Friday, April 4, 2014

The 73rd McKinney Writing Contest and Reading
A Vollmer Fries Lecture
Lydia Davis
Winner of the 2013 Man Booker International Prize
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
8:00 p.m.
Biotech Auditorium,
Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building
Reception to follow
As we've done for several years now, Friends has again contributed $250 toward the McKinney Writing Contest, Rensselaer's annual writing competition administered by the Department of Communication and Media.  The contest offers both undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity for assessment and recognition of their creative writing talent. Work can be submitted in one or more of the following areas:  fiction/drama, poetry, essay, and electronic media. This year's awards will be presented by short story writer and translator Lydia Davis, who will first give a reading from one of her works and then answer questions from the audience.  

Lydia Davis
(Photo by David Ignaszewski)
Davis is the author of story collections Almost No Memory (1997), Samuel Johnson is Indignant (2001), Varieties of Disturbance (2007), The Collected Stories (2009), and most recently Can't and Won't (2014).  She is also a novelist, essayist, and translator from French and other languages, and has produced several new translations of French literary classics, including Marcel Proust's Swann's Way and Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary.  Davis is known for her concise short stories.  Characteristically, they usually run between three and four pages.  The New Yorker praised her "lucidity, aphoristic brevity, formal originality, sly comedy, metaphysical bleakness, philosophical pressure, and human wisdom." Davis currently is a professor of creative writing at the University at Albany.

Barbara Lewis, Chair of Friends of the Folsom Library's Board of Directors and Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Media, is coordinating the event.

Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Your Laugh for the Day

I just have to share this with you all.  Friend Steven Smith '50 responded to my recent blog entry regarding Don Bell's upcoming Lunch & Learn program concerning teaching young people about money management.  Here it is.

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Adrienne, I thought this story, forwarded by my niece, was so pertinent to the theme of the April 11 Lunch and Learn that I should pass it on. Hope it gives you a chuckle.

Bravo to Don Bell and all who teach young people financial savvy. Such an important subject! 


His name was Ole. He was from South Dakota. And he needed a loan. So, he walked into a bank in New York City and asked for a loan officer. He told the loan officer that he was going to Oslo for the All-Scandinavian Summer Festival for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000 and that he was not a depositor of the bank. The bank officer told him that the bank would need some form of security for the loan, so Ole handed over the keys to his new Ferrari. The car was parked on the street in front of the bank. Ole produced the title and everything checked out.

The loan officer agreed to hold the car as collateral for the loan and apologized for having to charge 12% interest. The loan papers were signed and an employee of the bank then drove the Ferrari into the bank's private underground garage and parked it. Later, the bank's president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at Ole from South Dakota for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral for a $5,000 loan.

Two weeks later, Ole returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest of $23.07. The loan officer said, "Sir, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out on Dunn & Bradstreet and found that you are a Distinguished Alumni from South Dakota State University, a highly sophisticated investor and multimillionaire with real estate and financial interests all over the world. Your investments include a large number of oil wells around Williston, ND. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?"

Ole replied, "Vare else in New York City can I park my car for two veeks for only $23.07 and expect it to be dare vhen I return?"

His name was Ole. Keep an eye on these South Dakota boys! Just because we talk funny does not mean we just got off the lutefisk boat.

Brilliant, ja
Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lunch & Learn for April

"Money Life$avers:  What We All Need to Know About Money"
Friday, April 11, 2014
12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Folsom Library Fischbach Room
Don Bell
Former RPI web learning consultant Don Bell's newly published book, Money Life$avers:  What Teens Need to Know About Money, aims to provide parents, grandparents, home school educators, teachers, tutors, and mentors with fun ways to teach teens  (or anyone!) financial literacy.  He'll talk about some of the ways to make a potentially dull subject--personal finances--engaging and fun.
According to Don, the present generation of teens and young adults are struggling to stay afloat financially and could greatly benefit from money lifesavers like his book to help them make smart money decisions and avoid common financial pitfalls.  The content is based on National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education (developed by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy) and Money As You Grow--20 Things Kids Need to Know to Live Financially Smart Lives (published by the President's Council on Financial Capability).  Don's book makes learning about money fun by using quiz questions (over 400!) and incorporating over 100 cartoons. (The ideas for the cartoons were envisioned by Don and the images were created by Randy Rumpf, who was a designer and illustrator for RPI for 15 years.) There are also plenty of noteworthy quotations, money trivia, and definitions of financial terms.  But most importantly, the book is loaded with essential money management advice that anyone can benefit from. 

Illustration by Randy Rumpf

Illustration by Randy Rumpf
Don has over 30 years of experience working   in education, media, and technology. He was employed as a special education teacher, computer trainer, and educational software marketer before joining the staff of Academic and Research Computing at the Institute.  In the early 1990s, Don started working on developing games to teach youngsters about personal finance.  In 2011 he developed a money quiz card game based on the Jump$tart Coalition's National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education.  A year later he converted the game into a book format. 

Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lunch & Learn for March 2014

"Case Studies in Acoustic Architecture"

Friday, March 14, 2014
12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Folsom Library Fischbach Room

Zackery Belanger will follow up on his recent EMPAC (Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center) talk, "The Next Acoustic Architecture," with a discussion of project work, with emphasis on the challenges associated with innovation in the built environment.  This talk will include a closer look at EMPAC and smaller projects in the Capital District. 
Zackery Belanger

Zack is an acoustician, researcher, and designer whose work centers on architectural acoustics.  He holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Physics from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, along with a Master of Science degree in Architectural Sciences from RPI.  From 2002 to 2010 he worked for the acoustic consulting firm Kirkegaard Associates in consultant and research and development roles.  He is currently a Researcher-in-Residence at EMPAC, where he is working on a conceptual framework for acoustic enclosures called The Next Acoustic Architecture.   His creative work branches into furniture design and electronic music production. 

Zack is also a member of the Board of Directors at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, on which longtime Friend Paul Hohenberg also sits.  I have Paul to thank for suggesting Zack for a Lunch & Learn talk.  Paul and another Friend of the Folsom Library, Michael Halloran, head the Rensselaer Retirees Forum.  As you're probably aware, Friends and the Forum co-sponsor the Lunch & Learn program, but what your may not know is that we're always looking for presenters.  Please feel free to suggest potential speakers. We'd appreciate it. Thanks!  

Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 14th Lunch & Learn

We've had to CANCEL the February 14th Lunch & Learn because of the impending snowstorm.  I'm hoping Chip will be able to reschedule for April, but he said that in early April he will be in the midst of a demanding period of work on the Half Moon, so he'll let me know later if that's possible.  If not this year, then I hope he can come next year.

Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lunch & Learn for February 2014

“The Replica Ship Half Moon: 
Science, Commerce and Culture in 17th Century Exploration”

                    Presenter:  William T. (Chip) Reynolds
                                 Director, New Netherland Museum
                                   Captain, Replica Ship Half Moon
Photo credit:  New Netherland Museum/JW Mangrum
With imagery, maps, and replicated artifacts, Reynolds will discuss the interaction of science, commerce and culture in the 17th century.  Analogous to circumstances today, the Dutch East India Company relied on applying the most advanced scientific concepts to world exploration and establishment of their global commercial enterprises.  Inevitably, this brought about collaboration and conflict between diverse cultures.  In the Hudson River Valley, this led to the establishment of a colony unique in North America for its tolerance of differing religious and political views, and opportunity irrespective of background.
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Captain Reynolds is an authority on historical navigation and world exploration under sail.  He combines practical experience using 17th century navigational tools with historical knowledge of their use and function aboard ship.  He is a proponent of the view that 17th century exploration and commerce advanced the transition from a religious based world view to our modern scientific or empirical world view.  He applies this approach to education under sail and in the classroom, where students measure and document the world around them and discover their ability to find patterns and predictability from this data.
Reynolds is an engaging public speaker and has lectured at venues as varied as the Library of Congress, the New York Court of Appeals, academic institutions, and educational conferences.  He has developed educational curricula using practices aboard ship to deliver scientific concepts to elementary through high school students and has written both for popular and academic publications.
In 2009, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands designated Reynolds as a Dutch Knight (Order of Orange), and in 2001 he was selected as a Gold Medalist of the Holland Society for his work with the Half Moon, a full-scale operating replica of the Dutch ship that Henry Hudson sailed in 1609.  This voyage led to the founding of New Netherland, the Dutch colony that encompassed parts of modern day New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Reynolds has been featured in national television broadcasts with Bill Moyers and on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, CBS News, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and other national and regional media, and he has advised producers of feature films in the United States and abroad regarding historical sailing practices.
Reynolds is an Environmental Science graduate of New College of Florida, where he was a Noyes Environmental Fellow and published work on the biogeography of barrier islands in Southwest Florida.  He was a member of the State Planning Council for Radioactive Waste Management under President Jimmy Carter and served as Co-Chairman of the Transportation Working Group.  He resides in Selkirk, New York.
Friday, February 14
12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Folsom Library Fischbach Room
Everyone is welcome!  
Bring your lunch or purchase one at the Library Cafe.
Dessert will be provided.
Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library


Friday, November 22, 2013

Lunch & Learn for December

"Troy Iron for the USS Monitor"

Friday, December 6, 2013
12noon to 1pm
Folsom Library Fischbach Room

Steve Muller, local historian and author of Troy, New York, and the Building of the USS Monitor, will talk about his discovery of original documents at the New York State Archives that go a long way toward identifying the actual iron components made in Troy and shipped to Brooklyn for the construction of the USS Monitor, the first ironclad warship commissioned by the United States Navy during the American Civil War. 

USS Monitor (on the right) in battle with CSS Virginia,
March 9, 1862
(This is a file from Wikimedia Commons.)
Steve Muller was a U.S. State Department Foreign Service Officer for 26 years.  He specialized in international economic issues, including international trade, commodities, and energy.  After retirement, he worked for 12 years as a reporter for a group of electronic newsletters covering the electric utility industry. He moved to Troy ten years ago and became interested in Troy's industrial heritage. He is on the board of the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway.  In addition to his previously mentioned book, Steve has researched and written several articles on local industrial history topics.
Steve grew up in the Chicago area. He received his BA in Economics from Dartmouth College.
Adrienne Birchler
Friends of the Folsom Library