Like shortcuts? There’s a book for that.

Day 23!

Bib. info.:

Short cuts : the dictionary of useful abbreviations
Kleinedler, Steven Racek

Lincolnwood, Ill. : NTC Pub. Group, c1997, 1993.

**Insert ominous tone** Use at your own risk...And remember "There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” --Beverly Sills


This essential reference enables users to break through all the mysteries of abbreviated American English words and phrases. The guide concentrates on acronyms and initialisms found in common work and learning situations and covers 2,100 shortened words used in American English.


Abbreviations annoy me.  Not in a don’t-be-lazy kind of way.  Laziness has it’s virtues–too many to extol here but suffice it to say that Snuggies, remote controls, and pre-made PB & J’s are involved.  No, they annoy me in a there-are-too-many-words-in-the-world-and-abbreviations-are-just-recipes-for-confusion kind of way.

Peep this.

A  sentence using abbreviation: Tom, you  get a comm dis.

Could be: Tom, you get a communicable disease. 


Could be: Tom,  you get a community display.

Whats a community display? I don’t know. But I’m sure Tom would be happier to get it rather than what was behind door number 1 yes?

Viva la full-blown word!  Down with abbreviations!


5 books for the taking!

So here I am,  Johnetta-Come-Lately with 5 offerings . Will you have me? Them? We really must stop meeting like this!  I’ll pinky swear cross my heart promise try to do better.  This was supposed to be an exercise in  consistency and stick-to-itness and I’m kinda cheating with these bundled entries.

Without further a-don’t ( ’cause  I obviously haven’t been doing)….

Day’s 18-22 🙂

Oh yeah! To add insult to injury I won’t be providing bibliographic info, summaries or reactions.  Just the book image.  Aint I a Grade A stinker?


If you feed them, they will come...


Look at me now! I'm gettin' paper! Well...books about paper anyway.



I remember this guy's antics being a huge scandal back inthe 80's. Now it seems like childs play in comparison to today's public figures. One word. Weinergate.


Well what do you know? Our values are conveniently located in this attractive 939 page book!


This one is kinda calling me. My interest is piqued...

Quattro Libri, not to be confused with Nacho Libre

Days 14,15,16,and 17. What can I say? I’ve been a slacker 😦


The librarian’s guide to homeschooling resources

Scheps, Susan G.

Chicago, IL : American Library Association, c1998

Librarians. They can rock you world if you let em.

Summary (Library website):

As the number of homeschooled children in this country rises, the public library can be an excellent resource for parents who prefer to educate their children at home. In this new guide, Scheps (Homeschoolers and the Public Library: A Resource Guide for Libraries Serving Homeschoolers, Public Library Assn., 1993) gives librarians tips on serving the homeschool population and information on existing programs. Part 1 presents problems librarians face when serving homeschoolers, background details on what a homeschooler wants from a public library, homeschooling laws, and eight sample programs from libraries in the United States

My Reaction:

Pretty good listing of resources.  A tad dated but still applicable.



Dupré, Judith

New York : Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers : Distributed by Workman Publishing Co., c1997

Love a picture book.

Summary (Booklist Review):

The unusual size of this album–a foot and a half long by a half-foot high–evokes the elongated structures that it extols. To illustrate the dozens of bridges Dupre selects, she uses two-page spreads, featuring a beautiful black-and-white photo, often a vintage nineteenth-century image, and pairs it with a page of inset pictures and text summarizing essential facts of design, construction, and history. Eye-catching book design is the essence here, and although bridge enthusiasts have more detailed sources of knowledge, such as Henry Petroski’s Engineers of Dreams (1995), they will demand a visual feast at some point. Dupre serves up the celebrity spans, naturally, but she also displays bridges that don’t loudly brag about themselves, for instance the humble iron-truss bridges one sees in rural America. Because of its shape, this book will be hard to shelve so displaying it seems to be the best option–and the cover of the Brooklyn Bridge in its cathedral-like magnificence ensures that many patrons will stop in their tracks and look.

My Reaction:

What a beaut this book is!  Beautiful photography. Its a big-un too.  Bridges fascinate and frighten me.


Wiring 101 : 25 projects you really can do yourself

 Carter, Jodie

Chanhassen, Minn. : Creative Pub. International, 2006

For me the terms 'do it yourself' and 'wiring' don't feel right together.

Summary (Library website):

Black & Decker? Wiring 101 takes the mystery (and nervousness) out of routine home wiring repairs and projects. It includes 25 of the most common projects and repairs and gives readers everything they need to know to finish each project safely, quickly, and with perfect results. Projects are arranged in order of complexity to help readers build confidence, from removing a broken light bulb to adding track lighting to installing a ceiling fan.Presuming no experience or expertise, Black & Decker? Wiring 101 will guide the would-be DIYer step-by-step with clear, jargon-free text and detailed color photos. Readers will learn exactly how to turn the power off safely and how to assemble and use a basic collection of wiring tools. This book will remove the intimidation factor from household wiring projects and allow readers to save money and make satisfying improvements.

My Reaction:

Just because there’s a DIY book for it, doesn’t mean you should DIY. I’m gonna leave the wiring to the pros.


Italian made simple

Jackson, Eugene

Doubleday, 1960

If you get this book you can go to the Jersey Shore try out your Italian on Paulie, Snooki et al. Yeah right.

Summary (Library website):

For almost four decades, Made Simple books have set the standard for continuing education and home study.

My Reaction:

The book cover makes me want pizza for lunch. Mama Rosa’s here I come!

Red Tails and Black Wings

Day 12 (Friday)  & 13 (Saturday)

When I saw today’s book pop up in the lottery I said (not unlike Joey from Blossom) “Whoa!” Followed by a “holy coincidence Batman!” You’ll see why these pop culture inspired exclamations were in order in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.



Through no strategizing of my own, today’s book came straight out of the headlines.  George Lucas’s Red Tails is on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days.  Sentiments range from “Go see it! Support the all black cast!” to “Don’t go see it! It sucks! See a documentary on the subject instead!”  I’m kind of on the fence. Kind of. Lets just say I don’t appreciate the overt manipulation involved in the marketing of this movie: ‘They say blacks won’t spend their money to see this worthy film! Let’s prove ’em wrong!’   I’ll see the film if and only if I wanna see it. The only sheep around here are those two purple cuties up top ^^ shaking what their mama gave ’em.

I was excited to see today’s offering too because I’ve always wondered about blacks in aviation.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black pilot proudly cutting his/her way through the airport.  The authors of these articles notice the dearth as well.  Check this book out if you’re as interested as I am!

Bibliographic info:

Black wings : courageous stories of African Americans in aviation and space history 

Hardesty, Von

HarperCollins Publishers, 2008

Summary (Library Journal Review):

Traces African American achievement in flight from the earliest days of exploration through the famed Tuskegee Airmen to today’s astronauts. Great attention is paid to the Tuskegee pilots, who battled the Germans and then U.S. racism, but this book also details the first African American woman to fly in combat (during World War I) and the first African American to go into space.

My Reaction:

Wowsers! I opened the book and ran smack dab into Bessie Coleman’s story.  Talk about fearless and inspirational.  This woman was critically injured in some of her flights and got back in the cockpit to stunt fly another day.  She was a star in the male dominated world of aviation, giving lectures and touring the country.  She was also civic/political minded.  There should be a biopic on her! Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington or Taraji P. Henson call me!

Speaking of movies, the book states that she was offered a bit part in a movie called  Shadow and Sunshine.  She was to play a woman in tattered rags but ultimately declined the part opting not to “play out existing racial stereotypes”.  Miss Coleman was killed in a plane accident due to repair issues.  She was 34.  I might keep my $10 (sorry George Lucas.  Something tells me you’ll be OK though.) and just keep reading this book.

Now for the second book. Just when I thought that there might be a chance that I’d love/find interesting every book that I encountered on this challenge, I ran into this little number.  Pun intended.

Bibliographic Info:

The Math Chat Book
 Morgan, Frank

Mathematical Association of America, 2000

Who 'chats' about math? Fans of cruel and unusual punishment that's who.


It’s about math.

My Reaction:

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Not your Grandma’s Mother

Hi All!

Forgive me for deviating from the Dewey-A-Day norm will yall? Just had to get this out but I do give you a bite sized Dewey entry sans ‘my reaction’ at the end of the ‘Mother’ post for you die-hard Dewey heads 😀


The following was inspired by a recent epiphany:

“Oooh he’s kinda cute”… “Ooh! I wanna get this outfit so I can be the!”  These words have actually been uttered (to me mind you) from the perpetually glossed lips of my  actual 12 year old.  Pre-epiphany this kind of overly familiar teen talk would get met with a disapproving glare from me or a scold:  How are you talking to me!? You do know I’m your mother right?! That’s inappropriate!

I may owe my daughter an apology greater understanding.  You see, prior to this epiphany whether I “did it like my mother” was my litmus test for whether I was mothering right.  I now see a mild error in that logic  because all of the ‘players’ involved are different.   I was a different kind of child than my daughter is and my mother’s experiences made her different from me and vice versa.

That said, I realize that my mother did a bang up job raising us (fight anyone who says otherwise!) but I don’t have to follow her blueprint to the letter to be a successful parent.  Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but in this case it may be the sincerest way to ruin your mother/daughter relationship with your own child.

After an exchange like the aforementioned one I asked my daughter “Why do you talk to me like this? I would have never had this kind of conversation with my mother”.  Note that her talk was not in a disrespectful tone, just a very ‘familiar’ tone.  She looked at me with that look specific to pre-teens and teens, lip gloss just a poppin on her pursed lips and said “like what? what way?”

But in that instant I had answered my own question.  She talked to me in a way that was natural to her, and when I wasn’t holding myself to my mother’s standard—a much more strict, conservative parenting style—I realized that it felt very natural to me too.  So in the end my daughter and I do talk freely.  We might talk about things that might make another mother blush or get worked up into a self-righteous tizzy. That’s ok.  I’m the in my house and we’re doing it our way 😉

Mother/daughter girl talk...with only the occasional reminder about who pays the cost to be the boss.


As promised!

Day 11

Bibliographic info:

The quotable scientist : Words of wisdom from Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Galileo, Marie Curie, and more

Horvitz, Leslie Alan

McGraw Hill 2000

Summary: A book-o-quotes from that odd lot called scientists

A little haiku to light up the dark

Shhhhh!!! I feel like maybe we’re supposed to be covert and quiet like up in here.  You may have noticed that many of my fellow WordPressians blog pages have gone dark in protest against SOPA.  And rightly so,  SOPA deserves to be protested.  It probably had good intentions but it has the ability to go horribly wrong.  Bloggers are impacted because we write, and when we write we may link. What if we link to a blacklisted site. Could that spell trouble for us?  What if our beloved WordPress itself is blacklisted?  I’m really not familiar with all of the fine print but it just feels like SOPA is doing too much.

All that said I didn’t have the heart to totally go dark for a few days.  Although I’m all about solidarity (see the black ribbon I’m sportin? Upper righthand corner?) I just couldn’t shut up for a a whole week! I hafta keep chugging along or I’ll come to a complete stop and go cold.  Can’t do that. Just getting warmed up!

So with out further ado…

Day 10!

Bibliographic Info:

The Classic Tradition of Haiku : An anthology

Bowers, Faubion

Mineola, NY : Dover Publications, 1996


Summary (library website):

Unique collection spans over 400 years (1488–1902) of haiku history by the greatest masters: Basho, Issa, Shiki and many more, in translations by top-flight scholars in the field. Editor Faubion Bowers provides Foreword and many informative notes to the poems.
My reaction:
Confession.  I couldn’t hunt this book and physically hold it in my loving hands because our branch didn’t have a copy.  So  I headed over to (great resource!) where I was able to find a digitized version of the book.  Sure its not the entire text but there was enough there to inspire me.
An excerpt from the book (that I had to manually transcribe because of course, copy/paste is not allowed.  See how hard I work for yall?! :D):
“Haiku lovers look for specific words and images to help reveal the deeper layers of meaning that expand the layers of each poem.  These fall into three categories : What, Where and  When. (pg. ix )”  Hey! Didja know that haiku are songs “meant to be  uttered in one breath(pg. ix)”?  Cool huh?
A haiku from a poet by the name of Iio Sogi (1421-1502):
everything that was
has vanished from my aged heart
leaving not a trace
My humble attempt*:
to remember You
is respite from injury
harbor from myself
*I’m kicking myself for offering any type of explanation as art should require none but in my haiku You=The Creator/GOD and myself=ego

Playing catch up! Four the easy way.

Hi guys!!

Welcomes to Days 6, 7, 8 & 9!!!

Please forgive the tardiness of these offerings.  I knew that doing this project every day for a year would be an experience and an exercise in consistency and I felt myself prepared for the challenge (a random book a day? WINNING!!!).  I was excited to do my Dewey lottery, hunt the book and then do an arm chair analyses of  a different book each and every day…except on weekends.

So the first weekend of this project found me looking at the computer, knowing I had an obligation yet still shirking it.  And then it was a long weekend too  with the M.L.K. holiday!  Fahget-about-it.  Here is an abbreviated version of my regular entries, just the bibliographic info and a picture because I aint got it in me to read skim four books today.  So do yourself a favor! If any of these books looks mildly interesting to you check em out!! They long for your caress!

Saturday’s (coulda been) book:

How to Photograph Absolutely Everything

Ang, Tom

New York : DK Pub., 2010.

Ready yourself for a closeup!

Sunday’s (shoulda been) book:

Life Sentences : writers, artists, and AIDS
Avena, Thomas

San Francisco : Mercury House, c1994



Monday’s (woulda been) book:

Mapping time : the calendar and its history
Richards, E. G. (Edward Graham)

We really are missing out if we don't pick this one up!

 Tuesday’s Book:

Understanding hieroglyphs : A complete introductory guide
Wilson, Hilary

Lincolnwood, Ill. : Passport Books, c1993

Next time you're in Egypt you'll be prepared. Mummy monster due to resurrect and set off chain of events of catastrophic proportion? You'll be the 1st to know!

Don’t judge a book by its author?

Day 5!

Bibliographic info:

This far by faith : Stories from the African American religious experience
Williams, Juan.  (Yes, that Juan Williams)

Summary (Booklist Review):

Williams, who wrote the companion volume to the award-winning PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize, and Dixie, an Indiana University professor, offer a well-illustrated companion volume to the upcoming PBS series “This Far by Faith.” They follow the traditional contours of other studies of African-American religious history, beginning with slavery and following the tale through the emergence of free black churches; the nadir of the late 19th century; the Great Migration; the rise of black nationalism and urban religious traditions in the early 20th century; the civil rights movement; and the embrace of alternative religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and the Five Percenters in the 1970s through the 1990s.

The quote on the front is from the very impressive Marian Wright Edelman

My Reaction:

It was hard for me to give this book a fair shake.  It really was after my own heart, the sepia toned cover art, the business card tucked inside (A vestige from a previous reader;  it was a funeral home business card.   Fodder for a an imagination yearning to run wild!)  But I just couldn’t shake the irritation I felt toward that Juan Williams.

The book is extremely well written.  It includes accounts from and about noted church leaders Richard Allen and Martin Luther King and lesser known but equally dynamic leaders, Reverend Albert B. Cleage (founder of The Shrine of the Black Madonna) and Absalom Jones (founder of the African Episcopal Church of St.Thomas).

I was going to say “conversely” it discusses the leadership of Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad but the tone of the book (mostly) suggests that there was a  commonality among all of the teachings  be they rooted in Christianity or Islam, and that was a message of empowerment.  As the title of the book states, a strong—unshakeable even in the darkest hours—faith is to be credited for allowing an oppressed people to come ‘this far”.

All of those beautiful sentiments kept feeling like a moot point when viewed beside the authors statement (made some years after the release of this book) that “when [he] get[s] on the plane… if  [he] see[s] people who are in Muslim garb [he] think[s]…they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, [he] get[s] worried. [He] get[s] nervous.”

The book included a very involved chapter on Ibrahima Abdul Rahman “The Prince” in which Juan discusses the obstacles that Ibrahima faced as a Muslim Minority on a Christian plantation.  He’s has intimate knowledge of the goodness and decency of Ibrahima which he eloquently discussed. Williams also authored ‘Eyes on the Prize’, the prize being freedom and equality.  Does Ibrahima and his ilk—Muslims—not deserve the same prize?

Don’t let your language become roadkill

Day 4

Hi there! Lets get straight to it.

Bibliographic information:

Vanishing Voices : The extinction of the world’s languages
Nettle, Daniel

Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2000.

Call Number 417.7 NETTLE


Summary (Library website):

Few people know that nearly 100 native languages once spoken in what is now California are near extinction, or that most of Australia’s 250 aboriginal languages have vanished. In fact, at least half of the world’s languages may die out in the next century. What has happened to these voices? Should we be alarmed about the disappearance of linguistic diversity?


This book is pretty neat. I rarely meet a book that doesn’t have something to offer but this one’s got it in spades.  In the 1st few pages you get the stories of 3 different individuals who—upon passing—took their tribal language to their graves.  Ubykh.  A dead language once spoken in Turkey.  Catawba Sioux. A dead Native American language.  Wappo.  Also a dead Native American Language.

The concept of benign neglect is discussed.  Essentially this concept is the focus of the argument that these languages just sort of died out voluntarily.  The crux of the argument of the naysayers is this: Languages die. Who cares? The authors do an excellent job of making you care, pointing out that the loss of languages also results in loss of “community structures which would have still had benefits” to the individuals.

Class dismissed! Oh! For extra credit, who wants to take a stab at the top 5 languages of the world (in terms of  number of speakers)?*

photo from U. of South Florida website

*Maybe the stats have a changed a little. This book was published in 2000.

In the shadow of ‘Freakonomics’. The life of 123.3 TALEB

Hi there folk!! It’s Day 3 at A Dewey A Day!

Since you’ve been so faithful I figure I’ll pull the curtain back just a tad on my little operation. Its all about transparency these days right?

OK so I told yall that I get the Dewey numbers from a unique identifier generator and that I choose the 1st 6 digits for my Dewey.  Well sometimes there is no exact match for my number so the library catalog pulls up a list of similar matches.  At that point I choose a book from a list of about 5.  So its not totally random.  But all of the books are similar in nature.  So today’s short list had titles like The four purposes of life : finding meaning and direction in a changing world and Will the circle be unbroken? : reflections on death, rebirth, and hunger for a faith.  Sorry guys, close but no cigar.  No, this title had me at ‘randomness’…

Bibliographic info:

Fooled by Randomness : The hidden role of chance in life and in the markets

Taleb, Nassim.

New York: Random House 2005, c2004.

Summary (Booklist review):

Taleb is a “quant,” or mathematical trader, and an expert on financial derivatives who has made a name for himself in investing circles as a voluble critic of popular theories and conventional wisdom. He is also the author of Dynamic Hedging: Managing Vanilla and Exotic Options (1996). Taleb is fluent in seven languages and a reader of classical literature, an avocation that readily manifests itself in this meandering discourse on the roles of probability, luck, and risk in the markets and in life. Taleb examines how and why the attempt to determine cause and effect is continually hampered by random occurrences and our emotional responses to them. He freely shares his ideas and opinions, finding insights in the funeral of Jackie Onassis, B. F. Skinner’s experiments on pigeons, Solon’s warning, Karl Popper’s work, George Soros, Darwinism, the O. J. Simpson trial, Pascal’s wager, the collapse of Long Term Capital Management, the trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, birthdays, taxicabs, and especially the works of ancient Greek philosophers. –David Rouse

My Reaction:

I think I’m actually gonna keep this one and read cover to cover.  I’m riveted.  Who wouldn’t love a book with a chapter entitled “If you’re so rich, why aren’t you so smart?”?  This book takes a kind of irreverent pass at the goings on of the stock market.  I suggested in the title of the post that this book didn’t make as big a splash as the mega hit Freakonomics but it got a co-sign from Malcolm Gladwell so perhaps its not as obscure as I think it is.  The gist in a nut shell—the author suggests that more often than not in the stock arena, luck is mistaken for skill.

Taleb gives several very involved historical examples. This read is not as ADD friendly as Freakonomics.  It’s 290 pages and can be a little overly erudite in some parts but I’d say its worth giving the old college try—a grad school try, not an under-grad try because who actually read in under grad?  Same time tomorrow? 😀