Sunday, 23 November 2008

Sunday November 23rd, 2008 Hair

We recently had a retirement party for three long term staff members, whom I wish well in the next chapter of their lives. As I looked around the room I said - "There's a lot of nice hair here tonight." The person sitting next to me said, "You should write a column on hair." It felt like I was in an episode of Seinfeld, you remember the show about nothing. Like the potato, hair is so versatile, there's so much you can do with it. It can be curled or straightened, coloured or highlighted, you can add hair extensions or a fall. Here's to hair.

Patty Jane's House Of Curl by Lorna Landvik.
This was the first book I read by Lorna (now that I've met her I feel like I can call her that). This story revolves around Patty Jane and her sister Harriet. On the eve of the birth of her first child, Patty Jane's husband walks off into the Minnesota sunset, leaving her alone to raise the baby. After attending beauty school she opens the House of Curl. Here you can get a perm, drink coffee, and catch up on the latest gossip. The cast of quirky characters keeps the story interesting and fun to read. Do I think you should read this book? You betcha.

Great Hair: Elegant Styles For Every Occasion by Davis Biton.
This book features 100 beautiful styles to choose from. You'll be wearing designs such as the woven basket, the cascading waterfall or checkerboard braids. Colourful photographs and step by step instructions show you how to create the designs. . If the styles are too difficult to do at home, you can always take it with you to your hair salon. The next time you have a special event to attend have a look at this book.

Hair magazine.
Mary J.L. Black now carries Hair magazine and you can borrow back issues. If you're looking for a change, check out this magazine before you go to the salon. It gives you ideas for cuts, colours and the latest trends.

Health & Wellness Resource Center.
Searching this database in our Virtual Collection, under the term hair, finds all sorts of things. The books & fact sheets section has an article on The Myth Of Stress And Hair Color. Did you know men turn gray sooner than women? Can you reverse turning gray? No, but in some cases after chemotherapy the hair comes back in its former colour. Can stress turn hair gray? Not usually, but sometimes an emotionally stressful event can trigger the loss of dark hair making any gray or white hair much more noticeable. The article states that raising children doesn't turn your hair gray, but there may be parents out there that would dispute that.

Hair Donations
Do you know someone who has lost their hair due to chemotherapy? Have you ever considered donating your hair? If you have, the Canadian Cancer Society has information on how to do this, and don't worry if your hair isn't long enough, you can help or give support in other ways. Visit their website here.

Hairstylist Appreciation Day
According to Chase's Calendar Of Events, each year on April 30 we celebrate the people who make us look good and feel great, and in some cases that's a very big challenge. So the next time you run to a stylist with a hair emergency, remember to say thank you. We've come a long way from the days of the smelly Toni home perm and tight pink
rubber curlers that pulled your hair. With the holiday season coming up if you're wondering how much you should tip your stylist, the consistent answer seems to be the cost of a visit to the salon.

So whether you want hair like Posh or Rihanna or maybe Amy Winehouse (I think she really believes - The higher the hair, the closer to God), it's up to you. I'm going to end this column with my favourite quote from Sam Malone on Cheers. He said - "There are no bad boys, just boys with bad haircuts."

Karen Craib Library Technician

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sunday November 16th, 2008 Memories of Christmas Toys Past

Late one night I started thinking of the Christmases of my childhood and remembering favourite toys. Everyone has fond memories of special toys they loved to play with. Toys stimulated the imagination and could entertain you for hours. Here were some of my favourites.


1959 saw the introduction of Barbie, the teen-age fashion doll. I loved playing with Barbies more than anything else. I had a lot of them: Barbie, Ken, Allan, Midge, Skipper, even Tutti. My Barbie had an orange convertible and lived in a fold out home, full of cardboard furniture. If you're wondering what your old Barbie or other toys are worth the library carries books with toy price lists, such as the 2008 edition of Toys & Prices. It also has references to books and web sites and tips for collecting.

Paper Dolls

Paper dolls were popular when I was a child. One year I got Sleeping Beauty paper dolls for my birthday, I loved the fairy godmothers. I also enjoyed cutting out people and furniture from the Eaton's catalogue to play with. According to the book Schroeder's Collectible Toys, Antique To Modern: Price Guide, paper dolls can be worth between twenty and three hundred dollars. This applies to uncut dolls. If you played with your dolls they aren't worth as much. If you'd like to read Paper Dolls Of The 1960s, 1970s And 1980s Identification & Value Guide by Carol Nichols, we can try to borrow it for you.

Kenner Easy-Bake Oven

In the December 2007 issue of Canadian Living magazine, Rick Mercer spoke of the Easy-Bake oven he had as a child. His cakes took hours to bake since his Dad put in a 40 watt bulb, instead of a 100 watt. Years later he realized that his father was probably just afraid that he would burn himself. In 2003 David Hoffman published The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet. It features recipes for appetizers, main dishes and decadent cakes by top chefs. We don't carry this book, but if you still have your old easy-bake oven and are interested, we can borrow it from out of town.

Batteries Required

I had some amazing battery operated toys that my mother bought in New York. There was a white bear wearing blue coveralls that rocked in a rocker while talking on a telephone. I also had a monkey in a red plaid shirt that flipped tiny magnetic hamburgers in a frying pan. How I wish I still had these toys. Do you still have old battery operated toys? The 2008 edition of Toys & Prices, has a list of the top ten toys, in mint condition, of course. Number one is the Smoking Popeye from the 1950s, valued at $3,775.

Tea Sets

When I was little my grandfather made me a table and chair set that was great for tea parties. It didn't matter whether the guests were dolls, stuffed toys or real people. I'd put out a little tea set and easily imagine myself having tea and cake. I have a friend who excels at tea parties. Her table is always set perfectly and she's a great hostess. If you haven't outgrown tea parties check out author Tracy Stern's book Tea Party: 20 Themed Tea Parties With Recipes For Every Occasion, From Fabulous Showers To Intimate Gatherings.

Give-A-Show Projector

It was like having a movie theater in your own home. In 1960 Kenner created the Give-A-Show Projector and it was popular for the next three decades. It was a combination of slide projector and flashlight. You turned down the lights, aimed it at a blank wall and let the fun begin. As you slowly pulled the slide through the projector, a mini movie played on the wall. Kenner had the rights to feature cartoon characters such as Mighty Mouse and Bullwinkle.

For more on toy history visit These are just a few of the toys I loved. I hope it reminded you of some of your favourites. Maybe right now your children or grandchildren are making memories with toys they received last Christmas. With luck, maybe they'll let you join them.

Karen Craib, Library Technician

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Sunday November 9th, 2008 Walk a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes

Have your ever wondered what it would be like to live someone else's life? A number of people have done just that and wrote about their experiences. As a social experiment, this is a valuable way to discover how others are treated and to bring about a change in how we think. As the saying goes, you never really know what it is like until you walk a
mile in my shoes.

The classic title Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin is an exploration of what it feels like to be black in America. Many of us remember this title as part of our classroom curriculum. A journalist, John Griffin, leaves behind his privileged life as a white man in the Southern states to immerse himself into black society in New Orleans. He darkens his skin with the aid of medication and dyes. It is the year 1959, when restrooms and drinking fountains were separate for the races. Just finding a seat on a bus, a restaurant to eat in, or a place to wash his hands proves difficult. The injustice, loneliness, degradation and discrimination experienced by Griffin is astounding. While it has been almost 50 years since this book was written it remains a timeless classic and is well worth reading again.

Is it possible to make a living earning the minimum wage in America? Barbara Ehrenreich is determined to find out. Nickel and Dimed, On Not Getting By In America describes her firsthand experiences as a low income earner. Using $1000 as start up funds she must find an apartment, pay rent, food bills, health care and utilities all while earning approximately $7 an hour. She takes on lower skilled jobs such as a cleaning woman, a nursing home assistant and a position at a Wal-Mart, and proves that lower wage work is just as challenging and trying as any skilled job. Barbara quickly discovers it is extremely difficult to live independently on low wages and in one instance must work two jobs to make ends meet. Seeing that she barely makes it by without children and transportation problems to figure out, one wonders how people with families survive.

Wife Swap. Okay, I know it's a reality television show but it's entertaining and the experience often proves educational. Two women swap homes, children, and husbands for two weeks to see how someone else lives. For the first week the women must live and do as the other wife does. For the second week they can impose their ways and values onto the other family. At the end of the experience each wife starts to see that maybe their way of doing things is not always the right way and that there is room for improvement. What did it take to get there besides lots of drama, fighting and a few tears? Just a couple weeks of walking in someone else's shoes. The details and schedule for Wife Swap can be found at the ABC Web site.

For one year A.J. Jacobs lives his life according to all of the commandments of the Gible. The result is his memoir titled The Year of Living Biblically. As research he not only reads the bible but draws upon the advice of various spiritual leaders. His following of the ten commandments and a literal interpretation of the old testament includes never trimming his beard, wearing white, inviting strangers into his home and writing spiritual wisdoms on doorjambs. Jacobs starts the journey as a non-believer hoping to gain some spiritual insight and find that something which is missing. Can the experience of following biblical laws change his perspective?

The concept of switching bodies completely through some supernatural phenomenon, in this case fortune cookies, is the premise of the popular youth novel Freaky Friday, by Mary Rodgers. A mother and daughter at odds with each other wake up one morning inside each other's bodies. What ensues is a comical and entertaining look at what it means to be someone else for a day. They quickly realize that not everything is as easy as it looks and they walk away from the experience with a greater respect for each other. Also made into a movie, the dvd version is available @ your library.

Michelle Paziuk, Library Technician at the Brodie Resource

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Sunday November 2nd, 2008 Guy Fawkes Day

"Remember remember the fifth of November, with gunpowder, treason and plot...".
Every November 5th, I find myself remembering this little verse I learned from my British parents. I then have the urge to tell people about Guy Fawkes Day, and this year I'm going to tell you about it in this column!

Who was Guy Fawkes?

Guy Fawkes (1570-1606), a devout and militant Catholic in an age when the Protestant Church of England had solidified its hold on British religious life, is remembered as the individual who tried to perpetrate what is thought to have been one of history's most notorious terrorist acts.
Source: Biography Resource Centre (online in the Virtual Collection at

What was the Gunpowder Plot?

The Gunpowder Plot, also known as the Powder Treason, was a failed conspiracy to blow up Britain's Houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605. Fawkes, lurking in a cellar below the Parliament buildings, was arrested as he prepared to ignite the explosion.

Source: Biography Resource Centre (online in the Virtual Collection at

What went wrong with the plan?

The Powder Treason began to unravel on the night of October 26, with the delivery of an anonymous letter to a Catholic nobleman, Lord Monteagle, advising him to concoct an excuse to avoid the opening of the Parliament session on November 5. Monteagle informed Sir Robert Cecil of the letter's contents, and Cecil informed the King. Continuing uncertainty over who wrote the letter, together with signs that pointed to its being a forgery, have given rise over the centuries to theories that the Gunpowder Plot was devised not by Catholic militants but by Cecil himself, with the intention of permanently crippling Britain's Catholics in the ensuing uproar. In this version of events (promoted in recent times by Francis Edwards), Fawkes and Catesby were double agents. The preponderance of historical opinion holds that the Treason was a genuine terrorist plot, but the debate continues. Whatever the case, the cellars beneath the Parliament buildings were searched on the night of November 4, and Fawkes was discovered, along with the gunpowder.

Source: Biography Resource Centre (online in the Virtual Collection at

What happens on Guy Fawkes Day now?

English children today celebrate Guy Fawkes Day by making huge rag dolls called "guys" and calling out, "A penny for the guy?" to passersby. The money collected is used to buy fireworks, which are set off on the night of the fifth. The English also light huge bonfires and toss the rag "guys" into the flames.

Source: “Why the English Remember the Fifth of November”, L.L. Russell,
Faces: People, Places, and Cultures, General OneFile (online in the Virtual Collection at

A nursery rhyme was written to ensure that this form of treason would never be forgotten, hence the words "Remember, remember the 5th of November" sometimes referred to as APlease to remember the fifth of November@. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason would never be forgiven or forgotten.

The whole rhyme, which I forgot, is:

Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason Why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below To prove old England's overthrow.
By god's mercy he was catch'd With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.
And what shall we do with him? Burn him!

Source: (This is a fun website, where you can send Guy Fawkes Day e-cards to your friends, and purchase Guy Fawkes Day paraphernalia including "Fawkesy Lady" mouse pads and "Guy Wear" baby rompers. Talk about never forgetting!)

Joanna Aegard, Head of Virtual Library Services