Happy Halloween


Trick or Treat! I promise not to give out Mary Jane’s or Necco wafers, or worse. Healthy snacks. I’m quite overwhelmed by seeing the sidewalks of Centre Street in Jamaica Plain crowded with children aged 0 to 16 in costume, trick-or-treating at the local businesses. Our own street is crawling with children as well. This…

Red Sox are the 2007 World Series Champions


Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox on their sweeping victory over the Colorado Rockies to win their second World Series title in four years. It’s always nice when the home team wins. Things were different this year from 2004. That year Susan and I watched the game at a pub in Somerville and even though…

Movie Review: The Right Stuff


Thanks to Craig for our new Netflix subscription, Susan and I were able to watch one of my favorite movies of all time, The Right Stuff (1983).  I watched this movie repeatedly on cable and VHS as a child and had much of the dialog memorized.  The excellent dialog plus the skillful acting and the…

Friday Sillies for Halloween


First you need a jack-o-lantern.  When I was in grad school one of my classmates was an expert carver of anime pumpkins.  I don’t know much about anime but I do admire the skill and artistry of her carving.  My favorite pumpkin though still has to be the Melvil Dewey pumpkin (second from the top)…

Book Review: Clara’s Grand Tour by Glynis Ridley


Clara’s Grand Tour (2006) by Glynis Ridley is quite simply the delightful tale of a rhinoceros and her travels in Europe in the Eighteenth-Century. I learned about Clara on my trip to the Getty Center in Los Angeles where her portrait was the centerpiece of an exhibit of paintings by Jean-Baptiste Oudry. Clara was a…

Library Trick or Treat


In preparation for Halloween, here’s a nice bag of links about libraries. First, a trick: The headline of The New York Times article Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web (by Katie Hafner, October 22, 2007) is very misleading. Jessamyn West at librarian.net puts it best in her post Libraries Shun Deals to Place…

New Boston Bicycle Zine


Yesterday, while getting a picnic lunch at Canto 6 I picked up issue #1 of Boston Bicycle Reflector a cute little ‘zine for bicycle commuters. I’m not sure who put this together but it has articles with tips on biking to work, commentary on Mayor Menino’s bicycle initiatives (see the comments in this post for…

The Red Sox Win The Pennant


Congratulations to the home town team (and hey now that I live in Boston proper, they are my home town team) on winning the American League pennant.  In their usual Red Sox manner they went down 3 games to 1 to the Indians before coming back to win it all (and you can see that…

Book Review: Outside Lies Magic by John R. Stilgoe


Outside Lies Magic : Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places (1998) by John R. Stilgoe is a book that encourages the reader to become an explorer observing everyday things in everyday places. I learned about John Stilgoe and this book from MetaFilter. The book isn’t so much a textbook for becoming an explorer, Stilgoe…

Book Review: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman


The World Without Us ( 2007) by Alan Weisman is a book length exploration of what the earth would be like without human beings. Long story short, a whole lot better off. Weisman investigates the question by recreating what the world was like without humans, what has happened since our evolution and spread, vignettes of…

Friday Sillies: The Miracle of Birth


According to Monty Pyton: If the most expensive machine in the hospital doesn’t do it for you, maybe you’d prefer natural child birth. According to Bill Cosby: Part 1 Part 2

A couple of quick library funnies


The Modesto Bee runs another installment of “Ask. Mr. Library Man.” Highlights include: Q: Dear Library Man, since you’re a dude and a librarian, should we call you a “guybrarian”? A: New words, often called “neologisms,” are coined all the time, and some become official dictionary words. But “guybrarian” is just embarrassing. Let it go….

Book Review: Children of God by Mary Doria Russell


Children of God (1999) by Mary Doria Russell is the sequel to The Sparrow, but unfortunately in its great ambition fails to live up to its predecessor. Russell introduces a flurry of new characters and overlapping plotlines that make the novel more confusing than complex, and then tries to resolve them all in a way…

Chuck Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier


10 years before Sputnik, and 60 years ago today, Air Force test pilot Captain Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than Mach 1 and break the sound barrier. This is one of my favorite historic events due to my pre-adolescent obsession with The Right Stuff which lead me to read Yeager several…

Concert Review: Peter Mulvey at Club Passim


Craig, Susan and I caught the first performance of Peter Mulvey at Club Passim in Cambridge on Thursday night. Peter Mulvey is a great singer/songwriter folk musician from Wisconsin who also has ties with Boston where he used to perform in the MBTA stations. Susan & I were fortunate enough to catch him recording his…

Another Book Meme


I’ve previously posted a book list meme here, but I saw this list on a friend’s blog and thought I should give it a shot. It’s based on Library Thing, and here’s a description of how it works: These are the top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users (as of Sunday)….

Friday Sillies: Cycle Facility of the Month


Warrington Cycle Campaign: Cycle Facility of the Month is a funny look at poor urban design for cyclists in one English town.  Click through the puzzling photos captioned with great wit and sarcasm and have a good laugh while learning about bicycle safety.

Book Review: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


My second Banned Books Week selection is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970) by Maya Angelou.  I’ve heard Angelou speak at a William & Mary convocation, read her poetry, and admired her for a long time but never got around to reading this keystone book until now. It was worth the wait.  Basically…

Forest Hills Cemetery Tour


On a lovely Saturday afternoon, Susan and I strutted over to our new neighbor the Forest Hills Cemetery for a historic walk presented by the Jamaica Plain Historical Society and lead by Al Maze. One could tell that Al has a great love for the cemetery and vast amounts of knowledge. Several times he stopped…