29 December 2004

Disaster Aid

Amazon will allow customers to give directly to the Red Cross via their web site. Money seems like such a teeny, insubstanstial thing to do in the face of so much suffering, but I guess all our pennies add up.

I have no other words to say about the tsunami. I feel so overwhelmed with the images and news coming our way that I cannot articulate my sorrow. I cannot begin to imagine what it must be to have been there or to have family and friends there.

After a child asked for a book on tsunamis yesterday, I put up a display of news photos and headlines (nothing too graphic -- it is a children's department after all) with all of our books on tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, and natural disaster, along with books about the countries so devastated by this horror. I saw some girls looking at the display and leafing through a book on Malaysia a little while ago. If this helps us to realize that we are all part of the same human family, maybe at least some sliver of good can come from it?

28 December 2004

What Would Steinbeck Say...

... about the closing of the Salinas libraries?

"He'd obviously be upset. He knew that literature can lift and elevate the spirit and enable humans to rise above any situation... He probably even read some of the great literature at the Salinas library."

Read the rest.

27 December 2004

Coming soon: Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka

Click here to reach a link to a teaser trailer for the forthcoming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film.

Yeah, it's a stereotype, but it's still funny...

Check out today's Fox Trot.

22 December 2004

I feel ill...

From The Guardian: What should we do with US classics like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Color Purple? "Dig a hole," Gerald Allen recommends, "and dump them in it." Don't laugh. Gerald Allen's book-burying opinions are not a joke.

Earlier this week, Allen got a call from Washington. He will be meeting with President Bush on Monday. I asked him if this was his first invitation to the White House. "Oh no," he laughs. "It's my fifth meeting with Mr Bush."

Bush is interested in Allen's opinions because Allen is an elected Republican representative in the Alabama state legislature. He is Bush's base. Last week, Bush's base introduced a bill that would ban the use of state funds to purchase any books or other materials that "promote homosexuality". Allen does not want taxpayers' money to support "positive depictions of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle". That's why Tennessee Williams and Alice Walker have got to go.

Read the rest.

Thanks to JudithR for the link.

Happy Birthday!

Birthday wishes to Jerry Pinkney, who turns 65 today.

Mr. Pinkney has been beautifully illustrating children's books for more than 35 years. He has the rare distinction of being the recipient of five Caldecott Honor Medals -- for Mirandy and Brother Wind by Patricia McKissack in 1989, The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci in 1990, John Henry by Julius Lester in 1995, The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen in 2000, and Noah's Ark (which he also wrote) in 2003.

In addition, he has received the Coretta Scott King Award five times and a Coretta Scott King Honor Award twice. Many of his books have been cited as notable books by the American Library Association and the National Council of Social Studies/Children's Book Council.

I love that Mr. Pinkney has said, "Books give me a great feeling of personal and artistic satisfaction. When I'm working on a book, I wish the phone would never ring. I love doing it. My satisfaction comes from the actual marks on the paper… when it sings, it's magic."

His books are magic. Many thanks and best wishes for the year ahead!

No free books

From the State Journal-Register Online: "Santa Claus may bring books to your kids this holiday season, but Gov. Rod Blagojevich won't. His administration quietly dropped plans to partner with a Tennessee foundation to offer free, age-appropriate books to Illinois children younger than 5."

I know a lot of librarians who were upset with the plan or thought it threatened libraries, but I think anything that brings books into a child's home is positive (although I did think some of the proposed book titles weren't "age-appropriate" and suggested some alternatives).

Read the rest.

21 December 2004


Playing now, It's a Wonderful Life in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies.


Tastylicious potatoes

So, I don't usually post recipes, *but*... I love, love, love this Potato and Onion Tart and had, sadly, lost the recipe. After searching through a stack of old newspapers, I finally re-found the recipe and do not want to lose it again. If I put it here, I should be able to keep track of it and (bonus!) some of you may get to experience its yumminess. I like to serve this dish with a green salad and a little wine. Enjoy!

Yummy Potato and Onion Tart

1 large (about 9 oz) Idaho potato, peeled and thinly sliced
6 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
1 c shredded Swiss cheese
½ c dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375° F.

  • In small bowl, toss potato slices with 1 Tbsp melted butter and salt.
  • Arrange slices in 10-inch pie pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  • In medium skillet, over medium heat, sauté the onion in 3 Tbsp melted butter until soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Turn the heat down to low, sprinkle the onion with sugar, and continue (stirring occasionally) to cook until onions are deep brown, but not burned or crispy, about 10 minutes.
  • When potatoes are done, remove from oven and spread onion mixture over them.
  • Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese.
  • In small bowl, combine bread crumbs with remaining two Tbsp of melted butter and sprinkle the mixture over the cheese.
  • Return the tart to the oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and crumb topping is golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let tart cool 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: about 255 cal., 8 g. pro., 19 g. carbo., 17 g. fat, 28 mg. chol., 470 mg. sodium.

Note: substituting reduced-fat Swiss cheese will reduce calories and fat.

July 16, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will be released at 12:01am that day. I, having pre-ordered the British edition, plan to be at Borders nonetheless to revel in the sight of hundreds of children lined up excitedly waiting for a BOOK!

20 December 2004

Didja miss me?

Assuming I haven't *completely* lost my couple of readers, I guess I should apologize for being so remiss in posting over the past few weeks. I went out of town with Science Boy, to visit my brother and sister in Phoenix. We had a lovely time -- thanks for asking -- despite the fact that we were both sick for much of the trip. One of the highlights was having the chance to see the Geminid Meteor Shower in a significantly darker setting than we are used to. Bee-you-tee-ful! We followed NASA's advice and packed some cocoa, borrowed my brother's Jeep, and headed for a desert-y setting near Lake Pleasant. It was amazing. We counted 131 meteors in just about one hour.

Anyway, now I have mountains of work to catch up on. Sigh. Why can't work temporarily pause while we're away? It almost makes vacations more trouble than they're worth. (ALMOST.)

There were a number of things I thought about blogging over the past few weeks, but I suspect most of them are old news now, so I'll probably just start anew today. We'll see how the day goes....