As Thick As Pea Soup

We are experiencing some wonderfully foggy conditions today. Fog is this librarian’s very favorite weather. I love the way it changes the look and feel of everything around you and the mystery that it holds. It’s somewhat like reading a good mystery novel, when you can’t quite make out what’s ahead.

Fog is a weather condition that results in very low-lying clouds, made up of suspended water droplets. It forms when the difference between air temperature and dew point is less than 4 °F. An area the size of an Olympic sized swimming pool contains about 2 pints of water. Besides just looking really cool, all of this moisture in the air can be environmentally useful. The Redwood forests of California get around a third of their moisture from fog. In desert areas, fog can serve as a source of moisture when nets are used to collect the droplets from the fog.

Here a few other interesting facts about fog:

  • The foggiest place on Earth is Grand Banks off of the coast of Newfoundland, where the cold Labrador Current mixes with the warmer Gulf Stream. The area sees over 200 foggy days per year.


  • Shadows that are cast through fog are three dimensional.


  • Foghorns use a low-pitched tone because low-pitched notes lose less energy to water droplets than high-pitched ones and thus travel further.


  • Fog can be both good and bad for your skin. The moisture in fog acts as a natural emollient for your skin. But, even though fog blocks visible light, you may not realize that it does let through the ultraviolet light that causes wrinkles and sunburn.


  • Fog affects our perception of speed. Because of reduced visibility we should drive more slowly and in fog we have to be extra careful to do so. Since the fog obscures our surroundings, our brains don’t perceive the contrasts in the objects around us as well and thus we think we are going slower than we actually are.


  • Be sure to use your low beam headlights when driving in foggy conditions. High beams will be reflected back at you in the fog, making it even harder to see.


  • Fog helped us win the Revolutionary War. At the Battle of Long Island, on August 27, 1776, George Washington and troops were beginning to be surrounded by British forces and needed to retreat. A heavy fog rolled in and provided cover for just long enough for the retreat of 9,000 Americans. When the fog lifted, the British moved into the area to find it empty.

Event Video: No Ban, No Wall: Standing With Immigrant Communities

Organizers from the Arab American Action Network and Organized Communities Against Deportation will join us to discuss President Trump’s issued executive orders targeting immigrants, refugees and Muslims. In the face of these threats and uncertain times we will come together to unpack the implications of these executive orders and the strategies being implemented to protect members of our campus, families, and communities. This event is part of MVCC’s Arab Heritage Month Celebration.

No Ban, No Wall: Standing With Immigrant Communities

The audio of this discussion is available below:

Event Video: The Arab/Arab American Experience: Featuring Authors Sahar Mustafah and Nevien Shaabneh

We welcome acclaimed writers Sahar Mustafah and Nevien Shaabneh to Moraine Valley for this special event. Sahar Mustafah’s debut, prize-winning Code of the West is a short story collection that spans two continents and follows native Palestinian and Palestinian American characters as they navigate displacement and loss, while battling hatred and fear. Nevien Shaabneh is author of Secrets Under the Olive Tree which is a haunting, mesmerizing novel that touches on the depths of the human spirit and unbreakable bonds that transcend tragedy. It is a story about the power of hope, second chances, and faith in the midst of tribulation. This event is part of MVCC’s Arab Heritage Month Celebration.

The Arab/Arab American Experience: Featuring Authors Sahar Mustafah and Nevien Shaabneh

The audio of this discussion is available below:

The Vietnam War

Every year on November 11, Americans honor the men and women who have served in the U.S. military.  It’s a crucial day to reflect on their commitment to serve and the ideals of duty and freedom.

To fully understand the sacrifices and hardship faced by veterans, consider checking out the recent documentary The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.   If you already watched the ten part, 18-hour documentary on PBS, you may want to check out the companion book: The Vietnam War: An Intimate History.

Did you know that here in Chicago we have two museums that help showcase what it means to be a veteran?

The National Veterans Art Museum hopes to foster dialogue between veterans and civilians about the impact of war.  Learn more about the museum’s history and mission here. The exhibit Vietnam – The Defining Moment is opening Friday, Nov 10.  It features artwork by over 30 Vietnam veterans and was curated by 2 Vietnam veterans.

The Pritzker Military Museum & Library, is located right across from Millennium Park.   Faces of War is a current exhibit of images by photographers that served on the front lines during the Vietnam War.   The collection also includes artifacts and items including the notebook of a soldier who fought during the Revolutionary War, Medals of Honor, and a 45-star flag from 1898.

Fall Back This Weekend

Looking for a little more daylight in the morning? You’re about to get your wish. This weekend we set our clocks back one hour as Daylight Saving Time comes to an end at 2am, Sunday Nov. 5th.

Why do we do all this falling back and springing ahead to observe Daylight Saving Time? Benjamin Franklin is the known to have written about the idea to cut down on the use of candles and to help people get out of bed earlier. But, the first official use of DST took place in what is now Thunder Bay, Canada in 1908. The practice began to catch on globally in 1916 when Germany adopted the practice. Today about 40% of the countries in the world follow Daylight Saving Time, though dates of the changes do vary by country.

When the practice was introduced a century ago, it was established to save energy by making more use of natural light on summer evenings. In today’s modern society that uses computers, TVs, and air conditioning, energy savings from DST have for the most part disappeared. It does still have some advantages however. More daylight in the evenings means more people are out shopping, eating, and attending events that boost the economy. There is also a safety feature to having more daylight at night as fewer road accidents and robberies take place when we make the switch to DST.

So, here’s your friendly reminder. Before you turn your light out Saturday night, set your clock back one hour.

Event Video: GraFEETi, Growth, and Grief: Impact of an Author Friend

Erika Deiters started as a fan of Chicago author Amy Krouse Rosenthal; then the author became the subject of her composition class; eventually Erika and Amy formed a friendship. They supported each other through their cancer diagnoses. Unfortunately, Amy did not survive.
This event is part of our TLC: Teaching & Learning Community series.

GraFEETi, Growth, and Grief: Impact of an Author Friend

The audio of this discussion is available below:

Event Video: Living Life on the Hyphen: Being a Bi-Racial, Caribbean-American Woman

Have you ever felt as though you don’t quite belong? As though you cannot be put into one particular box? If so, then this talk is for you. In this talk, Shanya Gray shares what it was like growing up bi-racial in the Caribbean and what it was like migrating to the United States and living in a culture that was foreign to her. Shanya also shares how she wrestled with not belonging and the process of ultimately becoming comfortable with who she is. Ultimately, in giving this talk, Shanya hopes to share valuable lessons learned from her life’s experiences that can be of encouragement to anyone who has wrestled with not belonging.

Living Life on the Hyphen: Identity & Belonging Amidst Being a Bi-Racial, Caribbean-American Woman

This event is part of our TLC: Teaching & Learning Community series.

The audio of this discussion is available below:

The Newspaper Headline Read, “This Was a House.” Keyword, “Was”

Jodi Marneris’ science teacher said it was near impossible for a tornado to hit the Chicago area. It wasn’t too long after that teacher was proven dead wrong. Jodi’s house was among the ruins of that day of devastation.
This event is part of our TLC: Teaching & Learning Community series.

The Newspaper Headline Read, “This Was a House.” Keyword, “Was”

The audio of this discussion is available below:

Dr. Linda Brandt, Counselor

Moraine Valley Community College celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. To learn more about and to re-live some of what those five decades have been like, the college has been collecting oral histories. Throughout the semester we will be highlighting these videos.

“For so many students Moraine becomes their village, their family–to really provide that foundation and encouragement to succeed.”

Dr. Linda Brandt has been with Moraine Valley Community College for 42 years. She feels it is an honor and privilege to watch students grow. Administration, faculty, and staff at the college are all working toward the same mission and goal of having an important impact on people’s lives.

To enjoy more of these oral histories, along with historic photos and documents, visit the MVCC College Archives.

Dr. Linda Brandt, Counselor

Time to Embrace the Scary

Even if you don’t normally read horror, this is the one week of the year that you might be interested in creeping yourself out.   Lucky for you, we have a copy of Stephen King’s newest, a book he wrote with his son Owen-  Sleeping Beauties.  It’s the story of a near future where all women – except one- fall asleep and become “feral and spectacularly violent” if they are disturbed.

If you are a fan of King family creepiness, you need to check out Stephen King’s other writer son,  Joe Hill. 

If you want to devote less time to being frightened, how about a good old movie marathon?  We also have Pet Sematary, The Shining, It (from 1990, not the new movie), and Salem’s Lot.