Social Media at Gardiner Public Library

Did you know that if you follow  the Gardiner Public Library on Facebook that on Monday we post “Have You Seen This Movie Monday” which features the description of a movie that can be borrowed from the library?  Did you know that every Wednesday we post “Check It Out” which is a description of a book that can be borrowed from the library?  It’s a great way to have a recommendation delivered right to your electronical device.

Narrow Gauge Cinema

The Kennebec Journal announced on July 7th that the Narrow Gauge Cinema in Farmington was opening a new drive-in theater in the lot behind the cinema.  It brought back all the memories of childhood that involved my parents loading the 4 kids and the dog into the station wagon with bags of popcorn to go to a drive-in theater.  The one we visited had a playground in front of the huge screen that the kids would all play on until dusk arrived and the first movie started.  We always tried to stay awake through intermission to see the second movie since that one was always a little “racier” as smaller children would have fallen asleep by the time it started.  Remember the speaker that was mounted on a pole which you would hang on your car window so you could clearly hear what was happening on the movie screen?  Cars were larger then and a family of 6 with a dog could easily enjoy a double feature at a drive-in without feeling totally cramped and on top of each other.  Below is a web site from the Smithsonian magazine that will help you remember the glory days of the drive-in.  And if you have never had the experience, then it will give you a sense of what you have missed.  Is the experience worth a trip to Farmington to see a double feature under the stars?  It just might be.

 

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-history-of-the-drive-in-movie-theater-51331221/

 

Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director

Amish Macaroni Salad

Looking back at my previous blogs, I saw that on July 25, 2015 I had posted one about Marjorie Standish and particularly her Macaroni Salad Recipe.  I recently made a variation called Amish Macaroni Salad that was equally wonderful but different from hers.  It came from www.allrecipes.com; try it out this summer.

Amish Macaroni Salad

  • Prep 15 m
  • Cook 10 m
  • Ready In 1 h 25 m

Recipe By:CONNIE0751

“A colorful and flavorful macaroni salad made with hard cooked eggs, bell pepper and celery in a creamy dressing. Best macaroni salad I have ever had. I always get many requests for recipe. Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 2 cups creamy salad dressing (e.g. Miracle Whip)
  • 3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seed

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, onion, celery, red pepper, and relish. In a small bowl, stir together the salad dressing, mustard, white sugar, vinegar, salt and celery seed. Pour over the vegetables, and stir in macaroni until well blended. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

April Fools tradition popularized

On this day in 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each other.

Although the day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. These included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.
Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to ancient festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.
April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.
In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences. In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees; numerous viewers were fooled. In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour. In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.
Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director

Oscar Oddities

 With the Oscars this weekend, it’s fun to look back at some of the odd and interesting facts you may not have known about the big event:

  • Tom Hank’s acceptance speech for his role in Philadelphia became the basis of the film In & Out.
  • Oscar winners sign a contract stipulating they cannot sell their Oscar without first offering it back to the Academy for the sum of $1.
  • One of the requirements to be nominated for an Oscar is that the movie has to be screened in an LA theater for at least 7 days.
  • 3 people have turned down their Oscars, including George C. Scott, who called the awards show a “meat parade” in 1971 and Marlon Brando in 1972.
  • Woody Allen refuses to attend or present at the Oscars, despite winning three awards.  His one appearance was in 2002 when he presented a short about New York City following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • Maggie Smith won an Oscar for portraying an actress who lost an Oscar in California Suite, making it the only film revolving around the Oscars to win one.
  • The only film to show an Oscar in a scene while also winning Best Picture is The Godfather.
  • Alfred Hitchcock and William Holden share the record for shortest acceptance speech.  They simply said “Thank you.”
  • Sealed envelopes became customary in 1941, a year after the LA Times broke the press embargo and printed the names of all of the winners before the ceremony.
  • John C. Reilly is the only modern actor to star in three films in the same year that were later nominated for Best Picture: Chicago, The Hours, and Gangs of New York in 2002.
These Oscar oddities are from the web site:

Christmas Movies

What’s your favorite holiday movie?  Is it White Christmas?  Love, Actually? A Christmas Story?  There are certainly many to choose from.  My ultimate favorite holiday movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacationfrom 1989.  A synopsis from the library’s copy of VideoHound’s Golden Movie Retriever says, “The third vacation for the Griswold family finds them hosting repulsive relatives for Yuletide.  The sight gags, although predictable, are sometimes on the mark.  Quaid is a standout as the slovenly cousin.”  Now that doesn’t sound very promising, does it?  But no matter how many times I have seen it, I swear – every time that darned squirrel flies out of the tree and the family all screams and runs for their lives – I end up laughing with tears in my eyes.  The movie stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Diane Ladd, Doris Roberts, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Johnny Galecki.

On the other hand – if I am feeling sentimental – the Christmas portion of Meet Me in St.Louis, the 1944 musical starring a young Judy Garland along with Margaret O’Brien, Marcy Astor, and Harry Davenport, is sure to bring a smile and a tear to the eye.
Try them both.  Enjoy.  And Happy Holidays.
Scott Handville, Assistant Director

Shirley Jackson, anyone?

It’s not a come-back.  It’s not a rediscovery.  It is more like delayed appreciation.  Suddenly the author Shirley Jackson is back in the media press.  60 years after she was first published, her more famous pieces were collected into a volume and published by The Library of America in 2010.  Last year a collection of some of her short stories never before collected was published by two of her children under the title Let Me Tell You: new stories, essays, and other writings. Of this new collection, Library Journal says, “Remember the chilling excitement of reading Jackson’s The Lottery for the first time?  You’ll have the same experience over and over again with this new collection.”  Now this month comes a major new biography about this author, Shirley Jackson: a haunted life by Ruth Franklin.  The fly leaf from this new book says, “Placing Jackson within an American Gothic tradition that stretches back to Hawthorne and Poe, Franklin demonstrates how her unique contribution to this genre came from her focus on ‘domestic horror’ ”. The final piece of tribute – at least for now – is the publication of a graphic novel done by her grandson of her most famous short story, “The Lottery”.

I’m confident in saying that no one who has ever read The Lottery will forget it.  I certainly never have.  Two other short story favorites of mine are her One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts and The Summer People
Shirley Jackson is also the author of The Haunting of Hill House which has become extremely well respected as an example of the quiet psychological horror that builds in a “haunted” house.  Stephen King has mentioned her several times as a cause of inspiration for him.  Robert Wise directed a classic haunted house movie starring Julie Harris and Claire Bloom based on the book.  Another novel worth discovering by Jackson (but again, aren’t they all worth discovering?)  is We have always lived in the castle about a “cunning adolescent who has gone to quite unusual lengths to preserve her ideal of family happiness.”
Isn’t it time you join the legion of fans of Shirley Jackson?
Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director

A 1 Diner

In 2006 a local publisher, Tilbury House, published a book by Sarah Rolph that celebrated a local diner, the A 1 Diner.  The book gives a history of the diner featuring both those who work behind the counter and those in the kitchen.  Many recipes that have become customer favorites are revealed in the book.  Below is one of them.  For more of these wonderful recipes and to enjoy the history of this local institution, visit the library to borrow the book, A 1 Diner: real food, recipes, and recollections by Sarah Rolph.

Hazel Newell’s Squash Custard Pie:
This pie is unusual in that it separates during cooking into a squash layer and a custard layer.
5 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 cup canned squash puree (fresh squash has too much moisture)
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1  9 inch pie shell, uncooked (bottom only)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the eggs and the sugar with a whisk.
Add the squash, the milk, the cream, and the vanilla, and mix, but do not beat.
Pour into the large pie shell and bake for 60-60 minutes until just set.  Chill before serving.

Peaks Island

My last blog of the summer encourages you to drive to Portland and take the Casco Bay Lines ferry to Peaks Island.  There are several other ferry trips via Casco Bay Lines to other islands off the mainland of Portland, so do investigate those also sometime.  The ferry trip to Peaks is $7.70 round trip.  You can’t beat that for a day’s fun!

The ferry ride to Peaks Island takes only about 20 minutes, so it is the perfect choice for a short day trip.  Once you land, you can visit the shops for a short while and perhaps have lunch or a beverage at one of the restaurants nearby before taking the ferry back to the mainland.  The ferry seems to leave every hour.  You might also extend your visit by doing some walking around the small island; it is only about 4 miles around the Peaks Island Loop.

 

Rather than repeat the information available from Casco Bay Lines’ web site, I encourage you to check out their website at the following link – Casco Bay Lines – Peaks Island.