Category Archives: Library

And The Answer Is …

Today’s New York Times crossword puzzle starts easily.

1 Across:  “Home to Santa’s workshop.” 4 letters. Hmmm…”North Pole” doesn’t fit. So…just “Pole,” right?

Okay. 1 Down: “Affluent Connecticut town.” Also 4 letters.

Wow. I can’t think of any towns that start with “P.” Or even any 4-letter affluent Connecticut towns. Well, maybe Avon…

On to 5 Across, to the immediate right:  “Popular outdoor clothing brand, with ‘The.'” The only one I can think of is “North Face.” But there are only 4 squares. Leave that for later…

I’ll try the next one on the top line. 9 Across:  “Minnesota NHL team from 1967 to 1993.” That’s simple: “North Stars.” But wait — there are only 5 letters. So…just “Stars,” no?

Aha!

Every answer on the top is missing “North.”

Why would that be?

Oh yeah! Because they’re on the top line — in other words, the “North”!

So that must mean, um — the bottom line would be “South.”

Let’s check it out. 67 Across is “Country hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics.” I haven’t paid attention yet, but I’m guessing it’s not South Africa. What about…South Korea?

Yep — there are 5 squares. Bingo!

So back to the top — 1 Down. I’m betting every answer on the left side starts with “West.”

Which would make that “affluent Connecticut town” — the one with only 4 letters, starting with a “P” — “Westport”!

It’s a clever crossword. And I’ll be sure to thank Times puzzle editor Will Shortz for it personally, next February.

You know — when he makes his annual appearance at the Westport Library Crossword Competition!

Will Shortz at the Westport Library, last February.

(Hat tip: David Schwartz)

 

Friday Flashback #64

Last weekend, when I reported that Calypso St. Barth was closing, current Westporters thought of the “luxury lifestyle brand” store’s massive concrete steps, on the very visible Post Road East/Main Street corner.

When I referred to it as “the original library building,” that helped “06880” readers who once lived here, yet no longer do, visualize the location.

But it was the photo caption that really brought back memories, for anyone of a certain age. Referring to Calypso’s entrance kitty-corner from Tiffany (the old Ships restaurant, and before that Colgan’s and Thompson’s drug store), I wrote:

“Years ago, the plaza was a public park, outside the original Westport Library.”

“Needle Park,” circa 1970.

Ah, yes: Needle Park.

That was the nickname given to what was — in the 1960s and ’70s — a very funky place.

Teenagers hung out there. They strummed guitars, held anti-Vietnam War protests, and made out.

They smoked cigarettes. They smoked weed. They bought and sold drugs too — though there was not much heroin around then. “Needle Park” was a name meant to scare people away.

But — like most attempts to tell teenagers what to do — calling it “Needle Park” just made it more attractive.

The park is gone now — victim of the corporatization of downtown (and, perhaps, no one paying attention to the fact that there was supposed to be a park “in perpetuity”).

Teenagers don’t spend time downtown anymore. Even if they did, they’d never think of hanging out on the cold concrete steps. Too intimidating.

Not welcoming at all. Nothing like the joyful image that “calypso” conveys.

Needle Park today.

Pics Of The Day #191

Tonight’s rainbow over Nash’s Pond… (Photo/Tricia Freeman)

… and over Saugatuck. (Photo/Amy Lamb)

Meanwhile, the sunset was spectacular as viewed from the Westport Library cafe… (Photo/Jo Shields)

,,, and on the river, with the Saugatuck Rowing Club … (Photo/Diana Kuen)

… in Greens Farms … (Photo/Jack Feuer)

… over Gorham Avenue …(Photo/Tom Cook)

… outside Staples High School … (Photo/Tomas Curwen)

… over Gray’s Creek … (Photo/June Eichbaum)

… and at Compo Beach. (Photo/Sarah Hock)

Pic Of The Day #189

Library Riverwalk, mid-autumn (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

WestportWrites — And Adds Espresso Machine

The Westport Library is a place to do many things beyond reading: Hear book talks and concerts. Work in the MakerSpace. Check out DVDs. Get coffee.

Add to the list: Learn to write.

WestportWrites is a year-long program. Monthly mini-conferences and workshops all lead to a writers’ conference next fall.

Rachel Basch (“The Listener,” “The Passion of Reverend Nash”), literary agent Dawn Frederick and a panel from Westport writers’ groups kicked things off earlier this month.

This Monday (October 16, 6 p.m.), Patrick McCord talks about the brain’s role in the creative process. Future topics include the feminist young adult voice, screenwriting, memoirs and more.

As part of WestportWrites, the library is partnering with Staples High School’s English department. Jessica Bruder (“Nomadland,” “Burning Book” spoke to 225 students there, prior to her library appearance).

Plans are underway to collaborate on next fall’s conference. Teachers are excited about opportunities for talented writers — and those who might be turned on to an activity they never considered before.

But any library can sponsor workshops. The Westport Library is taking writing a giant step further.

A generous anonymous donor helped them buy a new Espresso machine — and it has nothing to do with coffee.

This Espresso is an on-demand book publisher. Authors provide PDFs for the text and cover (the library has templates). Espresso prints in black-and-white or color. It adds a soft cover, and trims the pages to different sizes.

In other words, it allows authors to self-publish.

This Espresso machine has nothing to do with coffee.

You’re not going to get Jane Green-size press runs. But it’s perfect for printing small numbers of books. You can also prototype a larger run — avoiding costly mistakes with pagination, or putting the Foreward at the end (true story).

Westport Library manager of experiential learning Alex Giannini, and program and events specialist Cody Daigle-Orlans, are enthusiastic about their new tool. They offer short consultations on it with interested authors (email westportwrites@gmail.com for more information).

There’s also a Westport Library in-house graphic designer to help with the cover (for a fee).

If the Espresso machine sounds like something that belongs in the MakerSpace — now moved to the balcony area during the library’s Transformation Project — it does.

In fact, Giannini says, the goal is to make next October’s writer’s conference and book fair be at the same level as Westport’s April Maker Faire.

Write on!

 

Selectmen Candidates’ Debate On Thursday

If you were underwhelmed by the presidential debates of 2016, your long national nightmare is over.

On Thursday (October 12, 11:30 a.m. to 1:3o p.m., Westport Library), the 4 candidates for 1st selectmen face off. It should be informative — and substantive.

Republican Jim Marpe, Democrat Melissa Kane and independents John Suggs and Timothy J. Elgin will discuss business-related issues. There’s a good reason: The debate is sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

Moderator Jay Sandak will lead the discussion in areas like the town’s business environment, jobs and taxes.

The event begins with a chance to meet the candidates. At that time, attendees can submit written questions for the debate.

What Up Westport? Help Puerto Rico

As Puerto Rico pleads for help, Westport acts.

Tomorrow, (Sunday, October 1) What Up Westport — the popular Facebook group — has organized a drive to collect much-needed items for the hurricane-battered island.

Hurricane Maria’s floodwaters have receded. But the situation in Puerto Rico remains dire. This is the mayor of San Juan, helping people while wading through sewage-filled water with a bullhorn.

Supplies can be dropped off from 3-5 p.m. at the Westport Library upper lot (near the Levitt Pavilion). They’ll be shipped quickly, through a New York relief organization.

Emergency supplies

  • Bottled Water
  • Baby wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Diapers
  • Canned foods
  • Dry foods
  • Baby formula
  • Garbage bags
  • Towels
  • Canned milk
  • Canned and dry pet food
  • Baby and adult pain relief medicine,
  • Stomach and diarrhea relief medicine
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • First aid kits
  • Laundry detergents
  • Dish soap
  • Cots

Construction supplies

  • Extension cords
  • Ground fault protectors
  • Pop-up canopies
  • Shovels
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Crowbars
  • Hammers
  • Utility knives
  • Work gloves
  • Wood panels
  • Electric generators
  • Electric cables
  • Tarps
  • Ropes
  • Chainsaws
  • Safety glasses.

NOTE: Please bring only these items. Be sure to check expiration dates.

Come on, Westport. Let’s help our fellow Americans. See you at the library!

Pic Of The Day #156

The Library Riverwalk looks beautiful — and spooky — at night. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Pic Of The Day #150

A large crowd turned out for tonight’s ceremonial “groundbreaking” of the Westport Library transformation project. Speakers — including library director Bill Harmer (far right in photo above) — offered inspiring visions of the reimagined space. They’re all sitting in what — 18 months from now — will be an innovative “grandstand” and “forum.”

Pic Of The Day #146

There be a dragon at the Westport Library lower entrance. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)