Thursday, January 14, 2010

Channeling Dr. Seuss

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? I realized as I was driving home tonight that after putting up my rather sparkling and witty post about the upcoming Newbery awards that there is another topic out there that is much more important.

Here in the US and Canada, we are incredibly, incredibly blessed. We live in one of the richest, healthiest countries in the world, and our quality of life is incredibly high (doesn't matter if it's the US or Canada). And I can gripe all I want about some of the problems in my life, about what I can't afford to buy or where I can afford to go, or what I am able to do, but when it comes right down to it, I have it easy. Regardless of how poor I feel sometimes (and believe me, there are days), I have never truly lacked for anything. I have always had food in my cupboard, clothes on my body, and a roof over my head. Even with the economy falling apart like it has, I have never truly worried about how I was going to pay for groceries, or where I was going to sleep at night. And I know that a lot of you can say the same. We are blessed -- truly, incredibly blessed.

Since Tuesday's horrible news, I've been thinking about ways to make a difference. The situation in Port-au-Prince is NOT GOOD. Orphanages and hospitals are among the buildings that have been destroyed. Doctors and emergency personel are among the dead. Officials estimate that casualties are possibly in the tens of thousands. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in North America to begin with, and the people there need our aid desperately.

So I'm putting out a call for help. I know that a lot of us put aside some money each month for little luxuries -- whatever they are. The next time you find yourself pulling out your wallet, ask yourself, Do I really need this? Is this an actual necessity that I absolutely MUST HAVE in order to survive? Starbucks/Tim Hortons is not a necessity (I'm not saying coffee -- I'm saying expensive or fancy coffee). Yarn is not a necessity. Books (sob) are not necessities. That dinner out? A fifth pair of shoes? That fancy haircut and dye job? Seeing Sherlock Holmes, It's Complicated, Leap Year, or whatever other new flick that just hit the theatres? NOT NECESSITIES. And at the end of the next week or two, whatever money you save, could you send it on to someone whose home just got destroyed? Here are some places where you can share some of the love:

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers in the U.S. and international (a word about this? if you give to this one, could you please e-mail Stephanie and let her know how much you gave? She's keeping a running total.)
The Red Cross in the U.S. and abroad
World Vision
Haitian Health Foundation
Haitian consulate in Washington and in Montreal

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I know we have it in ourselves to do so much good in the world. We are so incredibly fortunate. Let us give to those who are not.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Announcement on Monday

The Newbery and Caldecott awards (along with all the other ALA children's lit awards) are going to be announced on Monday. As such, many libraries around the country have been holding mock elections to choose there own winners.

When you Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.
Interesting. I had trouble following the plot a little, but I think it was one where you just have to suspend your imagination, particularly where the physics are concerned. Good character development. I wonder if it will tesser well.

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
If it wins, it will be the second Newbery for KDC. The writing style is similar to Despereaux, which may or may not be a good thing. I liked it in Winn-Dixie better, but perhaps others will like it. Lilies indeed.

All the Broken Pieces by Anne E. Burg
I'm not fond of novels written in verse, but hey, it worked for Out of the Dust, so it could work here too. It seemed sad to me, and I couldn't help wondering if Matt ever did find out what happened to his biological father.

Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me
by Nan Marino
The plot was easy to follow, and the characters were believable and well-developed. But I couldn't stand Tamara, and the 1960's/1970's historical fiction was a little much coming on the heels of When You Reach Me and All the Broken Pieces.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
So far so good. It was a little fantastical, and kind of reminded me of The Underneath or The Eight with all the different plots and stories. But I haven't finished reading it, so I shall have to see.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.
I haven't read this one yet (it's on my request list, but it hasn't come in yet), but from its reviews, it kind of reminds me of Caddie Woodlawn. But I shall refrain from passing judgement on it until I actually do finish reading it.

Did I miss anything?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Global Warming Is a Myth

Actually, it's not, but don't tell the people in the southeast US that right now. They won't believe you.

Average temperatures for Atlanta in January are in the 40's. Average high is 52F, and average low is 33F. January is the city's coldest month, so that means that if the temperature ever dips below freezing there, it's pretty darn cold.

Last night, the base temperature in Atlanta was 23F, with wind chill of 14F. Tuesday morning, it's to get down to 19F. And that's without wind chill.

19F (-7C) in January is moderately normal in New Brunswick. It's an average low in Pennsylvania, and on the chilly side in Virginia. But in places where it's not supposed to get down below freezing EVER?

Dudes. That's cold.