… you guessed it.
Here you'll find a list of audio books by Rakoff and by other familiar voices from public radio. Please let me know if I forgot to include a good one.
If you have Sephardic heritage, or think you might, this is a great time to begin to research your family history! The Sephardic roots booklist below should help you get started -- and it includes several general books about Sephardic history as well. The library also has lots of books about general Jewish genealogy research.
Perhaps you want more background about Spain’s 2012 citizenship law and the revisions currently being considered? Here are some basics to get you started:
- A little more detail about Spain’s 2012 citizenship law, with a lot of history, is in Francisco Macías’s “Alhambra Decree: 521 years later” (In Custodia Legis, Law Library of Congress, 29 March 2013).
- You can read the text -- in Spanish -- of the draft law the Spanish parliament is currently considering at the Spanish Ministry of Justice website: Anteproyecto de Ley nacionalidad sefardies (pdf, Español).
- Current information about acquiring Spanish citizenship, is available from the website of the Spanish Embassy in Washington, DC (in English). Presumably the information here will be updated if and when the new law is made official.
You may also want to mark your calendar for the upcoming exhibit at the Oregon Jewish Museum: Viva Sephardi: A Century of Sephardic Life in Portland. The exhibit opens June 11th, 2014.
Do you have more questions about genealogy research? Are you working on your own family history? If you'd like specific advice or help with your research challenges, do please Ask the Librarian!
“I have decided my poetry is so bad that I mustn’t write any more of it.”
- Cassandra from I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
What I do now to keep my fingers in the poetry pot, is to use the poetry post in front of my house to post poems out into the neighborhood on a regular basis. Sometimes I post my own and sometimes it is another’s work that moves me at that particular moment. This keeps me reading poetry, which often leads to feeling like writing it myself. And the cycle continues…last year I purchased three new volumes of poetry, so perhaps I am warming up again to the idea of being a poet. If you are new to poetry or coming back to it after a break, why not pick up Staying Alive by Bloodaxe Books? In this perfect anthology you will find both the old standard and contemporary poets, easily digestible and applicable sections, and approachable poems about everyday topics.
One April I thought I would write a poem each day to celebrate National Poetry Month. It ended badly. How will you celebrate?
Ok, maybe you're wondering what the novel is that turned my head. The Witch of Little Italy by Palmieri made me excited again about this genre. The story is about Eleanor Amore who returns to her grandmother and aunt’s home in the Bronx. She is pregnant and needs the comfort of home with her estranged family. Oddly enough Eleanor doesn’t remember her life before that tenth summer that she spent with her family. She is hoping they have the keys to her memory loss. If you liked Witches of Eastwick and Practical Magic, try The Witch of Little Italy. Also check out my list of Witchy novels.
Ever wonder why a cheeseburger in Ohio tastes the same in Utah? Your cup of coffee has the same kick in St. Louis as it did in Santa Fe? Look no further than Fred Harvey and the "Harvey girls".
Stephen Fried’s wonderful book, Appetite for America examines the westward expansion of the railroad through the life and legacy of Fred Harvey. Known to some as the “founding father of the nation's service industry”, Harvey saw railroads as more than transportation. The growing needs of workers and tourists required a better quality of amenities. Harvey was happy to accomodate. From humble beginnings, he transformed the landscape of America’s eateries featuring clean restaurants, efficient service, and a cup of coffee that tasted the same no matter which depot you stopped at.
It is a fascinating tale of one man's desire to provide a civilized place to eat and how it became so much more. All aboard!
I'd like to share what I am reading this week. The best seller lists call out to me, and this week I am enjoying Sycamore Row by John Grisham. Featuring several of the characters from A Time to Kill, Sycamore Row takes us back to Ford County, where we realize that racism is still alive and well in the late 1980's. Seth Hubbard, termminally ill with cancer, has ended his life, and left behind a handwirtten will leaving almost all of his 21 million dollar fortune to his black housekeeper, and that does not sit well with his family. This story reminds me that, although we as a society have made great strides with regards to racism, we still have a long way to go.
Grisham's writing evokes the south in glorious ways, from the drawl of its residents, to the wrap around porches on the most stately of the town's houses. We also get a taste of the wrong side of the tracks, the areas where the poor blacks live. Put it together and throw in the trial and you've got a simmering pot of racial tension disguised in the genteel conversation of the south.
If you've been wondering what happened to young lawyer Jake Brigance, think about placing your hold for Sycamore Row. Access the title here, and take your pick from the book, the audio CD, or the ebook! And while you are waiting your turn in the holds queue, maybe revisit some older John Grisham titles, and rediscover one of the great storytellers of the day.
When you don’t know where to turn first, the Multnomah County Aging & Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) Helpline is a good place to start. Information and assistance is available to seniors, people with disabilities, and caregivers 24 hours a day. Call 503-988-3646 Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm, to reach the most knowledgeable staff. Through this same number, you can contact the Family Caregiver Support Program, which offers services that can take some of the burden off unpaid caregivers.
Elders in Action is another great local resource. Through their Personal Advocate Services, trained volunteers help older adults and link individuals to community resources. They focus in the area of housing, healthcare, crime, and elder abuse. Personal Advocate volunteers assist older adults in Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties.
The Aging and Disability Resource Connection is a resource directory for Oregon families, caregivers, and consumers seeking information about long-term support and services. Here you will find quick and easy access to information about resources in your community.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) knows that caregiving can be overwhelming. Through their Caregiving Resource Center, you can connect with caregiving resources both local and far away. Topics covered include Planning & Resources, Benefits & Insurance, Legal & Money Matters, Care for Yourself, Providing Care, Senior Housing, End-of-Life Care, and Grief & Loss. Caregiving Tools include a Care Provider Locator, a Long-Term Care Calculator, and even a Caregiving Glossary.
Caregivers for persons with Alzheimer’s and dementia face special challenges. The Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver’s Center can help arm you with the information you need to handle those challenges, whether you’re facing them now or need to be preparing for the future. Also through the Caregiver’s Center, you can locate local support groups, which can become an indispensable source of information and emotional support.
The Family Caregiver Alliance provides information on all aspects of caregiving, from public policy and research to practical tips on caregiving. Fact sheets on multiple issues are available in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Caregiver’s Magazine is an online magazine for, about, and by caregivers. Here you will find first-hand stories of others’ caregiving journeys, as well as an online bookstore and tips on resources and strategies.
There are 65.7 million family caregivers in the US--29% of the adult population--and caregiving affects the whole family. The National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of over 50 national organizations focused on family caregiving. The organization identifies new trends and sheds light on the varying needs of caregivers nationwide.
Caregiving is challenging enough when Mom is next door. What if she’s in Chicago? Or Boston? Having an ally on the ground to help you assess the situation can be exactly the extra bit of assistance you need to make sure that all goes well. The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers can help you locate a professional Geriatric Care Manager, a health and human services specialist who helps families who are caring for older relatives.
If you’re a primary caregiver, or if you’re coordinating care at a distance, no doubt you know what it’s like to feel as if you don’t have enough hands, or enough hours in the day, to do everything that needs to be done. Lotsa Helping Hands harnesses the power of community and links it through an online service to provide help when it’s needed. You can create your own community and ask for help, without having to make a dozen phone calls or feel that you’re putting friends on the spot.
Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself! The stories of other caregivers and how they’ve handled their challenges may give you the ideas you need to take care of yourself.
Contributed by jennyw
You listen to Radiolab, right? I know bunches of you do. We all stood shoulder-to shoulder late last year waiting to get into their live gig at The Keller Auditorium. (I was the short brunette with a glass of wine.) Anyway, did you hear their recent replay of the show on rabies? It blew my diabolical-virus-loving mind. And made me think back to a book I read a couple years ago, Rabid, by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy. If you loved that Radiolab show, read the book. It chronicles the Milwaukee protocol story, and tons of other cool stuff.
Where’s this cure? Right here in the greater Portland metro area, in our backyards and urban forests.
What’s this cure? Reading books that have inspired me to delight and revel in the natural world, followed by a visit to a nearby park to answer questions I didn’t know I had. What? I was trampling on efts? What are those again?
Here are some of my favorites: fiction that includes natural history and natural history that reads like a story. Find out why voles turn somersaults or learn to tell bird nests from squirrel dreys in books about your backyard or our urban forests.
Did you know that there are regular programs for preschoolers at many of our natural areas? Or that you can see live owls and vultures at Audubon’s Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center? You might also try a guided family hike to explore painted turtles or working to evict invasive species. One great website that consolidates these opportunities is Exploring Portland's Natural Areas.
Maybe instead of a cure we should just call it fun.
My trek into the rabbit hole of metal began with the siren calls of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Pantera, and Slayer. Soon, I encountered King Diamond, Sepultura, Nail Bomb, and Dio, making some frightening new friends who forged a permanent place in my heart.
Metal is not simply about black clothes, hellfire, and crunchy riffs at the speed of darkness. There’s a rich history of true musicianship, passion, and very interesting lives. In the definitive history of Metal, “Louder than Hell” Wiederhorn uses over 250 interviews from the musicians who lived and died to tell the tale. Skillful editing has created a pleasantly exhaustive account of the many genres and subgenres of metal including, thrash, speed, death, and yes, even nu...
If you've ever been curious about what lurks behind the black curtain and behind the wall of Marshall amps, this is your backstage pass.
Whew. I almost used all of the titles of my favorite thrillers in one sentence! Gone Girl was one of the first of this genre to get a lot of press and now there are more and more of these unpredictable books to keep you quickly turning those pages.
I'm always trying to find books with the most surprising plot twists. These books go by different names: psychological dramas, suspense novels, chick noir, domestic
The best sinister psychological dramas are well-written with full character development and a twist that catches you by surprise; they’re the ones that keep you up reading way too late at night. Hope you find these as fascinating and wonderfully unpredictable as I found them to be. If you've read other suspense novels that should be on this list, please let me know!
One of the most popular and honored authors of all time, Beverly Cleary has won the Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw. Her books Ramona Quimby, Age 8 plus Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books.
Beverly Cleary was born in McMinnville, Oregon, and, until she was old enough to attend school, lived on a farm in Yamhill, a town so small it had no library. Her mother arranged with the State Library to have books sent to Yamhill and acted as librarian in a lodge room upstairs over a bank. There Mrs. Cleary learned to love books. When the family moved to Portland, where Mrs. Cleary attended grammar school and high school, she soon found herself in the low reading circle, an experience that has given her sympathy for the problems of struggling readers. (1)
Celebrate Oregon's beloved author and famous characters from her novels with the self-guided walking tour Walking With Ramona Map, published by The Library Foundation. The tour begins at the Hollywood Neighborhood Library, 4040 N.E. Tillamook Street, and continues through nearby neighborhoods, exploring the places where the events in her books "really happened." Visit the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden, a special gift to the City of Portland from Friends of Henry & Ramona. Cast in bronze by Portland artist Lee Hunt, the life-sized bronze statues of Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Henry's dog Ribsy welcome young and old to Grant Park.
Continue on through the park, scene of endless adventures: "He passed the playground where he heard the children's shouts and the clank and clang of the rings and swings. Henry didn't stop. He had work to do. He went to the edge of the park where there were no lights and turned on his flashlight. Sure enough, there in the grass under a bush was a night crawler. Henry nabbed it and put it into his jar."
We hope you enjoy this walking tour. Please be mindful of current residents as you pass by the homes where Beverly Cleary once lived.
Beverly Cleary now resides in California but her influence is always local for us.
Print: Walking With Ramona: Map Copies available at the Central and Hollywood libraries
- D.E.A.R. : Drop Everything and Read
- City of Portland: Grant Park Sculpture Garden. Dedicated on October 13, 1995.
- The publication Walking With Ramona was made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation.
So far as I’ve been able to discover, there aren’t any books devoted to Robert Rummer’s houses (maybe you should write one!). But fans of Rummers have a virtual gathering place, the Rummer Network, home to all sorts of great stuff, including contemporary and historical photos of Rummer houses and some helpful links to information about Eichler houses (Eichlers are California ranch houses developed by Joseph Eichler -- they were the inspiration for Rummer houses). And, there is an informative article about Rummer houses at the California-based Eichler Network website: “Meet Builder Robert Rummer,” by Joe Bartholow.
Mid Century Home Style is another great source -- especially for mid-century house researchers seeking out primary documentation. Among other things, the site collects house plan books which were originally published 1937-1963. These plan books show illustrations of house facades, floor plans, and occasional interior or garden views. Most are much less avant-garde than Rummer or Eichler houses: primarily these are plain ranch houses, designed for middle America; but nonetheless, many have quite a lot of space-age flair.
And of course, the library has a lot of great books about the history of modern domestic architecture. The list below should get you started!
Do you want to learn more about the history of your Portland-area modern house? The library's House history page has lots more resources to help you with your search -- but for specific advice or help with your research challenges, do please Ask the Librarian!
Multnomah County is going to be 160 years old this year. While no one is old enough (as far as we know, anyway) to remember those sixteen decades of history, there is a place where those stories are kept. The Multnomah County Archives, in the shadow of Mt. Hood and nestled between a gravel pit and a landfill, has been collecting, preserving, and providing access to the archives of Multnomah County government for 12 years.
Archives are the official records, usually unique and created to document actions and not as a purposeful historical narrative, of an organization preserved indefinitely because of their long-term research value. In the case of the County Archives, this means records of the activities of Multnomah County’s government agencies. “How boring is THAT?” I can hear you saying right now.
So come visit, meet an archivist, and let the stories you find connect you to the voices, past and present, of others who have inhabited our county.