Friday, May 4, 2012

Poems From the Post

In April we celebrated National Poetry Month with a poem mailbox!  Here are some of our favorites that you typed on the library typewriter and then dropped in the mail:

Night wind through spring leaves
Like a thousand tiny hands
Praised our existence.


Un poema no es m’as que una historia inconclusa...



I once met a catamoglomerate
I asked it if it would like to set.
I didn’t say sit because I wasn’t quite sure,
if it knew how to sit
so we set on the floor.


Short, sweet words on lines
Typing on this old machine
This is my haiku.


not for nothing
does the day end,
a sliding shadow with
that piercing of sky
with the budding end
of branch.


yo, i spit it and grip it intricately
going the oingo boingo lips my gee
folly follows fallow farmland
but I’ve expanded my mind-state
with this tabula rasa slate
I eat it off like some peanut-butter thai dish off a
Rasta’s culinary plate

shorn the sheep,

they said
but I wasn’t about to be on some
unbelievable right-said Fred


I decided I’d had enough
piety was my choice since chillin
in a diaper
snoozin’ in the buff

Some of these flocks don’t understand
they listen to they green lawn music
while I choose to exemplify some
  busy bruises

peaches and Nephalia Drownyards
  are all I need
    to seed
    and feed

I might jump and blind the eyes of the wicked
            like a holy steed

Thanks for being poets with us this April, Lawrence!  Haven’t had your fill of poetry yet?  There’s still time to head over to the Lawrence Arts Center and contribute to the “Community Epic Poem.”

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Record of Covers

Even a cursory glance through the pages of For the love of vinyl : the album art of Hipgnosis, by studio co-founder Aubrey Powell, is sure to bring instant recognition for fans of 1970’s British rock. Together with Powell’s partner Storm Thorgerson, Hipgnosis designed seminal album covers for Pink Floyd , Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel and others, and this lavish oversize book recreates 60 of the best in better detail than your CD copies can provide. In addition to the reproductions, Storm and Po share entertaining anecdotes from the days of rock star (and record label) excess—find out what it was like to live with Syd Barrett, for one thing -- as well as get the inside scoop on their design decisions and techniques from the days before digital manipulation.

Many of our beautiful new items—like this title-- are simply too large for our new book displays and are shelved directly into our OVERSIZE shelves on the west wall of the adult section. Don’t forget to check them out the next time you’re checking out!

Dale - Tech Services

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mark Your Calendar: Library Program, Doomsday

On Thursday April 26, visiting professor Dr. Quetzil Castañeda will visit the library to show clips from his award-winning documentary film, Incidents of Travel in Chichen Itzá, and speak about the Maya 2012 calendar, including the 5,125 yr. long cycle and the end of a "world age."  I'm excited to hear his scholarly take on this end-of-the-world theory, and it's put me in a reflective mood about my own emergency preparedness.

I grew up in a family that lived and breathed the edict to “be prepared!”  My three brothers are Eagle Scouts.  We had a shelter custom-built in our basement to store a year’s worth of food for seven.  Yet it wasn’t until grad school that one of my professors finally put the fear of god in me.  “What are y'all going to eat during the next disaster?” she demanded as we covered the emergency preparedness segment of her Organizational Management syllabus.  “You sure can’t wait until afterwards to get prepared.”  Then she told us all to get guns.

Literally since that day, my husband and I have been on our path to emergency preparedness.  If you’re interested in making your own kit, I suggest checking out the Center for Disease Control (CDC), FEMA, and several religious organizations, many of which have great emergency preparedness resources.  There’s even an excellent US Army Survival Manual that’s been floating around the internet.  Any way you slice it, your survival kit should cover these seven essential categories:


3 day minimum supply of 1 purified gallon per day per person


3 day minimum supply of non-perishable high-energy food.  Longer term stores of rice, beans, freeze-dried fruits and veggies, seeds

first aid

bandages, antiseptic, antibiotics, ibuprofen, etc.


hand-crank radio / flashlight, camp-stove, matches, multi-tool, hatchet, utility knife, compass, whistle, generator, duct tape, etc. And sure, even a gun.

clothing / bedding / sanitation

sleeping bags, space blankets, toiletries, one change of clothes per person

important family documents

wills, deeds, insurance policies, birth / marriage / death certificates, photo identification, bank account numbers

special items

travel games, book of poems, very long novels (one per person)...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Crazy Good

Last week while I was in line for coffee, I got asked if I was a psychopath.

This wasn’t because I look psychopathic (I hope), but because I was carrying a copy of Jon Ronson’s newest book, The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, under my arm. It’s my favorite book of the moment, and the one I’m going to badger everyone I know to read.

I’ve been a huge fan of Jon Ronson’s since I first encountered his non-fiction book, The Men Who Stare at Goats, in a used book store in Burlington, VT, circa 2007. The Men Who Stare At Goats is loosely about U.S. Army officers who try to harness psychic energy in an attempt to disintegrate live goats, and since its publication in 2004, it’s been turned into a film starring George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Ewan McGregor and Jeff Bridges, and Ronson has been invited as a regular contributor to NPR’s This American Life.

Ronson’s forte is weird fringe journalism, wherein he investigates psychic and paranormal military ops, extraterrestrial theories, Roswell type stuff, and now, psychopathy. But the thing that makes him so much more than a run of the mill conspiracy theorist is his knack for serious journalistic endeavors: how did our psy-ops military culture lead up to Abu Graib? How foolproof is the rubric we use to label people psychopaths? And should we be more concerned about the psychopaths who are in prison, or the ones who are running the world’s biggest corporations?

From the Stockwell Strangler to former Sunbeam CEO Al Dunlap, Jon Ronson sets out on a quest to understand the nature of psychopathy and power. (According to the Bob Hare, creator of the Psychopathy Checklist Revised, at least 4% of our world leaders meet the minimum qualifications of psychopathy!) Ronson’s anecdotes are witty and revelatory, and will make you feel a little like you are able to identify the psychopaths in your own life. But at the heart of his investigation, Jon Ronson unveils his own unsettling hypothesis about our culture’s fascination with madness, and why we’re all sort-of comforted by those pill-popping personalities we see on reality TV.

And if nothing else, The Psychopath Test is a fabulous conversation starter. I suggest you take it with you next time you go for coffee. You might get asked if you’re a psychopath.

Rachel - Programs

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Age of Miracles or Mayhem?

The sun exploding, a meteorite crashing into the Earth's surface, a blast from a Death Star ray--these are relatively quick apocalyptic scenarios that would mean the end of human civilization as we know it. But what if it happened slowly--like the gradual slowing of the Earth's rotation? That's exactly what Karen Thompson Walker's upcoming debut novel, The Age of Miracles, imagines. In the year of the supposed prediction of the end of the world by the Mayan long count calendar, it's only fitting that we'd see more stories about the apocalypse. I think this one, however, will stand out.

Julia is a normal 12 year old girl. She goes to school, plays soccer, and has a secret crush on one of her classmates. This normalcy stops when she and her family awake one Saturday morning to find that something has happened to the Earth's rotation: it has begun to slow. As both daylight hours and nighttimes stretch to unimaginable lengths, the effect of gravity increases, birds begin to die off from a mysterious disease, and the people in Julia's life begin to change--and maybe not for the better. Struggling to understand herself anyway, Julia must adapt to these catastrophic changes in her already turbulent life.

Though Julia is the central character, Walker addresses issues beyond the adolescent coming of age story. How would our nation and the world react to the slowing of the Earth's rotation and the resulting discrepancy in our time keeping systems? Would we keep to clock time, or would we be like what Julia refers to as the "real-timers," who adapt their active and inactive schedules to that of the sun? How would governments respond to the damage caused to coastlines as tide levels increase, forcing beach side citizens to relocate? And how would humans acclimate as certain plants and animals begin to die off?

An engaging and powerful portrayal of a dystopian not-too-distant future, this novel is definitely going to be at the top of my favorite books of 2012. The Age of Miracles will be available June 26, 2012 from The Random House Publishing Group, but you can place a hold on the Lawrence Public Library's copy by clicking here.

-William, Reference

This blog post also appears on William's personal blog,