Fun at Foster's blog

MORE SILLY SYMPHONIES

MORE SILLY SYMPHONIES - Two-Disc DVD Set, Foster Children's Section
 
A title in Leonard Maltin's series of Walt Disney TREASURES DVD sets is "Disney Rarities" but Foster has another Maltin rarity in the 2-disc (now out-of-print) MORE SILLY SYMPHONIES. This is a collection of now-rare short cartoons, mostly from the 1930s which, along with the more celebrated Mickey Mouse shorts, laid the groundwork for the first features and the Disney mega-empire of today.
 
Collectively the shorts may also be seen as a history of early 20th century cinema, embracing innovations such as sound, color, and precise muscial synchronization (The 1930s were an era of remarkable technical progress in Hollywood).
 
The early Symphonies (like the first Mickeys) are in black-and-white, and were launched by SKELETON DANCE in 1929 when Disney wanted to showcase music more than was possible in the Mickey shorts. Though SKELETON DANCE is not in this collection, HELL'S BELLS, a somewhat bizarre short from 1929, provides a key example of the crude but energetic style of this period. Also from 1929 is THE MERRY DWARFS, a key example of early musical camp.
 
The early 1930s ushered in the first Technicolor shorts. The Sillys drew on a variety of source material from classic fairy and folk tales to myths and legends. THE GODDESS OF SPRING (1934), based on the Greek myth of Persephone, is a virtual mini-opera in which all the dialogue is sung. MOTHER GOOSE GOES HOLLYWOOD, from 1938, features movie star caricatures which adult movie buffs (of a certain age) will find amusing.
 
But there's a variety of silliness, amazingly detailed, ground-breaking animation, and excellent music to be discovered by kids and adults alike in this marvelous set. And be sure to listen to the commentaries, some of which are voiced-over by yours truly.
 
Staff member - Ross

Battle of the Books

Photo Credit: Andrew Bollerman
Ventura Unified School District - Middle Schools

Battle of the Books is a fun, voluntary reading incentive program for students.  Students read from a list of 20 preselected books and attend Friday book talks in the library at lunch.  Raffle prizes are given, sometimes popcorn, and book related movies are shown.  Students may bring their lunch and share in the fun with fellow students and teachers.  Students must read and take the AR tests on at least 7 books from the list and attend book talks.

In March, qualifying students from the 4 middle schools and Sunset will come together to participate in the Final Battle.  Students will be placed on teams where they will have an opportunity to test their knowledge of the books they have read.  The competition is similar in style of the TV series Family Feud.  There will be a raffle for prizes, and everyone receives a t-shirt, lunch, goodie bag, and participation ribbon. Winning team members also receive a medal, gift certificates, and their names will be engraved on a perpetual trophy.

Join the fun at your school. Contact your teacher or librarian for more information: Mrs. Carr at Anacapa; Mrs. Deal at Balboa; Mrs. Hofflund at Cabrill; Mrs. Johnson at DATA; Petra Somar at Sunset.

Look for our display of the books on the list.

Battle of the Books 2013-14

Abbott, Tony        Firegirl     
Dahl, Roald         Boy: Tales of Childhood      
Draper, Sharon      Out of My Mind
DuPrau, Jeanne      City of Ember
Farmer, Nancy       House of the Scorpion
Hesse, Karen        Out of the Dust      
Jimenez, Francisco  Breaking Through       
Kadohata, Cynthia   Kira-Kira      
Kessler, Liz        Tail of Emily Windsnap
Mihaley, James      You Can't Have My Planet, But Take My Brother, Please
Mikaelsen, Ben      Touching Spirit Bear
Nixon, Joan Lowry   Other Side of Dark     
O’Dell, Scott       Black Star, Bright Dawn
Park, Linda Sue     Project Mulberry     
Paver, Michelle     Wolf Brother
Peck, Richard       The Teacher’s Funeral  
Riordan, Rick       The Lightning Thief    
Rylant, Cynthia     Missing May    
Schmidt, Gary       Wednesday Wars
Yolen, Jane         Devil’s Arithmetic  

In memory of 9/11

In May of 1987, I visited family back east.  We decided to take a quick trip to New York City.  We took the Staten Island ferry back to New Jersey and I was able to take some pictures of the World Trade Center from the ferry.  At that time I had no way of knowing that it would be the last time I would ever see the twin towers.


On this anniversary of 9/11 I offer these images in memoriam to those who lost their lives that day and to the memory of a skyline that has changed forever.  Foster Library has many books about 9/11 if you are interested in finding out more about the heroes and events of that day.

Resident Photographer – Aleta A. Rodriguez

FosterCon!

For those looking for something fun and different to do for the Halloween season, you need look no further than our beloved E. P. Foster Library.  On October 26, Foster Library will have its first ever FosterCon Mini Comic Festival. While not quite on the grand scale of the San Diego Comic Con or the Central Coast Comic Con (which was recently held right here in Ventura), our event will still be fun and have something for all ages.

Starting when the doors open at 10:00 and lasting through the evening, our FosterCon will have airbrush tattoos, candy sushi, and coloring for the kids, both art and costume contests, local comic stores selling many wonderful things, local comic artists, a photo booth, and a graphic novel book display. On Sunday, there will be Wii gaming for the teens and a showing of The Avengers, open to all ages. But the part I’m most excited about is our very special guest speaker for Saturday evening. It is none other than Sergio Aragones. Now, if you don’t know who he is, then you must never have read Mad magazine or Groo the Wanderer. He is truly a kind man who has graciously agreed to be our big speaker for this event. He even supplied artwork for event flyer. I’m so excited! I hope you will be too.

For those wanting to participate in the art and/or costume contest, applications will be available at the library, online, and at local comic book shops within the next week. Deadlines and rules will be included for both.

So, if you want to have fun and can’t wait for Halloween, stop by the E. P. Foster Library on October 26. I’ll see you there. Bring your cape.

Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess

Say Cheese!

For transparency’s sake I’ll get to this issue right out front, I have prematurely partaken in the consumption of the pickled orange cauliflower, I was to wait till September 8th, but as Oscar Wilde said, “the only thing I cannot resist is temptation,” I couldn’t, and it was delicious. Crunchy, spicy, garlicky and picklely all combined, just wonderful! Pickling is a must for all serious “David’s dish” devotees.

I guess I have been on a bit of a tear for making fermented food stuffs, so the next logical step would have to be cheese making. I just want cheese to be another fermented food that I can endlessly talk about in front of my co-workers and either have them admit to making it or be encouraged to make some cheese, I know for admitting this a couple of gold stars will be taken away, but it’s the truth.

The cheese making was almost stopped in its tracks for I left the recipe book at work. What would I do? I couldn’t wing it, I needed a source in the form of a book, right? Then, I remembered my Achilles heel that I could turn into strength, the library databases! I’ve heard it said countless times the library databases are our friend’s and by Jove, if this friendship leads to cheese making I’m all for it!

After getting to the E.P Foster Library webpage a few clicks on the computer and staring me in the face was Zinio digital magazines, it’s a program that offers tons of free magazines, including the March 16th Food Network magazine, the cheese issue! The magazine displays beautifully on my tiny iPod. On page 68 of the digital magazine there’s a great recipe for fresh ricotta, a simple well illustrated no fuss no muss recipe. The recipe calls for milk, heavy cream, kosher salt, fresh lemon juice and distilled white vinegar. A little boiling, some draining, and little thinking about the nursery rhythm “Little Miss Muffet” and you are done. You are now officially a cheese maker! Please explore our information rich databases, you won’t be sorry!

*****David’s dish

Check out the book at Foster Library, or put a hold on it - we will send it to you!

https://www.rbdigital.com/venturaca/zinio

Heart Print

CLASSIC MARITIME FISH STORIES (The ones that got away)

        Two of my favorite fish stories are Melville’s MOBY DICK and Hemmingway’s THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. Call me Ishmael, but there is a romantic essence to the dangers of sea faring. And these two authors knew how to spin a good yarn that included hubris and folly. Hemmingway won the Pulitzer for his work in 1953, while Moby Dick is considered one of the finest pieces of American Literature, sometimes given to the moniker, “The Great American Novel”.

     Both Ahab and the old man are, in a sense, monomaniacs. They are both so single minded in the pursuit of their objects that they become oblivious to every thing else. It creates pride, which leads to each of the character’s own downfall. Both of them die before ever obtaining what they truly seek. And neither one ever perceives the inherent folly of his own actions.

    The Sea is a great equalizer for American writers, because the United States is situated along three shores, the Atlantic, Pacific and  Gulf Coasts. Alaska has the most shoreline; and Hawaii is surrounded by the Pacific. The vastness of it creates a canvas upon which a writer can paint many portraits of human travail. And it serves to facilitate the metaphor of how small we are in comparison to nature-that it cannot be tamed… and yet, we can become extinct. This is the overwhelming theme in these two stories. I will begin with Melville here, and then review Hemmingway later.

MOBY DICK By Herman Melville.

    “Call me Ishmael”, is one of the great opening lines of any novel, and sets the tone for 1st person narration. This is the account by a new hire of the great whaling vessel, The Pequod and the man who was its captain, the elusive Ahab. The story is rife with Biblical reference, particularly about the wages of sin and the elusiveness of redemption.

     Ahab walks the deck alone at night to the sound of his peg leg pounding along the gang boards. It is a reminder to those below who have sailed with him many times, about how he came to lose his leg. The Great White Whale, Moby Dick, a giant albino Sperm whale remains the single occupancy of his consciousness. For it was this whale which caused him to wear a peg. And it is this whale that drives him on each voyage of killing and retrieving whales as a business. So much so, that he hammers a gold doubloon to the main mast and offers it to any scalawag who spots the Great White Whale on each voyage.

     The vestigial plot is of the train wreck variety, even though Ahab does not appear before chapter 28 of 135 chapters. There is no conflict moving toward a crisis in Moby Dick, because the crisis is long past, the battle for the soul lost in a summary flashback by the delirium that followed the castrating bite that took off Ahab’s leg. The one emotion that is returned to him is vengeance. Ahab is now shaped in an unalterable mould. The die is cast. All that’s left is the denouement with all the characters-save the narrator, Ishmael -dragged inexorably toward destruction.

     Melville reads the captain as a demagogue, blinded by his own profane quest. Ahab manipulates his crew, squandering his investor’s money and his crew’s lives to satisfy his immoral agenda-piloting his ship toward a doomed conflict with a murderous, uncontrollable, unstoppable monster.

    The whiteness of the whale is “the pallor of the dead” and the “shroud in which we wrap them”. But it is also the most meaningful symbol of spiritual things. Even Que Qui, the tattooed harpooner from the South Pacific who befriends Ishmael, sees in the rolling of some whale bones, the prophecy of their deaths. He becomes immobilized in a spiritual trance knowing the ultimate fate of the ship.

   Eventually, the Pequod rendezvous with the Great White Whale and Ahab takes his vengeance upon it, after the whale broadsides the ship leaving it to sink. He leaps upon the creature with a harpoon and gets caught up in the rope, dragged under by the whale, but not before inflicting it with the harpoon. When he appears on the surface again, his body is tangled in the web of rope, with only a free arm loose. It waves with the motion of the monster, as if beckoning the crew to follow their captain in finishing the job he no longer can. But the ship sinks beneath the waves, leaving only Ishmael as a survivor to tell the story.

     To keep the whale oil burning in a rich man’s lap required the delicate maneuvering of a crew whose demographic diversity predicted America’s future. Caucasians, Indians, African Americans, various islanders are all, as Melville would write, “ federated along one keel”. A misdirected melting pot, it sails on under a man divided and seared by the conflagration raging inside him. Its as if Melville is beckoning us to believe that we are a nation, a species, full of diversity and also of greed and pride, Hubris, ever poised on self-destruction. It could be read as a cautionary tale whose ending he saw as unavoidable extinction.

-Resident Philosopher Doug Taylor

Simply Organic

I went far afield this week in my quest become a legend of the cookery world. A brightly colored book caught my eye, please spare me the, “Don’t judge a book by the cover”, because I do! I believe I’ve just got myself in a pickle by stating the former, but that’s fine because this adventure delves into pickling.

Simply Organic: a cookbook for sustainable, seasonal, and local ingredients, by Jesse Ziff Cool, is the book I fancy this week, and it’s not a book primarily about pickling, in fact, there is only one pickling recipe in the book.  The cookbook possesses a wonderful connection to seasonal relationships with food it begins with spring recipes and ends with winter recipes. Mindful eating is discussed in the book and not imposing our eating believes on others, being respectful of food choices of others. I would love to spend a year strictly following the recipes in the cookbook. It just has so many great recipes and so much insight to the world of healthy food.
 
I’ll stop gushing and get down to the nitty-gritty of pickling cauliflower. Yes, I chose the Pickled Cauliflower recipe, orange cauliflower, because we all know “the Dish” must cook with panache! The preparation and ingredients are simple, just steam some cauliflower then add vinegar, garlic, jalapenos and a few other ingredients then your set. The whole deal took about 20 minutes, no problem. The results, the pickled cauliflower will be ready in two weeks or so, I’ll post them next time. I highly recommend this cookbook!

 *****David’s Dish

Check out the book at Foster Library, or put a hold on it - we will send it to you!
If there are any cookbooks in Foster Library’s collection that you would like me to try out, please leave the title on our Facebook page and I’ll get cooking.

San Buenaventura Mission

Mission San Buenaventura is a Spanish mission founded in 1782 by the Franciscan order in present-day Ventura, California. It was the ninth and final Spanish mission established in California by Father Junípero Serra. Named for Saint Bonaventure, the mission is the namesake of the city of Ventura (officially "San Buenaventura") and Ventura County.

In 1793, the first church burned down. In 1893, Father Cyprian Rubio "modernized" the interior of the church, painting over the original artwork; when he finished, almost nothing remained of the old church. New priests restored the church to its original style in 1957. Today all that remains of the original Mission is the church and its garden. Services are still held in the parish church. A small museum sits at the Mission with displays of Chumash Indian artifacts and mission-era items.

To find out more, Foster Library has books on the Missions of California as well as information about Father Junipero Serra.

Resident Photographer - Aleta Rodriguez

Paws for Reading at E.P. Foster Library

 

For the past seven years we have had help from furry, four legged friends with reading.  Yes, you read right, furry, four legged friends. 

On just about every Saturday, you can find certified therapy dogs sitting in the library listening to the most interesting stories.  School age children come in and can read in a calm, non-pressure environment.  Dogs don’t criticize or correct their pronunciation. Doggie “Moms” sit with the dogs and children to give a hand with complex words and encourage timid kids.  Paws for Reading is not a tutoring program but a program that encourages children to improve their reading skills and helps to build their self esteem.

As part of their mission statement, Paws for Reading aims to improve the literacy skills of children through the assistance of registered Service teams as literacy advocates. Literacy specialists acknowledge that children reading below their peers in reading skills are often intimidated by reading aloud in a group, frequently have lower self esteem and typically view reading as a chore.

A study at UC Davis (Feb 2010) showed that kids in reading dog programs increase their reading skills by 12% to 20% over kids not in a reading dog program. Because our volunteers are certified as therapy dog teams, they can also visit hospitals, nursing homes and other locations.

Learning to read is often less about intellectual limitation than about overcoming fears. Animals are ideal reading companions because they:
• Help increase relaxation and lower blood pressure
• Listen attentively
• Do not judge, laugh, or criticize
• Allow children to proceed at their own pace
• Are less intimidating than peers

When a dog is listening, the environment is transformed, a child’s dread is replaced by eager anticipation, and learning occurs.  The handler is a skilled facilitator, too – shifting performance pressure off the child and providing support, while the child gets the reading practice necessary to build vocabulary, increase understanding of the material, and gain fluency as a reader.  Can dogs help kids learn to read better?  It seems they can and help turn reading from a chore to fun.

The E.P. Foster Paws for Reading program has also been the beneficiary of a generous grant from Sage Publications that has provided not only dog treats for the hard work the dogs do but also enables us to give a free book to each child participating in our program.

If you are interested in signing up to read to one of our Paws for Reading dogs, call Star Soto at 648-2716.

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