Friday, November 21, 2008

Klingon Opera

I must indulge my inner-geek from time to time.

As reported in the NYTimes:

FLORIS SCHÖNFELD, a multidisciplinary artist from the Netherlands, is developing a Klingon opera as a "nonprofit research work in progress."

The Klingon opera Mr. Schönfeld is developing is called “ ’u’.” The apostrophes before and after the “u” are part of the title and are pronounced by Mr. Schönfeld like short coughs. The title, he said, stands for universe or universal.

I am also liking the trailer for the Star Trek Movie very much.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Douglas Florian

Oh my giddy aunt! (Learned that expression from Michele at Scholar's Blog.)

Douglas Florian has a blog, Florian Cafe. I know this because at GottaBook reported it last week.

Thank you, thank you Greg for sharing this news.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Max for President

Max for President by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Knopf, 2004

I read this to a group of first graders just before the election. My quick pre-reading designated this books as instructive and straight-forward, "here's how we vote" book. I was delighted but unprepared for how much the children loved this little story.

Max, a boy, is running for class president and Kelly, a girl, also decides to run. Both children make posters and hand out buttons and campaign with their plans to improve the school.

When Max outlined his platform, many of the boys cheered. Then the girls clapped when Kelly spoke. Then I heard the little voice at my feet that softly said, "I wish they both could win."

When is was clear that Max had NOT won, another voice suggested, "He could be vice president," anticipating the direction of the story.

I was honestly moved when the children all clapped and whooped as I finished. Both Max and Kelly work together to make their school a better place. The children were totally engaged by Krosoczka's expressive illustrations. The children were, clearly, drawn to these characters and identified with them.

What a little treasure.

This was the first Krosoczka book I've had the honor to read aloud. I cannot wait to read more of his books to kids.

Clever lad, that Jarrett.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me Free

Gilbert & Sullivan Set Me Free by Kathleen Karr; narrated by Carmen Viviano-Crafts and the Full Cast Audio Family, c2003, p2004.

Why is Libby Dodge in prison?

She is apparently educated, smart and only 16 years old. What could she have done to land in the Sherborn Women's Prison in Boston. Some of the other women there have committed heinous crimes while others are victims of the brutality and poverty of the early 1900s. With names like Second-Story Sal and Kid Glove Rosie, the women's stories are interwoven in the plot. An older woman, Ma McCreary, is part mother figure and part best friend to Libby.

The conditions in the prison are harsh but the arrival of Mrs. Wilkinson, the new chaplain, transforms their lives. Now a widow. her husband was a member of the D'Oyle Carte Opera Company and she is determined to bring music into the lives of the women of Sherborn. Ma and Libby are the first to join the new choir and the Easter performance of Handel's "Messiah" is so uplifting that the whole prison community is eager to support their next project, Gilbert & Sullivan's “Pirates of Penzance.”

This is Libby's story though and as she confronts her past, she learns to look toward the future and the places her beautiful singing voice might take her. I was pleased with Libby's happy ending.

The whole story has a feel of the fantastic but it is a true story. This NY Times article from 1914 must have been part of Katherine Karr's inspiration for this book.

The Full Cast Audio performance is very well acted and rich with Gilbert and Sullivan's music which made this G&S fan very happy.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Life comes at you fast

So one minute you are a mild mannered librarian, preoccupied with maneuvering entlings here and there to their appointed rounds, working in some elementary schools and doing some cataloging of professional books at the admin building.

The looming wedding-of-the-year is happily preoccupying any unused cranial RAM and you are preparing interview questions and book reviews in your head because your little blog has been sorely neglected over the past months.

Oh sure, a hurricane named Ike kicked us pretty hard and there was no electrical power for most of the area for a long while, but we pulled on our booties and got to work and things are pretty much back on track. School was a whoosh and a rush as teachers struggled to compress the curriculum into the hurricane shortened grading period.

Deep breath...things are almost back to normal (what ever that is.)

The next thing you know you are in the ER and people are using words with -ectomy and -oscopy at the end of them. You are lying on a narrow table with round machines surrounding you and realizing the monotone of an audiobook from your iPod is about to drive you starkers but Van, the Man, Morrison helps you lie still "just a few minutes longer" while materials you recall from high school chemistry are tracked through your body's system.

Life comes at you fast.

All is well.
Nasty bits causing all the trouble are gone. Recovery in progress.

Entlings have shared funny story of a someone behind ER admit desk asking them, "was that Mrs. P, my old librarian?" and you reflect that you have been at this library-thing long enough to have former students who are old enough to be working behind an ER admit desk.

Entlings and Treebeard have been keeping the laptop away from me lest I blurt out on the world wide web something untoward like the password, livelongandprosper, to bank accounts or ...

...whoops, someone is taking the laptop away from me now.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Unquestionable goodness of the Capitol

I am reading Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

The "unquestionable goodness of the Capitol" has organized the country of Panem by districts to provide for the needs of all.

The "Capitol" provides food and yet everyone is hungry.

The "Capitol" provides doctors who just shrug when someone is injured and tell families to let their loved one die.

The "Capitol" provides "peacekeepers" to keep people safe, but no one is safe.

The "Capitol" genetically alters animals to eavesdrop and report on the populace so people school avoid "tricky topics" and keep their faces from showing any emotion.

"Criminals" have their tongues cut out and are labeled Avox.

To distract the population the "Capitol" drafts two young people from each district to fight to the death in an Olympics style extravaganza, live on television.

Gladiator meets Lord of the Flies meets American Idol

What a chilling book! I cannot put it down.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

One Pumpkin to Rule them All

How nice it is to have entling no. 2 at home to help out with the pumpkin carving.

This year's pumpkin was too hip for the neighborhood but I think it looks splendid!