DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

April 2016

Apr 29 2016

You Gotta Be Kitten Me!

by Hope L

PrecButchOkay, so I like cats.  No – I love cats.  So, naturally, I have had a number of cats in my homes over the years, but right now we only have two (you know, to keep each other company).  I think two is a very good number:  manageable, affordable, and plus – we only have two laps available in my home, after all.

But it is spring, and I am ever-so-tempted …  It doesn’t help that our pet sitter, who volunteers at a shelter, keeps sending us cute pictures of their newest residents.  We’ve let her know that, thank you, but we think two is a very good number.

Then, there was last spring, when a litter of kittens and their mother turned up (under a vehicle!) at a county building near my library branch, and they called the ‘crazy cat lady’ for assistance.  I was happy to help, and planned to move said cats to the nearby animal shelter for medical attention and adoption, BUT – they were full.

I ended up fostering a litter of kittens and their mother, for a grand total in our home of  nine cats.

catCan you imagine how very easily things can go downhill from there?

And so this year, instead of bringing any new members into the family, I am doing my part by encouraging you to adopt.  This way I can feel like I’m doing something to help the babies, and still go home to a reasonable number of two in my home.

I hear you chuckling out there, clucking you tongues like hens getting together for a game of Bunko.   “This crazy cat lady won’t be able to help herself!  Who does she think she’s kidding?”  you ask snarkily.

Well, snark away.

I am bound by a new covenant with my spouse:  two is a very good number when it comes to cats in our home.

But you may not have any pets, or you might just have more laps in your home, so here, for your consideration and/or enjoyment, are some cuties:

Clink the links in the pictures below for the DeKalb County Animal Services website.

seethedogs seethecats

 

During our April adoption special, dogs over 25lbs and all cats may be adopted for $25! Note: All standard adoption criteria applies.

Adoption fees include spay/neuter,
vaccinations, deworming, microchip
and heartworm or combo test

Dogs – $95
(Dogs over 5 years old $40)
Cats – $75
Adoption to persons over 55 years old – $40

 

 

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Apr 19 2016

Monkey Town, U.S.A.

by Hope L

Smiths

While reading the latest issue of my favorite DCPL mag, Smithsonian, I learned that one can still visit Monkey Town, U.S.A. ( actually Dayton, Tennessee), where they celebrate annually one of the most controversial trials in our nation’s history.

“Pretty much every summer since 1988, this tiny Appalachian town (pop. 7,200) has roused itself to celebrate that publicity stunt gone viral.  The Scopes Trial Festival, held over two weekends in July, features live bluegrass, tractor and craft shows, and a fried-Oreo food truck.  A storyteller spins his tales like a barker at a sideshow.  The centerpiece of the festival is a town-commissioned musical, Front Page News, which re-enacts the trial in the vast courtroom where it was held.

The play, performed by members of the nearby Cumberland County Playhouse, is essentially a rebuttal to Inherit the Wind ( both the DVD of the film starring Spencer Tracy and the book by the same name are available at DCPL).  The Hollywood version of the trial is widely loathed in Dayton, and the Front Page News does hew much more closely to the court transcript.”

Both the book and the DVD are available at DCPL.

 

inherit

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Apr 15 2016

Small Changes-Big Results

by Dea Anne M

Believe it or not, I haven’t always been someone who makes her bed.

“What difference does it make?” I would ask. “I’m just going to get back into it.” Thus cleverly employing the sophisticated logic used by generation after generation of (lazy/busy/distracted) college students – the only problem being that I was about six years old when I first uttered the words.  After my parents explained to me that – first: daily bed-making was a good discipline that I would someday be grateful to have acquired and second: that people my age who knew what was good for them generally did as they were told – I made my bed.

My paternal grandmother, a gentle and optimistic lady who tried valiantly to walk the tightrope that stretched between her grandchildren’s desires and firm parental rules, assured me that I would sleep more soundly in a nicely made up bed. “Like a baby,” she  promised. “An angel!” Well, I no more wanted to go to sleep at night than I wanted to make a bed during the day so that argument, unfortunately, didn’t carry a lot of weight.

My maternal grandmother, an equally loving woman who, nonetheless, possessed a steelier approach to life, often reminded me that not only was I lucky to sleep in a real bed, but I was also lucky to have it all to myself. The straw with which her childhood mattress was stuffed seemed to grow ever scratchier with each retelling of her story just as the number of sisters and cousins with which she was required to share it grew more numerous. Like a lot of somewhat indulged children, I didn’t much enjoy being reminded of just how good I had it. (I realize that I’m making my younger self sound like a bit of a brat and well…I won’t disabuse you of that opinion. I apologized to my Mom recently, again, for being such a rotten kid and her surprise seemed completely genuine. “You were a joy,” she said. “A wonderful child!” Which just goes to show how a person’s memory can play tricks on her mother.)

So, life went on and I made my bed but not quietly. I’m sorry to report that this task was one which I regularly swore – to anyone who would listen meaning usually just myself –  that I would never perform (ever!) once I was old enough to do as I pleased and that is exactly what happened. Actually, I continued to make my bed during my first year of college – mainly because the young woman with whom I shared a very small dorm room was an extremely tidy person and to not do it  would have been too embarrassing – not to mention the fact that she was from my hometown (also small) and she knew my parents!

After that first year however, I dove right into the pleasures, as well as the responsibilities, of what I considered a fully adult life – a life in which any making of the bed other than on laundry day was out of the question. Funny thing though, this little act of daily rebellion began to lose more and more of its allure as time went by. I can’t even remember when the tide definitely changed for me, but I’ve been a dedicated daily bed-maker for some time now. I think that it has made a difference for me in ways that are subtle but very real. I don’t want to over-romanticize the whole thing but leaving my house with a made up bed each day gives me a little boost – as though the fact that I’ve already accomplished this one thing might mean that I could  accomplish still more. I also feel as though getting into a made up bed at night helps me to sleep better…just like my grandmother said it would!

I bet you thought that I was leading up to yet another post on housekeeping – probably centered around the proper way habitto make a bed. Well I’m not. What I’ve actually been contemplating is habit and its force in our lives. Merriam Webster defines “habit” thus: “a usual way of behaving: something that a person does often enough in a regular and repeated way.” We hear a lot about “bad” habits – where they come from and how to change them but what about “good” habits – or, I suppose, more specifically, positive habits? Sure making my bed every morning leaves me with a tidier bedroom and provides positive feelings of accomplishment at the start of the day and repose at the end of it, but could the value of habit provide even more profound and long lasting effects in my life? According to Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, making your bed every morning is “correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.” No, Duhigg isn’t suggesting that a making the bed will clear up your sinus issues or keep your bank account from dipping into the negative. What he is saying is that some initial effort toward paying regular attention to small things can lead to a habit of paying concentrated attention to larger projectconcerns.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the excellent and very readable books The Happiness Project and Better Than Before, addresses bed making specifically on her website. While acknowledging that happiness for some people (those who grew up in overly rigid households, perhaps) happiness might include not making the bed. She goes on to say that committing to daily bed making, or to any small resolution, can help with life’s more challenging issues. Says Rubin: “…picking one little task and doing it regularly, can help you gain a sense of self-mastery. Making your bed is a good place to start and tackling one easy daily step is a good way to energize yourself for tougher situations.”

How about you? Are you a bed maker or not? By the way, if you do want to know how to make up a bed, let me, yet comfortsagain, recommend Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. Mendelson’s advice on all aspects of home care is thorough – to say the least – but she will never come across as strident (I promise!). You’ll find no insistence on hospital corners here but, of course, if you desire them there is excellent instruction on creating them to perfection. I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

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Apr 13 2016

National Poetry Month 2016

by Joseph M

April is National Poetry Month, and if you are looking for ways to celebrate and explore the medium, DCPL has a lot to offer.

We have works available by a multitude of poets, from Edgar Allan Poe to Langston Hughes, Phillis Wheatley to Kahlil Gibran, and Emily Dickinson to Natasha Trethewey, just to name a few.

You can also check out poetry events, like Poetry Atlanta Presents, a Georgia Center for the Book event at the Decatur Library on April 26. Click here for more details.

I also recently discovered a nifty website called the Favorite Poem Project, which features people all over the country reading aloud and speaking about poems they love. Check it out, and maybe you’ll discover a new favorite.

How will you celebrate National Poetry Month?

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Apr 8 2016

Red Pill, Blue Pill

by Camille B

Matrix Image

You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in  Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

What would you do if you were faced with a decision like the one in The Matrix? And I beg all of you rational, left-brained readers out there to indulge me a little; today we put aside reality, logic and reason for a moment to play a game of ‘what if?’ I’d also like to state for the record that this is all strictly fantasy.

What if you woke up one morning and realized that everything you believed to be true all your life was a lie? You’re told that it’s all been one huge fabrication. You’re then given the choice of two pills, a blue one that will allow you to continue living life unchanged with you being none the wiser, or a red one that represents truth, whatever that truth might be, and a chance to have a true existence in the real world.

Would the decision be a hard one for you? Or would it all be fairly simple? Be honest with yourself, would you give up everything you know and love right now, family, friends, loved ones, if you found out that it’s all been nothing more than a simulation? Especially when you have no idea what the alternative might be?

Imagine you have a beautiful wife (or husband), great kids, a wonderful job and you only have three years left on your 30 year mortgage. You can live with that right? I know I can.

The thing is though, none of it is real. There’s no wife, there’s no mortgage. It’s all been a fabricated reality. What would you do? Some might say: leave well enough alone.  But can you? Would your conscience allow you to continue living a lie, as great as that life might be? Wouldn’t there always be that nagging question at the back of your mind: I wonder what was behind door number two?

As one writer questioned, “Is it better to live a harsh reality or a comfortable fantasy? And why? Would you continue living that lie if you realized that trading it for the truth would mean living a harsher reality? Even one that might downright suck?” They say, what you don’t know can’t hurt you, and ignorance is bliss. But is it though?

According to Matt Lawrence, author of Like a Splinter: The Philosophy Behind the Matrix Trilogy, “How you answer this question will come down to how much you value pleasure in comparison to truth.” Is pleasure all that really matters, or is truth valuable for its own sake?

Wikipedia’s take on the red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, is that they are popular culture symbols representing the choice between embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality and the blissful ignorance of illusion.

In most of the surveys I checked while writing this post, it seemed that most people leaned towards facing the cold, hard truth and went with the red pill http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/80676-the-matrixpersonality-test-poll-red-pill-or-blue-pill-truth-or-ignorance/ even though there was a certain comfort to be found in taking the blue one.

So  how about you? If you had to choose, which would it be, truth or happiness? Would you take the rose-colored glasses off to see the world as it really was or would you stay with an illusory yet safe and predictable life?

 

Find on the shelves at DCPL

The Matrix (DVD)

Total Recall (DVD)

The Rule of Thoughts- James Dashner

Game Over- Andrew Klavan

Bubble World- Carol Snow

Elusion- Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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