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Author Archive for Jason Paulios



U.S. Congress voting records

by Jason Paulios on March 10th, 2014
Image courtesy of theatlantic.com

Image courtesy of theatlantic.com

Last week I received a call asking for the voting record for the recent nomination to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  The patron wanted to know which Senate Democrats had voted against Mr. Debo Adegbile’s nomination.

This vote was high profile enough that many newspapers such as The Washington Post answered her question, but I thought it best to go right to the source : U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 2nd Session (2014).  Using the Senate’s votes summary page allows you to easily search through recent roll call votes with detailed summaries.  After selecting the vote number (in this case, 0048) you can view the vote question and result, number required for majority, and the count.  The count may be sorted in various ways, I sorted by vote position which allowed me to see who in the “NAYs” were Democrats.

I used this government tool to supply the names, but the Post article also helped me explain the rationale for some of the voters. This gave the patron a better account so she could write to the dissenting voters.

If searching for results for a House vote, the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives also has a Roll Call votes page though I don’t find their summaries to be as comprehensive or easy to sort through as the Senate version.

An R&B Christmas

by Jason Paulios on December 11th, 2013

Are you sick of the same tired Christmas interpretations? Try something from this collection of CDs for an R&B Christmas.
"Best Man Holiday" CD art Soundtrack to the new Malcolm D. Lee film “The Best Man Holiday” featuring contemporary R&B artists such as: Jordin Sparks, Fantasia, R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, John Legend, and Ne-Yo.

"Funky Christmas" coverA holiday compilation of Atlantic Records’ Cotillion imprint featuring performances by 1970s R&B/Soul singers including a young Luther Vandross.

MaryChristmasA new Verve Christmas release of classics from Mary J. Blige called, “A Mary Christmas” (we see what you did there).

Christmas with a little New jack swing, it’s “Christmas With Babyface.”

Christmas soul originals with James Brown, it’s no Sex Machine but it’s still funky.

Despite the ridiculous cover, this CeeLo Christmas album, “Cee Lo’s Magic Moment,” is the real deal.

Many of the songs included on the Jackson 5 “Ultimate Christmas Collection” have become modern Christmas classics.

A Motown Christmas” collects songs from Motown legends from 1965 through the early 1970s including tracks by: Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, and Diana Ross & the Supremes.

New Additions to Local Music Project

by Jason Paulios on September 23rd, 2013

The ICPL Local Music Project has had some really great press lately and we hope it has helped more Iowa City, Hills, University Heights, and rural Johnson County residents discover this new project of ours.  I’m always on the lookout for more local artists to add and a goal for this year is to add more of the underrepresented genres such as: classical, electronic, avant-garde, country, jazz, and hip-hop.  I’m excited to introduce you to a few new signings that have happened since July:

Pen to Paper by Chasing Shade

This folk-rock album came out in 2011 and, like much of the best IC music, was recorded at Flat Black Studios.  You may have heard the guys at Camp Euphoria, Friday Night Concert Series, or one of their solar powered shows during recent RAGBRAIs. The boys have recently moved to Los Angeles to sell their souls (kidding) but we hope they enjoy their time on the coast!  Be sure to catch them on their next visit to Iowa City in the coming years.

85 Decibel Monks and Chained Reaction by Tack-Fu

Lucky for us, Tack saw an article in the DI promoting the Local Music Project and approached me about getting his albums added to the catalog.  We have two of his early 2000s hip-hop compilations, he’s featured as producer alongside a variety of DJs, MCs, and co-producer Chaircrusher/Kent Williams.  The albums feature a mix of some vocal and instrumental tracks, sounds tend towards old-school rap beats, jazz/string samples, and soul/funk sensibilities.

Stay tuned for more additions!  Be sure to contact me at jason-paulios[at]icpl.org if you know of other acts that you feel would be a good addition to the collection.

 

R.A.P. Music – Killer Mike

by Jason Paulios on February 28th, 2013

This was an album that, for whatever reason, I kept putting off listening to last year.  I finally got around to it after seeing how many “Best Of 2012″ lists included Mike and it now tops my “Best of 2012 that I didn’t listen to until 2013″ list.

This is an aggressive album both musically and lyrically.  The production is tackled by El-P who is known for his dark, tense beats, mixing synths, grime and classic samples; they are a soundtrack to a dystopian urban future.  His soundscapes are detailed and crafted with Mike’s delivery and content in mind.  A less skilled rapper would be swallowed by these sounds but Mike’s swagger and righteous anger fit hand and glove with El’s beats.

Lyrically this album is message-heavy with nods to classic hip hop (Eazy-E and Public Enemy are referenced) as well as R&B/Soul/Jazz/Blues legends that infused politics into their art (Nina Simone/Miles Davis).  His song “Reagan” details government and political lies (“We invaded sovereign soil going after oil, taking countries is a hobby paid for by the oil lobby”), “Don’t Die” is a story of running from dirty cops (“Cause if I get caught it’s my life they terminate, or stick me in a cell at Guantanamo Bay … I’ll be an outlaw before I ever behave, I’ll die a free man before I live like a slave, and nothing changes if they catch me today, f*#k the police is still all I gotta say.”).

For me, Mike is probably at his best when he’s rapping about the difficulties of growing up poor in a racist society and the impact family and music can have.  He ends the album with two inspiring tracks “Willie Burke Sherwood” and the title track: “What I say might save a life, what I speak might save the street, I ain’t got no instruments but I got my hands and feet … And the words that I put in the wind, coming back like a boomerang, when I take this microphone, point it at the crowd they start to sing.”

Be sure to check out Killer Mike live at the Blue Moose on April 6th as part of the Mission Creek Music Festival!

Winter Break Guys Read – Leviathan

by Jason Paulios on December 19th, 2012

We had a blast at November’s Guys Read meeting held at The Wedge and Capanna.  We’re excited to get together again for a special Winter Break Guys Read this Friday, December 21st from 12-1 p.m. in Meeting Room E upstairs at ICPL for all guys in Grades 5-8.  We’ll be discussing Scott Westerfeld’s amazing steampunk alternate history novel Leviathan.

We’re excited to bring in a special guest this month, we’ll be joined by local tinkerer inventor Michael Webb and his hand built 3D Printer!  He’s kindly offered to show us how it works and we’ll have a chance to print off some cool Leviathan-inspired choice coins where one side will have a double-helix for the Darwinists and the other a wrench for the Clankers.  If you’ve never seen what these printers can do, be sure to check out the yoda video below!

Guys Read, is a larger literacy initiative founded by children’s author Jon Scieszka, and is designed to draw attention to boys’ literacy and to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.

No reservation required but if you think you’ll come check it out then shoot me an email so I make sure to have enough food!

Questions? Email Jason at teens[at]icpl.org or call 319-887-6075.

Jason’s 2012 Wrap Up

by Jason Paulios on December 13th, 2012
Jason’s 2012 Wrap Up Cover Image

Here is a short list of books that I enjoyed from the last year:

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
Signature John Green elements are evident throughout this heartbreaking Young Adult love story : quirky characters, whip-smart dialogue, unattainable love interests, a sidekick, and a quest to find meaning in this world. This time he deals with the growing relationship between two teenagers who meet through a cancer therapy group and end up going to great lengths to find out the unwritten ending to a life-changing book.

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
A fluffy weekend thriller novel that can be compared to a Lifetime movie plot, I enjoyed the conversation this book sparked more than the book itself. A difference of opinion regarding a book can be just the thing to get you out of a reading slump (no, this does not mean I’m going to read 50 Shades). I rarely get a chance to discuss books with colleagues and patrons to the degree that I’ve been able to with Gone Girl. Some loved the carefully revealed spoilery twists and others slogged through and wondered who cared? Would make a great book club choice.

Broken Harbor – Tana French
Although French’s mysteries follow most police procedural conventions, the emphasis is generally on a deeply personal connection between the Detective and their assignment, usually with difficult resolutions. Detective “Scorcher” Kennedy is paired with a rookie and their roles of teacher and student are tested while assigned to a homicide in Broken Harbor, a failed new housing community outside of Dublin, Ireland. French’s plotting is flawless, her descriptions are vivid, the police dialogue is authentic and convincing, and the outcome is devastating.

Londoners : The Days and Nights of London Now – As Told By Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long For It – Craig Taylor
I’m an unabashed Anglophile, so when I saw Craig Taylor had edited a 400 page book of tales from London’s residents I knew I had to be first on the hold list. Taylor spent years interviewing a wide variety of residents of London and their impressions about the city, we’re treated to some short humorous tales interspersed with truly heartfelt odes to a hometown with a long history. I was reminded of Studs Terkel’s collections at times but found it worked best to read only a few chapters in a sitting. It would make a great travel companion guide, I often wished I was walking around the boroughs referenced in the tales.

Winter Teen Clothing Drive

by Jason Paulios on December 3rd, 2012
Jen attacks a vintage clothes rack

From: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joebrent/6626081235/

United Action for Youth’s Winter Teen Clothing Drive is this coming Wednesday, December 5th from 3:30-7:30pm at the Youth Center (355 Iowa Avenue)!

All young people ages 12-18 are welcome to “shop for free” by attending this event.

It is not too late to donate clothing items and toiletries – donations are being accepted at the Youth Center on Monday and Tuesday from 9am-5pm!

Guys Read November update

by Jason Paulios on November 20th, 2012

There were six of us present for the Guys Read book club last Saturday, members present included: Theo, Grayson, Milos, Milo, Casey, and Jason (me).  Since part of our goal is to spread our love of reading and inspire others to pick up our favorite books I thought it would be cool to have the meeting publicly at The Wedge next door!  Even before we arrived, a happy stranger loudly exclaimed that the book Milos was carrying (Leviathan) was cool.   “We know!”

We set up our sign, got a slice, and talked about books for an hour.  Good times!  Everyone was impressed with this month’s selections and we agreed we’ll be reading more from both of the series on our own.  For the December meeting we decided to tackle Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan since it is on the Iowa Teen Award list, and, instead of a comic this month, we’ll sample from the Guys Read short story series (thanks to Oscar for the idea last month).  A few members mentioned that they get extra credit for reading from the Teen Award list so that’s a bonus, also it was mentioned we should hit these teachers up for extra credit for attending Guys Read!

Most members were receptive to the idea of meeting for an extra hour of free reading as a group after the discussion time.  I thought other young guys would benefit from seeing a group of guys hanging out publicly and reading for fun, might also be a good way of picking up a few new members!  We’ll try this at our December meeting and see how it goes.

Here’s a list of some reading our crew is in the midst of:

Guys Read Book Club – ICPL Field Office – November

by Jason Paulios on November 15th, 2012

We’re still looking for guys in Grades 5-8 to join our newest book club!  We’re looking to match ICPL guys with books (and other readable things) in an interesting way. With pizza!  So if you’re hungry for new reading discoveries (or just hungry) join Theo, Grayson, Joel, Oscar, and Jason this Saturday.

Our next meeting is this Saturday, November 17th from 12:00-1:00 p.m. upstairs in Meeting Room E (it’s along the back wall past the Computer Lab). We’ll be talking about the comic series Usagi Yojimba by Stan Sakai and/or The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trent Lee Stewart and illustrated by Carson Ellis.  Don’t worry if you haven’t read these before, we’ll be doing other things as well and will vote on titles for the next meeting in December!

Guys Read, is a larger literacy initiative founded by children’s author Jon Scieszka, and is designed to draw attention to boys’ literacy and to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.

No reservation required but if you think you’ll come check it out then shoot me an email so I make sure to have enough food!

Questions? Email Jason at teens[at]icpl.org or call 319-887-6075.

Guys Read Book Club – ICPL Field Office

by Jason Paulios on October 25th, 2012

Hey all you guy readers out there, come join our newest book club!  Our mission is to match ICPL guys with books (and other readable things) in a fun, guys-only environment. With pizza of course!  Aimed at guys in Grades 5-8.

Guys Read, is a larger literacy initiative founded by children’s author Jon Scieszka, and is designed to draw attention to boys’ literacy and to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.

No reservation required but if you think you’ll come then shoot me an email so I make sure to have enough food!

Photo from http://templetontwins.tumblr.com/aboutthebook

Our next meeting is this Saturday, October 27th from 12:00-1:00 p.m. upstairs in Meeting Room E (it’s along the back wall past the Computer Lab). We’ll be talking about the comic series Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi and/or The Templeton Twins Have An Idea by Ellis Weiner with illustrations by Jeremy Holmes.  Don’t worry if you haven’t read these before, we’ll be doing other things as well and will vote on titles for the next meeting in November!

Questions? Email Jason at teens[at]icpl.org or call 319-887-6075.

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