Dragons and destiny

Hitomi is a perfectly average high school student, aside from her gift for reading tarot cards. A magical accident involving a dragon sweeps her away to the hidden world of Gaea, where she falls into the company of Van, a boy prince with a mysterious past. There the dangerous Zaibach Empire is doing its best to conquer all the surrounding countries, and Van’s homeland is next on its list. Soon Hitomi’s ability to predict the future is a power that everyone wants to use.

In the ten years since it first aired in Japan, The Vision of Escaflowne tv series has become an anime classic. The Japanese language track features some of anime industry’s best voice talent. Maaya Sakamoto, who is now winning new fans for her recent performance of Haruhi in Ouran High School Host Club, had her first major role in Hitomi; she also sings the opening theme song.

Volume 1 (episodes 1-4)
Volume 2 (episodes 5-8)
Volume 3 (episodes 9-11)
Volume 4 (episodes 12-14)
Volume 5 (episodes 15-17)
Volume 6 (episodes 18-20)
Volume 7 (episodes 21-23)
Volume 8 (episodes 24-26)

The movie version of Escaflowne features the same voice actors but retells the story from the tv series from a slightly darker perspective.

New Documentaries

Check out some of these top-rated documentaries recently purchased by the Library:

A documents the inside activities of Japan's religious cult Aum Shinrikyo, who released sarin gas into Tokyo's subway system in 1995.
Creation or Evolution presents an analysis of both the geological record and the biblical account of creation from a Christian perspective.
Life in the Undergrowth guides the viewer through a miniature universe teeming with life.
Our Brand is Crisis follows a team of political consultants as they launch a media-savvy campaign for Bolivian presidential candidate Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada.
Waging a Living follows four hard-working individuals as they strive for their piece of the American Dream but find only low wages, dead end jobs, and a tattered safety net in their way.

Gary Webb author of Dark Alliance found dead two years ago

Gary Webb broke the story in the San Jose Mercury News of the link between the CIA, Contras and the crack epidemic in Los Angeles that turned to the book Dark Alliance. His articles have been archived on the web here with list of AADL search of the contras. Plus video in his own words and an interview.

Pas de duck

Fairy tales meet ballet in the anime series Princess Tutu. The mysterious Herr Drosselmeyer offers Duck—a sweet but clumsy ballet student—the chance to help one of her classmates. When she accepts, he gives her a pendant that transforms her into the magical Princess Tutu, whose beautiful dancing has the power to heal people’s hearts. There’s just one problem: whenever Duck acts like a duck, she turns into one. Quack! Is she a girl dreaming of being a duck, or a duck dreaming of being a girl?

The library also has lots of books about ballet and sound recordings of the ballets Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, both of which are referenced in the series.

World AIDS Day 2006

Yesterday, Dec. 1 was Worlds Aids Day, a time to be reminded of the still widespread scourge of this devastating disease. Many remembrances and ceremonies were held to remember those who died and to raise awareness of treatment and prevention.

Two new books in our collection highlight the urgent need for care. Dr. Arthur M. Fournier's book, Zombie Curse: A Doctor's 25-Year Journey Into the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic in Haiti describes the role of poverty in the spread of AIDS in this country and his founding of Project Medishare.

Melissa Fay Greene, the author of Praying for Sheetrock has written a new book, There is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children. Greene tells the story of Haregewoin Teferra, an Ethiopian woman who took in many AIDS orphans. In the process, she uncovers the urgency of the AIDS pandemic in Ethiopia which has the highest concentration of AIDS orphans in the world.

Both of these books can be compared to Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains, the story of Dr. Paul Farmer's work in Haiti and the book chosen for this year's Ann Arbor Reads.

Yesterday is a film originally released in 2004 which tells the story of a South African woman, Yesterday, who learns she is HIV positive, and is shunned by the women in her village. Her one dream is to live long enough to see her child start school. Not a true story but it easily could be.

Monk

MonkMonk

What do cheese, daisies, and reindeer have in common? Well, nothing really... But I betcha Monk could find a connection in order to solve a case!

Don't know about Monk? Check out Seasons 1-3 on DVD. Now watch every-single-episode... and-in-order... there will be a quiz...

BTW... Monk (Tony Shalhoub) played the voice of Luigi in the animated film Cars.

Still not on DVD

Despite the rapidly approaching demise of the VHS format, there are still many great (and just plain good) films that haven't yet made it onto DVD--and maybe never will. Below are some of the titles you won't find on DVD yet. Fortunately, we still own them on VHS.

African Queen
Anne of the 1,000 Days
Celine and Julie Go Boating
Downhill Racer
The Great McGinty
Greed
The Gunfighter
The Incredible Journey (1963)
The Jazz Singer (1927)
El Norte
Prospero's Books
Show Boat (1936)

All good things must come to an end

One of the most popular manga in the U.S. is Fruits Basket, the story of Tohru Honda and her friendship with the rich and mysterious Sohma family.

After 7 years and 136 chapters, the manga has finally concluded its serialization in Japan; the final chapter was published in the magazine Hana to Yume on November 20th. While you’re waiting for volumes 16-23 to reach the states via Tokyopop’s translations, why not watch the excellent anime adaptation? It’s twenty-six episodes long, spread over four DVDs, and covers events (with a few differences) from the first six volumes of the manga.

Fruits Basket, Vol. 1 (Episodes 1-6)
Fruits Basket, Vol. 2 (Episodes 7-12)
Fruits Basket, Vol. 3 (Episodes 13-19)
Fruits Basket, Vol. 4 (Episodes 20-26)

Director Robert Altman dies at 81

Robert AltmanRobert Altman

Five-time Oscar nominee, Robert Altman, known for such classic films as M*A*S*H, Nashville, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Short Cuts, The Player, Gosford Park and this year's A Prairie Home Companion, has died at the age of 81. Altman was known for his trademark directing style that involved ensemble casts, long tracking shots and overlapping dialogue. Read the obituary on CNN.

Fore!!!

Shepard (a14)Shepard (a14)

In 1971, Apollo 14 Commander, Alan Shepard fitted a makeshift eight iron head to the handle of a lunar sample collection device and became the first golfer on the moon. On Wednesday, November 22, 2006, Russian flight engineer, Mikhail Tyurin, will once again bring the sport to space. A Canadian golf club maker, E21, is paying the Russian Federal Space Agency an undisclosed sum for Tyurin’s time. He will be hitting a golf ball from a spring-mounted tee on the ladder next to the hatch of the Russian docking compartment of the International Space Station. The ball will be hit over the back of the station to ensure that it does not damage it.

For live coverage of the ISS Expedition 14 spacewalk visit NASA’s website. The broadcast begins at 5 pm with the spacewalk scheduled for 6 pm. You can also find more information (and the promise of a video clip) at E21’s website.

In preparation for your next trip into space, check out the library’s collection of golf books and DVDs to improve your swing.

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