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.

Bahumbugs Beware: Local Holiday Events!

Missed out on this year’s earlier-than-usual Children’s Holiday parade? Not to worry--there are plenty of holiday traditions left to enjoy. Though a certain someone shudders every time I play another Christmas CD, there’s only so much time to enjoy the festive mood before January sets in (blah), so why not enjoy? First up, Kerrytown’s own Tree Lighting Ceremony, Sunday, November 26 at 5p.m. Followed by the 60th Annual Greens Market at the Women’s City Club on Thursday the 30th. Finally, head downtown on December 1st for the biannual tradition, Midnight Madness—stores open late, legendary Le Dog soup at night, and sales galore—what could be better?

Here's one for the birds

Pigeons by Andrew Blechman was discussed on the Diane Rehm show Thursday 11-9-2006. According to the shows web site "Some see them as majestic birds capable of flights of fancy ranging from high-speed races to long-distance message delivery. Others see the rock dove as nothing more than a rat with wings. A look at the often reviled, often revered pigeon."

I'm interested in reading this book to learn how pigeons have been revered. My experience places them closer to the rats with wings. However I do remember being impressed by a cousin who raised pigeons and who learned a lot from that experience. It was impressive his accomplishment and the pigeons.

Don't forget the Library has an excellent collection of books on birds.

Grandmama's Pride by Becky Birtha

Sarah Marie, her mother and sister, are headed down south to visit Grandmama. Mama tells them that they can have the back seat of the bus all to themselves. When the bus pulls into a rest stop, Mama tells them they brought their lunches. When they arrive at Grandmama’s stop, Grandmama is waiting for them in the stand-up waiting room. When Sarah Marie learns to read during her visit, she reads the signs over the water fountain, lunch counter and bathroom and learns why “Grandmama’s pride was too tall to fit in the back of the bus.” Becky Birtha illustrates the determination and pride of those who fought for civil rights in this clearly written children’s book.

Blonde, James Bond

So far critics and fans alike are giving Casino Royale a big thumbs up. EW's Owen Gleiberman gives it a straight 'A' and its current ranking on the Internet Movie Database is 8.2. Contrary to expectations (and despite the hair color), Daniel Craig apparently puts a grittier spin on 007 that's not unwelcome to fans of the decades-old franchise. Still holding a torch for Sean Connery? AADL has just purchased new box sets of all the previous James Bond films.

That Growling in Your Stomach

Is NOT, repeat NOT hunger, according to the Committee on National Statistics. Instead, 35 million Americans last year experienced “low food security” and 10.8 million experienced “very low food security” per the 2005 Household Food Security in the United States report by the USDA. “Hunger” has been banished from the federal government lexicon as “too amorphous.” The U.S. Conference of Mayors, however, continues to count hungry people as “hungry.” Look for their new report in early December. Speaking of banished words, check out the annual lists of banished words from Lakes Superior State College.

Remember THE SHEIK?

Many of you are too young to remember him, but for young women in the 1920's, Rudolph Valentino was the first major movie sex symbol. On November 20, 1921, one of his most famous films, The Sheik was released. Valentino's steamy, melodramatic portrayal of a desert prince hopelessly in love with an Englishwoman left women fainting in the aisles. A sequel, The Son of the Shiek, was released in 1926, a few weeks after Valentino's tragic death.

The Library has an extensive collection of silent films featuring such greats as Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and the "It Girl, Clara Bow. Check them out!

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (11/19/06)

There's a lot of romance, sweetness and light on the List this week. Is it the time of year? The big book news this week was the announcement of the National Book Award winner. Richard Powers took home the big prize for Echo Maker.

At #1 is Dear John by Nicholas Sparks: "An unlikely romance between a soldier and an idealistic young woman is tested in the aftermath of 9/11."

At #4 is H.R.H by Danielle Steel: "An American-educated European princess faces unexpected challenges when she works at an African Red Cross camp."

At #12 is Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani: "Complications with family, friends and politics in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains."

Project Grow Gardens

If you don't have the space to plant your own flowers and vegetables, you might want to contact Project Grow. You can fill out an application for one of the organization's community gardens online. They are available now!

Hard copies of the applications will be available in the winter newsletter, coming out in late January or early February 2007.

You can also call 734-996-3169 for more information.

It's never too early to start dreaming about next year's garden and its bountiful pleasures.

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