Puede entregar sus medicamentos recetados sin usar o caducados para ser desechados en forma segura acá en la Biblioteca Braniganel día sábado 22 de octubre 2016 desde las 10 de la mañana hasta las 2 de tarde.
I have, for a number of years, been writing a column for The Ink, a community arts and culture monthly paper here in Las Cruces. It's been one of the more felicitous parts of my job, made more so by becoming friends with Roy Van der Aa, the publisher. The other day I asked him if I could use the columns here and he graciously said I could. So, thanks, my friend, I appreciate it.
What follows is a slightly edited version of that column that appears in the October 2017 edition of The Ink I have a very dear friend who lived at one time in Las Cruces, but moved last year to Georgetown TX. We write back and forth regularly and recently she asked me what part of my job I loved the most. The answer came to me almost effortlessly: The Branigan BookClub (BBC). So, thanks, L, ever so much, for sparking these lines!
The BBC began in April 2005. As of this month, that’s 127 monthly meetings. We’ve read and discussed more than 150 books, as some months, we read two and sometimes three titles. Many are ones that I’d not have read otherwise. I mostly read mystery/crime fiction, almost all of it dark and sinister. About a quarter of our titles have been non-fiction ranging through such topics as early U.S. frontier history, case studies in the connections between the brain and music, the light that research on autism and animal behavior can shed on each other and more. Our fiction choices also reflect a wide spread of tastes. Mysteries, suspense, "chick-lit", classics (most of us disliked Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov), best-sellers, first novels, and more coming to mind. So you see we read just about anything.
I credit my love of reading to my father, who always was reading something. Some of my best childhood and teen memoriesare of thebookshelves filling almost every wall of each house in which we lived. Books were everywhere. Science, religion, philosophy, college literature texts, anatomy and physiology texts, texts from his classes in Dental School shared shelf space with my brother’s and my books. I don’t ever remember a time when we weren’t allowed free run through it all. And, he read to us every night before we went to sleep. Sometimes for only a few minutes, but he read. On family vacations, when my brother and I were old enough, we took turns being the designated reader. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything! One standout is a 1980 trip from Maine to Michigan and back featuring The Hobbit and all three volumes of The Lord of the Rings.
About six or eight years ago I was back in Maine and saw the family friend, who, at 17, had gone with us. “I still get chills up and down my spine when I remember that ride and those books!” was the very first thing he said when we ran into each other in the local grocery store. I grinned like an idiot!
And so, when a group of bibliophiles meet to talk about the book they’ve just read, to me it seems pretty close to the perfect way to spend an evening. Add to that inevitable digressions (other books read; movies seen; food we love—or despise—and a host of other topics) and well, life just doesn’t very often get much better than this.
“ H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald is one of those books you find once in a while and after reading the library copy, you go out and buy one for yourself. A person could learn so, so much from this book! Part personal memoir of working through grief, part treatise on falconry, part reflections on an awkward childhood, part clear-eyed treatise on T.H. White and his book The Goshawk, part meditation on English academia and the “doing” of science, and all written in masterfully concise, elegant prose that could make even the likes of John McPhee, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Simon Winchester weep in admiration! When Macdonald’s beloved father died unexpectedly of a heart attack, she was devastated. A practicing falconer, she decided to tame a Goshawk, the wildest of all hawks, to help her cope with the grief. This book is the result. For anyone who appreciates the limpid majesty of superbly crafted English sentences, this book is almost orgasmic. If the natural world fascinates you, you’ll find more than enough here to excite you; those whose hearts thrill to the flight of a hawk may want to check with their cardiologist before reading this! I had the added pleasure of listening to the author read the book. If you can…do so as well.”
We meet on the 3rd Tuesday of each month (this month, the 18th) at 6:30 pm in the Library’s second floor conference room. So, if you love books and reading, consider dropping in and sharing the enjoyment!
Well, we’re at the end of our monthly get together again. And as ever, if you’ve enjoyed reading my lines even only half as much as I enjoyed writing them, then you’ve had way more fun than is probably legal in 37 states and counting! So, in closing, remember—Never, ever give up! Never, never, ever say “Die”! But above all, KEEP ON READIN’!
Less than a year ago, I inherited the job of supplying The Southwest Senior with a "Bird of the Month" column. Just about a week or so ago, I asked my editor, Cheryl Fallstead, if she'd allow me to use the same material here on this blog. She kindly agreed. Here's the "Bird of the Month" column that appears in October's edition.
Black-throated Sparrows are medium sized (4.5’-5.5’ or 11-14 cm +/-) sparrows with distinct facial markings. On the upper parts (back, wings, tail) several shadings of greys and tans blend seamlessly together, almost as if a fashion designer set out to create the perfect wardrobe using a pallet of desert colors. The tail feathers have thin white edges—not always easily observed—and white patches on the ends of their undersides. The breast and belly are a dusty almost dingy off-white. The bird’s crown—top of head—is dark brownish grey to black, above a bright white eyebrow, called by ornithologists, a supercilium. The lores (the area between the end of the bill and the eye) are black, and a white stripe borders the black throat. Below the throat, the black tapers to a point in the center of the chest. All in all, this gives the bird a dapper, debonair, almost sporty appearance.
A Black-throated Sparrow even sounds jaunty and cheery. The male’s typical song starts with a two or three note stuttering chirp followed by a pleasing melodic rattling that lasts about twice as long and often ends with a jump to a single higher note. There’s a lilting, percussive quality to it that can set me to smiling whenever I hear it. Think referee’s (football, soccer, basketball) whistle meets recorder played by a true virtuoso. The call is a sharp, slightly metallic, ever so almost imperceptibly slurred chip! The repertoire of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Verdin also contain similar calls. Kinglets more often than not deliver their sharp, raspy call in two or three short spurts and often in machine-gun like bursts; Yellow-rumped Warblers and Verdins calls are more nasal and metallic respectively than the Black-throated Sparrows. Their call on the other hand, is usually a series of single notes briefly separated in time, and is more musical than the three others.
There are only a few other sparrows with which the Black-throated could possibly be confused. The Lark Sparrow has a superficially similar facial pattern, but it’s chestnut brown (which “Blackthroats” lack) and black and white, plus Lark Sparrows are 1"-2" larger. They also possess a distinctive brown black and white tail pattern unlike any other Sparrow that’s clearly visible in flight. So, only when given a cursory superficial glance they could the two be confused. Lark Sparrows also inhabit weedy roadside edges and semi barren fields, plus they tend to fly higher than most other sparrows. In fact, almost no other sparrow flies so high overhead in the daytime. Black-throated Sparrows are, on the other hand, desert birds inhabiting mesquite scrubland, sparsely grassed areas, and rocky hillsides up to about 7,000ft. In addition, “Blackthroats”, as almost all other sparrows, are ground huggers in flight, rarely flying higher than absolutely necessary and diving back into cover just as you get your binoculars focused.
The similarly named Black-chinned Sparrow has an even more superficial resemblance to the Black-throated. They’re roughly the same size, but “Black-chins” look almost like trimmed down, leaner, darker versions of dark-eyed Juncos. By appearance, they could never be mistaken for a Black-throated Sparrow; only the almost identical names could easily be confused.
The two other Sparrows that, with the Black-throated, comprise the genus Amphispiza, the Five-striped Sparrow and the Sagebrush Sparrow also are superficially similar. The five-striped Sparrow is a Western Mexican species that barely reaches extreme Southeastern AZ. It’s darker brown above that its cousins, has grey chest and sides, a similar facial pattern to the Black-throated, but a clear white throat. The Sagebrush Sparrow has a grey back, brown wings and a plain white breast with striped flanks and a central breast spot. Again, its throat is white, not black.
There is one other North American Sparrow that has a distinctive black bib: Harris’s Sparrow. At 7”, it is, however, a considerably larger bird. Its bill is also conspicuously pink to pinkish grey, where the Black-throated Sparrow has a dark grey bill. This, plus the fact that Harris’s Sparrows are uncommon winter vagrants in our area should make distinguishing between the easy.
To me, the Black-throated Sparrow says “Desert Southwest” just as unmistakably and diagnostically as the Golden-cheeked Warbler says “Texas Hill Country”. We are indeed fortunate that the “Blackthroat” has not declined to the extent that “Goldencheeks” have. Like the warbler, though, they do not adapt well to human incursion into their habitat. So, if you live in a more suburban than rural area, you’ll not likely see this jaunty little grey, white and black desert sparrow at your backyard bird feeder. If, though, you’re fortunate enough to have even a modest amount of open land with mesquite scrub and sparse bunches of grass clumps on it and some mildly hilly pebbly terrain near you, and if you live near the outskirts of town, then you very well might catch a glimpse of them. Especially if you put out bird seed.
“Bird of the Month”is brought to you by theMesilla Valley Audubon Society, the local chapter of the National Audubon Society.You can check their website out at:http://www.new-mexico-birds.com/
The Branigan BookClub (BBC) is seeking suggestions for books to read in 2017. And we'd like your input.
Please send all suggestions to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org (put BBC 2017 SUGGESTIONS in subject line) or if you prefer to use the Post Office: Thomas Branigan Memorial Library 200 E. Picacho Ave. Las Cruces NM 88001 Att'n: Mark Pendleton
If you'd rather, you can also phone 575.528.4001 and speak with me directly or leave a message.
However you choose to communicate, please limit yourself to no more than four books. They can be Fiction, Non-Fiction, or a mix in any proportion you choose. We hope that many of you will decide to join us for great conversation and some of the best fun you'll ever have with your clothes on as we read and discuss what we read.
The BBC meets at 6:30 pm on the Third Tuesday of each month in the Library's second floor Boardroom. We read Fiction and Non-Fiction both. From murder mysteries, to crime, to thrillers, to "chick-lit", to popular science writing, to more literary "classics" and more, there's not much we don't read.
So, if you're a bibliophile looking for a way to broaden your reading horizons (many members say they enjoy reading books they never would have chosen themselves), we invite you to give it a try. We think you'll be glad you did!
Fourth Sunday Movies is a series that features award-winning flicks from around the globe. Most of these films are ones that you'd need to travel to LA or Dallas or a similar sized city to see and you'd then have to buy your ticket. Instead, you can see them gratis, FREE! Here in the comfort of your favorite public library!