Monday, August 29, 2005

John H. Johnson

On August 8, 2005 John H. Johnson died. He was 87 years old. I would guess that there's some that have never heard of John H. Johnson. He was the publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines. A host of politicians, celebrities and dignitaries attended his funeral at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicgao. President Bill Clinton, Senator Barack Obama,Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and a host of others spoke eloquently about this legend.

In 1996 President Clinton presented Johnson with the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. President Clinton said that Johnson gave blacks hope by showing "faces of hope".

John H. Johnson was born in Arkansas City, Arkansas in 1918. To escape racism, poverty and limited educational opportunities Johnson's mother moved the family to Chicago, Illinois. Johnson attended Phillips and DuSable High School in Chicago along with classmates Redd Foxx and Nat King Cole. Johnson blossomed at school and was the junior and senior class president, editor-in-chief of the Phillipsite school newspaper, leader of the student forum and a commencement speaker.

In 1942 Johnson started a magazine called The Negro Digest. This magazine was the prototype for Ebony. Johnson said when he went to apply for the loan he was told by an assistant, "Boy, we don't make loans to colored people". However, the assistant did tell Johnson of a bank that would loan to "colored people" and Johnson used his mother's new furniture as collateral to secure the loan for $500.00.

Johnson built an empire that includes Fashion Fair Cosmetics and Ebony Fashion Fair. He was also the first black person to appear on the Fortune 400 list.

I don't think there are many people my age who will tell you that they didn't have copies of Jet and Ebony around there home growing up. This was one place that you could read stories on black people overcoming all of the numerous obstacles there were (and still are) in America and succeeding. Back in the day black people were given short shrift by the white media. If there were stories about or concering black people they were generally negative. Overt racism was the norm in those days as opposed to the covert racism of today that permeates the media, workplace and America in general. Black newspapers and magazines gave black folks a place to see that there were black people succeeding against the odds. That there were black authors, actors, doctors, etc. These magazines gave black people dignity and a sense of purpose.

Johnson used Ebony and Jet to educate, entertain and enlighten readers. He tried to give readers hope to reach beyond themselves. Ebony always had/has stories on the movers and shakers in Black America, and Jet was/is a weekly news magazine.

John Johnson's wife, daughter and granddaughter are left to carry on his legacy.

The August 29, 2005 issue of Jet is a commemorative issue devoted to its illustrious founder. Here is some more information on this publishing giant.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday Wrap-Up (2)

One of the things that I really, really, really liked about camp was making somemores. I also liked sitting around the campfire singing songs and roasting marshmallows. I loved to plunge that puffy, whipped sugar tuffet right into the flames. There was just something about the fire, the songs and the smell of roasted marshmallows. I don't think using this would be quite the same, but who knows.

I find it extremely annoying to have to register with the New York Times or the Washington Post just so I can read an article online. The Waterboro, ME Public Library has a wonderful site and they have always had logins and passwords for the Times and the Chicago Tribune listed on their library blog.

Bugmenot is a site created by folks who are also annoyed at all of this registration madness. All you have to do is type in the URL of a site that requires registration. If someone has already registered for the site, you can use their signup information to access the site. Cool!!

I have been perusing a lot of digital library special collections and one that I think is very well done is Ad Access. This collection is housed at Duke University's Rare Manuscript and Special Collections Library. The collection contains over 7,000 advertisements printed in American and Canadian newspaper from 1911 to 1955. I've been perusing the Beauty and Hygiene section and some of these ads are a real hoot.

I am not one for hot drinks, but every so often I like a nice cup of tea or cocoa. Many years ago I remember drinking rose hip tea and I did like it. Because I'm always so hot I remember thinking I wonder what this would taste like iced, but then I tend to think that about any hot beverage I'm drinking. Apparently there are all sorts of things one can do with rose hips besides making tea.

Everyone have a nice weekend.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday Wrap-up (1)

On Fridays I am going to attempt to post a wrap-up of tidbits I've come across throughout the week.

Here goes:

The rooster on Kellogg's corn flakes has a name. It's Cornelius. He's been adorning the box since 1958.

As an undergrad I took a course on The Canterbury Tales. That was actually the name of the course. I loved it. I really enjoyed all my English courses, but this class was definitely one of my favorites. I think this would have even been more fun. Can't actually see that happening at an all female (at the time-my school has now gone co-ed-Yep, I'm ticked) Catholic school.

This is probably only of interest to those in the library community. Worldcat is an online catalog of books, audiovisual materials, dissertations, etc. Watch Worldcat Grow allows the viewer to actually see a record as it is added.

The graphic arts collection of Princeton University Library has a wonderful exhibition on women printers and book designers entitled: Unseen Hands: Women Printers, Binders and Book Designers. Check it out.

If you are someone who doesn't know that the word "boo" isn't always a cry or noise to show displeasure, and that marinate isn't something you do to your entree-you may want to take a look at the Rap Dictionary.

"Back in the day" I was a huge fan of funk. Cameo, Con Funk Shun, Shalamar, Lakeside and The Gap Band I loved them all. Lately I keep hearing this song on the radio with the lyrics Hey girl, How ya doin, My name is Charlie, last name Wilson.... The dj's (Tony, TC and George) were making a big deal about this song and how happy they were for the artist, so on and so forth. It didn't dawn on my that this new song is sung by Charlie Wilson, the lead singer from The Gap Band. Apparently Charlie Wilson went from big riches to rags due to drugs and bad decisions. He's back and I too am happy that he still has those ridiculously strong vocal pipes, and that he has turned his life around.

This site is well irreverent to say the least, but then so am I. I'm not going to give an intro here, just the link.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bores and Swales

Whenever I hear the word "bore" I think of either a male pig (boar) or a person who drones on and on and on or to drill a hole. I had never heard of a tidal bore. Take a look at the Severn Bore. I think if I actually saw this I would be absolutely terrified. Waves in the ocean don't really phase me; I think they are beautiful. There's just something about this being a river that would scare the daylights out of me. Of course there are people who surf this-they call themselves boresurfers.

I would still love to see the Severn Bore even though it scares the living daylights out of me. Possibly viewed from a distance.

Another sometimes natural sometimes not phenomena are swales. A swale is defined as a wide depression in the ground or wide, shallow depression in the ground designed to channel drainage of rainwater or a wide flat roadside drain.

Some nice person has gathered some examples of swales.

Lastly, if you are in the mood for an optical illusion check out these beans/being.

Monday, August 15, 2005


When I was a kid we had a cow. His name was Brownie. Actually his name was Brownie Joe. I wanted to name him Brownie because he was mostly brown (Okay, I was 6 or 7) and my dad wanted to name him Joe. So Brownie Joe it was. Brownie was a beef steer and at my young age I just didn't get it that we were going to have Brownie in the freezer a few months later. I think Browine knew something was up because he would periodically run away. I don't even know if one could actually call it running away or just visiting some friends. Every so often Mr. or Mrs. Olander would call. They lived up the road a bit. Maybe a 10 minute or less walk. They had a dairy farm. Brownie would always go up there and visit the dairy cows. Maybe he had a crush on one of the girls. As I recall Betty and Bossie were quite the lookers. Anyway we would get a call from one of the Olanders and they would tell us that Brownie was visiting and did they want us to walk him back down or would we come up and get him. I wonder how many people get a call from someone with a heavy Norweigian accent telling them, "Brownie is here. Would you like us to walk him back?"

I've always loved cows. I like all animals, but there's just something about cows. The way they let birds perch on their heads, the way they let you rest your forehead on them when you milk them. I can tell you I haven't met a lot of humans with that sort of patience and laid back style.

My favorite breed of cow is the Belted Galloway. Yep, the penguin cow.

Here are a few famous bovines taken from the book A Field Guide to Cows..

Black Diamond was a bison and the model for the Buffalo nickel.

Elm Farm Ollie was the first cow to fly in an airplane. This was in 1930 and she was also milked while flying. How rude!!!

You'll Do, Lobelia-The original model for Elsie the Cow.

Mrs. O'Leary's Cow- The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 started in the O'Leary's barn-there never was any proof that Mrs. O'Leary's cow really started the fire.

I guess I really should be moooving on now. (I couldn't resist).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Since I was just talking about this today I thought I would chat a bit about my mouse bibliography.

When I was in library school I assumed that I would have to compile a bibliography. Well as I've said before I love compiling lists and I've always enjoyed compiling bibliographies.

As it turned out I never did have to compile a bibliography per se, but I was always jotting down subjects that I thought would be fun to compile into a bibliography. One of the subjects was mouse literature. This is generally children's literature where the protagonist is a mouse/mice.

I have a rule with any of the lists that I keep. I have to find the entries in a non-contrived matter. In this case someone has to tell me a book title or I have to serendipitiously come across it myself.

I have been keeping this bibliography for a few years. Here is what I have so far. If you want to suggest any titles, please feel free.

Before someone tells me about the Angelina Ballerina books-yes I know about them, I think they are adorable. I just haven't added them yet because there are quite a few and there are also multiple authors.

Asch, Frank Mr. Maxwell’s Mouse. Kids Can Press, 2004

Barnes, Peter House Mouse, Senate Mouse. Rosebud Books/VSP
Books, 1996

Marshall, the Courtroom Mouse: A Tale of the U.S.
Supreme Court, Rosebud/VSP Books, 1998

Woodrow, the White House Mouse. Rosebud/VSP Books,

Brett, Jan Town Mouse, Country Mouse. Putnam, 1994

Christian, Peggy The Bookstore Mouse. Harcourt Brace, 1995

Cleary, Beverly Ralph S. Mouse. HarperTrophy, 1993

Cleary, Beverly Runaway Ralph. HarperTrophy, 1991 (paperback edition)

Cleary, Beverly The Mouse and the Motorcycle. HarperTrophy, 1990

DiCamillo, Kate The Tale of Despereaux: The Story of a Mouse, a Princes,Some Soup and a Spool of Thread. Candlewick, 2003

Felix, Monique. The Plane. Creative Publishing Int., 1971

Harris, Christie. Mouse Woman and the Mischief Makers. Raincoast
Books, 1977

Henks, Kevin Chrysanthemum. Greenwillow Books, 1991.

Hoeye, Michael The Sands of Time (Hermux Tantamoq Adventure).
Putnam Juveniel, 2003

Hoeye, Michael No Time Like Show Time (Hermux Tantamoq
Adventure). Putman Juvenile, 2004

Hoeye, Michael Time Waits for No Mouse (Hermux Tantamoq Adventure).
Putnam Juvenile, 2003

Jacques, Brian The Redwall Series is published by Philomel Books.

Redwall (1986), Mossflower (1988), Mattimeo (1989), Mariel of Redwall (1991), Salamandastron (1992), Martin the Warrior (1993), The Bellmaker (1994), Outcast of Redwall (1995), The Pearls of Lutra( 1996), The Great Redwall Feast (1996), The Long Patrol (1997), Marlfox (1997), Redwall Mapp and Riddler (1998), The Legend of Luke (1999), Lord Brocktree (1999), The Taggerung (2000), A Redwall Winter’s Tale (2001),Triss (2002), Loamhedge (2003), Rakkety Tam (2004), High Rulain (2005)

Tribes of Redwall Mice (2003

Kraus, Robert Whose Mouse Are You? Macmillan, 1969

Lionni, Leo Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Panteon, 1969

Lobel, Arnold Mouse Soup. Harper Row, 1977

Lobel, Arnold Mouse Tales. Harper Row, 1972

Numeroff, Laura If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Laura Greninger, 1985

Numeroff, Laura If You Take a Mouse to the Movies. Laura Greninger, 2000

Numeroff, Laura If You Take a Mouse to School. Laura Greninger, 2002

Riley, Linnea Asplind Mouse Mess. Blue Sky Press, 1997

Roberts, Bethany A Mouse Told His Mother, Little, Brown and Company, 1997

Steig, William Amos and Boris. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1971

Steptoe, John The Story of Jumping Mouse: A Native American Legend.
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1984

Tinsley, Peter A House with no Mouse. Mousetime Media, 2003

Walsh, Ellen Stoll Mouse Paint. Harcourt Brace Jovanivich, 1989

Walsh, Ellen Stoll Mouse Tales. Harcourt Brace Jovanivich, 1991

Wells, Rosemary Shy Charles. Dial Books for Young Readers, 1988

White, E.B. Stuart Little. HarperTrophy, 1974

Wood, Audrey The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the
Big Hungry Bear. Child’s Play (International), 1984

I know that there are literally thousands of titles in the mouse fiction category out there and often wonder what makes a rodent such a great story telling vehicle. I think it would be interesting to have a round-table discussion with the authors of some of these books and find out why they chose mice as their protagonist.

Not A Prude

I am not a prude. Nudity and sex to me are just part of life. I have never understood why people will watch, and worse yet, let their children watch hours upon hours of television violence, but let a breast be exposed and all hell breaks loose.

That being said I do think that people can show a bit of modesty about themselves. And before I go any further this is not sour grapes-I repeat-NOT SOUR GRAPES. I am not writing about this because I am no longer a size 6 or 15 years old, and I'm mad about it. Okay I'm a little irked that I haven't been a size 6 in years, but that's only normal.

The other day we were driving home from work and I look over and walking up the street were two young women. They were probably 15 or 16. The one had on a short skirt. Very short, but unless she bent over all was well. It was the other hoochie-mama-in-training that caused me and everyone else on the road to do a double-take. This girl had on shorts so short that her entire thuttocks area was exposed-all of it. I don't know why she just didn't put a t-shirt on and a thong and strut her stuff on the street.

This is all about good taste. Personally I find it very distasteful when women dress in this manner. To me it just shows a certain lack of self-respect, and it upsets me that she's so young. Yes, I wore hot pants back in the day, and a lot of other annoying items, but my thuttocks were always covered.

Then, maybe I'm just getting old and conservative. I hope not-especially the conservative part. I'd rather eat glass in a Russian gulag in December than to be that.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sites That Have Sparked My Interest Lately

Here is a list of sites that have sparked my interest of late:

Reference Book of the Day (self-explanatory)

What's That Bug-people send in photos and descriptions of a bug that they've found in their shoe, bathroom or on their foot. The Bugman will identify the pest for poster.

NationalGeographic is always tops in my book and their interactive site on the Salem Withcraft Hysteria is very well done.

The Free Government Information is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

The Car Sharing Network provides information for persons, generally city dwellers who only need a car occasionally. The site has a chart of cities that have car sharing providers,and links to their pages.

I use quite a few search engines. Google of course for its ridiculously huge index, and I also like Teoma and Sciris for scientific information.

Some new search engines that are worth a look are Infomine, Icerocket and Exalead. (at least to me they are new) Infomine searches scholarly internet resource collections. If you want to view thumbnails of pages before visiting them use Icerocket and Exalead.

Monday, August 01, 2005

More on Dalas

Since first posting about the Swedish dala (pronounced daw-lah) horses I have become obsessed with them. I have always liked Nordic folk art anyway and I just love these horses. I have a Swedish goods catalog on my nightstand and I keep perusing it and marking all of the dala goods I want.I really want to order a whole herd of these charming horses.

I found more information on these thoroughly enjoyable equine. Here is a bit about the production of the dalas.

On another note today is August 1st, Lammas. Waverly Fitzgerald explains Lammas better than I ever could so read what she has to say and this evening break bread with your loved ones, sit around your table and make some corn dolls, and if you are like me, be glad that there aren't that many more days until summer is over.