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Photo Friday: Icy Mornings

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning …

Wm. Wordsworth (1770-1850)

If you were lucky enough to be on campus this morning, you would have seen thick, magical ice, worn like a winter coat on every branch and shrub. When students return to campus on March 7 after Spring Break, morning scenes like this may be rare until next winter, so enjoy it while you may. 


Photo by Joanne Quinn. 


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WEATHER ALERT: NO SERVICE DESK HOURS TODAY

service alert

Due to the weather, the Library service desk will be unavailable today, Jan. 29. The building is open 24/7 for Villanova students, faculty, and staff. A Wildcard is required for entry, and a mask must be worn while visiting. Electronic resources (article, e-books, and more!) will be available during this period.


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Caturday: Bombogenesis: not just a bomb Genesis cover band name

Students walking to Mendel Hall in the snow.
It’s a little known fact that Gregor Mendel published more scientific articles on meteorology than he did on pea-plant breeding. Apparently, he was quite the weatherman in his day, serving as an official weather observer in 19-century Moravia.

Trivia fact! Mendel adapted the word rauchnebel, meaning “smoke-fog” 42 years before a London physician coined the word “smog,” according to this article.

Hence, we’re sure he would have been particularly interested in this weekend’s forecast for a “bombogenesis” effect on the Atlantic coast. The students in the above photo are experiencing the beginning of this linguistically exciting forecast as they go to their class in Mendel Hall, so named for the moonlighting meteorologist.


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Everything But the Shark Week: Considering the Lobsters

Everything but the shark week banner

American lobster, Homarus americanus, in front of white background

Lobsters have not always gotten respect, nor were they the gourmet delicacy we consider them today. In American Colonial times, the creature (aka the “cockroach of the sea”) washed up to the shore so plentifully (reportedly in two feet wide by two feet deep piles), that it was used as bait or fertilizer for crops, and consumed mostly as a very inexpensive source of protein.

Colonists saw how this leggy harvest provided a prodigious food source for the American Indians, and followed suit; in fact, lobster was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. But it was so plentiful that people complained about having to eat it too often; urban legends abound that prisoners and servants would sue in order to not be fed lobster more than three times a week.

Ultimately, advances in canning, refrigeration and transportation allowed city dwellers and those in non-coastal areas to sample the creature’s delicious meat, creating a demand that resulted in people willing to pay top dollar for it.

According to the State of Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), the value of the state’s commercially harvested marine resources exceeded over $600 million dollars in 2018, making it the second highest year on record. Lobsters accounted for over 75% of this bounty, landing almost 120 million pounds.

And yet, lobstermen still call them bugs!

But enough about food. We’re here to tell you that the creatures themselves are amazing even when they are not covered in butter on a grilled split-top bun! Lobsters are one of a kind in the animal kingdom. For example, did you know….

  • The word origin of lobster:  If you think about it (but don’t think too hard, because you don’t want to lose your appetite,) lobsters do look like bugs. At least the Romans and Medieval British thought so. The word lobster comes from the Old English loppestre, which is related to the O.E. word for spider: loppe. Phonetically, this eventually merged with the Latin word the Romans used: locusta, or locust, creating the word lobster.
  • Anatomy: Lobsters are very closely related to insects. They are classified as an arthropodic, decapodic (10-legged) crustacea with a soft and flexible exoskeleton. They use some of those legs to eat, as they have chemosensory leg and feet hair that can catch and taste food. They can regenerate their legs, claws and antennae, and will even amputate themselves to escape danger. They come in an assortment of colors ( but only turn red when in hot water!) And here’s something you will never unsee–have you ever noticed the difference between a lobster’s two front claws? One is a pincer, and one is a crusher.
  • A reputation for cannibalism: A lobster’s preferred diet consists of crabs, sea stars, and sea urchins. But the rubber band that one sees on the lobster claws at pounds and restaurants is not to protect fishermen or diners, but to protect other lobsters as they, like the rest of us, love to eat lobster when hungry.
  • They are eaten best fresh: The reason why lobsters are kept in tanks in a restaurant is because they taste best fresh.  John Steinbeck, in Travels with Charley, visited Deer Isle, Maine, and advised that “eating lobster is as much about the experience as the taste itself. We sat with our feet dangling over the water, flicking the shells back from were they came.”

Lobster-link-alooza! A shellabration of info:

  • The University of Maine maintains a Lobster Institute. In its mission is to conduct and promote research and sustainability of lobster fishery in the US and Canada, it provides an exhaustive online list of all things lobster, including scholarly articles.
  • Searchable Sea Literature: your new favorite nautical news site, edited by Richard J. King.
  • Lobster economics from howstuffworks.com
  • Word etymology from foodie magazine Bon Appetit. Dig deeper on the site to find their lobster roll recipe-but any mayo is too much mayo, IMHO.
  • The Lobster Conservancy: not updated since 2010, but still loads of lobster 411.

Check out these resources, available at Falvey, or through interlibrary loan:

Inspirational in literature and pop culture:

  • Alice In Wonderland danced the Lobster Quadrille and stated, “Tis the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare, You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair!”
  • Comic book hero Lobster Johnson was created by Mike Mignola. This character is part of the Hellboy universe and may be based on a real-life vigilante.
  • Wonderment and misconceptions about oceans and lobsters conjured fictitious sea monsters on medieval maps.  And Jules Verne raged, in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, “My blood curdled when I saw enormous antennae blocking my road, or some frightful claw closing with a noise in the shadow of some cavity…”

In Poetry:

Too many poets to mention were inspired by lobsters, but check out New Englander poets Troy Jollimore and Ann Sexton; Scottish Orcadian George Mackey Brown, and even Jersey’s Walt Whitman’s A Song of Joys for wonderful lobster-verse.

In Books: 

Stephen King: One might think that as the reigning king of Maine-based fiction, SK would often feature lobsters, but seems to only have featured them as lobstrosities in The Dark Tower (begins in 1982) series.

The other King, Richard J., is a better source. He is an educator, author, illustrator, and edits the online reference site Searchable Sea Literature. (Incidentally, had his first lobster at the Main Line Seafood in Ardmore!) His book Lobster (2011) is must-read for a compendium of fun lobster facts and history.

Stewart O’Nan, who has collaborated with Stephen King, wrote Last Night at the Lobster, (2007) a novel which takes place over the course of the final shift at a Red Lobster being permanently closed by corporate, and the impact of it on its local blue-collar workers and clientele.

David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster  (2005) essay visits the Maine Lobster Festival (cancelled this year because of COVID), where PETA usually makes an appearance. DFW articulates troubling questions about lobster and whether they feel pain; asking hey, don’t they behave like you or I would if thrown into a boiling pot of water?

Linda Greenlaw – who was featured in Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm, takes readers though a lobster season in The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island (2002) and these days writes a Maine-based mystery series.

Cozy Mystery series involving lobsters  – What’s a cozy you ask? Amateur sleuths solving kooky crimes while juggling a day job such as lobster-fishing. Series involving lobsters in the mix include authors Barbara Ross, Shari Randall, among others.

Elizabeth GilbertStern Men (2000) From the author of the popular Eat, Pray, Love, is her debut novel about life, love and lobster-fishing.

Duncan MacMillan –  The Most Humane Way to Kill a Lobster (2012) – This British play utilizes lobster cooking metaphors of deep freezes and slow boils to mirror a midlife crisis.

Elisabeth Towsend, Lobsters (2011) Part of an 89(!) book series on food and history.

Trevor Corson’s The Secret Life of Lobsters (2009) – for a look at lobsters when they think we aren’t looking.

Nancy Frazier’s I, Lobster: A Crustacean Odyssey (2012) explores the lobster as symbols in art, myth and science.

Christopher White‘s The Last Lobster (2018) Examines the boom and possible crash of the lobster industry. Warnings to conserve began as early as 1900, with the poet Holman F. Day’s message to lobsters: “tell the dodo that you saw us when you lived down here in Maine.”

Also, surprisingly, in our online collection is a cute children’s picture book by Martha Rustad called (not surprisingly) Lobsters (2008).

And, finally, if you’re thinking about going into the business, don’t miss Bruce PhillipsLobsters: Biology, Management, Fisheries and Aquaculture (2013) for exhaustive coverage of lobster biology, management, and conservation. This book is one of hundreds of print or online resources on the business of lobstering in our collection.


Your reward for scrolling this far:

Phoebe Buffay

Phoebe Buffay says See, He’s her lobster!

 

…and of course, Phoebe Buffay from Friends provides your #1 lobster fact: “It’s a known fact that lobsters fall in love and mate for life!”


Hungry for more?

If you’re on your way down east, don’t miss Reds’ Eats in Wicasset, Maine. But, according to the New York Times, be prepared to spend a bit this year, as lobster rolls are reportedly up to $34 each  (but still worth every bite.) #blamethepandemic.

Or, stay in town and check out the Cousins Maine Lobster truck schedule­–they bring the lobster to you…and even found time to write a book about how they do it.


Joanne Quinn

Joanne Quinn ’15 MA, ’84 CLAS is Director of Communication and Marketing at Falvey Memorial Library. She will pay $34.00 for a lobster roll if she has to. 

 


 


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Service Alert for Thursday, Feb. 18

  • Posted by: Joanne Quinn
  • Posted Date: February 18, 2021
  • Filed Under: Library News
SERVICE ALERT

Service Alert

 

NO LIBRARY SERVICE, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18  

Due to the University’s weather-related closure, regular library services will be unavailable on Thursday, February 18. The library building will remain open to Wildcard holders.

This afternoon’s Digital Seeds event,   “Mapping Indigenous Landowners in 19th-Century Los Angeles: Historicizing GIS and the Public Land Survey System” with Julia Lewandoski, PhD is still being held at 4PM today. There is still time to REGISTER at: https://villanova.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUocO2tqT0vHdfYKOozZsT6TmZMWLTE4csE


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Service Alert: Tuesday, February 2

  • Posted by: Joanne Quinn
  • Posted Date: February 2, 2021
  • Filed Under: Library News

Service Alert: Due to the weather, Library services will continue to be unavailable on Tuesday, Feb. 2. The building is open 24/7 for Villanova students, faculty, and staff. A Wildcard is required for entry and a mask must be worn while visiting. Electronic resources (article, e-books, and more!) will be available during this period.


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Foto Friday: Why all eyes are on Pennsylvania this fall

Fall scene outside SAC

Spectacular fall foliage on campus


All eyes are on Pennsylvania this November–and it’s not just for the reason that you’re probably thinking of! Did you know that the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) claims that the Keystone State has longest leaf-peeping season in the world?

(Yes, the whole world!)

Our unique, sweet spot between 40° and 42° north latitude with its varied topography in eastern North America rivals only two other places in the world (the British Isles and Northeastern China and northern Japan,) as the perfect habitat for 134 species of deciduous trees and many more shrubs and vines which display a wide array of wondrous autumn colors.

So it’s not just red, white, and blue on display in Pennsylvania this fall this year–it’s red, blazing orange, terracotta, sun-baked pumpkin, deep cayenne, honey gold, and much, much more! Your next world class experience is as close as a walk around Villanova’s beautiful campus!

Enjoy the following links to Pennsylvania’s DCNR, which includes road trip maps (including where to stop for a pumpkin-flavored gob – yes, please!!) as well as to other states’ wobbly claims to the foliage crown, kindly compiled by Merrill Stein, Geography and the Environment subject librarian.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/Conservation/ForestsAndTrees/FallFoliageReports/Pages/default.aspx – Pennsylvania has a longer and more varied fall foliage season than any other state in the nation — or anywhere in the world. (Foliage map included)

Fall Foliage Prediction Map
https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/

Connecticut
https://www.ctvisit.com/articles/connecticut-fall-foliage-report – Connecticut’s foliage season typically runs longer compared to northern New England states

Adirondack Region
https://visitadirondacks.com/what-to-do/fall-foliage

Vermont
https://foliage.org/state/vermont/vermont-foliage-tour/

Denver
https://www.denver.org/things-to-do/day-trips-around-colorado/fall-foliage/


Joanne Quinn is Director of Communication and Marketing. Thanks to Villanova University’s Grounds Maintenance for our beautiful campus landscape.


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Foto Friday: One Day at a Time

  • Posted by: Joanne Quinn
  • Posted Date: October 2, 2020
  • Filed Under: Library News
autumn leaf

A sign of autumn found on SAC roadway.

 

“Only with a leaf

can I talk of the forest,”

Visar Zhiti, The Condemned Apple: Selected Poetry

A pretty couplet for fall, suitable for embroidery. But a search on VUFind quickly reveals a more lamentable provenance of these lines composed by Albanian poet Visar Zhiti. Composed-not written, as much of the collection from which this line was taken is from the time of Zhiti’s imprisonment for writing poetry deemed as anti-Communist propaganda during the repressive Hoxha regime (1941-1985). While incarcerated, he had no access to writing materials, yet still composed poetry as a way to keep his sanity. He memorized over a hundred poems over ten years, finally transcribing them upon his release. A volume of  Zhiti’s work is entitled “The Condemned Apple,” and is available via E-ZBorrow and interlibrary loan.

Segel, H. (2012). Visar Zhiti: (b. 1952). In The Walls Behind the Curtain: East European Prison Literature, 1945–1990 (pp. 64-69). Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctt7zwb06.12

Photo by Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication & Marketing at Falvey. 


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’Caturday: It’s Hammock Time!

  • Posted by: Joanne Quinn
  • Posted Date: August 22, 2020
  • Filed Under: Library News
Student studies on hammock tied between two trees between the library and Mendel Hall.

Masked student studies on hammock tied to two trees between the library and Mendel Hall.

 

As M.C. Hammer once said, ring the bell – school’s back in, ’Cats!! We hope that you’re settling in, and following the Caritas Commitment! Please let us know if you have any questions about the many covid-related changes at the library that you might not be used to yet.
Here’s a tip: be like this Wildcat that we spotted from our library window, and find creative ways to keep social distancing while on campus! He’s proving that there’s nothing like comfy solitude to help you concentrate on your reading! To help you remember, print out this mini-poster to decorate those fresh new dorm walls of yours! Click image to open larger version. V’s Up, masks on, and stay safe, ’Cats!


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Larry Kramer, trailblazing AIDS activist, leaves bold legacy of work

  • Posted by: Joanne Quinn
  • Posted Date: June 25, 2020
  • Filed Under: Library News

Larry Kramer (1935-2020)

 

HIRAM: If so many of you are so upset about what’s happening, why do I only hear from this loudmouth?

NED: That’s a very good question.

In this scene from Act two, Scene 9 from The Normal Heart, Hiram Keebler, Assistant to the Mayor of New York City, is meeting in a dank basement meeting room in New York City Hall with two local constituents who’ve just been kept waiting two hours to see him. It is 1981, and the men, although friends, have been constantly at odds as founders of the fledgling Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a foundation trying to raise awareness and funding for a mysterious and still unnamed virus primarily affecting gay men. These characters, Ned Weeks and Bruce Wilder, are frustrated with how the media and city administration have sidelined and ignored what they characterized as a ‘gay disease.’ In fact, at that time, AIDS was called GRID, which stood for gay-related immune deficiency.
Brad Davis, D. W. Moffett, Concetta Tomei, and Phillip Richard Allen in The Normal Heart

Brad Davis, D. W. Moffett, Concetta Tomei, and Phillip Richard Allen in The Normal Heart Off-Broadway. Martha Swope© NYPL for the Performing Arts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinly veiled and easy to tag to real life events, this scene is an apt representation of scenes from the life of Larry Kramer, the playwright and pioneering AIDS activist, who died last month at the age of 84. Fiery. Pugnacious. Combative, cantankerous, and complicated. These words are repeated over and over to describe both Kramer and Weeks, the character he is based on in this semi-autobiographical play, as I review his tributes and obituaries from worldwide publications.

You may recognize Kramer’s name from bestselling book lists, or from his reproachful New York Native essay “1112 and Counting”, or from his frequent appearances on award show like the Tonys and Emmys, or from his recently re-surfaced verbal wars with America’s present day COVID-19 rock, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, MD, NIAID director.  Personally, I found him to be the most memorable real-life character in the book “And the Band Played On,” the seminal text on the AIDS crisis written by Randy Shilts in 1987. This vast tome traced the AIDS timeline from Patient Zero through the many governmental administrative failures which refused to recognize or fund the disease in a timely fashion. Larry Kramer was the book’s fearless and bodacious anti-hero: a rude, brash loudmouth with the sole dream to simply save the lives of his friends and lovers.

Pride Month presents a fitting time to remember this this LGBTQ icon though his legacy of material, gathered by Falvey’s English and Theatre librarian, Sarah Wingo.
Explore more about Larry Kramer:
  • THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME “When the seed of West Side Story’s “Somewhere” is planted into the soul of a gay child, the quest of the film begins. Nine inter-connected scenes interpret this landmark theatrical event, while charting a molten course through the depths and shallows of the urban gay male experience. From the late-night club crawl to the buff-bunny gyms, from the threat of anti-gay violence to the place where condemnation, compromises and closets are a thing of the past, the film exposes the sexual, spiritual, and political yearnings at the heart of gay America.”
  • THE WORLD TURNED: ESSAYS ON GAY HISTORY, POLITICS, AND CULTURE. Distinguished historian and leading gay-rights activist John D’Emilio show how gay issues moved from the margins to the center of national consciousness during the critical decade of the 1990s.
  • LEGACY PROJECT. LARRY KRAMER IN CONVERSATION WITH GEORGE C. WOLFE  American theater’s most exciting and esteemed writers together in conversation—watch as current and established creators share their struggles, triumphs, and advice, and get an intimate glimpse into their creative process. This episode features George C. Wolfe (Jelly’s Last Jam) interviewing Larry Kramer (The Normal Heart) in his home.
  • THE OUT LIST  The OUT List features a diverse cross-section of accomplished leaders from entertainment, business, sports, and public service sharing intimate stories on childhood, understanding gender, and sexuality, building careers while out and reflecting on the challenges still facing the LGBT community.
  • Kramer’s New York Times obituary

Joanne QuinnJoanne Quinn is Director of Communication and Marketing at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Last Modified: June 25, 2020