Blog Archives

Leif Erikson Day

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Departmentimages

It’s Leif Erikson Day! Hinga Dinga Durgen Everyone! Turns out this what Spongebob Squarepants wishes everyone on Leif Erikson Day. It’s his second favorite holiday, after April Fool’s… He even has a costume!

Leif Erikson (pronounced Layf, like some of us of a certain age remember the actor Leif Garrett) was a Norwegian traveler, voyager, explorer and sailor who is considered the leader of the first boat of explorers to visit North America. It’s generally considered that he landed at Newfoundland and later Labrador. Leif had a very adventurous father, Erik the Red, who established a colony on Greenland, after being kicked out of Iceland—but that’s another story.

cPMaA9b68CKpHW3LzRXGywdHThere was no place for Leif there, since Erik the Red was a larger than life person himself, so he set his eyes on the West. There had been rumors of a far-away land full of wonders, (specifically from Bjarni Herjólfsson, another Viking explorer who some believe is the true first discover of North America.) He decided to go exploring, heading west across a great body of water. Artifacts excavated at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland have been dated to around 1000 A.D., which is considered the only confirmed Viking settlement in North America. According to sagas, the Norse called the area Vinland, because they found grapes growing there.

It wasn’t until 1924 that President Calvin Coolidge, after learning of the research done by Norwegian-American researchers, recognized Erikson as the “Discoverer of America,” even though the first book written about the Norse having discovered America was published in the late 1800s. Wisconsin was the first state to make Leif Erikson day an official holiday—not surprising since it was mostly settled by Scandinavians. Over the years, other states made the day an official holiday. In 1963, a U. S. Congressman from Duluth introduced a bill to observe Leif Erikson day across the nation. In 1964, L B J started the tradition of proclaiming October the 9th as Leif Erikson Day. Every year, it’s at least one thing Congress can agree on!

Why is it October 9? Since there were no records available from the Viking visitation in 1000, any date could have been chosen for Leif Erikson Day. How was October 9th chosen? The Norwegian ship Restauration, bearing the first official waive of Norwegian immigrants, arrived in New York on October 9, 1825.

So have a happy holiday, and remember that it’s because of Leif Erikson and the Restauration that Congress is actually agreeing once a year.  Hinga Dinga Durgen Everyone!

(As always, the opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and in no way reflect upon the beliefs and principles of Williamson County Public Library, its employees, or the Norwegians.)


Sources:leif

Advertisements

DH Lawrence: More than just “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Department

dreams101-450x241

 


lady-chatterley

David Herbert Richards Lawrence was born 130 years ago this September, on September 11. Most people only know the name DH Lawrence because two of his novels, Sons and Lovers and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, were censored. A few people would probably admit to reading these two books under the covers with a flashlight! He was much more than just a novelist though– he was a noted poet, playwright, literary critic and painter.

Lawrence was born in Newcastle, England. His parents were from the working class—his father was a miner and his mother was a tutor. Early on, he contracted tuberculosis, which plagued him all his life. This disease made him sickly and he often bullied at the schools he attended. He did go a local school early on, won a scholarship to primary school, and then won another scholarship to Nottingham High School. He had to be a writer after this—he kept winning scholarships! He didn’t do so well at the high school though, and dropped out to go to work. His mother, realizing his intelligence and looking for someone to teach, began tutoring him at home. Her attention paid off; he was hired as a student-teacher at the University College, Nottingham. He also started writing in his spare time. He always wrote.

MTE5NDg0MDU1MjYwNzkyMzM1

Click to see his his interesting fact***

During his first job, teaching at a school in Croydon, which he surprisingly did well, his first works of literature, poems, were published in the prestigious English Review. He was asked about other works he had, and soon became known for his writing. His mother passed away, which devastated him and had a major impact upon his life and writing—directly influencing his novel Sons and Lovers. While reconnecting with a former professor of his, he fell in love and ran away with the professor’s wife. She left behind three small children! Since the former Mrs. Weekley (Frieda) was German, they had a hard time finding a place to live during World War I—they fell under suspicion constantly. After the war, he nearly died from influenza, got fed up with hateful reviews (and the suspicion) and moved out of England for good. He was living in Italy when Women in Love was published.

Frieda-lawrence-1901

Frieda von Richthofen

He and Frieda, the former Mrs. Weekley, tried living in Sardinia, then Ceylon. He was working his way toward the United States, where they wanted to live. He figured they would be easier on him—or at least not as cruelly critical. They stayed in Australia for a time then finally made it to North America. They found a place in Taos, New Mexico, which is known as The D H Lawrence Ranch. It belongs to the University of New Mexico, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

They visited Mexico, where he contracted three horrible diseases, one after another—typhoid, pneumonia and a recurrence of tuberculosis. He nearly died again. A recurring theme… He returned to Italy, where he wrote and edited Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Failing health kept him from traveling back to the United States. He spent the rest of his life vehemently defending his censured works, especially Lady Chatterley’s Lover.   He died on March 2, 1930.

Frieda, the former Mrs. Weekley, and now Mrs. Lawrence, continued living at the ranch until her death in 1956.

***Interesting fact: D H Lawrence has a Facebook page! Truly! It is maintained by http://www.dh-lawrence.org.uk/

 


Sources:

National Spirit of ’45 Day

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Department70thAnniversarylogo.REVISEDjpg

This year Williamson County Public Library is having a program on Saturday, August 15 in conjunction with Spirit of ’45 to commemorate the end of World War II and the soldiers who fought, served, returned or died during the war.

Why August 15th? The Greatest Generation, as Tom Brokaw so eloquently named them, would know immediately. Japan surrendered on august 14, and August 15 immediately began to be celebrated as V-J Day (as June 6th was V – E Day.) 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. As those who served in World War II and those who lived during it pass away, many people began to realize that as they pass away, so does our connection to World War II and remembering the cost and sorrow of the war.

Led by Susan Collins, Senator from Maine, supported by Senators Daniel Inouye and Frank Lautenberg, who co-sponsored this resolution, Congress in 2010 voted unanimously to create a national day to preserve and honor those who served in World War II. Spirit of ’45 Day is observed on the second Friday of August this year, aligning with August 14, 1945, when spontaneous celebrations broke out across America at the news that the most destructive war in history was over. The purpose of Spirit of ’45 Day is to renew the sense of community, national unity, shared sacrifice and “can do” attitude that were the hallmarks of the generation that endured the difficult times of the Great Depression, fought to defend democracy in the largest mobilization of manpower since the building of the pyramids, and led an unprecedented effort to assure a better future for their children and their children’s children, for both former ally and foe alike.

Spirit of ’45 Day has been steadily gaining traction each year, and is now being celebrated throughout the country with events and activities organized by museums and community history associations, WWII heritage groups, senior living communities and care providers, veterans’ organizations, youth leadership organizations, and others.  This year, Scarlett Johansson and Elton John both are stepping up in a big way to help commemorate this generation. John’s mother manned an anti-aircraft gun during the Battle of Britain, and Johansson’s great uncle was the last soldier to die in combat on August 15, 1945.

WWII in Images: Remembrance and Reflection


Read the rest of this entry

Music of World War II

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Library


Music and movies were two of the best and least expensive forms of entertainment during World War II. Ballrooms were packed as people got together to listen to music, dance, and forget about the Depression and the War for a while. Music pulled communities and nations together, and could be used symbolically to remind everyone what the soldiers and armies were fighting for.

Remember, there was no television yet, only radio, and people gathered around their radios to listen to news and radio programs, and the music they loved. Sometimes groups of people danced in living rooms, “cutting a rug,” others danced at school dances, in ballrooms and clubs. The famous Savoy Ballroom opened in 1926; it had a huge dance floor and a raised bandstand and was an immediate hit—that’s where the song “Stompin’ at the Savoy” came from. Prices were low; everyone was doing what they could to contribute to the war effort. It was a release to have fun and dance.

Many in Europe used Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as a secret code to show support for the Allies. The first five notes of the symphony are exactly the same at V (for victory) in Morse code – dit dit dit dah. Even though Beethoven was a German, he was known to have stood up for individual rights and was against Napoleon’s empire-building, which was enough for many Europeans. The Germans, under the leadership of Hitler, were big fans of Wagner, which made Wagner’s comeback after World War II take much longer than normal.

World War I vets had fallen in love with Paris, and the “Lost Generation “of the 1920s followed suit. Many soldiers had fond memories of Paris and wanted to remember France in better days. Starting with “As Time Goes By” (by Max Steiner) in Casablanca to “The Last Time I Saw Paris” (by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein) showed that men fighting abroad and other Allied countries mourned the Nazi occupation of France.

As for popular music, Hitler was rumored to detest jazz – perhaps because it was played (written and sung) by non-Aryans? The response to this belief was definitely to listen to more jazz, jive and swing music. Big bands and swing music were popular before World War II, and continued to be popular throughout the war. It was a nice diversion from thinking about the war and worrying if your special someone would be coming back. This was the time of Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Bennie Goodman and their orchestras. Also included in this popular craze were Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw and Woody Herman. “Swing, Swing, Swing, Swing” was a popular song, instrumental with lots of brass. “Deep Purple” (not to be confused with the band that came later!–guitarist Richie Blackmore named the band after the song because it was his grandmother’s favorite) was such a popular piano piece that words were quickly written for the song. Other popular swing music songs were “Begin the Beguine”, “In the Mood”, “It Don’t Mean a Thing”, “Sentimental Journey”, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, “Midnight Serenade”, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, and “Stompin’ at the Savoy”.


Big bands became less and less big as there were fewer and fewer men to play the instruments. Glenn Miller was rumored to have been a spy for the United States. He was flying over the English Channel when his plane went down in bad weather in December 1944. No one on the plane was ever found. So we’ll never know if he was a spy or just a musician going to another USO gig to remind the GIs of home. The music of the 1930s and 40s will always be remembered as a background to war, and a time when all people of the Greatest Generation were connected by music and patriotism. The fact that swing keeps coming back is a testament to its beat, its popularity and a true sense of nostalgia. Read the rest of this entry

Harper Lee’s publishing a new book: Go set a Watchman

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Department harper-lee-main-lHarper Lee has published a new book, after over 50 years of saying she would never write another book!

There has been some discussion as to whether Go Set a Watchman was published without Ms. Lee’s consent. Her lawyer, for most of her adult life, was her older sister, who passed away a couple of years ago. She did a valiant job of protecting Harper Lee’s legacy. And now with failing sight and hearing, many were questioning whether or not someone was taking advantage of her ill health. The state of Alabama actually investigated claims of elder abuse and interviewed Ms. Lee, but found the claims unfounded. The last we’ve read and heard is that Ms. Lee has all her faculties and does indeed know what’s what and she did indeed authorize the release of her new book.

According to HarperCollins Publishers, which purchased the North American rights to publish Go Set A Watchman, Ms. Lee’s new book was written in the 1950s. “In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman. It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.” It was found by Ms. Lee’s friend and lawyer Tonja Carter last fall, in what was described as a secure place. Reportedly, she found the new manuscript attached to an older edition of To Kill a Mockingbird. She thought it was Lee’s first novel; then realized the story was set later, and the characters were older as well.

Harper-LeeGo Set a Watchman is set during the mid-1950s, twenty years after To Kill A Mockingbird. Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus. She has to face both personal and political issues as she tries to understand her father better and her own feelings about Maycomb. The title comes from the Bible – Jeremiah 21:6 “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, “Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.” “ Most critics have said that this quote alludes to Atticus who Scout sees as the watchman or caretaker of Maycomb.

The Wall Street Journal will publish the first chapter online on July 10, four days before the July 14th publication date. For those who’d rather listen than read, WSJ will also be publishing the first chapter of the audiobook, narrated by Reese Witherspoon, that day as well.

And yes, we will have copies of the book available for check out on July 14. You can put a hold on the book now. Read the rest of this entry

International CAPS LOCK Day!!

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Department2326873674_c392bdc4e0_o

In 2000, when Derek Arnold created International CAPS LOCK day, it was a parody, making fun of those people who insist in typing everything in ALL CAPITALS. But, as it happened, it became more and more popular, with people celebrating it just for the key itself. No parody at all. The day became so popular with internet users that it is now celebrated twice a year—on June 28 (this Sunday)and on October 22.  But, WHERE DID WE GET THE CAPS LOCK KEY FROM?!?

antique-remington-typewriter-725x482In the beginning, before computers (GASP!) there were typewriters (ancient technology that went the way of the PHONOGRAPGH). Remington typewriters were the first to have a shift key, so you could shift to a capital letter but it was just a toggle switch–there was no way to keep that key down. In 1914, Remington added the SHIFT LOCK KEY on its Junior model, which gave the user access to more characters by keeping the key locked. Some think typewriters and computers added the CAPS LOCK KEY for businesses that needed forms typed in all caps (so anyone who hates the caps lock key, blame them). Typewriters placed the CAPS LOCK KEY where it is now, and computer designers copied the typewriter keyboard when the first put out computers, keeping the familiar QWERTY keyboard we all have become accustomed to. Even then, there were complaints when computers kept the same keyboard design (for those of you who wish the keyboard letters were alphabetical, they tried that first… there were issues, and now we’re stuck).

Early on in Internet history, Internet users had only text keys to show emphasis, no fun yet strange emoticons that can create entire conversations by themselves. They used **** and CAPS to differentiate their thoughts and emotions. Some people, holdovers from early Internet days perhaps, still type messages in all capitals. Nowadays, writing in ALL CAPS has become an etiquette NO-NO, since it is the equivalent of shouting online. Every once in a while for emphasis is considered OK, but not everything in caps. People have gotten fired for using all caps all the time. REALLY! In 2007, a woman in New Zealand was fired from her job after she sent one too many memos in all caps.

Hit your caps lock button and celebrate INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY! Just don’t get fired.9762955951_814205da36


Sources:

Magna Carta, 800th anniversary this week

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Department435px-Pictures_of_English_History_Plate_XXIV_-_King_John_and_Magna_Carta

We may remember the phrase Magna Carta (Latin for Great Charter) from our history books, but probably few remember what it was actually about. King John was surrounded by an army of rebellious lords in the fields of Runnymede on June 15, 1215, (actually they were blocking his re-entry into London.) They forced him to agree as king and put his seal on this “great charter” to bring peace to the land. Truly, it was a way to agree to peace, so he could keep his throne. Strangely enough, he never really signed it; he died a year later in 1216. His son, Henry III, in 1225, issued a new, slimmed down version of this “great charter”, in return for the support of the barons in 1225. (Again, the barons!) Later, in 1265, he trimmed the charter down again and it to establish the first Parliament (or parlement, in French, based on the word discuss.) (If you missed the google doodle created for this anniversary, it’s cute.)

The original Magna Carta had 63 clauses. A third of this text was either cut or rewritten for the 1225 version. Today, only three of the original 63 clauses remain on the statute books. Of these three survivors one defends the liberties and rights of the English Church, another confirms the liberties and customs of London and other towns, and the third gives all English subjects the right to justice and a fair trial. This is the big one that made such an impact on English law, and therefore American law.

Here is the translation: No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no-one will we sell, to no-one deny or delay right or justice. (This means that for the first time in British history, and possibly world history, no one was above the law—not even the king!)Sothebys-Magna-Carta-1024x691

  • The right to due process (Habeas Corpus) allowed free men (not serfs, slaves or women) to be judged and if needed punished by a jury of their peers.
  • Justice could not delayed, bought or sold.
  • All fines had to be reasonable, so no free man would lose everything paying a fine.
  • Sheriffs could not take your property (presumably while you are in jail)

But that happened in England. What influence does the Magna Carta have for us, citizens of the United States of America?? Many of the founding fathers had studied English law and knew of this charter, and how it had limited the rights of the king. Since we were rebelling against the British government and the king, they wanted to use it as part of the foundation of their new nation – the United States of America. Many historians believe the founding fathers also used these statements, or at least Thomas Jefferson and James Madison did, in the writing of the Constitution as well. In 1976, for the bicentennial, Britain loaned one of the four surviving original copies to the United States for display at the Capitol. We did return the original, but kept a copy, which is still on display there.

after Unknown artist, etching, late 18th to early 19th century

after Unknown artist, etching, late 18th to early 19th century

So what started out as a peace deal between King John and the rich rebellious barons (who were angry at being overtaxed) became, in time, a foundation of one of our basics rights as put forth in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Read the rest of this entry

Happy Birthday, Garfield!

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference DepartmentGarfield_fat

Garfield, the fat marmalade cat we all love, sauntered into our lives on June 19, 1978. Little did we know that he would be even more popular after thirty-seven years!

Jim Davis, Garfield’s creator if you didn’t know, studied art in college and went straight to work for the creator of Tumbleweeds comic strip. He actually started out with a gnat character, but soon realized that there were no comic strips about cats. Enter Garfield. He named the cat after his grandfather (who in turn was named after President Garfield), and based the cynical cat on all the cats he’d ever met, all rolled into one. (Makes you wonder if he ever knew a cat that liked lasagna as much as Garfield does.) It debuted in 41 newspapers. After several months, it was pulled by at least one newspaper; the readers raised such a hue and cry that it was reinstated and was never pulled again.

Garfield so quickly became a sensation that Jim Davis stated Paws, Inc., to manage the worldwide rights of the character. As we all know, there have been books, movies, merchandise and more sold with the famous Garfield grin on them. His company Paws, Inc., has started a philanthropic arm helping with restoring wetlands, forests and prairies. He has won an award from the National Arbor Day foundation for building the first all-natural wastewater plant for commercial use.

So now when you read your daily Garfield carton/comic (and let’s be honest, you always read it) you can enjoy it more now know that Jim Davis is sharing his wealth with the world. And many readers are truly happy that John finally has a girlfriend.

FAQs:323214852_77e9b17fd3
• The Garfield comic strip is read in over 2100 newspapers by at least 200 million people
• Jim Davis does have one cat, named Nermal, and a dog named Pooky
• He enjoys gardening, golf, fishing and being with his family, including grandchildren
• Garfield is the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world, according to Guinness World Records
• Garfield was born at Mama Leoni’s Italian Restaurant, where he developed his love of lasagna
• In 1982, Garfield was on the cover of People Magazine
• John Arbuckle, Garfield’s caretaker, has a job at a Lexus dealership in Tulsa
• Garfield.com is the strip’s official website, containing archives of past strips along with games and an online store (also apps for Android and iOS)


Sources:

Celebrating Arthur Conan Doyle

“If in 100 years I am only known as the man who invented Sherlock Holmes then I will have considered my life a failure.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Department

156 years ago he was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on May 22.

In 1876, he began medical studies at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with a specialty in treating syphilis.   While he was studying medicine, he wrote a few short stories and at least one medical paper. After getting his degree he worked as a physician on two ocean voyages, one, the Hope of Peterhead (a whaling ship) going to Greenland and back and one, The Mayumba, sailing along the West African coast. (This would explain his later interest in the Marie Celeste, a ship found floating on the ocean with no one aboard. No one has yet solved this mystery, although several have made creditable suggestions)

In 1882, he opened his physician’s office in Portsmouth, after briefly having a partner. Since his practice was slow in getting off the ground, he started writing fiction again. In 1890, he went to Vienna to study ophthalmology and soon after graduating, moved his practice to London. He again struggled to bring in patients and again turned to writing. He was married twice and had five children, the last of whom died in 1977!

A Study in Scarlet was his first Holmes and Watson short story. The sequel The Sign of Four soon followed. It is well-known that he based his Holmes character on his former teacher Joseph Bell; even Robert Louis Stevenson recognized the similarity. Early on he wanted to write historical fiction. We all owe a debt of gratitude to his mother, who told him, “You won’t! You can’t. You mustn’t!” He wrote most of his Holmes stories between 1890 and 1893. In December of 1893, he had Holmes and Moriarty plunge off Reichenbach Falls—the outcry was so great he had to bring back Holmes, and went on to write several Holmes and Watson novels. He was successful with his historical fiction novels, written before, during and after his Holmes stories and novels.

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Published in The Adventure of Silver Blaze, which appeared in The Strand Magazine in December 1892.” – created by Sidney Paget (1860-1908)

He wrote two works on the Boer War, which probably gained him a knighthood from Edward VII. He personally investigated two unsolved cases, resulting in exonerating both of the men convicted of the crimes. His actions in these cases led to legal reform in the U.K.

After the deaths of several members of his family, including his son Kingsley, he fell into depression and became interested in spiritualism, where he found solace from his grief. He died from a heart attack on July 7, 1930. There is a statue of Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh, close to where he was born. The epitach on his grave stone reads:

Blade straight
Steel true
Author Conan Doyle
Knight, Patriot and Man of Letters

Read the rest of this entry

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference DepartmentReadyPlayerOne RD 1 finals 2

Wade Watts is a normal teenager growing up in the Midwest on the future Earth in 2044, after the nation’s collapse.   He is an orphan, living with his aunt, and attending high school online. He plugs into the OASIS, a virtual galaxy of planets and worlds. The creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, died not long past and left no heirs. Instead, he set up an Easter Egg (a hidden message with clues) in the OASIS, with the instructions that the one who finds this egg is his heir. Heir to the OASIS, heir to his programming technology and heir to his millions.

Of course, this sets off a massive stampede of all ages to find the egg. There is even a nickname for these tireless searchers – egg hunters, which was shortened to “gunter” over time. All serious gunters knew that Halliday loved everything about the 1980s. They all studied as much as they could to learn everything about that particular decade—playing all the games, watching all the movies, reading all the books. Even though Wade is in high school, the OASIS is infinitely more fun and exciting that real life and he is a dedicated gunter.

When he is the first to find the first clue, the story really heats up. There are villains, allies, unexpected friends, danger, excitement, escapes and more to be found in the OASIS. This book was such a quick read. You will want to know what happens and keep reading. Wade (Parzival in the OASIS) leads the reader on a chase through the 1980s to solve three three-step riddles and save the OASIS from the evil Innovative Online Industries, which wants control of OASIS. If you like audio books, I suggest you download the e-audio book from READS; Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crutcher in Star Trek: Next Generation) reads the story and it is very well done.

The film rights to Ready Player One were purchased by Warner Brothers the same day the book was signed to be published. It will directed by Stephen Spielberg!

 


Ready Player One is a science fiction and dystopian novel by Ernest Cline. The book was published by Random House on August 16, 2011.[1] The audiobook is narrated by Wil Wheaton. In 2012, the book received an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association division of the American Library Association[2] and won the 2012 Prometheus Award.[3] 

Info above from wikipedia…

%d bloggers like this: