Wednesday, August 24, 2005


On August 24, 79 A.D., Mt. Vesuvius erupted and annihilated the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Excavations have been going on in these places for several centuries and are still delivering up amazing discoveries. The Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei has the official site for Pompeii today. Some other sites with articles, pictures, and links include the Discovery Channel's and the BBC's accounts of the last day, Eyewitness to History's article, and Harcourt's student-targeted site.

The Elk Grove Village Public Library has several books about Pompeii, in both Adult and Youth Services, mostly under the Dewey numbers 937.7. One of the more intriguing titles, though, is The Gardens of Pompeii: Herculaneum and the Villas Destroyed by Vesuvius by noted archaeologist Wilhelmina F. Jashemski with photos, drawings, and plans by Stanley A. Jashemski; it is located in the Gardening section rather than in Ancient History (635.0937 JAS). One of the more recent books (2003) is a fictional account, Pompeii: A Novel, by Robert Harris.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Where can you hear those great songs of the 50's and 60's on Chicago radio today? Do you want to hear more than the same old one or two hits from Elvis, Ricky Nelson, Connie Francis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Darin, the Marcels, Al Martino, Paul Anka, Neil Sedaka, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Frankie Lyman, Johnny Rivers, the Chiffons, or even Peter, Paul, and Mary? Do you want to sing along with songs like "Smokey Joe's Cafe", "Freight Train", "Terror of Highway 101", or "Donna"? Then check out Real Oldies AM 1690. And, yes, it's on AM (which does make the signal hard to get at night, unfortunately)--of course, you can listen online anytime. Best of all (for some listeners) the station has brought back Chicago DJ favorites Larry Lujack and "Little Tommy" Edwards in the morning--weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.--, "Animal Stories" and all. On Sunday mornings there is a whole hour of Elvis (9-10) and two whole hours of Sinatra (10-12). Since the abrupt changeover at Oldies 104.3FM to the controversial DJ-less "Jack" format, AM 1690 has laid claim to being the only Oldies station in the Chicago area right now.

Need a refresher on the lyrics of some of the songs played on Real Oldies? Then check out the music collection at the Elk Grove Village Public Library. Although individual sheet music is not available, we do have book collections of hits from the 50's and 60's (and other years as well). The collection is located in the Reference Books shelving area in Adult Services--the low shelves towards the South windows--on the last shelf facing the Children's Department. These music books are arranged the same way the music CD's are--by the ANSCR classifications. Some of the songbooks include:

Best Songs of the 50's: Piano, Vocal, Guitar (MUSIC MA COLL BSO)
The Late 50s: The History of Rock (MUSIC MR COLL L5H)
The Early 60s (MUSIC MR COLL ES)
The Mid 60s: The History of Rock: From the British Invasion with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to Folk Rock, Rock Classics and the Sound of Soul (MUSIC MR COLL M6H)
Love Songs of the 60's: Piano, Vocal, Guitar (MUSIC MA COLL LSO)
'60s Pop, Rock: Piano, Vocal, Guitar (MUSIC MR COLL SPR)
[Billboard's]The Best of 1965 (MUSIC MA COLL B1)
[Billboard's]The Best of 1967 (MUSIC MA COLL B1)
[Billboard's]The Best of 1968 (MUSIC MA COLL B1)

Thursday, August 18, 2005


We just got back from a trip to Arizona where we were able to visit the Phoenix Zoo this time. Very different from the zoos in Illinois, it's all (or mostly) outdoors. Most of what we saw--unfortunately not all because of time constraints--was off paths through extremely tall palm trees, bamboo groves, cactus plantings, and other tropical-ish growth; very beautiful. We also enjoyed the turtles--hundreds of them--in the river at the entrance to the zoo. Some of the animals were like the ones we had seen another year at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson (where peacocks roam free)--giant tortoises, capybaras, and anteaters--and others weren't--orangutans and and farm animals. The zoo is arranged in numerous "Trails", including Tropics, Africa, Arizona, and Children's. They have also combined several types of animals in some environments--the savannah has ostriches, gazelles, and cattle, among others. If walking is too hard, they also have--besides a safari train--pedal boats (on the lagoon) and low-slung bikes for rent.

A visit to Phoenix (or Tucson) would be enriched by a visit to the zoo.