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What's Cooking?: Happy Lunar New Year 4011!

Chinese New Year is the most celebrated holiday in many Asian countries where shops are closed for two weeks to a month. Created for the purpose of counting a 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar, each year is represented by twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac:  rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.   This Chinese Lunar New Year on February 10 is the Year of the Water Snake. Throughout Asia and Chinatowns in the western nations, the streets are lined with people watching the festive parades with lions and dragons dancing to the beating of heavy drums and clanging cymbals, and "embraced" with a relentless spray of firecrackers to scare away malevolent spirits from spoiling the chance of a prosperous and hopeful year.

Beyond Books - The Oscars

 

February is here and that means one thing for those among us who love the movies...it's time for the Oscars!

Amazingly enough, one of the contenders for best picture of the year, "Argo", is being released on DVD on Tuesday, February 19th; five days before the Oscars actually air on Sunday February 24th.  As with all DVD titles, we will have multiple copies of Argo available on its streetdate, the 19th.  Other big titles being released on DVD in February are Alex Cross (February 5th), Flight (February 5th), Skyfall (February 12th), Perks Of Being A Wallflower (February 12th) and The Master (February 26th).

This year the Oscar nominees for best picture are: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty.

Update on Tax Forms

Following the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act, the IRS announced its plans to open the 2013 filing season and begin processing individual income tax returns on Jan. 30. As a side effect of this decision and the Relief Act, the standard 1040 form went under revision and will be shipping late. It can be accessed and printed online by clicking here.

The library will put out all available forms starting Friday, February 1. At this time, we have the following:

Federal

1040 EZ, Schedule B, Schedule E, Schedule EIC, Form 4868

State

IT-201, IT-201-ATT, IT-203,  IT-214,  IT-215, IT-216 

Please note: Form IT-2 has been discontinued.

We have recieved notice from the IRS that we can expect the following forms within a week: Schedule A, Schedule C, Schedule D, Form 8863 and Form 2441.

Better Than Google

Goodbye Westlaw! Hello LexisNexis!  The new year brings us an exciting, new database, the LexisNexis Express Library.  For the past six years, we had subscribed to Westlaw due to the fact that it was a great alternative to print.  Instead of shelves and shelves of McKinneys Statutes and U.S. Code Annotated, we could now access them on-line.  Although some people missed the books, most of the lawyers were happy to use Westlaw, something they used in law school and at work.  Recently, LexisNexis decided to produce a product to appeal to the public library market.  It is not only more affordable, it is more comprehensive (laws and cases of all fifty states are included, not just New York) and it can be used by more than one person at a time.  Although the legal portion can only be used in the library, the business and news modules are available remotely.

Getting To Know You: Standalone SF Reads

Well, It's 2013, and the planet still appears to be in one piece. Time for a new blog entry!

Many people will tell you that good things (and bad luck) come in threes. Speculative fiction stories frequently do; the genre has a strong predilection for trilogies.  But many authors don't even stop there-- there are SF series and sagas that run to double-digits and represent decades of writing.  Some writers don't even finish their story arc within their lifetimes (ahem, Robert Jordan), leaving devoted readers to hope for a worthy successor (and copious notes left by the original author) to finish out the series.

What's Cooking?: Shape Up!

The overindulgent holiday feasting is finally over and the New Year projects the familiar resolutions we’ve come to know every year in regard to our health and fitness.  Where we recently were enticed by the seductive sweets that surrounded us during the holiday gluttony without any guilt, we must now discipline ourselves to withdrawn from this temptation.  After stepping on the scale to see the damage, there will be no delay in cutting out the homemade cookies, banana breads, chocolates, and apple pie that are all sitting in the kitchen within reach.  It is certainly the right time to go back to eating smaller portions to whip us into shape. The bounty of nourishing healthy recipes provides variety and interests.  Never a dull selection.  Although correcting our eating habits to maintain a healthier diet is not easy, there are many sources to help us support a healthy lifestyle eating. 

Blizzard of Good Wishes!

Many thanks to all who donated to the project.  Sandy Hook has been overwhelmed with snowflakes from everywhere!  We have mailed out what was already donated and won't be collecting any more.

To quote a recent Newtown Patch article:

"Connecticut PTSA is deeply saddened by the tragedy that has struck our Newtown community.  We have met with the PTA and community leaders in Newtown and Sandy Hook Elementary to offer our assistance at this very difficult time.  They have asked us to spearhead the following efforts on their behalf......Snowflakes for Sandy Hook.  Please help the students of Sandy Hook have a winter wonderland at their new school!  Get creative!" This is just one project on the list.

What's Cooking?: Holiday Wintry Drinks

As the holidays approach, preparations get underway as we think about what to serve at seasonal get-togethers.  We check our menu list of appetizers, main and side dishes and desserts.  We tend to overlook those inviting wintry drinks to welcome family and guests, taking the bite out of the cold.  There’s nothing like being greeted with yuletide cheer of toasty mugs filled with spiced cider, mulled wine, or a hot toddy.  Before my guests arrive, I prepare a big pot of mulled spiced cider simmering ready on the stove filled with rich apple cider, cinnamon sticks, orange peels, and whole cloves inserted in wheels of orange slices.  The aroma fills the house luring travelers to the comfort of home.

This Is How the World Ends: Apocalyptic SF

WARNING: This may be my last blog.  No, of course I'm not leaving my position.   It's just that... well, haven't you heard?  The world is scheduled to end this week.  Oh dear, you haven't heard, have you? According to the ancient Maya calendar, the end is due on December 21, 2012 (at 11:11 a.m. precisely, in case you need to schedule a few last appointments or polish off your bucket list before the Last Trump).  But wait, there's no cause for panic!

Because I am a librarian to the end, I've made sure that you, my loyal readers, will be properly prepared for Judgement Day (as much as I can, anyway-- your soul is your own affair).  I've thoroughly researched the topic and compiled a few reading lists on the incipient Apocalypse and what to do afterward (if you survive).  I expect you'll have many demands on your time before the big day, but it's important to stay informed!  Knowledge is power, particularly when the world is plunging into limitless chaos.  (And episodes of The Walking Dead will only save you in the case of a zombie apocalypse.)

Smooth Criminals

The pages of romance are populated by any number of gamblers, rakes, mercenaries, courtesans, femme fatales, hoydens, and other scapegraces who don't care to play by society's starchy rules.  This month's ne'er-do-wells, though, take their roguishness a step further.  They don't just bend the rules; they break the law.

What is it about bad boys? (And wicked women too-- I wouldn't leave them out!)  As much as we condemn their actions, we have a strange fascination with outlaws.  For centuries, we've made celebrities of them-- turned them into legends, even.  (I'm looking at you, Robin Hood! Rebel against an oppressive king, yes, but a robber all the same.)  Granted, to the ancient Greeks a clever thief was a legitimate hero (just look at Odysseus), but we've romanticized our fair share of criminals since that time.

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