Archive for April, 2014

Here’s to Libraries, Week Fourteen!

April 30, 2014

Constructed in 1912 HarperMemorialand dedicated to the University’s very first president (William Rainey Harper), the Harper Memorial Library, at the University of Chicago, remains a focal point of the campus.  Its stunning Gothic architecture took its inspiration from a few British Universities: King’s College Chapel (Cambridge), Magdalen College (Oxford), and Christ Church College (Oxford).  Additionally, stone carvings of the coats of arms of Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, the University of California, and many others are included.  In 2009, the library was renamed the Harper Memorial Library Commons and was re-purposed as a 24-hour study and group collaboration space.  The space was further re-purposed in 2012 and again renamed the Arley D. Cathey Learning Center.

“To ask why we need libraries at all, when there is so much information available elsewhere, is about as sensible as asking if roadmaps are necessary now that there are so very many roads.”  (Jon Bing)

Source: photo courtesy of  (BuzzFeed).

The Fright, Conclusion!

April 29, 2014

Here is the third and final installment of a poem generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (originally printed circa 1730).  Part one was Sunday and part two was yesterday.  Enjoy!

. . .

“But pray, what are you doing, Bell?”
She said, “But yet I cannot tell —
“It is a droll;” her breath did fail,
And wicked Lindar did prevail.

Yet, when the thunder rose once more,
She trembled as she did before;
And as she saw the darting light,
She still applied to Lindar’s fright,
That gave her courage and delight,
At last he begged she’d let along,
And sighing said, “His fright was gone!”

Of mortals ’tis the unhappy state,
That let our bliss be never so great,
Yet transitory are our joys,
And even our bliss, our bliss destroys.
But heathen gods, (as poets say)
In this their god-head do display,
And mankind do excel in this;
They rise from bliss, to greater bliss,
Are always eager, never tire,
And vigor doth exceed desire.

The fair Lysetta still in fears,
To Lindar spoke, all bathed in tears:
“Alas! the thunder still grows louder,
“I fear ’twill crush us all to powder:
“Renew your fright, dear Bell, again,
“‘Tis that alone can ease my pain.”

But her attempts did useless prove,
Lindar had got enough of love.
The vexed Lysetta turned to sleep,
While Lindar from the bed did creep.

However strong our longings are,
Though for our love we all things dare,
Yet when we once have reached the blessing,
We soon grow weary of possessing,
And want to leave the fair one’s arms,
As much as erst to taste her charms.

Lindar, who dared no longer stay,
Put on his clothes, and went away,
Fearing lest Bell should end her prayers,
Nay, thought he heard her on the stairs.

Scarce had he made the street door fast,
When Bell, who all the night had past,
Upon her knees, in pious prayer,
To still the tempest in the air,
Now hearing all things calm and hushed,
Again for loving Lindar wished;
Whose circling arms she left with grief,
But now she hoped for kind relief,
And went to bed in that belief.
Then to Lysetta drawing near,
She whispered softly in her ear,–
“How can you sleep when I am here?
“I have my fright recovered now.”
Lysetta waked, and answered “How!
“Thanks to the gods, who still are kind,
“But ah! dear Bell, I cannot find
“A fright about you.”  Bell, on this,
Believed that she had heard amiss
But by her feeling did discover,
It was Lysetta, not her lover;
Who told her all had past that night,
And spoke with raptures of the fright.

Thus Bell found out her lover’s treason,
Was vexed at heart. and she had reason.

Ye lovers, think on what I’ve said,
And judge, if such a lovely maid,
So young, so fair, so full of charms,
Should clasp you in her naked arms,
Whether you’d her embraces shun,
Or rather do as he had done.

The Fright, Part Two!

April 28, 2014

Here is the second installment (of three) of a poem generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (originally printed circa 1730).  Part one was yesterday and part three will be tomorrow.  Enjoy!

. . .

Though Bell was otherwise employed,
The thunder all her bliss destroyed;
Her spirits failed, she trembling said, —
“Alas, deal Lindar! I’m afraid,
“The gods are angry at out love,
“Which makes them thunder from above:
“Alas, my dear! how shall we save
“Ourselves?  This bed will be our grave;
“Whither, ah! whither shall we fly?
“I’ll to the cellar go and try,
“If by my prayers, I can appease
“The gods, and make the thunder cease.”

The lover begged the fair to stay,
But all in vain, she would away;
He would have gone with her, but she
By no means would to that agree;
But folding him within her arms,
“You have,” said she, “So many charms,
“That if you went with me below,
“I love so well, I do not know,
“But I might do that deed once more,
“For which the gods in anger roar;
“I beg, dear Lindar! you may stay,
“While I go down alone and pray.”

Next door my lady’s daughter stayed,
Though scarce fifteen was still a maid;
The fairest creature ever was seen,
For eyes, for face, for shape, for mien,
Who still was sweet, and always mild,
And innocent as any child;
Who, frightened by the thunder, rose,
And, without putting on her clothes,
But by her childish terror led,
Came straight to Isabella’s bed.

Lindar, who dreamed on nothing less,
Was much surprised as one may guess,
And to the other side did creep,
Feigning to be in deepest sleep.

Lysetta, (so the girl was named),
The drowsy Isabella blamed,
Saying, “Why do you turn away?
“Within my bed I dare not stay,
“O turn! and take me in your arms,
“Protect me from those dire alarms.”

Young Lindar, moved with her distress,
did in his arms the fair one press;
But as the dreadful noise increased,
The child clung closer to his breast.
That love could scarce have taught her better:
Judge if it was an easy matter
For him to counterfeit a maid,
When she was on his boson laid.

But soon Lysetta frightened grew,
And from his twining arms withdrew:
“Good God!” the harmless child cried out,
And trembled all from head to foot;
“Are you a monster?  Tell me, pray.
“For as I was the other day,
“Upon the river with my mother,
“I naked saw just such another;
“I thought it had a woman been,
“And fair as any I had seen;
“Something about its shape was new,
“But as the creature nearer drew,
“Mamma cried out, with great surprise,
“Lysetta turn away your eyes!
“It is a monster!  Now, dear Bell,
“Are you a monster? Prythee tell.”

Lindar, on this his silence broke,
And with a feigned accent spoke:
“No; ’tis occasioned by the fright
“That I have been in all this night:
“Have you not heard your nurse declare,
“That fear has turned a man a hare?
“Nay some, through very fear and dread,
“Had thorn that grew upon his head.”

Lysetta, who but little knew,
Believed the idle fable true;
And, being curious, laid her hand
On what she did not understand;
But as the thunder louder grew,
She nearer still and nearer drew,
At last her leg she over him threw; —
The opportunity he watched,
And thus the lucky minute catched.

. . .  continued tomorrow!

The Fright, Part One!

April 27, 2014

Here is the start of a poem generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (originally printed circa 1730).  Due to the length of this one, I will be doing this in installments . . . part one today, part two tomorrow, part three on Tuesday.  Enjoy!

That there are true and faithful lovers,
Experience every day discovers;
Yet I’m afraid that very few
Of either sex, can so subdue
Their natures, or their inclinations,
As to resist some strong temptations;
Variety gives fresh delight,
And quickens up the appetite.

But love of change is not the cause
Alone, that makes us break the laws
Of sacred love; — ’tis a distrust,
We think that others are unjust.
If we behold a lovely maid,
Who is resolved to be betrayed,
A lover says, I should accuse
Myself of folly, to refuse
A maid so fair, so full of charms,
Whom fortune throws into my arms:
I am not sure that she I love
So constant to her vows would prove,
But she’d forget all she had swore,
And do the like, perhaps, and more.
Thus he, distrustful of the maid,
To thousand follies is betrayed;
And quite neglecting all her charms,
Will take a stranger to his arms.

The strongest oaths but weakly bind,
And, used in love, are mostly wind;
By sad experience I am taught,
That solemn vows are good for nought:
Twice I have felt love’s cruel dart,
Twice he has pierced my honest heart.
The first loved woman, many a time,
Said, that it was the blackest crime
In females to forget their vow,
Or the least change in love allow;
Yet she forgetting what she said,
Ran from me at a masquerade.

The second swore more oaths than she,
That she would ever constant be;
But when I dreamed of being blest,
She went off with an alchemist.

If lovers and their fair ones would
continue true, continue good,
Let them of absence have a care,
For absence oft doth love impair.

Yet there is danger even in this,
Some people surfeit upon bliss;
Absence doth then augment desire,
And adds new fuel to their fire.

Methinks I hear a lover say,
You’ve shown the danger in our way.
It would be kind if you would show
How we may still continue true.

But here I find my wisdom fail,
And rather choose to tell a tale: —

A lady lived, not long ago,
At Paris, where she made a show
Of coaches, liveries and what not,
The lady’s name I have forgot;
She still appeared in pomp and state,
Good cheer she made, and eat in plate.

With her, fair Isabella stayed,
Was half her friend, and half her maid!
Beauty she had to that degree,
That there were few so fair as she:
Her charming looks still raised desire
In all, but Lindar set on fire;
Who with such zeal the fair pursued,
That all her pride was soon subdued;
And they, at last, did so agree,
That she delivered him the key!

By which, and his strong passion led,
He came to Isabella’s bed.
The loving pair did there renew
Their vows, and promised to be true;
But as they were in search of joys,
They heard a dreadful kind of noise;
Thunder and lightning flew about,
Like what Jove sent among the rout
Of earth-born sons, who, on a time,
To high Olympus meant to climb.

. . . continued tomorrow!

Key Ingredient: Bacon!

April 26, 2014

Okay, it is the weekend and you know you want some bacon, so here are just a few recipes that call for bacon that sound positively delicious!

Cheesy Bacon Popcorn
Drizzle 4 cups hot popcorn with 1 tablespoon bacon drippings. Toss with 3 tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon and 1/4 cup each grated Parmesan and cheddar. (This one sounds delicious, but it may be a little greasy on the fingers.)

Bacon Butter
Cook 2 slices bacon in a skillet; drain and chop. Blend 1 stick softened butter with the drippings and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Stir in the chopped bacon.  (The perfect spread for just about anything.)

BLT Pasta
Cook 8 slices bacon; drain and chop. Cook 1 chopped red onion, 3 sliced garlic cloves, some red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt in 3 tablespoons drippings. Add 5 cups grape tomatoes; cook 12 minutes. Add 1/3 cup cream; cook 2 minutes. Toss with 12 ounces cooked penne, 4 cups arugula, the bacon, some basil and a splash of pasta water. Top with Parmesan.  (Yum!)

Bacon Burgers
Pulse 1 pound chopped bacon in a food processor. Form into four thin patties; cook in a skillet over medium heat, 10 to 12 minutes per side. Serve on buns.

Bacon-Apple Pancakes
Mix 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 egg, 1 grated apple and 1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon. Cook in a hot buttered skillet.

Bacon Brittle
Boil 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan, without stirring, until 340 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup peanuts, 5 slices crumbled cooked bacon, 1 tablespoon butter and a pinch each of cayenne and cinnamon. Spread on a greased baking sheet to harden.

For a look at the full article and even more quick bacon recipes check out this website (courtesy of The Food Network).

Did You Know . . . ?

April 25, 2014

Yes, it is finally Friday, and to help us get in the mood for the weekend, here is a smattering of random fun factoids to keep your brain cells stimulated.  Happy pondering!

Did you know that . . .

  • . . . the first computer mouse was made of wood?
  • . . . humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas?
  • . . . if you drilled a tunnel straight through the Earth and jumped in, it would take you 42 minutes 12 seconds to get to the other side.
  • . . . a nightingale’s song can be louder than a chainsaw.
  • . . . the hollow bit in the middle of a brick is called a “frog.”
  • . . . the first ever text message said “Merry Christmas.”
  • . . . going to work is statistically three times more dangerous than war.
  • . . . 2,520 is the smallest number that can be exactly divided by all the numbers 1 to 10.

For  even more fascinating (but fun) facts, check out the original article.

Library Assets!

April 24, 2014

320px-Carl_Spitzweg_021Budget woes have you in a tizzy?  No worries, sell some art!  What a wonderful asset to own (and such an appropriate piece for a library), and what a difficult decision to have to make.  I’m hoping that is it not out of dire need that the library is considering the sale . . . what a treasure!

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “The Milwaukee Public Library board will meet Tuesday to discuss the possible sale or permanent loan of one of its treasures, ‘The Bookworm,’ the most famous canvas by German romantic painter Carl Spitzweg.”  According to Paula Kiely (the Director of the Milwaukee Public Library), an undisclosed party has made an offer on the work (which is reportedly valued in the neighborhood of $400,000).   Apparently there are three versions of this particular painting: the first version (painted circa 1850) currently resides in the Museum Georg Schäfer in Schweinfurt and was originally listed under the title “The Librarian;” the second version, an exemplar of the first, was painted a year later and found its way into the hands of an art collection in New York City and was eventually bequeathed to the Milwaukee Public Library in the early 1970s; a third version was painted in 1884 and is owned by a private collector.

World Book Night 2014!

April 23, 2014

WBN2014 LogoNoBkgdSpreading the love of reading, person to person.  I was too late to sign up for this wonderful program this year, but I will definitely have to make a better effort to get involved in this initiative next year.

How It Works

The Book List

Lists from Previous Years

Check out the World Book Night full website here.

And, in case you didn’t know, or had simply forgotten, today also just happens to be the birthday of William Shakespeare!  Happy Birthday William!

Tackling the Seven Wonders of the World!

April 22, 2014

The Piano Guys have set out to film and/or perform in front of all Seven Natural Wonders of the World.  Their first stop: the Great Wall of China . . . not too shabby at all!  One down, six to go.  Next stop on the list: Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janiero.  I’m a huge fan of these guys.  To learn more, check out their webpage.

The Refrigerator Police!

April 21, 2014

How safe are the foods in your refrigerator?  Here is an infographic that can help remind you of safe food handling techniques from planning and shopping, to cleaning and storing, to preparation and cooking, to storing and reheating.  It even discusses such topics as the sources of food health risks (food borne illnesses and other contaminants) and food allergies.  Let’s be safe in all of our food handling procedures!