Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence

A photo of all of Gandhi's possessions when he died.
On October 22, we had the librarian at The Menil as our guest speaker. Eric Wolf explained that the library at The Menil is a very narrow and deep collection, unlike our own here at Lone Star College - CyFair Branch Library where we collect for a wide audience. Then he gave us a sampling of the exhibition on Gandhi at the museum. Abraham Korah liaised with The Menil to bring this program to us.

From The Menil: "Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence is the first international project to explore the resonance of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's (1867-1948) ethics of non-violence, or "satyagraha," in the visual arts."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Turmeric: Good for You

The Oct. 15, 2014 LIFE program had a large crowd excited to learn about the spice, turmeric. Usha Dontharaju, Reference Assistant at LSC-CyFair, in full Indian sari regalia, did not disappoint. We learned that this root spice is in the same family as ginger and it is used as a food ingredient and as a tonic for many ailments such as indigestion, liver detox, skin healing, brain function, antiinflammatory, lower cholesterol, anti cancer, and much more. Indian cooks use turmeric in small quantities while cooking, but they put the ground spice in practically everything. It is a beautiful yellow color and a neutral taste (it is not spicy like hot red pepper). 

Usha prepared a Lemon Rice dish. She had steamed rice prepared. In a frying pan, she put 5 teaspoons of vegetable oil. When hot she added about a 1/2 cup of raw peanuts and 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds. When fragrant, she added a teaspoon of chick pea flour, the juice of two limes (yes, they still call it lemon rice), two pinches of turmeric, a handful of curry leaves from her garden,and salt to taste. She combined the mixture with the rice. We all got to taste this delightful dish. Usha also prepared a turmeric facial mask (1 teaspoon turmeric and three tablespoons of homemade plain yogurt). This will color your skin yellow so don't put it on before a big party.

Usha had everyone laughing at her witty remarks,  admiring her cooking skills and learning about this miraculous little root. Some suggested she do a cooking program on You Tube. Bollywood here she comes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Latino First Responders Panel

Our first responders panel had our LIFE group begging for more gritty and gruesome stories from real life law enforcement. Sarah Cortez read some of her winsome poetry with such power in its simplicity. Christopher Hernandez read a passage about a mob and a homicide from his early experiences in south Texas. His tone and description is graphic and real. Hipolito Acosta of the INS described with passion some of his immigration experiences which were so dangerous and varied that Sarah exclaimed how can he possibly be alive? And the most fun was the Q&A afterwards where we could get more inside scoops.

The library purchased the following books:

Proof of Our Resolve by Chris Hernandez
Our Lost Border; Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence edited by Sarah Cortez and Sergio Troncoso
The Shadow Catcher: A U.S. Agent Infiltrates Mexico's Deadly Crime Cartels by Hipolito Acosta with Lisa Pulitzer

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sculpture and Remembrance

We kicked off Gulf Coast Reads today with forensic sculptor, Amanda Danning. The book by Stephen Harrigan, Remember Ben Clayton, is about a father who commissions a sculpture of his son who was killed in World War I. Amanda brought her personal thoughts about being a sculptor and gave a slide show of some of her favorite pieces showing remembrance throughout history. She even told us about the tempestuous love story between Rodin and Camille Claudel, both famous sculptors. Amanda covered all the bases: love, sex, power, bravery,  feelings, murder, kidnapping, and syphilis.
What is exciting is the technology available to forensic artists today. In the TV show Bones, we have a forensic doctor who works with an artist. Amanda said that the TV show’s depiction of the technology is quite over the top, but we are getting close. Amanda showed us pictures of bone fragments and how her talent assisted by modern technology allowed her to sculpt a bust of the Marquis Sablonierre, a French settler from the Fort St. Louis settlement from 1686 in Texas. He was killed by Indians and this gruesome tale mirrored the kidnapping in our book. What a way to start our Gulf Coast Reads month.