Monday, September 29, 2008

Paul Newman, 1925-2008

Isn’t it funny what you remember when people pass away?

When Bernie Mac died I remembered an early episode of his show. His wife enrolled their niece in a preschool that emphasized strong feminist values, but the little girl refused to go to school in anything other than her ballerina costume while insisting, “I’m a princess!” That same weekend Isaac Hayes passed. I don’t remember Shaft, but recall watching a South Park episode in which his character (Chef) is dressed like Mel Gibson in Braveheart while facing off a turkey, also in blue face paint. And right before these two deaths, George Carlin passed away. But I’m not supposed to speak about him---according to Carlin, after six weeks you can officially remove the deceased from your phone book. (That or puts their info in a file with another deceased person they didn’t get along with in life---you know, to see if maybe they can work things out, LOL.) So when Paul Newman died I realized that I remember him for a movie in which he played a lawyer (The Young Philadelphians and not the better known The Verdict).

I also recalled his visit to the Tonight Show on March 13, 2006. Jay Leno bet him $10 to eat his brand of dog food.

Newman took the bet.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

No more waiting in line!

Although this subject has been blogged recently, I wanted to share my exciting experience with all of you. After work on Wednesday evening I decided to grab a book for the light rail ride home. I headed over to the non-fiction section in Central Express (first floor of the Central Library) to see if there were any new titles about Antarctica. What I came across instead is Tori Spelling's new autobiography, sTori Telling. I was so excited because I have been on the waiting list for months and was still sitting at number 53. But because the Express collection is now "non-holdable," anyone can walk into the Central Library, find a hot new title and walk out the doors with it. No more waiting in line for a popular title!

Central Express has lots of wonderful collections, for example, general fiction The lost duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn; science fiction Saint City sinners by Lilith Saintcrow; mysteries Blood dreams by Kay Hooper; westerns Thunder of eagles by William W. Johnstone; non-fiction The big sort: why the clustering of like-minded America is tearing us apart by Bill Bishop; and, last but not least, travel guides Backpacking California. So what are you waiting for? We're open six days a week, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays until 8 p.m., with free parking on Saturdays. After your visit to Express, you may want to stop by one of the two new restaurants that have opened up across the street from the Library, Fuzio and Table 260.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Will Rap for Food

Has anyone seen this article?

It appears Ed McMahon is turning to rap in order to pay his debts. After seeing him in that suit (though he admittedly looks better in his than the plastic surgeon from Dr. 90210) my first thought was, “Isn’t this one of the signs of the Apocalypse?”

No. It’s a sign of brokenness.

Many of us have been down-on-our-luck-pass-the-ramen-noodles broke at one point in our lives---I believe it’s called the college years. But this is getting ridiculous. First I watch the couple on Oprah trying to wrench sympathy from Suze Orman for getting behind in payments on their 29 (yes, 29) credit cards, and now I have to watch this? But at least Ed McMahon is famous enough to get offered commercials. What will happen to the rest of us non-celebrities? In this economy you’re lucky if you can get a job waiving a sign on a corner while dressed up as a taco. So for those who are in a little hot water yet haven’t come up with a more creative manner in which to sing/rap/chant/yodel, check out our personal finance section.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Community Outreach Services: The World Music & Dance Festival

"Wow!! ... I didn't know that the library had a bookmobile!" or "When I was a little girl, we used to wait week after week for our bookmobile to visit us!" was another remark that many made as they made their way into Sacramento Public Library's one of three bookmobiles that regularly make visits to some of Sacramento County's more remote areas and assisted -care facilities.

One of bookmobiles is called the "Wonderwagon" many of you who regularly visit the blog have seen it spotlighted before making cameo appearances at many of SPL's outreach events. This time it made its presence known at the "Sacramento World Music & Dance Festival" held at the historic Old Sacramento riverfront adjacent to the old train depot. The event brought musicians and dancers from some of Sacramento's rich cultural communities stretching as far away as Viet Nam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Spain, Poland, the Ukraine and Ghana to name a few.

A hearty thanks goes out to those volunteers who dedicate themselves to enriching Sacramento's local cultures and for showing what Sacramento Public Library is doing to promote cultural awareness, education and peaceful cooperation.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Avast, Me Hearties!

Well, blow me down! Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Arr, so if ye want t' be havin' some fun, mateys, show yer colors an' let yer hearty seafarin' lingo roll off yer tongue, ya scalawags! What!? You don't know how? Well, swabbies, here`s a starter fer ye: this web site will "translate" what ye type into buccanneer-speak.

And should ye scurvy dogs think ye be havin' too much fun, ye can stroll into t' library and cast yer eyes on a few pirate books - or pick up a copy of Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, (...Hurrah for the Pirate King!") to enjoy at home. Welcome aboard, mates! Stroll around an' let us know what ye think.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Year’s Resolutions Revisited

Yes, I know it’s September. Yes, I know it’s too early to start creating New Year’s resolutions for 2009. But, if you’re like me and a gazillion other people, you haven’t gotten around to your 2008 resolutions. Why, just the other day, as I was devouring a batch of delicious, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, I thought (between bites), “Didn’t I say I was going to eat healthy this year?” Somehow I doubt drinking chocolate soy milk with the cookies counts as healthy. Guilt ridden, I ate a whole head of lettuce---you know, to cancel out the cookies. Just like my friend canceled out a salami sandwich by adding a plain rice cake between the layers. (“It adds a crunchy texture!”) However, I’m fairly certain such tactics do not work in the long run. This means I have two choices: I can either go on the Stephen King terror diet, or I can check out our health books section.

Is your home so cluttered you can't use your web cam because your family makes fun of you?

Are you still smoking despite the fact that our laws barely let you smoke in your own house?

Is exercise something you get only when you’re late for work?

Then maybe it’s time for you to grab a few books, too. With 104 days left to this year, there’s still plenty of time to follow through with your 2008 resolutions.

So what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


"El aura narra en primera persona el alucinado viaje de un personaje sin nombre, un taxidermista parco en palabras e introvertido, con una extraña obsesión para un hombre honesto: durante los últimos años, una y otra vez ha planeado e imaginado los asaltos más perfectos y exitosos, siempre a fuerza de una inteligencia que, según él, lo diferencia de lo que pasa allí afuera, la lucha de "tontos contra tontos": policías y ladrones. Él podría hacerlo mejor que nadie. Alejado de su hábitat urbano y llevado a los lejanos bosques del sur a compartir una jornada de caza, un trágico accidente lo conecta inesperadamente con la posibilidad de ejecutar un verdadero delito: el asalto a un camión blindado que lleva las ganancias de un casino de la zona. Movido primero por una morbosa curiosidad, y más tarde por una inexorable corriente de acontecimientos, el taxidermista se verá proyectado hacia sus fantasías, armando pieza a pieza un rompecabezas que lo irá encerrando sin remedio." Esta fascinante y espeluznante film luce con las actuaciones de Ricardo Darín y Dolores Fonzi y fué filmado en las espléndidas paisajes del sur de la Argentina patagónica.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Words, Words, Words

When most people around the world hear the word "library", their immediate association is "books". But when asked why they come to the library, their immediate response is, "to use the Internet." So, what do you suppose are the most dreaded words in library land?

Yup. "The Internet is Down." Oh, man!

That happened at Central Library today. When we opened the building at 10 a.m., we discovered that a crucial connection was broken, and it affected all the computers on the third floor except one. No Internet! Not even at the reference desk. Lines for the one functioning Express computer were long all day. And will be long tomorrow, as well, because we hear the connection may not be restored until after the weekend.

It was interesting to see how many people, when they heard the news, turned right around and left the building. A little sad, too - the librarian in me really wanted folks to grab some newspapers, magazines or - yes - even a couple of books.

It did, however, give us a chance to show people some of the licensed information we provide as part of library service: for the person who wanted the Declaration of Independence, we found it in the World Book Online. For the person who wanted a list of churches in California, we created a list using Reference USA. For the person who wanted a study guide for a test, we showed her Learning Express Library. The best part: printing is free!

So ... the next time the Internet is down, and it will happen - just hopefully not too soon, talk to your information professional - your Information Banker, if you will - and see what other ways we can find to put you in touch with the information you need.

Frida Kahlo @ Your Library

Kids - come on down to to Central Library and meet your muse! Today, September 13, the dynamic Artworks @ Your Library team will explore the traditions illustrated in Mexican artist Frida Kahlo's works. Then create your own mixed-media masterpiece to take home. And while you're here, take a look at the art works on display in the glass case and on the wall outside the elevators in the Kids' Place.

A previous Artworks @ Your Library program at Central Library featured the art of Eric Carle (of "Very Hungry Caterpillar" fame), and children and parents happily cut and glued for an hour to make collages like the ones he used to illustrate his book.

With the holidays coming up, this could be the beginning of a handmade gift for yourself, your family, or your friends. See you in the Kids' Place at 11:30!

(Travis S.'s photo used with permission.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008



"Es algo de poco valor o de poca importancia. Proviene del italiano bagattelle, lengua en la cual también tiene el significado de ‘cosa sin importancia’. La palabra se formó en italiano a partir del bajo latín baga (pequeña prenda de ropa) cuyo diminutivo era bagatta. El vocablo original ya aludía a algo pequeño y el diminutivo a algo menor aun, pero el italiano se caracteriza por tener en ciertos casos un diminutivo del diminutivo (Ver fettucine), de modo que bagatta tiene el diminutivo bagattella, algo realmente insignificante. La palabra llegó también al francés bagatelle, con el mismo significado.El etimólogo alemán del siglo XIX Hugo Schuchardt, por su parte, sugiere que el origen no sería baga sino baca, que en latín significaba ‘pequeño objeto redondo’ pero, en todo caso, la evolución posterior de la palabra sería la misma. En la primera edición del Diccionario de la Academia, bagatela aparecía así definida:

Cosa menuda, de poca substancia, sin valor.

La palabra aparece en castellano en el siglo XVII, y la encontramos por esa época en textos de Calderón de la Barca y de Antonio Hurtado de Mendoza, entre otros."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Don't answer the phone!

This weekend I got to "parent," meaning I made the mistake of answering the phone without checking the caller ID and further compounded the mistake of answering "Nothing" when asked about any weekend plans. Instead of being left to enjoy my summer cold in peace, I was pestered to turn off the cable box's parental control, witnessed a teen eat pizza four meals in a row, and dealt with a football uniform and shoes following a morning scrimmage. Between spraying everything down with Febreze and telling him "Heck no!" to the cable box request, I realized a few things. One, I should invest in whoever makes Febreze. Two, when I marry a rich guy I'm hiring a Nanny McPhee look alike to watch the kids so I won't have to deal with uniforms (or worry she'll steal my husband.) And three, I said the same things over and over (and over) again. So for all the parents/legal guardians/people who mistakenly answers the phone, this is for you.

Lucinda Williams: She's a Little Bit Country, a Little Bit Rock-n-Roll

Lucinda Williams carries a tune like a toddler rides his tricycle: not altogether steady, but impossible to take your eye or ear off of. Lake Charles, Louisiana's favorite daughter and queen of alternative country visited Sacramento's Crest Theater on Thursday, September 4th, playing to a full house of followers (see photo to the left - ahh, the power of the cell phone).

Williams stepped on stage after a brief, instrumental opening by her band, Buick6, and immediately took her trademark buffalo stance. Her Grammy-winning "Come On," "If Wishes Were Horses," "Honey Bee," and "Unsuffer Me" accented a set that lasted nearly three hours.

Her music, at times, spins like a dirge, like she's trying to exorcise some type of anguish. In this regard, her music is very uncountry, but her voice conjures the humidity and beauty of the Bayou country that she knows so well. "If the President wore pink and a prostitute was Queen"; this is a line from "What If" which appears on her 2007 album, West. I think says everything you need to know about Lucinda, a consumate artist whose sound is unlike anything you've ever heard, unless, of course, you've seen Courtney Love croon "Cold, Cold Heart."

Fans even got a peek at the artist that you think Williams may be by listening to her music. But, without knowing her personally, you're not sure. She forgot the chords to a song that she and the band were playing live for the first time, live. She was frustrated as heck. The crowd encouraged her to sail on, as did her band. Amidst the soft cacophony, one could hear Lucinda work at picking away toward some thing made sense, but alas nothing. After she stated in no uncertain terms that - including conjecture over what the BLOGs would have to say - she was ready to move onto the next tune, it was clear that all sins were forgiven. She was real and spectators embraced it. She had connected, yet again.

Her newest album, "Little Honey," will be out on October 14th. In the meantime, if your interested in drinking in the sounds of a 21st century belle, the Sacramento Public Library has plenty to offer of Lucinda Williams.

Friday, September 5, 2008

RINCóN LATINO: Como pasé el Labor Day

Este Labor Day pasado celebré el día libre de la biblioteca encuciando mis manos para recaudar fondos para las actividades y educación de arte para los niños. Participé en el festival anual Chalk It Up en el parque Fremont. Kinetic Illusions patrocinó mi cuadra personal y escogí Sacramento Reads o Sacramento Lea para mi tema.

Han celebrado el festival hace 18 años y me enorgulleció participar en una tradición de Sacramento. Había muchos niños y familias, música en vivo, kioskos de manualidades, comida y un sorteo. Tambien había la tiza.

Por una donación de $10, le da una cuadra pequeña para su pintura y una caja de doce tizas pequeñas o de cuatro grandes. Me gustó mucho los grandes porque era más facil pintar con ellos. Simplemente moja el concreto, aplica la tiza directamente al concreto y usa un pincel de artesanía para extender el color. Cuando se seque el agua, estará una capa grueso de color sobre el concreto. Artistas invitados pintaron obras maestras grandes en las cuadras patrocinadas por negocios de Sacramento.

I celebrated Labor Day off from the library dirtying my hands to raise funds for children's arts activities and education. I participated in the annual Chalk It Up Festival in Fremont Park. Kinetic Illusions sponsored my personal square and I chose Sacramento Reads as my theme.

Chalk It Up has raised funds via this festival for 18 years and I was very proud to join in a Sacramento tradition. There were many children with families, live music and booths displaying crafts, food and a raffle. And there was the chalk.

For a donation of $10, you received a box of colored chalks, either 12 small or 4 large and a square to paint in. I preferred the larger chalk because it was easier to paint with. All you had to do was wet the concrete, apply the chalk directly to the sidewalk and then use a craft brush to spread the color. Once the water evaporates, a thick layer of color is left behind. Local artists were invited to paint large masterpieces on squares sponsored by Sacramento businesses. I had a great time and next year I'm gonna see if I can't convince a library volunteer to join me with library outreach information. See you next year!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Just the Facts...PLEASE!?!?!

As we delve further into this history-making Presidential race, it's important to ask for the truth from those who seek the public trust. Are we not political consumers? Just as we want to know what nitrates/nitrites are finding their way into our foods, or how well a prospective auto will hold-up on the road, we have just cause to ensure that what we're hearing from the Donkey and Elephant are the real deal. Here are a few sources for uncovering the veracity of what we're hearing: ( Founded in 1994, the Annenburg Foundation is a non-partisan think-tank based at the University of Pennsylvania that seeks to vet (there's that word again) proclamations and statements made by politicians.

The Washington Post launched a new site in early September called The Fact Checker ( that aims to be "the place to go for impartial refereeing of campaign rhetoric." ( is a new site, launched by both the Congressional Quarterly and the St. Petersburg Times (Fla.). Its a bit spashier than and The Fact Checker with its 'truth-o-meters.' But, like the others, non-partisan.

For my time, and Politifact are the more user friendly of the two. My fellow Americans, no matter which side of the aisle you stand, prepare to be appalled.

Love Her or Not So Much...Meet Sarah Palin Through A Number of Sources at Your Local Library

In case you hadn't noticed, a self-described 'pit-bull' jumped through your TV screen last night and into the national consciousness. Sarah Palin, the new Queen of the GOP ball, has arrived; gritted teeth, intense eyes, and fabulously coiffed hair.

She's new - new as the day - and I can assure you that for a while the library will have no books on Mrs. Palin. We do, however, offer alternatives until the biographies (and there will be many) start to roll in.

Biography is the art of collecting the essence of a person and delivering that essence in readable prose, whether long or short. The Sacramento Public Library's compliment of Biographical resources are strong. If you have access to the Internet, you can read many of them that way.

The Biography Resource Center Online and Who's Who in American Politics are subscription databases possessing information on Governor Palin. What else? America's News Magazines is a recent addition to our compliment of electronic periodicals. Search Slate, Time, Newsweek, Foreign Affairs, U.S. News and World Report.

You can also take a look at partisan political items like the Nation and the New Republic by going into SPL's EBSCOHost database. And a foray into political reading wouldn't be complete without a look at Newsbank, which enables one to view the Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, and Los Angles Times.

To access these options, go to, and choose your "Database/Article Searching." Once locating, then clicking on the desired database/index, enter your library card number and PIN when prompted.

JUST IN: For the next few months, SPL patrons will have access to a trial database called ABC-Clio's Election Resources: The database is less geared to names and faces and aligned more to electoral and campaigning processes. After choosing a topic from the tabbed index at the top of the homepage, you'll be prompted to end a username and password. They are:

username: SacLibPatron

password: research

Stay with the Sacramento Public Library over the next few months for updates to our collection regarding this historic Prsidential election.

For a portion of Governor Palin's acceptance speech, click on the image below:




"Es el lado izquierdo de una embarcación para quien está situado de frente hacia la proa. La palabra llegó al castellano a partir del francés babord, pero se originó en el neerlandés bakboord, palabra compuesta por bak (posterior, trasero) y boord (borda). En las embarcaciones antiguas, el timonel quedaba de espaldas al lado izquierdo del navío.
La palabra se empezó a usar en español en el siglo XVI, como vemos en este trecho de La araucana (1569), de Alonso de Ercilla:

Suenan cañones, sacres, falconetes,
y al doblar de la Isleta embarazadas,
del Austro cargan a babor la escota,
tomando al Su-sudueste la derrota."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Central Express Rocks!

Last night I danced a dance of joy inside the library.

Sure, the teens who witnessed it were staring at me as if to ask, “What’s wrong with her?” and “Why does she keep feeding us Pop Tarts at Movie Madness Game Nights?” But I ignored them. Why was I so happy? During my break I checked out a copy of The Host by Stephenie Meyer. On the surface this is no big deal, since people started requesting the book before it was even published.

Yet I didn’t have to put my name on a request list.

Here is how it works: Central Express is a browsing collect that holds the newest and latest titles. These are titles you normally might forget to read because, due to their popularity, you won’t see them on the shelves when they are first published. Then you’ll spot them, say, three years from now, when you need another book located next to it. But instead of spotting the item in 2011 and thinking, “Didn’t I mean to read that book?” before shrugging it off, you can read the book now. As in right now. The books cannot be requested, nor can their checkout time be renewed, meaning we have TONS of great titles to choose from. However, for the next three weeks you won’t see The Host on the shelf because it’s mine, mine mine!

Monday, September 1, 2008

RINCóN LATINO: Actividades de la Semana

Se llevarán las actividades siguientes en el sucursal Central para la semana 1 de septiembre al 8 de septiembre. Toda actividad es gratis y estará en inglés. Llame 916-264-2920 para más información o registrarse:

Infantes hasta 18 meses
  • viernes, 5 de septiembre @ 10am, Hora de cuentos para bebes
    Participa en una experiencia interactiva para los bebes hasta 18 meses y sus padres. Esta actividad está deseñado para desarrollar la alfabetización por el leer compartido, canciones, juegos y el movimiento. Se toma lugar en el Kid's Place (piso inferior).
Niños hasta 3 años
  • jueves, 4 de septiembre @ 10:05am, la Hora de los Toddlers
    Venga a escuchar cuentos, cantar con nosostros y más en este programa gratis de 20 minutos.
Jovenes 13- 18 años
  • martes, 2 de septiembre @ 5:30pm, Noche de película y juegos
Preparación para el Colegio
  • sabado, 6 de septiembre @ 8:30am Práctica del Examen SAT
    Prepárese para el ingreso del colegio por una examen real SAT hecho bajo condiciones autenticos del examen. Representantes del Kaplan Test Prep administrarán el examen el sabado, empezando puntualmente a las 8:30am. Favor de dejarse 4 horas para hacer el examen. Abierto a todo estudiante del escuela superior. Se llevará en el cuarto de reuniones oeste de la galeria. Presentado por Kaplan Test Prep. llame para registrarse
Para familias
  • domingo, 7 de septiembre @ 2pm, Matiné de Película
    Disfrute de una tarde relajado con comida y una película
Programas para Adultos - Clases de Computadora
  • sabado, 6 de septiembre @ 10:15am, Recursos del Internet de la Genealogía
    este clase está llena

Book Review: "Little Brother"

"Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow. Tor Teen, 2008.

I don't remember how I heard about this title, but I'm sure glad I found it! My husband read it first, and called it a "page turner" and "required reading for every teen." My teen daughter also read it and called it "good." I read it and have decided to become a LOT more proactive and thoughtful about how I spread traces of my life and activities online.

Marcus (aka W1n5t0n) and friends have skipped school to play an online scavenger hunt-type computer game near San Francisco. Just about that time, terrorists blow up the Bay Bridge. Marcus and friends are "detained" for questioning for several days, and then released. However, in those few days, California has been transformed into a police state by the Department of Homeland Security as they search for the terrorists. Marcus uses his knowledge of computer networking and security systems to take on the DHS single-handedly and attempts to end their lock on people's civil rights.

Doctorow is a digital rights activist and works with the Electronic Freedom Foundation. He also blogs and has a respectable list of published books, some of which are available at Sacramento Public Library.