Random Thursday: A little Trek, a couple of Rebels, a Mongolian Death Earworm…and Milk.

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

And here we go!


Best.  Book Trailer Ever.

So  Neil Gaiman, right?

Wrote a new kids’ book, okay?

About a Dad telling the story of how he went to the store to get milk for his kids . . . and ran into  a little trouble on the way home.

It’s illustrated by the fabulous Skottie Young., as is the trailer.

And I can’t get the &%$%ing embed code to work.

So click the image to see the Awesome.

(just after the ad, sorry)

Fortunately the Milk

See?  SEE?!


For Mom

Who not only gave me my love of—and vast collection of—Star Trek novels, but once had a raccoon living in her house for nearly a week, until she realized that their new cat wasn’t the one yanking down her drapes, crapping on the carpet, and eating his bodyweight in kitty crunchies.

And that my nephew didn’t have a life-sized raccoon puppet . . .

The Wrath of Kat


Contender for the World’s Deadliest Earworm

For bonus points, it’s an honest to pete PSA.

You have been warned.

Aaaand there’s your brain’s background music for the next week—
especially if your kids see this, because you know they won’t stop singing it until you’re rocking in a corner begging for someone to play REM’s “Stand,” to knock the damn thing loose.


Make it so . . . with an extra shot

Make it Frappe

It boggles the mind that the barista had to put his name  on the cup.

Some of us would have trouble letting go of that cup as we handed it over . . . .


Use the Forte, Luke

And because I dare not disturb the balance of the Multiverse, here’s something for those who follow the path of the Jedi—
or at least those of you aren’t yet following Lindsey Stirling and Peter Hollens’ YouTube channels.

If you’re not following them  . . . Why not?


Poetry Wednesday: Dedications

This one is for my six-year old, who wandered up to my desk last night, a full hour after her bedtime, to tell me with grave sadness that her sleeping bag  had a loose thread hanging from it. 

It should be noted that her sleeping bag had been rolled up tight and tucked into her closet when I’d kissed her goodnight.

Bed in Summer
(Robert Louis Stevenson)Crazy Sunny

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

And this one is dedicated to that bullhorned bird who sits outside my window every morning to practice the only two notes he knows, one of which is flat. I don’t care what Mr. Frost says—you’d best not break camouflage where I can see you, because I have a shoe with your name on it, bucko.

The Oven Bird
(Robert Frost)

There is a singer everyone has heard,Burdie
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.

And that one little kid two Saturdays ago, who took to the library like an untrained puppy takes to the Abyssinian rug:

On the Gift of a Book to a Child
(Hilaire Belloc)

Child! do not throw this book about!
Refrain from the unholy pleasure
Of cutting all the pictures out!
Preserve it as your chiefest treasure.

Child, have you never heard it saidcarved book
That you are heir to all the ages?
Why, then, your hands were never made
To tear these beautiful thick pages!

Your little hands were made to take
The better things and leave the worse ones:
They also may be used to shake
The Massive Paws of Elder Persons.

And when your prayers complete the day,
Darling, your little tiny hands
Were also made, I think, to pray
For men that lose their fairylands.

This is for those of us with Leaning Towers of Literacy on our bedside tables—and in our living rooms and bathrooms and kitchens and, and, and—who might complain about the length of their To Be Read lists, but have no intention of stopping until the Domino Effect buries us alive:

Of Modern Books
(Carolyn Wells)

A Pantoum

Of making many books there is no end,
Though myriads have to deep oblivion gone;
Each day new manuscripts are being penned,
And still the ceaseless tide of ink flows on.

Though myriads have to deep oblivion gone,
New volumes daily issue from the press;
And still the ceaseless tide of ink flows on—
The prospect is disheartening, I confess.

New volumes daily issue from the press;
My pile of unread books I view aghast.
The prospect is disheartening, I confess;
Why will these modern authors write so fast?

My pile of unread books I view aghast—
Of course I must keep fairly up to date—
Why will these modern authors write so fast?Drawers
They seem to get ahead of me of late.

Of course I must keep fairly up to date;
The books of special merit I must read;
They seem to get ahead of me of late,
Although I skim them very fast indeed.

The books of special merit I must read;
And then the magazines come round again;
Although I skim them very fast indeed,
I can’t get through with more than eight or ten.

And then the magazines come round again!
How can we stem this tide of printer’s ink?
I can’t get through with more than eight or ten—
It is appalling when I stop to think.

How can we stem this tide of printer’s ink?
Of making many books there is no end.
It is appalling when I stop to think
Each day new manuscripts are being penned!

And this one is dedicated to my dear friend who interrupted a perfectly good bout of anxiety and told me to write what I want to write, because I want to write it.  Now.

Lines on Nonsense
(Eliza Lee Follen)

Yes, nonsense is a treasure!
I love it from my heart;Duck!2
The only earthly pleasure
That never will depart.

But, as for stupid reason,
That stalking, ten-foot rule,
She’s always out of season,
A tedious, testy fool.

She’s like a walking steeple,
With a clock for face and eyes,
Still bawling to all people,
Time bids us to be wise.

While nonsense on the spire
A weathercock you’ll find,
Than reason soaring higher,
And changing with the wind.

The clock too oft deceives,
Says what it cannot prove;
While every one believes
The vane that turns above.

Reason oft speaks unbidden,
And chides us to our face;
For which she should be chidden,
And taught to know her place.

While nonsense smiles and chatters,Inside a Book
And says such charming things,
Like youthful hope she flatters;
And like a syren sings.

Her charm’s from fancy borrowed,
For she is fancy’s pet;
Her name is on her forehead,
In rainbow colors set.

Then, nonsense let us cherish,
Far, far from reason’s light;
Lest in her light she perish,
And vanish from our sight.

Thanks.  I needed that.

Got any dedications?

Vaudeville, Schmaudeville

It’s the second full week of school and we’re all settling into our new routines.

We’ve been opening with  Little Night Owl ‘s Morning Song, during which Sunny whines warbles that I’m torturing her with sleep deprivation,  followed by a refrain of loud denials that her refusal to stay in bed—or her own bed, anyway—between 8:30 and 10:30pm has anything to do with it.*  She’s still a little pitchy, but we’re working on it.

This is followed by the Breakfast Quiz, in which Jane is starving for a food item she can’t name or identify, except that it doesn’t appear to be present in our kitchen and nothing else will do if we expect her to consume more than one slow, reluctant molecule at a time.

After a brief bathroom ballet, we segue into the Small Sock Opera, during which Sunny cries that she has no clean socks—the ones she chose the night before have disappeared or are now inexplicably yucky—until someone digs through her drawer to find several pairs,** none of which she would be caught dead wearing, until her parents inform her through gritted teeth that she really doesn’t want to put that option on the table, when we should have left ten minutes ago.

And no morning commute would be complete without the Packed Lunch Review Revue, in which I’m reminded*** about the foods that were their sole acceptable form of nutrition not twelve hours ago and now cannot be touched with a ten-foot pole and the Poison Control Center on speed dial.  So can they have five bucks for hot lunch instead?^

But behind the scenes, Jane is busy doing her homework on time and seems to be keeping good track of her scheduled assignments—her part of our agreement that she can be on the volleyball team this semester.^^  She reported yesterday that she needs two shark-fin headbands by Thursday—if she can keep her mother and aunt from going overboard with the construction paper, it’ll be a piece of cake.

Sunny is not only enjoying her PE classes this year—“We’re gonna do gymnastics, Mommy!”—she may have a small crush on the new teacher.  She’s also on top of her twenty-minute daily reading assignment, with her grandmother’s enthusiastic help.

And so far, despite the always-complex and slightly risqué Wesson Improvisational Dance of the Schedules, the forms have been (mostly) filled out, the required parental meetings have been attended, and someone has always remembered to pick up the kids.

Vaudeville ain’t got nothing on us.

How Routine are Your Routines?

Drama Mama


*I’m so open to suggestions, here, since our old bedtime routine (warm bath, stories, cuddles) isn’t working.  She claims she’s too bored to sleep, which is frankly bizarre, as is her insistence on seeing what we’re doing—we’re not that interesting, either.  Maybe music?

**I.e., “of the same general length,” because wearing socks of the same color is apparently only for formal occasions, unless you’re a total dork.

***I.e., “told for the first time ever.”

^No,  If I had cash, I wouldn’t be schlepping Campbell’s Bag o’Soup and microwave popcorn to work every day.

^^ Our part of that routine is calling her pediatrician every day to get her physical form signed so the coach can legally coach her, trying to remember about kneepads, and worrying about the  Concussion Information Form we were given.

It’s for the BOOK

I’m guilty of googling a lot of ecletic questions.*

How big is a Muscovy duck? Do any of the theaters in Long Island City have copper or lead roofs?  How many months before the wedding should you order a dress? What’s protein content of a North American common cricket?  How about a feeder goldfish?  What’s the trunk volume, in inches, of a Dodge Dart?  Is hazelnut-cinnamon ganache a real thing?  Is drawing on an inside straight really a sucker bet? What outfit can a werewolf wear so s/he isn’t arrested for public indecency on the way to potential trouble, but won’t risk faceplanting after a quick change?  What did they call garderobes in 14th Century Spain?**

Which doesn’t mean I received answers I could use—especially for that last one.  Sometimes, you have to put yourself out there and risk being judged.

“Honey? Can I ask you a question?”


“If a divorced couple has a pre-nup and one of them gets a settlement, but later it’s discovered that that person violated the pre-nup agreement, say adultery or whatever, are they legally required to give back the settlement, or can their ex sue?”

” . . . I don’t know. You should probably ask a lawyer.”

“Yeah, I probably should.  Thanks.”

“No problem.”

Twenty years ago, this kind of question might have worried my husband, for several reasons.  Either he had a better handle on my thought processes*** or he just assumes out of long experience that any question that doesn’t involve the kids or something mechanical making a funny noise is about whatever I’m writing.^

Not everyone is as calm about these things as he.^^ You can get a lot of strange looks at the coffee shop debating the logistics of stuffing a dead body (male, not quite six-foot) and thirty-five cartons of cigarettes (no tax stamps) into the trunk of a Dodge Dart.^^^  Even if you’re speaking to another human being. Who is visibly present.

Until one of you says, loudly, “I can’t wait to read your book.”

And then everyone will relax and the waitress will stop trying to refill your cup with hot liquid from a minimal safe distance, which isn’t quite your minimal safe distance.

Search EngineLibrarians, on the other hand, tend to take the oddest questions at face value, though that doesn’t mean we can’t get enthusiastic.  A few weeks ago, a group of us had an all-day, off-and-on reference discussion launched by a single question I technically asked the screen of my workstation, while—if any of my supervisors have tracked me here—on my break.

“If you clip a wereduck’s wing feathers, will his fingernails be shorter on that hand when he changes?”

Not one of them blinked—even those who didn’t know why I was asking.  And the questions they asked about that question were fantastic, touching on healing factors, and follicle to feather conversions, and clothing, and magic versus science, and mythic laws of association.

Librarians don’t need to know why you need to know—they just need to know how to get you the right answer.

In this case, there wasn’t one—the general consensus was that it depended on several different things that I hadn’t figured out yet.  But I do have a pile of notes, and a much better handle on what I need to figure out.  So even if I never use that bit—which is looking like the sane  easier option—I’m much better off than I was.

Never be afraid to ask the weird questions out loud.

Even if they’re not for the book.

You’ll always learn something about something.

And maybe get a blog post out of it, too.


*Don’t judge me, judge the people who posted the answers.

**AKA, “The word choice that got away.”

***Magic Eight Ball says Very Doubtful.

^Admittedly, he also knows we don’t have a pre-nup, nor any need for one.

^^He also helps me figure out ballistic trajectories and the batting stance I a character would have to take to use his a kneeling man’s head as a tee-ball and the position behind “home plate” (there are legs involved).  He’s a good man—and remarkably trusting.

^^^For some reason, my husband didn’t volunteer for this one . . . but he did check my math.