Summer Reading Series: Greasy Rider by Greg Melville

Subtitled "two dudes, one fry-oil-powered car, and a cross-country search for a greener future," Greasy Rider mixes the adventure of a cross country road trip with stories from the ecological side of America. Author Greg Melville converts his 1995 Mercedes diesel to run on used cooking oil. So enthralled with his "new" vehicle, he enlists his good friend (and part-time mechanic) Iggy to travel with him across the country,  powered only by cooking oil begged from restaurants along the way. En route they make green side trips, at a wind farm, Al Gore's…continue reading →

MLA 2009 Update

The Modern Language Association published a major update of the manual this year. MLA style is a popular citation style at John Tyler; this change will affect multiple disciplines. This 7th edition has changed the rules for citing sources to make things clearer in electronic sources and bibliographies. No underlining. MLA now asks for italicizing the titiles of journals, books, and films. No URLS. Pasting a web address is no longer required. Publication form is required. Now citations must include the form of the material: Print, Web, performance, etc. at the end of…continue reading →

Silence of the Songbirds by Bridget Stutchbury

Songbirds are more than just a chirping morning symphony-they may be the alarm clock for climate change. Songbird populations are dropping; scientists speculate that we have already lost half the population of US birds. Biologist and ecologist Bridget Stuchbury outlines what this loss means to the health of our ecosystem-and to us. Stuchbury encourages individuals to make small changes to help the birds.  Shade grown coffee, dimming city lights, organic farming and gardening all protect birds, their migrations, and habitats. Stutchbury's enthusiasm for the birds inspires; her colloquial storytelling style really charms. Look…continue reading →

Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-code Hollywood

Mark Vieira's book Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood, published in 1999, offers a fascinating window into a Hollywood era that many people know little about.  It focuses on films made between 1929 and 1934 when studio filmmakers often ignored what became known as the Hays Code. This was basically an attempt by the major studios to head off government censorship by establishing their own code of conduct and enforcement body. In that sense, the term pre-code is a bit of a misnomer , as the code was in place by 1930, but not actively enforced until the summer of 1934. Before rigid…continue reading →

A People’s History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation

Ever sat through a long history lecture on kings or presidents and thought, "There must be more to the story?" Or even "What was everyone ELSE doing when Washington and his friends were crossing the Delaware?" A Peoples' History of the American Empire tells the real tale--the grassroots history--in graphic form (graphic=sequential art or comic book style). This is history with grit, drama and pictures. The book begins with the modern pain of 9/11, then jumps backwards to the Massacre at Wounded Knee, surveys World War I, Vietnam and looks at the US…continue reading →