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SEPTEMBER 29, 2007
Giant Pumpkin Contest

It's that time again. The Giant Pumpkin Contest is coming to the Bookmobile.  Beginning October 3, you can go on board the Bookmobile at any one of its stops, and guess how many pumpkin seeds are in the jar that is on display.  The person who guesses the correct number of seeds, or is closest to the correct number, will win a giant pumpkin donated by Earthbound Farms in Carmel.  The winner of the contest will be announced on October 13.  There will also be a prize for the second and third place guesses.  For a schedule of Bookmobile stops, look at the Library's website under "Services".

posted by Joanne

Category: In the Know

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SEPTEMBER 29, 2007
Fall for Jazz

We’re in the last weeks of summer on the Monterey Peninsula, but a harbinger of autumn blew into my open office window two weeks ago. I heard a little rustling sound against the window frame, and turned around just in time to see a crisp brown leaf from one of the plane trees outside flutter in and settle gently on my desk. Fall is my favorite season, so it provided a "stop and smell the roses" moment in my busy day that made me feel grateful. Given its size, I also felt a certain amount of gratitude that it was a leaf and not an insect!

The end of summer also means Monterey Jazz Festival time, and this year’s event was extra special as MJF celebrated its 50th anniversary! I had the empty-nester blues as we arrived at the Festival on Friday evening, having just helped our youngest move into his university campus apartment earlier in the day. But some spicy Cajun food on "dirty rice", a cold glass of wine, and the lively sounds of Along Came Betty coming from the outdoor Garden Stage cheered me considerably. We joined a couple who kindly allowed us to join them at a picnic table, and we shared with them memories of festivals past. The gentleman turned out to be a D.J. from San Francisco who hasn’t missed a festival in 30 years! His dad attended the very first MJF! During the first arena show featuring Dave Holland, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Chris Potter and Eric Harland, we felt an occasional drop of rain, but the music was wonderful and nobody cared! By the time John McLaughlin hit the stage, a steady drizzle was underway and our wool stadium blanket was beginning to smell quite dog-like, so we called it a night.

Luckily, the rest of the weekend was fabulous! Great weather, great music, and great fun! Since we’re not ballgame people, I seized the opportunity to eat my annual hot dog with gloriously unfancy yellow mustard.  We had a good laugh on Saturday afternoon when Los Lobos’ spokesman said something to the effect that the band was thrilled to be standing on the same stage where Jimi Hendrix had performed. "Among others," we giggled. These are not jazz guys, I figured, but they sure mixed it up with Salsa, Zydeco, and Rock ‘n Roll. What will Tim Jackson & Co. come up with next year? They always seem to figure out a way to out do themselves! But we’ll just have to wait for the leaves to turn brown again next year to find out!

posted by Jeanne

Category: In the Know

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SEPTEMBER 29, 2007
A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is the eagerly anticipated second book by the author of The Kite RunnerA Thousand Splendid Suns spans 30 years in Afghanistan.  It tells the story of two women whose lives intersect in unexpected ways, against the backdrop of their country’s turbulent modern history. The author creates a strikingly intimate portrayal of Afghan family life, social customs, and religious tradition, and describes in vivid terms the harrowing Afghan experience from the time of Soviet invasion, through the rise and fall of the Taliban. This book is sometimes very painful to read. It made me cry at least four or five times, and only once they were tears of joy. But this not-to-be-missed book is beautifully written and the author develops two characters who you will not soon forget. 

1)  One of my favorite chapters was involved the trip that Laila took with her father to Bamiyan to see the enormous Buddahs carved into the rock cliff.  Why do you think this chapter was included in the story?

2)  Which of Mariam's parents do you think did the most to help her cope with her difficult life? 

3)  What is the most important message that Laila carries from her upbringing and how does that form her character?  Compare that to Mariam's.

4)  Here's your chance to vent about Rasheed.

Other comments?

posted by Jeanne

Category: Staff Reads

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SEPTEMBER 27, 2007
Light Brown Apple Moth Update
According to a California Department of Food and Agriculture news release, aerial pheromone treatments to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth will resume over Marina, Seaside, Sand City, Del Rey Oaks, Monterey and Pacific Grove October 9-12, and treatments in other Central Coast areas are scheduled for November 4-9. The CDFA release links to an environmental assessment of the program prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Assemblymember John Laird has also developed a Light Brown Apple Month resource center on his Web site.  For more information, see our previous post and reader comments.

posted by Doug

Category: In the Know

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SEPTEMBER 15, 2007
One More from My Summer Reading List

Once Around the Track by Sharyn McCrumb

Here’s a great summer read by one of my favorite light fiction writers.  While McCrumb doesn’t much like anyone else poking fun at her fellow Southerners, she does a great job of doing it herself! This time McCrumb takes her readers into the world of NASCAR racing and invents cup driver Badger Jenkins. Jenkins is hired on as a driver for a new race team backed by a group of rich, bored aging female investors who are mostly interested in him because of his extraordinary good looks. Their sponsor is a pharmaceutical company that produces a feminine product, and their gimmick is that the race staff, from management, engineers, mechanics, public relations, to pit crew is made up entirely of women. Each of the women on Badger’s team has a distinct reason of her own for taking this unusual career path – opportunity, adventure, being in the limelight, advancing feminism, taking a stand, getting a last chance. One just has a crush on Badger and wants to be close to him so she can keep him safe. But for the most part his team figures Badger to be an egotistical, daredevil, moneymaking machine in a firesuit – that is, until they get to know him.  Then it's hard for them to know what to make of him!

McCrumb not only develops a likeable cast of quirky, oddball characters, but throws them together in the sometimes bizarre world of NASCAR racing. She is a scrupulous researcher and you’ll learn more about NASCAR, its history, lore, politics, culture, drivers, and fans than you ever thought there was to know!  And you'll be laughing all the way.  In my book, Sharyn McCrumb is the hands-down queen of Southern humor.

posted by Jeanne

Category: Staff Reads

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SEPTEMBER 5, 2007
Unwelcome Guest: The Light Brown Apple Moth

During the past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion and a special City Council meeting about aerial pheromone spraying in the Monterey area to combat the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM). Yesterday, the Secretary of Food and Agriculture announced his decision to begin the aerial application on September 9. This morning, the Monterey City Council released a statement in response.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture Web site includes information about the statewide Light Brown Apple Moth project,  the Monterey area eradication plan, and the chemicals that will be used, CheckMate®OLR-F and Checkmate®LBAM-F. If you have questions, you can call the Department at 1-800-491-1899.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture site has a summary of information about the LBAM. You can find regulatory information about LBAM pheromones and a Lepidopteran Pheromones Fact Sheet at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Web site. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has brief Product Information Reports on CheckMate®OLR-F and CheckMate®LBAM-F. Another source for information about LBAM impacts and management is the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program.

In the Library or with a Library card, you can search Library databases for more information about the LBAM and pheromone pest control.

posted by Doug

Category: In the Know

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