Saturday, December 19, 2009

Plate o' Shrimp 

Perhaps ‘tis the season, but lately I’ve been feeling this wondrous feeling of synchronicity, the likes of which a person experiences in the meth honeymoon stage, or a rapidly cycling manic upswing, or schizophrenia. The twins had a play date with their identical twin boy cousins and yet another set of identical twin boys – six in all. I left a comment Facebook picture : the Van Buren Boys!, in reference to the Seinfeld episode when Kramer wards off an attack by the New York street gang the Van Buren Boys when he accidentally flashes the Van Buren gang sign. (Eight fingers up, since Van Buren was the 8th president. He was also the first president from New York).
Not an hour later a patron approached the reference desk and asked who the 8th president was and I blurted out "Van Buren! Van Buren was the 8th president!"like some autistic savant, which unnerved my colleague and the patron. I mean, what are the odds?
About six months ago a patron asked me to find a book for him. He said that it might be by a local author and could only describe the cover, a drawing of a baby in a bassinet. The worst part about it was that I knew I had seen the book somewhere, but no matter what I tried– searches on Amazon, Google, numerous databases, consultations with colleagues - I failed to unearth the title. Long after the patron left I kept at it until I finally came across it: Dirty Jobs by Christopher Moore. My failure to find the book for the patron ate at me and I always considered it the reference question that got away.
The other day a man came in looking for a book. "All I can tell you is that it’s about a man’s wife dying in childbirth and…"

I pointed at him and said with dead certainty, "A Dirty Job".

Although I had never read the book, and had only the slightest idea of what it was about, I just knew that the universe was giving me a do-over. Sure enough, that was the book he was looking for.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Devil Takes a Wife 

I was helping jog a patron's memory about a certain Kurosawa film he wanted to see and came across this cultural tidbit in the Wikipedia entry for Dreams.

There is an old legend in Japan that states that when the sun is shining through the rain, the kitsune (foxes) have their weddings.

That's dumb! Everyone knows that when the sun shines when it rains the devil is beating his wife. It's just plain science.

Click here for an interesting cross cultural comparison of the meaning of sunshowers in folklore.

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