June 2004 Archives


In this spot, I will be collecting urls for Library Web pages as I prepare for reviewing the Wilson Library Web page.

The Wilson Page Testing & Brainstorming page is http://wilson.lib.umn.edu/test-brains.html
For starters:
University of Michigan Undergraduate Library:


Bloggin' on...

This blog is working as a great test site for me. I wanted a blog that no-one was using for work purposes, so that I can test layout and changes without ruining anything that is useful for other people. For example, I'm maintaining a blog for my reference colleagues but we need to use it at the reference desk. If I accidentally delete things it will not support good reference service!

I've figured out how to edit the templates and how to insert images. That took some practice but it was fun to see the river birch finally appear in the blog.

For those of you who find any of these entries interesting and feel like responding, I hope you'll click on the Comments link at the end of an entry and ... comment!

River Birch


Here's the river birch in my back yard. The birds like it and it is beginning to provide some shade.

Kids in the Library

Today we spotted a group of youngsters in bright yellow t-shirts coming into Wilson with some young adults. It turns out they are with the U of M's summer youth program from St. Paul part of campus. How great it is to have them here!

Favorite Word: Perambulator

Ruth and I walked past Aprilborn Antiques on Marshall Avenue in St. Paul the other day. In the window was a wicker pram. A perambulator. The American term is baby buggy but perambulator says so much more. It implies a leisurely stroll down a sidewalk past peonies and daisies cheerfully poking out through freshly painted picket fences. Strolling. Leisure. A lost art today.

Oddly enough our American "stroller" is a different vehicle than the buggy. Much too contemporary, not romantic. More like jogging than strolling really. At the mall, strollers are more like moving hazards.

For me "perambulators" evokes happy memories of being curled up in my parent's pale green chair in the living room, reading such childhood classics as Mary Poppins or Peter Pan.

Buggies is actually the earlier term, stemming from an article published in Gentleman's Magazine in 1773 and quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary referring to the horse-drawn carriages as "running down the buggies" - a violent and somewhat distasteful activity for our tender little ones. And they should not be digesting such crusty fare so early in their development. Consider the gentler origins of the pram, which OED kindly finds for us from an August 23, 1856 article in Chambers's Journal. "The Perambulator..has given us children, looking on with their grave smooth faces at the business of life,..as they lean back philosophically in their carriages. " Perambulating in the pedestrian sense, on the other hand, or foot, dates back to 1611.

A recent search retrieved one good thumbnail related to a now-removed photo with the filename web2.iadfw.net/antiques/ gifjpegs/pram.gif
You may be able to find it or similar results using the keywords:
wicker pram antiques
in a Google Images search

Happy surfing, strolling and perambulating.

Biographically Speaking

Annie has always enjoyed reading biographies. It's a much more recent attraction for me. The media stir over Bill Clinton's My Life certainly has heightened awareness of the form.

Biography has its own section in Barnes & Noble.
Libraries, too, have a separate section by call number (Biography is an "auxiliary science of history") in both Dewey (920) and Library of Congress (CT). Which is smart because that's probably a lot easier than assigning call numbers that relate to the country and time period of the person. What if the person was born in England but grew up in the U.S.? Then you have to decide whether the call number reflects the country of origin, or citizenship, or where they established a claim to fame. How would you classify Cary Grant*? Much more complicated.

Anyway, I haven't read Hillary's biography yet. Who to read first? I might be even more inclined to take on a less strenuous subject. Richard Chamberlain, for example. Yes, I grew up swooning over the ever unavailable Dr. Kildare. Little did I dream how unavailable he was and is. He lived much of his life dreading that his secret life would be exposed and now he's telling his story in a biography. I want to read it. His father was an alcoholic and he grew up trying to cope with that. My own father was a recovering alcoholic, and in his recovery process he was a role model for me. So the priest of Thorn Birds holds much fascination for me.

Now, we'll see what I wind up reading. I am torn about buying what the library will eventually buy but will be in such demand that I will only catch up with the reading years later. It would be like just discovering Dharma and Greg in 2004.

* Cary Grant: what is it about the classic movie stars that so many male leads have that hard G & K in their first and last names? Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Kirk Douglas, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck. If I poked around enough I guess I could find out which of these were stage names. Hard is the key word, here. Hard sounds sound masculine, right? Or at least, they did in the 50s. If these were their real names, well, what's in a name? Did their crunchy names predestine them to become idols of the silver screen?
Note from June 28: Cary Grant is indeed a stage name, for Archie Leach.
See http://www.fact-index.com/s/st/stage_name.html

Why is Elizabeth Shelver a librarian?

Why is Peter Bell ringing in the clanging light rail system?

Why was the dentist I visited in the 60's Dr. Hirt?

17th century British cuisine

In keeping with the time and locale of An Instance of the Fingerpost, our June Book Club pick, note these great Web sites, including one with a timeline describing food and beverages over time:

The Food Timeline
"Ever wonder what the Vikings ate when they set off to explore the new world? How Thomas Jefferson made his ice cream? What the pioneers cooked along the Oregon Trail? Who invented the potato chip...and why? Food is the fun part of social studies! The tricky part is finding recipes you can make in a modern kitchen, with ingredients bought at your local supermarket and bring into school to share with your class. This page is for you! We are also stocking up on teacher and parent food resources. Looking for social customs, manners & menus? Try the Culinary History Timeline. Bon appetit. "

Coffee in Europe
Coffee was hardly known in Europe before the seventeenth century. European travellers, who visited Middle Eastern countries at this time, probably visited the coffee houses, where business would be transacted, or saw street coffee pedlars carrying coffee for sale in copper pots.

When these travellers returned, their reports about coffee aroused European interest in coffee. Perhaps these travellers brought back small samples of coffee beans, but the Venetians were the first people to bring larger quantities of coffee into Europe. In 1615, Venice received Europes' first shipment of green coffee beans and the first coffee house there, Caffè Florian, opened in 1683.

Coffee was known in the first half of the 17th Century in Venice and Marseille but there was no trade in beans there. Although famous for their tea drinking, the British were the first European nation to embrace the pleasures of coffee drinking on a commercial basis. The first coffeehouse was in Oxford in 1650 where it was opened by a Turkish Jew named Jacob. More opened soon after in London in 1652 where there were soon to be hundreds - each serving their own customers.

ENGLAND: Great Britain was the last of the three great sea-faring nations to break into the Chinese and East Indian trade routes. This was
due in part to the unsteady ascension to the throne of the Stuarts and the Cromwellian Civil War. The first samples of tea reached England between 1652 and 1654. Tea quickly proved popular enough to replace Ale as the national drink of England. As in Holland, it was the nobility that provided the necessary stamp of approval and so insured its acceptance. King Charles II had married, while in exile, the Portuguese Infanta Catherine de Braganza (1662). Charles himself had grown up in the Dutch capital. As a result, both he and his Portuguese bride were confirmed tea drinkers. When the monarchy was re-established, the two rulers brought this foreign tea tradition to England with them. As early as 1600, Elizabeth I had founded The John Company for the purpose of promoting Asian trade. When Catherine de Braganza married Charles, she brought as part of her dowry the territories of Tangier and Bombay. Suddenly, the John Company had a base of operations. The John Company was granted the unbelievably wide monopoly of all trade east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of Cape Horn...

MIA Postcards

Send a postcard from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

for example, grab something at random from Foot in the Door

Venus Transit at Sunrise

Today's photo on Astronomy Picture of the Day is Venus Transit at Sunrise:

Hildegard of Bingen - mandala

This mandala is a work that my Behold group studied a few months ago.

Behold: Arts for the Church Year is a magazine we started using in September 2003. Each issue includes at least one image for each week that relates to the liturgical season, plus a thought-provoking poem or brief quotation for the season. The readings for each Sunday are listed. We've noticed that the images are matched more to the general seasonal theme rather than to any specific reading. Behold is a resource from Seasons of the Spirit.

Book Club

Annie started book club a few years ago. Five women of varying ages, but we all have a taste for international and cultural themes. The first year we met at Open Book on Washington Ave in Minneapolis. Lately we've been meeting at our homes. In June we're inviting two more friends to join us.

Some of my favorites include A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, Bel Canto by Anne Patchett, and Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier. A Fine Balance was a bit dark but I loved it. On the lighter end is one for July: Children of God Go Bowling, by Shannon Olson.

Here are our Picks:

January - Anne - Nine parts of desire : the hidden world of Islamic women / Geraldine Brooks.
February - Sarah - Paradise by Toni Morrison
March - Donna - DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
April - Sarah - The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
May - An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears at Anne's - this got pushed to June - 691 pages; suddenly everyone was "busy" in May
June - Fingerpost - at Suzie's
July - Children of God Go Bowling by Shannon Olson at Donna's?
August - Body and Soul by Frank Conroy at Annie's?


January - Donna - Life of Pi Yann Martel
February - Suzie - The Color of Water James McBride
May- Annie - Death Comes to the Archbishop
June: Sarah - Bondswoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
[July ?]- Girl with a Pearl Earring - Tracy Chevalier
[August ?] My Forbidden Face - Latifa
September - Donna - Oryx and Crake
October - Roberta - The Spell of the Sensuous
November - Susan – Virgin Blue Tracy Chevalier

April Annie: Postville - Stephen Bloom
May Donna: A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
June Suzie: Bonesetter's Daughter - Amy Tan
July Roberta: The Heartsong of Charging Elk - James Welch
August Sarah: The Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri
September Sarah - The Shipping News Annie Proulx
October Roberta - Two Old Women Velma Wallis
November Anne - Bel Canto Anne Patchett

More - no date listed:
Undaunted courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the opening of the American West / Stephen E. Ambrose.

Here's the list of "other" books - not chosen but probably good one and all:

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

Color: A Natural History of the Pallette by Victoria Finlay

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Lanvik

158 Pound Marriage by John Irving

The Cape Ann by Faith Sullivan

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie


Ok, I never expected to be a sports fan again. In fact I'd forgotten that I followed the Minnesota Kicks back in the 1970s and before that, the NorthStar hockey team.

Recently a dear friend invited me over to watch one of the last games. Of course the excitement in the arena was high, and my friend's enthusiasm was high, so I caught the fever!

I didn't expect to actually remember the names of players but something about this team has revved up my enthusiasm for the T-Wolves to the point that I actually bought a sweatshirt with their name on it.

We scared the Lakers. Next year we will get to the Finals and win!

Greetings! This is a blog designed to test design. This way I won't mess up my official blogs. Thanks for visiting - keep checking, it should change over time.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2004 is the next archive.

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