Thursday, September 27, 2007


The American Library Association has put out it's annual list of most frequently banned books. Their 2006 list features one title that I think is an absolute scream.
The book by Carolyn Mackler is called: THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS.
Just the title should be incentive enough to read this book!



The current administration in Washington has been proposing for some time that a Missile Defense System be set up in Poland. The purpose was stated as to protect NATO countries from potential missile attack from North Korea, Iran, and/or China. The Russians have long protested such a system as they felt it was "aimed" at them. Condoleezza Rice has dismissed Russia's concerns as "ludicrous".
A group of top U.S. physicists from institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have just announced that the Russian concerns were justified. Theodore Postol a physicist at MIT has said "It is hard to understand how the they ( The Missile Defense Agency) could get something so basic, wrong." The scientists agree that the proposed US system would be overwhelmed in an all-out attack from Russia, but would be effective against smaller strategic offensives from our former cold-war adversary.
A complete article on the subject can be found at ..............



There has been a lot of media coverage the last year on the subject of religious materials being removed from prison libraries. Much of the inspiration to do so has come from the Department of Homeland Security who felt that prisoners were going to read certain books, become religious fanatics, want to start a jihad, etc.
Pressure has come from religious groups, civil libertarians, librarian groups and recently even from members of Congress.
Now in a sudden reversal of policy the Federal Bureau of Prisons has decided to return all these religious materials that had been purged from prison chapel libraries. It's downright humorous that they are doing this right before Banned Books Week.
The complete story can be viewed at:



You may remember when Texas oilman Ed Bass spent over $150 Million to erect the biosphere near Tuscon. It was a hermetically sealed, self-sustained living area with the aim of revealing how humans might fare on space colonies.
The project was a flop. The complex was taken over by the University of Arizona for a while to run biological experiments and later stood idle for several years when this project was abandoned.
Now some real-estate developers have purchased the Biosphere and surrounding lands for $50 Million and are making a resort complex out of it. Amazing!



To kick off Banned Books Week this year, you are invited to a Public Reading Of Banned Books in Madison, today. This event will be held at the Open Book Cafe' in the College Library at the corner of N. Park & Observatory Drive, between 6:00PM and 8:00PM.
The banned books will be publicly read by various Madison area individuals from many walks of life and generations. Some of the people involved in putting on this event are Shawn Brommer, Janice Rice, Denise Aulik, Chris Wagner, Don Johnson, & Terry Ross, as well as many others.
So if you're in the Madison area this evening .... show up, stand up, and be counted!



NASA is planning to launch their new "DAWN" spacecraft, TODAY!
This space vehicle will be probing two planet wannabes which reside in the asteroid belt. They will arrive to begin their exploration in August 2011.
The would-be planets that they will be exploring are CERES and VESTA
There is enough material in orbit between Mars and Jupiter for a planet to form. But the huge gravitational forces from Jupiter have prevented this from happening. Ceres and Vesta are the largest pieces of material that have been able to form, with the two of them being 330 miles and 600 miles in diameter.
A full report on the spacecraft can be read at:

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The following are library used book sales that I am aware of for the remaining days in September and for the month of October.
Sept 26-29 Hatley
Sept 27-29 Lake Mills
Sept 27-29 Stoughton
Sept 29-30 Green Lake
Oct 1 Fond du Lac
Oct 4 - 6 Madison (Main Library)
Oct 4 - 6 West Bend
Oct 4 - 6 Wisconsin Rapids
Oct 6 Madison (Sequoya)
Oct 6 - 7 Racine
Oct 10 - 13 Madison
Oct 11 - 14 Neenah
Oct 13 West Allis
Oct 15 Fond du Lac
Oct 20 Kewaunee
Oct 20 Madison (Lakeview)
Oct 24 - 27 Stevens Point
Oct 25 - 28 Appleton
Oct 25 - 28 Kaukauna
Oct 29 Fond du Lac


Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I've come across a site that I feel is very, very cool. It features panoramas of world famous wondrous sites, presented by Hans Nyberg. These are 360 degree interactive panoramas from internationally known panorama photographers. Featured are the NEW SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, as announced at a ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday, July 7,2007.
They consist of 1) The Great Wall of China, 2) The Colosseum, 3) Petra, 4) The Taj Mahal, 5) Machu Picchu, 6) Rio De Janeiro, & 7) Chichen Itza.
There is also access possible to panoramas of The Eiffel Tower, The Giza Pyramids, The Cordoba Mosque, Ankor Wat, and many other interesting sites.
This is definitely worth taking a look at ................



The OWLS library system will be conducting an on-line seminar on October 11th. It will be sent on the web from the OPAL auditorium. The Presenter is Karen G. Schneider, Research & Development Consultant College Center for Library Automation. Many of you know her as the author of the Free Range Librarian blog. The subject is Getting the most out of the time and money you spend maintaining your library's resources.
Prior to the workshop you need to visit the link listed and download the plug-in.
For those librarians out there that actually read this sorry blog, going through the course will net you 1 contact hour towards recertification.
If you have any questions contact Leslie Farrell at

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Friday, September 21, 2007


"O.J." has been much in the news this past week as a result of alledgedly committing armed robbery and "kidnapping" at a Las Vegas hotel. He is currently free on bond, pending another scheduled court appearance in October.
Also in the news is the fact that the Goldman family has purchased the rights to Simpson's book IF I DID IT which had previously been snuffed by the publisher. The Goldmans (parents of the man killed in the infamous murders of a decade ago) intend to market the book, slightly changing the title to eliminate doubt as to who committed the murders, in an attempt to obtain part of the money awarded them in the civil suit for wrongful death, after O.J. was cleared in the criminal suit.
This brings to mind that September 29th we begin BANNED BOOKS WEEK in this country. What are your thoughts regarding this book? SHOULD YOUR LIBRARY ADD THIS BOOK TO ITS COLLECTION?
If you don't think it should, what would be your justification in banning the book?

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My wife took a trip to Beloit yesterday, accompanied by Dan Belter, one of the Wausau area's most outstanding birders. They went to see the Green Breasted Mango which had been reported showing up at a feeder in the Beloit area. These are birds which seldom venture into the United States, let alone Wisconsin. There were six birders there during the day, some from as far away as Indiana and Illinois. Most had camera equipment which put my wife's gear to shame. The photos in this blog are copywrited shots by two of the guys there, which they quickly posted to the Internet. My wife's photos are good but not of the quality of these shots.
This bird is in the hummingbird family and is about half again as big as the Ruby-Throated variety that show up at Wisconsin feeders. It also has a long curved bill which makes the bird easily identifiable.
Mrs. Joan Salzberg whose feeder the bird has been coming to was very personable. She recorded the names of all the birders who have come to see the rare bird. Her patience may be tried this weekend as it is expected that hoards of birders will be descending on her back yard, including an expected busload who are attending a birding festival in Rockford, Illinois this weekend.
The Journal Sentinal ran a good article on the bird on 9/20. This can be viewed at
My wife felt very fortunate to be able to add this bird to her life list, as it is unlikely she would ever have seen one, except for this little guy who some feel got blown up here by Hurricane Dean.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007


There was a lot of turmoil in the National Football League during the past week because of charges made by the New York Jets that the New England Patriots were using video cameras to steal defensive signals. The NFL seized cameras and confirmed the charges. It is uncertain how long the recent Super Bowl Champions have been doing this, but a couple years ago the Green Bay Packers complained about a similar offense when the Patriots visited historic Lambeau Field. The result of this entire fiasco was fines being leveled totalling $750,000 and draft choices being taken away. Serious stuff.
However, the international Formula One racing system has had similar problems. Charges had been made that Team McClaren Mercedes had spied on Team Ferrari and obtained engineering data on 2007 and 2008 model-year racing cars. The FIA , Formula One's governing body began investigating the charges. However, when two time world-champion driver Fernando Alonso (pictured here) current McClaren driver, reported he had the incriminating evidence on his laptop, the FIA came down with penalties on Thursday of this week which make the NFL's sanctions seem like peanuts.
In addition to eliminating McClaren Mercedes from the Constructor's Championship competition this year they fined them $100 million dollars! Yes, that's $100,000,000.00 !!! Certainly not chump-change by any measure.
Sports has turned into such a huge economic investment that some participants have turned to their own version of industrial espionage to attempt to maximize return on investment. In the overall scope of what should truly be important, our priorities are getting totally out of hand.

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I will definitely NOT be speaking at this year's WLA Conference in Green Bay. One of the reasons is highlighted in this photograph which shows the audience the last time I spoke at a conference.
That all means that you should definitely plan on attending WLA this year!

You have until September 18th to get the "Early Bird" discount when you register.
For details on the conference and registration information go to the WLA website

The program sessions being offered this year are fantastic! Also of note is that Alice Sturzl, librarian from Laona, who is also the President of the Board of Trustees of Wisconsin Valley Library Service, will be honored as the Librarian of the Year.

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Friday, September 14, 2007


This afternoon my wife and I went to see Jodie Foster's new movie THE BRAVE ONE. Going to matinees is something we can now do together with my wife joining me in retirement. It cuts down on the cost as well. The showing we went to was the first one as the film opened today. We were both very impressed.
There is a lot of violence in the film. But Ms Foster's performance carries the plot leaving you with the feeling that much of the violence was justifiable. My wife liked Jodie in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS best. I liked her most in Carl Sagan's CONTACT. In any event, the actress who rarely smiles is one of our favorites.
The New York Times just ran an article on her under the same title as I used for this blog post. For a preview of the film go to .....
AP Photo

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Last Saturday I was a reenactor in the cemetary tour which was a part of the Marathon City Sesquacentenial Celebration. Eight of us impersonated individuals buried in the town cemetary who had been instrumental in the establishment of the community.
I portrayed August Ritger who lived from 1857 to 1927. Mr. Ritger built the first brick building in town as a place to house his general store. He was elected the first mayor of Marathon, was president of the bank which he helped establish, started the first creamery in the community, and in his spare time he fathered 13 children.
The lady in the lower picture is an actual great-grandaughter of August Ritger. She was born in 1920 and was 7 when he died. She remembers him. What a wonderful lady. I was proud to be in the picture with her.
It was a great weekend in Marathon. They organized the event well. The Marathon County Historical Society also did a fine job in arranging for "living history" portions of the celebration.
It should be noted that folks in Marathon are considering arranging funding to find a new location for their very busy branch library. They are part of the Marathon County Public Library organization.

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