Rascally Rabbits

 If you live in Seattle you have probably seen or heard about the unusual design of the newly built Ballard library, its literally green architecture crowned with a softly sloping grass-covered roof.  On sunny days, this roof is a golden meadow replete with bees and even butterflies. When I’m feeling whimsical, I embellish the scene with rabbits–two or three of them. In my mind, they bound joyfully through the tall grass, nibbling the foliage and sunning themselves high above the cares of the terrestrial world. 

It is probably just as well that the library confines its rabbits to the pages of books and to TV screens. Real rabbits are as tricksy as they are cute, just as Peter Rabbit, Bugs Bunny, and other famous literary lagomorphs suggest. A real rabbit on the Ballard library roof would probably nibble phone lines as well as grass stems, sending little showers of dirt over the eaves to pepper the heads of confused passers by. As amusing as this might be, it would wreak havoc upon the architecture.

Here is a selection of movies available from The Seattle Public Library that star famously Continue reading “Rascally Rabbits”

Countdown to the thrill of victory …

The summer Olympics in Beijing are just three days away, and the buzz has been steady for weeks. You may have heard the awe-inspiring story of swimmer Dara Torres, who at 41 will be the “first American swimmer to compete in five Olympics and the oldest female swimmer in the history of the Games, according to an article on the Team USA web site. Last fall, at age 40, she became one of only five women ever to swim the 50-meter freestyle in less than 24 seconds.  (There’s a fascinating article about Torres in the New York Times; at least check out the photos by Robert Maxwell.) Part of the reason we are fascinated by the Olympics is that we know that there is a story like this behind every event.

So, maybe it’s time for us all to get the thrill of a little armchair Olympics! If the older athlete’s story appeals, you may want to look for the movie The Rookie (based on the book The Rookie: The Incredible True Story of a Man Who Never Gave Up on His Dream by Jim Morris and Joel Engel). It tells the story of a former minor-leaguer turned coach who makes his players a promise that if they do well, he’ll try out for the major leagues. They exceed Continue reading “Countdown to the thrill of victory …”

Tour d’Amsterdam, part 2

In my previous blog entry, Tour de Amsterdam, I mentioned rules learned the hard way while riding a bike in downtown Amsterdam. Recall that biking is a mode of transportation and not the competitive leisure sport as viewed by most Seattlites. The topography of Amsterdam is wonderfully flat!

Riding for hours is possible with perhaps the only side-effect of returning to your hotel a bit sore in the saddle. So don’t shy away from renting a bike because you don’t have the outfit, helmet or shoes; it’s a common sight to see business men dressed in suits chatting on their cell phones and farmers in overalls wearing clogs on the bike paths. Also, don’t worry about getting lost; along with designated bike paths signs (fietspaden), there are arrow street signs directing you to areas within the city and back to Central Station. Just remember the canals run around the city in a horseshoe pattern.

Now, my favorite bike ride starting from Central Station, the focal point of the city located on the Continue reading “Tour d’Amsterdam, part 2”

Reality with a twist

Back in May, Shelf Talk presented readers with a series of lists I wrote featuring authors who focus their work on vampire fiction. The goal of these lists was to provide readers with new opportunities to delve into the world of vampires and hopefully get a few suggestions for ourselves (and we did, so thanks!).

It turns out that there are a lot of readers out there who like the idea of magic stories, but are maybe not so thrilled at the thought of blood sucking fiends (what’s wrong with you people?). A little research reveals an abundance of awesome fiction written by authors who feel the same anti-vampire way. Below you’ll find a few lists of authors and titles that are full of the supernatural … and very light on vampires.

Reality with a twist: It’s the everyday, but with power!
Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
Dead to Me by Anton Strout
Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy

Creepy Creatures: Not vampires, but pretty much every other supernatural critter you could imagine.
Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear
A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Agents of Light and Darkness by Simon R Green

Paranormal: For those who like their fiction magic-lite.
Better Read Than Dead: A Psychic Eye Mystery by Victoria Laurie
Sense of Evil by Kay Hooper
Remains of the Dead: A Ghost Dusters Mystery by Wendy Roberts

As always, we’d love to hear your suggestions!

August Question of the Month: An irregular series

 The reference librarians at Seattle Public Library are pretty darn amazing. They don’t know everything, instead they know where to find everything. As part of an irregular series of posts we salute the talented and dedicated reference staff at your local library. Names and other identifying information have been removed from the questions we showcase. Got a stumper? Click on Ask a Librarian. It’s what we do.

 I’ve always heard that Seattle had a four-chicken per household rule (and no roosters), according to local law. Can you find out if that is the actual law or ordinance?

Thank you for your question about chickens-per-household regulations in Seattle.  I’ve consulted the online Seattle Municipal Code and have found the following:

C. Domestic Fowl. Up to three (3) domestic fowl may be kept on any lot in addition to the small animals permitted in subsection A. For each one thousand (1,000) square feet of lot area in excess of the minimum lot area required for the zone or, if there is no minimum lot area, for each one thousand (1,000) square feet of lot area in excess of five thousand (5,000) square feet, one (1) additional domestic fowl may be kept. From Seattle Municipal Code: Under: SMC 23.42.052 Keeping of Animals.

(The above referenced Subsection A):

A. Small Animals. Up to three (3) small animals may be kept accessory to each business establishment or dwelling unit on a lot, except as follows: 1. In no case is more than one (1) miniature potbelly pig allowed per business establishment or dwelling unit (see subsection B of this section)…

You can click here for the full text of this section of the Code.

I found no reference to prohibitions on roosters.

If you’d like to clarify the above, you can contact:

Office of the City Clerk
600 4th Avenue, Floor 3
PO Box 94728
Seattle, Washington 98124-4728
Phone: 206-684-8344

I hope this helps. Please let us know if we can provide additional information by replying to this email or by calling 206-386-4636.