Showing posts from February, 2011

Welcome to Spring!

Guess what! On February 2nd (Groundhog Day), Punxsutawney Phil once again appeared at sunrise at Gobbler's Knob in the Pennsylvania Wilds to make his annual prediction. Phil surveyed his surroundings and found no shadow, so an early spring it will be! Everything Spring / Esbaum, Jill. See, hear, and feel the warmth of springtime by reading and learning all about chicks, bunnies, and the other baby animals that come out to play in springtime. Are You R eady for Spring? / Anderson, Sheila. Rubber boots make a sound as they splash in mud puddles. Birds work in pairs to build nests. Dark rain clouds move in. Do you know what season it is? It is spring! Spring Surprises / Hays, Anna Jane. A rhyming tribute to the wonders brought by spring. Spring begins on March 20th, when day and night have equal hours. All over the world this Spring Equinox is a time to celebrate the rebirth of earth, when winter comes to an end and growing season begins again. For thousands of years, people i

Get Smart! Use SmartArt.

Tired of writing boring reports crammed with solemn columns of facts and figures? Why not add some visual interest to your document by using SmartArt? SmartArt is a fun and clever feature that allows you to display your information in a visual format. This pictorial depiction of data can liven up even the most boring report. By means of visual representation, SmartArt displays the data in your document with diagrams of interconnected shapes. And, though there are a variety of different SmartArt graphics available, they are similar in the way they work. Consider your content and then choose the SmartArt layout that conveys your message most effectively. For instance, if you want to display non-sequential information, choose the layout from the List category; whereas, if your information consists of a decision tree or an organization chart, then use the Hierarchy category. You can access SmartArt graphics in Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Regardless of whether you are using Word, Excel or


Perfumes have been around literally for ages. They are basically a fragrant product blended from certain raw or synthetic materials. The art of perfumery was known to many ancient cultures, including the Chinese, Hindus, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Even the Bible contains some references to materials and formulas relating to perfume. Perfumes are usually an alcohol solution, the alcohol being mixed with an essential oil, comprised of such odors as floral, woody, spicy, or citrusy notes. Perfumes usually have top notes which are perceived immediately but don’t last very long, middle notes which give the fragrance more body and character and a base note which is the most persistent of all. SOME BOOKS ON THE HISTORY, BACKGROUND AND BUSINESS OF PERFUMES @ MERCER COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM: Perfume: The Art and Science of Scent by Cathy Newman (National Geographic Society, 1998) Although a bit dated, this book brings the story of perfumes to life, by interviewing many of the people invol

Help! There’s a Virus in My Spam

There are tons of websites and blog posts out there that harp on the need to protect your PC with some sort of Anti-Virus protection and a hundred more that talk about malware, spam and other offensive PC invaders. But, what should you really expect from such software and what other action should you take to help the software do its job? First, let’s look at how PC protection software (anti-virus, anti-malware and spam filters) really works. There are two main ways the software can detect a problem on your PC – by consulting a list of known threats or by comparing downloaded files to known threats to see if they have similar patterns. A detailed description of how each variety works can be found on the eHow website . For our purposes, what we need to know is that software that uses a list blocks files from running based on their inclusion on the list. A default list is installed with the software and is updated when you update your the software. Software that checks for patterns looks

Keep the Red Carpet Rolling

The winners keep coming in the world of children’s books! Named after the activist wife of Martin Luther King Jr., the Coretta Scott King Awards recognize the best writing and illustrating by Black authors for children during the past year. Author Award: In One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two little sisters spend the summer of 1968 with their estranged mother. The mother would rather write revolutionary poetry, so the girls spend their days at a community center run by the Black Panther Party. This year there are three honor books as well: Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri and illustrated by Randy DuBurke Illustrator Award: Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave , illustrated by Bryan Collier and written by Laban Carrick Hill is the true story of a slave who wrote poems and carved them into pots that he sculpted. There is one honor book: Jim

Books To Get You Thinking

Each year the National Book Foundation selects some of the most outstanding works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and Young People’s Literature published in America for its prestigious National Book Awards that have become a symbol for literary excellence. Eminent authors such as Gore Vidal T.J. Stiles, Timothy Egan and Thomas Friedman are among the recipients of the annual National Book Awards. This month’s picks include a selection of books from the 2010 list of winners and finalists in the fiction and nonfiction categories. Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon won the 2010 National Book Award for fiction. The author, who has been teaching creative writing at Western Michigan University sets her novel against the backdrop of the Indian Mound Downs, an old second class racetrack nestled in the heart of West Virginia in the early 1970s. Gordon has mastered the language of the racetrack, the dynamics of backstretch society, the nature of the animals, their personality and psychology. The no

Drama, Mystery and Romance of Medieval and Renaissance Europe

Many people, both young and old, are history aficionados. This can range from those who simply enjoy reading a book or watching a movie or television program, to those who enjoy dressing up in period costumes and re-enacting some major historical event such as a famous battle or Washington crossing the Delaware every December in our own backyard . One expanse of history which seems to have captivated the fascination of multitudes of people is the high drama and romance of Medieval Europe. We can stretch this from King Arthur in the middle of the Dark Ages, through the Middle Ages up to the Renaissance which ended in the late 16th century. Fortunately, those of us interested in this time period have a wealth of both fiction and non-fiction, books, films and websites to satisfy our appetite, and many of them are available right here at the Mercer County Library. Starting with films, one of my personal favorites is the 1964 classic, Becket , starring Richard Burton in the title role an

Till You Find the Bluebird of Happiness

Bliss, Nirvana, Joy, Happiness – Where is it to be found? Well, try this happiness trek: The Geography of Bliss . My book group just finished discussing this humorous travelogue by Eric Weiner, a longtime foreign correspondent for National Public Radio. In Geography Weiner travels to ten countries (Iceland, Switzerland, Moldova, India, Bhutan, Qatar, Holland England, USA, Thailand) where he – in a very unscientifically manner - observes how happy the inhabitants are. It surprised me to learn that Iceland is one of the happiest countries in the world – according to the Dutch World Database of Happiness . Weiner’s website says: “Is this a self-help book? Perhaps, but not like any you've read before. I offer no simple bromides here. No chicken soup. You will find no easy answers in these pages. You will, however, find much to chew on and, perhaps, some unexpected inspiration. We Americans, it turns out, have no monopoly on the pursuit of happiness. There is wisdom to be found in t