On July 29th, I was one of the speakers at the Connecticut State Library's "ADA for Libraries and Librarians" program held at the Middletown Library Service Center.  The headlining speaker Elanah Graham talked about what the ADA requires libraries and staff to go about assisting patrons with disabilities.  Maria Bernier spoke briefly on how libraries can apply for LSTA grants to provide assistive technology. 

And yours truly went in some stammering detail about the aforementioned assistive tech, including mention (and demonstration) of such software & devices like the JAWS screen reader, the MAGic screen maginifier, the SARA scanner, and the Ruby Handheld Video Magnifier. (See our ADA Page for more details on those services.)

Anyway, the whole 3 hour workshop was captured for a podcast in two parts which you can find on the CT State Library's Archived Events page here.  Hope you'll find it informative.

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Yes, Mickey Spillane, the guy who wrote such hard hitting novels as I, the Jury and The Delta Factor, actually wrote a screenplay for a never produced western (for John Wayne, no less!) back around 1959! 


If you haven't, here's your chance:

The film opens in the US on November 6th.

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This Saturday, July 18, beginning at 1:00 PM in the second floor meeting room at Greenwich Library, comics legend Carl Potts  will give a workshop on how students in grades 6-12 can make their own comic book.  We'll be supplying the materials you'll need.  All you have to do is bring yourselves.  Details here & here

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YOLT2015.pngHere's the original trailer for 1967's You Only Live Twice, which we'll be showing on Thursday July 16 at 6:30 PM!  Check it out!

And here's my 2009 review of the film. Agree? Disagree? Comments are welcome.

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Courtesy of, here's how last week's Supreme  Court decision can affect anybody who has or doesn't have health insurance. You might even be able to get insurance for this year!

And you can read the actual court decision here.

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R.I.P. Christopher Lee

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The last of the classic horror movie stars that I grew up watching in movies, Sir Christopher Lee, passed away on June 7th.  Along with Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing, Lee was a true horror/fantasy film genre star. His performances as Frankenstein's monster, Fu Manchu, the Mummy, Saruman, Sherlock (and Mycroft) Holmes, and of course, Dracula,  made him well known and liked by movie fans everywhere.  And that terrific voice! 

Greenwich Library carries about a fraction of Lee's film work (possibly 250 movies altogether!) in our collection, but the ones we do carry are worth checking out.   Some suggested titles include the following:

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957):  Lee's first major horror role, opposite frequent co star Peter Cushing as an arrogant Baron Frankenstein.  Both actors give great performances, with Lee turning in a subtle turn without using dialogue as the monster. Here's my 2010 review.  Available as part of a horror double feature DVD set with Lee's Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), which is just okay. 

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959; available on Hoopla from us): Fun, atmospheric remake with Cushing's Sherlock Holmes trying to protect Sir Henry Baskerville (Lee) from a family curse.  

The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960),  Scream of Fear (1961), and The Gorgon (1964) all feature strong supporting turns by Lee.  Here's my 2009 review of all three.

Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966):  Lee's second go around as Bram Stoker's undead Count.  Available in this collection from us. 

Count Dracula (1970; available on Hoopla): Lee teamed up with Spanish cult film director Jesus Franco and co-stars Herbert Lom and Klaus  Kinski in what was supposed to be a more faithful adaptation of Stoker's character.  Despite poor staging and an obvious low budget, Lee rises above the mess. 

Lee (dubbed by another actor!) had played  Sherlock Holmes in the German made Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962) but that film is currently unavailable.  However, Lee returned to the Holmes universe as the detective's brother, Mycroft, in director Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970; available on Hoopla), an affectionate take on the title character. 

Horror Express (1972);  Lee in a rare and solid turn as a heroic lead alongside Cushing.  The film's not bad either.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974): Lee's title assassin goes after James Bond 007 (Roger Moore).  Some good moments -the two stars are fine-, but the emphasis on comedy over suspense hurts the film.

These films, and others starring Lee, can be found on the library's online catalogue here.  And if you want us to get more of his films, go here

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On Thursday, June 11, at 6:30 PM in the second floor meeting room, Greenwich Library Cult Films will present Mad Max (1979) starring Mel Gibson.  The first film in the series that recently released a new installment (Mad Max: Fury Road), this is a powerful thriller set in a post-apocalyptic future where civilization has broken down and wild gangs roam Australia's highways. 

Directed in a sweeping, exciting style by George Miller (Babe), Mad Max is part biker film, part Dirty  Harry cop picture and part horror thriller.  Below is the original US trailer (with dubbed in American voices) for the film:

Mad Max is in color, runs 90 minutes and is rated R. 

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Back in September I reviewed the first volume of IDW's Batman:  The Silver Age Newspaper Comics, which covered the strip's first two years (1966-67).  Now IDW has put out Volume Two, which covers the Batman newspaper comic strip from January 1, 1968 to May 31, 1969. Click here to reserve our copy.

Picking up the "Shivering Blue Max" storyline from the last volume, writer Whitney Ellsworth and artist Joe Giella tie up loose ends with a massive (for a newspaper strip) body count.  Giella is then replaced by former Superman artist Al Plastino, who takes over the penciling and inking of the strip, with some help from then current Superman artist Curt Swan (check out panel 2 of the July 30th 1968 strip; I'd swear that head shot was drawn by Swan).  And sure enough, who should guest star alongside Batman and Robin in Plastino's first storyline ("Diabolical Professor Zinkk", which ran March 18-August 6, 1968) but Superman himself, who gets the Caped Crusaders to help him find out who's been stealing his powers.

Another DC Comics superhero, Aquaman, makes appearances in two storylines, a brief one in the aforementioned "Zinkk" continuity, and "Breathing Underwater" (August 7-December 15, 1968), where Batman, without Robin (who seems to be getting phased out of the strip at this time), must aid a scientist's daughter against an underwater smuggling ring. That's followed by "I Want Bruce Wayne's Identity!" (December 15, 1968-May 30, 1969), a suspenseful entry where Batman, as Bruce Wayne, gets amnesia, and winds up being replaced by a sinister lookalike and his gang, with only a suspicious Batgirl to help him. 

Ellsworth's scripts, while sometimes emulating the style of the 60's Batman TV series (which went off the air in March, 1968), are pretty good.  The Superman/Professor Zinkk storyline is the best, with genuine tension and some welcome humor.  Ellsworth's not afraid to dispatch various characters if he has to; lots of villains end up usually dead by the climax of each story. Plastino's style hues closer to the work of then current Batman comic book artists Irv Novick and Bob Brown (both of whom were inked by Joe Giella), but is otherwise solid and compelling.

Volume Two ends with the start of a new storyline involving a mysterious woman with designs on Bruce Wayne.  How will that end up?  Guess we'll have to wait for Volume Three to find out! 

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Greenwich Library Cult Films presents the 1965 James Bond 007 thriller (the fourth in the series) Thunderball on Thursday May 14 beginning at 6:30pmin the second floor meeting room.  The film is in color, runs 130 minutes, and is rated PG.

The plot:  SPECTRE has stolen two atomic bombs from a NATO jet and is holding the world hostage.  Bond (Sean Connery) suspects that there's a link between  a man he saw in a medical clinic who looked liked one of the NATO pilots and the pilot's sister Domino (Claudine Auger), who just happens to be vacationing in Nassau. With her guardian Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), who just happens to be SPECTRE's second in command...

Lots of fun action sequences in this one!  Plus a lot of it takes place underwater.  (SPECTRE has hidden the bombs underwater, see...) And some terrific gadgets as well.

Connery and the supporting cast (some of whom are dubbed) give polished performances under Terrence Young's taut direction.  Check out Thunderball for yourself this Thursday!

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