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Archive for April, 2008

13 Presidents/13 Facts

Thursday Thirteen #17
This week’s Thursday Thirteen is on the topic of U.S. Presidents. Once again, I have failed to keep the list to one fact per person, but I don’t think you’ll mind when you see what I have found. Enjoy the list!

A Random Selection of Presidents:
1. Rutherford B. Hayes (19th President – 1877-1881) – Hayes neither drank nor smoked. In fact, his wife even refused to serve alcohol at White House functions.

2. James Buchanan (15th President – 1857-1861) – Buchanan was the only president that never married. Some say that this is because he wasn’t allowed to marry the woman he loved. (When she died suddenly, he wasn’t even allowed to attend the funeral.) Others point to the fact that he had a longtime close male friend, namely Senator Rufus King of Alabama, who Andrew Jackson tended to refer to as “Miss Nancy.” You decide.

3. Grover Cleveland (22nd President – 1885-1889/ 24th President – 1893-1897) – Cleveland was reportedly nicknamed “Big Steve.” He was also the only president (so far) to hold two non-consecutive terms.

4. George Washington (1st President – 1789-1797) – The first president of the United States was known to carry a portable sundial and also required that the teeth of his six white horses be brushed every morning. His home, called Mount Vernon, is very beautiful. It is well worth a trip to see it if you are in the area.

5. Ulysses S. Grant (18th President – 1869-1877) – Baptized “Hiram Ulysses Grant,” the eighteenth president smoked about twenty cigars a day. He managed to finish his memoirs just before dying of throat cancer. As he intended, the royalties from the memoirs supported his family in his absence.

6. Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th President – 1953-1961) – “Ike” Eisenhower had quite the catchy tune in his Animated campaign commercial: “I Like Ike.”, so only click to watch it if you are prepared to get it stuck in your head. He is also the one who changed the name of the presidential retreat to “Camp David.” It used to be called “Shangri-la.”

7. Warren G. Harding (29th President – 1921-1923) – I’m pretty sure that no other president lost the White House china in a card game. At one point Harding threw a birthday party for his dog “Laddie Boy” and invited the neighborhood dogs.

8. John Adams (2nd President – 1797-1801) – John Adams tried to make the office of president an inherited position. This attempt failed, but he was the first president whose son also became president. So, I suppose that made him happy.

9. John Quincy Adams (6th President – 1825-1829) – Adams helped to establish the Smithsonian Institution. He was also fond of swimming nude in the Potomac. Once, some boys even came along and stole his clothes while he was swimming!

10. William Henry Harrison (9th President – 1841) – Harrison gave a two hour speech at his Inauguration on a cold an rainy day…outside. He died of pneumonia after only 32 days in office.

11. Benjamin Harrison (23rd President – 1889-1893) – Harrison was the grandson of the 9th president (#10 above.) He also added six new states to the Union. (He tried for seven, but Hawaii didn’t work out.)

12. James K. Polk (11th President – 1845-1849) – Polk died only a few months after the end of his term. It should also be noted that his wife replaced all of the White House servants with newly purchased slaves.

13. William Howard Taft (27th President – 1909-1913) – Not only was Taft the fattest president, but he also tended to fall asleep at inopportune times. He was the last president to keep a cow on the White House lawn.

Sources:
* The Offical Website of the White House
* A Treasury of Great American Scandals by Michael Farquhar
* U.S. Presidents: Feats & Foul-Ups – The Good, the Bad, and the Silly by Nell Fuqua

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optical illusion

Think the horizontal lines are going up and down? They’re actually parallel. For more fun stuff that will tease your brain, check out the links below.

Talk about taking something to extremes. Photographer Carl Warner makes playing with your food into an art. Check it out. For more, visit Carl’s website. You’ll find the foodscapes in the Fotographics section.

Want to see what sort of tricks your eyes can play on you? Check out the illusions at the National Institute of Environmetal Health Sciences kids’ page. Be sure to go all the way to the end of the page for more mind benders.

Bored? Want to have a little fun and learn something too? Check out the online exhibits from the Exploratorium. You won’t believe you eyes!

Check our catalog to see more about optical illusions.

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The Bay area is busy place and you don’t have to go far to find plenty to do. Where do you find out what is going on in Fremont?

The Library Event Calender is a great place to start. You can limit your view to just one library, events just for Kids ( or adults or teens) , or to just one month.

Of course, one of the best places to go is the Fremont City site. It will tell you why the curb in front of your house is being torn up , when the next city council meeting is and of course, it leads you to the Parks and Rec department. You can register for classes here. You can also get a list of local parks and there is also a link to The East Bay Regional Park District .

There are two local newspapers for Fremont The Argus and The Tri-City Voice. Both have information on all kinds of local happenings and fun.

One place you might not be aware of is the Niles Community Forum , which list all kinds of events that happen in the Niles District of Fremont. Roses, movies, and music!

Where do you go to find out where to have fun in Fremont?

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Oh No! Miss Nelson, the sweetest teacher in school (who has the most ornery class), is missing. She didn’t come to work today. In her place was Miss Viola Swamp, the meanest substitute teacher in the world. Whatever shall the kids do? Who can help them find Miss Nelson? Will Viola Swamp finally give them too much homework? Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshall is another of my favorite picture book classics. The art throughout the book is rather cartoony in style and includes many clever details. For example, the book obviously takes place in Texas, as there is a Texas flag in Miss Nelson’s classroom. Another amusing detail is the sign which appears during one of the theories about where Miss Nelson went, that reads “Sharks (very unpleasant).” (Actually, those of you who are picture book fans will recognize the distinctive style of James Marshall, as seen in the Stupids series.) The storyline is a simple one, and yet it has elements that appeal to both children and the adults reading the book. Lots of read-aloud fun can be gained by doing the different character voices. Miss Nelson is Missing became so popular that it acquired sequels. I have always enjoyed the original best, however.

(Place a hold on the book and read it for yourself.)

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Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story by Nobuhiro Watsuki is a Japanese graphic novel (or manga) which takes place during the Meiji era of Japan (in the mid 1800s). Rurouni Kenshin is a story filled with sword fighting, even though the main character would prefer not to fight at all. This first volume introduces many of the characters that will remain throughout the entire 28 book series. Rated for older teens (16+) though it may be, this series isn’t anywhere near as bad in the violence department as some that I’ve seen. The art is very well drawn, and even the action sequences are easy to follow. I really enjoy the storyline. The first section really sucked me in. I had a lot of trouble putting the book down. Luckily, manga reads faster that traditional books. Unluckily, one must go in search of book two if one wants to find out what happens next.

The author helpfully includes some historical notes to explain where some of the ideas for his characters came from. My favorite character is the title character, Himura Kenshin. On the one hand he is a seemingly relaxed mellow guy, on the other hand he is a very scary warrior. So, it’s advised not to try and hurt his friends. (Just so you know.) With the possibility for romance in the future, and ever more dangerous foes appearing (and a few new friends), I have a feeling that I will be reading each new volume as soon as I can get my hands on it.

(Place a hold on Rurouni Kenshin to see if you agree with my review.)

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Thursday Thirteen #16
24 April is the anniversary of the founding of the Library of Congress, so for today’s Thursday Thirteen I am bringing you 13 facts about that huge institution. I’ve actually been there once. (Have I mentioned that my parents are both librarians?) I even have a Library of Congress t-shirt. Anyway, enjoy the list.

13 Facts about the Library of Congress:
1. This year, the Library of Congress turns 208 years old.

2. The collection of the Library of Congress contains more than 130 million items, which includes materials in over 460 languages.

3. In 2007, the Library of Congress registered 526,378 claims to copyright.

4. The Library of Congress was established in 1800 by an act of Congress, and was begun with $5,000.

5. In 1814, the Library, which was then located in the Capitol Building, was destroyed when British troops burned the building and ran off with a bunch of the books.

6. The library was re-established in 1815 when Thomas Jefferson offered his personal collection of 6,487 books to Congress for that purpose. (Congress paid him $23,950 for the books.)

7. There have been thirteen Librarians of Congress to date. The current one is James Hadley Billington, who has held the position since 1987.

8. Ainsworth Rand Spofford (6th Librarian of Congress, 1864-1897) is the one responsible for the “copyright law of 1870” which required copyright applicants to send two copies of their work to the Library. Among other results of this law was the urgent need for a new building as they ran out of space pretty quickly.

9. The Library of Congress doesn’t just collect books, they also have a large collection of films, maps, sheet music, manuscripts, and sound recordings

10. The Library offers webcasts and podcasts on their website. These include such topics as “American Heroines” and “Shakespeare’s Genealogies.”

11. The American Memory Collections, available on the Library of Congress website, include such things as: scans of An account of the proceedings on the trial of Susan B. Anthony, on the charge of illegal voting, at the presidential election in Nov. 1872, a Map of the Antietam Battlefield from the Civil War, and a film of Annie Oakley as filmed by Edison in 1894.

12. It is actually possible to hold your own event at the Library of Congress. They even have five venues for you to choose from. You can reserve the Mary Pickford Theater for a mere $2,500 + $600-$700 for support services overtime (if you are a 501(c)(3) Organization.)

13. The Library hosts many events for the public, including lectures, poetry readings, and film showings. One upcoming film is “Kitten with a Whip” (Universal, 1964).

Source:
The Library of Congress Website

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Dora the Explorer**If you like the Clifford books, check out this interactive site from Scholastic. You can read stories online and play games.

**Denise Fleming has written numerous children’s picture books. Check out her site for activities related to her many books, including crafts, mazes, puzzles, coloring sheets and more.

**The Little Golden Books are still around; visit their site for coloring and activity pages and interactive games. Check here for lists of Little Golden Book titles. You can then search our catalog to see if we have them and place holds.

**Are you a fan of Peter Rabbit? Check out the fun activities at this site.

**If you love Sesame Street then you have to check out this site for games, stories and much more.

**Do you like Dora the Explorer? Here are just a few of the books we have about Dora here at the library. For games, crafts and more check out this site from Nick Jr.Max and Ruby

**Also at Nick Jr., you can find Max and Ruby. Check out Max and Ruby
books and more
that we have here at the library.

**Nick Jr. is also home to Blue’s Clues. Play games and look for books and movies too!

**If you like Dr. Seuss, then you need to visit Seussville’s playground.
Don’t forget to see what we have at the library.

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