Winners Announced for Lake Charles Christmas Street Parade
On Saturday, December 7, a panel of judges scored parade entries on presentation, performance, decorations, originality, and safety during the Light up the Lake Christmas Celebration. Awards were presented to the top-scoring entries.
In the Christmas Street Parade, trophies were awarded to:
- Best Decorated Vehicle, Studio 57
Best Specialty Group, Calcasieu Parish Library
- 1st Place Float, Community Christian Church
- 2nd Place Float, The Twelfth Night Revelers
- 3rd Place Float, Faith Bible Church
- 1st Place Marching Band, Sam Houston High Pride & Spirit Band
- 2nd Place Marching Band, LaGrange High Band & Gatorettes.
Lake Charles Toyota/Scion has been the official sponsor of the Lake Charles Christmas Parade since 2001. For more information, please call 491-9149 or www.cityoflakecharles.com.
The Borgias by G. J. Meyer (2013)
The startling truth behind one of the most notorious dynasties in history is revealed in a remarkable new account by the acclaimed author of The Tudors and A World Undone. Sweeping aside the gossip, slander, and distortion that have shrouded the Borgias for centuries, G. J. Meyer offers an unprecedented portrait of the infamous Renaissance family and their storied milieu.
They burst out of obscurity in Spain not only to capture the great prize of the papacy, but to do so twice. Throughout a tumultuous half-century—as popes, statesmen, warriors, lovers, and breathtakingly ambitious political adventurers—they held center stage in the glorious and blood-drenched pageant known to us as the Italian Renaissance, standing at the epicenter of the power games in which Europe’s kings and Italy’s warlords gambled for life-and-death stakes.
Five centuries after their fall—a fall even more sudden than their rise to the heights of power—they remain immutable symbols of the depths to which humanity can descend: Rodrigo Borgia, who bought the papal crown and prostituted the Roman Church; Cesare Borgia, who became first a teenage cardinal and then the most treacherous cutthroat of a violent time; Lucrezia Borgia, who was as shockingly immoral as she was beautiful. These have long been stock figures in the dark chronicle of European villainy, their name synonymous with unspeakable evil.
But did these Borgias of legend actually exist? Grounding his narrative in exhaustive research and drawing from rarely examined key sources, Meyer brings fascinating new insight to the real people within the age-encrusted myth. Equally illuminating is the light he shines on the brilliant circles in which the Borgias moved and the thrilling era they helped to shape, a time of wars and political convulsions that reverberate to the present day, when Western civilization simultaneously wallowed in appalling brutality and soared to extraordinary heights.
Stunning in scope, rich in telling detail, G. J. Meyer’s The Borgias is an indelible work sure to become the new standard on a family and a world that continue to enthrall. -- Amazon
Praise for Borgias and G. J. Meyers:
- “The Borgias is a fascinating look into the lives of the notorious Italian Renaissance family and its reputation for womanizing, murder and corruption. Meyer turns centuries of accepted wisdom about the Borgias on its head, probing deep into contemporary documents and neglected histories to reveal some surprising truths. . . . The Borgias: The Hidden History is a gripping history of a tempestuous time and an infamous family.”—Shelf Awareness
- “The mention of the Borgia family often conjures up images of a ruthless drive for power via assassination, serpentine plots, and sexual debauchery. This is partially owing to propaganda spread by contemporary rivals of the Borgias, nineteenth-century Renaissance historians, and even films and television shows. . . . [Meyer] convincingly looks past the mythology to present a more nuanced portrait of some members and their achievements. . . . [The] Borgias are treated with . . . evenhandedness in this well-researched and surprising study.”—Booklist
- The Tudors : The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty (2011) Available format: Standard print book.
- A World Undone : The Story of the Great War, 1914-1918 (2006) Available format: Standard print book.
Be sure to watch the HBO series starring Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger, Joanne Whalley, Lotte Verbeek, David Oakes, Sean Harris, Colm Feore. Better yet, check out the DVDs from your Library.
- The Borgias: Season One (2011) Created by Neil Jordan.
- The Borgias: Season Two (2012) Created by Neil Jordan.
- The Borgias: Season Three (2013)
Post written by C. Ford, staff member in the Collection Services Division of the Calcasieu Parish Public Library System.
The Annual Gingerbread House Contest, sponsored by the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, was held on Dec. 7th in conjunction with the Lake Charles Annual Christmas Lighting Festival.
Guess who won in their division? Yep…the Library!
Southwest Louisiana's very own mascot, Gumbeaux Gator, helped present the awards. The Gingerbread Houses will remain on display at the bureau throughout the month of December, and all visitors will be able to vote on the People's Choice Award to be announced Tuesday, Dec. 31, at the bureau.
Posted: 02 Dec 2013 12:56 PM PST
Now it’s my turn.
Conspicuously missing from the list were two iconic devices, the iPad Air, and the iPad Mini with retina display. The iPad Air boasts the most powerful tech specs in any iOS device to date, yet comes in the most elegant package ever. That’s up to 128 GB of storage in a one pound device that fits in the palm of your hand! (For some fun perspective, that much storage back in 1980 would’ve set you back a cool $25 million dollars, and forget about the weight of it!)
While the iPad Air ranges from $499-$799, its smaller cousin, the iPad Mini with retina display, packs all of that goodness into a smaller and more affordable package. Each respective storage capacity, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, is a hundred dollars less than the iPad Air.
Both models feature the best camera we’ve seen on any iPad. With 5 megapixel photos, Autofocus, face detection and a five element lens, it’s perfect to capture those precious holiday moments with friends and family.
But these devices are about more than just great hardware. With the release of iOS 7, the iPad’s newest operating system, Apple did something quietly amazing: they made their entire suite of productivity apps free. Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, collectively known as iWork, are the Apple equivalents of PowerPoint, Word and Excel and create files compatible with their Microsoft Office counterparts. What’s more is that iCloud.com, utilizing the same HTML 5 technology that powers OverDrive Read, offers a web-based version of each app that is accessible from virtually any computer with an internet connection, which will sync with the projects you have on your device. (But let’s face it, even if people don’t want to work on their iPad, at least now they can.) Of course, despite all of those useful free apps, I will probably still spend most of the time on my iPad this winter listening to audiobooks on the OverDrive Media Console.
Anders Brooks is a Training Specialist on the Knowledge Services Team at OverDrive, the provider of the library's digital collection.
Posted: 26 Nov 2013 12:27 PM PST
I know you’ve all been on pins-and-needles waiting for the second installment of my little device buying guide.
Microsoft Surface 2
The Surface 2 is a lot like the original Surface RT, but with better everything. The screen is better, it’s lighter, the speakers are better, it’s more responsive, and recent updates to Windows RT really do a lot to increase overall usability.
Here’s the kicker: the original Surface RT is actually a decent tablet, with solid specs and build quality. So the Surface 2 is a nice improvement over a product that was already pretty good.
There are two reasons that the Surface isn’t higher up on my list:
- It’s a little unwieldy. This has mostly to do with the aspect ratio (16:9 versus the typical 16:10). It’s a little wider and shorter in landscape than your average Android tablet (16:10), and Apple uses 4:3 which is more square-ish. It’s also a little heavier than average (though lighter than the RT).
- The current Windows RT app selection is a little limited (though growing fast). Microsoft has also locked 3rd party web browsers out of Windows RT, which I do not like at all.
That being said, if you’re fine using Internet Explorer all the time, and you want a tablet that grants you a whole lot of excellent productivity options (the best out there, really), the Surface 2 is where it’s at. The price is not cheap, but reasonable at $450. If the tech geek on your list has a serious need for heavy word processing and other officey type things, then you can’t really beat the Surface as a tablet option.
Honorable mention: Sony Xperia Tablet Z
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z gets an honorable mention because it’s a great tablet that also happens to be water resistant. Yup, that’s right; you can have this out in the rain and not really worry about it. It’s a much more useful feature than you might think, and it means that the Tablet Z is pretty resilient.
In fact, if it weren’t for the price (starting at $449 on sale), I’d have probably picked this as my second or third recommendation. It has a good screen (1920 x 1200 for around 224 ppi), and a decent processor (Snapdragon S4 Pro), but neither make it top of the line. That’s my gripe—the Tablet Z is priced as a top of the line machine (the 32 GB model is $550). If they were charging $400 and $450 for the 16 GB and 32 GB model respectively, this tablet would be a great buy.
What, no iPad?
Anders will talk more about the iPad in his post next week. Both the mini with retina display and the Air are solid devices, but I personally prefer the tablets above. If you’re buying for a big Apple fan, or that special someone on your list already has a lot invested in Apple products, then stay tuned. Anders is the man you are waiting to hear from.
Quinton Lawman is a Technical Writer on the Knowledge Services team at OverDrive, vendor for the Library's digital collection.
Posted: 25 Nov 2013 08:11 AM PST
Last year I wrote a post where I recommended some solid devices for the holidays, so I figured I’d chime in again this year. It’s an exciting time to be a geek like me, as technology continues to move along at a breakneck speed. Did you know you can now read eBooks and listen to audiobooks on your refrigerator or washing machine? I mean, why not?
I’m going to focus on slightly more practical devices that are perfect for everyday use—specifically tablets. They all work great with the Library's digital collection from OverDrive, and are pretty versatile to boot. In the not too distant future, my esteemed colleague, Anders Brooks, will write another post that will cover a little more, including E Ink readers. Let’s get started with Part 1, shall we? By the way, part 2 is coming shortly.
Nexus 7 (2013 edition)
You may remember (if you read my post last year) that I was a huge fan of the original Nexus 7. This year Google outdid itself. Simply put, the new Nexus 7 is a best buy at $229.
The iPad mini with retina display (which Anders will talk more about in his post) starts at $399, and has a 326 ppi screen. That’s a great screen, but the 3 ppi difference between that and the new Nexus 7 (323 ppi) is imperceptible to the human eye. Though the iPad mini is a bit faster than the Nexus 7, it’s $160 more expensive, and the speed difference in everyday tasks is negligible.
My wife just got one of these tablets, and she loves it because it’s easy to use, fast, and great for reading. In fact, the screen is fantastic for reading. The sharper the image, the less your eyes have to work to focus on it, and with such a high ppi, the Nexus 7 is practically built for eBooks.
Because the Nexus 7 is also slim and light, it’s also very portable. For me, that means it’s great for audiobooks too. It’s no big deal to take the Nexus 7 on a trip, plug it into the stereo, and use it for navigation while listening to a good book.
It’s this value for money attribute that makes the Nexus 7 my top pick in tablets for the holidays.
Nvidia Tegra Note
The Tegra Note is an interesting specimen. It’s cheaper than the Nexus 7 at $199, which is a major selling point, and it’s also awfully fast with Nvidia’s newest Tegra 4 System on a Chip (SoC). It’s marketed to gamers, but with a $199 price tag, I don’t see why it couldn’t appeal to everyone.
The screen isn’t as good as the Nexus 7 (7” at 1280 x 800 for 216 ppi), but it’s not horrible. It might not be the best out there for reading, but the Note does beat the first and second generation Kindle Fire (202 ppi) and ties the 2nd generation 7” Kindle Fire HD, so it’s just not as big a deal as some reviewers are claiming.
The Tegra Note shows an awful lot of promise in testing (which you can read all about on Tom’s Hardware). Features like the stylus (supposedly very good) and the device’s raw performance make it a real contender. Heck it’s even supposed to have pretty good speakers.
The Note is made out of plastic–Nvidia had to cut corners somewhere along the line to get the price down to $199. Does that mean the Tegra Note is built horribly? I don’t know, because I haven’t been able to get my hands on one yet, but I can almost guarantee that it’s not built as well as an iPad or Nexus 7. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a piece of junk. Reviewers seem to think it feels a little cheap, but nobody likes plastic anymore. My advice is to check one out for yourself—they should be in stores soon.
The new Nexus 10?
There’s a question mark on this one because Google hasn’t yet announced the new Nexus 10. Will it be great? I have no idea. The Nexus brand has done a lot to reshape the way we think about the price of quality tech. You can go out and get a fantastic high-end phone (Nexus 5) for $350 off-contract. Most top-o-the-line phones cost more like $650 or $700. You can go out and buy a killer tablet for $229 too (see above). Each generation of Nexus device has been a significant step up from the previous generation.
The original Nexus 10 is great–even if it’s not the most popular. In fact, it was even higher-end than last year’s Nexus 7. So, I’m dying to know, what will the new Nexus 10 be like? Rumors have pointed to a November launch, so it could be announced any day now. If you prefer the 10” form-factor like I do, my advice is to wait to make your buying decision for a week or two to see what Google might announce.
Quinton Lawman is a Technical Writer on the Knowledge Services team at OverDrive, vendor for the Library's digital collection.
Experience the best of both worlds with your Library! What if we could provide patrons access to two online catalogs? Guess what? We do! Prefer the search experience of the classic catalog? It's still available. If you are interested in discovering a whole new searching experience, the enhanced catalog is for you.
Cool features in the enhanced catalog include:
- Everything drop-down menu — search all collections or limit a search to a specific collection
- Limit Search Results — after searching, narrow results by material type, audience, subject, category, publication date and/or library using include/exclude buttons
- Show available items only---view library material that is available right now
- My Lists — drag-and-drop titles between lists;
- Holds---place multiple holds in one procedure (Select an Action drop down)
- Facebook "Like" — share titles with Facebook friends
- Text This To Me — send item information to a cell phone
- Customized Kids and Teens catalogs
Future features include online registration, card renewal & fine payment.
NOTE: There are a few glitches with the enhanced catalog that are being corrected. These include hyperlinks in the holds folder (My Account) and specific book jackets not displaying in Facebook when you LIKE a title.
Additional ways to search the library catalog: CPPLMobile (mobile app) or Social Library (Facebook)
As widely reported, Adobe confirmed that they suffered a security breach of customer data on their servers. The company posted information at their blog here: http://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2013/10/important-customer-security-announcement.html
Adobe has confirmed that the Library's digital collection library users with activated Adobe eBook accounts may have been affected. Here is information that they have provided.
- Adobe is in the process of resetting passwords and notifying affected users. Affected users will receive an email alert advising them to reset their Adobe password in order to continue access to their Adobe account. For security purposes and as a recommended practice, Adobe is encouraging affected users to reset their Adobe passwords as well as reset passwords for any non-Adobe services/applications (in case they used the same user ID and password as was used with Adobe).
- Reactivation of previously authorized eBook software and apps using Adobe DRM (Adobe Digital Editions and OverDrive Media Console) is NOT required in order to maintain access to Adobe eBooks or to download new ones, even if users have since changed the password on their Adobe ID.
- New activations of ADE and OMC will not be possible until users have reset their password with Adobe. This is because Adobe has reset everyone’s existing password.
- OverDrive users can choose to de-authorize ADE or OMC on their devices and re-authorize with their new password; however, that is not necessary or recommended.
- Users who have changed their Adobe password and wish to also update their passwords through OverDrive should do so. Changing passwords periodically and using different passwords for different accounts are good security practices.
At OverDrive, we do not store emails or passwords for Adobe ID on OMC. We do store emails and passwords for those that registered an OverDrive ONE account. Users can change and reset their OverDrive ONE password by either using the “Forgot password” link or by using the “Settings” panel. Users who have registered for OverDrive ONE using their Facebook account will have to re-authenticate OverDrive ONE in OMC if they have also updated their Facebook email or password.
The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag (2013)
#1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag brings back her fan-favorite Minneapolis investigators Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska in the haunting new thriller The 9th Girl.
"Kovac had seen more dead bodies than he could count: Men, women, children; victims of shootings, stabbings, strangulations, beatings; fresh corpses and bodies that had been left for days in the trunks of cars in the dead of summer. But he had never seen anything quite like this . . . "
On a frigid New Year's Eve in Minneapolis a young woman's brutalized body falls from the trunk of a car into the path of oncoming traffic. Questions as to whether she was alive or dead when she hit the icy pavement result in her macabre nickname, Zombie Doe. Unidentified and unidentifiable, she is the ninth nameless female victim of the year, and homicide detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are charged with the task of not only finding out who Zombie Doe is, but who in her life hated her enough to destroy her. Was it personal, or could it just have been a crime of opportunity? Their greatest fear is that not only is she their ninth Jane Doe of the year, but that she may be the ninth victim of a vicious transient serial killer they have come to call Doc Holiday.
Crisscrossing America's heartland, Doc Holiday chooses his victims at random, snatching them in one city and leaving them in another, always on a holiday. If Zombie Doe is one of his, he has brought his gruesome game to a new and more terrifying level. But as Kovac and Liska begin to uncover the truth, they will find that the monsters in their ninth girl's life may have lived closer to home. And even as another young woman disappears, they have to ask the question: which is the greater evil--the devil you know or the devil you don't?
Praise for Tami Hoag:
- “Hoag’s prose is martial-arts quick and precise, her humor is high-voltage, and her insights into the misery of high school, the toxicity of divorce, and the extreme psychosis of a serial killer are knowing and thought-provoking…one of her very best.” – Booklist
- “Hoag keeps tight control over her plot in this book, raising the tension with every page that turns. She knows her characters, both good and bad, and intensifies the conflict in the most absorbing way. Not every writer of suspense can manage it so successfully, but Hoag does it from beginning to end.” —Huffington Post
Other titles featuring Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska:
- Down the Darkest Road (2012) Available formats: Standard and Large print books, and eAudio.
- Prior Bad Acts (2006) Available formats: Standard and Large print books, eAudio and eBook.
Dust to Dust (2004) Available formats: Standard print book and eBook.
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