Ray’s Surface Noise – Queen’s Musical Experiments – Part One


(click on blue links to hear the songs!)

With the untimely passing of their lead singer Freddie Mercury in 1991, Queen bassist John Deacon retired from music, and the two remaining members—guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor–put themselves on hold for several years, recording solo albums and playing an occasional awards show with guest vocalists.  They released Made In Heaven, an album of songs the band were working on before Mercury’s death, along with some little-known B-sides.  Eventually, May and Taylor reunited to tour and make an album with Bad Company singer Paul Rogers.  Presently, the band is on tour with American Idol contestant Adam Lambert as lead vocalist.

Like The Beatles, Queen’s hits are so well-known that their albums tracks (nowadays referred to by critics as “deep cuts”) are easily overlooked.  For me, those tracks are (spoiler alert: corny pun) the real jewels in Queen’s crown (sorry…), some of them featuring lead vocals from other band members.

1977’s News Of The World is a good example.  It’s one of the band’s most hard-rocking albums, yet it’s also one of their most diverse.  The first two songs became two of the band’s biggest hit singles. We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions are anthems that are played at almost every sporting event on the planet (as much as I am a fan of the band, I’m pretty much sick of hearing those songs…).  The album’s next two tracks were a typical display of the band’s musical diversity, something they relished early on but downplayed in later years :  Sheer Heart Attack is drummer Roger Taylor’s comment on punk rock, complete with speed demon rhythm guitars, feedback, and angst-filled lyrics (which were about punk rockers, apparently).  The next song is the polar opposite in mood– All Dead, All Dead is May’s astonishing ballad about the death of a childhood pet.  Mercury plays the baroque piano arrangement, while May sings lead and, in the song’s midsection, does a typically admirable job of imitating a string section on his guitar.  Taylor’s other song on the album is another hard rock track, Fight From The Inside, this time featuring Taylor’s gruff voice (ideal for punk rock, actually) handling both lead and background vocals.

Bassist John Deacon—who later wrote two of the band’s biggest hits, Another One Bites The Dust and I Want To Break Free—contributed two tracks to the album, including the charming flamenco-flavored Who Needs You, which featured both Deacon and May playing Spanish guitars.  Mercury handled the vocal duties, as Deacon never sang on a Queen album.  He sometimes sang backup when the band played live, but rumor has it his microphone was usually turned down…

The album ends with the band doing their lounge lizards imitation on Mercury’s My Melancholy Blues, a late-night jazz-flavored ballad that features no guitars or backing vocals.

Check back next week for part two, when I’ll be discussing their classic 1975 album, A Night At The Opera, and album tracks from later releases Jazz, and The Game.

 Check out some Queen CDs to enjoy today!

News of the World

Made in Heaven


Grandparent’s Day is September 7th


Grandparents Day is September 7.  Spend some quality time with Grandma or Grandpa by reading one of Ms. Laurie’s favorites.  Don’t miss our “Grandparents Day”  Book Display!

Click on the pictures for more information!




Sensory Storytime



New at the Ellet Branch Library:
Sensory Story Time
This program offers educational, literacy and social opportunities for children of all ages with differing abilities, their siblings, parents/caregivers and their typically developing peers through the use of story, music and movement to engage the participants.
Sensory Story Time includes a schedule board, a consistent program plan at each location and sensory opportunities. A call to reserve a spot is appreciated but not required: 330-784-2019
Second Saturday of each month at 10:30
Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov. 8
Sensory Story Time will also be offered at other branch locations on varying Saturdays at 10:30.  Call the following branches for more information:
Firestone Park, Green, North Hill, and Northwest Akron



Celebrate National Underwear Day Tomorrow


National Underwear Day – August 5th

Did you know that August 5th is National Underwear Day?  If you can’t make it to Times Square to dance in your skivvies in an attempt to set a world record you could try celebrating with one of these books instead.

(click on the picture to go to our catalog)

For Children:

50 underwear questions: a bare-all history by Tanya Lloyd Kyi.  From ancient undies to modern briefs, learn the history of the essential undergarments.

Brief thief by Michaël Escoffier.  When Chameleon runs out of toilet paper he figures that a stray pair of underpants will do the trick, but he was not expecting to be accused of brief thievery.


Dinosaurs love underpants by Claire Freedman.  Cavemen create underpants to keep themselves covered, but the dinosaurs are enthralled with their creation and quickly begin to steal the cavemen’s skivvies.  Also look for Freedman’s other books Aliens love Underpants, Aliens love Panta Claus, Aliens in underpants save the world, and Pirates love underpants.  

Super underwear – and beyond! by Peter Hannan.  When Tightey Whitey’s parents are kidnapped it is up to an interesting cast of super heroes to save them.

Underwear! by Mary Elise Monsell.  Bismark the buffalo is not at all amused by underwear.  But, his jungle friends are determined to change his grumpy attitude with their colorful wardrobe of underpants.

The Underwear bookby Todd Parr.   Learn about underwear do’s and don’ts, such as “DO wear fancy underwear under your dress,” and “DON’T hang upside down on the monkey bars.”

Veggies with wedgies by Todd H. Doodler.  When a crop of vegetables discover the farmers undies drying on the line they decide they too need to wear underpants.  However, they soon discover that wearing underwear is not as easy as they thought.


For Adults:

A brief history of shorts : the ultimate guide to understanding your underwear by  Joe Boxer.  Get answers to pressing questions such as ‘can you put on underwear without using your hands’, or ‘what will the underwear of the future look like’ in this humorous look at underwear’s history.


Unmentionables : a brief history of underwear by Elaine Benson and John Esten.  A more serious look at the history of undergarments.



Everyone Loves Lucy – Classic Cinema Blog on Lucille Ball


(click on pictures to go to the Akron-Summit County Public Library Catalog)

(click on blue links for movie trailers and more)

Lucille Ball (6 August 1911- 26 April 1989) can be clearly defined as the Queen of physical comedy in some of her films and of course her iconic situation comedy, I Love Lucy”, which is one of the longest running, syndicated shows in television history. She began playing bit roles in her early films in which most of them did not even list her name in the credits. One of the more famous of these films was Top Hat which starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Lucy had just a very small and brief role as a flower shop clerk and had just a couple of small lines in the scene which lasted a little more than a minute. Her first real big movie hit was DuBarry was a Lady”(1943), which she co-starred with the very funny Red Skelton. This film is described as the first to show her ability for physical comedy.  Before that, another notable film she co-starred in was Stage Door”(1937) which also featured Katherine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers.  Lucy went from such a humble start to become one of the biggest stars and producers in Hollywood. One of her first big hits was a radio series named My Favorite Husband”, which was the foundation for the hit TV show, I Love Lucy”.  The studio producing the TV show wanted someone else to be her co-star husband because they felt that Desi Arnaz, her real life husband and a Cuban band leader, would not be a great sell to American TV watchers, but Lucy basically said, ” No Desi, no Lucy” and the rest is history.

Lucy and Desi eventually went on to create Dezilu Productions. Many creations from this studio turned out to be very famous television shows such as, The Untouchables, Mission; Impossible, The Andy Griffith Show,  The Dick Van Dyke Show, My Three Sons, Gomer Pyle, Hogan’s Heroes, I Spy, Family Affair, That Girl, and certainly, the most popular show from the studio, Star Trek.

One of Lucys’ most family friendly films is “Yours, Mines and Ours”(1968).  She co-stars with Henry Fonda in this story about the two of them meeting and bringing together a total of 18 kids from their previous marriages. If you like a fun comedy about a houseful of kids and mayhem, then this movie will be a winner for both parents and children. If you like a fun musical, check out Best Foot Forward”(1943) where Lucy plays herself, and Harry James, noted big band leader of the time, provides swinging music. A very young Nancy Walker, who was known for being a strong supporting character actress during the era also stars in this film. (You may know her better as the mother in the 70’s hit Sit-ComRhoda”). So if you see her in a variety of classic movies, or on her very funny TV shows, it’s a sure bet that you will definitely love Lucy!!!


Lucille Ball Blogs:





Quick Meals for Busy Families


Quick Meals for Busy Families

Summer is here and you want to be outside! It can be hard to drag yourself inside to cook, or if your family is busy, there may be little time between  events to put together a healthy meal.  The following are a few recipes that are great for busy evenings.

(click on blue links for more information)

 Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage:

This recipe is originally from Parents magazine.  One great aspect of this meal is that it uses ingredients that have a bit of a shelf life.  You can keep a package of Chicken Sausage in the fridge for several weeks, so if you catch it on sale grab a package or two to have on hand.


Chicken Sausage – 1 lb, diced

Olive oil – 2 tbsp

Tri-colored rotini – 1 lb

Frozen broccoli florets– 1 package

Chicken broth – 3 cups or 3 bullion cubes


In skillet heat oil and brown sausage cubes.  While sausage is cooking bring 3 cups water and 3 cups of chicken broth (or 6 cups water and 3 bullion cubes) to a boil and add pasta.  When the pasta has 6 minutes left to cook stir in the frozen broccoli.  After pasta is done cooking, drain and add pepper to taste.  Stir in sausage with any remaining oil and serve with grated parmesan cheese as a garnish.

This meal usually takes 15 -20 minutes from start to dinner table and easily serves 2 adults and 2 kids.


Chicken Tacos:

This great recipe was found on Pinterest.  It cooks in the crockpot, so it can be it ready when you get home.  This one will serve a small crowd, or provide leftovers for lunches and a great tortilla soup (see recipe below).


4-6 chicken breasts cut into chunks

1 envelope taco seasoning

16 oz jar of salsa


Dump all the ingredients into the crockpot and stir together.  Cook for 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.  Shred and serve with tortillas and your family’s favorite taco toppings.

Bonus Tortilla Soup:


2 cups of the shredded chicken

One 32oz box of chicken broth

One can corn(drain) – or  use 1 – 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn

2 handfuls chopped cilantro

One squeezed lime – or about 2 tsp of lime juice

One can diced tomatoes (reg size)

One can diced tomatoes w/ chiles (if you can’t find the can get another can of diced tomatoes and a can of diced chiles)

1/2 large yellow onion – or use a few shakes of onion powder

One can black beans – if your family is picky try Pinto or Great Northern beans

2-3 table spoons of tomato paste – this can be omitted without changing the taste

2 teaspoons of cumin

2 teaspoons of chile powder

2 teaspoons of garlic powder


Dump everything in a pot and simmer for 30 minutes . Serve with cheese and Tostitos scoops.

This soup takes about 10 minutes to throw together and serves 4 adults.  The best part is that it uses up the leftover chicken from taco night.


Baked Ravioli:

This is another dish that found via Pinterest and is great as it uses ingredients that you can easily have on hand.  And, you can change it up with different varieties of ravioli.


1 (25 oz) bag of frozen ravioli

1 (26 oz) jar of marinara or other pasta sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


Spoon a  layer of pasta sauce onto the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.  Place a single layer of ravioli in the dish and top with 1 cup cheese and half or remaining sauce.  Repeat with a 2nd layer of ravioli and remaining sauce and cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 15 -20 minutes until cheese starts to brown.  Serve with a tossed salad.

This dish takes 5 – 10 minutes to prepare and easily feeds 4 adults.

More cooking websites:

Tasty Kitchen

All Recipes

Simply Called Food


Resources for the Common Core Curriculum


Teachers may find the following websites useful for the Common Core Curriculum.

(click on blue links for more information)

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year.

The 2014 award winner:

 “Parrots over Puerto Rico”

It is written by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore, illustrated by Susan L. Roth and published by Lee and Low Books, Inc. “Parrots over Puerto Rico” is the story of the rescue and return of the Puerto Rican parrot, a species once so abundant it blotted out the sun.  Through the efforts of a valiant, dedicated and committed team of scientists and island residents the fate of this native bird is now inching out of extinction.


The Giverny Award is presented by Louisiana State University to the author and illustrator of a children’s science picture book written in the English language and published within five years of the award date.

The 2014 Giverny Award winner: 

“Maple” written by Lori Nichols

Lori is both its author and illustrator. The publisher is Nancy Paulsen Books, New York, NY. It was published in 2014. 


The Orbis Pictus Award from the NCTE, National Council of Teachers of English,  is for outstanding nonfiction for children. 

The 2014 award winner:

 “A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin” written by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet and published by Alfred A. Knopf



The National Science Teachers Association produces a list of the Outstanding Science Trade Books for Kids

There are more than 50 titles on the 2014 list.  Among them are:

The Tapir Scientist - Sy Montgomery 


Papa’s Mechanical Fish  - Candace Fleming


Frog Song – Brenda Guiberson

Flight of the Honey Bee – Raymond Hube


A  good list of math books is from The University of Wisconsin OshKosh’s Polk Library.  It is divided by topics like addition, counting, fractions and geometry.

Publishers Weekly has a toolkit to help teachers:

Common Core Toolkit 2013


And, or course, check out the Akron-Summit County Public Library!! Try Trueflix and FreedomFlix from our website.  If you go to Databases on the left, then Books and Literature, you’ll find them, or just click HERE. Students can watch short videos, answer questions, access projects to do on a subject and of course read text.  Trueflix is various nonfiction. FreedomFlix is American history.  Both databases are from Scholastic.




Beautiful Libraries


Take a tour of these GORGEOUS libraries from around the world and don’t forget to visit your local library today!

The 25 Most Beautiful Public Libraries in the World


Famous Libraries of the World


 The 10 Most Beautiful Libraries in the United States



25 of the Most Beautiful College Libraries in the World




Cool New Series Books for Kids


Check out our cool new series books!

Click on any picture to take you to the Akron-Summit County Library webpage. You can order any of these books and have them sent to your favorite branch to check out for 2 weeks!















Explore the Great Outdoors


It’s not too late to get your kids outside, and the Akron Summit County Public Library has some great books to inspire you!  Don’t forget you can earn a special t-shirt by exercising this summer, and choose a prize when you have completed Ellet Library’s “Book Bingo”!

(Clicking on the picture takes you the Akron-Summit County Public Library Catalog)