Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Do Broadway shows need ratings systems?

You know ... I love free Broadway tickets as much as the next girl. Free stuff is good. Actually, free stuff is GREAT, especially for Broadway shows that cost way the heck too much. However, I just couldn't make myself take advantage of the offer that came pinging into my Outlook mailbox this afternoon for:

Tickets to Equus for tomorrow night, starring Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe.

Now, I like theater. I love me some o'the Brits. I love their accents. They could sit and read the phone book and I would be perfectly happy to hand them my money to do so. I have thoroughly enjoyed both of these actors in their various roles on film and the telly. That being writ, I couldn't bring myself to go to the show because of a) the very mature, disturbing, and adult subject matter and b) because I would have to see the young boy wizard get naked. For me, it would be creepy on so many different levels--mostly because I'm old enough to have been his teen-aged mother!

Call me a prude. (Ummm, Okay. You are a PRUDE.) I'm not sure I'm up to seeing people get butt-naked on stage. My last Broadway play experience, Shakespeare's Cymbeline of all things, had gratuitous nudity in it as well. It was so unexpectedly jarring that it took me completely out of the rythym of the play. Since it happened in the first act I had to sit there wondering if I'd have to see other people get naked at another point. I've still not recovered from the experience, (though it was mostly due to Phylicia Rashad's horrific accent and acting). A little warning would have been nice. I could have chosen not to attend or to look away.

Sadly, I'm used to the use of foul language in everyday use and on stage. (I'm a guilty party here too). I'm also regrettably getting used to suggestive situations and content creeping into my many forms of entertainment. Unfortunately, I am not used to the gratuitous nudity that is starting to crop up everywhere, even on the stages of the highest of the high-brow, the opera. Even The New York Times has noticed (see article here).

There should be a quick way to know about a staged show's "adult" content, aside from first-hand experiences, word-of-mouth, reviews, and other publicity. Some productions have a clue in the title, i.e. Naked Boys Singing, but other shows seem innocuous, i.e. Avenue Q. If all you see is the poster with the cute puppets, would you know that this musical addresses issues like sex, drinking, and surfing the web for porn? Avenue Q's website is very good about being upfront about what ages the show is appropriate for, but not every one will take the time to do the research.

For all that the systems are criticized, the television and film industry has a well-established rating mechanism. Is it time for stage productions to have one too?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Political Endorsement

Even though I SWORE that this blog wouldn't have a political bent, I do seem to be on a kick this week.

Therefore, I have made up my mind on the candidate that I am officially endorsing for the upcoming election.

Laura Roslin

Why? Why the frak not? She's dealt with emergency evacuations, jihadists, terrorists, food and air rationing, a VERY dire economic situation, coups, cancer, she was a teacher, and she looks darn good in her glasses.

I'm Auntie Nettie and I approve this message.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Banned Book Week Proclamation

Celebrating the Freedom to Read

WHEREAS, the freedom to read is essential to our democracy, and reading is among our greatest freedoms; and

WHEREAS, privacy is essential to the exercise of that freedom, and the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one's interest examined or scrutinized by others; and

WHEREAS, the freedom to read is protected by our Constitution; and

WHEREAS some individuals, groups, and public authorities work to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries of materials reflecting the diversity of society; and

WHEREAS, both governmental intimidation and the fear of censorship cause authors who seek to avoid controversy to practice self-censorship, thus limiting our access to new ideas; and

WHEREAS, every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of American society and leaves it less able to deal with controversy and difference; and

WHEREAS, Americans still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression, and can be trusted to exercise critical judgment, to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe, and to exercise the responsibilities that accompany this freedom; and

WHEREAS, intellectual freedom is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture; and

WHEREAS, conformity limits the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend; and

WHEREAS, the American Library Association's Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year as a reminder to Americans not to take their precious freedom for granted; and

WHEREAS, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Auntie Nettie celebrates the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, September 27–October 4, 2008 and be it further

RESOLVED, that Auntie Nettie encourages all libraries and bookstores to acquire and make available materials representative of all the people in our society; and be it further

RESOLVED, that Auntie Nettie encourages free people to read freely, now and forever.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Banned Books Week

Celebrating the Freedom to Read
September 27–October 4, 2008

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, the annual event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.

Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.

Stay informed. If you read or hear about a challenge at your school or public library, support your librarian and free and open access to library materials. The American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom estimates they learn of only 20 to 25 percent of book challenges. Let us know if there is a challenge in your community. Find out what the policy is for reviewing challenged materials at your school or public library. Join the Intellectual Freedom Action News (IFACTION) e-list.

Organize your own Banned Books Read-Out! at your school, public library, or favorite bookstore.

Get involved. Go to school board meetings. Volunteer to help your local school or public library create an event that discusses the freedom to read and helps educate about censorship—maybe a film festival, a readout, a panel discussion, an author reading or a poster contest for children illustrating the concept of free speech.

Speak out. Write letters to the editor, your public library director and your local school principal supporting the freedom to read. Talk to your neighbors and friends about why everyone should be allowed to choose for themselves and their families what they read. Encourage your governor, city council and/or mayor to proclaim "Banned Books Week - Celebrating the Freedom to Read" in your state or community.

Exercise your rights! Check out or re-read a favorite banned book. Encourage your book group to read and discuss one of the books. Give one of your favorite books as a gift.

Thank goodness for our First Amendment rights. Literature has power. Draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.
In the words of "Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas (The One Un-American Act." Nieman Reports, vol. 7, no. 1, Jan. 1953, p. 20):

“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”

from ALA.org

(and this is the sum extent of the political preaching you will get on this blog!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

This week in New York

This week has gone by in a blur.

I feel like I've spent most of it either
waiting in the bowels of Grand Central for the train

or zoning out on the train.
I did happen to glance out the window of the library one night, and got to see the skyline of the City in a new rosy light.

The thing I learned though is this.

You have to pay attention when you commute.

If you blink too fast,

you'll miss seeing the fairies.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Klondike Bar

As I type this, I'm TOTALLY enjoying my Klondike Bar from the new ice cream machine down the hall.

Makes the day better by just a little bit.

So worth it!

Auntie Nettie's Holiday Projects

Continuing the list of the summer projects, plus everything I'm getting ready for the Second Annual Holiday Boutique (sorry, this is by invitation/proximity only):

Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornaments v. 9 (lots*):
Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornaments v. 8 (lots):

Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornaments v. 7 (lots): Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornaments v. 6 (lots): Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornaments v. 5 (lots): Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornaments v. 4 (lots): Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornaments v. 3 (lots): Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornaments v. 2 (lots):

Puzzle Piece Wreath Ornament v. 1 is here,
as well as picture of the Snowflake Version(lots):

Crocheted Christmas Tree Ornaments v. 5 (lots):
Crocheted Christmas Tree Ornaments v. 4 (lots): Crocheted Christmas Tree Ornaments v. 3 (lots): Crocheted Christmas Tree Ornaments v. 2 (lots):
Crocheted Christmas Tree Ornaments v.1 (lots): Crocheted Christmas Tree Pins v. 2 (lots): Crocheted Christmas Tree Pins v.1 (lots):
Star of David pins: Star of David Ornaments v. 2 (lots) (light yellow):
Star of David Ornaments v. 1 (lots) (white): #73: Oversize Cross Bookmark (1)#70-72: Decorative Wreaths (for table tops, or to be hung) (not available)
Perfect for a table display with large white pillar candles in the center #69: Turquoise Ribbon Scarf (not available, no photo)

*"lots" can be anywhere from 2 - 20 ... I didn't have time to count, plus I'm still "hooking" and gluing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


You know your week is off to a "good" start when:

You just have to take a mental health/sick day on a Monday.

You finally drag your butt into work the next day--very, very, very late, whereupon you pass your department head/v.p. in the hall at 9:30 with all your stuff; only to get to your desk and find an e-mail from him at 9:05 that reads:

This is to remind everyone that office hours are from 9:00AM until 5:00PM, and I expect every member of this department to be here during that time.

... all I ask is that you are here working between the hours that [the Big J's] offices are open.


later in the day, after pondering the message some more ...

Okay, dude, but what about potty breaks, what about my lunch "hour," what about those days I have to supposedly work late for events? Can you also define what you mean by "working" because it seems like to me, my definition of "working" is extremely different than other people's. Plus, you get paid about 10 times what I get paid (NOT exaggerating!) and I don't live 10 blocks away in a fancy schmancy NYC Westside apartment. Sometimes I can't do anything about the reliability and timeliness of the two forms of mass transit that I have to take to get to the office.

Huh! Me thinks it's time for an attitude adjustment (MINE!) and for me to be thankful that I'm in this industry and not another, say, further downtown, on Wall Street.

Now, who's going to wake me up at the crack of dawn so I can not get yelled at at 9:01 a.m. tomorrow? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday UPDATE:

Thanks for the two calls this morning, bro. I realize that you are 3 hours behind me, AND working on the night shift (you vampire you!) so I really appreciate it. Ummmm. If you are going to call again, can you please call me earlier? I was already on the train (still not the early one) and then in the office when you called me.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Love My Librarian!

The Shushing Librarian is pleased to let you know that nominations are now being taken for Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love my Librarian award*

Nominations are now being accepted for librarians in schools, colleges, community colleges and universities for the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award. Administered by the American Library Association’s Public Information Office and Campaign for America’s Libraries, the award encourages library users to recognize the accomplishments of librarians for their efforts to improve the lives of people in their community.

Nominations for school and academic librarians continue through October 15. Nominations for public librarians opened on August 15 and run through October 1. All nominations are accepted electronically at www.ilovelibraries.org/ilovemylibrarian.

Up to 10 librarians in public, school and academic libraries will be selected honored at a ceremony and reception in New York at TheTimesCenter, hosted by The New York Times. Each winner also will receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a $500 travel stipend to attend the awards reception. In addition, a plaque will be given to each award winner’s library. Nominees will be judged by a selection committee based on quality of service to library users, demonstrated knowledge of the library and its resources and commitment shown in helping library users.

Each nominee must be a librarian with a master’s degree from a program accredited by the ALA in library and information studies or a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Nominees must be currently working in the United States in a public library, a library at an accredited two- or four-year college or university or at an accredited K-12 school.

For more information, visit www.ilovelibraries.org/ilovemylibrarian.

*The Shushing Librarian is not asking for a nomination for herself or Auntie Nettie (I'm not worthy). She's just making you think about nominating one of those other librarians who serve to help you and your community.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Falling back ... in love with Fall

courtesy of Susanbranch.com

It finally feels like fall in New York. The days have noticeably been getting shorter. I come home to twilight and sunset now instead of bright daylight. Last night I caught a whiff of one of my all-time favorite aromas--the first scent of wood smoke for the season. Down the block, the oaks and sycamores are loosing their leaves, and the rustling "shhh-shhh" of kids running through them brings me back to childhood. Just this week, I've started turning off the a/c, and leaving the fan in the window at night so I can snuggle under the covers. This morning on the train platform, I realized that I, along with most of my fellow commuters, had woefully underestimated the temperature, as we were all shivering and bemoaning our lack of an extra scarf or jacket.

Bring on the pumpkin picking, the Indian corn decorations, and the mulberry spices and pie making. Hail the brisk winds and the full Harvest Moon.

I LOVE Autumn.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Little Things

I have blogged before about the little things that make working at the Big J exciting; things like the construction (oy, the construction), the students, the occasional free food leftovers, and Fridays off.

Well, gang, yesterday's excitement was the installation of not one, but two shiny new vending machines. The first was a massive Pepsi machine with more than the usual five selections of Pepsi, Aquafina, and some flavored orange popdrink. Goodbye limited Pepsi choices. Hello, way too many Pepsi choices, plus Gatorade, juices, and iced coffee drinks from the EvilStirredbuks. (Good thing I'm a die-hard Diet Coke girl!)

The second shiny new vending machine replaced the old M&M vending machine. Initially we were all saddened when it disappeared. Though extremely overpriced for the size of the bag distributed, just knowing it was down the hall gave us much relief in times of extreme chocolatatist-craving-maximus.

You'd think that in a school with dancers and actors, you would replace the M&M machine with one distributing fruit, or granola, or Kashi products.

Oh no.

We have a freaking Good Humor-esque Ice Cream Bar vending machine!

That's just EVIL! Can't wait until it's filled up!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Valuable Possessions

If you had to quickly choose five of your most valuable possessions to take with you in the case of an emergency, what would you grab?

Many of us won't ever have to think about this, but recent disasters and evacuations serve to remind us to prioritize before an emergency arises. Of all the "stuff" that you've accumulated over the years, what would you bring with you that wasn't: the 72 hour kit, the necessary medical, financial, and identification documentation, cash, medication, or things that your family and pets, etc. would need to survive?

I think most of us would end up taking items that are tied to family and special memories. I know I would.

For me, while I'd have a hard time giving up my books*, I know that most of them could be replaced ... eventually. Yearbooks and Scrapbooks can't. Family Bibles with the genealogy can't.

Similarly, most of my music* is uploaded onto my work hard drive and is backed up on the server (shhhh, don't tell), so I know that could be downloaded. The one photo I have of my father as a little boy with his parents also could never be replaced.

Electronic equipment* and furniture* can be replaced/upgraded; the heirloom shadowbox I had made out of my paternal grandfather's vintage charm bracelet and the glamorous war-time photo of he and grandma, could not.

Clothing could be replaced; the vintage family "jewels" that include that paternal grandfather's WWII military ribbons and buttons, the bracelets he made out of scrap metal during the war, (one of which I wear every single day), my maternal grandmother's collection of vintage costume jewelry, and my "pearls," medallions, and pre-ban ivory necklaces could not.

My linens could be all be replaced, except for the handmade quilt that my maternal grandmother made just for my high school graduation and went with me to college and beyond.

What would you consider to be irreplaceable? Think about it now, while you can.

*I keep an inventory list in Excel on my computer and e-mail to my various accounts a few times a year. That way I know approximately what was in my collection in case I need to verify for insurance purposes, replace an item, or weed out duplicates. Once I get a flashdrive a copy will go there, along with scanned copies of important documents, living wills, wills, medical information, etc. The drive will then be sealed in waterproof containers and put with my evac. kit.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No Cookies in the Library!

Last week Drew called his Auntie Nettie to let her know that he went to the "liberry" for the first time and picked out books. All together now ...

AHHHHHHH! So Cute! Right?

I'm so happy that my nieces and nephews get to go the library or Liberry.

Drewie, there are a few things I just want you to know. First, the library is magical place that has more that just books. Secondly, you use your inside voice; don't shout in the library or you'll get shhhhh'd. But most importantly ...

You can't order a box of cookies in the library!
Sorry. (Unless it's a special story and snack time.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Where's my ride?

I thought I told Morelli to park my Ducati with the rest of the bikes, but I can't find it.

I guess I'll just have to take the train home.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saddest Cubicle in America

Whenever I begin to complain about sharing my office with two other perfectly nice people,

or dread it when they have loud meetings on the other side of my cubewall and drown out the loud volume on my ipod, or

sigh over my "view," that of communal paper supplies and institutional files, or
whine about being frozen out by piped in Arctic air from airplane-jet loud vents, or
get skeeved out about cleaning up evidence of insect and rodent visitors to my desk ...

I'm thankful that I DON'T have to work in the saddest cubicle in America. That 'honor' was awarded to someone else. This poor guy's desk is "penned in by heavily used filing cabinets in a windowless conference room, near a poorly ventilated bathroom and a microwave. The overhead light doesn't work -- his mother-in-law was so saddened by his cube that she gave him a lamp -- and the other side of the wall is a parking garage. " See?

I'm grateful. Really. I'm very thankful that I'm gainfully employed in a stable organization.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Return of the Peeps, Part VII

Guess what I found in the stores last week?

What are you looking at?


Stay tuned for more adventures of the Peeps!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Missionary Humor

With thanks to the shenanigans of baratsandbereta.com*

*These guys aren't LDS, so not all of their material is suitable for every viewer.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

5 words = 1 heart attack

Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburgers aka
1 satisfied PMS craving

How did I not know about these?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Back to Schooltime

Although I work in two different college settings, nothing really says it's fall and Back to Schooltime to me more than those beginning-of-year photos that I get from my friends and family. You really see the passing of time when you look at those fresh eager faces. Little babies become pre-schoolers, kindergartners become big girls, and baby-faced boys become men and daddies of pre-schoolers. It's the Circle of Life (insert the theme to the Lion King HERE!)

Auntie Nettie is so proud of all her nieces and nephews!

Stella started 3rd grade.
Trudie (Right) and Storey (Left) began 1st grade. Meg’s first day of 2nd grade.
Drew is jealous and Annie and Izzie can't wait for solo Mamatime.

Spring School Daze c. 1990s, my bros in the backyard
Drew's first day of Pre-K

As some of the other mamas have said, boy I feel old!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

NieNie in The New York Times

Sometimes the Blogosphere is nasty, mean, and petty. Sometimes it can bring people together and be a powerful source for healing and support. This is one of the latter cases.

I first learned about Nie Nie (aka Stephanie Nielson) and her heartbreaking, yet uplifting, situation over on mooshinindy's blog and then saw it again at homemadebyjill's. Reading her sister Courtney's blog almost brought me to tears in the office and then her brother Topher's entry just completely did me in. (Luckily I was the only one around at the time.) One of the impressions that Stephanie seems to be giving her sister is to "Continue to tell her story." I'm more than happy to do so.

Stephanie's story was also picked up by The New York Times. Click here for the article.

Won't you keep Stephanie, Christian, and their families, especially her heroic siblings who are caring for their four children, in your thoughts and prayers? If you can, please contribute to the families recovery fund via one of the various auctions or funds that have been set up. The information can be found at Courtney's blog.

Friday, September 5, 2008

State of Arts in the Country -- Appalling

I was talking to my Mom the other day and she let me know that the choral department at my old high school had been cut. This news didn't complete surprise me, as arts funding is being cut around the country in record numbers. It does really sadden me though. I was hoping that the old hometown would buck the trend. During the many years that my family was in the school system, the high school choral program had students go to All-State and All-New England Choral competitions. T thanks to the music program, my brothers and I travelled to Puerto Rico and participated in events around the region. The choral department was an established community presence. We had holiday sing-alongs in the mall and retirement communities. We had fund-raisers that were annual events. Students looked forward to going to high school to sing in the chorus.

The choral department was literally my lifeline in high school. I wasn't a cool kid. I wasn't a jock. I wasn't one of the popular girls. What I was, was the musical girl. The one voted most likely to ... um, actually end up where I am now, ironically. I was in almost all of the various choral groups, but mostly I was the primary pianist for the school from my sophomore year through graduation. If it needed piano accompaniment, there I was -- for college auditions, spring and winter concerts, various recitals, the major high school spring musicals, you name it. While I did get to sing occasionally, I usually had to "shut up and play." Fine with me. That was my niche. I was comfortable with that. I was good at it. I had a place. I had friends. More importantly, because I got to hang out with very talented and diverse actors, musicians, and singers, I had a community. We had our own wing where we used to hang out. We had a common bond and a common language. Until senior year, all the cool kids and the jocks used to taunt us, until they realized that a) they needed tutoring from us "smart" kids and b) they needed extracurriculars like chorus and the musicals on their college applications. Once they spent time with us, they realized that those hey, those music nerds weren't so bad. I even have yearbook entries to prove it.

I bet that if a survey was done on my fellow choral program alumni that most of us have done pretty well for ourselves. I'm sure that there are college degrees of varying advanced levels. I'm sure we've gone on to a variety of professional and interesting careers. While we may not have gone on to be professional or even still-practicing musicians, I bet most of us still have a love of the arts that was fostered in those hallways, in those practice rooms, on those stages, and on those rickety risers. Thanks to the choral program, we learned to sing in unison and harmony, so I wouldn't be suprised if they could join in me in a chorus of protest about the situation. We should "pitch" a fit.

I think that it's just shameful that, in order to save money, or for what ever reason, this important program has been cut. I feel for those poor kids in my hometown and the local communities. Somewhere out there in the quiet corners of Connecticut are students who have the desire to be musicians, but may not have the money for an instrument or lessons. Chorus may have been their one way to participate, their glimmer of hope at some musical fulfillment. What will those kids do now? Where will they find their community? Will the instrumental programs be next? What about the fine arts classes?

For shame hometown, for shame.

Which Jane Austen Character are You?

I know most people want to be Lizzie Bennet, but I'm not at all surprised by the results of this quiz. I identify with Anne on so many levels, and there were moments on recent family trips when it was all I could do to keep from laughing at just HOW much I was like Anne. Not the easily persuaded part, but so many other aspects of her particular situation.

I love Persuasion, especially this adaptation with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, so I'm delighted that it's the picture that comes up with the results. When nothing else is on t.v., I pull out the Austen flicks and spend many a happy moment wandering down the streets of Bath and at the seawall on the coast.

I am Anne Elliot!

Take the Quiz here!