The next time you enjoy a bit of honey in your tea or drizzled across a freshly baked biscuit, take a moment to consider where it came from. In case you missed it, honey bees are under attack. A mysterious diseased called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been killing hundreds of thousands of them each year, with no cure or explanation in sight. Why should you care about an insect that has the power to inflict painful stings? Without bees there would be very little food. In fact, author and beekeeper Gloria Havenhand tells us that one out of every three mouthfulls of food is from a pollinated crop.
David Arrick's and Janice Kollar's "The Butch Bakery Cookbook" is full of unique cupcakes to make your desserts a little, well, manlier. Cupcakes made with beer, frosting with a dash of Jack Daniels, and of course two cupcake recipes topped with bacon bits. And don't worry--all the recipes that do use alcohol have virgin alternatives if that's your preference. Clear instructions make the delightfully new ideas easy to make and the sheer variety of frosting flavors makes this book a must try even if you don't grow hair on your chest.
T. C. Boyle fans who braved the rainy weather to see him speak at Headquarters Thursday night were rewarded with an entertaining evening. Boyle has published 13 novels and many short stories. He is known for his creative imagination and slightly off-kilter perspective. Using actual events for the framework of many of his novels, Boyle invents characters and situations to examine controversial issues.
His latest novel "When the Killing's Done" is a good example of this technique. Boyle told the audience about both the real events that inspired the novel and the unrelated details from his personal life that he used to enhance the story. "When the Killing's Done" illustrates a conflict between ecologists and animal rights activists over the question of eradicating invasive species on the Channel Islands off Santa Barbara, California. One member of the audience congratulated Boyle on the way his novels present all sides of an issue. This novel is no exception.
Hobbyists have no better resource than SLCL, especially when learning something new or needing renewed inspiration. Among my newest hobbies is needle felting and so I have used the library's collection for new ideas and to learn the fine points of the art.
AlterKnits Felt: Imaginative Projects for Knitting and Felting by Leigh Radford. This book is best for knitters who want to learn felting. But there are some good basics and the lay-out of this book is very clean and pleasing.
On my way to work last week, this song came on KDHX. It sounded like acoustic folk with Cotton-style finger picking. The lyrics connect the names Emmylou and June with Graham and Johnny. My pinfeathers go pimply and jut out straight. The harmonies remind me of those two Swedish sisters I found on YouTube a couple of years ago, doing a cover of the Fleet Foxes "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song."
Soviet composer Dmitry Shostakovich (1906-1975) wrote 15 symphonies. His Seventh Symphony, the "Leningrad," was composed in response to the Second World War, with its first three movements written in the besieged city of the same name. The amount of attention the work received in the west-particularly for a Soviet work-was unprecedented for this time. The "Leningrad" Symphony was the most significant and far-reaching piece of musical propaganda to emerge from the Second World War. Musically, the work is best known for its development section in the first movement, which fails to develop much of anything. Instead it is an "invasion" theme-a set of 12 variations most often unflatteringly compared to Ravel's "Bolero."
Fans of goth from Evanescence and The Fallen, should consider checking out "Within Temptation" from a Dutch band called The Unforgiving. The Unforgiving features a female lead vocalist with a full-bodied delivery, lots of fast guitar riffs, and the epic bombast that makes goth so engrossing. Within Temptation is a concept album based on a series of short films and graphic novels, but The Unforgiving rise above the normal concept album constraints because the songs stand on their own. Themes of good against evil and a torrid, star-crossed affair run throughout, but the hooks and choruses are magnetic. Even having no idea of the storyline, there is a desire to twist the knob on the car's CD player to maximum volume.
--Cindy F., Headquarters
If your favorite etiquette book contains instructions on leaving calling cards with a butler, it may be time to check out a few newer books. Classic books on manners may not address unanswered emails, posting unflattering photos on Facebook, or taking cell phone calls during dinner. In "Social Q's: How to Survive the Quirks, Quandaries, and Quagmires of Today" Philip Galanes collects a questions he received for his column in the "New York Times" Sunday Styles section. With an irreverent and witty approach, Galanes offers advice on many facets of modern life including online dating and surviving the holiday season.