Dexter's Laboratory

Created in the 90's for Cartoon Network, Dexter's Laboratory is a children's cartoon series about the eponymous Dexter, a boy genius with a secret laboratory from which he conducts elaborate experiments, schemes to defeat his nemesis Mandark, and puts up with annoyingly perky sister Dee Dee. The series is funny and clever, with plenty gross-out jokes for children to enjoy and high-brow references that'll have parents laughing, too.

The first season is now available on DVD from the library. Check it out!

Dragons Love Tacos

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin is one funny picture book. I recently read this to my small relations and we were all cracking up. The book features a crew of taco-loving dragons. They LOVE tacos! (I mean, who doesn’t?) They love all kinds of tacos. They also love parties. Especially taco parties. BUT! Dragons do not like spicy salsa of any kind, ever. Of course the dragons end up at a taco party serving spicy salsa! If you want to know how it ends you’ll have to grab this funny book off the shelf and give it a read. Grown-ups, you'll have as much fun as the kids.

For more picture books about dragons check out this list, and for more funny picture books check out this list.

Sleepwalk With Me on DVD

Mike Birbiglia directs and stars in the indie comedy Sleepwalk With Me. Loosely based on Birbiglia’s life, his best-selling book, and his off-Broadway show, the film tells the story of the aspiring comedian as he struggles with his comedy act, drags his feet in his relationship, and battles a severe sleep disorder that spins out of control as he continues to ignore it. While trying to avoid committing further to his girlfriend of eight years, Mike hits the road for several comedy gigs. Along the way he finds adventure, freedom, jokes that are actually funny (revolving around his girlfriend), and a bit of joy that was missing from his life. Reality hits when Mike has a sleepwalking episode one night while sleeping and jumps through a second story window -- an event which actually happened to him.

From the producers of the public radio show This American Life, the critically-acclaimed Sleepwalk With Me is both funny and heartwarming, with a comedy style that is similar to Woody Allen films -- a humor that is personal, self deprecating, and deadpan. It’s the kind of film that has you laughing at moments of this man’s life, but at the same time feeling sympathetic toward this character, is truly suffering. I don’t know about Birbiglia’s future as a stand-up comedian, but he definitely has a strong film presence and a wonderful mind for storytelling.

To the end of the world...

Maria Semple's Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a witty, satirical and highly entertaining novel. The story follows the antics of Bernadette Fox – best friend and mother to 15-year-old Bee Branch, opinionated and idiosyncratic wife to Microsoft-guru Elgin Branch, and enemy to all meddling and annoying "gnats" of Seattle private-school society – from the Emerald City to the Great White Continent.

When Bernadette's daughter Bee aces her report card and makes plans to collect her promised reward – a family trip to Antarctica – her mother is forced to face the unthinkable: a three-week trip on a boat full of strangers, across the most treacherous body of water on earth, to an unforgiving land of ice and snow. Days before the trip Bernadette disappears, sending Bee on a journey to find the one person on whom she could always depend.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is told in a flowing collection of emails, FBI documents, letters, faxes, and newspaper article clippings gathered by Bee to tell the tale of how the agoraphobic Bernadette, a once brilliant and revered architect, haunted by the past and unsure of the future, escaped her quickly deteriorating life to find herself – at the end of the world.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is joining NPR! Revisit our podcast...

bullseye logobullseye logo

If you like radio -- heck, if you enjoy listening to interesting and funny shows on any sort of device -- you may already be familiar with Thorn as an accomplished host and head honcho at Maximum Fun's podcast network.

Thorn's humble hosting beginnings were way back in 2000, with a show called The Sound of Young America, created and distributed out of his house. The show was eventually picked up by Public Radio International and its moniker changed to Bullseye. This morning, Thorn announced that NPR will start distributing Bullseye in April 2013.

Jesse and Jordan Morris, his co-host on Jordan, Jesse, Go!, visited AADL in 2011 and recorded a podcast. Listen in on their chat about the evolution of production values, their self-directed efforts in the changing media landscape, Dick Cavett, Gymkata and building a community of people who you’ve never met.

Fair warning: foul language ahead.

Confessions of an Elder-in-Training

Join this unique interactive take on the passage of time we’re all trying to understand and make the most of. Local musician and workshop leader Jeanne Mackey offers a rare blend of emotional intensity, wry humor, and social commentary as she shares stories, songs, and reflections on the aging process. This adventurous gathering will be at the Downtown Library on Wed., Jan. 30, 7-8:30 pm.

An Audiobook for Young Harry Potter Fans

Fans of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and especially fans of the audiobooks narrated by Jim Dale may be interested to learn about The Worst Witch audiobook by Jill Murphy.

Like the Harry Potter series, The Worst Witch takes place at a school for young witches (though no young wizards here), complete with broomstick lessons, potion tests and uniforms with house colors. At Miss Cackle's Academy, we meet Mildred Hubble, dubbed the worst witch at the school because of her talent for getting into trouble. What kind of trouble? How about turning a rude classmate into a pig! (She meant to turn her into a toad, you see.) It's a short but magical story -- and very funny too.

Oh, yes, and did I mention that it's narrated by Miriam Margoyles, whom you may remember as Professor Sprout in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?

The audiobook series continues with The Worst Witch Strikes Again and The Worst Witch All at Sea.

Author John Charles Simon Discusses His Book "Why We Laugh: A New Understanding"

Tuesday January 22, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

John Charles Simon visits to discuss his new book, "Why We Laugh: A New Understanding." The book presents a comprehensive explanation for human laughter -- every human, every laugh, every context, and every reason. Offering insight into laughter's most probable origin, this fascinating book answers difficult questions of laughter's contagious quality, our sense of humor, and what laughter says about us as individuals and as a species.

This event includes a book signing and books will be for sale.

Audiobook for Teens

One of the best things about audiobooks is finding a voice that makes the character come alive, a voice that makes you feel as if the character herself is speaking to you. I found such a voice in Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Dairy Queen.

Fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk has always done what was expected of her, taking on the brunt of running her family’s small Wisconsin dairy farm when her father injured his hip. When a family friend sends Brian Nelson, the quarterback from her high school’s rival football team, to help out on the Schwenks’ farm that summer, D. J. decides to do something unexpected and try out for her high school’s own football team.

Narrator Natalie Moore’s perfect Wisconsin accent brings this hilarious story to life, and whether you’re a football fan or not, you’ll find yourself cheering D. J. on in her quest to try something unexpected. The series continues with The Off Season and Front and Center.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on DVD

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel follows seven retirees who decide to chance their retirement to spending time in a less expensive resort community in India. They arrive expecting lavish amenities, but find that the Marigold Hotel is not quite up to par, and the young, energetic owner does what he can to keep his first guests happy and at the hotel. Many of the guests make the most of it and try to enjoy the life in India, while others yearn to get back home.

The film features an all-star British cast of actors, including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Bill Nighy, as the adventurous group whose lives are forever changed after their visit to India. It's full of laughter, warmth, and touching moments as the characters evolve and grow into new lives. While the film’s goal is to entertain, not necessarily to inspire or awe, it does go to show that life can begin at any age. To quote the young hotel owner, “Everything will be all right in the end and if it's not all right, then it's not yet the end.”

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