Category Archives: Fun Facts

The Banned, The Burned, and The Removed!

Early in September  we set up our banned books display…which some of you may have noticed. I hope. It’s fairly modest, but definitely there. Banned books week ran from the 21st-28th. We were a little early in setting up and we’re going keep it up for a little longer in hopes that you’ll pick up a banned book to read Feed your rebel side!!

about 150 books are sitting out there in honor of banned books week because they have been banned or challenged at some point in their “life” since publication. Some were banned almost immediately upon publication, others challenged periodically through the years. Some are banned for obvious reasons while others have nearly outlandish reasons. For a few of the books on the display, we’ve provided you with the main reason for the ban or challenge…but do you want to know what got most of them on the list? You’re in luck! Here is a hefty list of books (many that we’ve got on display) and the reasons they’ve been so persecuted.

Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Challenged at the Baptist College in Charleston, SC in 1987. Why? Apparently people were offended by the “language and sexual references in the book”.

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Perpetually challenged since it’s publication…no fewer than 30 times in the states alone. In 1960 a teacher from Tulsa, OK was fired for assigning the book to an 11th grade English class. While the teacher was reinstated, the book was still removed from the curriculum and the school. Some of the “favorite” reasons for banning the book are: language, sexual content, ‘defamatory to minorities, God, women, and the disabled’, blasphemous, undermines morality, anti-white, and my personal favorite: it’s a “filthy, filthy book”.

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

This award winner was burned by the East St. Louis Public Library in 1939 because of “vulgar words”. In 1973 Turkish booksellers and publishers were arrested and put on trial for ‘publishing, processing and selling books in violation of an order of the Istanbul Martial Law Command’, those arrested faced a month to six months jail time and had their books confiscated.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Warren, IN Township Schools challenged the book in 1981 because the book does “deep psychological damage to the positive integration process” and “represents institutionalized racism under the guise of good literature”. Lee’s work is called out often, even today, for it’s language.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Along with 17 other titles, The Color Purple, was challenged by a group called ‘Parents Against Bad Books’ (super creative name, guys…). They opposed its inclusion in Fairfax County, VA elementary and secondary schools, saying that the books “contain profanity and depictions of drug abuse, sexually explicit conduct, and torture”.

Ulysses by James Joyce

Burned in the United States in 1918, Ireland (Joyce’s own country) and Canada in 1922, and England in 1923!

Beloved by Toni Morrison

In 2006 a board member for district 214 in Arlington Heights, IL tried to get Beloved and a few other titles removed from the NW Suburban High School. She was elected amid promises to bring her Christian beliefs into all board decision making and raised the issue for these books based on EXCERPTS she found on the INTERNET. Because everything we read on the internet is true, right?

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Challenged in 1981 at the Owen, NC high school because it is “demoralizing inasmuch as it implies that man is little more than an animal”. You don’t say?

1984 by George Orwell

Challenged in Jackson Co., FL in 1981 because it was “pro-communist”. I wonder if they read the book…

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Banned in France (1956-59), England (1955-59), Argentina (1959), and New Zealand (1960)…because of disturbing sexual content.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Banned in Ireland (1953), Syracuse, IN (1974), Oil City, PA (1977), Grand Blanc, MI (1979), Continental, OH (1980), and many others. In 1989 it was challenged as a summer youth program reading assignment in Chattanooga, TN. The reasoning: “Steinbeck is known to have had an anti-business attitude” and “He was very questionable as to his patriotism”.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Challenged in Snoqualmie, WA (1979) due to several references to women as “whores”

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Removed from classrooms in Miller, MO in 1980 because “it makes promiscuous sex look like fun”.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

In a Wisconsin survey it was revealed that the John Birch Society had challenged the novel because it objected to the words “masses in revolt”. A similar study was done in 1968 by NY States English Council’s Committee on Defense Against Censorship using NY State English classrooms. It was found that Animal Farm had landed on it’s list of “problem books” because “Orwell was a communist”….seriously?

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Burned in Nazi bonfires in 1933. Banned in Boston (‘30), Ireland (‘53), Riverside & San Jose, CA (‘60)

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Banned in the Graves County school district in Mayfield, KY in 1986 because it contains “offensive and obscene passages referring to abortion and used God’s name in vain”.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

First, the June 1929 issue of Scribner’s Magazine, which ran the novel, was banned in Boston, MA. Then, it was banned in Italy (1929) because it is a painfully accurate account of the italian retreat from Caporetto, Italy. Then, burned by Nazi’s in 1933. And finally, challenged in Vernon-Verona-Sherill, NY school district in 1988 as a “sex novel”.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Challenged for sexual explicitness in Brentsville, VA (1977).

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Challenged in Columbus, OH  school in 1993; the complainant believed the book contained language degrading to blacks.

Native Son by Richard Wright

Removed from Irvington High School in Fremont, CA in 1998 after a few parents complained the book was unnecessarily violent and sexually explicit.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

In 1975 five residents of Strongsville, OH sued the board of education to remove the novel, labeling it “pornographic” and charged that the novel “glorifies criminal activity, has a tendency to corrupt juviniles, and contains descriptions of beastiality, bizarre violence, and torture, dismemberment, death, and human elimination”. It was banned in 1978 from St. Anthony, ID’s Freemont HS classrooms and the instructor was fired (the instructor sued but a decision was never published).

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

BURNED in Drake, ND in 1973! In 1985, it was challenged in the Owensboro, KY high school library because of “foul language, a section depicting a picture of an act of beastiality, a reference to ‘magic fingers’ attached to the protagonists bed to help him sleep, and the sentence: ‘The gun made a ripping sound like the opening of the fly of God Almighty’”.

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Declared “unmailable” by the U.S. Postal Service in 1940. In 1973 Turkish booksellers and publishers were put on trial and faced a month to six months imprisonment for “spreading propaganda unfavorable to the state”.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Banned in Italy and Yugoslavia in 1929 and then burned by the Nazi’s in 1933.

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin

Challenged as required reading in Husten Falls, NY Schools in 1994 because the book has recurring themes of rape, masterbation, voilence, and degrading treatment of women.

The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien

Burned in Alamogordo, NM in 2001 outside of Christ Community Church (along with other Tolkien works) as satanic.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Burned by the Nazi’s in 1933 because of Sinclair’s socialist views. Also, banned in Yugoslavia in 1929 and in East Germany (as inimical to communism) in 1956.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover D.H. Lawrence

Banned by U.S. Customs (1929), Ireland (1932), Poland (1932), Australia (1959), Japan (1959), India (1959), and Canada (1960-62). Dissemination of the novel was stopped in China in 1987 because the book “will corrupt the minds of young people and is against the Chinese tradition”.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

1973, a bookseller in Orem, Utah was arrested for selling the novel. Though charges were dropped, the seller was still forced to close the store and relocate to a different city. The novel was removed from schools in Aurora, CO (1976), Westport, MA (1977), and Anniston, AL (1982) for “objectionable language”.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Though published in 1899, the novel was banished for decades because it so disturbed the critics and the public.

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

Banned in: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Qatar, Indonesia, South Africa, and India because of its criticism of Islam. It was BURNED in West Yorkshire, England. In Venezuela, owning or reading a copy is considered a crime punishable by 15 months imprisonment.

Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence

1961, the group called “Mother’s United for Decency” out of Oklahoma City, OK hired a trailer, dubbed it the “smutmobile” and displayed books deemed objectionable…including Sons and Lovers.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Challenged at Vernon-Verona-Sherill, NY School District in 1980 as a “filthy, trashy sex novel”.

Naked Lunch by William Burroughs

Found to be obscene by Boston, MA Superior Court in 1965.

Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence

Seized by John Summers of the NY Society for the Suppression of Vice and declared ‘obscene’ in 1922.

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

Banned in Boston, MA in 1927 and BURNED by the Nazi’s in 1933 becasue it “deals with low love affairs”.

I find it most entertaining that some of these books were banned or challenged when it is very nearly obvious that those complaining or challenging them had either completely missed the point of the book or had not even read it…I’m looking at you, the people who tried to get rid of 1984 because it was “pro-communist”! There are still hundreds and probably thousands of books that have been banned or challenged at some point, including children’s books, but they just didn’t make the cut on this list! Go forth, my readers, and read a banned or challenged book! Be a rebel!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun Facts, Information, Learn Something New, Library Information, The More You Know...

Internet of “Stuff”!

In this week’s edition of the Library Things blog we’re going to talk about weird things on the internet. Which seems redundant, really (weird and the internet are pretty much interchangeable terms). A large part of my position is to scour the internet looking for “stuff”, and boy-howdy do I ever. That may be the first time I’ve ever used the phrase “boy-howdy”…and the last. I am leaving it, but I don’t like it. Anyway…today, as a part of my never ending search for “stuff” today I came across some particularly entertaining items compliments of Buzzfeed. Some were games, some were just interactive clicky things, others were just completely random and I’m going to share this glorious list of items with you, for your entertainment (of course).

#1: You’re Getting Old. This is both an awful truth and the name of the site. You simply enter in your birth date and voila! Details about how long you’ve been on this earth and some rando events that happened since you graced the world with your presence.

#2: GeoGuessr. This is a fabulous time suck for those amused by locations and quizzy items. You are shown a Google Maps styled area that could be anywhere in the world. You can explore some and you have to try to figure out where you’ve been placed. Sometimes the answers are obvious, sometimes they seem obvious. Fabulously entertaining for the strange folks like me, your humble blogging librarian.

#3 Hacker Typer. This is a weird one. Have you ever wanted to look like one of those fancy hackers in the movies? Well, now you can!! You can type anything…anything whatsoever…and it will generate what appears to be random hacking code. Fun stuff.

#4 Find The Invisible Cow. That’s what you do. Somewhere on this blank white page there is a cow (or goat if you play enough times…and perhaps others, I only tested it a few times). It’s not just moving your mouse over the page though. It’s like a “hot-cold” game with some dude saying “cow” over and over in varying tones based on how close you are. If he’s screaming, you’re close. Stupidly amusing.

#5 idaft. Are you a fan of Daft Punk? Have you ever wanted to be one of the guys? Well, have I got a page for you! This fancy little page interacts with your keyboard and basically lets you do the whole “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” song. Amusing.

#6 Incredibox. This is a fun place to kill about…a day. You get 7 dudes to use to make different beats, songs, diddys, whatever. All told you have 20 different noises to choose from some beats, some vocals…you get the idea. If you match up your creation to the ones programmed in, you get to watch a special treat. Oh…and you can record your creations. Fun!

#7 Run Pee. Yes…you read that right. It’s a site that will tell you when you’re safe to take a tinkle break during the movie of your choosing. Naturally, not every movie is on the list, but most stuff currently in theaters has made the page!

#8 Does the Dog Die. Another movie helper site. On this one you can search out your pet themed movies to see if the dog does in fact die. It’s a fabulous page for people like me, who can’t bear watching a beloved pooch perish. Apparently this does not apply just to dogs, but to pets in general. It will also let you know if a pet is injured.

#9 Whale. This page doesn’t actually have a name, so I’m calling it Whale…because that’s all that really is. It’s a killer whale that will follow your mouse around the page. It’s stupid, but amusing. Plus, It’ll kill a few minutes while you try to make it miss.

#10 Pointer Pointer. This is another fairly stupid, but ingenious little site. You move your pointer around (giving it time to think, of course) and it will generate a photo of people (or something) pointing at, or very near, your pointer. Silly.

#11 Akinator. This one has made its rounds about the interwebs fairly recently, but just in case you missed him…Akinator is the web genius/genie. You pick a real or fictional character (in your head) and answer his questions…and he’ll figure it out. It’s pretty surprising really. He’ll usually get it in about 20 questions or so. Apparently Mr. Bean is a befuddling choice if you don’t know too much about Mr. Bean…took him 56 guesses and he still came up with Rowan Atkinson instead of Mr. Bean specifically.

So…there are 11 silly internet goodies to on which you can kill some pretty serious time. These are in no particular order, and you may not find them nearly as amusing as I did, but give them a try just in case!

Have a wonderful week Avila, and stay tuned! I’ll be blogging from VEGAS in a few days!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun Facts, Information, Learn Something New

Summer Fun…Havin’ a Blast?

Graduation is Saturday(congrats grads!) which also means the school year is coming to a close. Many of Avila’s students will be heading home to spend the summer bingeing on Netflix, working summer jobs, and soaking up some vitamin D. So, in honor of summer’s fast approach I figured I would tell you, my faithful readers, some awesome things that you can do for fun this summer in Kansas City!

THE FREE OPTIONS:

  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (go check out the giant shuttlecocks)
  • Sample chocolate at Chip’s Chocolate Factory at Crown Center (note…this isn’t free if you purchase candies)
  • Go and see the fountains…there are tons around the city and sometimes on game days, they’ll dye the water!
  • Check out some of the prominent parks (Loose Park–for the gardens, or the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden, for example)
  • Visit the Money Museum (and get free money!)
  • Explore the Central branch of the Kansas City Public Library. Check out the parking garage and the giant chess.
  • Bike the Trolley Trail
  • Window shop in Brookside, the Plaza, West Bottoms, and Historic Overland Park
  • Taste test each flavor of Glace Ice Cream until you can choose a favorite (not responsible for angry Glace workers…)
  • Take a tour of the Harley-Davidson factory
  • Visit the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Catch a freebie jazz show

UP TO $15 OPTIONS:

  • See the view (and learn some history) at the National World War I museum ($14 for adults. $7 World War Wednesday’s)
  • Tailgate at Kauffman Stadium (Parking is $11…you don’t necessarily have to go to the game to tailgate, but game tickets can be pretty cheap too).
  • Catch a Royals game (Hy-Vee specials and Student days offer deep discounts for tickets–as low as $8 a seat. They aren’t great seats, but you can still enjoy the game)
  • Enjoy a Skyscraper from Winstead’s, probably best with friends as they are HUGE (7.49 +tax).
  • Enjoy a fancy chocolate from Andre’s or Christopher Elbow’s (prices vary, expect about $3).
  • Camp at Watkin’s Woolen Mill ($8.50/night per space…it’s tent camping)
  • Explore Fort Osage ($7)
  • Visit the KC Zoo ($12.50 for adults [$5.50 if you are residents of Jackson or Clay counties] some free days)
  • Check out Science City and ride the bike across the high-wire! ($13.50 for SC, $6 for the planetarium)
  • Check out the Steamboat Arabia ($14.50)
  • Take a peek at baseball history at the Negro leagues Baseball Museum ($10)
  • See a show at the Alamo Drafthouse (Tickets are, at most 11.50 for a regular show, 3D is an extra $3.50 and special events may cost more. Real food and drinks are available in theater for an additional cost).

$16-UP OPTIONS:

  • Worlds of Fun! Go ride the roller coasters and if you’re up for a little added expense, visit Oceans of Fun while you’re there! (One day passes are 39.99 for adults, but deals and discounts pop up throughout the summer).
  • Build a giant LEGO tower at LEGOLand Discovery Center ($17, save 15% if you get your tickets online).
  • Visit the fish at Sea Life Kansas City ($19 with discounts for online ticket purchases).
  • Ride the world largest waterslide at the Schlitterbahn ($36.99. Save some cash for buying online).

VARYING PRICED OPTIONS

  • Catch a show or concert at a variety of beautiful and generally “nifty” venues scattered throughout the metro (the Midland Theater, Starlight Theater, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Off Center Theater, Power & Light, etc.). Prices vary by show and availability.
  • Barbeque! Kansas City is a bbq mecca for many and we’ve got a plethora of famous and hole-in-the-wall joints to get some great grub. Local and famous favorites include: Oklahoma Joe’s, Arthur Bryant’s, Jack Stack, Gates, and BB’s Lawnside BBQ.
  • Bask in the glory that is the soccer capital of America at a Sporting KC game (prices vary, but can be snagged for under $30 on occasion).
  • Eclectic dining experiences. We’ve got a little bit of everything in KC. Check out some of the patios and street vendors during some of KC’s prettiest months!
  • Shopping! From thrift stores and vintage to brand new and designer KC has it all. If you’re looking for the really fancy attire, check out the shops on the Plaza. Vintage boutiques and off the wall thrift stores often pop up in the shopping areas throughout the city.

So there you have it! Kansas City is FULL of fun and different things to do throughout the summer and many options are free! I for one hope to hit up the K for a Royals game and will definitely be nomming some BBQ! Anything on this list you want to try? Did I miss anything? Let us know! Comment here or tell us on Twitter: @Hooleybundschu #kcsummerfun!

With that, I wish you all the best of luck during finals week and to our many graduates, a hearty CONGRATULATIONS!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun Facts, Information, Learn Something New

National Library Week!

The week of April 13 – April 19, 2014 is National Library Week!

One week each year, usually in April, since 1958, libraries throughout the nation have held celebrations ranging from simple posters to all out parties to celebrate all that they have to offer (staff, materials, “spaces”, etc.) as well as supporters and patrons. The celebration was developed by the National Book Committee, which was made up by members of the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Book Publishers. In 1974 the National Book Committee was disbanded and ALA took over full sponsorship. The original committee created the celebration with the goals of: “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time”, “improving incomes and health”, and “developing a strong and happy family life”. The goals set forth by the ALA may have changed a bit in the ensuing decades since National Library Weeks’ birth, but the original goals still hold true.

As a part of the annual celebration the ALA assigns a  different theme to each year. Typically these themes deal with trends (library, community, global, political, etc.), promoting library services, reading, or literacy. The very first library week was themed “Wake Up and Read!”. This year the theme is “Lives change @ your library ®.”

Each library celebrates differently, of course. I’ve seen as little as a small poster on the circulation desk and as much as a week long, fun filled schedule of events all culminating with a party on Saturday (the last day) providing free food and drinks as well as games and prizes to any and all who wish to attend. Many libraries change their events to match the annual theme and frequently will gear their parties, games, etc. to children. In the last few years there has been a trend of promotions for teens and young adults, so I would expect to see more programs…particularly “maker” or “tinker” programs…aimed at that age group. On that note, the rise in popularity of the “maker” movement has prompted libraries, mostly public, to create “makerspaces” where patrons can basically work to create new things either from new bits & pieces (like a 3D printer) or by breaking apart old items (like toys, computers, fans, etc.) and using the salvageable bits. With these new spaces, there could be a variety of programs aimed to promote those spaces. This year, I expect to see a lot of programs asking patrons to share their life changing library stories or promoting using the library to help change lives (like creating an artificial hand with a 3D printer).

To promote this year’s theme, @YourLibrary (a library and literacy support community), has started a drawing for a Kindle Fire. Want to enter? Just take a selfie and share it with a story of how libraries have changed your life, or what libraries mean to you. Share your photo and story on Twitter, Facebook, or Flickr using the hasgtags “#LivesChange” and “#NLW14” before noon on Friday, April 19th. If you want more details or to use the funky speech bubble created just for National Library Week this year, click here! Here at Avila’s library, we have set out some copies for use!

Non-libraries get into the party as well. Different book publishers, library support groups, and technology companies will host online webinars, host events, or even offer some of their useful services for free! This year Oxford University Press has made their online resources free for the week! Just use “libraryweek” as both username and password and enjoy!

SO! Tell your story, take a selfie and remember to appreciate your library and librarians for all that they do and have done in your life. If you’d like to help your library celebrate, just stop by and see what programs they’ve got set up for the week! If you’d like to show your appreciation to your Avila University librarians, just stop by and say thanks…we also accept candy. 🙂 keep calm and library on

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun Facts, Holidays, Information, Library Information

Louie Louie, oh no. Me gotta go.

“Louie Louie, oh no/Me gotta go/Aye-yi-yi-yi, I said/Louie Louie, oh baby/Me gotta go”

Today is International Louie Louie Day! Everyone’s favorite party song-or at least a favorite-is celebrated each year on April 11th, the birthday of original composer of the tune, Richard Berry. Not surprisingly, he was also the first person to record it…in 1957. Since then it has been re-recorded by a multitude of big names. The version most are familiar with is the cover by the Kingsmen done in 1963. Other notable covers were performed by Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Black Flag (yes, really), Young MC, Iggy Pop, Bruce Springsteen, and the Smashing Pumpkins. In addition to a variety of musicians covering the song, it has also been covered by the occasional actor in films featuring the song.

Shockingly, the super catchy party anthem was meant to be the “B-side” for Berry’s recording of “You Are My Sunshine”. The song itself has been much praised and, because of a tremendous amount of history in the Washington/Oregon region different cities in both states have celebrations throughout April (and apparently September/October in Portland) to commemorate the diddy. In fact, the glorious tune was nearly declared the official state song of Washington State. More typical commemorations of International Louie Louie day have included: newspaper articles, magazine stories, radio programs, and (in cities with a big Louie Louie contingent) small parades. Occasionally, radio stations will celebrate Louie Louie day by playing massive blocks of different versions of Louie Louie.

In honor of this terrific holiday, I ask that you don some kind of party wear…I suggest a plastic lei and perhaps an umbrella drink…and check out all of these different versions of “Louie Louie” I was able to dig up.

Richard Berry

The Kingsmen

Iggy Pop

Paul Revere & The Raiders

Toots & Maytals

The Clash

Rockin’ Robin Roberts & The Wailers

Motorhead

The Sonics

The Kinks

Blondie

Led Zeppelin

Fat Boys

Otis Redding

Black Flag

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Animal House Clip

Down Periscope (watch the last minute…ish)

Monty Python skit set to Louie Louie

Coupe De Ville

Mr. Holland’s Opus (start at 8:22)

In other news…it’s also Cheese Fondue Day & National Bookmobile Day. So, when you’re finished watching all of these fantastic videos go check out a book from your local bookmobile about Richard Berry and enjoy reading it over some delicious Cheese Fondue! And as always: keep calm and louie louie

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun Facts, Holidays, The More You Know...

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
everyones irish

I hope everyone is enjoying this lovely day (safely, please!) and has some kind of planned celebration! If you are looking for somewhere to celebrate in style next year, this is your blog post! Here are 5 places you won’t have to leave the country to celebrate St. Pat’s in style!

1. New York, NY. Surprisingly, NYC’s parade is the oldest and largest in the world and is run entirely by volunteers! The parade has been going on since March 17th, 1762. This year (and in years past) there has been some controversy over a ban on gay rights groups and marchers with gay pride signs. If you’re not up for patronizing a parade with such a ban, check out St. Pat’s For All parade in Queens.

2. Boston, MA. Your friendly neighborhood blogging librarian (me!) was there last year. It’s a pretty wild time in that city. The parade is the second largest in the U.S. and last year took nearly 3 hours. The main celebrations take place in South Boston (Southie) but there are festivities throughout the city. This year marks the first year they are allowing a gay pride group into the parade. Typically, the activist groups host their own parade following the main parade. There is a 5/10K run prior to the parade and all of the pubs and restaurants within about a mile of the parade route are packed. Get there early to get space in the premier Irish pubs, but be prepared to pay a hefty cover charge (I ended up in a Mexican restaurant with a $5 cover but they were serving the more traditional Irish beverages and the bathroom didn’t have a line).

3. Chicago, IL. Each year local plumbers and various volunteers dye the Chicago River green for a couple days and some of the fountains run green as well! Chicago does, in fact, have a bit-o-Irish heritage, which leads to pretty fantastic festivities. There is a parade, of course, but there are other events scattered throughout the city.

4. Kansas City, MO. Yep, Avila U’s. hometown is host to one heck of a St. Pat’s celebration. We’ve had the Irish flags up in different parts of the city since the beginning of March and this last weekend there were more parades and St. Pat’s events scattered throughout the city than I really care to count. Today is the “big” parade (which started at 11AM) and there will be specials at pubs and restaurants throughout the town all day. Oh, and Power and Light will be open for revelers much of the day and around 5PM the Mowgli’s will be putting on a free show! Somehow, KC has a pretty hefty Irish background.

5. San Francisco, CA.  San Francisco is a party city in itself – but when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day, you can expect them to go all out. A traditional parade that dates back to 1852 is just the beginning. Visitors and locals can pick basically any bar in the city for a good time.

Everyone have a safe and fun St. Patrick’s Day! For you Avila students, I hope you’re enjoying the first official day of your Spring Break!

Sláinte!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun Facts, Holidays, Information

3.1415926535897932384626433832795028…

It’s Pi Day!! No, it’s not Pie Day, that’s back in January (23rd, to be exact), but Pi, the irrational/transcendental number frequently used to figure the area of a circle (pi times radius squared…I just discovered I need to learn how to do mathematical symbols in Google Drive & Word. Good to know).

Annnnyway. pi, the number, has been around for over 4000 years, though it has not always held the infinite distinction that is now has. The ancient Babylonians were the first to use “pi” to calculate the area of a circle, though to them pi was 3 (which isn’t quite right). The first person to actually calculate pi was Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212 BC). He didn’t quite get it perfect, but was close. The actual use of the Greek letter “pi” (again, the symbol would be useful here…suffice it to say, it looks like a kids drawing of a house) was in the 1700’s. It was first introduced by William Jones in 1706 and popularized by Leonhard Euler beginning in 1737.

Pi is mathematically an irrational and transcendental number meaning, basically, that it will continue infinitely without repetition or a pattern. Most people use 3.14 or 3.14159 do to their calculations, but at this point the number has been calculated to over one TRILLION digits beyond the decimal point. the “A Brief History of Pi” section of the Exploratorium website says: “Pi has been known for almost 4000 years–but even if we calculated the number of seconds in those 4000 years and calculated pi to that number of places, we would still only be approximating its actual value.” Pi, is well and truly infinite, which is a pretty crazy concept if you think about it for a while.

If you’d like to celebrate Pi Day, go out a buy a pie or pizza pie and dig in! Or do some other pie related things. You could also do some kind of 3.14 related games or events. Or you could Hit up a number of bakeries and pizzerias that are offering Pi Day deals. Or you could (somehow) go to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA and participate in the Pi Procession. Or take the healthier route and walk or bike 3.14 miles (it’s a pretty day out there…maybe not a horrid idea). Oh! It’s also Einstein’s birthday…so perhaps do something with relativity or do your hair in a more “mad scientist” style.

For good measure…here’s a picture of Pi on pie:
pi.jpg

1 Comment

Filed under Fun Facts, Holidays, Information

Joie de vivre*

Bon Mardi Gras, Mes Amis!

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

For those of you not in the know, what I’ve basically said is: “Happy Fat Tuesday, My Friends” and “Let The Good Times Roll”. Yes folks, today is Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Martedi Grasso! Ash Wednesday, tomorrow, is the beginning of the Lenten season,  and for many signals a period of fasting or “going without”. While Lent is a religious “season” most associated with the Roman Catholic Church, many different religious have joined in. For many Fat Tuesday is the last day to eat (or drink) things that may be barred by the church or given up for the 40 days of Lent (Ash Wednesday to Easter). Often Mardi Gras is celebrated with excess (hence, FAT Tuesday) of food, drink, and general revelry. Many cities host parades, lift outdoor drinking bans, and decorate with the traditional colors (Green, Purple, and Gold). In honor of this day of celebratory excesses, how about a list of the places known for really getting into the spirit of Mardi Gras.

1. New Orleans, LA.  The largest U.S. celebration of Mardi Gras. The makers of bead necklaces love this place.

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. THE largest carnival in the world. The city is overrun with over 2 million tourist each year. The samba is a favorite for parades.

3. Germany–seriously. All over Germany a variety of different celebrations are held, usually kicking off the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. In some cities a Prinz (prince), Jungfrau (virgin), and Bauer (farmer) are chosen. The Prinz leads the celebrations while the other two just the notoriety of the title. Fun Fact: The virgin is usually played by a beardless man.

4. St. Louis, MO. Yep, Missouri. STL makes the list for hosting the second largest Fat Tuesday celebration in the country. This is the 250th year of festivities in STL. The Soulard district is “ground zero”  for more than a month.

5. The Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast, U.S. The towns, cities, and villages that dot the Gulf Coast join in the fun, with most hosting parades and soirees in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. Their celebrations tend to be more family friendly.

6. Venice, Italy. Italy is considered the birthplace of “carnival” celebrations and they still know what they’re doing. Venice is the place to be, where porcelain or glass masks are as “required” as plastic beads are in New Orleans.

7. Sydney, Aus. Mardi Gras in Sydney has become synonymous with Gay Pride. Parties for both take place more than a month before Fat Tuesday, but the BIG parade is usually the Saturday before (this year, it was March 1st). Plus, it’s summer there…yeah. Its Fabulous and there isn’t snow everywhere.

*Joy of living

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun Facts, Holidays, Information

The Weekend Wrap

I think it’s about time for another weekend wrap-up, don’t you? Not much happened, really, but I feel we should talk a bit about the weather and the Oscars. So, here we go:

This weekend the Kansas City area was projected to get hit with another massive winter storm. The fantastically named Winter Storm Titan, “roared” into the KC metro on Saturday afternoon bringing with it wind, ridiculous cold, piles of sleet, and a meager supply of snow. Our poor forecasters up here had been struggling all week to get a clear prediction. Alas, Titan remained an enigma throughout its tenure in the area. We had been warned that we could get upwards of 10” of snow. Yeah…not so much. Instead of a delightfully soft snow storm the area was battered with heavy periods of sleet and a maybe an inch (or two in places) of snow. So, the snowstorm was a bust, but the meteorologists definitely got one thing right this weekend, the blistering cold. Oh man, is it cold out there! Kansas city broke temperature records both today and yesterday. Lucky for us, it should be warming up some by the weekend (I heard talk of 50’s on Friday).

The sleet and ick roads did serve to keep many people inside on Sunday, and I’m guessing many of you watched the Academy Awards (Oscars!) last night. For those of you who missed the show and haven’t looked at anything on the Internet today except this blog, here is a quick run-down of who won the biggest prizes of the evening:

  • Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave

  • Actress: Cate Blanchett “Blue Jasmine”

  • Actor: Matthew McConaughey ”Dallas Buyers Club”

  • Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o“12 Years a Slave”

  • Supporting Actor: Jared Leto “Dallas Buyers Club”

  • Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”

  • Best Original Song: Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, “Let it Go,” from “Frozen”

  • Best Original Score: Steven Price, “Gravity”

  • Best Writing (Original Screenplay): Spike Jonze, “Her”

  • Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): John Ridley, “12 Years a Slave”

If you want to see the other big winners of the evening, check here.

Ellen did a great job hosting, and bravo to her for practically breaking Twitter with the star-studded picture. If you didn’t (or refuse to) watch the Oscars, I can tell you that this year was one of the better shows I’ve seen. No one got too long winded (Leto and McConaughey tried, though) and for the most part politics stayed home. Also, John Travolta terribly mispronounced Idina Menzel’s name. And finally, Benedict Cumberbatch photo-bombed U2, which made my night (love CB, despise U2, sorry guys).

That’s about all the excitement from this weekend. Stay tuned for news and pictures for our upcoming move! We’re already hard at work getting things torn down and moved out (don’t worry, all the books and computers are still here)!

I hope Monday treats you all admirably. Stay Warm and we’ll see you Tomorrow (Fat Tuesday)!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun Facts, Information

Chocolate Mint Day!

Love Andes Mints? Can’t go a day without indulging in some Mint-Chip ice cream? Actively crave Thin Mints 90% of the year (minus a couple weeks in Feb. when they are available easily)?

Do you like it when this: chocolate                                                              is mixed with this:            mint

LUCKY YOU!

Today is National Chocolate Mint Day!

Go out and celebrate with your favorite minty chocolates or chocolatey mints! Better yet, stop by the library (today) and snag a chocolate mint while supplies last!

If you’ve got a hankering to do some baking or general kitchen concocting, here are some fabulous “chocolate mint” themed recipes!

Chocolate Mint Milkshake

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Pie

Easy Thin Mints (Girl Scouts knock-off!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun Facts, Holidays, Information, Uncategorized