3 Years after the Launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom

March 19, 2006 marks the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the debates surrounding the U.S presence in Iraq are becoming more intense as each day passes. The library has a number of DVDs on this subject.

Gunner Palace provides an intimate look at what life is like for the U.S. soliders in Iraq, while The Soldier's Heart examines problems faced by U.S. soldiers when they return from Iraq.

WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception and Uncovered: the War on Iraq explore questions concerning the case made by the Bush Administration to lead the U.S. into Iraq.

21 Days to Baghdad offers an insightful look at the first three weeks of military action during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Torture Question investigates the topic of prisoner abuse in recent years, focusing on the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The Dreams of Sparrows "follows first-time Iraqi director Hayder Mousa Daffar and his team of contributing directors as they share their vision of life in Baghdad, post-war and pre-reconstruction."

What do a slapstick comedian and the father of vocalese jazz have in common?

Jerry Lewis has just been awarded the French Legion of Honor. The 80-year-old wore slippers to the ceremony and, when he spoke, apologized for not speaking French, but said that "'even if the French people cannot hear my language, they have always heard my heart..'"

Lewis joins many other distinguished recipients of the Legion of Honor, including jazz great Jon Hendricks, who once told me that "a woman's first child is her husband."

Everybody's a comedian! ;-)

Get them while they're hot

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire takes the number one spot as Amazon.com's top selling DVD. At number two is Crash, winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Other hot DVDs in the top ten:

Walk the Line
Lady and the Tramp: 50th Anniversary Edition
Pride and Prejudice
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Howl’s Moving Castle
Good night, and Good Luck

What’s your favorite?

The Cubicle

Do you work in a cubicle and wish they had never been created in the first place? Well, apparently the man who invented cubicles, or the "Action Office" as they were called early on, wished the same. According to a recent article in Fortune magazine, before his death in 2000, Bob Probst (the father of the cubicle) "lamented his unwitting contribution to what he called 'monolithic insanity.'" So will the cubicle continue its dominance in the world of office furniture or will we someday see the end of its existence?

While you ponder that question, check out some of these library materials: a movie, a comic strip, a book, a television show, and another television show. Something for everyone!

Gordon Parks: 1912-2006

Gordon Parks

Writer, photographer, composer and director Gordon Parks died yesterday at 93. As a photographer for Life from 1948 to 1968, Parks captured poverty in the United States and abroad and chronicled the struggles of black America through the civil rights movement. In 1969, Parks became the first major American black filmmaker as writer, director and composer of The Learning Tree, based on his 1963 autobiography and one of the first 25 American films entered into the National Film Registry. Parks also helmed Shaft, Leadbelly, and Solomon Northrup's Odyssey. The Library also owns Gordon Parks' "Visions": The Images, Words, and Music of Gordon Parks. Last year, Parks published Eyes With Winged Thoughts, a book of poetry and images to accompany his fourth prose memoir, A Hungry Heart.

Are you ready for the "Big Ten?"

With the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament coming up, get inspired by the following 2 books and expanded dvd.

Transition Game by L.Jon Wertheim, writer for Sports Illustrated, is the story of Wertheim's return to his alma mater, Bloomington North High School where he witnesses the transformation of the game from crisp cuts and mid-range shooting to the hip-hop high flying style of the current NBA. He takes off from this example to examine changes in basketball nationwide. To underline the bittersweet nature of success, he follows the fortunes of one Sudanese family whose sons get basketball scholarships. Also, check out a two disc collector's edition of the 1986 film, Hoosiers that includes footage of the Milan vs. Muncie 1954 Indiana High School championship game.

Did the right movie win last night?

In an upset similar to the year Saving Private Ryan lost to Shakespeare in Love, Brokeback Mountain, the favorite and frontrunner up through Ang Lee's win as Best Director, lost to Crash for Best Picture. Read more. So, was Crash the right choice, or does this mean Hollywood isn't quite ready to embrace a gay love story for Best Picture?

The Other Awards Show

Everyone knows that the Oscar winners will be announced on Sunday, but did you also know that the Independent Spirit Awards are being awarded on Saturday? Held annually in a big tent on the Santa Monica beach, these awards are given to the year's best work in independent films. To see clips from this year's nominees, visit the IFC (Indepdendent Film Channel) website.

The library's film collection includes many of the Independent Spirit Award winners from past years. Here are some of them:

Sideways, Lost in Translation, Far From Heaven, Memento, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Election, Gods and Monsters, Fargo, Short Cuts, The Player, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape.

Liza at the Plaza

On a recent edition of Inside the Actor’s Studio it was revealed that the antics of Eloise, the free-spirited 6-year-old living in New York’s Plaza Hotel, were based on the adventures of Liza Minnelli as a child. Author Kay Thompson was Liza’s godmother and she witnessed the red-ribboned imp whirling around in designer shoes and calling room service for a meal. Julie Andrews plays the “rawther” fabulous and loving Nanny in the film.

Adieu, Barney Fife!

don knotts

America's favorite deputy, Barney Fife, died last Friday of pulmonary and respiratory complications. From 1960-1965, Don Knotts was pitch-perfect as the nervous ninny sidekick to Mayberry's unflappable Sheriff Taylor--a legendary pairing, if endless re-runs of "The Andy Griffith Show" on TV Land are any indication. "Three's Company" aside, I was always happy to see Knotts as a kid, whether on the small or big screen. In the latter category, Knotts starred in the partly-animated The Incredible Mr. Limpet and The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again. Knotts was 81.

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