astronaut wives

“What kind of a woman would actually let her husband be blasted into space on a rocket?”

This was the question all the reporters asked when the Mercury 7 astronauts were announced on April 9, 1959 at a press conference at the Dolley Madison House in Washington DC. The Astronauts Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel tells the story of those seven women referred to as the astrowives: Rene Carpenter, Annie Glenn, Trudy Cooper, Betty Grissom, Jo Schirra, Louise Shepard, and Marge Slayton.

The astrowives became instant celebrities along with their husbands. Life Magazine sent a reporter to cover the wives and children while their husbands were in training and on missions. They were given $500,000 for participating in the story to split between the seven families, which was considerably more that the $7,000 a year the astronauts were making from the military. They went on tours around the world and had tea with Jackie Kennedy.

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golden-globes-logo

In the first big awards show of the season, the Golden Globes showed off Hollywood’s best assets of 2013 in both film and television.

Without a single film sweeping all of the big awards, the show spread the love among a whole range of films, from 12 Years a Slave to American Hustle to The Wolf of Wall Street to Dallas Buyers Club to Blue Jasmine to Gravity.

Though American Hustle won two acting awards, as well as Best Musical/Comedy, Dallas Buyers Club also won two acting awards and has new-found momentum leading into Oscar season.  12 Years a Slave‘s acting shut-out did not stop that movie from taking home the Best Drama statuette.

Will these winners (and losers) help gauge the Oscar nominations out this Thursday, January 16?  Or will the Academy, as it usually does, walk to the beat of its own drummer?

Here’s a list of winners and nominees in all the categories. Tip: Click on the links to place a hold on the film before it comes out on DVD!

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lord-of-the-rings-trilogy

When the weather is frightful, such as the New Year’s holiday snowstorm and last week’s frigid arctic cold, there are certain movies that will do the trick when you’re stuck at home.

And that’s where franchise series movies sweeps in to save the day.

For those who prefer to cozy up on the couch, sipping a hot beverage (hot coffee for me) in front of the TV, these types of films have the power to save the day and definitely suits your entertaining needs. You’re not just watching a single movie with a singular narrative, but rather a string of movies that share a common world, some with an overarching storyline such as the blockbuster Lord of the Rings and Back to the Future trilogies.

These types of movies will certainly keep you occupied when you’ve got nothing else you’d rather do but relax. Rather than fingering through a vast array of movies to watch, these shared movies have the power to pull you in like a good cliffhanger; they rope you into coming back for more.

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penguin-colony

Are you planning a road trip this year?

If so, there is a good chance you will find yourself stuck in a not-so festive traffic jam. Here’s a mind-hack to help you keep the gas-break-honk blues at bay: imagine the sea of cars is a huddle of penguins.

According to a study published in the New Journal of Physics, emperor penguins use stop-and-go movements similar to dense highway traffic to protect themselves from the harsh Antarctic winter.

Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute filmed penguin huddles from above, and studied the time-lapse footage looking for patterns. Every minute or so a single penguin waddled about 2 cm causing all the surrounding penguins to waddle 2 cm in response. These small movements sent waves of corresponding waddles through the entire huddle. This pattern is similar to that of cars making their way through dense traffic.

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3m cloud

Did you know you can check out free ebooks with your Niles library card?

According to a study released by the Pew Research Center in June of 2012, 58% of library card holders do not know if their library lends eBooks.

The Niles Public Library has two ebook services: The 3M Cloud Library and Overdrive’s MyMediaMall.

Checking out an ebook is just as easy as checking out a print book from the library and you can check them out from anywhere with your mobile device.

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Christmas is finally here, which means that another month of listening to Christmas music is finally over.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate Christmas music — I  loved listening to my dad’s Alfred Burt vinyl every December while growing up. I’m also pretty sure I could whistle the entire Nutcracker Suite from beginning to end. But now I can go back to listening to my favorites, the music that has stuck with me all through the year whether waking up in the morning, driving, working, working out, relaxing on the couch or getting ready for bed at night.

One of the things I look forward to most at the end of each year is sifting through all the “best of” music lists; it’s a chance to discover all the great music that I’ve missed, and also to wonder about other people’s musical tastes. I also like to compile my own list each year. It’s based entirely on the number of plays that each song gets on my iPod, so I make no claims about it being “the best.” This is the music that I love, the music that has gotten me through an entire year of living; the music that I’ve shared with my friends to help them pull through, too. So here are some of my favorite albums and songs of 2013. Maybe there’s something here that’s new for you, something you’ll love or something that you’ll really hate. Either way, we’d love to hear about it, and about your favorites of 2013, too.

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