Thursday, February 21, 2019

Remembering "An Affair to Remember"

Because of Valentine’s Day people usually associate the month of February with romance. I recently discovered another reason to associate February with romance: the entire month is known as “An Affair to Remember Month” in honor of the 1957 romantic classic film An Affair to Remember, starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Maybe you have a hazy memory of this film that you saw years ago, or maybe you’ve never seen it at all. In either case, I suggest you watch it soon.

The film is gorgeous. Half of it is set on a cruise ship with open seascapes, lavishly dressed cruise-goers, and decadent dining with dancing. This is the place where Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr meet.  Kerr is Terry McKay, a former nightclub singer who’s been studying literature and art.  Grant plays Nickie Ferrante, a world-renowned playboy and ladies’ man.  When the two characters meet they’re instantly attracted to each other, but they’re also both engaged to someone else. Terry tries to resist Nickie’s advances more than he does hers, and despite their attempts to stay apart they’re together so often that other passengers notice. This first part of the picture contains all the witty banter and double entendres you’d expect from a romantic comedy of that time.

In the middle of their voyage, and in the middle of the movie, the cruise ship docks in Italy where Nickie’s grandmother, or Janou, lives. He invites Terry to join him on a visit.  She agrees, and watchers are rewarded with even more breathtaking seaside views.

Terry and Janou become fast friends when they meet, and Janou confides to her how she worries about her grandson.  However, after seeing Nickie with Terry, Janou feels better about his future.  This prompts lots of meaningful stares between Nickie and Terry, and Janou promises to give Terry a beautiful lace shawl.  Terry sings the movie’s theme song in French as Janou plays the piano, and Terry comments more than once on the beauty and tranquility of Janou's home.  But when the ship horn sounds the visit is ended, and at the last second Terry runs to give Janou a hug before departing with Nickie.

The scene with Janou is the turning point in the movie, when the tone turns serious and Nickie and Terry can no longer ignore their love for each other. I don’t want to give away what happens next.  Just watch it. Extend Valentine’s Day into any part of the year and remind yourself that love can win against all odds. But have a box of tissues nearby. The last scene makes me cry every time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

John "Jack" Bogle - The Passing of My Hero

John Bogle
A giant figure in the investment world passed away on January 16. John “Jack” Bogle died at the age of 89. He founded The Vanguard Group, a mutual fund company in 1974, a firm that would emerge as an industry leader over the past few decades. Bogle brought a new type of broad-based index fund to individual investors and established a business philosophy and approach that was intent on keeping fees low. This was a radically different business model that focused on aiding the “average, everyday” investor. His philosophy about investing and insights into the markets are what inspired me to think about my own financial goals.

Bogle wrote a number of terrific books that I encourage others to read and to learn what you can from this remarkable man:

 “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing”, updated and reissued in 2017

 “Bogle on Mutual Funds: New Perspectives for the Intelligent Investor” (2015)

The Clash of Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation” (2012)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Sams Photofact Repair Manual Online

 Are you looking to fix that old radio or VCR but don’t know how to go about it? Try SAMS Photofacts to find the wiring diagram, schematics or service manual for the model you own. Regardless of whether you are a professional repairman, electronics enthusiasts, or a do-it-yourselfer, you will find this resource useful. This manual is the standard resource technicians go to for electronics repair.

SAMS Photofacts contains sets of schematics for consumer electronics such as TV, VCR, DVD player and Radio. You can search by model number and download the PDF. If the model you need is not available for immediate download, you can fill out a request form for the PDF and SAMS will upload the file within a few days.

To access this manual online, go to WPL’s databases page and click on Photofacts Online (SAMS). A Worcester Public Library card is required for remote access. The library also maintains a hugh collection of photofacts in print format on the 2nd floor. Stop at the desk with details about the model you are looking for and the librarian will be happy to assist you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

WooReads Book Reviews: For the Romantics

Valentine's Day is here. Instead of splurging on chocolates, flowers, and jewelry, pick up one of our many romance novels today! Enjoy these romance reviews and browse our Romantic Reads booklist for your next great romance.

Cat playing Cupid: a Joe Grey Mystery

By Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Cute book about special cats that can talk. They like to get involved in solving crimes. Two bodies are discovered in the beginning, cat helps by being a snitch by phone, and following people to spy on their motives. Fun read. (Mystery)

~Karen S.

The Wedding Date 

By Jasmine Guillory

This was SUCH an easy read. I literally read it in 3 days. It was fun, flirty, and although the ending was predictable, I loved it! I couldn't put it down! (Romance)

~Jessica M.

The Girl You Left Behind 

By Jojo Moyes

This wasn’t my favorite Jojo Moyes novel. I started out dreading yet another German soldier dominates an occupied woman, then I dreaded what looked to be a predictable happily-happily-ever-after. The one twist that made it interesting was the painting that was the center around which the story revolved. It wasn’t awful by any means, but it wasn’t as creative as other stories by her that I have read. (Romance)

~Judi P.

Hija de la fortuna/Daughter of Fortune

By Isabel Allende

A great character who challenges all kind of prejudices and impositions of her time, to find herself. (Romance, Historical Fiction)

~Nancy E.

Surrender The Pink

By Carrie Fisher

Ms. Fisher is my personal hero and I love her writing. This book didn't let me down. Witty and funny. I heard her voice in every line Dinah spoke. And with the knowledge that this book was written with her relationship with Paul Simon in mind, it becomes all that more poignant. My only complaint was that much of the dialog, both spoken and internal was so abstract and witty it was hard to keep up. The end was bitter sweet, but so was the life of our dear Carrie Fisher.

                                                ~Krystal L.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo is a queer duck. Her logic seems sound, but while you are taking her word for things, you kind of feel like you are slipping and sliding into a tidying cult, and Marie Kondo is the cult leader.

In "the life-changing magic of tidying up," Ms. Kondo guarantees that if you "tidy" your house top to bottom in one fell swoop, you will never need to tidy again; other than putting things away after you have used them. This is a good idea, but she recommends that you follow the program for 6 months. Who has 6 months to spare?

Marie Kondo is adamant about following KonMar method. Kon(do) Mar(ie). steps completely and in order. She made it up. She says that tidying up a little at a time will never work, and that she recommends a "special event."
There are two main points. First that the process requires discarding. She has very little patience for people who only store things. She says to keep the things that "spark joy."

Second, it is very important that you discard by category and not by room. This avoids duplication of your efforts.

These are the categories:
  • Books
  • Papers
  • Komono (Miscellaneous items)
  • Sentimental Items
The question is, why would anyone listen to this tidying-obsessed nut? She tells you how to fold your socks and says hello to your house. I have seen her TV show, "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo." The answer is, not only does she, herself, spark joy, but her insistence that we create joy around us is catchy. I would love to join her cult. If only I had six months...

Bill Russell: Civil Rights Champion

"My most prized possession was my library card from the Oakland Public Library."

Civil Rights advocate and Celtics legend, William "Bill" Felton Russell, turns 85 today. Russell was born on February 12, 1934 in West Monroe, Louisiana to Charles and Katie Russell. He played at McClymonds High School in Oakland, CA, where the Russell family moved when Bill was eight years old. He won back to back high school championships in his junior and senior years. The University of San Francisco offered Russell a scholarship, where he became the new staring center. He went on to win two consecutive championships (1955,1956) with coach Phil Woolpert.

Russell won 11 championships during this 13-year career with the Boston Celtics, and is considered one of the greatest players in basketball history. When the Celtics played Milwaukee on December 26, 1964, Russell was part of the first all-African-American starting five to take the court in the NBA. Not long after, coach Red Auerbach retired before the 1966-1967 season and asked Russell to coach. On April 16, 1966, Russell agreed to coach (and still play),becoming the first African-American head coach in the NBA. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975.

While making history on the court, Russell also became known for his work as a Civil Rights advocate. When several hotels in Oklahoma City refused to admit the African American players of the University of San Francisco basketball team, Bill, along with the rest of the team, stayed in a closed college dorm in protest. This served as a bonding experience for the team as they stood against racial injustice. In 1963, he walked in the March on Washington, and defended Muhammad Ali when he refused to serve in the military based on his religious beliefs. As one of the top athletes in the world, people relied on his support for the Civil Rights movement and he did not disappoint. In 2011, President Barack Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Today, a statue of Bill Russell stands in front of City Hall in Boston. His first choice was the Boston Public Library. When that didn`t work out, he chose City Hall because it`s within sight of the Freedom Trail and Old State House.

Read more about Bill Russell. Available in print & audiobook.
-Red and Me: My coach, my life-long friend by Bill Russell

-Russell rules: 11 lessons on leadership from the twentieth century's greatest winner by Bill Russell with Alan Hilburg and David Faulkner

-King of the court: Bill Russell and the basketball revolution by Aram Goudsouzian