Le Tigre

Liquid Story Binder

It sounds like a new medicine for diarrhea. But I heard about this program from writers at NaNoWriMo writer's forum, and it was offered at 1/2 price for NaNoWriMo November. I have tried a few other writing programs over the years (Dramatica Pro, WriteWay) but never really took the time to learn them. I will take the time to learn Liquid Story Binder. The binder is not cheese, but instead a software "paper" binder. This program looks useful, and given the outstanding reviews and authors that have used it over the recent years, it's deserving of my attention.


This is the extent of daylight that I see on weekdays now. It is dark at 4:45PM. Because of daylight savings time, the sun might be coming up just as I am hopping in the shower at 7:00AM, so I get to see its rays through the skylight in my bathroom. It beams down , and if I stand directly under the skylight, I can stare back at the sun, beyond the white peak of my house. The winter is depressing, not because of the cold, but because of the hide and seek with the sunshine.
Be outside. Put away the sunglasses and be outside during the weekend. The deprivation of light has only just gotten started. It's just November 30.



A Super Healthy and Inexpensive Alternative to Bien Trucha

Cindy Degan's place in Glen Ellyn, IL is a must. Super fresh food, and plenty of it for a very fair price. Chicks and Salsa rocks!

Reviews at

Bien Trucha, Geneva's Hidden Gem

Bien Trucha
WHERE 410 W. State St., Geneva
PHONE (630) 232-2665
WHY YOU SHOULD GO The food and drinks at this intimate 30-seat restaurant are made from fresh ingredients, and the menu items are one-of-a-kind, created by the owner and his family.
CLAIM TO FAME The food is brought out on wooden planks, plus the margaritas are made with fresh fruit and without ice and the use of a blender, leaving the true flavors to be experienced.

Cath and I have tried to eat at this tiny tapas bar on State Street in Geneva at least three times before, each time getting shut out, literally. Wait over an hour. The place expanded and now holds maybe 30 cutomers. Maybe. It's miniscule. But it is so highly rated, five of five stars on yelp and tripadvisor and Chicago Tribune, and has been reviewed most positively in Chicago Magazine, and it's walking distance from our place, we had to give it a whirl. And whirl we did. Starter of fresh shrimp tacos with avacado wedge, followed by chorizzo and steak sandwich, plus a chicken breast and goat cheese sandwich and rice, downed with cerveza. Yum. It was indeed served on a plank in a cozy, warm atmosphere in a very modern space. Outside, you'd think it was a complete "hole", but inside, a contemporary feel. The prices were high as the tapas portions are small, but for an occasional indulgence, we will be back to Bien Trucha, which means "at the top". I see why diners drive miles to come to this 950 square foot space.


You Win Some, You Samsung

The old refrigerator conked out cold, and we finally got delivery of the new Samsung. But not without an unexpected finding: we could not turn off the water to the old fridge's ice line. The thin copper tubing from the wall has a valve at the wall--I couldn't turn it to shut it off. Here come the delivery guys, and without being able to turn it off, they can't switch the line to the new appliance. They come, drop off the new Samsung; every time I turn the 1/2" nut to disconnect the water line, it sprays me in the face, so they can't take the old fridge. The wall valve is stuck open. The old broken refer is acting as a "cork", stopping the water from spraying all over the kitchen. Okay, I thought as you are: turn off the main water valve to the entire unit. Well, sure enough, we turn it off and it only 1/2 works--the handle turns all the way but due to some unknown issue in the valve itself, it won't shut off the water to our condo. Now I really don't want to work on the refrigerator line; if it breaks, I can't shut off the water at all and the apt. below me will flood.

The delivery guys try the wall valve a couple times and fail, also, and leave. They don't take the old broken fridge, and I am stuck with two fridges standing in my kitchen. Then Stan, my neighbor, comes and saves the day. He pulls the refrigerator water valve out from the wall, works it back and forth many times with better leverage than I had, and shuts it off. Thank God it didn't break or, unlike Noah, we'd have no time to build an arc. Yes, now I can detach the old fridge (the delivery guys are coming back Sunday to finish the chore and take the old one--thanks, gentleman). I have carefully installed the new Samsung, purchasing a new steel braided ice line in the meantime, and leveled it in place. It's purring, making ice, and to the best of my knowledge, not leaking. The main water control valve to my unit must be changed out before some other leaky mishap (washing machine, water heater, etc.) causes a major flood because I can't shut it off. To do so, Stan (on our Board) says that we should notify the building owners, the plumber shuts off the water to the whole building (all forty units), and changes out out our main valve. But at least I will know that it works. Maybe put in a double valve in series. We will have this done in December. But for now, ice and soda and drinks for all.


Reflections On The Day Without Cause

The holiday cheer is gone, and yesterday evening we picked up tables and chairs and leftovers and celebrated the fact that everyone appeared happy and healthy. The reflection in the Oster microwave has the kitchen picked up and settled again. Today is “Black Friday”, the mythical “Hallmark holiday” of retailers everywhere, making us believe we need to go out, be uncomfortable, spend money and be part of a group mentality. Stand alone hombres, like yours truly, shun the masses typically, but especially today. A carefree drive, past the wind farms and cropped, empty fields, in the sunshine of this day makes life rich.

Melanie Paxson Sells Wrap with Rodney

Melanie Paxson (born Melanie Deanne Moore on September 26, 1972) is an American actress. She is the middle child of three to parents Gay and Randy Moore. An alumna of Mahomet-Seymour High School in Mahomet, Illinois, she first pursued her passion for acting while involved in spring musicals and various plays with her high school's drama club. She has gone on to major motion pictures and television shows. She left her hometown after high school to attend the University of Missouri-Columbia where she majored in theater performance. She's appeared in numerous national commercials and is probably best recognized from "Glad's Voice of Reason" campaign. She currently can be seen in commercials for DayQuil and Yoplait Light. Her big television break was her portrayal of Joyce DeWitt in the television biopic on the 1970s sitcom "Three's Company." She's been on numerous shows, including "Joey" and "The Drew Carey Show". She landed a starring role in the NBC sitcom "Happy Family" before being cast as Julie in "Notes From the Underbelly."


Thanksgiving 2009 -- Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Done

A successful Thanksgiving 2009 with 22 people sharing our great room, a kitchen full of fresh food...much to be thankful for in 2009. The honey turkey, Jennie-O boneless, was absolutely pure and moist and yummy from the Crock Pot. Huge white meat pieces. Cathy made stunning apricot clove ham in Crock Pot #2--sublime--with mashed potatoes and gravy and chopped salad. Perfect. We enjoyed authentic Beef House rolls and homemade (even the noodles) chicken and noodles from Shelia, Melodie baked frsh cookies plus macs and cheese, my parents brought a well-enjoyed cheese and meats starter plate, Sharyl brought green beans with none left at the end of the meal, Dorothy treated us to pecan and pumpkin pie and stuffing/dressing, we were very lucky today. None of the almost two dozen people went hungry. We are all so thankful for all we have in life. We got to enjoy this delectable meal overlooking the lake, football in the background, kids playing ping-pong in the basement. Always a thrill to be with people that mean so much to us. Thank you. Thank you.


Finally, A Day Off

Kick up your feet, everyone. After a vigorous and full workday today, it's over. It's almost Thanksgiving. Have quite a crowd coming, with about 15 lbs of boneless turkey and ham jamming the Crock Pots, and others bringing everything from chicken & noodles to Beef House rolls. Tables will be set up in the morning. Photos to follow. For tonight, kick up the old backless Bass leathers, turn the TV off before I gag on New Adventures of Old Christine, grab my throw and call up Cormac on the netbook, and pass out with a Cape Codder on ice. Ahhh.


Old Postcard of the Kane County Courthouse

It still looks the same, a symmetric brick office building on Third Street, Geneva, Illinois.


Fender Jim Root Telecaster Guitar with EMGs

Jim Root Telecaster from

The Fender Telecaster is not typically thought of as being ideal for a hard rock/metal sound, yet some hard rock guitarists, such as Jim Root, lead guitarist for Stone Sour and Slipknot, swear by this Fender. It is no surprise, that Root has been given his own signature Fender Telecaster—the Jim Root Telecaster. This guitar’s heavy sound is quite surprising, and if you have been looking for a Fender guitar with a great hard rock tone, you have just found it.

The Features

The Root Telecaster has many features that make it such a great guitar for both the beginner hard rock guitarist and the more experienced one as well, so if you fall into either category or somewhere in between, you will enjoy this guitar immensely.

To start off, the Root Telecaster features a very sleek design with a black pickguard on top of a white Telecaster body. All of the hardware is black to match this color scheme, giving it a very metal look. Alternatively, the Root Telecaster also comes in black with a white pick-guard.

All Root Telecasters come standard with EMG pickups, which are known for being some of the best pick-ups around. You will not feel the need to swap these babies out as some guitarists do when they buy a new guitar.

The James Root Telecaster features 22 Dunlop-6100-jumbo frets, making it comfortable for both small hands and big hands. In addition, the Root Signature Telecaster holds tune with its 6-Saddle strings-through-body hardtail bridge.

The guitar is solidly constructed with a mahogany body, and a set-in maple neck with ebony fretboard, giving it incredible sustain. The Root Telecaster’s sound is easily controlled with a single knob, so you will not have to worry about moving several knobs just to get the perfect sound.

My son has had a couple guitars, and none compare to the ease of play and overall sound of the Jim Root Fender. Easy to re-string with his favorite Dunlop Medium Heavy strings (11-50 gauge) and alternate picking with Dunlop Tortex .6 mm picks, the boy knows the gear that makes it sing. Hey, I can apreciate what he's feeling--I have my favorite kayaking gear and boats--same reasoning: fit, performance, and "feel". The Jim Root, in matte white on black trim, the guitar is simple and divine. He plays it 1-2 hours most every day. I enjoy his playing, and he's fast becoming a Shreddy Krueger. \m/ Rock on.

Turkish Watering Can

Bruce imported this lovely orange metal watering can from Turkey, and it's a hot seller in Lowe's. This unique gift has been given to us by Bruce and it now adorns the upper cabinet shelf of our country style Geneva kitchen. I remember over a year ago when Bruce went to Turkey to obtain distribution rights for this product; he already had the markets secured for his own products with the largest U.S. retailers. He is a "get it done" type of guy, whether it be paddling, boat-building, manufacturing or, now, importing. Thank you, Bruce, for this cheerful gift.


Parking Garages and Winters Mix

The parking garage in my building is not as spacious, and never as vacant, as this one in the file photo. Ours is well used by my neighbors. Each space is bounded by cement poles and other vehicles. Tight. "Be water, my friend," applies here. We have not used our spaces frequently, and we even put them up for cash rent. The size of our vehicles is one factor, but also in the mix is the one rickety garage door opener that came with our condo. We never seem to have it when we need it, and it works about 1/2 the time. The problem is now solved: we programmed the Homelink built-in garage door openers on our GM vehicles. Hooray, we can access our own garage now. Lsst winter, Cathy was alone and an ice storm froze her door solidly shut in our outdoor parking lot. She phoned her big, burly friend from St. Charles to come and open it for her, nearly yanking the door ha ndle off in the process (rule of thumb--use remote start and let it thaw, or pour boiling water down the ice).

As winter 2010 nears, and we have some friends driving up to us this season, the garage will be a sanctuary. We're even thinking about another vehicle to keep in Geneva, depending on our needs for my soon-to-drive son. Garages are good and it's nice to have the opener working and enjoy the indoors.

The Fox River Valley: St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia


Water Ski Show Pride of Fox Summer 2009

taken by frequent Fox River paddler paddlingfan1, with whom I hope to paddle soon. This video shows the fun of the Pride of the Fox River Festival, and although I was just down river in Geneva that weekend, I went biking with friends and missed this great festival. Not in 2010. I will be there. If for no other reason than to see this water ski show. Thanks, Pfan1!


John Pinette On Exercise

Reflections of the Fox River

Spyglasses overlooking the Fox River in Geneva, Illinois as seen through the glass of a wall picture.


Zen of Martial Arts Master Applies To Life

"Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend" -- Bruce Lee

New Refrigerator

Our condo fridge--the one that came with it when we bought it--went kaput about six months ago. We bought this trusty wine fridge on a quick sale to get us by and have something to drink. Well, it's about time we get a real fridge, we thought. At Lowes this past weekend, we bought a new Samsung refrigerator on sale. Not very expensive compared to some of the whopping prices we see on many models; it was 1/3 the price of the top models at Lowes, and I am not even speaking about Wolf and Subzero and Viking here. We get delivery soon, and then once again, I'll be able to store that cold pizza without even taking it out of the pizza box. Hooray.


HP Mini Day 5

Still going strong, I added 2GB RAM (requires removal of 1GB RAM; wasteful) and it's speedy and strong. Running Windows 7 Starter, I have downloaded free Windows Security Center (soon to take place of Windows Live OneCare), and reading Kindle for PC books nightly. Really no glitches or concerns yet at all. And my pretty blue Logitech M305 mouse drives the whole system; I like it so much with the nano dongle that I bought one for the family laptop.


Whimsical Guest Bathroom

Come and set a spell.

To add a homey and fun touch, I added several yellow ducks and a shower curtain duck to the second bathroom. No guest has said they wouldn't poop in it, but I have little idea whether this is a "winner". It looks fun to me, though.


Save Eardrums With Foam

Tonight, it's off to Suicide Silence, Machinehead and Megadeth at Peoria Civic Center. A monster show featuring their new hit single that's tearing up the charts, "Headcrusher". Have foam, will travel.

Guinness and His Shiny New Red Novacraft

Saturday was sunny, unseasonably warm and I awoke to an email from my Bloomington, IL paddling friend, Lyn a.k.a. Guinness, who was picking up his Novacraft on School Street, off Route 38. I rang him up immediately, and he was already there, lashing the boat to his Vibe. His boat is gorgeous--it's a 15 footer, Royalex, looks to be nearly new, and fit on his small SUV ideally. A proud new papa once again, he and Tish have brought a third youngster into this world, and they are a super happy and healthy family--kiddos age 4 years, 2 years and about 10 days old.

My heartiest congratulations to Lyn and Tish. I noticed during our breakfast at Egg Harbor on Third Street that my paddling pal Guinness is super proud of his wife and kids and plans to have serious red Novacraft fun, just like this photo from above. Many years of splashing good times, with some rough water in the mix, but always love and compassion and teamwork from his burgeoned family. And the bright side is, given the ages of his tykes now, the cesspond at Miller Park Zoo will feel like the Colorado River to the children. Hey, enjoy it while you can.

Salute, Guinness and Tish. Salute.


My Mouse Has A Small Dongle

I bought a Hewlett-Packard Mini 110 notebook last night to solve my reading problem. My Kindle account at Amazon has 38 books now, and no place to read them; I sold my first gen Kindle and have struggled to read on my iPod Touch. My intention was to wait for the Apple Tablet, but with plenty of hype and a likely list price of several hundred dollars, I debated alternatives. When Amazon offered the free Kindle for PC software this week, the decision became easier. A mini net book would serve my purpose immediately and with less cost than the Apple reader. I plunged for a HP Mini 110 last night, charged it up (reported 8+ hour battery life) and downloaded the Kindle for PC software and now, on the HP Mini's 10.1 screen, I am reading again with back-lit pleasure. Joy!

The HP Mini is only 2.5 lbs, and feels lighter, even with the battery. I think the key is that I can move it with one hand. It is also not too hot on my lap like a full sized notebook, and of course, the 8 hr battery life is "cherry"; nothing like that on a full sized laptop. The HP Mini uses Windows 7 Starter (and although I can't tell much difference from my other Vista computers, at least it's not Windows XP like prior netbooks; XP no longer "supported" by MSFT). I think, now that I have it, that the laptop type configuration is better than a tablet would be for reading. I can set this on my lap and read at ideal angle. No more bending knees to prop up the flat Kindle.

The Kindle for PC software is truly ideal, with many font sizes and easy to use. I suggest that you might download it and then select a free book—there are thousands of free titles, just look at the bestseller list for Kindle and every other book is free—and try reading on your computer. The HP Mini experience is better, of course, because I can put it on my lap and sit back and enjoy.

But the best part for reading, the part I enjoy most, is the accessory that I researched and bought at the same time: My Logitech M305 wireless mouse ($40). It has a super small dongle—not one of those 1.5 inch things hanging out from your USB port—that is tiny and can be left in place all the time. Using it, I can turn the pages of the eBook with only a flick of the scroll wheel. I can put the HP Mini, for instance, way down by my knees on my ottoman outstretched legs, adjust the font to where I can see it well, and not even touch the net book; I just sit back and flick the wheel to read page after page. Last night, I was supine and resting in bed, I had the net book on my belly, never touching it, and had the Logitech wireless mouse in my hand down by my hip and just read for half an hour comfortably, flicking the wheel to turn the pages. Manually turning pages is so "ten minutes ago".

I'm not one of the zealots for a groaning, one ton bookshelf stuffed with moldy bound paper books. My digital library is always ready for me and the pages are always fresh and clean. They don't stink. I read faster and more accurately in an eBook. My reading speed, because I don't have to fiddle with pages or how to hold the book, is at least 25% faster on an eBook. I recognize now that my mind could always read faster without losing information, it's the hands and fingers that are the rate limiting step. I love this small net book and this small dongled mouse. And of course, Amazon Kindle for PC software makes it all work perfectly. I now resume reading Trasher's Sky Blue and McCarthy's No Country For Old Men, in progress.


Black and White Ginkgo Glass

Our dear friend Zena is a whiz with glass. She bought this metal stencil at The Cottage Stamper in St. Charles, Illinois this summer, and then used it to givve us a gorgeous piece of hand-made black and white glass this autumn. Zena is a true talent in glass art. She picked up the hobby only recently, and already has presented at craft shows along the Chicago north shore. Thank you, Zena. Your work is sublime.

Send In The Clowns

Don't bother, they're here.


I'm Jonesin' For Chicks N Salsa

That healthy flame-roasted chicken on a fresh flour tortilla with lettuce and cucumbers and cilantro and tomatoes, topped with homemade salsa. Only location: Glen Ellyn, IL. I'm in!


11/15: Absolutely yummy, as always!


A Classic Video: Ellen Show in Geneva, Illinois

This year's Third Street Festival and tree lighting is the first week of December. See you there for Coca-Cola and roasted chestnuts.

Geneva Daily Photo R.I.P.

Started in about April 2008, Kelly's wonderful Geneva Daily Photo has showcased some truly splendid images of my adopted town of Geneva, Illinois. I remember certain photos vividly: the umbrellas at Sergio's Cantina, the iPod on the wooden table at Graham's, the rusting spiral staircase in the alley, and the chair dumped into the Fox River. I can recall literally dozens of images, etched upon my retina, and now my mind, all taken by the caring and capable hands of Kelly and her camera.

Keeping up a daily blog--particularly one where a fresh image must be taken each and every day--is a challenge. Kelly did very well with it for longer than most anyone could. But eventually, life gets in the way. She has a loving family and maintains a healthy and very active life. The blog posts at first took little sabbaticals of a day here or there before ramping up again. But in summer and autumn 2009, the daily posts have eeked to only a few times monthly, and now, none for well over a month. Faithful readers have left the site.

I have learned so much from Geneva Daily Photo. So many cool and interesting places and events that I never would have known about otherwise (Marklund, Genoa Pizza, The Tea Shoppe, The Atrium Cafe, to name only a few). I cherish the photos that I have seen and the time that I have spent on Geneva Daily Photo for the past year and a half. Many thanks to Kelly and her blog. May you have super success in all you do, and should you one day have another internet venture, I look forward to it.

Free Amazon Kindle for PC Out 11/10/09

Okay, I have my library on Amazon Kindle. I try to read on my iPod Touch and it's small. Well, tonight Amazon did it--they have released the free software that allows you to read your entire Kindle library on any PC! I have downloaded it and it works, sweet and simple. Now people can read novels on their netbooks, and the latest netbooks are with touch screens. This is getting very tempting to not wait for the Apple Tablet, with it's Apple price, I'm sure, and get a Toshiba netbook and read to my hearts content. Plus write, surf net, and so on. I will have to keep reading on this Kindel for PC software and see how it plays. Available free now on, look under Kindle tab.


Unions Are Vital To Our Cities

like scrolls before books


Cushing Academy has all the hallmarks of a New England prep school, with one exception. This year, after having amassed a collection of more than 20,000 books, officials at the pristine campus about 90 minutes west of Boston have decided the 144-year-old school no longer needs a traditional library. The academy’s administrators have decided to discard all their books and have given away half of what stocked their sprawling stacks - the classics, novels, poetry, biographies, tomes on every subject from the humanities to the sciences. The future, they believe, is digital.

“When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books,’’ said James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and chief promoter of the bookless campus. “This isn’t ‘Fahrenheit 451’ [the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel in which books are banned]. We’re not discouraging students from reading. We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology.’’

Instead of a library, the academy is spending nearly $500,000 to create a “learning center,’’ though that is only one of the names in contention for the new space. In place of the stacks, they are spending $42,000 on three large flat-screen TVs that will project data from the Internet and $20,000 on special laptop-friendly study carrels. Where the reference desk was, they are building a $50,000 coffee shop that will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine.

And to replace those old pulpy devices that have transmitted information since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1400s, they have spent $10,000 to buy 18 electronic readers made by and Sony. Administrators plan to distribute the readers, which they’re stocking with digital material, to students looking to spend more time with literature.

Those who don’t have access to the electronic readers will be expected to do their research and peruse many assigned texts on their computers.

“Instead of a traditional library with 20,000 books, we’re building a virtual library where students will have access to millions of books,’’ said Tracy, whose office shelves remain lined with books. “We see this as a model for the 21st-century school.’’

Not everyone on campus is sold on Tracy’s vision.

They worry about an environment where students can no longer browse rows of voluptuous books, replete with glossy photographs, intricate maps, and pages dog-eared by generations of students. They worry students will be less likely to focus on long works when their devices are constantly interrupting them with e-mail and instant messages. They also worry about a world where sweat-stained literature is deemed as perishable as all the glib posts on Facebook or Twitter. Liz Vezina, a librarian at Cushing for 17 years, said she never imagined working as the director of a library without any books.

Cushing library goes bookless “It makes me sad,’’ said Vezina, who hosts a book club on campus dubbed the Off-line Readers and has made a career of introducing students to books. “I’m going to miss them. I love books. I’ve grown up with them, and there’s something lost when they’re virtual. There’s a sensual side to them - the smell, the feel, the physicality of a book is something really special.’’

Alexander Coyle, chairman of the history department, is a self-described “gadget freak’’ who enjoys reading on Amazon’s Kindle, but he has always seen libraries and their hallowed content as “secular cathedrals.’’

“I wouldn’t want to ever get rid of any of my books at home,’’ he said. “I like the feel of them too much. A lot us are wondering how this changes the dignity of the library, and why we can’t move to increase digital resources while keeping the books.’’

Tracy and other administrators said the books took up too much space and that there was nowhere else on campus to stock them. So they decided to give their collection - aside from a few hundred children’s books and valuable antiquarian works - to local schools and libraries.

“We see the gain as greater than the loss,’’ said Gisele Zangari, chairwoman of the math department, who like other teachers has plans for all her students to do their class reading on electronic books by next year. “This is the start of a new era.’’

Cushing is one of the first schools in the country to abandon its books.

“I’m not aware of any other library that has done this,’’ said Keith Michael Fiels, executive director of the American Library Association, a Chicago-based organization that represents the nation’s libraries.

He said the move raises at least two concerns: Many of the books on electronic readers and the Internet aren’t free and it may become more difficult for students to happen on books with the serendipity made possible by physical browsing. There’s also the question of the durability of electronic readers.

“Unless every student has a Kindle and an unlimited budget, I don’t see how that need is going to be met,’’ Fiels said. “Books are not a waste of space, and they won’t be until a digital book can tolerate as much sand, survive a coffee spill, and have unlimited power. When that happens, there will be next to no difference between that and a book.’’

William Powers, author of a forthcoming book based on a paper he published at Harvard called “Hamlet’s Blackberry: Why Paper is Eternal,’’ called the changes at Cushing “radical’’ and “a tremendous loss for students.’’

“There are modes of learning and thinking that at the moment are only available from actual books,’’ he said. “There is a kind of deep-dive, meditative reading that’s almost impossible to do on a screen. Without books, students are more likely to do the grazing or quick reading that screens enable, rather than be by themselves with the author’s ideas.’’

Yet students at Cushing say they look forward to the new equipment, and the brave new world they’re ushering in.

Tia Alliy, a 16-year-old junior, said she visits the library nearly every day, but only once looked for a book in the stacks. She’s not alone. School officials said when they checked library records one day last spring only 48 books had been checked out, and 30 of those were children’s books.

“When you hear the word ‘library,’ you think of books,’’ Alliy said. “But very few students actually read them. And the more we use e-books, the fewer books we have to carry around.’’


Prijon Barracuda In It's Favorite Position

This boat, of which I am a proud owner, is the fastest plastic kayak on the planet. It's a water dart. It's rockerless but lively ride. It makes everyone who owns a 21 inched beamed boat think that "seat time" will get a novice up to speed in it. I struggled with it and swam a few times. Paddlers around the country coached me online, encouraged me. I thought it was me.

Alas, now that I am a seasoned kayaker, the Prijon Barracuda remains a selfish wench; a pitching stallion that treats me like a rodeo clown. A swimming clown. And yet, I love this boat. On flatwater, it excels. It makes me a better, more vigilant paddler. It helps my balance. And it is lickety-split. Here's the most recent Pnet reviews of the German-made Barracuda.



Here’s a new library that is springing forth from fertile farmland in my town. A metal skeleton glinting in the late afternoon sunshine. The building is cavernous and will soon house many books.

Or will it?

Digital books now make up 8% of fiction book sales, up from 0.003% only five years ago. Nonfiction is not far behind. Sales are expected to triple in 2010. A thousand page book can be downloaded faster than you can boot up your computer. The Amazon Kindle eReader now has company in the burgeoning eBook market: Barnes and Noble, Sony, Apple and at least three other smaller companies have eReaders coming out within six months. Amazon has pioneered the free Kindle software app for the iPhone and Ipod Touch to sell more books, and later this month, is giving free downloads of Kindle for PCs, a new software to read Amazon Kindle books on any netbook or PC anywhere, anytime. Comic books are making debuts on eReaders in early 2010, and several larger newspapers have not only invited eSubscribers, but some have even stopped printing on paper at all. The Wall Street Journal (now with as many online readers as hard copy, by the way) has documented the slowly fading booksellers, noting that Borders and Barnes & Noble are shifting to eBook sales to boost sagging profits; the article mentions the eventual demise of brick-and-mortar bookstores, even these giants.

Amazon, and other e-Reader companies, have developed new technology that allows one to “borrow” an eBook. It can be borrowed, for instance from an online library, or can be rented, like a movie. It deletes itself and becomes unreadable after a finite time. Word has it that in 2010 Apple is going to be blowing out eBook sales and rentals, just like it does for movies, on iTunes.

A shiny new library, constructed by a town that placed it on the ballot several times in the past years, each time to fail under the taxpayer's votes. Those that wanted the library pushed very hard for it in 2009, and finally, by a very narrow margin (and a less than direct and truthful ballot question that confused voters), it nudged through.

All hail the new library. Like building a Roman coliseum just when the lions have eaten the final gladiator.


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