Wednesday, February 25, 2009

#369 Bookmobile fiction

I've been reading novels about bookmobiles lately. Who knew? First, I read The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton. An American librarian wants to bring literacy to remote Africa by delivering books to villages on the back of a camel. Though this story is fiction, the book mentions the very real organization the African Library Project and encourages donations for small libraries throughout Africa.
Then I read The Book Stops Here by Ian Sansom, the 3rd in the Mobile Library Series. This is the story of Israel Armstrong, the disappointed mobile librarian who finds himself serving rural northern Ireland. Though this is my least favorite of the series, I did appreciate this paragraph: “Librarians possess a kind of occult power, an aura. They could silence people with just a glance. At least they did in Israel’s fantasies. In Israel’s fantasies, librarians were mild-mannered superheroes, with extrasensory perceptions and shape-shifting capacities and a highly developed sense of responsibility who demanded respect from everyone they met.”

Yours in enjoying the "Bookmobiles-fiction" subject heading,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

#368 Sailing the world...from Indiana?

If you're looking to pad your travel resume with an off-the-beaten-path sailing experience, try this. Catch a Polish-owned freighter at a Port of Indiana on Lake Michigan.

Climb aboard and you'll gain membership in a most exclusive club. The big ship has room for 35,000 tons of cargo but only 6 paying passengers. In 60 days, the ship makes the round trip from Amsterdam to Burns Harbor, Indiana stopping in exotic ports on the return to the Netherlands.

The cost? The Owner's Cabin is $100 per day including access to the officer’s dining saloon and lounge.

Yours in planning a trip back to Indiana,

Monday, February 09, 2009

#367 Bonnie's visit

Right from the start, we knew Bonnie was going to shake up the traditional Johnston Visitor Plan. She arrived carrying a big box of baked goods from our favorite Mexican bakery in Indy. Delicioso!
We kept going with the plan, though, and set off for a tour of Monticello. Right away, Kelly knew something was different. He paused for a moment of sadness at the site of the missing tulip poplar - removed last summer while we were at sea.
To cheer everyone up, we headed straight to the downtown mall for some pizza and shopping. That did the trick.
But even more fun was introducing Bonnie to our neighbors. In the small-world category, Bonnie and our neighbor are connected through their Jacksonville, Florida days. (Rest assured. We didn't offer them any of our Mexican baked goods.)
As we toured UVA on Sunday - perhaps the most beautiful day of the year - we introduced Bonnie to all those out enjoying the day: Andrew and Lauren, Ken, Karin, Rebecca and Melissa, Doug and Barbara. We thank them all for not busting us on our it's-always-70-degrees-in-February lie.
Yours in adapting the JVP,

Thursday, February 05, 2009

#366 Temporal Google Earth

Google is always coming out with something new. This week, it's Google Earth's time slider. Now it's easy to see how places have changed over time by taking a look at date-stamped historic aerial photos. So let's play "Where is this place on Earth with so many changes?" 1991 2002
Yours in being (start hint) so clear you can hear a pin drop (end hint),

Monday, February 02, 2009

#365 Drawing US States 101

Can you draw the outline of your home state? Without looking at a map? No? Neither could I. But back in 1900, school kids did that state drawing thing every day in geography class. And with the help of Schutze's Amusing Geography and System of Map-drawing from 1900, we, too, can draw our home state. (Thanks Google Books!) We just need to see the camel in Virginia. Or the vulture in West Virginia. So what animal is your state?

Yours in being amused by geography,

Sunday, February 01, 2009

#364 An Oversight

Mary may have forgotten an important glasses photo in last week's retrospective.

Here's a photo of Mary's glasses soon after they had been rearranged by a sharply hit volleyball. I'm not sure how she could have missed this photo...
Yours in completeness,