Friday, January 31, 2014

Mrs. Donohue's Inventors Project (Baldwin,Matzeliger,Duryeas,Thurman,Baekeland)

Mrs. Donohue's Inventors Project (Baldwin,Matzeliger,Duryeas,Thurman,Baekeland)

Batch #4...

Anna Baldwin

Jan Matzeliger

Charles/J. Frank Duryea

John Thurman

Leo Baekeland

Mrs. Donohue's Inventors Project (Diesel,Wrights,Ford,McCoy,Field)

Mrs. Donohue's Inventors Project (Diesel,Wrights,Ford,McCoy,Field)

Batch #3...

Rudolf Diesel

Orville/Wilbur Wright

Henry Ford

Elijah McCoy

Stephen Dudley Field

Mrs. Donohue's Inventors Project (Singer, Field, Bell, Edison,Tesla)

Mrs. Donohue's Inventors Project (Singer, Field, Bell, Edison, Tesla)

Link batch #2...

Isaac Singer

Cyrus Field

Alexander Graham Bell

Thomas Edison

Nikola Tesla

Mrs. Donohue's Inventors Project (Watt, Whitney, Fulton, Morse, Howe)

Industrial Revolution: Inventors Project (1-5)

Here is the first batch of links for students in Mrs. Donohue's inventors project...

James Watt

Eli Whitney

Jury Duty: The Verdict

I have now completed my service of jury duty and, not to make myself sound even stranger than I already am (!), I actually enjoyed it.

I realize that our court system is far, far from perfect and that there are many flaws in the process, but at least a trial is always given.  In order to produce a fair verdict for that trial, impartial (knowing nothing about the case) jurors are needed.  Without them, the entire process falls apart.

I'm not going to go into the details of the case I listened to, but suffice it to say that the charges leveled at the accused would have been enough to produce prison time.  Our verdict was not-guilty, and I feel good with my decision.

Most people complain about jury duty and look to get out of it whenever possible, but I found the experience very educational and interesting.

Jury Duty: Blessing or Curse?

Well, I thought it would be interesting to write about an experience I am going through this week: jury duty.

In our system of justice, when a person is charged with a crime, he/she is guaranteed a trial by people that know nothing about the case, or the jury.

The jury sits and hears both sides of the case, and then must reach a verdict.  In some cases all jurors must vote the same way (unanimous verdict), while in others only a majority is needed.

As a juror, I am not allowed to talk about any details of the case I am hearing.  I'm not even supposed to hear any news about the case, read about it, or put anything on social media about it.  Basically, the judge has to make sure that the person being accused of a crime has the fairest trial possible.

Oftentimes, jury duty is looked at as somewhat of a prison sentence...

While I can see how some people would view it as such (messes with work schedules, payments, etc.), I am actually kind of excited (and a bit nervous) to serve on my jury.  I have an awful lot of responsibility in my hands, and I intend on taking it seriously.  The accused party is counting on me to be as fair as possible.

Plus, on the funnier side of things, it allows me to live out some of my favorite courtroom film dramas...

I doubt that my case will be quite as exciting as those, but I guess you never know.

Something That Will Make You Think

Last night, I headed over to the Wynnsong theater in Mounds View to see the movie "Her".  It is nominated for best picture at the upcoming Academy Awards, and it looked interesting to me, so I thought I would give it a try...

It is a crazy concept, to be sure ("man falls in love with smartphone operating system"), but it really makes you think about relationships and the entire concept of humanity.

Despite also starring Amy Adams, it is the polar opposite it its Academy Award contemporary "American Hustle", which is all about the "pomp and circumstance", so to speak.

"Her", however, is more of a "thinking person's" type of movie.  There isn't a lot of action, so if you are looking for explosions or things of that nature, you will be severely disappointed.  If you like the feeling of being challenged or having concepts rattle around in your brain long after the movie is over, than "Her" might just be the movie for you.

It isn't playing at every theater and sometimes the showtimes are a bit odd, but if you are interested and can find a showing that fits your schedule, it is worth it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Pattern

Well, fellow Minnesotans, we've already a tough winter weather-wise.  A decent amount of snow, combined with absolutely frigid temperatures that seem to never break.

However, this is the time of year coming up (pretty much the entire month of February, to be honest) that I hate the most, because the weather here always seems to fall into a specific pattern.

Here is the pattern:

First, the sub-zero temperatures kick in...

After a week of temps in the single digits, you start longing for the day when it will be over 20 degrees.

Then the 20 degree day finally comes...only to produce a snow front that dumps some more white stuff onto roads, driveways, and other inconveniences...

Just as soon as that 20 degree day comes, it leaves with you waking up the next morning to the "minus" on your car's temperature dash reading.

I really hope that the entire rest of winter here doesn't fall into this pattern, but I'm using the old motto of "hope for the best...prepare for the worst".

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Batch Of Movies!

Just today here in the Media Center, we received another batch of movies available for checkout.

They are...

-Diary of A Wimpy Kid
-Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
-Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Day
-The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
-The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
-Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (this one is on Blu-Ray too!)
-Charlotte's Web
-The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
-Friday Night Lights

All these movies are based on books we have in our collection.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sherman's March (To Complete And Utter Madness)

If you are a football fan, you have probably seen/heard this about a thousand times by now:

My two cents on this interview...

Cent #1: What you don't see is that, after swatting away the final pass of the game that sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl and the 49ers home to their couch, Sherman goes over to 49ers WR Michael Crabtree and extends his hand like he wants to shake.  Now, I don't know about you, but even though Sherman can claim "good sportsmanship", I don't think that is the time or place to show it.  Put yourself in Crabtree's shoes: you just missed a pass that ended your team's entire season.  The LAST thing you want to see is your chief rival extending his hand ON THE FIELD OF PLAY!  I don't quite understand (besides the fact that Sherman loves to talk) why Sherman couldn't have just celebrated with his teammates and left the "sportsmanship" for after the game.

Cent #2: I don't buy the excuse that he can give Sherman a pass just because he was "fired up" on the football field.  I know that football is an incredibly passionate endeavor, but I tend to believe that we should be able to control ourselves in all situations, not just "when we want to".  I don't recall ever seeing true professionals like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, or Adrian Peterson ever lashing out like this, and you can't tell me they don't compete any harder than Sherman.

The good news in all of this?  Sherman may be eating a bit of humble pie come February 2:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Return Of The Polar Vortex: A Sequel

Remember that bone-chilling cold of early December?

How about those two extra days off from school in early January due to wind chills in the deep negative numbers?

Well, prepare for a return to those days in the coming week.  The forecast for the next few days in the Twin Cities area (courtesy of

7-day forecast for Minneapolis
Arctic Blast
Morning Flakes
Sunny & Cold
Light Snow
Light Snow
Chance of Snow
Partly Cloudy
Hi  Lo
16 / -15
Hi  Lo
-1 / -5
Hi  Lo
3 / -15
Hi  Lo
3 / 0
Hi  Lo
19 / 10
Hi  Lo
21 / 15
Hi  Lo
20 / 10

When I went outside at 6:30 a.m. today to head to work, I think it was the coldest I've ever felt it since I started working at St. Anthony Public Schools.

The silver lining?  The Minnesota Twins report to Spring Training in sunny Ft. Myers, FL, on February 16.  It may not physically warm us up at all, but it would be nice to see the bright sunshine again even if just through the television...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Farewell, Metrodome...

The Long Goodbye To The Metrodome

Right now, this is what the Metrodome looks like...

To me, this is one of the most surreal pictures I've ever seen.  It is just mind-bogglingly strange to see the inside of the Dome not swathed in those blue seats.

Whether maligned or praised, our sporting stadiums are places where we gather to experience a wide range of emotions.  Even though the Dome was pretty much a crap stadium right from the get-go, the people of Minnesota experienced many great times under the Teflon roof.

Employees Say Goodbye

For me personally, while I never saw a Vikings game at the Dome, I saw a ton of Twins baseball games with various family members.  It is strange to me that some day I'll tell my children (like my Dad tells me about Metropolitan Stadium) I saw baseball played under a white roof, with a "Hefty Bag" out in right field, and chomped on Dome Dogs while watching the ball bounce like a super ball on the bright green turf.

Barring high winds, the Dome is set to be deflated one final time tomorrow (Jan. 18).

If I happen to not be doing anything at that time, and if the process is televised/streamed, I may just give it a glance and remember all the great times/people I shared inside its walls.  I don't really want to remember the Metrodome...but I'll never forget it, either.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Reason For The Off Day

Okay, I get it.  I was a student once too.  As of right now, probably the only reason you care about Monday, January 20, is because you don't have to be here that day...

However, believe it or not, there is actually a REASON why that day is set aside for remembrance.

If you come down to the Media Center, you can find a display of books about the life and times of Martin Luther King.  We also have a DVD of his famous "I Have A Dream" speech (in its entirety) that is available for checkout.

So, as your enjoy your Monday off next week, maybe give a moment of thought to Dr. King.  He was worth it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Hand At The Wheel

Today, the Minnesota Vikings hired Mike Zimmer (former Cincinnati Bengals Defensive Coordinator) as their new Head Coach...

The Bengals had one of the best defensive units in the NFL this past season, so that bodes well for Leslie Frazier's replacement.

He better bring his entire wardrobe with him:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

Brace Yourself...eBooks Are Coming

Though the process isn't quite complete yet, we here in the Media Center hope to bring you some new eBook options within the next few days.

I will be posting much, much more about this new development (including how to access it) once it is finalized, but if all goes well we should have 17 eBooks that you can check out on the library catalog web page.  You would then be able to read the book on any electronic device you own!

Once I see that our order is completed and everything is up and running fine, I will post much more detailed instructions.

It should be a fun new way to utilize the Media Center!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Coming Up In The Cinema World

In the span of the next month or so, there are a number of films coming out based on books/literature.  They include:


Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Vampire Academy

Down here in the Media Center, we will have some books on Greek/Roman Mythology (like Hercules), some Jack Ryan novels (from Tom Clancy), and the Vampire Academy books featured.  Come on down and check them out before they hit the big screen!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Years: The Resolutions

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, some of the most popular New Years Resolutions for 2014 include...

Getting Healthier

Getting Organized

Save More Money

Fall In Love

Quit Smoking

Spend More Time With Family

Right now in the Media Center, we have some books featured that can help you along towards those goals.  We'd also love to hear from you as to what resolutions you set for yourself in 2014!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What I Did Over Winter Break

Here is what I managed to "accomplish" over the Winter Break...

-Get the soundtrack to "Mary Poppins" looped in my brain (a good thing!) after watching "Saving Mr. Banks".
-Celebrated Christmas at two different locations.
-Was laid out for about 2.5 days with a terrible stomach flu.
-Ate at Texas Roadhouse, Village Inn (many times), Pizza Hut, and Cherry Berry all practically free due to gift cards.
-Finished seasons 5-6 of "Mad Men" (all caught up now!)
-Went bowling.
-Sent up a dart board that had been in storage for four years.  I am still champion at Cricket.
-Ate too much and didn't have an "official" workout.
-Drank SodaStream in some cases like it was water.
-Played Risk on New Years Eve.
-Read a few books.
-Watched all three "Mighty Ducks" movies in the span of three days ("I will not quck at the principal...").
-Experienced the new cushy, reclining seats at the Coon Rapids Showplace theater.
-Saw two great dramas ("Hobbit 2", "American Hustle"), one funny comedy ("Anchorman 2"), and one that unfortunately couldn't do either ("Grudge Match").
-Became obsessed with Tom Jones' "Deliliah" for awhile after seeing "American Hustle".
-Watch Colin Kaepernick boot the Packers out of the playoffs AGAIN!
-Stayed up until 1:00-2:00 p.m., slept until 11:00-noon.
-Beat Super Mario Bros. and Punch-Out! on the original Nintendo.
-Had my vacation extended by one day due to Governor Dayton shutting down all MN schools on Monday because of extreme cold (-60 wind chills in some locations).
-Had my vacation extended by a second day (see above; only Tuesday).
-Spent some nice time with family.

What did YOU do over your break?!