New Year’s Resolution: A Healthier County

The Washtenaw County Health Improvement Plan has released the
2005 Health Indicators Survey. We’re smoking less but eating more, our blood pressure is going up and we’re not exercising as much as we did in 1995. So let’s get going walking, biking, hiking, and eating better.

Whitefish Wipeout Worries

Anyone who’s spent even one weekend Up North knows that whitefish is the mainstay of lakeshore restaurants. A Great Lakes Radio Consortium story warns that our beloved whitefish are threatened by an invasion of Quaggas who are eating the whitefish’s favorite food, diporeia. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory is researching the invasion and what we can do to assure the whitefish maintains its hallowed status on Michigan menus.

And Through the Metropark Woods

woodswoods

Add a ride over the meadows and through the woods on your Christmas Day travels this year. Entry fees will be waived on Christmas Day, Monday, December 25, at all 13 Metroparks for “Christmas Appreciation Day.”

All Metroparks will be open, including use of all trails and paths, on Christmas Day. The eight Interpretive Center buildings and two Farm Learning Centers will be closed. Sledding hills and cross-country ski trails will be open if there is snow.

For more information, call the Huron-Clinton Metroparks at 1-800-477-2757.

Kid Bits - Scrappy Lives

Kids with real troubles... The cool thing about these stories is no "magic", just "real". These authors are masters of humor, positivity, and poignant storytelling. The Higher Power Of Lucky, a child who worries that her legal guardian may abandon her and return home to France. Al Capone Does My Shirts, children of guards living on Alcatraz Island. Harry Sue... Her home situation is dire. Internal strength of character, and external network of friends, creates "home and security". In each case, the children discover their own strength and value, BECAUSE of those around them.

American Roots Music

What a treat! If you Listen to NPR and "American Roots" music program, enjoy a collaboration between the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with the DVD series American Roots Music. You'll find a wonderful collage of regional "roots music" including historical clips and contemporary performance clips. This volume features Chicago Blues; Folk Music of the 60's counter culture; Gospel; Tejano; and Native American with Nakai & Mirabel.

Small Gems

Just in time for short days and long to-do lists, these little books are great excuses to take a break and enjoy a bit of solitude, in the best company – yours.
They are quick reads – no more than 100 pages or so, and tuck nicely into your coat pocket. Next time you find yourself standing in line; or being put on hold, listening to elevator music, you will have the perfect distraction.

Mademoiselle Benoir by Christine Conrad.
May-Dec. romance in the French countryside sets off family wars across the Atlantic.

An Afternoon with Rock Hudson by Mercedes Deambrosis; translated from Spanish by Mike Mitchell.
Chance encounter between two old friends triggers off some self-destructive behavior, including anonymous sex with a man sitting at the next café table. Amusing.

Mercedes-Benz: From Letters to Hrabal by Paweł Huelle; translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
Narrator Pawel tells of the driving lessons he took in the early 1990s around Gdansk, Poland, all the while entertaining his instructor Miss Ciwle with stories of his family’s ownership of Mercedes-Benz cars. Great storytelling.

The Bird is a Raven by Benjamin Lebert; translated from the original German by Peter Constantine.
Two strangers share a sleeping compartment on a night train bound for Berlin. Throughout the hours of darkness secrets are revealed and lives changed. You won't be able to put this one down!

Music from Big Pink: A Novella by John Niven.
Born in Scotland, John Niven toured and recorded as guitarist with The Wishing Stones, and co-wrote/directed the award winning (British) short film ‘Tethered’.
This tragic, beautiful… "factional book is a heartbroken rock'n'roll postcard from a past" where fictional characters rub shoulders with real people.

The Scent of Your Breath by Melissa P; translated from Italian by Shaun Whiteside.
A breathless autobiographical second novel by this bright young Sicilian writer - a smoldering tale of sexual obsession, plumbed deeply from the disturbing mind of a teenage girl terrorized by love.

DVDs to Save the Planet

In recognition of the Air Quality Act, passed by Congress on December 17, 1967--the first legislation to place pollution controls on the automobile industry--here are a few recent DVDs about the environment:

Blue Vinyl: Skeptical of her parents' decision to re-side their home with polyvinyl chloride, Judith Helfand set out to find the truth behind the toxic effects of the material.
An Inconvenient Truth: A passionate and inspiring look at former Vice President Al Gore's campaign to expose the myths and misconceptions of global warming, and to create public awareness on the subject.
Who Killed the Electric Car: An investigation into the birth and death of the electric car, as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in the future.

Good Reads - some ideas

It's such a pleasure to find a new good read. With over 170,000 books being published yearly in the United States I feel it helps to get a recommendation.

Monday December 11th on NPR's "Fresh Air" NPR Maureen Corrigan recommends "The Year's Best Mystery and Nonfiction". This article also gives you access to several other lists of recommended Holiday books including recommendations by Ann Arbors own Karl Pohrt owner of Shaman Drum Books in Ann Arbor.

Fabulous Fiction First #44

Followers of Ian Rankin’s Inspector John Rebus series might want to consider this one…

Bleeding Hearts is a first U.S. edition of a stand-alone, originally published in the U.K.(1994) under his pseudonym - Jack Harvey.

Michael Weston is a highly-paid and seasoned assassin, famed for his long-distant shot through the heart. Things did not go well with the last job – it was a set-up. Now he must find his double-crossing employer and at the same time, stay a step ahead of his archnemesis - an American PI named Hoffer.

Reviewers expect the nonstop action, copious violence and arcane details about weaponry and forensics will please thriller junkies, but it’s also "smart and inventive” enough to engage fans of the Rebus series.

Grisly Grimm

If you are tired of the “Disneyfied” versions of your favorite fairy tales, but short on time, then Jonathan Vankin’s condensed versions are for you. Based on the original tales of the brothers Grimm, they have been converted to comic form by fifty-two artists for the book The Big Book of Grimm (released by Paradox Press, an imprint of DC Comics). You will find some familiar names among them—Keith Giffen (of Ambush Bug and Justice League fame), Sergio Argones (creater of Groo the Wanderer and marginals for MAD Magazine since 1963), Joe Staton (numerous DC titles including Justice Society of America, Green Lantern, and Scooby Doo), and James Kochalka (American Elf). My personal favorite was Kochalka’s “Dog and Sparrow”, which was as cute as it was gruesome.

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