What’s happening at the Library – Winchester Sun
By John Maruskin
Halloween is just around the corner, so ghost and supernatural horror stories are all the rage in the library. That’s fine with CCPL’s Scary Librarian, James Gardener. He likes to read horror stories. He writes horror stories. He orders horror stories for the library collection. In October, James will read four of his own short ghost stories on the library’s Facebook page.
The stories are: “Exactly what you’re looking for (with the Old Librarian and the Vampire Book); Watch out for late returns; “A Poetry Reading” (with the poem that drives people crazy); and “Never read the magic books aloud.” As you can see, all stories are about libraries and reading. After all, the books of dead authors are their ghosts.
James’ performances are suitable for the whole family. So, gather around the screen with your favorite pumpkin drinks and share the haunted tacle. Just go to the library’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/clarkbooks, and scroll down the news feed, or click the More tab at the top of the Facebook page and select Videos.
On Tuesday, October 25th, this column features another new scary story from James, “The Tale of Johnny Evilseed,” which brings a scarecrow to life to leave people with creepy books and movies. Outcreep services.
James has published in short story anthologies. The library has these books: The Devil’s Hour: 17 Really Horrible Stories To Keep You Up At Night (Fantastic F Devi), Schlock! Horror !: An Anthology (Fantastic F Schl) and Song Stories: Dark Side of the Moon (Fantastic F Song).
If you like your horror with extra cheeezzze, James recommends Tales from the Crust: an Anthology of Pizza Horror / edited by David James Keaton & Max Booth III (call # Fantastic F Tale).
Well, October stories aren’t necessarily supernatural or terrifying.
On October 3, 1958, a Lamda Chi Alpha brotherhood pledge called Oliver R. Smoot became a “non-standard, humorous unit of measurement” when it was used by his brotherhood brethren to measure the length of Harvard Bridge. Smoot was chosen as the unit of measure because at 5’7 inches it was the shortest promise and had the most scientific sounding name.
It turned out that Harvard Bridge was 364.4 smoots long. After lying down and getting up over 100 times, Oliver Smoot got tired, so his brotherhood brother simply picked him up and put him back down for the rest of the measurements.
Oliver Smoot graduated from MIT in 1962, became a lawyer, later chairman of the American National Standards Institute, and then president of the International Organization for Standardization. Obviously he has “decided” to work.
In 2011, “smoot” was included in the fifth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary.
The “smoot” is not the only non-standard, humorous measurement. See the Wikipedia article “List of Humorous Units of Measure” to be amazed and amused by measurements like “The Sheppey” (known to readers of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide; units of time like “The Onosecond”; and non-standard ones , non-conventional units of all kinds like “Bogosity”.
Lifelong learning libraries, you know. And laugh. Have a good week