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Tall tales

The Weather Bug says it is -17F here in southern Minnesota. That's -27C for those of you living in civilized places. Wind chill factor is predicted to be -35F (I don't think the Celsius scale goes this low.) I asked the LWW to remind me again just why we live here. She didn't have a convincing answer.

The temps did put me in mind of this old Paul Bunyan tall tale:

Well now, one winter it was so cold that all the geese flew backward and all the fish moved south and even the snow turned blue. Late at night, it got so frigid that all spoken words froze solid afore they could be heard. People had to wait until sunup to find out what folks were talking about the night before. ... from Babe the Blue Ox retold by S. E. Schlosser

Actually that year Schlosser describes was fairly mild. When I was a little boy growing up on the prairie, we had a winter so cold that our words didn't thaw until springtime. It was so noisy that June, a person needed ear plugs.

I absolutely loved tall tales as a kid. How many of these do you remember?

  • Paul Bunyan the Lumberjack
  • Pecos Bill the Cowboy
  • Febold Feboldson the Farmer
  • Stormalong the Sailor
  • Casey Jones and John Henry the Railroad Men
  • Mike Fink the Riverboat Man
  • Joe Magarac a Steel Worker

And whose tales did I forget?

Who should our tall tales be written about today? What occupations characterize heroic deeds and challenges?

  • Chip Motherboard the IT Manager
  • Susie Subprime the Realtor
  • J.P. Speculator the Futures Trader
  • Jean Genome the Genetic Engineer
  • Twelve Squarefeet the Cubicle Worker

With the right imagination, I suspect pretty good deeds of derring-do could be constructed for most of today's workers. Stuff to amaze and inspire.

Do today's kids read tall tales or have Babe the Ox and Slue-Foot Sue been thrown over for super heroes and urban myth? I'm feeling old.

Talk to you again - in the spring?


Not the Paul I remember, but... 




Get on the stick, Minnesota librarians!

Check this out, Minnesota librarians:

23 Things On a Stick Officially Begins January 20, 2008.
You will find all the details and be able to register your blog that day.

In the meantime, here is the Intro!

Have you ever thought, ”Gosh, I wish I had time to learn more about Flickr , wikis , or (enter your Web 2.0 tool here)?” Well, this is your chance to take the time to focus on your personal and professional development around Web 2.0 tools. It’s fun to explore these tools and figure out ways to use them in the library, with your personal Web sites, or in other ways.

23 Things On a Stick is the Minnesota twist on the Library Learning 2.0 program developed by Helene Blowers at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenberg County and adopted or adapted byhot_dog_and_fries_on_a_stick.jpg many other libraries and organizations since then. 23 Things On a Stick was developed by the seven multitype multicounty library systems as part of the staff development the multitypes offer in their regions.

Who Can Participate
This program is open to all staff in any Minnesota library—public, academic, school, or special—as well as members of their Governing Boards, their Friends groups, or Advisory Groups. 23 Things on a Stick is approved for Minnesota Voluntary Certification for Library Employees and CEUs . Experienced Web 2.0 users as well as novices and everyone in between are invited to join. This is self-paced and self-directed.

Registration begins January 20, 2008. You must register your blog by February 15 and then complete all 23 Things by April 16, during National Library Week.

23 Things on a Stick will be a breakout session on January 28 at the MEMO Midwinter Conference. School librarians and everyone else are invited to attend the Monday sessions to learn more and begin completing the 23 Things on a Stick. You do not need to attend MEMO Midwinter to participate.

Thanks to the Multitype Directors and Minitex for helping get this going. It'll be great fun. I'll gettin' my prize come National Library Week! I can only hope it is a new Jaguar or round the world cruise!

Great name by the way. For non-Minneostans, state fair goer can find nearly anything they care to eat "on a stick."  


Official Politically Correct Handbook

It always goes against my better judgement to post a "joke" that's been sent to me via e-mail. And posting jokes tends to come back to bite me in the butt. But I thought this was very clever... Doug (who is a Uniquely Coordinated and Chronologically Gifted American)

Rudolph.jpgThe other night we were reading to our pre-adults one of our favorite holiday stories, Rudolph the Nasally Empowered Reindeer.  It’s the moving story of how Rudolph leads the struggle to secure fair working conditions from the bearded slave driver. (For every 4 hours on the job, the reindeer rank and file receive a ninety minute dinner break, and three fifteen minute breaks. The mandatory retirement age is lowered to eight years, after which the reindeer receive a full pension and lifetime health care.)  This tale remains a poignant reminder of how important it is to be sensitive to the needs of others. 

So in that spirit, we would like to share with you a few helpful tips from the Official Politically Correct Handbook.  Lest your next conversation turn out to be an incomplete success, be sure to use the correct terms noted below, which are followed by their definitions.

Differently interesting.  Boring.  Also: charm-free
Alternatively schooled. Uneducated; illiterate
Indefinitely idled.  Unemployed.  See also: involuntarily leisured; nonwaged; occupationally dispossessed
Alternative dentition. False teeth
Uniquely proficient.  Incompetent
Chronologically gifted.  Old.  See also: experientially enhanced; longer living; mature; senior; seasoned
Client of the correctional system.  A prisoner.  See also: guest
Cruelty-free products.  Products that do not contain animal ingredients and are not tested on animals.  Example:  Despite the fact that her perfume was cruelty-free, Lucinda was denied a seat in the discretionary-fragrance-free
section of her favorite restaurant
Deficiency achievement. A nonjudgmental educational term meaning “failure.”
Canine-American. A dog who resides in the United States
Handi-capable. Gifted with a physical disability.  Similar: “stutterrific“ (for a person who stutters), “squintessentially great” (for an individual who squints), and for the brain-dead or permanently comatose, “veget-able.”
Horizontally challenged.  Fat.  See also: alternative body image; differently sized
Incomplete success.  Failure.
Knowledge-base nonpossessor.  A person, especially a student, who know absolutely nothing about a given subject; an ignoramus
Least best.  Worst
Additional preparation.  A nonjudgmental educational term for “remedial instruction.” The word “remedial” is unacceptable because it “blames” students by implying they have a deficiency which needs to be corrected.
Advanced readiness seminars.  Special classes for students who need
additional preparation
Mineral companion.  Nonkingdomist term for “pet rock”
Morally different.  Dishonest; immoral; evil.  Example:  Pol Pot was a morally different person
Motivationally deficient. Lazy. Because the word “deficient” has the quality of “blaming the victim” for a condition more properly attributed to the failures of society, this phrase is more and more frequently being replaced by the less judgmental motivationally dispossessed.
Nondiscretionary fragrance.  A natural body odor  Example: “I sense the nondiscretionary fragrance of a rodent-American,” observed the suspicious detective.
Non-goal-oriented members of society.  A nonjudgmental term for those who were once dismissed as “bums.”
Hand-held American.  A puppet designed, built, or manipulated by a person born or residing in the United States
Nontraditional shopper.  Looter, shoplifter.
Diagnostic misadventure of high magnitude.  Accidental death of a hospital patient caused by malpractice during the examination process.  An accidental death caused by the treatment itself is known as a therapeutic misadventure.
Non-living person.  A culturally sensitive synonym for “corpse.”
Batchild. nonsexist alternative to batboy.  Example: “That’s not an error-that’s a differently fielded grounder!” exclaimed the batchild to the ballchild as the shortstop bobbled the ball.
Uniquely coordinated.  Clumsy
Difficult to serve.  Nonjudgmental educators’ term for “anti-social.” Example: Mr. Wambash was robbed at gunpoint by one of his difficult to serve students
Waitron.  “A person of either sex who waits on tables; waiter or waitress.” Example: “Waitron, there’s a nonhuman animal in my soup!”

If you haven’t already been employing these terms, then this is the best time to start.

Tonight our pre-adults will be treated to Frosty the Persun of Snow.  It’s the touching story of one brave Snowpersun’s struggle to raise awareness of the frightful effects of Global Warming. Frosty heroically leads a March on Washington D.C. but in the process, Frosty slowly, tragically turns into slush.