Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Better Workouts

While you wait for the FindIt catalog to come back up (Thursday or Friday, we hope) you can download some recommended music to improve your workouts. The first list of recommended workout music is from LL Cool J, Grammy-winning rapper, television and movie actor (Wall Street Journal Aug, 2007). He has also written a popular workout book that the Library owns - LL Cool J's Platinum Workout: Sculpt Your Best Body Ever with Hollywood's Fittest Star.

LL Cool J's Favorites

Puff Daddy
It's All About the Benjamins
James Brown
Boogie down Productions
The Bridge is Over
50 cent
In Da Club

I have come across articles and websites which list other workout favorites that may help you keep the treadmill moving or the weights lifting. Good workout music needs a high B.P.M count and a rhythm to coordinate your moves with, or at least a catchy melody and a rhythmic force. It's best if you make a playlist that will last as long as your workout.

Slow Pace
Le Freak - Chic
Don't Phunk with my Heart - Black Eyed Peas
Moderate Pace
Umbrealla - Rihanna
SOS - Rihanna
Push it - Saltnpepa
Fast Pace
American Idiot - Green Day
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Do it Well - Jennifer Lopez
Freestarter - Prodigy
Dancing Queen - Abba
Heat is On - Glenn Frey
Gold Digger - Kanye West
Tell Me - P. Daddy
All Around Workout Music
Deja Vu - Beyonce
Closer - Nine Inch Nails
Down with Sickness - Disturbed
Give It Away - Red Hot Chile Peppers
Shake That - Eminem
Until It Sleeps - Metallica
Walk This Way - Aerosmith

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Howard Hughes of Chess

Bobby Fischer recently died at age 64. Perhaps no other individual had done more to capture the world’s imagination and focus on the game of chess than he. Bobby Fischer was a child prodigy winning the U.S. national junior chess championship at the age of thirteen in 1956. Two years later, he shocked the American chess world by winning the U.S. championship. At the age of fifteen Bobby Fisher became the youngest international grandmaster in the history of the game. In 1972, he went on to electrify the world by soundly defeating the Soviet world champion Boris Spassky at a time when the Cold War between the United States and the U.S.S.R. was raging.

By many accounts, Bobby Fischer was a controversial and temperamental eccentric. He withdrew from international competition in 1962 after placing fourth behind three Soviet competitors in an international event held on the island of Curacao. He accused the Soviet players of conspiring against him thereby ensuring his poor showing. He spent the 1970s and ‘80s living in seclusion and isolation in Pasadena and Los Angeles. He donated $61,000 to the Worldwide Church of God of which he was a member but subsequently left after Jesus Christ failed to return as promised by church founder Herbert W. Armstrong.

Despite these shortcomings, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the World Chess Federation, described Bobby Fischer as “a phenomenon and an epoch in chess history, and an intellectual giant I would rank next to Newton and Einstein.”

The Austin Public Library has many resources as they pertain to Bobby Fischer. For biographical information, interested individuals may want to consult the following items:

Friday, January 25, 2008

January is a great month in sports!

Late January is a fun time in the world of sports. We are on day five of the fourteen day hype carnival that culminates with the Super Bowl. The NBA has reached its halfway point (lollygagging players really turn it on now). The Australian Open men’s and women’s finals are this weekend. College basketball has begun conference play. Add to all this action the circus that is the Major League Baseball steroids scandal, and we’re in the midst of an epic month of sports.

The NFL Super Bowl Companion
Stats and stories from Super Bowl I to Super Bowl XXXVII

Won for All: The inside story of the New England Patriots' Improbable run to the Super Bowl
The 2007 Patriots are a juggernaut the likes of which have never been seen. The 2003 Patriots? Not so much, but they still won the Super Bowl.

Tip-off: How the 1984 NBA draft changed basketball forever
Akeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Sam Perkins, and John Stockton. That’s an impressive list of players who dominated the league for the next fifteen years.

Last Dance: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four

Feinstein—famous for A Season on the Brink—continues to craft epic and insider looks at the collegiate hardwood.

Juicing the Game: Dugs, Power, and the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball
Overview and analysis of the alleged rampant use of performance enhancing drugs throughout the game during the past fifteen seasons.

Breaking back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life

James Black was bounced early from this year’s Australian Open, but so too were all the other big guns: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Roddick.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Never too late to talk about Janis

I was lucky enough to grow up in a household where everybody loved music. From my grandpa I learned to enjoy opera, from my grandma, the music from the 1920’s and 1930’s in the US and Latin America. My mother listened to ballads and boleros, mambo and cha-cha-cha, but my uncle introduced me to Janis Joplin. I can still remember where I was sitting at my uncle’s lap, looking for endless hours at the cover of “Pearl,” a Janis Joplin LP that he treasured (and still does). While I looked at the pictures of Janis Joplin and admired the colors of her clothes and jewelry, I listened to her voice. Even though I was four years old, I could enjoy the beauty of her voice and her passionate singing. Now that I live in Austin, I have been to Threadgill’s on North Lamar many times, a restaurant that opened the doors to Janis and where she started to shine. Who would have thought, eh?

On January 19th, Janis Joplin’s birthday was celebrated not only in her home town, Port Arthur, Texas, but in many places around the world, including Austin. She is still considered one of the greatest artists of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine and she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

Austin Public Library has all kinds of materials for you to check out about Janis Joplin:

Some books are:

Love, Janis

Scars of sweet paradise: life and times of Janis Joplin

Buried alive: the biography of Janis Joplin

Pearl : the obsessions and passions of Janis Joplin : a biography

And if you want to listen to her, these are some of the cd's we have:

Janis Joplin's greatest hits


Cheap thrills

In case you want to travel around Texas, the Museum of the Gulf Coast has a permanent exhibit on the life of Janis Joplin.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Library of Congress Flickr Images

One of the librarians at Faulk Central Library enjoys reading Mental Floss (available at Central and Ruiz), a magazine for people who love learning new and interesting facts. The kind of stuff that can make you a good conversationalist at your next dinner party. She stumbled across a post about the Library of Congress’ Flickr page and shares it with us in today’s blog.

For those of you unfamiliar with Flickr, it is a free photo-sharing website where anyone with a digital camera or scanner can share their photos with the world (or just your friends if you are feeling sheepish). I have a Flickr account and many of my friends do as well. It’s a great way to keep in touch and share important memories with the people who are closest to you but not necessarily right next door.

Flickr offers a huge collection of images for your viewing pleasure. Some are beautiful, some are bizarre and some are just not that interesting unless you are in the photo; but I have yet to see a better example of Flickr in action than the Library of Congress’ Flickr account. The Flickr page is a project of the Prints and Photographs Division which houses 14 million of the Library's pictures. One of the goals of the project is to share some of the Library’s amazing collections with people who are interested in images and history but may not visit the Library’s own website.

As of right now there are only two collections of photos being featured on the page and they are truly breathtaking. My favorite is the 1930s-40s in Color. True to its name, this collection showcases over 1600 photos from the Great Depression and World War II eras and all images are in color. It is fascinating to see color images of a time in history that most of us think of in black and white, and in such vivid detail. Also, because Flick allows visitors to leave comments and create tags you can become an active participant of the project. The Library of Congress is encouraging that visitors add comments and tags to the images, especially those images with an incomplete history. According to the LOC Blog the Library of Congress’ account has already received about 1.1 million views.

To learn more about the project you can read the FAQ page or visit the main webpage of the Prints and Photographs Division. If you would like to learn more about Flickr or how to locate images online take a look at the Image Locator from the Austin Public Library’s Research Guides collection.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Keys to the Keyboard

Ever wonder what the mysterious Scroll Lock key does on your keyboard? Stanley Zarowin provides an answer in his “Technology Q&A” in the Journal of Accountancy (2004):

Although it was useful in the old DOS days, the Scroll Lock key has fallen into disuse-except for Excel, where it performs a very valuable function. For example, say you're working in Excel and you're in the middle of writing a formula in cell B2; then you realize you need some information to complete the formula-and that information is in cell IV65536. . . If you press Scroll Lock, you can move anywhere in the file, using your arrow keys, and your cursor will remain on B2. Now isn't that neat? (full text available through the Factiva Database).

Below are some other explanations of what some of those other keys or key combinations do according to Windows Help:

Print Screen: Copies the entire screen to the Clipboard.
Print Screen + Alt: Copies the image of the current window to the Clipboard
Num Lock: Toggles between the numeric and cursor control modes
Pause Break: Not really used except in some programming languages or games.
F1: Start Windows Help
F2: Rename object
F3: Search for a file or folder.
F4: Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
F4 + Alt: Close the active item, or quit the active program.
F5: Refresh the active window.
F6: Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop.
F8: Hit while rebooting to enter Safe Mode
F10: Activate the menu bar in the active program.
F7, F9, F11, F12: May be used in certain programs. Check program Help files.

For more help, don’t forget that the library offers free computer classes!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

John Updike, Dallas, one lucky librarian

Last Thursday was a good day: I was out of bed by 7:00, ate some breakfast tacos, and met John Updike. DallasNasher Sculpture Center hosted the literary titan as the inaugural guest of their 2008 Salon Series. The preeminent man of American letters discussed a variety of topics—writing, baseball, twentieth century American fiction—all with a razor sharp acumen gleaned from a life lived with books.

Once the evening was opened to audience questions, Updike commented on the legacy of American fiction over the past fifty years: big, introspective novels wrestling with emotion, identity, and relationships. He discussed contemporaries and offered Saul Bellow and Philip Roth as the pillars of post-WWII American literature. Asked what it was in Ted Williams that he so strongly admired, Updike stated that it was Williams’ approach to baseball—a focused and singular purpose towards excellence—that caught his eye. For this reader (and thousands of others), excellence and John Updike deservedly go hand in hand.

Reading fiction provides an opportunity to stretch our human dignity beyond our skin, to recognize (and empathize with) others’ struggles, to see that while each life is uniquely individual we still collectively feel, think, and live. John Updike’s writings harvest this simultaneously inward and outward experience.

I had but a brief moment to chat with Updike. I thanked him for coming to Dallas and wished him a safe flight home. With a warmth and eloquence attainable only through a thoughtful life, he smiled and thanked me. He truly is a legend, and I count myself fortunate to have been in attendance.

A selection of some of Updike's works available at the Austin Public Library:


Rabbit, Run

Rabbit Redux

Rabbit is Rich

Rabbit at Rest

The Witches of Eastwick

Early Stories

Licks of Love


Due Considerations

More Matter

Odd Jobs

Hugging the Shore

Monday, January 14, 2008

Money Loves Company

Investing in the stock market can seem like a scary and daunting endeavor. Fortunately, it is now easier than ever before to develop a community of performance based individual investors from which to glean and offer advice on which stocks to buy, sell, and avoid altogether. At, “users are rated and ranked against other members based on the performance of trades they make in a virtual portfolio.” At, “users can issue ratings on individual stocks and then earn a score based on how the stock performs.” Lastly, at, “users can invite other people to their network, share tips and track other members’ investment performance with members’ scores being based on the performance of their picks and other users’ feedback.”

These resources are just a sampling of similar kinds of sites designed to fulfill the same purpose. To see a full list of websites and to read a more in-depth article on the subject please refer to, “A New Way To Rate Stock Tips --- Crop of Networking Sites for Investors Track the Performance Of Users' Picks; Finding Your Market Soul Mate”, published in the January 3, 2007 edition of the “Wall Street Journal.” You can read the full text of this article from the convenience of your home or office computer by utilizing the Austin Public Library’s access to the Factiva database.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Your Online Library

An article in The New York Times last week (1/7/2008) cited a recent study that found library use is more prevalent among people who have Internet access at home or at work. The percentage of people with broadband access using the library was 61%, compared to 39% who did not have broadband. The study also reported that people from the 18 to 30 age group were most likely to have used the library within the last year.

One reason for this gap may be that so many library services are online. From the Austin Public Library’s website, users can search the catalog, place holds, renew titles, find full-text articles using the databases, read electronic books, ask questions by email, and sometime this spring, download books.

For the 39% without broadband access, Austin Public Library offers free public computer access, computer classes, and a very helpful Telephone Reference service (974-7400).

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Friendships lost in time? Not anymore!

Have you ever wondered what happened with your childhood friends? Or that high school classmate that used to go with you everywhere? Yes, it is amazing how time flies and we lose connection with those people that were so important in our lives at some point.

Nowadays, however, there are more and more ways to find our old friends, or why not, to make new friends too. My Space is one of those tools. You can create an account and you can have a network of friends that have My Space accounts too. You can exchange messages, pictures, videos, etc., with them at no cost. Other similar tools, and equally popular, are Facebook, and These websites are very popular among English speakers in America, there are, though, other similar sites in multiple languages around the world with the purpose of creating social networks. Some of them are: Hi5, Friendster, Orkut, Bebo, and Netlog.

The only limitation with these types of sites is that in order to find a friend, he or she needs to have an account on that web site too. Another obstacle is that you have to create an account yourself in order to access their information and in some cases, a paid subscription is required. In case you want to pursue the search of your childhood buddies, you can try one of our databases that contain residential information: Reference USA. You can access this database remotely with your library card number or at any of our libraries. Happy friends hunting!!!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Pricing Your Antiques and Collectibles

The Library has recently added Price It! Antiques and Collectibles to its database collection. Price It! is an easy-to-use online resource for those who purchase, sell or collect art, antiques and collectibles. The database is full of photos and descriptions to help you find your item. Price It! looks at thousands of antiques and collectibles to help you find realistic values. Users may search by item type, sales date, or restrict the search to sold or unsold results.

We hope this new database helps you price your antiques and collectibles. Price It! is a subscription database that the Library pays for. There are also free websites that may help you buy, sell and trade:

Kovel's Online
Just Glass Online
Antique Pottery and Ceramics Directory
e-Yakimono Japanese Pottery
Replacements Ltd.
Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers' Marks
The Online Encyclopedia of American Silver Marks

Friday, January 04, 2008

Online classes

With the holidays over and the writer’s strike continuing you just might find yourself with some available time. Use it wisely and take a free online class. Many universities are now offering public access to some of their courses including videos of lectures, class handouts, and reading lists. All this without the pressure of grades or attendance policies! Of course, the library has plenty of supplemental reading in case you are craving more on a particular subject!

MIT OpenCourseWare: choose from 1800 courses in all subject areas

OpenUW Free Courses (University of Washington): 11 online courses including The American Civil War, History of Jazz: New Orleans, and HTML Basics

Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative: study Engineering Statistics, Statistics, Causal Reasoning, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, French, Logic & Proofs, Physics, and Empirical Research Methods

World Lecture Hall (University of Texas at Austin): publishes links to pages created by faculty worldwide

webcast.berkeley: podcasts and webcasts of UC Berkeley courses

Tufts OpenCourseWare: choose from courses in medicine, nutrition, and arts and sciences

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Some good Texas stuff

Texas is fortunate to have some big time writers. McMurtry, Porter, O’Henry, and McCarthy all penned great stories in and about Texas, but going beyond the realm of fiction, our state boasts numerous historians, essayists, and preservers of the Texas experience. Below are a few collections I have enjoyed over the past year.

Larry McMurtry’s In a Narrow Grave: essays on Texas
Props up and debunks the Cowboy myth

Larry McMurtry’s Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: reflections at sixty and beyond
The preeminent Texas writer’s memoir on reading, writing, and being Texan

Dagoberto Gilb’s Gritos
Great essays on Chicano Texas

Don Graham’s Giant Country: essays on Texas
Witty essays from the comedic and encyclopedic professor

Lou Halsell Rodenberger’s Writing on the Wind: an anthology of West Texas women writers
Writings from the flat land and big sky part of Texas

Frances McNeely Leonard’s Conversations with Texas Writers