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Showing posts from May, 2015

A New "Criterion" for Quality DVD Viewing

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How many times has this scenario happened to you? You have bought or borrowed a DVD of a favorite movie from years ago and look forward to a great movie night. You get your popcorn and soda ready, you gather the kids and spouse around the TV, but wait a minute…how come the picture is so fuzzy and washed out? How come the sound is so bad you cannot even tell what the actors are saying? It is so bad that the wife is giving you that look, you know that look. The one that says you did it again. The kids are getting bored and giving you their look, you know that look that says “Gee Dad, not another junky old movie that is going to bore us to death.” And there you are stammering, “But, but…this was a great movie when I was a kid!” By now the wife has picked up her book, and the kids have plugged their ears with the headphones to their iPhones or iPods and you are stuck with a warm soda losing its fizz and an overflowing bowl of cold popcorn. Well you just got what I call “public-doma…

Books To Get You Thinking

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April is an exciting time in the literary world. With the results of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award already under wraps, anticipation runs high for the announcement of the winners and finalists of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. This renowned Prize, first initiated in 1917, honors excellence in journalism and the arts. The Pulitzer Prize Board responsible for the judging process consists of twenty members including several luminaries from the literary world. Though the winners were announced on April 20th, the actual prizes are awarded in a luncheon ceremony at the Low Library at Columbia University in May.

All the Light We Cannot Seeby Anthony Doerr won the Pulitzer Prize in the category of Fiction and was exemplified by the Committee as “an imaginative and intricate novel inspired by the horrors of World War II and written in short, elegant chapters that explore human nature and the contradictory power of technology.” This hauntingly beautiful nov…

An Introduction to the Brooklyn Bridge for Junior Engineers

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Do you know any young people who are fascinated with bridges? These amazing structures are not only functional but can be very beautiful. Whether they span streams, rivers or gorges, bridges make connections and help us cross over obstacles. One of the most impressive bridges ever built is the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. The fascinating story of this bridge’s construction will inform and may even inspire your young engineer.

Built over 132 years ago, the Brooklyn Bridge spans the East River, linking Manhattan with Brooklyn. Prior to the bridge opening, the only way to cross the East River was by boat, which could be extremely treacherous - especially in bad weather! An experienced bridge engineer named John Roebling proposed building a suspension bridge across the river. A suspension bridge uses thick cables to hang the roadway between support towers. One advantage of a suspension bridge is that the support towers can be placed far apart which keeps the river open to boat traffi…

National Backyard Games Week

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National Backyard Games Week is celebrated the week before Memorial Day. It is the unofficial start of summer to those who observe the week that is meant to foster social interactions and family time through playing games in the backyard. You do not have to limit yourself to just your backyard or to just playing games. Many people use this week to get a jump start on family traveling and summer fun (just with less technology involvement).

There are numerous ways to celebrate, and the library has books to help:

To start with the true spirit of the week there are books on outdoor games. Some titles you can start off with are:
Outdoor Games!by Lisa ReganSidewalk Chalk: Outdoor Fun and Gamesby Jamie Kyle McGillianThe Adventurous Book of Outdoor Games: Classic Fun for Daring Boys and Girlsby Scott Strother If games are not your thing, there are always books on outdoor recreation, like camping, rafting, and hiking. If these types of activities are what you are looking for, the library has b…

Painting Fun

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At my Library, we have a program called “Painting Fun.” The children are given watercolors, dot paint markers, and a mixture of washable paint, shaving cream, and liquid glue to make puffy paints. There are so many fun things that you can paint with! Some of my favorites are:
1. Lego

2. Cookie cutters 3. Salt - use glue to “draw” a picture then cover with salt. Drip watercolors over the salt and watch as the salt slowly absorbs the colors.


4. Bubbles - add food coloring to bubble solution and blow bubbles onto a piece of paper. The color is left behind when the bubble bursts.

5. Feathers

Here are a few titles to help you get into the painting mood:

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!by Karen Beaumont
In the rhythm of a familiar folk song, a child cannot resist adding one more dab of paint in surprising places.

Mouse Paintby Ellen Stoll Walsh
Three white mice discover jars of red, blue, and yellow paint and explore the world of color.

White Rabbit's Color Bookby Alan Baker
White Rabbit h…

Peri-what? Am I Going Crazy?

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The two questions in my title are actual questions I have asked a doctor in the last year and a half.  With a serious look on my face.  And convinced that the second one was going to be answered with one word, yes.  The good news is, the second question was answered with a no, but also with, it is just perimenopause.  Which led me to ask the first question, since of course I have heard of menopause but must have looked like I needed a whack with a clue-by-four when the doctor said perimenopause, since she followed it with, “you know, the period of up to ten years before menopause?”  Well, no, but do go on doc and explain why I am not crazy.  Turns out, explaining it is not that easy, mainly because the medical community is still trying to figure it out.  Even the word perimenopause is new – my mother was totally clueless since it was not a word that was widely used even twenty years ago.  Apparently it is still not too common, since as I write this, I am noticing that Word has each m…

May is Arthritis Month

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Arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability, affects more than 50 million adults and nearly 300,000 children in the United States. It is a more frequent cause of activity limitation than heart disease, cancer or diabetes. Find out how to alleviate, prevent, and live more comfortably with arthritis pain with these books and DVDs owned by the Mercer County Library System:

Susan Tuttle’s In Home Fitness: Arthritis Chair Exercises for Seniors (DVD)
Physical activity decreases the pain associated with arthritis, while improving muscle function and range of motion. A healthy body needs 30 minutes of moderate, daily exercise and this DVD from Susan Tuttle, the creator of the In Home Fitness Series, is the best way to start. Workout 1 begins with a slow rhythmic warm up to decrease joint stiffness. Next, tone and build as much muscle strength as you can in your upper and lower body using hand weights. A powerful core will help keep you stable so you can move your feet faster. Susan…

What's With The Watch?

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Apple has been making a big splash with their new ads touting the Apple Watch. The media and Apple fans have been gushing about how the watch has been in the works for some time now and have more than expressed their enthusiasm for the product. So, this begs the question – what is the big deal and is it worth getting excited over?

Smart watches are not really new since manufacturers have been packing fitness technology into them for decades, most by adding pedometers and heart rate monitors. The new breed is meant to be either an independent piece of technology or one that works in sync with a smart phone. The Apple Watch is a hybrid of both, working with an iPhone or off of a WiFi network.

If you are an Apple iPhone user and looking at smart watches, this one is the one for you since it is designed to make using the iPhone easier. Watch can sync with an iPhone, so you can leave the phone in your pocket or nearby bag and address text messages, phone calls, and alerts from your w…

Walt Disney World Beyond the Rides

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What do you imagine when you hear the words “Walt Disney World”? Mickey Mouse, Cinderella’s Castle, rides, parades, restaurants, shopping… Yes, these are the major elements of Walt Disney World, but there are other adventures available for you and your family.


Have you ever wondered what it is like backstage at the Magic Kingdom? Are there really tunnels beneath Main Street? The Keys to the Kingdom Tour takes guests (ages 16 and up) on a backstage adventure where you will get to walk those tunnels (utilidors). You will learn how the magic is created and maintained, and hear the story of Walt Disney’s vision that led to the creation of the Magic Kingdom.

If you are interested in trains then The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour might interest you. This tour begins before the Magic Kingdom opens and allows guests (ages 10 and up) to visit the roundhouse, see the trains, learn what is involved in keeping them running, and watch as the engineers ready the trains for another day of servi…