Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cat Tales ~ KITTEN of the Week ~ BLAKE!! 4 month old, black RESCUE kitten, plus 30 days FREE of Trupanion with my adoption!

Cat Tales ~ Kitten of the Week ~ BLAKE!!

Gender:  Male
Breed:  DSH
Color:  Black
Age:  4 months old

I'm a handsome boy. I am very playful and like to be pet. I will let you hold me for very short periods of time when I'm in the mood. I'm very sweet but still a little shy. I was found on the streets of Middletown as a stray in an apartment complex. I need a quiet home with a patient person, so I can get used to things in my new environment. I’d be so grateful for a forever home with you!  Cat Tales has partnered with Trupanion, a Medical Insurance plan to provide your newly adopted cat complimentary health coverage for 30 days!  Please adopt me today!

No Dogs / No Children


Monday, February 8, 2016

History of Russell Library, Part IV

Part 1 of this history covered the period from the establishment of Russell Library in 1876 to the resignation of its second Director, Willis K. Stetson, in 1887.  Part II covered the Library from 1887 to 1926, under the leadership of Laura F. Philbrook and Edna H. Wilder. Part III covered the administrations of Nathaly E. Newton and William Van Beynum, extending over 50 years from 1926 to 1978.

Part IV covers the period from the appointment of Arlene Bielefield through the end of Stuart Porter’s administration in 1997.

Arlene Bielefield, May—June 1978

After a prolonged, controversial search process in the spring of 1978, the Board of Trustees offered the position of Library Director to Arlene Bielefield, then Assistant Librarian.  She initially accepted, but soon resigned to become the head of the Connecticut State Library’s Division of Reader Services.

Linda Rusczek
Linda Rusczek, June – December 1978

In June 1978, Russell’s Film Librarian Linda Rusczek agreed to serve as interim Director while the Board conducted a new search. Under Rusczek’s able leadership, the Library continued to provide excellent services to the Middletown community. Trumbull Huntington, then President of the Library’s Board of Trustees, praised her work highly and expressed gratitude for her willingness to lead the Library through the transition.

Stuart Porter, 1979—1997

Stu Porter
In December 1978 Stuart Porter was selected by the Board to be Director of Russell Library. During his tenure the Library computerized its systems and services, and underwent a major renovation of the facility.

In Porter’s first long-range plan, he proposed the implementation of a ‘Computerized Circulation Control’ system. By 1983, the Library had partnered with several other libraries to establish LION (Libraries On-Line), and began converting from a card catalog to an online catalog system. By 1995 the catalog was fully computerized. The Library’s first public computers were installed in 1984, and a generous patron donated an Apple 2E to the Children’s Department the next year. By 1996, the Library offered a variety of electronic resources via CD-ROM, including a magazine index and dictionary.

In 1980 the Friends of the Russell Library was re-established after being on hiatus for a number of years. Their support and assistance proved invaluable in gaining public and municipal support for a major building renovation. The four-year, $3.5 million Library building renovation was completed in 1985. Two of the original stained glass windows were reinstalled in the new main peak and in the Children’s area. The combined buildings created a beautiful inner courtyard, and outside gardens were lovingly maintained by the Middletown Garden Club.

The Bookmobile had quickly become a very popular service after the service was established in 1969. However, the cost of maintaining the vehicle was prohibitively high, and in 1983 the Bookmobile was discontinued.

The Library grew with Middletown, and also faced some of the same challenges. Two fires were set in the Children’s Library in the summer of 1980, costing $20,000 to repair. Periodic problems with vandalism, phone and computer abuse, and other criminal activity led in 1990 to the hiring of two part-time security officers. However, Russell grew in popularity as well, with over 275,000 patron visits to the Library in Porter’s final year as Director.

In late 1996 Stuart Porter announced his retirement effective April 1, 1997.

--End of Part IV--

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Nosferatu ‘n’ Nefertiti: An Unusual Love Story -- The Colonel Carries On #17

by Charlotte (“Chippa”) Sahoy, Jr.

Epigraph: “In some ways, Jesus is a finger pointing to the Father. It would be a mistake to focus on the finger to the exclusion of the Father. That’s what’s meant by ‘Jesus-worship’ when that term is used pejoratively. Even when Gospel accounts have Jesus describing himself in strong terms -- ‘No one comes to the Father except through me’ -- the purpose is to come to the Father, not to come to Jesus and stop there. This is a delicate point, but an important one.” --Use Words If You Must

Rani Jahlers and I are not complaining, because it has been a mild winter, but snow came at last, beginning Thursday night and lasting till Friday afternoon. I cleared the driveway twice, once Friday morning while it was still snowing and again Friday afternoon after it had stopped. I removed equal amounts of snow each time. (I would add “approximately,” but you probably know I mean “approximately,” so why should I waste your time and mine writing “approximately”?)

Tuesday I had a little fender-bender. Tuesday I totaled my car. Both are true. A lad pulled out of a driveway right in front of me and though I braked hard, I couldn’t avoid a collision. My front passenger-side headlight was smashed, yadda yadda, and his car had minor damage.

The next morning I drove the car to the body shop for its estimate and to pick up a rental. Later in the day the insurance adjuster called to say the car, a 2001 Toyota Camry, was totaled. Seems under Connecticut law, if the repair estimate comes to 80% or more of the fair market value of the car, the car must be totaled.

I went to the body shop Thursday morning to get my belongings out of the damaged Camry. Oddly emotional. Goodbye, old friend. Enjoy being scrap.

My dear work colleague of more than 32 years, was unsentimental: “Oh, for Pete’s sake. You needed a new car anyway. That body style was really old.”

My car rabbi says I want a Honda CRV from 2008 to 2011 with less than 60K miles, less than 40K if possible. Through 2011, he says, the CRV used the Accord platform. After that, it was the Civic platform. We’ll shop, he says. It will be okay, he says. Friends are great, especially in time of trouble. Someone should make a saying to that effect.

I see that Pope Francis will be meeting Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Havana this year. The East-West split hardened (I won’t say “became final”) in 1054, so who knows what they’ll cook up for 2054? It’s nice to think that fights can still be patched up after 1000 years. But why not? Why the hell not?

Stephen Colbert made a passing reference to Trump-tromper Ted Cruz as looking like a “slightly melted GI Joe.” Mean but funny. Jonah Goldberg calls Cruz and Marco Rubio “Los Hermanos Cubanos.” Say it out loud -- it sounds good. Gets you dancing.

A major Jewish contributor to the national Democratic party told a gentile friend this week: “Hillary blows it and Biden gets nominated.” 
Friend: “But don’t we need a Jewish president?”
Contributor: “No, you need a Jewish doctor.”

My favorite post-Iowa headlines: “Iowa to Trump: You’re Fired!” and “The Ego Has Landed.”

You can catch a lot of Bob and Ray material on YouTube. (Bob Elliot just died recently; Ray Goulding died in the 1990s.) You'll be glad.

Poem fragment:

Aldrich once protested to Elaine that his
Bill for the night was too high.
She showed him his tab was for seventeen
Scotches and he started to cry.

--Frederick Seidel

“D’yer Mak’er” is a well-remembered Led Zeppelin song from their 1973 album “Houses of the Holy.” (It has the passage, “Oh, oh, oh -- you don’t have to go.”) In the British non-rhotic accent, it’s pronounced “Jamaica.” The name is from an old joke: "My wife's gone to the West Indies." "Jamaica?" "No, she went of her own accord."

The band has sold over 300 million albums worldwide, including 111.5 million certified units in the United States, making them one of the world's best-selling musical artists of all time, and the best-selling band of all time in the United States, second only to The Beatles. 

Personally, I was very late to the party, changing my mind about them when I heard an “unplugged” session of Robert Plant singing Zep material in a simple acoustic setting. 

“These guys are actually musicians,” I thought, “not just exhibitionistic noisemakers.” Before long I had become degenerate and depraved. I’m in both support groups now: Degenerates Anonymous and Depraved Ones Anonymous ("DOA”). I haven’t been to Jamaica in more than seven years, I'm proud to say.

David Bowie’s work was never a big part of my life, but I was impressed by the remark of his widow, supermodel Imam, 60: “The struggle is real, but so is God.”

For some reason, that reminded me of something a Capuchin Franciscan friend said about his order's presence among the poor and oppressed in Central and South America: “Maybe we can’t help them. But we can walk with them and be with them in their poverty and oppression and suffering. And that’s not nothing.”

Two lawyers were hunting in the woods when they came to a set of tracks.  
The first said, "Those are deer tracks."
The second said, "Those are moose tracks."
The first responded, "No, those are deer tracks."
They were still arguing when the train hit them.

Management poetry:

Efficiency and effectiveness
are as close as lips and teeth
but as distinct as left and right butt cheeks.

--Ho Chi Minh and Peter F. Drucker, Management Secrets of Asymmetric Warfare

Who says Colcannon’s Wake by Seamus Shoyce is unreadable? An extract:

“An old pundit once told me in the days before all the wars, when everything was like Downton Abbey, only notso poppery [not soap-opera-y?], ‘Never respond to commenters on your blog posts. Just let the dogs bark.’ I mostly follow that old pundit’s advice (I say ‘that old pundit’s’ rather than ‘his’ or ‘her’ because the old pundit’s beard was so long and thick and matted -- and dirty and smelly, but nil nisi bonum -- that it cleverly concealed all sex, as if twixt plated decks), but now and again some little thing stirs the old turf into a bit of flame, and sure enough didn’t a word from a reader self-identifying only as ‘Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon)’ stir the turf as aforesaid. I address myself now to that entity: If you’ve a fine name like ‘Middletown Eye,’ why haven’t you the guts to use it instead of puttin’ yourself about under a ‘fancy-name’ like ‘Ed McKeon’ (which I don’t mind tellin’ you sounds utterly affected and made up; saints, you might as well have picked ‘David Bowie’). Stand up straight and proud, laddie (or lassie, as the case may be) and turn an honest Eye to the world. You’ll feel the better for it, but there’s nothin’ I can do about that, begorrah, even if I would, which I do.” 

--from Chapter MILDIX, “run along the river, little children, and Dew Drop Inn, while i, Crimm & Lee converse with your big sister”

Zen P.S.: “The greatest effort is not concerned with results.” --Atisha

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 Edition of the Middletown Trail Guide Available

From Michelle Ford, Planning and Environmental Specialist.
Interactive version available ONLINE
Mayor Daniel T. Drew is excited to announce the release of the 2nd Edition of the Middletown Trail Guide.  The Trail Guide, which was last updated in 2004, is the result of the diligent work and perseverance of the members of the City’s Conservation Commission and community volunteers along with assistance from City staff.  The updated trail guide includes maps and narrative descriptions for over 20 areas for hiking, biking, nature viewing and kayaking. Some new additions to the trail guide include the nearly 5-mile long multi-use trail, a 1.6-mile downtown walking loop, and the Mattabesset River Canoe/Kayak Trail which utilizes the City’s new car-top boat launch off Johnson Street.

The guide is an excellent tool which can be used by residents and visitors of all ages to explore some of Middletown’s lesser known open space and to appreciate all the areas the City has for healthy, outdoor recreation.  The guide includes trails which accommodate users of all abilities, skill levels and ages. The narrative descriptions and color photographs provide readers with an excellent overview of all the attributes each area has to offer as well as directions, parking, and descriptions of the terrain and trails.

The Mayor thanks the City’s Conservation Commission for their countless hours and hard work in order to get the trail guide updated. The Mayor also thanks Connecticut Forest and Park Association for their contribution to the Trail Guide.  Currently, there are many initiatives underway to enhance the City’s open space and the trail guide is a great way to help the public get outdoors to enjoy our vast open space.  At this time the guide is only available online.  Printed copies are expected to be available at an event celebrating the new trail guide in the Spring.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pianist Michael Brown Coming to Russell Library Thursday February 4th

Works by Faure, Mendelssohn, Brown, and Bernstein will be featured in a performance by Pianist and Composer Michael Brown on February 4th at 7:00 pm at the Russell Library.
Pianist Michael Brown

Winner of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Michael Brown has been described by The New York Times as a 'young piano visionary” and 'one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers.” Mr. Brown is equally committed as a pianist and composer; his unique artistry is reflected in a creative approach to programming that often interweaves the classics with contemporary works and his own compositions. 
A native New Yorker, Mr. Brown earned dual Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano and Composition from The Juilliard School. In 2015, Mr. Brown joined The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program, through which he will perform with the Society both in Alice tully Hall and on tour, including visits to Chicago and Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The New York Times has called Mr. Brown “a confident young composer with a talent for precision” and described his work as “darkly alluring.”

He spent three summers at Marlboro Music and has made appearances at the Ravinia, Caramoor, Moab, Manchester, Mostly Mozart, Music@Menlo, Music Mountain, Chamber Music Sedona, Rheingau Musik, Beijing International, and Kyoto International festivals. His awards include First Prize in the 2010 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition; Juilliard’s Gina Bachauer Award; and prizes in the Honens and New York International Piano competitions. He was recently appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor of Piano at Brooklyn College. Mr. Brown is a Steinway Artist

This program is being sponsored with funds from The Friends of the Russell Library.