Friday, June 29, 2007


Commonplace-book. Formerly Book of common places. orig. A book in which 'commonplaces' or passages important for reference were collected, usually under general heads; hence, a book in which one records passages or matters to be especially remembered or referred to, with or without arrangement. First usage recorded: 1578. - OED
Hence, the collection Beth writes here is interesting. Her recent posts include these titles:
Consider adding this site to your RSS Reader and return from time to time to this Commonplace

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Molasses Poetry

Yes, continuing the Technorati "Billy Collins" trail we come upon Wendy who writes:

Welcome to Molasses Poetry.

I’m Wendy, and my love of words and poetry began in rural northern New Jersey where I grew up. On the grassy bank of a pond, a granite outcropping on a hillside, or in the shade of the black walnut tree in our front yard, I’d dig a stubby pencil and small, bent spiral notebook out of my pocket and jot down short poems about nature. Thankfully, school nurtured my appreciation for poetry rather than stifling it. A few years after my family relocated to Virginia, one particular English and creative writing teacher intensified my poetry enthusiasm through her inventive and inviting lessons. She also piqued my interest in teaching.

Inspired by my teacher-mentor, I taught English and creative writing for four years before becoming a librarian, a profession that allows me to combine my love of teaching and literature with my fascination for science, technology, and a multitude of other subjects. I journal and read poetry regularly, write poetry occasionally, and revel in opportunities to immerse myself in poetry during celebrations like the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.

I believe that poetry is not just something you read or write, but something you live - by paying attention - to your environment, your fellow human beings, and yourself.

Live poetically!

Wendy's vision:

Too often I find myself caught up in the rush and rumble of pursuing what’s next and forget to stop, breathe, and be present in my life. Molasses Poetry is my way of encouraging readers to join me in slowing down to savor poetry and reflect on words, ideas, and images that may inspire poetry or journaling. I hope it may also spark lesson ideas for teachers of poetry, literature, or creative writing.

Web sites on the link menu connect readers with poems in many forms, formats, and voices, and are featured because they provide quality, organized content from a variety of poets, are from identifiable, authoritative sources, and either have permission to share the poets’ work or have compiled works in the public domain. You can find additional poetry resources by scrolling through my poetry links on

When poem links, excerpts, or quotes in posts are accompanied by my musings, these are offered as a starting point for discussion rather than “the” interpretation.

Thank you for taking a moment to slow down with me. Please join the discussion by posting comments, or subscribe to Molasses Poetry by clicking on “entries” at the bottom of the main page and adding Molasses Poetry to your favorite feed reader.

I'll come back often, there are good links in her side bars.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


On the Technorati "Billy Collins" trail we find ourselves visiting with KellyPea who writes:

I am not a mother of hoop jumpers. And I am routinely reminded of this fact.

I have diligently tried to raise my offspring to understand the construct of the world. But they are very content to think about, getting around to, considering, being involved in, possibly participating, in life’s basic rules of engagement at their own pace. They construct their own hoops. Unfortunately, when you’re their mother, the hoops resemble hurdles. Large ones.

It’s not supposed to matter to me that so-and-so’s daughter is in “advanced this” or AP that. Or that this person’s son was recommended for such and such. That this acquaintance has a daughter that crosses all her T’s and dots all her I’s all the time. Sometimes those same people don’t understand how hard it is has been to let my children be who they are instead of what I want them to be. What I believe they can become. It’s not supposed to matter. But it does. It always has.

Read the full posting on Hoop Jumping and Birch Swinging

And then she writes:

“So who put the BBQ on the truck?” I asked the MoH as he jogged up the stairs to change his clothes after pulling the behemoth alongside our curb.

“Me and a guy at the store.”

“So then I can help you get it off the truck, right?” I responded like there was some sort of a legitimate comparison between my own strength and a guy’s — any guy’s. Well, except maybe a 4th grader’s. “It should be fine,” I mumbled, already wondering. “I’ll just look for something we can lower it down onto.” This had worked in the past when the two of us had to put a large TV into an armoire. Now that was scary, I remembered, picturing one or both of us bent backwards with a humongous TV ready to fall back onto our heads as we fell through the hardwood floor. Ugh. Or the time that we moved the same armoire up to our bedroom after getting a new TV.

We lovingly refer to ourselves as The Doopids, because we can get things done most of the time, but it’s somewhat of a 3rd class circus act in the delivery. “All elbows and a**holes,” as my mother would politely say before pushing one of us away from the task and getting it done herself with a few grunts and a snort. Sadly, my mom wasn’t available to remind us that one buff senior can handily put to shame two younger desk jockeys — or act like she could.

Read the full posting on Mint Julips end the BBQ Saga in Paradise

So where is Paradise?

Paradise is in Southern California. I don’t always want to live here, but do, because it’s where my house, my family, and VBF are. Oh, and since I’m now unemployed, I have to say my husband works here, so it wouldn’t be easy to pull up stakes and move to Virginia where my sister just moved. I do appreciate the qualities of Paradise as much as a house potato can, but clearly I struggle since I’m in a room with blinds pulled, sitting in front of a monitor, and it’s probably a perfectly remarkable day out there.

And who is KellyPea?

Who am I?
A woman, wife, mother of sons, daughter, sister, good friend, cat and dog lover, gardener, passionate cook, house potato, schizophrenic reader, pseudo interior decorator, movie lover, closet photographer (no, I don’t take pictures of closets), writer, persnickety music lover, non-practicing pianist, semi-novice world traveler, daydreamer, and not least, erstwhile educator. I’m sure I’ve left out a few identities, but they will most likely surface as things evolve.

What matters?
Everything — most of the time. I’m most likely not for the faint of heart. Imagine all of the above jockeying for position from day to day, or actually throughout the day. It makes my life interesting, and I am rarely bored.

So to avoid being bored, add this site to your RSS Reader and keep up with KellyPea living in Paradise!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Boston 1775

As a New England native, I am alert to learn what I can of the history of the area around me. To find Boston 1775, is indeed a good site to share.
History, analysis, and unabashed gossip about the start of the American Revolution in Massachusetts.

J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.
Recent posts
Add this site to your RSS Reader of choice and find out more about the early days of the American Revolution here in Boston.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Thoreau and Whitman

Did you know Henry David Thoreau had a blog?

And Walt Whitman had a blog?

Alas, Henry's has stopped updating (at least for now) but you can read what has previously been published.

Walt's seems to still be active although the last update was in May.

Two great American writers!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thus Spoke Pragmatic Librarian

Jason writes:

You miss too much these days if you stop to think.

The quote above comes from “Until the End of the World,” the fourth song on U2’s 1991 album Achtung Baby. Although the song alludes to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, the “stop to think” line seems apt for the overall scope of my blog.

As an academic librarian, I need to keep up with trends in higher education, librarianship, technology, and the disciplines for which I act as library liaison. I also ascribe to a principle similar to Murphy’s Law about technology: once I learn about a new technological development that could affect academia, “the next big thing” is already sneaking up to supplant it. As a result, keeping up can get overwhelming at times, and I feel like I have little time to reflect holistically on the true significance of all these developments.

In this blog, I try to grapple with the rapid changes occurring in higher education, librarianship, technology, and (by extension) society in general. I also want to provide a forum for those who want to “stop to think” without missing too much.

With that kind of an intro, and a tag line that reads:
Part professional. Part personal. All pragmatic.
Jason seems to have the site that you might want to add to your RSS Reader and visit.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


The Billy Collins trail takes us to India where we find:

Caferati is a collaboration between a motley group of writers who meet online at a message board on Ryze, and offline wherever the coffee is good, plentiful and cheap. We talk about getting published, books, writing, getting published, poetry, getting published, prose, theatre, and just about anything connected with the word, including getting published. We're Indian, most of us write in English and some of us are published in the dead-tree sense or earn a living from writing in some way - but none of those are preconditions for membership. You can find out a lot more about us by visiting our website,

One post starts:
Poetry, life full of surprises for Billy Collins (an interview with Richard Anderson) Excerpt:
All children, I think, write something that, for lack of a better word, is poetry … It’s really impossible to get out of the emotional turmoil of high school without, for better or worse, recording something that, again, by default if for no other reason, you might call a poem. … Someone said you don’t need to have an uphappy childhood to be a writer, you just need to have gone through adolescence … . But most people stop, just as most people stop drawing and stop playing music and stop dancing and doing a lot of things that they did as children. I think poets are just people who never wanted to stop playing with language.
For more of this, please visit Caferati

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Always More Beyond - Kianseng Ng

I decided to create a Technorati search for Billy Collins. The web sites of folks and poets who are posting Billy's poetry are plentiful. The trail here will wind amongst the words of some of them from time to time.

Today we stop in Malaysia to find Kianseng Ng. Kianseng write in his profile page:

Kianseng Ng is a physician and Presbyterian Elder. He writes poetry, prose & he dabbles in Paper Batik Paintings, Photographic Montages, ATC (Artists Trading Cards) & Cut & Paste Collages. As a Physician specialising in Internal Medicine, he believes he is called "To Heal Some, To Comfort Many, To Love All". His work as an Elder is that of Dream-Making, Image-Shaping, Vision-Casting. Poetry is his forte, he writes believing that writing poetry is using the Creativity that God has put in him to Celebrate the Creation that God has put around him. His writings have been featured in 44 different journals in Malaysia, Singapore, India, New Zealand, Australia, USA.Many of his devotional poems have been translated into Mandarin. He was one of the prize winners in the prestigious New Straits Times & Shell Poetry Competition, Malaysia, 1995. (No competition was organised after that year.) He is the author of three volumes of Poetry, White Magic, Post-Cards From Kluang and Familiar Strange Country. He is presently working on his fourth volume of Poetry, tentatively entitled "A Different Kind Of Magic".

He writes:



“Moments of great calm,

Kneeling before an altar

Of wood in a stone church

In summer, waiting for God

To speak…………………

…………Prompt me, God,

But not yet. When I speak,

Though it be you who speak

Through me, something is lost.

The meaning is in the waiting.”

R.S. Thomas

What is this I hear above

The drone of to-day’s weather

Forecast? Is it not the beginning

Word of the breaking news

Coming from the frequency of my heart

Beats? Is it not the still

Small voice that Elijah heard?

I know it is not

A tinnitus because the ringing

Does not stop even when my ears

Are unstopped. I’m sure it is not

The sound of God taking a rib

From the side of my thoughts

And making it a metaphor more beautiful

Than Eve. I believe it is not

The hiss of the serpent

In the tree of my mind offering

The apple of the full sentence

In place of the seed

Of the singular Word.

Perhaps it is a clever trick

Of throwing the voice. The speaker

Is light years away, yet I hear

His words like the fevered throbbing

Of the arteries of my temple.

And like the dumbstruck doll

In the lap of the ventriloquist

I catch the thrown and make

It my own. Yes, my own, still

A small voice that belies

The clarity with which it largely

Stills the questions, “Am I loudspeaker

Or am I speaking aloud?

Am I prophet or am I full

Of new wine?”

For more please visit, Always More Beyond

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Painting Activist - Ashley Cecil

from the Suzuki Association

to the Food Literacy Project

to Hunger Awareness Day

to cite just a few of the most recent ones, Ashley Cecil is indeed "describing the world with a paintbrush". From her about page, Ashley writes:

Welcome to the marriage of painting and social activism. I’ve been creating art ever since discovering that my mom’s favorite lipstick made a great oil pastel. Through formal art education and years of professional experience, the adult version of this vocation has evolved into my own job title, “painting activist.” I’m addressing social issues utilizing painting as my medium of communication. Much like a photojournalist, I travel to locations/events of cultural interest and capture them, only with my brush. My talent is as an artist, my passion is advocating for social change; this is how the two work together.

All artwork is for sale, unless noted otherwise. A portion of proceeds from the sale of original work is donated to the nonprofit corresponding to each piece. So if you’re apt to support my talent and contribute to a cause, invite your art-appreciating-friends, browse, be merry, and buy great art!

Checkout her gallery of art work!

Then add this site to your RSS Reader of choice and keep in touch with her efforts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Real Mums - Diary of a Mad Cow

The recent post at Diary of a Mad Cow loads on my screen and the first word I see is one I won't repeat here (beginning with "f"). I am already intrigued. This is a Mommy Blog (or Mummy if you are from a Commonwealth country like this Australian) - and this level of language taps straight into my empathy for a fellow parent having a bad kid day.

But is this writer one of those perpetually angry ranters or a compassionate loving mother who is simply very "real"?

A look around the site reveals that the blog is a part of a larger site by Amanda aka "Mad Cow" (I can't find her surname anywhere on the site, which probably protects her secret identity!): Real Mums.

About Real Mums she writes:

They say it takes a village to raise a child. So where the hell is everyone when we need them!! And how come soooo many Australian mums comment that they feel isolated, lacking support and inadeqate in their mothering role??!! RealMums offers a real alternative to mainstream parenting websites and magazines which can often enhance feelings of isolation, add to our feelings of inadequacy or provide "expert" advice that doesn't always cut it in the real world. This is the place you can come to get advice from the experts - other Mums who are going through the same stuff as you right now! Its the place to get stuff off your chest, chat with other Mums in the same boat, exchange ideas and tips on parenting dilemmas, and have a bit of fun.

As parenting is not always a barrel of laughs - no, really, its not - we've provided a Forum - Retell Therapy - where you may express yourself freely, totally and anonymously if you wish. And without fear of reprisal! Please check out and carefully read our Terms & Conditions before using the forum - then go for it!

Back to the blog, here's one of my favourite entries:

Do you ever wonder how many hats a Mums can wear in one day? And do you ever
wonder how she manages not to get her hats mixed up? Like today - school drop off, chat with teacher, chat with other Mums, business meeting for morning tea, kinder gym, kinder drop off, chat with kinder teacher and other mums (with a completely different frame of mind than the school drop off thing), coffee with girlfriend - no kid talk allowed, talked about kids, school pickup, kinder pickup, dinner with friends, check emails - both personal and business - in between and respond accordingly, read to kids, perform wifely duties (ie not

… ever wonder why we like to be in bed at 8pm, but somehow can’t manage it?

About the blog, in her dislaimer, she writes:

Diary of a Mad Cow does refer regularly to the realities of parenting, and may contain profanity. It is not intended to be offensive. If you cannot handle reality, or insist on being offended, please feel free not to read, or visit, this blog. Thank you.

Whilst MadCow (not her real name) is a real person, Mad Cow’s Diary is based on the life of the real person. Whilst all the incidents in her Diary have actually happened, the names, dates, and places have been changed to protect the innocent. Or the not so innocent!

Go, Mad Cow, go! Keep herding those wonderful children to better and better pastures!

Mark Sanborn Blogs

I saw Mark Sanborn present many years ago at Help Desk Institute conference. He talked about the Fred Factor. His new book, You don't need a title to be a leader, builds upon the Fred Factor.

The principles of greatness are timeless, but the application of those principles changes, whether in the marketplace or our government. We can learn much from emulating what created greatness in the past, but to simply copy a formula frozen in time doesn’t serve us well.

I’ve never liked the phrase “back to the basics” because I believe the basics, applied in a relevant way, take us forward. And some if not much of what made Ronald Reagan a great leader can help candidates and citizens today, but it won’t create a return to another era. Done well, those principles can create a new kind of greatness that is so badly needed.

Read Mark's full posting on A new kind of greatness.

Add this site to your RSS Reader of choice!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Jesse James Garrett's Hidden Agenda

Jesse is a creative force in user experience. He writes in his About page:

Since 1995, I have mostly worked on the Web -- first as a writer and interface developer, then as an interface designer and information architect. These days, I primarily do user experience strategy. I started a company called Adaptive Path to help people solve user experience problems.

Information architecture remains my primary interest among all the user experience issues I deal with, and it's the area to which I've devoted the most thinking. You can read more about the field and my ideas on my information architecture page.

I wrote a book about my work in 2002. It's called The Elements of User Experience and has turned out to be pretty popular, especially among executives and newcomers to the field.

His blog page speaks eloquently about simplicity and the user experience. Just observe the layout and functionality present. Elegant!

If you are interested in user experience and do not already have Jesse's site in your RSS Reader of choice, then I recommend that you add it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

freeyasoul adventure - Gabriel Lau

.... I've had the same jeans on for four days now, I’m gonna go to a disco in the middle of the town. Everybody’s dressing up I’m dressing down .....

When Gabriel isn't training for the next Action Asia triathlon, he is into wearing the same jeans.

Of course athletes need to eat, Gabriel shows us a nice Arabic restaurant
"Been somewhere exotic lately?" No, this is just a very authentic arabic cafe opened in the middle of Tsim Sha Tsui. As you probably know that I am fond of exotic cusine and have even famously cooked a middle eastern feast for 12 people all by myself in those days in England. There is a little Arabic grocery in the seedy district of Nottingham which equipped with all the strange spice I needed then. Back in Hong Kong, I have never found satisfying middle eastern food, the up market restaurants in Soho just doesn't really feel right. My shish kebab should be down to earth, straight forwardly delivered with a street food touch. That is before the arrival of Al Petra, opened by two Jordanian and cooked by a former five star hotel Jordanian chef. The tiny cafe occupied the last shop on a dead end street and the knock down front wall layout enhance the ambiance of a street cafe from Marrakesh.

Read more of his adventures at Al Petra

And if you like what you have heard and want an excuse to wear the same jeans for four days, add freeyasoul adventure to your RSS Reader and follow Gabriel's adventures!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Letter's from a Hill Farm

Nan writes:
Gladys Taber once wrote, " I suppose I am a sparrow, a stay-at-home bird." My children are grown, and my farm and garden beckon me to "stay, stay." This is my time to garden and read and bake and, so it seems, to blog. You are most welcome to come in my internet front door, and I look forward to your visits.
Provides a weather update:

29ยบ. Ice on the car windshield. And not even a full moon. The tomatoes and basil are okay. We didn't cover last night, but Tom put the sprinkler on them early this morning, which is supposed to help. I don't think the ones nearer the house were hit, just those in the more exposed vegetable garden. This is the latest frost I remember.
Posts Today's poem by Billy Collins:
The Lanyard
by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
And today's fresh eggs a picture of 15 good looking fresh eggs. Then Nan lives on a farm, so they should be fresh!

Read more of Nan here. Add her to your RSS reader so you can get updates like these regularly.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

LibraryThing Blog

What is LibraryThing?

LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.

What software does it require?

None. If you can read this, you can use LibraryThing.

What does it cost?

A free account allows you to catalog up to 200 books. A paid account allows you to catalog any number of books. Paid personal accounts cost $10 for a year or $25 for a lifetime. (See here for non-personal accounts.) I conservatively predict the revenue will enable me to recline all day on an enormous pile of gold.

And they have a blog... where they discuss new features, plans and announcements.

Check out LibraryThing and consider adding the blog to your RSS Reader of choice.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blog


yea, verily.
Myn gentil rederes, the joly tyme of Averille and May hath not been of much jolitee to me – in feyth, ich haue had but litel tyme to look upon the newe floures and heere the smale foules doyng their thinge, for cursid busynesse hath fallen a-newe vpon me. I was prikked to take thys biswinkful newe labor by grete nede, for whan ich madde myn accountes ich discovred gret dettes and but litel revenue.
It may be a challenge to read but once you get into the rhythm, it is great fun.
Benedicitee, goode readeres all! I am burnynge the mid-nyght oil in preparacioun for a greet voyage to the gatherynge of Kalamazoo, of the whych place Geoffrey hath regaled me with many jolie stories. (Whan that I heerd of free wyne I was sold.) Verily, I have studied the lines of picke-vppe, recytyng them ynto the mirour and practisyng myne smyle and wynke. Y have even contributed a newe line of picke-vppe: "Do yow have any St Albans yn yow? No? Would yow like some?"
Read more here. Consider adding this good site to your RSS Reader of choice.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Nussbaum on Design

Continuing the design trail, we find Bruce Nussbaum writing on design at BusinessWeek.

Check out his recent posts:
Bruce writes

In era of process, where we do nearly all our innovation and design in teams, it is important to remember that genius can still play a critical role in creativity. Take a look at this amazing video of kinetic sculpture.

There are more videos by this creative genius at his site,

I'd like to open a conversation on the role of individual genius in innovation and design today. Our language and our behavior is all "process" driven but are we missing something very important? And if genius remains critical, how can it be integrated into our current business culture?

Read his full posting here

Consider adding this blog to your RSS Reader of choice.

Monday, June 04, 2007

bad banana blog

Yes, good idea. I like banana bread. Do you? Or do you just appreciate good ideas on design?

How about info and pictures on the water cube in Beijing:
The Watercube in Beijing will play host to the 2008 Olympic swimming and diving competitions. The structure itself is simplicity at it finest. It's a square, which obviously makes the entire building look like a pool. Bubbles made from a Teflon material surround the entire building. These bubbles are arranged in the naturally occurring formation of soap bubbles and organic cells. The transparent bubble material is designed to react to changing light conditions. From the outside, the building glows a beautiful blue (just like a pool). On the inside, light reflecting through the bubble material creates a subtle and ever-changing light show throughout the arena.
Read the full posting here

Tim Siedell writes about himself:
I write. I doodle. I come up with ideas. I hate myself for not coming up with ideas. I enjoy spending time with my wife and two daughters. I graduated from college in four years without taking summer classes. Or any math. I'm perhaps the only person in the world who has voted for both Jesse Jackson and George W. Bush. I ate chicken wings with Daisy Duke in 1987. I live about as far away from New York and Los Angeles as you can get at the same time. I have never set foot in Texas.
Check out his recent posts:
And then add this site bad banana blog to your RSS Reader of choice.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Golden Compass blog

Yes, the trail is supposed to resume next week but when the Golden Compass promo appeared on the radar today, and I followed the link to the film web site, found my daemon, and then found they had a blog...

Well, I am sorry, I could not resist.

If you have not read the book, I heartily endorse it. Once you step within its pages, you will not regret it. I have told the story a number of times but for all the years riding the commuter rail into Boston and back, there have only been two times where I was so engrossed in my book that I nearly missed getting off at my stop. Both times, I was reading the Golden Compass. And if you have read much of what I have written here and elsewhere, you know I read a lot.

Check out the movie blog... you'll be glad you did!

Trail resumes next week

The trail will pick up in earnest next week. While things have been relatively quiet here, new sites have been accumulating and will be shared soon.

In the meantime, feel free to cruise amongst the archives

June 2006

June 2005