Day two of our Oklahoma Almanac celebration! We especially love the Almanac because it’s just chock full of fun facts for every trivia buff on topics ranging from the state’s emblems, Rhodes scholars, and the fourteen flags that flew over Oklahoma to the territorial and state governors, U.S. marshals, and Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductees.
Try your hand at this Oklahoma trivia. I’ll have the answers for you tomorrow:
1. What is the English translation of the Choctaw word “Oklahoma”?
2. What are the two major river basins in the state?
3. What is the State Flower?
4. How many flags have flown over the land that became the State of Oklahoma? What was the first flag to fly over this land?
5. The Department of Tourism and Recreation has divided the state into six “countries” for the purposes of marketing. Can you name Oklahoma’s six tourist countries?
6. The Governor and the State Arts Council have recognized eleven of our state’s citizens as Oklahoma Cultural Treasures. Who was named the state’s first Cultural Treasure?
7. The names of five Oklahoma counties begin with the letter “G.” Can you name them?
8. What is the largest Oklahoma county in land area? What is the smallest?
9. What Oklahoma Governor never married?
10. How many Oklahomans have been named Rhodes Scholars?
*Thanks to Bill and Connie for helping with the Almanac posts, and they know the answers!
The arrival of a new edition of the Oklahoma Almanac is always a cause for celebration here in Okie Land. Previously known as The Directory of Oklahoma, the official State Government Blue Book has been published since 1907. (Oklahoma’s first state government handbook was actually known as the Red Book, but don’t get us started!) It has been published by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries since 1987.
The volume contains information on such topics as agriculture, astronomy, climatology, commerce, demographics, education, elections, geology, museums, tourism, wildlife, and federal, state, county, and municipal government. The history section provides insight into the prehistoric and the nomadic groups who traversed the area. Moreover it explores the earliest Native American and European settlements to the creation of both Indian and Oklahoma territories and eventually statehood.
“This 2009-2010 edition’s theme is State of the Arts. A special section focuses on a variety of art forms and mediums located throughout the state,” said Oklahoma Almanac editor Connie Armstrong.” “Oklahoma has a rich artistic tradition, one which continues today. We wanted to showcase the arts and artists in our state and encourage citizens and visitors to attend a local theatre production, arts festival, gallery showing, poetry reading, or museum.”
The Almanac’s feature section includes essays on the visual, performing, and literary arts, as well as art in public places. Moreover, readers will find information on art museums, Oklahoma’s artistic heritage, historic and modern architecture, and individuals who have been named an Oklahoma Cultural Treasure.
Copies will be speeding to public and tribal libraries in the state. You can get your very own copy, though. Find out how to do this at:
The cost is $15, plus $3 if we ship it to you. Well worth it, if we do say so ourselves.
Omega, the Unknown by Jonathan Lethem or why I’m not very good at reviewing graphic novels (or comics). First, I’m never very sure if it is a comic or a graphic novel. Because in the case of Omega the Unknown, apparently it started out as comics written and illustrated by some other people (Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes, illustrated by Jim Mooney ) and ended up in this graphic novel looking format by Lethem. At the end of the novel, Lethem and Karl Rusnak, co-writer, discuss the original work.
Which brings up the second problem, people reviewing comics and graphic novels always seem to know the history of the series, the author, what strange publishing diversions occurred, etc. I just picked this one up because I saw Jonathan Lethem wrote it, and I think he’s a great author full of thoughtful ideas. See website. Futher insight on Lethem at Powell interview.
But when I starting reading it, I immediately became intrigued by Edie the sympathetic nurse from Oklahoma. Why refer to her as “the nurse from Oklahoma”? Are we a particularly empathtic (currently used as an unpleasant adjective, but only in relation to supreme court judges) lot? Was that a way of saying she was naive? I mean none of the other characters had a state attached to their persona. Maybe Lethem just understands, like the rest of us Okies, that Oklahoma is the center of the universe. I’d like to ask him why he picked Oklahoma for Edie and what does it mean? Characters also refer to Rumblefish. Another Oklahoma connection. Someone must have been an S.E. Hinton reader.
This is a story about a kid, Titus Alexander Island, whose parents were apparently robots. He has a relationship with the superhero Omega, who spends a lot of time being locked up. Omega seems to hang out in a mobile fry kitchen eating Bald Eagles. There’s the particularly annoying and nasty pseudo-hero, Mink, who is coincidentally dating Edie. Women are always suckers for the wrong guy. The history of Omega is slowly unraveled, as Omega is unravelling. There’s the omnipotent statute, “There are those who ask: If you know and see so much, why not lift a finger to alter the outcome? Believe Me, I ask myself that question every day.” There’s the sad story of the high school kid being bullyed and beaten. There’s nanotechnology and Mink’s hand growing legs. There are so many issues, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Four stars later ****,maybe a five. I liked this strange comic/graphic novel. The illustrations worked with the captions, dialogue and characters. At the end of the novel, Karl Rusnak, explains how Gerber raised caption narration to an art form. Well Lethem and Rusnak are genius at it as well. There is so much here that you just have to read this one for yourself. Farel Dalrymple is very clever, and I would like to see more graphic novels he has illustrated. It takes a long time for revelations to begin, hey, I’m in comic VIII before I really start to see the light. And comic X doesn’t leave much hope, the girls are alone, Titus is trying to recreate his parents and the heroes have been “warehoused”. I suspect I could read this 20 more times and find things I’ve missed, and still find it strangely compelling.
Links to people that know how to review comics, http://www.comicbookresources.com/?id=155&page=user_review
The nationally renowned Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference is inviting all non-fiction writers and those who appreciate the non-fiction craft to its annual conference held in the Dallas area. This is one of the country’s finest literary conferences. Find out more by visiting Oklahoma Department of Libraries’ Mayborn conference page
I have only heard good things about this conference. All writers of nonfiction should find their way down to Grapevine.