Thursday, July 16, 2020

All the Wrong Reasons to Become a Librarian

A tip of the hat to the Library Think Tank - #ALATT on Facebook! 

1.The male:female student ratio was highest in those college classes.

(Except for my Modern Dance PE class. I was one of two men.)

2. Because smart women in glasses are my kryptonite.

3. Mister Rogers hero worship.

(Where else can you wear Chucks and a cardigan to work?)

4. Free access to the photocopier, and no lines.

5. It was the easiest way to get access to the restricted stacks.

6. Because the reference interview is the Socratic Method without the hemlock.

7. Two words: badge ribbons.


8. A predilection for rubber stamps.

9. I'm working off my overdue fines.

10. So I can be first on the holds list when the new Dog Man graphic novel hits the shelves.

11. I'm a pathological introvert, and this seemed like the perfect job to avoid interacting with other people.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

When and Where is Your GEOGRAPHICAL New Year's Day?

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine...

For roughly the past one hundred years, humanity has used a system of meridian time zones to standardize and synchronize time across the planet.

Theoretically, centered on the Prime Meridian (0°), every fifteen degrees of longitude would equal another hour (360°/24 hours). Due to national and local boundaries, pride, and other excuses for human behavior, time zone boundaries rarely follow that Fifteen-Degree rule. 

Back before trains and GPS and national broadcasting networks, every place on Earth had their own local geographical time. You stick a ...stick in the ground, and note when the shadow disappeared, or pointed at True North (wait for the Sun to set and find Polaris). Draw a circle, and you've got a sun dial. (Mark Noon each day, and you've got a calendar.) Create a mechanical device which mimics the movement of the shadow, you've got a clock, and you can track time after sunset. 

Now... let's figure out your "Personal Midnight". To make it interesting, let's pretend there's an annihilation wave wiping out everything on the surface of the Earth. It's stationary in orbit, so as the Earth rotates, everything is scorched. A big wall of disintegration, blasting everything in its path! 

It starts at Midnight, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), right on the Prime Meridian. BAM! Accra, Valencia, and London are blasted with almost no warning. (Paris is spared, for now.) People panic as the news spreads. The wave continues methodically. When will it hit your state, your city, your house? 

Simple... we know that every 15 degrees of longitude equals one hour.
So every 1 degree of longitude equals four minutes (60 minutes/15 degrees).
That means for every 1 minute of time, the wave travels 15' of longitude.
For every 1' of longitude, 4 seconds of time have elapsed. 
One second of time equals 15'' of longitude.

Generally speaking, the wave is moving at a speed of 1200 feet per second, or roughly 800 miles per hour. (So forget about boarding an airplane and outrunning the wave!) 

Now, let's calculate your personal midnight.
I'll pick a nondescript landmark...The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota!
Wikipedia lists the coordinates as: 
45° 5′ 46.79″ N94° 24′ 37″ W

We'll want to use longitude, the second number in the coordinates: 94° 24′ 37″

First, multiply 94 degrees by four minutes. 376 minutes. That's 6 hours 16 minutes. You could stop there...if you're going to die, a few more minutes won't matter much, right?
But let's say you've had that crazy, only-if-you're-the-last-person-on-Earth, no regrets sex. You've shot a man, just to watch him die. You've broken 8 of the Ten Commandments. So while you wait for the last minutes to tick off, why not compute the exact moment, for complete closure?

24' multiplied by 4 seconds equals 96 seconds, or 1 minute 36 seconds.
37'' divided by 15'' is 2 and 7/15ths, or almost 2.47 seconds.

Add it all up, and the exact time of your demise would be 6:17:38.46 or 12:17:38 Central Standard Time.  

For those locations EAST of the Prime Meridian, subtract the east coordinate from 360 degrees, and then do the math.

What's that? You don't know what your local geographical coordinates are?
Oh... that's easy to find!

  1. Go to Google Maps. 
  2. Search and locate the address. Click your exact location on the map, and a big red pin will appear.
  3. Right-click on the big red locator pin and select "What's here?"
  4. A window will appear at the bottom of the map. Click on the coordinates listed. Google Maps will then search via the coordinates, and display them in degrees-minutes-seconds. Use the west or east coordinate to calculate your exact Midnight.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Ultimate CLUE !

For those who find "Clue" to be too easy and boring, I present 
"Ultimate Clue"
(Cluedo if you're British.)

The board is from any version of "Risk". (Kids may use a Monopoly board, or Candyland.)

One person is the Judge. This person sets the murder combination, sets the Death Traps and Distractions, and hands out the murder tokens privately to each player. Before the game commences, the Judge hands out score sheets which players use to deduce the murder. One score card is notated with the traps and distractions, as well as the murder combination. This score card is handed to the actual murderer, but no one knows who that person is. 

The murder tokens are any Monopoly tokens, past or present. The number of tokens equals the number of players. The player without a murder token is defined as the murderer and uses deceit to confuse the other players

If there are fewer than six players, all players may lie.

The suspects may be any "man" ...chess pieces, mini-figs, patron saint medallions... anything which can fit on the board.
Only the players are suspects.
The maximum number of players is determined by the regions on whichever version of Risk (or Monopoly) is used.

Death Traps and Distractions

Domino pieces are used to create random penalties such as death and distraction. They are placed on the board by the Judge before game play commences.
Death traps are represented by a double domino. Distractions are noted by even-numbered dominoes.

The number of Death Traps is determined by the number of players, limited only by the number of double dominoes available. Half of the remaining spaces are reserved for distractions. The rest of the remaining spaces contain "normal" odd-numbered dominoes.

The murderer knows where they are located, and players can note the number of "safe" areas remaining during game play. (The murderer may throw people off the scent by triggering the bomb.) Given that there are only 42 regions (depending on the Risk board used), this happens quickly.
The player who triggers a Death Trap is redefined as a "ghost", shown either the location card or the murder weapon by the Judge, who in this instance is playing the ghost of the victim. They continue playing the game. Ghosts do not trigger dominoes. Ghosts may tell falsehoods for the remainder of the game. For example, NOT showing a card to disprove a hypothesis, or showing another card to the questioner, making others think that the hypothesis was false when part of it might be true.

There are non-player characters which distract the players. They are defined by even-numbered dominoes. Each reveal loses a turn. (Players refer to this as "In the Pantry with the maid and a bottle of sherry.")

If all players are killed via Death Traps, then the murderer has won, and is given the distinction of being a serial killer. (This is made more difficult as the ghosts learn part of the actual murder combination and might solve the game.) Murderers may also note the number of total players killed before deduction for further distinction.

[Any further suggestions? Let me know in the comments!]

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Welcome to Harm and Ising's Karaoke Bar

At a karaoke dive bar in the older part of Toon Town sit three grizzled cartoon chipmunks, angry and downbeat, passed over for the TV gig and Immortality because they weren't "adorable" enough. Yeah, sure, they still earn royalties on the original recording. "Theodore" last appeared as "Pip" in Enchanted, but was a bit miffed that her voice wasn't heard for most of the film. 

Humans visiting the bar are reminded to only order drinks from the human bartender. 

If you recognize a Toon, respect their privacy. We cannot guarantee your safety if a Toon decides to "cut loose". 

For Walt's Sake, DO NOT sing anything which appeared in a cartoon.
Not "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down".
No TV theme songs.
Nothing by Al Jolson. Or Weird Al.
If you sing "It's a Small World", I will personally have you disappeared to Pottsylvania.

We remind you that this is a Toon bar; you are guests here. Be respectful. Don't be a jerk. 

Tip the KJ and your bartenders. Our human staff can be even more devious than the Toons. 

Enjoy your stay.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Midlands Traditions: Corn Service Sets

This, and cream cheese rosettes, are traditional and expected gifts at most weddings in the Missouri River Valley region.

Traditionally, a set belonging to grandparents is handed down as a family heirloom, although it can also given by the youngest member of the bridal party (and his/her family if the child is very young) to ease the burden of gift giving decisions.

The origins? Sometime in the early 1910s, as mass-produced tableware became common and affordable, and later, after Marshall Field pioneered the bridal registry in 1924. This set spread like wildfire in the agricultural midwest, with newlyweds receiving duplicates. 
A simple system was created to avoid an gaffes of etiquette. It is considered gauche to place this item on a wedding registry. It is the Maid/Matron of Honor's responsibility to certify that the set will be gifted.

There are other traditions about the first use of the set. For some, it is the first meal prepared in a new home. Others wait for the first barbecue. (Yes, an outdoor grill is another traditional wedding gift in the American Midwest.)

Some invite the giftgiver's family over for a simple dinner, and inaugurate the gift then to show how useful it is.

The Brandeis art deco set (inspired by the Joslyn Art Museum) is still in production and sold by Yonkers (which acquired the Brandeis chain in the 1980s).

The Omaha Center for Industrial Design holds an annual scholarship auction where students, celebrities, and anyone else may design and produce a unique set. It is one of the rare banquet auctions to use cobshanks as part of the silverware. (The proper placement of the cobshanks in a table setting is perpendicular to the desert fork and spoon, next to the bread plate.)
The Nebraska State Fair (now located in Grand Island) issues commemorative cobshanks with each corn-on-the-cob sold. 

A sterling set autographed by Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne sold at charity auction for $33,000 in 2008. The Governor's Mansion in Lincoln, Nebraska, contains a small collection of sets, which are on display as part of the public tour.

A giant cobshank (as the handles are known), designed by 
Claes Oldenburg, is on display behind the rest stop located near exit 280 on Interstate 80, funded and installed as part of Nebraska's I-80 Bicentennial Project. As some vandals have discovered, the sculpture includes the prongs, which are imbedded in a concrete slab reminiscent of a corncob.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Reaction Shots: Missing Boy Found Inside Claw Machine

Missing Boy Found Inside Claw Machine

By LeAnne Morman
Tue 3:00 PM, Apr 15, 2014
Updated: Tue 10:27 PM, Apr 15, 2014

A 3-year-old boy somehow crawled up into a claw machine and was busy playing with the toys inside while his mother frantically searched for him.

Employees at Madsen's Bowling and Billiards in Lincoln said a customer alerted them that the young child was stuck inside the claw machine.

At the same time police were called to a home nearby on a report of a missing child. According to reports, a 24-year-old woman called 911 when she discovered her 3-year-old had slipped out of her apartment.

She told police that she was in the bathroom when the boy left through an unlocked door.

Meanwhile, Madsen's called police and the vending machine company to come let him out.

Employees said by the time the vending people arrived police had pieced the two situations together.

The boy was freed from the machine without any injury.

According to police, the mother acted quickly and appropriately as soon as she realized her son was missing and there were no indications of neglect. She was not cited.

Good thing they didn't have a candy machine.

So simple, a child could do it!

If you want that iPod, borrow a toddler.

"Dang… I got the toddler. I was trying for the Rastafarian banana."

That stork is soooo fired.

The latest design in playpens!

"Hey, Cleetus! The trap done worked!"

The mother wasn't cited, but authorities are wondering where the toddler got the fake ID he used to enter the bar.

"Damnit! Not again! Earl, call the exterminator! We've got toddlers in the claw machine!"

The latest marketing promotion for redneck bars: daycare.

Parents can come get sloshed during the day while the child is safely ensconced in the “playpen”.

Authorities decided to check the ball pit at a nearby McDonald’s, where they found a heroin needle, three Happy Meal toys, a desiccated but edible Big Mac, and two teenagers engaged in heavy petting.

“Bartender, there’s a toddler in the claw machine.” 
"Can’t be. I used them all in the barbecue."

Stop me if you've heard this one… "A toddler walks into a bar…"

"Doc… I have these recurring dreams where I’m a small child, and I’m on sale at the local Wal-Mart…"

It used to be, kids set up a sign and tried to sell their younger siblings. I guess this works better.

"Let’s go to Dave & Buster’s. Their claw machine has dachshunds."

At 5 PM, the bar replaces the toddler with a go-go girl.

"The Claw chooses who will go and who will stay."

Friday, January 19, 2018

Wissen ist Macht.

Discovered in the New York City Subway, 16th and Fifth, 2014

  1. Touro College: where today's students learn to become tomorrow's leaders.
  2. Ada flunked figure drawing, so she switched her major to Poli Sci.
  3. Touro was her backup. Her first choice was Brandeis.
  4. Vice-president of the campus Young Republicans.
  5. Future Fox News commentator
  6. Her roots are showing.
  7. If you want to replicate her style, ask for a "boys from brazilian".