It's Debatable ~ Tonight

Tune in to CTN Channel 19 tonight, July 23rd, for the live broadcast of the City Council candidate debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area. Candidates for Ward One begin debating at 7:00 p.m., Ward Three at 8:00 p.m. and Ward Five at 9:00 p.m. The debates will be rebroadcast up until the August 7th election.

Hairspray is in again

A new film version of Hairspray, which is also an award winning Broadway musical, was released last week in theaters. Before heading out to see it why not check out the original film version by John Waters. The original cast, featuring Sonny Bono, Divine, Debbie Harry, and Ricki Lake, is sure to please. Watch Tracy Turnblad as she takes the Baltimore dance scene by storm with her hip moves and her wild hair-do. Don’t feel like watching a movie? The Broadway cast sound recording will get your feet tapping as well.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Shinji didn't know what to expect when his aloof father summoned him to Neo Tokyo-3 after several years of estrangement. Becoming the pilot of a giant robot named EVA01 and protecting the world from mysterious invaders, however, was probably not high on his list. Find out the rest of Shinji’s story in the classic anime Neon Genesis Evangelion (volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). For some it’s the mecha anime to end all mecha anime; others can’t get over the unexpected ending. If you’ve seen it, what did you think?

County 4H Fair

It’s that time of year again. 4H at the Washtenaw County Fair grounds on Ann Arbor – Saline road at Pleasant Lake Road just south of town.

It starts Sunday July 22nd through Friday, July 27th. It’s all free to spectators. Come out and enjoy the many judging and showmanship events including cows, pigs, chickens, cats, dogs, horses, llamas and more. Click here to get the full schedule for the week.

You don’t need to have kids involved in 4H to enjoy the many great dramas that occur there throughout the week. Come out and have a good time.

Music in the Park

Is the most mentally stimulating part of your lunch break the surprise of turkey on rye instead of turkey on wheat? No more! The Herb David Guitar Studio is highlighting local musicians on the Liberty Plaza throughout the summer. Music plays from noon until 2 pm, Monday through Saturday, and is free of charge. So take your turkey on wheat down, enjoy some sunshine, and support your local musicians.

Meanwhile tap your inner-musician by checking out AADL's collection of books on how to play the guitar, piano, and even the harmonica!

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (7/22/07)

The Quickie by James Patterson has nabbed the top spot this week. In an interview earlier this spring Patterson said he planned to write at least seven books this year. All have been best sellers so far. Obviously, the buying public cannot get enough of his brand of murder and mayhem.

The only other new entry is Judas Strain by James Rollins.

For a look at the rest of the List, take a peek here

The Big Mac, a (nearly) perfect form of global currency


Have you ever exchanged your dollars for a different currency? I don't know about you, but I'm always confused as to how much I'm actually getting. If I can trade one dollar for 0.75 euros, can I still get as much stuff as I would with a dollar (which, admittedly, is not that much)?

For over 20 years, The Economist has been giving a clever answer to this complex question: Big Macs. The Economist's Big Mac Index compares the prices of that beloved artery-clogger around the globe, and in the process helps show just how much you can get for your dollar. Or franc. Or rouble. In their latest index, you can get a burger in the U.S. for about $3.41. But in China, it will only cost you $1.45. If you're traveling to Norway, though, it will cost you a whopping (pun intended) $6.88!

The Big Mac isn't a perfect way to measure exchange rates and purchasing power. After all, you can't trade them across international borders (eww!). But they have the advantage of being made the same way no matter where you go, an elusive quality in international markets.

Want to find out more about the Big Mac index, or any number of other current events or international trade topics? As an AADL cardholder, you can actually access The Economist in its full-text glory in General OneFile, one of our great research databases. You will need to login to your account to follow the database link.

The "familiar" essay

Anne Fadiman's new book of essays, At Large and At Small is in the familiar vein, meaning each essay is "a confiding, inquiring, and witty reflection on a passionately considered subject." (Booklist). These essays follow the tradition of early 19th century works, not the more contemporary critical or personal essay. Fadiman, also the author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, covers a range of topics, from ice cream and coffee to the adventures of an Arctic explorer, butterfly collecting and a personal account of a tragic whitewater rafting trip. Fadiman's language is meticulous, her insights often humorous and her concern for the larger questions of meaning and truth evident in all she writes.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #74 - Iranian Gems

If you enjoyed Anita Amirrezvani’s dazzling debut novel The Blood of Flowers, don’t miss the much anticipated debut The Septembes of Shiraz* by Dalia Sofer, due out next month (holds are accepted now).

Anita Amirrezvani grew up in San Francisco with her mother while spending much time over the years with her father and his extended family in Tehren, including the summer of 1979, at the onset of the Iranian Revolution when she was about to turn 17. Blood of Flower, tells the story of a 17th century unnamed female narrator who, at 14 journeys to Isfahan to learn rug weaving, a trade dominated by men. As she blossoms into a brilliant designer, her prospect for personal happiness grows dim, in this “Dickensian tale of one woman’s struggle to live a life of her choosing”.

Dalia Sofer was born in Iran and fled with her family in 1982 at the age of 10. The Septembers of Shiraz recounts the struggles of the Amin family at the wake of the Iranian Revolution, when father Isaac, a Jewish rare-gem dealer is wrongly accused and imprisoned for being an Israeli spy. His wife Farnaz begins to question the loyalty of those around them. Young daughter Shirin takes immense risk to safeguard the rest of the family, while older son, alone in the United State deals with isolation and falls into the embrace of an unlikely family.

These two novels by first-time authors deal with the universal themes of identity, alienation and love while painting a vivid portrait of Iran, then and now. Great reads.

* = Starred Review

An Interview with Eric Carle on his 40th Anniversary

Most adults today have read at least one of Eric Carle's books, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar or his very first illustrated book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Check out NPR's interview with Carle here to learn more about how he creates the art for his books.

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