This is National Hazing Prevention Week.

There are two recognized definitions of hazing. The first deals with an initiation process involving harassment. The second definition taken from the website is a “rodeo term referring to bulldogging. The bulldogger rides his horse on the left side of the steer. The hazer rides on the right. When the steer is released from the box, the hazer attempts to keep the steer between his horse and the bulldogger’s horse so that the bulldogger has a better chance to get off on the steer and throw it down. The word haze is used to mean push or herd the animal.” That part of the definition “push or herd the animal” seems to apply equally to humans hazing other humans, forcing them through intimidation into acts they would normally not commit. The Suffolk County Library system has some resources for you, the patron’s, further insight into hazing. They are, as follows: Bullying and hazing by Jill Hamilton ; Goat: a memoir by Brad Land ; The Hazing reader edited by Hank Nuwer ; High school hazing: when rites become wrongs by Hank Nuwer ; Preventing hazing: how parents, teachers, and coaches can stop the violence, harassment, and humiliation by Susan Lipkins ; and Teen danger zone [videorecording DVD] : teens at risk by Cambridge Educational. To find out more about hazing prevention, please visit

Recently I was complimented on my handwriting.

This was a nice surprise since handwriting has always been difficult for me. The typewriter and then the computer enabled me to more easily commit my many convoluted thoughts to paper (in a manner of speaking) and transform them into something smooth, coherent, and flowing. If I write someone a short note, I do attempt to handwrite it because I feel it is more personal. If I am writing something longer, then I will use a keyboard with the proviso to the recipient that my hands just cannot handle such a long handwritten missive. There is talk circulating that cursive writing is no longer being taught in schools. I think that, if the above statement is true, we will be losing something. Cursive writing is, to my thinking, a much more difficult thing to emulate and trips many a crook. It has also caught many schoolchildren in its trap when they try to render their parents’ signature on report cards and/or permission slips. We have some books in the Suffolk County library collections, which you, our patron, may want to peruse. They are as follows: The definitive book of handwriting analysis : the complete guide to interpreting personalities, detecting forgeries, and revealing brain activity through the science of graphology by Marc J. Seifer ; Handwriting analysis: putting it to work for you — a practical step-by-step approach by Andrea McNichol with Jeff Nelson, illustrations by John McNichol ; Handwriting analysis made easy : quickly discover personality and behavior traits, personally and professionally by Jess E. Dines ; Script and scribble: the rise and fall of handwriting by Kitty Burns Florey ; Sex, lies, and handwriting : a top expert reveals the secrets in your handwriting by Michelle Dresbold with James Kwalwasser ; Simply handwriting analysis by Eve Bingham. If you are curious as to how the Dewey Decimal number is established for fraud, of which forgery is a subdivision, the number is built in the following manner. 364 is Criminology and adding a “1” as in 364.1 signifies Criminal offenses, adding to the “1” a “6” so that the number reads 364.16 stands for Offenses against property. The addition of a “3” to the number so that it reads 364.163 means that book discusses fraud. The two nonfiction books which, to me, encapsulate the skills and techniques of the forger are Caveat emptor: the secret life of an American art forger by Ken Perenyi and The Poet and the murderer: a true story of literary crime and the art of forgery by Simon Worrall. So come to the library and learn what secrets are contained within your handwriting.

Where did the summer go?

The nice weather is still here but the calendar is already reading September 8th. The September/October Half Hollow Hills Community Library newsletter is chock full of excellent programs. September is Library Card Sign-up month and Snoopy is our spokes-beagle. In fact, on Friday September 25th from 3 PM to 6 PM, Snoopy will be at Center Court in the Walt Whitman Mall. The library will, as a lead in to Snoopy at Center Court, have a Snoopy Storytime on Monday September 14th for those children aged 3 to 5 years old at 10:30 AM and accompanied by a parent and/or caregiver. This program will be followed by a Snoopy Movie Marathon on September 19th. The movie marathon will be from 11 AM to 2 PM. The Half Hollow Hills Community Library has recently added, “a web-based video subscription service with online courses for learning creative and business software. With over 3000+ courses and 129,942 video tutorials, you’ll soon be an expert in software like MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator …” For those adults who enjoy a concert, there are several upcoming musical events and they are: The Musical Theatre Songbook, The Acoustix, Shenandoah in Concert, Great Italian Songbook, and the Voices of Legends by Johnny Tunes. The program that, for me, is generating the most excitement is the Lend-a-Hand: e-Nabling the Future. “The Library is partnering with e-Nable ( to assemble prosthetic hands for children using 3D printed parts. A representative from the organization will talk about the project and demonstrate the printing and assembling process. You may take home a kit and put a hand together.” Chase’s Calendar of Events features some memorable honorees for September. There is Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month, Eat Chicken Month, Fall Hat Month, National Coupon Month, National Honey Month, National Shake Month, Shameless Promotion Month, and Whole Grains Month. So enjoy your September and don’t forget to visit with Snoopy

There are many celebrity chefs out there.

I am sure that the majority of the celebrity chef watchers have their favorite(s) whether it be Giada DeLaurentiis with her calm, joyful attitude, or Guy Fieri with his rocker biker persona, or Bobby Flay with his BBQ addiction. My mom is not a celebrity chef but I often consider her thus. I have mentioned that I was ill during my childhood and perhaps my memory is not 100% accurate, but from what I do recall, dinner was always ready the minute my father walked in the door. To me, that seems worthy of consideration for celebrity status, timing the meals correctly and cooking to please the palate of the ones you love. The Half Hollow Hills Community Library frequently has cooking demonstrations hosted by Rob Scott. Rob Scott has worked in the culinary arts field for many years with a short break in-between as a toy store manager. He has also been a private chef and now he travels the library circuit on the joys of cooking. While he is demonstrating the recipe(s), he is sharing and educating patrons on the best places to buy particular ingredients. In my eyes, he too, is a celebrity chef because he makes the sessions enjoyable and entertaining. Some of the meals I found most enjoyable were Mexican Lasagna, Gazpacho, Grilled Pound Cake with Balsamic Peaches & Brown Sugar Whipped Cream, Corn & Basil Salad, and Strawberry Peach Sushi. For the Grilled Pound Cake, you need 4 1/2 T packed golden brown sugar divided, 3 T balsamic vinegar, 6 fresh mint sprigs, 6 large ripe peaches (cut into 1/4 inch thick slices), 1 c chilled whipping cream, 6 slices store bought pound cake and 4 T unsalted butter at room temperature. Prepare barbecue (medium high heat), whisk 3 T sugar and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl until blended, add peaches and toss gently to coat, let stand for a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 30 minutes. Using an electric mixer beat whipping cream and remaining 1 1/2 T sugar in another large bowl until peaks form and then refrigerate, spread both sides of cake slices with butter, grill until lightly browned, arrange cake slices on 6 plates, top each with peaches and syrup, then tip with whipped cream and enjoy. If you do not particularly care for peaches, you may substitute another stone fruit.

Anyone out there have a crystal ball?

I know I mentioned last year around this time that I was car shopping. Well, here it is a year later and I still have not decided on a new vehicle. Do I want to slide into the driver’s seat or drop down? Taking into consideration how little (in mileage) that I actually drive, how important is gas mileage? The most distressing factor about the car search is that I cannot actually test drive the car myself but must rely, not on the kindness of strangers, but on the kindness of my family in being test drivers. The reason for this, my family being test drivers, is that approximately twelve years ago I decided, or rather my body indicated to me, its doubt regarding the placement of my feet upon the gas/brake pedals. I would be glancing down to assure myself that my feet were securely placed and that is no way to drive. This physical failure led to the acquisition of hand controls and what a blessing that has been. Recently, I discovered that I must sever my allegiance to the model and make of car I have been driving as long as I have been able to drive which leads me to another thought. Due to a pre-existing condition, my pediatric physician mentioned to my mother, that I might never be able to drive. Naturally being a child at the time, this fact was only confided to me many years later. Wouldn’t the doctor be astounded to see me now! Anyway, I am so glad that I am able to drive since Long Island would be uninhabitable without automotive transportation. I have narrowed down my vehicle choice and will soon be a new vehicle owner. However, I did discover something through this car search. The Handicapped plate, which I currently possess, falls under the heading of a Vanity plate. I find this absurd. To me, a vanity plate is usually a plate touting something or someone of which you are proud. To aid you, the patron, in your car search, please make use of one or more of the following:,, At the library, behind the Reference Desk, we carry Consumer Reports and their April issue is car-centric. Happy trails to you.

Most of us eat junk food, either upon a special occasion or as a part of our regular diet.

We recognize that it might not be the best choice but we are sometimes irresistibly drawn towards junk food. What prompted this to be a topic of the blog you might query? Well, last Friday, June 5th was National Donut Day and so I thought I would browse Chase’s Calendar of Events and see what other junk foods got their own day, week or month. Some other junk food celebrations are Banana Split Fest in Wilmington, Ohio on June 12th; Cookie Exchange Week starts December 1st; Eat what you want day (could go either way — junk food or good food) is May 11th; Ice Cream Cone Anniversary is September 22; Marian Popcorn Festival in Marion, Ohio on September 10th; National Biscotti Day is September 29th; National Bundt Day is November 15th; National Candy Corn Day is October 30th; National Candy Month is June; National Ice Dream Day is July 19th; National Ice Cream Month is July; National Licorice Day is April 12th; National Pretzel Day is April 26; Popcorn Popping Month in October; National S’mores Day is August 10th. For those among us who choose to pursue a healthier eating life, there are numerous food celebrations for you to participate in. Maybe one or more of the following might be intriguing to those who pursue healthful eating: Apple Fest in Paintsville, Kentucky on Oct 2 or the National Apple Harvest Fest in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on October 3; National Baby Food Fest in Fremont, Michigan on July 15; Black Walnut Fest in Stockton, Missouri on September 23; Blueberry Fest in Montrose, Pennsylvania on August 7; National Cherry Month starting February 1 to name just a few. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines junk food as “1. food that is high in calories  but low in nutritional content 2. something that is appealing  or enjoyable but of little or no real value.” I knew the gist of the definition but it still does not detract the appeal of an occasional indulgence in junk food. So come visit the library and peruse Chase’s Calendar to find a food holiday to validate your indulgence.

On Saturday May 30th, we lost power at my house.

Granted, it turned out to only be a short power loss but my mind immediately jumped to all the things I would need to do without and I am not even super connected. By that I mean I do not own a smartphone or a tablet and I am not on Facebook or Twitter. I do own a cell phone but its main purpose is emergency oriented. Back to the outage. I went outside, and naturally, a few neighbors had already gathered and were querying,”Did you lose power? Did you?” One of the neighbors volunteered to call the power company once it was established no one had yet done so. The power company said, “Power will be restored by 5:15 PM.”  At 4:15 PM, with a pop and a beep, the power once again surged throughout the house’s circuits. All of my misapprehensions and fears of a Hurricane Irene or Super-storm Sandy repeat dissipated. According to various sources, electricity was not invented, it was discovered and many people had a hand in harnessing and refining its uses. The website states,”The truth about the discovery of electricity is a bit more complex than a man flying a kite. It actually goes back more than two thousand years. In about 600 BC, the ancient Greeks discovered that rubbing fur on amber caused an attraction between the two and so what the Greeks discovered was actually static electricity. Additionally, researchers and archeologists in the 1930s discovered pots with sheets of copper inside they believe may have been ancient batteries meant to produce light in ancient Roman sites. Benjamin Franklin established the connection between lightning and electricity but it was Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist, who in 1880 constructed the voltaic pile (an early electric battery) that produced a steady electric current. Volta also created the first transmission of electricity by linking positively-charged and negatively-charged connectors and driving an electrical charge or voltage through them. For the first users of electricity, it must have been such a wonder and yet now it is something we take for granted and are stranded without it. So come to the library and we will help you discover the story between the people involved with bringing electricity to almost everyone.