19 February 2011

I Won't Hold it Against You

Holy Crap Brit Brit! I thought this song was going to suck hardcore but it actually had me pumped at about 3 minutes in! If this is what's going down in the States it's a relief because now I won't have to explain myself and British music in the clubs to friends that come here and visit!

Here ya go - enjoy a decent song for a (nearly) 30 year old popstar.  Speaking of being older....can't dance anymore can you Brit Brit? Tsk, shame.

Do We Really Need to Save the Libraries?

I'm not sure what it is about living in London, but I swear my typical Vote-Blue-or-Go-Home attitude with the Democrats seems to have been questioned.  I'm pretty positive I'm not a cruel elitist - last I checked - but I have started questioning policies and values. It's just a curiosity to see why we believe in some things, much like a 4 year old that keeps asking 'but why?' I suppose.

I was recently watching 10'O Clock Live, which has annoyingly grown on me.  I definitely threw a fit when Channel 4 took The Daily Show off the air and replaced it with this weekly update of satirical news. A segment of the show discussed the budget cuts and closing of libraries and it got me wondering: how often does the average person use the library?

I will probably be the first person on a soapbox to proclaim how much the library did for me as a kid.  First there is the BookIt club which inspired me to read from a young age (hey you got free Pizza Hut then!)

Then I became interested in learning languages and picked up a basic American Sign Language reader at age 8, and my first French book later on.  Not to mention the geek in me was born with all of the science books there!  But even then, at nearly 20 years ago (wow time flies) I could remember that some libraries were simply better than others.

Cleveland Public Library - Rockport Branch
This is the library that was directly outside of my school.  There were (Cleveland has been hit pretty hard with school closures and consolidations in the recent years) at least four schools within a mile radius of this library.  I never liked going there. It was small and looked unloved and didn't have a selection of anything that interested me, so it seemed pointless for me to spend my time there.

Cleveland Public Library - West Park Branch
This is a library that was just a little further of a walk from my house.  It was nicer, the books were newer, there was more space inside - it just felt like how a library should.  Oddly enough, there weren't any schools as close to this library in comparison.  Although Rockport was closer, I would not have been devastated if that library had closed because West Park wasn't that far away and it was better.  Maybe if they had closed Rockport and put the money into the libraries in the schools or the schools themselves even, I wouldn't have had to say there 'were' four schools in the area.

As we get older it's to be expected that most of us won't need the library the way we once did. We'll have stopped learning new things (which is sad), won't need to do research, etc.  Also a majority of households (UK - US) have Internet and PCs and can download information right at home.  Is a small local library that necessary anymore?  What type of people go there now? How is it being used, if at all, by the rest of the community? Should we be focusing more on the libraries in our schools and universities?

On the other hand, of course there are still some people out there that don't have the Internet or eReaders that some of us are so accustomed to now, and need to use actual books.  However, to be clear, the question isn't should we abolish all libraries - I'm pretty sure the day someone tries to close the British Library protests will break out.  Maybe we should ask why certain libraries are being targeted?  Or why there needs to be more than one library in x amount of miles from each other?  If there's a choice between two local libraires that aren't that far apart, and one of them isn't living up to its standards for the community, should it really be saved?

09 February 2011

Arsenal FC, by far the greatest team

This is going to be a risky post for me as everything is against me; I'm American, I'm a girl, I love Arsenal.  I suppose this means the only football I know requires 250lbs guys in padding to smash each other, that the concept of offside is beyond me, and that I support a team that doesn't know how to win.
I'll let you slide with those accusations for now...

You see, I'm from Ohio and there's not a city in Ohio where you can escape good 'ole all-American sports, even hockey is there. But more importantly, I'm from Cleveland and losing is something we do far too well. Cleveland Indians for baseball, Cleveland Browns for football, Cleveland Cavaliers for basketball.  In fact, we're so well-known for losing that Hollywood made a film about our baseball team.

Yea come back and talk to me about a 'losing team' when you have one of those under your belt. Arsenal is not what I would consider a failed team by any means. 

Although Cleveland may have some of the worst teams in the history of every sport, we also have some of the best, most devoted, possibly delusional, but respectful fans I have ever met.  There's a strong sense of loyalty with our teams, and also a sense of respect for when the better man wins. I appreciate this in sports, because it reflects in our teams as well.

Today I came across this statement that Samir Nasri made about Jack Wilshere for tonight's friendly against Denmark:
"He plays with guts as you say in England. I like him as a player because he always tries to play forward."
It might not seem that bold of a statement, but I feel it's a rarity in English sports - compliments from teammates.  And who's to blame them, really, when some players decide that another player's Missus is to be shared like a buffet dinner?

The thing is, I like the way Arsenal plays the game.  Not just out on the pitch, but mentally and with each other outside of training.  Something about their presence is all too familiar of our teams back in Ohio.  I think it takes more to make a 'great' team than just having a trophy in the cabinet.  It takes companionship, respect, and treating each as your own brother.  I'm sure it's not as rosey of a picture as I'm painting when they get to the dressing rooms or off the pitch, but whatever it is they leave it to the side.  They play the game as best they can and let the media see only what needs to be seen.

So when someone asks why I support a 'losing' team such as Arsenal, I feel confident and proud to chant 'ooh to be a gooner' at them - because I know I am truly supporting the greatest team that I have ever seen....

And it's Aaaaarrrrseeeeeeeennnnnaaaaall

08 February 2011

U2, Coldplay, Beyonce Glastonbury 2011

Right, so I know everyone is getting their knickers in a bunch over this (yet to be officially) confirmed news  from Holy Moly, but I just wanted to bring a few facts to light.

1. These three acts are only approximately 6 of 84 hours of music and events provided at Glasto

2. There were 45 other stages last year, and several late night entertainment spots to keep you occupied all night....take your pick of entertainment

3. If you only go to Glasto to hear what's on at the Pyramid Stage, I would suggest you save your money and go to a concert venue near you.

I hate hearing people say that one artist isn't fit enough to be at Glastonbury. By the looks of my wristband I still have on I believe it says "Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performance Arts".  This isn't year-on-year Woodstock.  But if you want that, I'm sure there's a stage for you - That's the beauty of Glastonbury.

So don't let three names ruin the greatest weekend England has to offer.  Bring on Glasto2011, I can't wait!!

Swimming with this Mermaid