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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Uh Oh: Mississippi's Health Rankings.

Well, it's that time again. Trust for America's Health has released its annual public health data, and Mississippi's not looking so good.

I suppose you could put a positive spin on this and say that we're overachievers; Mississippi ranks #1 in the following areas:

Adult obesity
Childhood obesity
Adult physical inactivity
Low birth weight babies
Preterm labor
Percent living in poverty
Lowest percent of exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months
Worst median family income

We rank #2 in infant mortality per 1000 live births, chlamydia, and diabetes. Way to go, Mississippi!

Areas in which we are not so bad: AIDS, asthma, Alzheimer's, and tuberculosis.

Come ON, fellow Mississippians! Let's eat a few more fruits and vegetables (Crystal Springs tomatoes or Smith County watermelons, anyone?) this year -- we've already proven eating is our forte.

Monday, June 28, 2010

No More Summer-Heat!

This blog post originally appeared 1/30/2008.

In doing some research on early Vicksburg companies, Elisabeth came across In and About Vicksburg: An Illustrated Guide Book to the City of Vicksburg, Mississippi. It was originally published in 1890 and was reprinted in 1976.

Besides having lots of information on city government, churches, reports of war aftermath, and poems, the back section is chock full of advertisements. While many are amusing -- G.W. Hutcheson Grocery Company, for example, were dealers in "staple and fancy groceries"; Graham, Clark & Riggs were wholesale dealers in "apples and Irish potatoes" -- this fantastic new invention is truly the star of the show.

Please don't miss the excellent copy along the right-hand side:

No More Panting, Sick Children to be Fanned!

I plan on ordering mine today.

Friday, June 25, 2010

You Can Look Like a Model

Have you ever wanted to look like a top model?  Eileen Ford, founder of the Ford Modeling Agency, believes that you can if you follow the guidelines she presents in her Book of Model Beauty.  I found this book while weeding, and it offers tons of tips for aspiring models and also for women who simply want to look their best.  Ford gives readers advice on all things health and beauty related, including exercise, diet, and beauty regimens.  Despite the book’s advanced age (it was published in 1968), 21st-century women would find some of Ford’s information useful.  Some of it.  There are also some things in here that I’m not so sure about, especially when it comes to Ford’s advice about exercise.  These moves may have been popular back in the 60s, and they may actually be based on solid principles of physical fitness.  Who knows?  All I know is that there’s a lot of hitting involved.

To get hips into shape: "In a sitting position, legs stretched out in front, hands in back for support, lift your hips off the floor.  Twist to the left, pounding the floor with your left hip as hard as you can.  Now doe the same with the right hip, twisting to the right.  As you learn to do this exercise, you will pick up speed – the more the better.  Here we go, turn left, pound, turn right, pound, back to left…" (51).  Sounds like a good way to bruise or break something to me.

To mold and strengthen calves: “Sit on the floor, legs separated about six inches.  Bend your knees and draw back your heels up to the hips, lean back on your hands.  Slap knees and calves together so that you can feel them tingle.  This should be done 100 times a day – fifty in the morning and another 50 at night.” (70).  Ouch.  How this is supposed to work your calves, I have no idea.

For slim thighs: “This time you’re going to give your thighs a ‘beating’ by slapping them with your open palms.  In standing position, bend forward and slap thighs with your palms using both hands and concentrating on one thigh at a time.  Slap, slap, slap, both sides, then one side with both hands.  Be brisk with your slaps – no wishy-washy little taps here.  Keep doing this until your hands are tired.  This will bring up your circulation!” (77).  I kid you not, these are the exact words as they are printed in the book, and the author was dead serious!

For toned arms: “Flat on your back, place fingertips lightly on shoulders, elbows by your side.  Raise elbows high and slap your arms down hard. Repeat several times.  Then with fingertips still on shoulders, move elbows out so that the undersides of the arms touch the floor.  Slap them on the floor.” (87).

To be fair, there are plenty of exercises in the book that have obvious merit.  In addition to thigh slapping and hip pounding, Ford instructs readers to do squats and lunges to strengthen and tone legs, for example.  She also encourages using barbells and doing pushups.  But I’m afraid it isn’t enough to save this outdated book from the weed pile.

Source: Ford, Eileen. Eileen Ford's Book of Model Beauty. New York, Trident Press, 1968.

Car Seats! Get Your Red Hot Car Seats!

Yesterday afternoon, a Meebo patron asked where one might go to get a free car seat. He was told by a friend that there is a Mississippi state agency which gives them away. I absolutely adore getting things for free, so you know I was 100% behind him! I was on a mission to find this cute little baby safe wheels.
  • Mississippi Safe Kids can be reached at 601-360-0531. Among many other important programs, this organization helps families who receive aid from WIC or other public assistance obtain car seats.
  • The Mississippi Department of Health's Preventative Health Division can be reached at 601-576-7781. Ask for Caryn Womack who also has information about free/low-cost car seats.
You may have to leave a message (I did!) as these people are usually out and about keeping our kids safe. I hope this helps you in your search, Meebo user. Please let us know if you need additional assistance.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy Children--Healthy Teeth

This blog post originally appeared 1/23/2008.
We love the funny things we come across when searching old newspapers on microfilm, but I think my favorites are the advertisements. Check out this ad from the December 16, 1925 Hattiesburg American:

Not only is the child mildly demonic looking, but I also enjoy that it's not called "gum"; it's "chewing sweet." I just checked the Oxford English Dictionary, and apparently "chewing gum" is an entirely American expression and dates back to around 1850. Maybe Wrigley's was just trying something new, along with encouraging parents to rot their kids' teeth after every meal.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Class Ballet in Jackson, MS

Sunday I decided to attend the International Ballet Competition here in Jackson. This was my first experience with ballet and, by the end, I was completely won over. The level of athleticism is impressive, the music is fun, and the atmosphere is electric, but my favorite part is the judging. I love judging! I only wish I would have checked out Thalia Mara’s The Language of Ballet: An Informal Dictionary to learn some key terms before I attended. My date soon figured out that I was clueless because I kept using 4-H livestock judging terms instead of the proper ballet terms. She became suspicious when I praised one dancer’s pasterns. To avoid this mistake, here are a few items to learn before you attend your next ballet.

Demi-plié(d’mee-plee-AY): “Literally, half-bent. A half bending of the knees. The demi-plie’ underlies practically all the movements of ballet, and it is impossible to be a good ballet dancer if one does not have a good demi-plié” (42).

Impress your date by using this in a sentence. Instead of saying “That boy yonder can squat awfully low” try saying “My! I’ve never seen a demi-plié so pronounced!” He/she will be thoroughly impressed.

Plané(plah-NAY): “Literally, soared; hovered. A term used to describe any elevation movement or step in which the dancer tries to remain in the air as long as possible” (90).

Never ever say anything like “she sure can jump high.” Instead say “the plané in her emboité took my breath away.” Who knows what you just said but, man, it was pure poetry!

Cavalier (kav-ah-LEER): “The male partner of the ballerina” (30).

Ladies, please never refer to the male dancer as “the guy” or “the man.” Instead, he is the cavalier. “Well, our cavalier’s outfit leaves little to the imagination, no?”

By learning these few phrases you’ll sound more a little more knowledgeable and a lot more French. Either way, make sure you attend because the IBC is only in Jackson once every four years and it's well worth the trip.

Mara, Thalia. The Language of Ballet: An Informal Dictionary. New York: The World Publishing Company, 1966.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Common Questions? Fast Answers!

This blog post originally appeared 1/9/2008.

One of my favorite reference sources is Fast Answers to Common Questions. It's organized by broad subject and then each topic is worded as a question and an answer. Browsing the sports area, I just learned that the answer to "What famous American doctor competed in the 1924 Olympics?" is Dr. Benjamin Spock! He was on the Olympic rowing team and competed in Paris.

Here are some other choice tidbits that could possibly help you if you are thinking of trying out to be on Jeopardy! anytime soon:

The longest name in the Bible is Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Isiah's son)

Phosphenes are the lights seen when you close your eyes tightly.

Mrs. Santa Claus's maiden name was Grundy.

Only three fruits are native to North America: Concord grapes, blueberries, and cranberries.

Kleenex brand tissues were first sold as Celluwipes. [Ed. note: gross!]

Fast Answers to Common Questions. Carolyn Fischer, ed. Gale, 2000.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Run, Felix, Run!

This blog post originally appeared 1/3/2008.

In answering a question yesterday regarding how the marathon originated (a fascinating story in itself!), Elisabeth found this gem in Sports Firsts: A Fun and Fascinating Look at "Firsts" in Sports and the People Who Made Them Happen by Patrick Clark:

Cuba's first representative in the Olympic marathon was Felix Carajal, a Havana postman who had never before competed in a race. Carajal heard about the St. Louis Olympics in 1904 and decided that he would compete. Cuba did not plan to provide financial assistance for athletes who wanted to participate in the Olympics, so Carajal raised the money himself by running repeatedly around a square in Havana and begging for money.

After collecting enough money, Carajal set off for the Olympics. Unfortunately he lost all of his money in a card game in New Orleans, but, undaunted, he ran the 700 miles to St. Louis, living on handouts along the way. Carajal arrived just hours before the marathon was to begin, clad in heavy walking shoes, a long-sleeved shirt and long trousers. He cut his pants short and took off in the marathon. Despite laughter from the crowd, Carajal not only finished; he placed fourth.
I am not sure whether to be more impressed by the fact that he placed fourth or the fact that he ran 700 miles from New Orleans to St. Louis.

Clark, Patrick. Sports Firsts: A Fun and Fascinating Look at "Firsts" in Sports and the People Who Made Them Happen. Facts on File, 1981. p. 205.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Home Is Where The Bus Is

I was in the stacks the other day looking for a book on basements when I ran across one of the greatest gems of all time: Rolling Homes: Handmade Houses on Wheels. What's the book about, you ask? I think the title says it all! Published back in 1979, this slim volume manages to capture the funky feel of 1970's cheesy camp mixed with a hefty dose of do-it-yourself-ness and environmentalism. With offerings like the picture below, I'm frantic to highlight some of my favorite parts. (You know I read this sucker cover to cover, right?)
While the pictures are obviously the best part of the book, this quote also says quite a bit: "I drove an old school bus home and surprised Phyllis with it as a Christmas present. She about fell over" (Lidz 32). Probably because there wasn't enough orange plaid inside, right Phyllis? Not because your husband has entered into a wild scheme involving your Christmas present being a school bus and becoming your home!

"Fenders, grills and bumpers are like friendly faces from the past" (9) says Lidz, but you do have to wonder if some have taken this to the extreme. What I mean is, this converted bus looks like a lot of fun, but I think they tried to fit all of their friendly vehicles from the past on it. I see at least two older vehicles teetering on top--is that another bus... and... a boat that they've stuck up there? Pure genius!

The author has included floor plans on several of the vehicles, dividing the book into the categories of buses, small rigs and trucks. According to her, the largest of these motoring homes runs to about 300 sq. ft. and the smallest to about 36 sq. ft. (Lidz 10).

I know you're dying to see the insides of one of these treasures and I won't let you down. These modified homes are certainly beautiful, aren't they? Look at all of that hand-crafted woodwork.
Of course, there is there is also that magical moustache to ogle.
One "Rolling Home" owner commented that "'It's both a bus and a fantasy'" (Lidz 21).

Fantasy bus. Yes. You could say that.

By the way, check out someone else's opinion on Rolling Homes in this unique book review.

Lidz, Jane. Rolling Homes: Handmade Houses on Wheels. New York: A & W Visual Library, 1979.

More on the Vuvuzela

Here's some more information on the vuvuzela. First, there seems to be a great deal of debate over the instrument's origins. Robyn Dixon of the Los Angeles Times writes:

"There is not even agreement on the horn's origins or the meaning of its name. The International Marketing Council of South Africa says the vuvuzela reportedly originated in the kudu horns used to summon villagers in times past. But Boogieblast (the company who claims to have invented the horn) claims the trumpets were imported as plastic toys from the United States and did not sell -- until soccer fans started using them about a decade ago."

The New York Times offers a little more information. Jere Longman writes:

"Folklore has it that the horn of a kudu, a type of antelope, was once used to summon community meetings. Boogieblast, a South African distributor, says that the plastic horn first arrived here from the United States as a children’s toy and that the use of a sports trumpet can be traced to a Chinese women’s basketball team. A well-known South African soccer fan named Saddam Maake claims to have invented the vuvuzela in 1965 from a bicycle horn."

Here's a fellow enjoying bringing the buzzy sounds of the vuvuzela to life:

If you're really interested, you can buy your own vuvuzela at or World Soccer (sorry I didn't include the links last time). There are more sites to purchase a vuvuzela, but I don't know how trustworthy they are. A single vuvuzela costs between $8-$10.

But watch out! There are some health hazards involved with using the vuvuzela--such as temporary hearing loss, the spread of germs, and "vuvuzela lips."

Dixon, Robyn. "South Africa abuzz over talk of banning soccer fans' favorite horn." Los Angeles Times. Available:

Longman, Jere. "World Cup’s Incessant Drone Will Stay for Now." New York Times. Available:

Soccer, Anyone?

A meebo patron wrote this morning to ask about the loud horn being used at the World Cup. Well, the horn is called a “vuvuzela” and can be purchased at or World Soccer
For all of you wondering, “what is a World Cup”? Apparently, it’s some sort of sporting event happening in Africa this week. It seems every four years soccer “players” get together, kick a ball, and roll around on the ground faking injuries.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beware of Insane Persons Meddling With Your Land!

This blog post originally appeared 12/17/07.

Blair found this fantastic advertisement from 1953 while searching for some information in the Clarion-Ledger:

Was this once a problem? I am intrigued!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lights, Camera, Learn-a-Test!

If you're a Mississippi resident, hopefully you've heard about Learn-a-Test, a statewide database full of practice exams and available free to all Mississippians. Starting at the 4th grade level, Learn-a-Test has everything from skills development in math and reading to practice tests for the SAT, GMAT, Praxis, postal exams, and more. But why take my word for it? Check out the Learn-a-Test commercials (there are three on a constant loop) here!

Bonus: three of the four writers of this blog can be seen in the last one (the scene with the staircase and the maroon chairs): Jesse, Elisabeth, and Brandie. (Sadly, my child had a doctor's appointment the day they were filming and I had to leave.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"We're Back, and This Time We're Here to Stay!"

What would the future look like if we’d already colonized the Moon by now? That’s the question Ben Bova answers in his book Welcome to Moonbase, my latest discovery during my weeding mission. The book was published in 1987 but is presented as an educational document from some undetermined point in the future when people are living and working on the Moon. In the course of presenting our future on the Moon, Bova gives a brief history of space exploration, from its beginnings in the mid-20th century all the way to the “present-day”, when life on the Moon is just another fact of life for humans.

One of the most fun parts of Moonbase is Bova’s history of space exploration from 1990 to 2010, Bova’s speculation of what his future held and an alternate version of what could have happened in our past. Up until the 1980s, Bova’s history of space exploration fell right in line with everything we learned in school. Around 1990, though, Bova’s speculation and our reality take a sharp detour from each other.

In Bova’s speculative outline of the future:

  • An official lunar program began in 1995. Prior to that, a lunar underground had brewed within government agencies and the aerospace community, as plans for permanent occupancy of the Moon took shape.
  • We made several innovations in space transportation, including improved shuttles, vehicles designed to move heavy loads into low Earth orbit, and vehicles built in orbit and designed to remain in space.
  • In 2001, a team of American astronauts landed on the surface of the Moon for the first time in decades, beginning the process of permanent lunar occupation. The team leader’s first words after landing: “We’re back, and this time we’re here to stay!” The following years saw several achievements in lunar exploration, including the first overland traverse on the Moon in 2006 and the first successful circumnavigation of the Moon in 2009.
  • 2003 marked the first formal celebration of Christmas on the Moon. Dinner consisted of prepackaged frozen turkey, Beluga caviar, and plum pudding laced with brandy.
  • By 2009, several temporary lunar bases had been established.

Reading one person’s version of what we could have achieved in space exploration is fascinating, but it’s also kind of a downer when I think about all the things that we didn’t do. Instead of setting up shop on the Moon, we’re about to mothball all our shuttles with no immediate replacement at hand. Bova’s work is all speculation presumably based on the rate of scientific advancements at the time he was writing. It was, by no means, ever fated to happen. But there’s always that lingering question of “What if …”

Bova, Ben. Welcome to Moonbase.  New York: Ballantine Books, 1987.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chinese Water Torture... In My Kitchen

Sunday night I was trying to watch Adventures in Babysitting for the first time since 1988, but the drip from my kitchen faucet kept distracting me. I started wondering exactly how much water I was losing, so I set the timer on my phone for one minute and started counting. (This made perfect sense to me, but apparently not everyone is as interested in their drips!) After only 30 seconds, I had already reached 65 drips! I figured that was a substantial enough number to constitute a good sample and so I multiplied by two. (I explain my tangential methodology in order to remark on how similarly counting drips compares to calculating a pulse rate. I find it oddly apt: The health of my kitchen sink is at risk!)

130 drips in just one minute! That equals 187,200 drips in one day--a number thatseems awfully high to me. I found this nifty drip calculator over at the US Geological Survey's website and got down to some number-crunching. They use an estimated value of 1 drip =1/4 mL. So,
130 drips=1 minute...
7,800 drips=60 minutes...
187,200 drips=24 hours
Divide by 4 to get milliliters...
46,800 milliliters lost in 24 hours!
I saved myself a little time and used a metric to non-metric converter to discover that I am losing 12.36 gallons of water in just one day. Now THAT's a lot of water!

Just in case you're worried, my faucet was fixed Monday morning!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hometown Mississippi: Benton and Bolivar Counties

This blog post originally appeared 12/3/07.

Moving on alphabetically in our Hometown Mississippi series, we'll take a brief look at some interesting names in Benton and Bolivar counties, MS.

Benton County

Michigan City
Five men from (guess where) Michigan settled this town in 1959 with the intentions of starting up a flour mill. The flour mill did not appear until 1870, but General Grant occupied the grand home of one of the original settlers, Hugh Davis, for many months during the Civil War.

Bolivar County

Began as a railroad stop in 1883 and derives its name from Alligator Lake and its many inhabitants.

Catfish Point
This town, settled on land granted by the government in 1832, was named for the many inhabitants of nearby waters as well. However, a broken levee and the subsequent building of a new levee in 1890 could not save Catfish Point from becoming part of the waters of its namesake.
This settlement is interesting simply for its name changes. First named Winstonville in 1908, for Mike Winston, a local landowner, then changed to Chambers in 1910 for a local salesman, and finally a third name, Wyandotte, adopted in 1931. The Post Office at Chambers officially became Winstonville once more in 1925. I suppose you can still call it Wyandotte if you're feeling brave.

Christmas Crossing
This place is merely the site of the plantation of Judge Christmas, named for him in 1885.

Content Landing
The Content Plantation adopted Content Landing on the river in 1884. Sadly, like old Catfish Point, the landing fell victim to the flood in 1927.

This town was settled in 1900 by a group of (only one guess this time) German colonists.

Settled in 1833 by a single family, it is said to be named for the grape vine covering a large sycamore tree in the founding family's yard.

Gum Pond
Established in 1903 around a sawmill, the name is derived from the large quanitity of gum trees and the location's low altitude.

Mound Bayou
This name sounds almost like an oxymoron, but in actuality is derived from the many Indian mounds surrounding the location.

Stop's Landing
The history behind the name of this landing, established in 1833, is unknown, although could possibly be some crafty advertising. It too is among those settlements taken by the Mississippi River Flood of 1927.

Established in 1849, this settlement possibly derives its name from a long building-lined ditch on the original property, or a large plantation owner by the name of Stringer.
Brieger, James. Hometown Mississippi. 1980.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Yanker, Viver, Voover, Vown.

While weeding a few weeks ago--yep, we’re still weeding--I came across Uncertain Glory: Folklore and the American Revolution by Tristram Potter Coffin. We have many books on folklore, and I was in a weeding groove, not stopping for sentimentality, just assessing and removing books. Uncertain Glory needs to thank me for sparing it because I opened to a page that explains the origin of the Yankee Doodle song.

The tune itself is a folk tune, popular throughout 17th century England and Ireland. However, this Dutch folk rhyme somehow got itself attached to the ditty. Just try NOT singing along, will you?

Yanker, dudel, doodle, down,
Diddle, dudel, lanther;
Yanker, viver, voover, vown
Botermilk and tanther.

Apparently this is all about “Jan, the doodle, and his wages of milk plus a tenth of the harvested grain” (91). (This book doesn’t happen to explain what the heck a doodle is--I like how the explanation is all “oh, you know, Jan the doodle” like that’s a thing! Special thanks to the OED for explaining that a doodle is a silly or foolish fellow.)

Things really get interesting (or at least interesting to me) on the next page, as the evolution of the Yankee Doodle song come to the part most perplexing to the modern Yankee Doodle singer: macaroni. Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni? I never got that. Until now! Allow me to quote at length:

“In the 15 years just before the American Revolution, there was a fad in London that centered on the Italian food. Macaroni clubs were formed. The men wore immense top knots of hair and small cocked hats. Clothes were tight-fitting, and walking sticks with long tassels were carried everywhere. Foppish manners were cultivated, and people embracing the fad served macaroni at all meals, developed macaroni schools of art, macaroni music. By extension, the word could be used to describe almost anything that was ‘in’ with the group. In the supposedly Cromwellian rime, the Lord Protector sticks a feather in a knot, a macaroni, on his hat, and putting on foppish ways, enters town on a silly Kentish pony. Such references tend to date this particular variant of the rime no earlier than the 1760s, and it is certain some other derogatory verse was sung to the old tune that day in Oxford more than 100 years before” (92).

Despite the fact that there is no source for this, I was enchanted at the idea of the macaroni clubs! Macaroni schools of art! Macaroni music! I think it’s obvious why clothes were tight-fitting: macaroni at every meal.

First, I thought this was hysterical. What funny people, getting so excited about macaroni! And then I thought about fads in general, and turned to Panati’s Parade of Fads, Follies, and Manias: The Origins of Our Most Cherished Obsessions by Charles Panati. Panati’s book reminded me that the following fads were just as weird and yet occupied the time of many, many people:

Goldfish swallowing
Ouija boards
Pet rocks
TV dinners
Bouffant hair
Lava lamps
Rubik’s cubes
Cabbage Patch Kids
Pac Man

There’s no accounting for what with capture the imagination of a people, is there?

Coffin, Tristram Potter. Uncertain Glory: Folklore and the American Revolution: Folklore and the American Revolution. Detroit: Folklore Associates, 1971.

Panati, Charles. Panati’s Parade of Fads, Follies, and Manias: The Origins of Our Most Cherished Obsessions. HarperPerrenial, 1991.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Blues Tour of Mississippi

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, I decided to take a trip to Clarksdale to see the Blues Museum and check out Morgan Freeman’s club, Ground Zero. I had a great time perusing the museum’s collection of guitars, outfits, and other memorabilia. I also had a blast at Ground Zero and the few other blues clubs I visited. If you love the blues and want to check out some interesting sites this summer, come into MLC to check out Steve Cheseborough’s Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues. This book provides some must see sites for every blues fan. One great feature about Cheseborough’s book is that it contains interesting sites from across the state. So wherever you live in Mississippi, you can find a blues site for a great day trip.
Here are a few examples:

If you’re a blues fan living in North Mississippi, Cheseborough suggests a trip to Oxford. Once there, you can visit the University of Mississippi Blues Archive which holds over thirty three thousand recordings. You can also find original posters and films devoted to blues studies. Also, north Mississippians can visit Aikei Pro’s Records Shop. A blues fan could spend hours sifting through old records to find their favorite musician.

If you live in the Jackson area, Cheseborough offers several great suggestions. One of the best, and closest, is the Robert Johnson Monument in Hazlehurst. Johnson, as most blues fans know, is probably the biggest name in blues, so quick trip to Hazlehurst is worth the short drive from Jackson. Fans can also find some blues artifacts housed in the Old Capitol Museum in downtown Jackson and take a trip to Farish Street while they’re out.

Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues is an excellent source for any blues fan looking for a quick trip this summer. Cheseborough also offers some excellent advice for outsiders about how to behave once in Mississippi. My favorite:

“Walking into any bar where you are a stranger can be unnerving. And the apprehension can be magnified when you’re far from home and don’t dress or talk like the other people there, who all seem to know each other. Don’t, however, mistake your own discomfort for real danger. Chances are, the regulars at any Mississippi jook joint or night-club will welcome you warmly, and you’ll have many new friends by the end of the night.”

Now those are words to live by.

Cheseborough, Steve. Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues. Jackson, Ms: University Press of Mississippi, 2001

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Broadsided by Meebo

Today I received a question from a Meebo patron asking about the term "broadside" in relation to printing. After asking Tracy, who knows everything, by the way, I was able to located the term in Glaister's Glossary of the Book. The term "broadside" is defined as:

"A sheet of paper printed on one side only. Broadsides were used soon after the beginning of printing for royal proclamations and official notices. They were later a vehicle for political agitation and the expression of opposition to authoritarian rule. They were even used for the dissemination of scaffold speeches by criminals on the point of execution.
Early in the 16th century poems and ballads were printed in this form in England, and black letter fount continued to be used long after the introduction of roman for books.
Broadsides are also known as broadsheets, single sheets, street-or-still-ballads, and black-letter ballads. The term broadside is now applied to a variety of large regular and special-fold sheets, printed on one or both sides. A broadside may also contain one job or a number of jobs."

If I had to create a broadside for today it would read:

"Reference Librarian Reprimanded for Snarky Comment on Blog. Supervisor Mulls Termination!"

Glaister's Glossary of the Book: Terms used in Papermaking, Printing, Bookbinding, and Publishing with notes on Illuminated Manuscripts and Private Presses. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1979. p. 73

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

This blog post originally appeared 11/13/07.

Here in Mississippi, we hold a special place in our hearts for "The King," Elvis Presley. Born in a shotgun house in Tupelo, MS, we've held on to his legacy with enthusiasm.

Are you an Elvis fan? Have you ever written Elvis (or any celebrity) a love letter? Well, we have a book filled with love letters to Elvis written by folks here in the U.S. as well as some from abroad. Here's one example we found particularly amusing and uplifting from Bill Adler's Love Letters to Elvis:

Dearest Elvis,
Why do you not make more movies?
You do not make enough movies.
The last Elvis Presley movie I have seen was two years since and I have not seen a movie since two years.
It is not worth going to the movies if I cannot see my Elvis.
If you stopped making records, I do not know what I will do because if I have not Elvis Presley records to listen to, I will put my stereo in the attic.
You see, dear Elvis, without you in the movies or in records, life is not be worth living.
I need Elvis to live like I need the sun, the moon, the stars, the air, and the sky.
You are my world.
All my love,
Irina M.
The Netherlands
Adler, Bill. Bill Adler's Love Letters to Elvis. Grosset & Dunlap: New York, 1978.
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