ala annual, part two — washington, d.c.

The Blog Salon was definitely the highlight of the social events at ALA. I met a few new interesting folk, as well as got to chat with a few folks I had met previously.

I had an illuminating conversation with an advocate for games in libraries who gave me a different perspective of gamer society, particularly how casual games fit in. My skills with the console and arcade games of the 80s and early 90s were rudimentary at best, and I haven’t tried anything since then. He let me play a basic game on his portable game device that was fairly simple to pick up and learn without instructions. Sure, the first person shooters and “twitch” games, as he called them, are quite popular, but “casual” games have been booming as well.

Come to think of it, thanks to Blogcritics, I’ve had a chance to play with and review a few casual games over the past year, and by his definition, that makes me a gamer. Weird. Anyway, it has me thinking of how we could use games as a way of making the library a friendlier place for our students, and what kinds of games would work with some of the general education curriculum.

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shhhh cowboy

New York style roots rock that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

cover of Some Other PlaceMost Blogcritics readers are familiar with Jon Sobel as a witty and thoughtful music critic, but probably few know that Sobel is also a musician and songwriter. His band, Whisperado, has an EP that should be in every literate music fan’s collection.

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“It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon

A Prairie Home Companion® – 30th Broadcast Season Celebration

The first live program of A Prairie Home Companion® was broadcast on July 6, 1974 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Garrison Keillor developed the idea of having a radio show with musical guests, drama sketches, and advertisements for fake products, and it ran for thirteen years before going off the air. A few years later, Keillor re-started the program in New York City as The American Radio Company™ where it gained national attention. In 1992 it returned to Saint Paul, and went back to being called A Prairie Home Companion® in 1993.

I grew up listening to this program with my parents. We would be in the car going to or from somewhere on a Saturday evening, and they would tune in whatever public radio station they could find and we would listen. Sometimes I would lie on the living room floor with the stereo on, listening to the program. As a kid, I was more interested in the funny old-timey commercials than in the music or the rest of the program. I would wait through all that other stuff to hear the Powdermilk Biscuits® song or Bertha’s Kitty Boutique™ or Guy’s Shoes® and then laugh at the silliness of it. I don’t remember listening to the show much when I was in high school and college, but after college I lived without at television for many years and re-discovered public radio. A Prairie Home Companion® again became part my regular Saturday evening schedule. (Note: The program is broadcast live at 5pm Central, so some readers may be used to hearing the program in the afternoon. That’s one aspect of the time change from Eastern to Pacific that I haven’t quite gotten used to yet.)

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