Friday, August 29, 2008

Flash Back Friday #13

Last nights DNC acceptance speech by Barack Obama was absolutely fantastic. Powerful, energetic, touching, inspiring and unforgettable. I, like million of others was riveted.
Here is a flash back of Barack's famous keynote address at the 2004 DNC.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bill Cosby's New Book

Caught a bit of Bill Cosby on the Oprah show this morning while getting ready for work. Here in Chicago where she films, her show airs twice, once in the morning and reruns again late at night. The book by Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors addresses ideas for strengthening our country and taking responsibility for where we are and what needs to be changed.
Cosby is one of my favorite entertainers and listening to him talk about the issues facing children and problems with race and fatherhood is fascinating. At times during the interview he was funny, brilliant and angry and his views are straightforward and just plain common sense.
Honestly a few times I was terribly distracted as the camera panned back to Oprah, she seriously had the LARGEST diamond earrings on I have ever seen, it was all you could look at on the screen. HA!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Great Online Cartoon

Check out the quirky and completely original cartoon Questionable Content at:
Martin Reed works at the Smif College Library and has an assortment of odd friends and a computer named Pintsize with too much personality.
The link above is for a funny episode that takes place in the library, click on the next tab to see what happens. To start from the very beginning click on the tab for first.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Did you watch the DNC?

I enjoyed last nights coverage (on multiple channels CNN, MSNBC, PBS...) of the Democratic National Convention from Denver.
I have to admit Ken Burns video tribute to Edward Kennedy moved me to tears. Watching Ted Kennedy give what is likely his last speech at a convention also moved me. But it was Michelle Obama who impressed me the most. Well spoken, intelligent and incredibly dedicated to her family and her country watching Michelle's speech was worth the ridiculously long "musical interludes" that I swear were longer and more frequent than the intermission in Gone with the Wind. Michelle was inspiring, funny, humble, fiercely loyal and just fascinating to watch. If you aren't a fan of this remarkable woman then get on Youtube and watch her speech.
I'm looking forward to Hillary tonight, should be a loud crowd when she takes the stage.

Monday, August 25, 2008

End of Summer

Most of our kids are enjoying their last days of summer vacation before another long school year begins. Here's hoping that most of you squeezed in your family vacations, trips to the pool and lots of bbqs with family and friends. One of the top priorities on my summer-to-do list (see my earlier post here: was to see 2 exhibits at Chicago museums. My son and I recently visited the Field Museum to see the Mythical Creatures exhibit and while not as good as I had hoped, it was worth the visit. This past Friday my Library had a Staff Development day at the Museum of Science and Industry to see the Smart Home: Green and Wired. Not only is the museum fantastic but the new exhibit is really inspiring. Showcasing current green technology and ideas the house is a not-to-be-missed event.
One of the little known facts about Chicago museums is that they have some of the best gift shops in the City. Not only do they collect fare from around the world but they offer items relevant to their special exhibits. I bought a great reusable bag (Reisenthel Cityshopper see post, a scarf from India and an organic cotton t-shirt with the green message.
When supporting your local museum also consider supporting their shops and the vendors they use from around the world.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another Great Book Cover

Awhile back I posted Can You Judge A Book By It's Cover? about some great book covers.
Today while doing some collection development I found one that made me laugh out loud!
I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage by Susan Squire.

Talk about a cover that makes you want to pick up the book!
I can't even share what went through my mind when I saw it, it's NSFW.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Have You Met The Sandman?

I have posted previously about my enjoyment of the graphic novel genre. I am happily reading the entire Sandman series thanks to my boss who loaned me his collection (a series I started back in the early 90's in college but never completed).
Penned but not inked by the amazing Neil Gaiman, The Sandman changed the face of graphic novels and reintroduced a legendary cult figure. The stories of Morpheus the Lord of Dreams are frightening, fantastic and absolutely wickedly fun. I am currently reading #21-28 in Season of Mists and enjoying every dark and thrilling page. The characters are unforgettable like Calliope the Muse, Death, Unity Kinkaid and Hob Gadling. The stories range from the seriously disturbing to the truly moving.
I've heard rumours of a movie since the 90's and read that the project has bounced around for years with bad scripts and multiple names attached. I don't know how I feel about seeing the Sandman in a film, I can't imagine anyone playing him outside of the pages of the graphic novels and my mind.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Showing My Years

Took my kid back to school shopping this morning at the huge mall in my area. They should just hand out clothes and school supplies at my bank it would say me the time and gas.
My son will be a sophomore in 1 week and is already almost 6'2 and growing non stop. So paying $60 for jeans with holes and stains really sucked. Thank god I don't have a girl who wants jeans with names like "Boyfriend Jeans" and "Low Rise". My response to that request would be:
"Get yourself a boyfriend, steal his jeans, cut off the waist and there ya go"
It was much easier when I was in high school, I actually did steal my boyfriends favorite holey stained jeans and wore them until they became rags.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Big Green Purse

I am reading the most fascinating and helpful book,
Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World by Diane MacEachern.
Packed full of shocking information on the effects over consumption has on our bodies AND our planet, the author has excellent suggestions on how consumers can change their lives and change the world.
As a vegetarian, I support less consumption (or none at all) of read meat and dairy and was distraught at the statistics included in the book like:
"Farm animals in the US are fed or injected with 24.6 million pounds of antibiotics a year. The Union of Concerned Scientists notes that about 70 percent of all antibiotics made in the US is used to fatten up livestock" (page 150)
Help yourself and the enviornment by replacing at least 1 meal a week with a vegetarian option. By reducing your intake of meat by half, you will save 1.4 tons of greenhouse gases every year! (page 152)
Also included in the book are excellent websites and easy to follow tips, just making a small change will make a BIG impact.
For the website of Big Green Purse visit:

Friday, August 15, 2008

We still have the books...

In my shared disbelief and anger over the movie studios decision to delay the release of the next Harry Potter movie 8 months so they can make more money, I have decided to reread each of the books. With almost a year to wait now until the release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince I will be able to re-read all 7 books and re-watch each of the previous 5 films.
So my movie release party that was scheduled for November 21 will be rescheduled for July 17. My only consolation besides the books and previous films is that I can host 3 more Harry Potter parties since the final movie will be made into 2 films. After 7 years of book and movie parties I'm not ready to say goodbye to my inner child fantasy geek party planner persona.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Make Your Own READ Poster

Check out this link where you can create you own READ poster at the ALA website. Just like writers, celebrities and other famous literature lovers.
And check out mine below.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Highs and lows

I watched all coverage of the Olympics last night from the highs in swimming to the lows in gymnastics, some parts of the competition were like a train wreck and I couldn't look away. Michael Phelps making history by becoming the most decorated Olympian in history was amazing while the women's gymnastics team taking silver was heartbreaking but not surprising after their lousy performances. (With the exception of Nastia Liukin's spectacular uneven parallel bar routine)
Thanks to a lull with men's volleyball I decided to hop on my bike and take a nice long ride, something I don't think I have done for years but inspired by my friend Carey in California. Check out his blog at
I had forgotten how fun it is just to ride through your neighborhood and watch the world go by. Do you remember when your only mode of transportation was your bike and you were on it for hours each day?
After a late night of Olympic watching I had a hard time falling asleep thinking about the gymnast Alicia Sacramone the women's team leader. Alicia first fell off the balance beam on a rather basic mount and then again when making her first pass on the floor exercise, she appeared to over rotate and landed short falling backwards and rolling onto her back. Not good, those 2 major errors combined with Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson each stepping out of bounds on their floor exercises (a MAJOR no no and large deduction) lost the chance to overtake the Chinese team.
I think watching Alicia try and find her composure while crouched down on the floor in almost a prayer position was one of the saddest things I have seen in this Olympics. Highs with winning a silver medal and the lowest low with knowing you have to live with your mistakes in front of billions of people.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ireland is GREEN

No I am not talking about the color of the land, but the attitude of the people. The stores and shoppers are embracing a environmentally friendly environment and serve as a role model for what we should be doing here in the USA.
Because we stayed at a large private villa for our stay in Ireland, we went to the local grocery store to stock up on things for our kitchen like tea, brown bread, peanut butter and jelly, fruit, cheese, beer, eggs etc. On our first trip into the village grocer, we realized there are no bags, not plastic or paper to put your items in. Instead all the shoppers used produce boxes or recyclable bags that they brought from home or purchased for a euro at the store. A couple of days later we went to the large Tesco (like a super Target or Meiers) and again every shopper had brought their own reusable bags. Every where we went, small villages or large cities like Limerick, everyone was carrying their own reusable bags. I purchased a few Tesco bags for myself and I am using them constantly for everything from groceries to laundry.

Check out this great website where you can read about the damage of using and disposing of plastic bags as well as purchase some great reusable bags.
I use the Reisenthel Cityshopper (perfect for hauling food to Ravinia)
and I have posted before about how much I love the Envirosax bags
My goal is to completely eliminate my use of all non biodegradable plastic bags, grocery, produce, laundry etc. A great alternative to plastic trash bags are here
Watch this great video of Tesco's campaign to get shoppers to use alternatives to plastic bags, it's obviously working in Ireland!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thanks Sheryl Crow

Saw Sheryl Crow with opening act James Blunt at Ravinia last night. It was the perfect night for an outdoor concert and picnic, breezy, no bugs and warm. Friends and I lounged around and ate and drank wine while listening to a great concert, I think both James Blunt and Sheryl are even better live than on albums. I also appreciate that a small portion of my ticket is donated to the UN World Food Program by Sheryl.
If you get a chance, see her on her 2008 tour, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Flash Back Friday #12

Because the Olympics kick off tonight and I am an Olympic junky, here is a Friday Flash back, Mary Lou Retton's perfect 10 on the vault at the 1984 Olympics. I was a competing high school gymnast at the time and her Olympic gold changed the energy of the team that year, we all felt we could do anything. It was an exciting time.
Tonight I am hunkering down for the Opening Ceremonies, my schedule for the next 2 weeks is all about watching the Olympic coverage. Go Team USA!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pet Nicknames

So I have a beagle, rescued from a shelter when she was 8 weeks old. I thought I was bringing Snoopy home, I got something quite different. We named her Eloise after my favorite children's book, Eloise at the Plaza, and she has definitely lived up to the spirit of her name, precocious, nosey, always in trouble, sly, silly, lovable and pretty. She even has her own website at:
Eloise is a spirited rabbit/squirrel/chipmunk chaser who enjoys food, walks, food, naps, food, belly scratches, food, surveying her yard, food, sleeping in our beds and her family.
She also has a lot of nicknames which include:
Moo Moo Cow (she has spots)
Moobee Skoobie
Beagle Dog
Lazy Poopy Dog
El Bell
Weezy Poo
Meemee Moomee

Funny, but she responds to them all, especially when we have food.
Do you have nicknames for your pets?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Have you seen the new Batman?

Saw it before I left for Ireland, seriously disturbing and violent but excellent film making. Chicago is the star. I love living in Gotham.
This review snippet from a London paper, I think sums up exactly how fantastic Heath Ledger is as the Joker. Don't know how they can follow with a sequel, but it would be nice to have them all back in my hometown.
"And Ledger? Although the Joker's menace is anonymous, random and impersonal, meaning this is more of a star turn than a performance, he's magnificently creepy and unhinged. His manic zest gives the film its energy. He knocks Jack Nicholson into a cocked purple hat. Even if he doesn't get that posthumous Oscar, this is enough of a tour de force to make us mourn him again."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Goodbye to Ireland, Hello to Reality

My home away from home, Adare Manor, County Limerick, Ireland
After saying a sad goodbye to one of my favorite travel destinations, it was a harsh reality to get back into the routine of work, grocery shopping, laundry and everything that comes with real life. In a small way it was also comforting to be back to the grind. After sleeping in 4 different beds in 1 week (Ireland, Home, Cottage in Michigan, Family beach house) which was not unlike a boisterous week during my years in college... I am still happy to be back to the familiarity of my life.
Honestly I really enjoyed stepping away from all communication. I didn't miss the instant contact of email and cell phones and definitely didn't miss turning on my computer or television to crappy sensationalist news or pictures of Brad and Angelina's twins (seriously does ANYONE care? Is this really important!)
Now if I can just figure out how to support myself in a little seaside Irish cottage...with Internet access of course for those slow rainy afternoons.