According to Melissa Mayntz* the above terms are collective nouns for Hummingbirds. Even just a casual flipping through Marcy Scott's new book Hummingbird Plants of the Southwest (Tucson: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2015) could make you think that she may be right, as the stunning photos lend credence to all the visual allusions.
Thanks to the graciousness of author and publisher, I received a review copy by mail a couple days ago. Wow! Any self-respecting "hummer" birder in the Southwest will want to get their hands on this book. If you're a gardener also, then . . . well, need I say more?
The Library doesn't own this gem of a book yet, but we have two copies on order. So, you can request that we hold it for you as soon as it arrives and is ready to go.
To do this, click on the link below and follow (most of) the instructions. Don't, however, press the Enter (the instructions call it RETURN) key after you type your name into the box. Go ahead and type your library card number (the instructions call it barcode) into the next box and then, **and only then**, press the Enter key. Now you're ready to Click here.
But back to the book. You get a bouquet of several books rolled into one when you pick this one up. First, there's the profiles of the baker's dozen plus one Hummingbird species that regularly occur in the Southwest. Then, there are the plants, ten dozen of them, to be precise, that attract these winged jewels. Scott skillfully interweaves information about when which plants attract what species of "hummer" with what type of soil and watering they require with what other birds, mammals and insects use it for food or shelter plus a host of other info, to present a satisfyingly holistic result. This makes it truly invaluable for a whole host of readers. Birders, botanizers, landscapers, hikers, the merely curious, amateur armchair naturalists, all these, and others, will find scads more than enough to keep them coming back time after time.
But that's not all! The essays on hummingbirds' lives, plant pollination, setting up a southwestern native plant garden, attracting "hummers" and migration corridors are marvels of readability and precision. Then, there are the photos! While she took none of them, Scott certainly knew whom to tap for their talent and expertise in this area. Every single picture is reason enough alone to buy the book. Indeed, the whole thing, from photos, to species profiles, to the glossary, to the appendix on ways to help hummingbirds, to the bibliography and resource list is a natural history masterpiece.
And, in the works: a presentation and book signing with the author herself. Marcy Scott lives in Las Cruces and we're setting up a date for her to come to Branigan Library to talk about and sign copies of her book. So, keep watching for an announcement about that!
In closing, although primarily known for their eye- rather than ear-pleasing qualities, a tune of Hummingbirds is still an apt expression. No one would suggest that they're great songsters, but there's certainly something quite tuneful about the sound made by air rushing through a displaying male's feathers during mating season.
Seth's Blog Seth Godin always has something thought provoking to say.
Today we celebrate Émile Zola, born on this day 175 years ago.
Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola (2 April 1840 - 29 September 1902) was a French author, and the self-proclaimed leader of the Literary Naturalism movement. In addition, he was one of the principal movers in the 19th century political liberalization of France. Over the course of his career, Zola wrote more than 30 novels, numerous short stories, and several plays.
Perhaps best know for his "J' Accuse...!" letter during the Dreyfus Affair, Zola was very much involved in liberal politics of his day.
The Dreyfus Affair
Alfred Dreyfus, of Alsatian and Jewish descent, was a Captain in the French Artillery. In 1894, he was, on extremely flimsy circumstantial evidence, accused of selling military secrets to the Germans. Convicted of treason, he was expelled from the Army and condemned to life in prison on Devil's Island in French Guiana.
Two years later, new evidence was discovered that exonerated Dreyfus and disclosed the true culprit. The Army not only suppressed it but also punished whistle-blowing officer.
On 13 January, 1898, Zola risked his career and more with his open letter to the President of the Republic accusing the very highest echelons of the French Army of obstruction of justice and anti-Semitism in the Dreyfus Affair. It was published on the front page of the Paris daily L'Aurore. As he and his liberal friends had planned, he was tried and convicted for criminal libel of the army. What they had not foreseen was that he would have to flee to England to avoid arrest and prison. Soon, however, Zola was pardoned and returned home. Eventually, Dreyfus was pardoned and French liberals saw it as a victory of obscurantism. Without doubt, the outcome of the Dreyfus Affair was due in large part to Zola's fame, already well established before he became involved.
Zola's best-known work and masterpiece is Germinal, the 13th work in his 20-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. The series relates the story of a fictional family in the Second French Empire and is one of French Literary Naturalism. The book relates, with stark honesty the story of a coal miner's strike in Northern France and takes its title from the name of one of the spring months in the French Republican calendar. At the beginning of the strike, the miners have great hopes for a better life, but conditions worsen until the miners and their families, driven to despair, riot. Zola unflinchingly portrayed the violence on both sides when the Army and police repress it and the miners are forced to return to work. Germinal ends on a hopeful note, though and has inspired labor activists ever since its publication.
At least one Anarchist assassin, Michele Angiolillo, went to his death with the word "Germinal" on his lips. And at Zola's funeral, crowds of workers thronged the streets, chanting "Germinal! Germinal!" as the cortege passed by.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, ..." Those immortal words open Dickens's Novel of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities. Probably the best known of his novels, it was published in 1859, 11 years before his death while he was at the height of his fame and popularity.
The action shifts back and forth between Paris and London and evenhandedly assesses blame on both sides of the conflict. Dickens graphically portrayed the hardships suffered by French peasants in the years immediately preceding the Revolution. But neither did he flinch from recounting the savageries that the Revolutionaries perpetrated upon the aristocracy. As he did so well, Dickens wove together the lives of several characters through the 45 chapters and gradually, ever so gradually, with complicated plot twists, interspersed with many unfavorable comparisons to London society of the same time period, he brings it all to a crashing end. At the finale, the villain becomes a hero and sacrifices himself to ensure the happiness of the woman he loves and save the life of his chief rival for her hand. The two marry and, in the tradition of good Victorian novels, there is a happy ending.
To find out more about Dickens's life and works, you can do a subject search for Dickens, Charles in Branigan Library's online catalog. When I typed his name in, I got 46 entries ranging from biographies to study guides to movie some of his works to novels about him.
There is also a veritable plethora of information about Dickens on the Internet. From Wikipedia, to web sites devoted to Dickens and particular aspects of his life and/or works.
In addition, the Project Gutenberg has literally hundreds of copies of his works , not only in English, but other languages as well.
Cuando corteja a una muchacha agradable, una hora parece a un segundo. Cuando se sienta en una ceniza candente, un segundo parece como una hora. Esto es la Relatividad.