Saturday, December 22, 2007

Classic board games join newer versions at the family table

Classic board games join newer versions at the family table, Seattle Times, Dec. 22, 2007. Board games are cool -- and that's the Franklin family playing them!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

HLS: Alumni Bulletin: Coming out party

Back in Sept. 2003 I went to a fun and moving reunion. The alumni magazine that covered it keeps getting misplaced, so I'm going to link to it and make a note here: Coming out party, Harv. L. Sch. Bull., Spring 2004, at 30.

Friday, December 14, 2007

O Tannenbaum Alternative Lyrics

The English translations of O Tannenbaum are often clunky, and not everyone enjoys slogging through the song auf Deutsch (as my cousin and I do).

So I got a special kick out of a skit on Prairie Home Companion recently that showed how a couple of classic poems fit nicely with the tune.

Bonus! The poems are both old enough to be in the public domain (see Lolly Gasaway's handy chart).

So hum along to the following -- perhaps you'll want to add them to your holiday repertoire!

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (1923)

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Source: Representative Poetry Online.

For the next one you have to lop off a couple of stanzas (or cycle through more than once):

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

[Here I'd repeat the first stanza and stop.]

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Source: Bartleby. (Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry. 1919.)

PS You can also use the tune of "Hernando's Hideaway" or "Gilligan's Island."

Photo from NASA. During the Apollo program, a seedling tree from each state was taken to the moon and back. Washington's was this Douglas fir (our state tree), which is now on the Capitol grounds in Olympia. Click here for more about the "moon trees" around the country.

Monday, December 10, 2007

NEA report on reading, critique

The NEA came out with a report decrying the reduction in reading skills. Here a scholar shows some ways that the report presented the data in a misleading way: reading responsibly: nancy kaplan on the NEA's data distortion, if:book, Nov. 30, 2007.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Someone sent me a newspaper article about FreeRice and now I'm hooked. It's a fairly simply vocabulary quiz (with some fancy programming behind it that keeps it at a challenging level for you, whether your vocabulary is at a fifth-grade level or a lexinerd level. Each time you get a word right, the site's advertiser's (the ads are unobtrusive) will donate 10 grains of rice to the UN's World Food Program.

It's as absorbing as computer backgammon and I can even tell myself it's educational and supports a good cause!

What got me started was What's the Word? We Can Help Feed the Hungry, Wash. Post, Nov. 4, 2007. Thanks, MEDH!

Update (Dec. 14, 2007): Now they'll donate 20 grains of rice for each correct guess! It's still a fun game and now you can do a little more good.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Generation Y's Bad Rap

People make a lot of generalizations about the younger generations. I liked this little piece: Generation Y's Bad Rap, Bus. Week, Oct. 8, 2007.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Online Users Spending More Time Reading Content

Internet users are spending nearly half their online time visiting content, a 37% increase in share of time from four years ago, according to the Online Publishers Association (OPA). The OPA today announced a four-year analysis of its Internet Activity Index (IAI), a monthly gauge of the time being spent with e-commerce, communications, content and search.
Web Users Now Spend Half Their Time Visiting Content, Far Outpacing Time Spent With Search, Communications And Commerce, Online Publishers Association press release, Aug. 13, 2007.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dog Parks from Seattle to Minneapolis and Back: Lucky's First Road Trip

We just took a road trip to Minnesota and back. Since we were traveling with our young, athletic dog, we made it a point to stop at dog parks along the way. We'd done what we could on the Web to find them before we left, but information was sometimes skimpy. And so, for the convenience of others (as well as our own future reference), we're posting our notes.

Spokane, Washington: Gateway Park


I-90 Exit 299.
Follow the blue signs for Visitor Info.
Park is north of I-90, between the highway and the Spokane River.


Gateway Park is a county park that was once the rest stop on I-90, just west of the Idaho border. It includes a state visitor information center and nice restrooms (always a bonus for the humans in the group!).

The off-leash area is well-maintained and spacious. It includes an open field area and paths through trees. Shaded picnic tables are pleasant for travelers who are watching their dogs frolic.

There are drinking fountains for the dogs: faucets to refill built-in bowls.

The park had secure boxes for leaving donations. I think this is a great idea: we left a couple of bucks each time we visited and would happily have supported the other parks we enjoyed on our trip in the same way.

This park is very convenient for travelers on I-90. Unfortunately, it's much less convenient for people who live in Spokane, since it's some 17 miles out of town.

Spokane Dog Park page.

Missoula, Montana: Jacobs Island Bark Park


I-90 Exit 105 (Van Buren Street)
Go west on Van Buren (toward University of Montana).
Where Van Buren ends, park on the street.
Walk over the footbridge to Jacobs Island Park. The dog park is to the left.


This park offers an interesting natural setting -- field, bushes, riverbank, river.

Unfortunately, it's not fully fenced --

and Lucky is the sort of dog who would charge on out through the bushes to go chasing birds, so we kept her on leash.

There were other people there whose dogs were having a great time playing tag on the beach or swimming after sticks. And we think our dog had fun even on leash.

Missoula Parks page, Enjoying Your Pet in Parks.

Bozeman, Montana

1. Softball Complex


I-90 Exit 309 (Main Street).
You'll see a blue and white "H" sign -- the park is near a hospital.
Turn left on Highland Blvd.
A softball complex is on the left. Turn left on Ellis and park. The dog park is past the outfield fence.


This is a no-frills dog park -- no water, no shade, only one picnic table -- but Lucky had a lot of fun running and running, and that's what counts.

Across the parking lots there's a recycling station, so you can get rid of the soda bottles you've accumulated during the drive.

2. Bozeman Pond


I-90 Exit 306 (7th Ave.). (This takes you to the visitor information house, where we got a map and the man on duty recommended this park.)
Turn right on Main Street.
Main Street angles to the left.
After you see Gallatin Valley Mall on your right, start looking for a park on your right. turn right on Fowler Avenue and park.


This is a good park for dogs who like to swim.

The side fence doesn't go all the way to the water (and certainly doesn't extend out into the water), so Lucky walked around it and took off running in the adjacent field. We got her to come to us (whew!) and then took her to the Softball Complex -- a much better park for her.

The Bozeman Parks Division page says that the city has a "Canine Beach" and "a small Dog Park," but doesn't offer more detail.

Bismarck, North Dakota: Century Bark Park


I-94 Exit 159 (Hwy 83) north (same direction as Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center).
Turn left on Century Ave (about half a mile from the highway).
Century High School is on the right.
Century Bark Park is after the high school -- the Bark Park parking lot entrance is through the high school parking lot.


This is a spacious park, with separate areas for large dogs (Big Paws Field), small dogs (Wiggly Field), and obedience training (Fetch Field), as well as a central common area.

See Something to bark about: Dog park on track, Bismarck Tribune, July 29, 2005.

Fargo, North Dakota: Village West Dog Park


I-94 Exit 348 (45th St.)
Go north about 15-20 blocks
Turn right on 9th Ave S.
Dog park is on the left, beneath the big water tower that says "Fargo."


Spacious park, with separate areas for large and small dogs.
Sheltered picnic tables.

There's also Yunker Farm Dog Park, at 29th Ave and N. University, but we didn't visit it.

See Fargo Parks page on Dog Parks.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Encyclopedia of Life

beSpacific: Newly Launched Encyclopedia of Life Will Be Online Reference Source for 1.8 million Species: "Press release: 'Many of the world’s leading scientific institutions today announced the launch of the Encyclopedia of Life, an unprecedented global effort to document all 1.8 million named species of animals, plants, and other forms of life on Earth. For the first time in the history of the planet, scientists, students, and citizens will have multi-media access to all known living species, even those that have just been discovered...Over the next 10 years, the Encyclopedia of Life will create Internet pages for all 1.8 million species currently named. It will expedite the classification of the millions of species yet to be discovered and catalogued as well. The pages, housed at, will provide written information and, when available, photographs, video, sound, location maps, and other multimedia information on each species. Built on the scientific integrity of thousands of experts around the globe, the Encyclopedia will be a moderated wiki-style environment, freely available to all users everywhere.'"


Thursday, March 08, 2007

U.S.-born don't learn the language easily

More sobering news -- about the kids who are not lining up in libraries and bookstores: U.S.-born don't learn the language easily, Seattle P-I, March 7, 2007.

Teens buying books at fastest rate in decades

Here's some good news: Teens buying books at fastest rate in decades, Seattle P-I, March 7, 2007.

Friday, February 23, 2007

U.S. students learning less, reports say: Nation & World: The Seattle Times

U.S. students learning less, reports say, Seattle Times, Feb. 23, 2007. Lots of AP credits and better grades, but lower 12th grade reading scores.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Future Law Libraries, Generations of Lawyers

Interesting post by Bruce MacEwen, based on his keynote address at a conference on management of law libraries (firm): The Law Library of the Future?, Adam Smith, Esq.: An inquiry into the economics of law firms...., Feb. 21, 2007.

MacEwen discusses the different generations of lawyers and their approaches to legal information. He sees us in a shift from old model (information is scarce; librarians are needed in order to find it) to new model (information is ubiquitous; librarians are needed to help find the needle in the haystack).