Posted by: erinserb | May 19, 2017

a test

test of blog to FB

Posted by: erinserb | April 28, 2016

This is only a test

This is a test of my website.   This is only a test!

Posted by: erinserb | September 19, 2014

Print vs. On-line? That is the 21st Century Question!

I have been recently interested when someone says they do not subscribe to anything in print, periodicals, trade journals, professional reviews, etc.

There is an on-going debate about the medium in which we get our news, commentary, video materials, etc.  Some on-line services have put many firms out of business – e.g. Blockbuster  – is now (for all intents and purposes) a Brontosaurus of its formal self.

When going to the Blockbuster site, it is very sad to see that a business, based on 15-20 year old technology, can be reduced to ashes by another technology – digital delivery.  Could this be the way of the future?

I believe, as a librarian who loves ALL forms of media and information, there could be a balancing of (particularly) print vs. digital.  There have been recent studies regarding students, from secondary school all the way through college, that suggest the taking of physical notes is actually proving to be superior to, say, an iPad or some other form of portable digital device.

Perhaps the impetus of this posting, and some subsequent posting in the future, is about responding to  comments received  “that every form of digital information is superior to print.”   I don’t agree with this.  Human beings, by our very nature, love to hold things in their hands, and in so doing, to search and explore what they holding; the key is how well we absorb the information we are holding.  Does an iPad or Smartphone make it easier to read full length articles?

For former generations, particularly “Boomers”, there is still a need to physically hold information, whether it be a book, newspaper, magazine, etc.  No matter how well a web/digital site is designed, it cannot supplant the need for us to read a physical medium vs. a virtual medium.   However, some sites are very well designed and (I find) are actually easy to read – particularly the Wall Street Journal site.

Other than a select few sites, like WSJ, there is much to be desired about reading and “retaining” content from poorly constructed links, which have (often) dubious legibility or direction.

Maybe I can feel relived that one publication – Newsweek – is actually coming back into print! I haven’t done much research on why this once great periodical has revived their print edition; perhaps it is that even good habits are hard to break – particularly from reading anything that doesn’t require electricity!


Posted by: erinserb | June 25, 2014

Our Crazy World of Elements…Actinium to Zinc

Parsons, Paul, and Gail Dixon.  The Periodic Table – A Visual Guide to the Elements. 

New York:  Random House,  2014. Print.

If someone were ever curious about the vast world of chemistry, physics and the cosmos, they would be very well served with this outstanding work.

To realize how user-friendly this work is, I was finished with well over 200 pages of the known 118 elements – not all created equal by the way-  in approximately 3 days…any other book I have read regarding the elements took at least twice as long and completely lost me after the first, say, 10 elements.  The subject is pretty straightforward – the examination of each element, with the necessary scientific information of Atomic Numbers, Atomic Weights, half-lives, and all of the usual suspects listed in a Chemistry book.

This book  goes one further, mainly because it is entertaining and high visual.  An explanation of the Periodic Table is introduced with easy to follow explanations of the rows and periods which beautifully follow a pattern.  The lesser known elements, e.g.  Tantalum, Radon, Technetium, etc. are also explained well by not using arcane scientific jargon.  The reader gets a sense of how such a table was constructed, and how the elements fit into certain spaces by measuring their Atomic numbers.  The photography of the elements is also exceptional, with each element depicted in a way that both an experienced scientist or a novice could appreciate.

Because of the unique readability of this book, it only increases the interest of those who are truly interested in science and how these elements basically hold the universe together.

Now, if only I can understand Basic Math through Quantum Mechanics – only then will I feel a complete sense of my “oneness” with the universe 🙂

Verdict – recommended reading for those interested in science and the curious souls at heart.


Posted by: erinserb | June 4, 2014

The “re-birth” of 2145 Hillsgate Court

Back in January, I posted a blog about the “death” of a home on an adjacent street near our home.  The “death” of 2145 Hillsgate Court was a tragedy, but today as I was going into work, I decided to go by the house; I expected it to be still be boarded up and lifeless.  There is good news though!  The house was in the process of being restored, and workmen were buzzing about and starting the rebuilding process.

This house is kind of like life itself, and the quality called – resiliency!  The family could have chosen many options, but perhaps with their faith, they chose to rebuild.   Their decision will not bring the house back to its former condition – perhaps it will be even better, or perhaps not.

One thing that will not change is their love for their property, their love for each other, their friends, and their love of life.

So here’s  to 2145 Hillsgate Court – maybe by any other name 2145 Mainstreet, America – there is hope in their future, and this brings hope to ours.

Posted by: erinserb | January 31, 2014

The death of 2145 Hillsgate Ct. – or maybe not!

Early the other morning, my wife and I were awakened to several fire engines, police units, and EMS.  We looked out our back window and there it was 3 doors down and on another street – a house was burning.  Fortunately, no one was home, nor did the fire spread to other homes on that street.

Something about a house on fire is so eerie and other worldly; you see fires on television, but you cannot know or experience it as it happens – the reality of it all!  Which leads me to the next day, as I was leaving for work, I went down and drove by the house.  It hadn’t been boarded up yet, so you could see the “gutting of the interior”; no life, no joy, no laughing, no happiness, all those things were taken from that family in a matter of a minutes.  A picture ran in the local paper of a fireman collecting important books, documents, and probably the most important thing – pictures.

I’ve seen people rebound from house fires; as a matter of fact, we have had now 3 of them in our neighborhood since we moved in 22+ years ago.  Each time, the family involved restored their “home”.  All I can say is that I believe that this family will do the same; once you’ve seen total destruction of your precious place, all you can do is have faith for to live for  better times.

The fire may have taken away physical things, but it cannot take away, the life, the joy, the laughing, the happiness, the love – for these are timeless.  It is those qualities which will, I believe, rebuild and restore the home at 2145 Hillsgate Ct.


Posted by: erinserb | October 22, 2013

A sad sign of the time!

Amidst all of the hype and excitement of this year’s World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, another nasty reminder rears its ugly head – the issue of security.

It is something we have to live with in 21st century America (or for that matter, the world).  Magnetometers, radiation detectors, bomb sniffing police dogs, ad nauseam!   After the tragedy which defined the Boston Marathon in April of this year, I believe no major sporting event will ever be the same.

As a matter of fact, our local football team  instituted a decree (now an NFL policy) which restricts women bringing in their handbags, and they must settle for a demeaning clear plastic shopping bags to insure that all of the contents are visible – that plus a frisk/pat-down and 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee –  not Starbucks even.

Our modern lives (and the extreme security) has been defined by 9/11.  In essence, we put into place a series of paranoid preparations, and somehow we lose sight of our humanity and somehow, the decency and respect that should be afforded all citizens.  Remember, so we can be safe, you are considered “suspect” before being proven innocent by the authorities at the gate.   Don’t get me wrong, I cherish having security even if it means some delays, or some humiliating precautions.

Does this guarantee us of a safe future, not to say enjoying a game or activity?  Nothing is a guarantee in this day and age…..or is it?  You be the judge; I am going to stay home and enjoy the games, simply for the fact that I can’t afford tickets 🙂  Go Cardinals, beat the Sox!

Posted by: erinserb | October 19, 2013

St. Louis Cardinals – 2013 National League Champions

The baseball gods were with the home team last night; and I think my home team has broken out of their shell!  Baseball, although a kid’s game, is somehow different here in old St. Lou, and that is what is unique about the Cardinals.   Dispatching the Dodgers was only the beginning, and I have quite a good feeling that whomever they face, that team is going have to do their best to beat this team, whose logo “the birds on the bat” is timeless.  Go Cardinals!!!

Posted by: erinserb | May 9, 2013

I’ll have a cup of java and a stick of gum too!

There are few companies that show restraint when it comes to public health, at least none of the companies I’ve read or heard about.

Wrigley is a special company, because it is synonymous with chewing gum in our Americana mind-set.  Only after a few days of its introduction, their new product, Alert, has been been temporarily suspended from the market due to concerns about the amount/levels of caffeine.

Why get wired with a cup of coffee when you can just chomp on a piece of gum?  Well, there is probably a good reason: can you imagine chewing a couple of sticks of Alert with your favorite cup of “joe”, or with that shot of Five Hour Energy or Red Bull.  Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee and need some caffeine at various times of the day.  You’re probably thinking, “what a hypocrite”!

I believe Wrigley has, perhaps set a good precendent for more companies to think about the health concerns of a product versus the profit aspect.

I will ponder over this as I go to the break room and get a refill on my afternoon cup of coffee. 🙂


Posted by: erinserb | May 7, 2013

Polio – an American Story

Oshinsky, Dave M. Polio: An American Story. New York: Oxford Press. 2006

This is hopefully the start of book reviews, which I will often post on FB as well. 

If ever there was a source that one wanted to know about the scourge of Polio, what it meant for generations who knew it as a nightware and public health dread, one should read this book.

Polio, for those of a younger generation, was perhaps one of the most frightening diseases known to man.   Its formation as a communicable disease can be traced back to ancient times, but up until the early 20th century, it was “off the map” as being a disease of the magnitude as say, tuberculosis, cholera, diptheria, etc.

What seems to be a paradox is that polio actually started to become more prevalent during the years leading up to the mid-20th century.  If one thinks that polio was an illness associated with poor sanitation and squalid living conditions, this book explains that this theory became quite the contrary.  Polio became a disease that struck more in middle-class America where sanitation and hygiene had actually improved.

The book covers the most significant people who were polio victims, primarily President Franklin D. Roosevelt.   Because of President Roosevelt being stricken, and also the virulent and sudden nature of onset and outcome, polio started to become public health enemy #1.   The author details the extensive fund-raising, and the eventual creation of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (which polio was often referred as).

If those are interested in the drama of medicine and vaccines, you will not be disappointed.  The competition was fierce to find an “effective and safe” vaccine.   Both Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin are presented as bitter rivals, because each approached their vaccine to immunize the public in different ways.   Salk, who is probably better known, used the method of the “killed virus” vaccine, while Sabin believed in a weakened live vaccine.

When viewed from our 21st century lens, much of the work on creating a vaccine will seem primitive, but our human nature and many of our successes and pitfalls are timeless.  That is why this book is a good and easy read because it involves all things which make us “very human”.


Older Posts »