T-Rex to Go: Build Your Own with Chicken Bones

This morning in off-the-beaten-path library finds:

T-Rex to Go: Build Your Own with Chicken Bones by Chris MacGowan

Back flap: "The famous carnivore Tyrannosaurus Rex has fascinated humans for years. Now, with simple explanations, easy-to-follow diagrams, and a few household items, you can turn the remains of your chicken supper into your own miniature--and frightening--model T. rex, complete with teeth! McGowan provides a wealth of information on dinosaur evolution and paleontological procedures, as well as delicious chicken recipes and step-by-step dinosaur-skeleton-building instructions, making this a book the whole family can enjoy."

Makes me think of the Brittany Murphy character in Girl, Interrupted. Could be a kick-ass science project for the right kid, though.


"Once a little boy sent me a charming card..."

"Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, 'Dear Jim: I loved your card.' Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, 'Jim loved your card so much he ate it.' That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it."

--Maurice Sendak

[This quotation has been reblogged all over Tumblr the past two days, but I can't find a documented source for it.]

Three Poems from Heaven

Heaven is poet Mairead Byrne's blog. The Best of (What's Left of) Heaven, Byrne's most recent book, currently tops my wishlist.

Man, do I love these three poems:



He worked really hard.
He worked really really really really really hard.
He was no good though.
I don't even think he wanted to be good.
He just wanted to work really really really really really hard.


Your father. Your poor father. Your father.

His mother. His poor mother.

His father.


This poem is the opposite of Concrete Poetry:

Concrete poems are poems that don't look like poems.

Heck they might only have one word.

My poems look like poems alright.

But there

the resemblance ends.


Links: Music and Language

Recently bookmarked:

*Dewey Music, an interface for much more easily browsing the Internet Archive's vast free collection of music (if you're a fan of live recordings, here's the mother lode). I could spend hours just looking up all of the genres on the "browse" page

*American English Dialect Recordings--a collection from the Center for Applied Linguistics that features 118 hours of North American accents

*RapGenius, a growing archive of rap songs with allusions and potentially unfamiliar slang explained (and sometimes, less usefully, just commented on)

*"Even Isolated Cultures Understand Emotions Conveyed by Western Music"--a post at Cognitive Daily, and a finding that somehow disappoints me

*"Linguistics Challenge" Puzzles--fun set of linguistics puzzles to work through

*Cover Lay Down, a music (and mp3) blog devoted to "folk covers of familiar songs, [and] reimagined versions of folk songs"


Shana Moulton: Food for Thought

Or rather, herbal tea for thought: Shana Moulton's image essay, "Squiggles, Trees, Ribbons and Spirals: My Collection of Women’s Health, Beauty and Support Group Logos as the Stages of Life in Semi-Particular Order." (small excerpt, left--go see whole)


What? There's a Gertrude Stein statue in Bryant Park?

The statue has been there since 1992, but I haven't been to NYC since 1990. Wow.

Image by & via New York City Statues, who I hope won't mind my reposting it here, and who note that Stein's was the first public statue of an American woman to be installed in New York City. (Yep. In 1992.)


"Because of Libraries We Can Say These Things"

by Naomi Shihab Nye

She is holding the book close to her body,
carrying it home on the cracked sidewalk,
down the tangled hill.
If a dog runs at her again, she will use the book as a shield.

She looked hard among the long lines
of books to find this one.
When they start talking about money,
when the day contains such long and hot places,
she will go inside.
An orange bed is waiting.
Story without corners.
She will have two families.
They will eat at different hours.

She is carrying a book past the fire station
and the five and dime.

What this town has not given her
the book will provide; a sheep,
a wilderness of new solutions.
The book has already lived through its troubles.
The book has a calm cover, a straight spine.

When the step returns to itself,
as the best place for sitting,
and the old men up and down the street
are latching their clippers,

she will not be alone.
She will have a book to open
and open and open.
Her life starts here.


Instapaper, e-readers, & some articles I've enjoyed recently--

More than books, I've been using my Nook to read longer articles--massive blog posts or long-form journalism that I've saved in my Bloglines account to (supposedly) read some day. Instapaper rocks my world. I've known about it for a long time, but--like the articles--never got around to trying it out. Getting the Nook was a long-overdue push to do so.

If you're not yet familiar with Instapaper, it works like this: you set up a free account at Instapaper, and can either add an Instapaper button to your browser, or manually enter links (while signed into your Instapaper account) to online articles you want to read. The articles stay saved there until you decide to download or print them. You can download them to read on a Kindle, or in ePub format to read on other e-readers (like the Nook); you can print them, or you can read them right there at Instapaper (minus all the distracting ads and clutter that surrounded them at their home on the net). I have a hard time reading long articles online--I'm one of those folks for whom e-ink really is easier on the eyes--and Instapaper in tandem with the Nook means I'm reading longer articles again. It's ridiculously easy to use, and it means I have a steady free stream of fantastic non-book content to read on the Nook.

Some pieces I've recently enjoyed and recommend:

*"The Surprising Satisfactions of a Home Funeral" by Max Alexander (Smithsonian, March 2009)

*"Google's Book Search: a Disaster for Scholars" by Geoffrey Nunberg (Chronicle, August 2009) (a smart and entertaining look at troubled metadata at Google Books)

*"Spar" by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld Magazine, October 2009) (a deservedly award-winning science fiction short story)

*"Washington, We Have a Problem" by Todd Purdum (Vanity Fair, September 2010) (on a US president's day in the age of 24-hour news, among other impediments. This made me a little more sympathetic to the current administration, and to any future administration--it's astonishing how many barriers there are to getting anything accomplished these days in Washington. We absolutely do have a problem, unless something gives. Highly recommended)

*"Letting Go: What Should Medicine Do When It Can't Save Your Life?" by Atul Gawande (New Yorker, 8/2/10) (Of all of these, this is the one I'd most strongly urge--physically, if I had to--people to read. Important stuff)

In other e-reader news: you can now (haven't tried yet) get Lifehacker and other Gawker blogs in your e-reader via Calibre, and digitizing your own books is becoming popular in Japan, creating demand for more bookscanning-friendly scanners. I'd love to be able to put some of my favorite books that aren't yet (and many never be) available in ebook form on the Nook. If you're interested in more ebook news, TeleRead is an excellent blog for it.