Archive for April, 2010

Ready for a Vacation?

April 30, 2010

It is that time of year where summer is just around the corner and if you have not yet planned a summer vacation, what are you waiting for?!  Just do it!   I ran across this top-ten list of America’s most visited cities (courtesy of Forbes.com) and it made me realize that I have not had a real “vacation” (totally hedonistic escape [more than just a long weekend somewhere] to just chill out and relax) since 2005.  I have managed to fit in some “non-exotic” vacations to assorted festivals, family, and friends, but I’m definitely overdue for something a bit more exotic.  A cruise perhaps?  But again, vacations do not always have to be exotic, there’s is plenty to see and do right here in the good old US of A.  So without further ado, here is the list of the 10 most-visited cities in America!

10.  San Diego, CA
9.  Philadelphia, PA
8.  Houston, TX
7. Atlanta, GA
6. Las Vegas, NV
5. Miami, FL
4. Anaheim/Orange County, CA
3. Chicago, IL
2. New York, NY
1. Orlando, FL

Wow, I’ve been to them all!

And, if you are interested in something a little more exotic/exciting (and less “urban”) check out National Geographic’s site of top-ten lists by interest/topic.  I’m a huge fan of cruise vacations [I particularly enjoy the relaxing time “at sea”], you get to see multiple locations, only have to unpack once, and the food and the service is great. 

On my horizon for June 2011 — a Grand Canyon Hike!  An “in and out” [or is it down and up?] week-long excursion.  . . . I’m getting excited already!

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Maintaining Your Health?

April 29, 2010

How would you describe your lifestyle?  Balanced?  Are you taking proper care of yourself?   Watching what you eat (a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, breads, etc.), and getting sufficient exercise can certainly go a long way toward preventing you from becoming a valetudinarian.   Of course, those of you with hypochondriacal tendencies may have to work a little harder at “believing” you are well.

And when all else fails, and you just need an emotional boost, just do what Bobby McFerrin would recommend . . . “Don’t worry, be happy!

valetudinarian

\val-uh-too-din-AIR-ee-un; -tyoo-\ , noun;
1.  A weak or sickly person, especially one morbidly concerned with his or her health.

adjective:
1.  Sickly; weak; infirm.
2.  Morbidly concerned with one’s health.

hypochondriac

\hahy-puh-KON-dree-ak\ , noun;
1.  a person who worries or talks excessively about his or her health, especially when accompanied by delusions of physical disease.

Recession and Priorities?

April 28, 2010

The headlines speak for themselves . . . “The Library – a Recession Sanctuary,”  “Recession: a Mixed Blessing for Libraries,” “In Recession, Libraries are Booming,” “Libraries Are Used More in Recession,” and even the American Library Association addresses the recession in its most recent State of American Libraries Report.   Even though library use is booming, they are still feeling the pinch and many are closing or having to cut back on their services.

Unfortunately, it is not just libraries that are feeling the pinch.  Layoffs and downsizings are occurring in every industry/occupation across the country which raises a couple of really good questions: how much longer is this recession going to last?  And, at what point does a recession become a depression?  Aren’t these the million dollar questions? 

Before we can even attempt to answer these questions, we may have to define our terms: a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters in which real GDP falls; whereas a depression is more vaguely defined as a “severe” and “prolonged” recession. 

Hmm, our current recession seems “prolonged” to me, so hang on, it could be a long ride.

CIO Checklist!

April 27, 2010

Here is a list of the top 7 things that a new CIO (Chief Information Officer) should know. These tips are fairly straightforward (and I would say these all should be applicable to any supervisory/management position, not just the C-level managers) — none of these should surprise you; they seem to fall into the category of “common sense” and are just good management principles to follow.

“Being an effective CIO isn’t all about technology. It comes down to balancing the lure of technology with current business trends and keeping staff motivated.”

1. Don’t forget your people.
2. Embrace change and never say never.
3. Build and maintain relationships with staff.
4. Don’t let stress consume you.
5. Find the brave and the bold.
6. Speak plainly and avoid jargon.
7. Be accountable.

Source: Government Technology’s Public CIO article by Karen Wilkinson(April/May 2010, p. 21) [www.public-cio.com]

Quick and Easy!

April 26, 2010

In a quandry about what to serve for dinner?  Here’s a quick and easy shrimp recipe that is sure to be a hit! I was introduced to this recipe about 10 years ago and it instantly became one of my favorites.

Shrimp Victoria

1 pound of shrimp
1/4 cup of butter (1/2 a stick)
1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
6 ounces of sliced mushrooms
1 cup (8 ounces) of sour cream
1 Tablespoon of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper (or to taste — I use quite a bit more than 1/4 teaspoon)

Saute the shrimp and onion in the butter until the shrimp are tender (about 10 minutes). Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. (If you are using fresh mushrooms [my preference] instead of canned, then I would cook them with the onion and the shrimp.) Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the sour cream and continue cooking for another 10 minutes (do not allow the mixture to boil). Voila! Serve over wild rice with garlic cheese toast on the side. I also throw together a Caesar Salad to go with this entree.

Delicious!

Need Help With That Resume?

April 25, 2010

Have you found yourself out of work during this economic downturn?  Was your resume up-to-date?  I’m a firm believer in always having your resume up-to-date and ready to use (you just never know).  And, by having all of the data already collected it becomes much less onerous to merely “tweak” the resume for the specific job application at hand.   So many jobs now require online application; by having your resume ready -and up-to-date, you simply cut and paste the factual stuff and move on.  It’s quick and easy.

Here’s a great article on some of the rules that apply to resumes for those of you in the law enforcement field.  Of course, many of these “rules” will apply to everyone, regardless of the discipline. 

1.  Follow directions.
2.  Be detailed.
3.  Be truthful.
4. Check the facts.
5. Check spelling and grammar.
6. Don’t sweat the length.
7. Pick the font wisely.
8. Pay attention to the layout.
9. Use bullet point information.
10. Provide your name and contact information.

Courtesy of www.policelink.com (Dr. Richard Weinblatt)

Are You An Optimist or a Pessimist?

April 24, 2010

If you don’t already know what your inclination is, here are some quotations/definitions that may help you decide (courtesy of The Cynic’s Dictionary by Aubrey Dillon-Malone).

Pessimist:
“A man who thinks all women are bad. (An optimist is one who hopes they are!)” (Chauncey Depew)
“A man who looks both ways before crossing a one-way street.” (Robert Lowell)

Optimist:
“One who fills up his crossword puzzle with ink.” (Clement King Shorter)

“Some people grumble because roses have thorns; I am thankful that the thorns have roses.”
— Alphonse Karr (Courtesy of Audri and Jim Lanford.)

Depending on the day, I can be either (I tend to favor optimism most of the time) . . . I ALWAYS fill out my crosswords in ink!

Wood Art!

April 23, 2010

Even the "irons" are wood!

Here’s an Italian artist (surrealist) who specializes in wood (and glass), Livio De Marchi.  His work is truly unique (and amazing), and the detail is unsurpassed.  The above link will take you to his biography, but also take the time to visit his website where you can enjoy more of his wood and glass creations — I particularly like his glass balloons as well as the glass soap bubbles.   De Marchi has earned the distinction of being the only person to drive his “cars” (VW, Fiat, and  Ferrari) down the canals of Venice.     

Brushes: not the tool of choice!

He has done a “life-sized” bookshelf as well as a “book” house (the librarian in me really appreciates these pieces). 

Being the unabashed collector that I am, I decided to download his “catalog,”  but alas, no prices were listed.  I have a sneaky (and very realistic) suspicion that his work is well beyond my comfortable price range, but you just never know.

That’s the joy of collecting though . . . finding these rare and unique items [sigh], and enjoying and appreciating the skill and talent that went in to their creation.

Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2010

Go Green!

Here is a Science Guide from the Science, Technology, and Business Division at the Library of Congress (updated in 2009).  This guide contains a number of materials that might be useful to educators, students, environmentalists, and others with an interest in the environment (most people).

Materials Include:

+ A Brief History of Earth Day

+ Five Collections of Digitized Material from American Memory.
For example, the Mapping the National Parks and American Environmental Photographs 1891-1936 are included.

+ Selected Internet Resources, Science Tracer Bullets, Subject Guides Containing More Material are Also Available

You’ll Find Resources Organized into Several Categories Including:

+ General
+ Living and Working Sustainably
+ Ecosystems: Climatology and Weather
+ Ecosystems: Flora and Fauna
+ Geography and Geology
+ Materials for Students
+ Webcasts
+ Links to Related Organizations

Source: Science, Business, and Tech Division, LC

And here’s a directory of libraries that are green.

Go Green!

Movie Buffs Take Note!

April 21, 2010

Who are the “hardest working” actors in Hollywood?  Here’s a list of the top 10 actors who have starred in the largest number of movies over the past five years but who have interestingly enough not made the list of Hollywood’s highest-earners.  (List courtesy of Forbes Magazine).  And, to see a ranked list of over 9,200 movies (courtesy of Brad Bourland), check out this link

Have you gone to the movies lately?

1.  Seth Rogen – 12 films, $892 million total
(Shrek the Third, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Shrek the Third)

2.  Morgan Freeman – 9 films, $1,168 billion total
(The Dark Knight, The Bucket List, Batman Begins, Evan Almighty, Invictus)

3. Matt Damon – 8 films, $696 million total
(The Bourne Ultimatum, Invictus, The Informant!, The Departed, Ocean’s Thirteen)

4. Will Ferrell – 8 films, $607 million total
(Talladega Nights, Man vs. Wild, Step Brothers, Bewitched, Stranger Than Fiction)

5. Robert Downey Jr. – 7 films, $788 million total
(Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, The Soloist, Good Night, Good Luck)

6. Samuel L. Jackson – 7 films, $700 million total
(Star Wars: Episode III and Revenge of the Sith, Snakes on a Plane, Inglorious Basterds)

7. Sandra Bullock – 5 films, $655 million total
(The Blind Side, The Proposal, All About Steve, Miss Congeniality 2 )

8. Meryl Streep – 7 films, $547 million total
(Mamma Mia!, Julie & Julia, Devil Wears Prada, Doubt, It’s Complicated)

9. Shia LaBeouf – 6 films, $1.3 billion total (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Eagle Eye)

10. Christian Bale – 6 films, $1 billion total
(The Dark Knight, Terminator Salvation, Public Enemies, 3:10 to Yuma)