The group of Iowans demonstrating against the Bakken oil pipeline are putting up a last-ditch effort (sorry, couldn’t resist) with their non-violent protest. But I have a feeling the only real chance they have of stopping the construction relies on their challenge of the state’s use of eminent domain to obtain land for it. I wanted to dig into this issue (I can’t stop) of eminent domain a bit more. All I really knew is that property owners are entitled to “just compensation” and that the property should be for public use. I was curious how the utilities board can use eminent domain for a pipeline that doesn’t seem to have any direct benefit to the people of Iowa other than some temporary jobs and future tax revenue. Read the rest of this entry »
Author Archive for Brent Palmer
My last World Music blog post about Orchestra Baobab centered on Dakar, Senegal. From there it’s a short flight over to Cape Verde, the home of Cesaria Evora, “The Barefoot Diva”. We have a CD of Cesaria in our collection called Miss Perfumado which I think you will love.
Many of the songs on this album are in the Cape Verdean style of Morna.
As it’s name implies, [Morna is] mournful music–an expression of loss and nostalgia, or sodade, an emotion frequently brought on by the emigration that is a basic fact of life in Cape Verde. (From Anastasia Tsioulcas in the liner notes of Miss Perfumado – 1991 Lusafrica)
My favorite track is called Sodade, which roughly translates to “longing” and can both describe the feeling of loss of love and the longing for home. To me the music and the lyrics remind me more of Portugal than West Africa but it undeniably represents a creole-like mixture of both. There is a beautiful dynamic between Cesaria’s rich warm voice and the higher pitched cavaquinho. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet had the pleasure of visiting Cape Verde, but this music seems to capture the beauty and warmth in my imagination of what these islands must be like. Check it out.
Clip of Sodade from Miss Perfumado
Books of all kinds in graphic format are becoming more and more popular. The works in this format are not all Japanese Manga and superheroes, though. The non-fiction shelves are scattered with different forms of serious non-fiction graphic works. I thought I’d share a few of these I’ve recently discovered Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes when I’ve just finished a book in Overdrive, I’m at a total loss for what to start next. If you are on the ball, you have been collecting titles in your wish list. If not, here is one technique I often use: search for award winners. To do this:
- Click on “advanced search” in the upper right.
- On the advanced search page, click the “all awards” drop down to pick the list. I’ve been using “Notable Books for Adults” recently and found some things that I enjoyed.
- You might also want to check the “show only items that are available to save some time
If you have any interest in world music and don’t yet know Orchestra Baobab, I encourage you to give this band a try. This Senegalese group has a spicy blend of musical styles that include Cuban rhythms, classic West African drumming, mbira-like guitar and a vocal style from the West-African griot storytellers. It’s really fun to listen to. Baobab is made up of musicians from all around West Africa including Mali, Togo, Guinea and the Casamance region of Senegal. They sing in many different languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, Wolof. We currently own only one album but it’s a really good one. If you enjoyed Buena Vista Social Club, it will be an easy transatlantic hop into this music. Request it right now.
Clip of Cabral by Orchestra Baobab
Recently, we have had a few patrons coming in to digitize their slides. Maybe you have been thinking about getting out those boxes of slides and doing a little digitizing project. ICPL has a station set up to help you do just this. We have an archive quality scanner donated to us by the Noon Host Lions Club. The large-format scanner can quickly be converted to slide scanner and you can scan multiple slides at once. You should be aware that it isn’t a quick process though. To get a decent sized image from the slide, the scanner has to do a fairly hi-resolution scan which can take several minutes. I would recommend bringing a flash drive that is large enough to store your images on. Or you could upload the images to cloud storage. The Info Desk staff can help you get set up and working quickly.
You may also want to be able to quickly scan through your slides to make sure that they are worth digitizing in the first place. Well we also have a Singer Caramate II on hand for that. Not only can you quickly preview your slides without taking them out of the carousel, it has some serious retro appeal going. Again, ask at the Info desk if you want to try it out. If the slides are of people or places in Iowa City and they are historical in nature, we would like to hear from you. We may want to preserve them in our Digital History Project.
As part of ICPL’s year-long Music is the Word program, we have commissioned a new game for Mabel the Table in the Children’s room, called “Tune It Up!”. It was developed by Virtually Competent, a local independent gaming company. This group created one of the original games for the table called Ship Shape. Virtually Competent teamed up with a local musician to build a musically-themed game for the table.
In this game, multiple players can contribute to a looping composition. The game features 3 different themes that cater to different tastes: Garden, Space and Cookies. For example, in the garden theme, players plant various seeds that turn into musical flowers in the garden. Each type of flower represents a different instrument. It is a cooperative game.
Anyone can step up and help with the composition and here are no winners or losers. Tune It Up! also features a mini-game within each theme. For example the garden has an infestation of moles that can be whacked and the space theme has asteroids that have to be destroyed. Also each theme has a character that can speed the tempo up or slow it down. The Children’s staff can save compositions created by kids and used as demos.
Come try it out on Mabel the Table in the Children’s Room.
I just discovered a new TV series that has become one of my all-time favorites: The Detectorists. As the two protagonists keep having to explain, “We’re not metal detectors, we are detectorists”. That is: they are the guys who operate the metal detectors; and they take it very seriously. The show surrounds the efforts of hobbyist treasure hunters who are convinced they are about to discover the lost burial of a Saxon king. It’s high stakes among the hobby clubs in the area to secure the rights to a farm that is rumored to be a hot prospect. The show was written and directed by Mackenzie Crook, who you might know as the gung-ho assistant on the British version of The Office. It is very funny and the dialog is great as is the music and filming. This is an easy one to binge-watch, so take it easy. Only watch a couple at a time; there are only six in the first season.
We are starting to get users calling or stopping by for help with Overdrive and Windows 10. If you have recently upgraded to Windows 10 and need to get Overdrive working again, here are some helpful tips:
- There are two versions of Overdrive. There is the app version and the desktop version. They can both be downloaded and used together.
- You can download both versions at app.overdrive.com (Scroll to the bottom). Use the Download for Windows 8 link for the “app” version. (At the time of writing, there is no Windows 10 link – but the 8 works). Use the Download for Windows Desktop link for the desktop version.
- If you want to transfer your books to an mp3 player, you need to at least have the desktop version. It’s nice to have both as they seem to work pretty well together. For example, after you add an audiobook to your bookshelf, there is a transfer option. When you click that, it will automatically open up the transfer wizard.
- You can listen to audio books right in the app.
Here are some Overdrive Help links:
If you want more help we have time and staff dedicated each week to answer your questions about Overdrive in Drop-In Tech Help.
I read a fun new book to my 4 year-old last week called Dory Fanstasmagory. Dory is sort of a cross between young Romona Beezus and Calvin. Her nickname is Rascal for good reason. She drives her older siblings and parents absolutely crazy but its very fun to read about. Dory is at the point where she is having trouble letting go of her fantasy world. Her fairly godmother is Mr. Nuggy who looks (to me at least) like a small bearded gnome and is always reachable by banana phone. The story is narrated by Dory so you can totally sympathize what it’s like to be the youngest member of the family. But you can also sympathize with the parents. At one point, Dory asks Mr. Nuggy to turn her into a puppy (named Chickenbone). Dory finds that she can’t turn herself back into a girl before going to the doctor.
When we get home from the doctor, I am in huge trouble. My mom tells me I have to go to my room for a time-out. I say, “You can just leave my dog food in bowl outside my door, woof!”. This makes my mom so mad that she grabs my paw and drags me up the stairs.
“Walk!” she says.
“I am!” I cry.
“On two legs!!!” my mom yells.
We both enjoyed it very much. And there is a sequel: When Dory starts school and finally makes a non-imaginary friend, everyone is skeptical that the friend exists.
Brent Palmer at the Library