Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Library

I'm back with an old love. Kickin' it old school, so to speak.

I'm gonna stop buying new (and crazy expensive) books and start going to the library.

When did this madness begin? When did I start trolling the aisles of bookstores to buy $24 paperback books (that's right, the most recent paperback I wanted to buy was $24 at B&N!), instead of supporting one of the most fantastic, most steadfast, most democratic institutions that local government has to offer?

When I was a kid, my mom took my brother and I to the local library all the time. Not only were there all the books a young bibliophile could love, but there were fun kids' seating areas, art displays... and I'm pretty sure there were hamsters. And the smell - ahhhhh, the smell! Two parts musty, one part anticipation. I loved it!

My book buying habits must have started when I moved to Dupont Circle, where there are some pretty great bookstores, including the granddaddy of Dupont independent booksellers, Krammerbooks. There's also an amazing used book store, Second Story Books. (I'm not giving up on my used book buying - thrifty, perfect for overseas travel, and a great example of "recycling".)

It's now gotten to the point where I'm spending big bucks on books, and I don't have any more room on my bookshelves. So this weekend, I went to my local public library.

Heaven! They have an amazing biography/autobiography section (I'm reading a biography of Marie Antoinette now. I adore Sofia Coppola's movie about the teen queen, and this book is adding a whole new dimension for me). They also have notices about interesting local events - I found out about a hike through a local branch of the Underground Railroad that happens every Saturday. Who knew!? Plus, it's a true mixing bowl - every type of person in the community can be found in the library.

If you live in DC - please visit the main branch! The MLK Library is downtown, at 9th & G, and there's an area where you can buy books for $1! Why can you buy books there for $1? Because those books come from libararies that are under-funded and under-patronized, and DC is shutting them down. So that's the moral of the story - support your local library, or someday it might not be there anymore...

Monday, October 20, 2008

This is embarassing

"Despite major suppression and violence, and an almost-total boycott by Sunnis, Iraq still turned out a higher percentage of voters than we did last time around..."
-GOOD Magazine, "Why Vote?" Nov/Dec 08, p. 78


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tranquil Space Foundation Gala

I'm going to a terrific charity event tomorrow night - The Tranquil Space Foundation Gala. If you are in the DC area and have some time on Thursday, you should come on by! There will be a great crowd, live music, and some truly incredible silent auction items. Best of all, the Gala supports a wonderful cause. Find more info HERE.

Hope to see you tomorrow night!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Long Distance Salad

If you live on the East Coast and buy one of those pre-washed salads-in-a-bag at your local grocery store, did you know that your salad probably made a cross-country journey from California?!

The November/December 2008 issue of GOOD Magazine (p.62) highlights produce company Atlantic Organic and its sister packing company, Locally Known. Maine-based Atlantic Organic produces salad greens on the East Coast, thereby dramatically reducing the "carbon cost" of salad. In other words, significantly less fuel is used to transport the salad.

Most other pre-washed, ready-to-eat salads in your East Coast grocery store come all the way from California's Salinas Valley. That's an awful lot of mileage on my salad before it ever hits my dinner plate...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

May Those Who Help The Most Win

In honor of it's 10th anniversary, Google is sponsoring a contest called "Project 10 to the 100th." They are soliciting great ideas that will help as many people as possible, and they have committed $10 million to help put the top five ideas into action.

Submissions are due October 20th. So give it a shot... and may those who help the most win!