30.9.05

My new gig

Next week I'm heading west to Pittsburg. Why? Because the biennial AASL Conference will be there, that's why. And I'm blogging the conference (along with a bunch of other great librarians). Check it out and keep tabs on how much professional development (or goofing off) I'm doing.

29.9.05

Here's a cause I could support

Indulging

Well, the liberal blogosphere is indulging in schadenfreude over Tom DeLay's indictment. And yes, I do feel a small twinge of superiority ("I'd never be that stupid if I were in that powerful a position") but mostly I just feel mad.

Mad that the political climate has degenerated to this game of "Gotcha" that we play. First there was Watergate and IranContra, truly horrible abuses of position and power. But now it's all about retribution by the side that's been most recently caught against the side that "won" the most recent moral battle. It's no wonder that fewer people vote today than in the past: WHY BOTHER? The whole political arena is so ugly, so littered with the carcasses of good, well-intentioned people, and the only ones left standing are those that fight the dirtiest.

Since I started voting, there's not one election where I haven't voted AGAINST someone. Just once before I die I'd like to vote FOR a person, FOR a party, FOR a policy. Sometimes, I think Jefferson's idea of intermittant revolution is a really, really good one. This is one of those times. Let's throw all the bastards out and start over. Who's with me?

28.9.05

Guess I'm just a heartless B****

I just can't find it in myself to help this guy. Maybe one of you can?
Hello There,

My name is Paul Wrights, I am a Fashion designer based in the UK. I have clients that patronize my works in different parts of Europe, and USA.

Regarding the Hurricane Katrina incidence which occurred between August 25th and 29th, I want to make a 25% donation for the victims of the Hurricane Katrina incidence in New Orleans on all my payments that comes in from my American clients.

Presently, I have American clients that are offering to pay me with Postal Money Order. So as a result, I need you to help as a channel of sending my relief donations to the victims on my behalf. Doing this, you get 5% and then you resend the balance via Western Union or Moneygram back to me in the UK. All transfer fees should be deducted from the balance to be sent to the UK.

Please endeavor to send your replies to my private email address:
paulwrights@yahoo.co.uk


Regards,
Paul Wrights
Feel perfectly free to be as skeptical and heartless as I am!

Is nothing sacred

Aravis pointed out that the spambots have found my little blog and are adding spam comments to my posts. HOW DARE THEY?

Anyway, as a result, I've turned on word verification - you can still post anonymously, but there's one extra step you'll have to take before Blogger will allow you to leave your pearls of wisdom here. Sorry, but this is Sacred Space and not to be defiled by spammers.

27.9.05

Imponderables

Cold weather approaches and with it comes my desire for oatmeal for breakfast. I like mine with raisens and dried cranberries (aka "craisens"), so today I went shopping for breakfast supplies.

Can someone explain why there are blueberry and cherry flavored craisens? Not dried blueberries and cherries, which I've seen, but dried cranberries with blueberry and cherry flavoring?????????????

I'll be...

blown over with a feather?

damned?

a monkey's uncle?

Something, anyway.

We just got a phone call from a contrite alumni of the school. This gentleman was clearly atoning for his ill-spent youth and wanted to return - 10 years too late - books he'd borrowed while here. After putting him on hold and cracking up, I pulled it together enough to inform him that we were very grateful for the gesture, but it really wasn't necessary that he pack and ship them to us.

A cash donation would do just fine. (Of course I didn't say that, but I wanted to!)

26.9.05

What she said

I've been living in my new town since July, and I'm at a point where it's actually exploring (rather than the ever-popular "I'm totally lost and how will I ever get where I need to go" wailing) when I go out. This past weekend, a friend of mine and I went to dinner in Nyack and saw a great-looking bookstore.

It was one of those all-books-higgledy-piggledy-on-the-shelves places; a place you could spend hours in browsing and spending money. I did buy two books for myself and one for my friend (early BAFAB Week gift).

Patricia Storms so clearly illustrates why those places, those small, individual bookstores, are so much better than places like the Barnes & Noble in the Mall.

23.9.05

Links Galore

  • 42 down, 47 more to go. How long do you have to live? (þ: Lifehacker)
  • Admit it: you like Palindromes.
  • Very timely: a fuel cost calculator - "Using current gasoline prices from AAA's daily, online Fuel Gauge Report, as well as the latest highway fuel economy ratings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the AAA Fuel Cost Calculator estimates the amount and cost of gasoline needed to complete a vacation trip." (þ: Neat New)
  • Are you a film snob? Tired of the same-old/same-old at the multiplex? Not Coming to a Theatre Near You may be just the thing you need to get your Netflix queue all set for a long winter. (þ: Scout Report)
  • You've heard about them, but don't know where to find them. Now there's the The Easter Egg Archive, unlocking the "hidden feature or novelty that the programmers have put in their software" (including movies and music!). Happy Hunting!
  • Tired of being stuck in phonetree hell? Use this handy "get a real human" guide and get on with your life. (þ: Lifehacker)
  • Better than TinyURL: LookLeap! is the next generation of URL shortening tools (þ: Librarian in Black)
  • Too busy to read but want to appear well-read? Check out To Cut a Long Story Short, 100-word adaptations of good books. (þ: Maud)

21.9.05

Jumping the gun

but still much appreciated: someone (remaining anonymous here in cyberspace, but you know who you are) has purchased one of my Wish List books in time for BAFAB Week

19.9.05

Loving the Irony

Every Monday we get a flower delivery in the library, and every Monday I raid the previous week's display for something pretty to put on my desk. Shortly after the year began, one of my staff brought me a cup that says "Silence Please; Bodlean Library Oxford" and I've been using that as my vase.

Today's selection? Mums.

Get it????

18.9.05

Out of the silence

Today at Meeting there were three Messages that really spoke to me. I'd debated going at all, preferring to read God Among the Shakers, but I'm really glad I went.

Message One was from a Friend that was feeling overburdened. She'd started to feel guilty about not doing as much as she'd done previously, but those things were for others and she was putting them aside to do things for herself. Not in a selfish or self-centered way, but things like finding the time to quietly sit and watch the sunset or read. Things that help heal us and make us whole, yet can make us feel that we're wasting time not doing the "important" work that society or friends demand of us.

Message Two was from a Friend with vision problems. She'd recently seen a video about three artists, the final one being a Japanese artist with a clearly defined linear style. This Friend had always thought that was how she saw things: clear, precise. Yet that was only with her right eye, and when she closed it and looked only through her left, things were more like a Jackson Pollack, only vaguer. This troubled her not just because it was a physical problem but because it made her question how her mind also saw things. Was it clear, or vague? She encouraged us to only go with the clear, the defined, the strong.

I thought about that in the ensuing silence. One charge against me by a good friend is that I'm too inclined to see things in black and white, with no grey. I believe that I see too many shades of grey, but that I search for the black and white. At home, in the silence of my cottage, after a long day at work, the grey closes in: was that the right choice? were my directions clear? are my staff following? did the students learn anything? Trusting that I'll find the clear, direct path in life means trusting that God will help me find it. I try to be there, to listen, but sometimes....

And Message Three was from a Friend who reminded us that this is exactly what the silence each First Day is about: listening to the Inner Light guiding us towards the clear and direct. There is always time to stop and listen, we just have to choose to do so.

The countdown continues

buyafriendabook.com

If you're debating what to buy that special friend for the upcoming BAFAB Week (Oct. 1 - 7), here's what I've just added to my wish list:
Coming soon: the quarterly Notes From Mt. Bookpile post (for even earlier posts, go here, here, and here)

17.9.05

Man Enough to Admit It

Doug's suggestion? Go Google Yourself. And then check yourself out on Talkdigger and Fagan Finder. Just make sure no one sees you doing it.

16.9.05

Coming soon to a mailbox near you!

Terry writes:
This correspondence was inspired by my new friend, who wrote to me a few weeks ago as follows:

Isn't it nice to open letters, too? In a funny way, I think all the email/blogging returns an almost romantic, Victorian specialness to pen & paper correspondence.

Until I answered her note, it had been years since I'd last sent anyone a handwritten letter longer than the compass of a notecard. Part of what inspired me to do so was her handwriting, which is neat, fresh, and a delight to behold. It took the place of the imagined sound of her voice: I felt as if she were sitting across a table, telling me about herself, and I felt irresistibly inspired to reciprocate.
This got me thinking. I have a good friend, one I've never actually met "in the flesh", who lives in Germany. We write on good stationery, using fountain pens. It's such a treat to go to my mailbox and get her letters and notes.

While I've tried to write to other friends, their reponse is inevitably by e-mail. So... I've decided to ignore the e-mail, to treat is as a letter and respond via snail mail. Obviously this won't work for everything - there are some things that aren't worthy of the pen, ink and stamp - but maybe I'll start a revolution/devolution back to the golden age of writing letters and having a mailbox filled with something more than junk mail and bills.

You have been warned!

15.9.05

Go Russ!

Roberts Hearing Highlight

Mom, are you reading this?

My mother is a grammar-maven, still correcting me after all these years. I've done a lot of work as an editor, but I'm still not up to her standards.

Then, today, I read Maud's posting about diagramming sentences. How very cool!

(for earlier posts about grammar, go here and here)

13.9.05

Is it BAFAB Week yet?

What's BAFAB Week? It's Buy A Friend A Book Week, and I plan to participate. Watch out, o' friends of mine!

As for the rest of you, check out my Powell's wish list (look under either Lazygal or lpblog(at)gmail.com). Not just for something to buy me (which, of course, you'll do because I'm your friend) but for ideas to buy others.

Really - an entire week devoted to buying friends books. What could be nicer?

12.9.05

A front's a-comin' in

Some people can tell the weather's going to change by their aching knee or their trick elbow. Me, I can tell by the bouciness of my cats. This morning they played "let's kneed Mommy's eyeballs" (at 3am, thank you very much!) and this evening they've got more bounce than Tigger.

Whatever front comes through, it can't come through quickly enough!

11.9.05

How much is it worth?

It's Fall Season in movieland and I've been doing my research. After "consulting" several of those omnipresent preview lists, I've whittled down the offerings to one list of what I'd like to see. The problem is (for Hollywood), I won't see many of these in the cinemaplex. See, I refuse to pay $9+ for the product. It doesn't matter to me how many stars... or thumbs... or green tomatoes... or whatever the reviews give the movie: it's a question of economics. Is it worth my time (on line, in addition to sitting in that seat) and hard-earned money to see that particular movie? Increasingly, the answer is, "this looks like a WAR movie" (þ: Mark).

What makes the list this year?
  • Corpse Bride
  • Nine Lives
  • Cote d'Azure
  • Zorro
  • Second Stage
  • Lies
  • Harry Potter 4
  • Ice Harvest
  • Match Point
  • White Countess
  • Thumbsucker
  • Separate Lies
  • Where the Truth Lies
  • Innocence
  • Derailed
  • Breakfast on Pluto
  • Rent
  • Transmerica
  • Hidden
We'll see how many get the full payout as the season progresses. For the rest, there's always Netflix or cable.

5.9.05

In good company

Recently I created a post that aroused suspicion in one reader. When I offered to share my reasons (and proof), someone left an e-mail address for me to respond to. Perhaps I was a bit intemperate in my comments, but I did feel that I had done as much due dilligence as I could have; I also said that I was removing the original comment from the post because it did not further the conversation, merely took away from the impact of the post.

Apparently, the recipient of the e-mail took offense at my taking offense at the aspersions cast on my motivations for the post and suggested some things that were, well... let's just say I wouldn't repeat them in public.

I've been feeling upset about this all weekend and then, today, I read Karen's post about a similar "exchange". Nice to know even the big bloggers get hit with this. And now I have a model for a response.

4.9.05

On the one hand

A judge in Tennessee refused to hear a teenager girl's application for an abortion. Bad, right?
The actions, similar in some ways to pharmacists' refusal to dispense drugs related to contraception or abortion on moral grounds, have set off a debate about the responsibilities of judges and the consequences of such recusals, including political ones when judges are elected rather than appointed.

McCarroll's decision prompted 12 experts on judicial ethics to write to the Tennessee Supreme Court in late August. The experts called his action lawless and said they feared that his approach could spread around the nation and to subjects such as the death penalty, medical marijuana, flag burning and even divorce.
However, there is a valid reason to consider this a responsible action on the part of the judge (and any judge recusing themselves):
"If you require judges to hear these cases when they are morally and, maybe, religiously opposed to abortion [or medical marijuana or flag burning], they are likely to impose their views on the minor. And that happens."
So now I'm torn between wanting the judicial system to do it's job properly and the knowledge that no matter how hard we try, sometimes it's difficult to be impartial. It's hard enough as a librarian to give students both sides of an argument; I can't imagine trying to do that knowing it "really" counts.

More notes from the trenches

Aravis' aunt writes from the nursing home where she works.

In other Katerina-related news, Kanye West speaks his mind. If, like me, you didn't see it live, here's the videotape. Amen.

2.9.05

Blame Eisenhower

ColbyCosh takes on Katrina-related idiocy.

Notes from the trenches

(forwarded to me by a friend)

From: Gregory S. Henderson MD, PhD

Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 20:21:55 -0500

Subject: Re: thoughts and prayers

Thanks to all of you who have sent your notes of concern and your prayers.

I am writing this note on Tuesday at 2PM . I wanted to update all of you as to the situation here. I don't know how much information you are getting but I am certain it is more than we are getting. Be advised that almost everything I am telling you is from direct observation or rumor from reasonable sources. They are allowing limited internet access, so I hope to send this dispatch today.

Personally, my family and I are fine. My family is safe in Jackson, MS, and I am now a temporary resident of the Ritz Carleton Hotel in New Orleans. I figured if it was my time to go, I wanted to go in a place with a good wine list. In addition, this hotel is in a very old building on Canal Street that could and did sustain little damage. Many of the other hotels sustained significant loss of windows, and we expect that many of the guests may be evacuated here.

Things were obviously bad yesterday, but they are much worse today.

Overnight the water arrived. Now Canal Street (true to its origins) is indeed a canal. The first floor of all downtown buildings is underwater. I have heard that Charity Hospital and Tulane are limited in their ability to care for patients because of water. Ochsner is the only hospital that remains fully functional. However, I spoke with them today and they too are on generator and losing food and water fast. The city now has no clean water, no sewerage system, no electricity, and no real communications.

Bodies are still being recovered floating in the floods. We are worried about a cholera epidemic. Even the police are without effective communications. We have a group of armed police here with us at the hotel that are admirably trying to exert some local law enforcement. This is tough because looting is now rampant. Most of it is not malicious looting.

These are poor and desperate people with no housing and no medical care and no food or water trying to take care of themselves and their families.

Unfortunately, the people are armed and dangerous. We hear gunshots frequently. Most of Canal street is occupied by armed looters who have a low threshold for discharging their weapons. We hear gunshots frequently.

The looters are using makeshift boats made of pieces of styrofoam to access. We are still waiting for a significant national guard presence.

The health care situation here has dramatically worsened overnight. Many people in the hotel are elderly and small children. Many other guests have unusual diseases. There are ID physicians in at this hotel attending an HiV infection. We have commandeered the world famous French Quarter Bar to turn into an makeshift clinic. There is a team of about 7 doctors and PA and pharmacists. We anticipate that this will be the major medical facility in the central business district and French Quarter.

Our biggest adventure today was raiding the Walgreens on Canal under police escort. The pharmacy was dark and fool of water. We basically scooped the entire drug sets into garbage bags and removed them. All under police escort. The looters had to be held back at gun point. After a dose of prophylactic Cipro I hope to be fine.

In all we are faring well. We have set up a hospital in the French quarter bar in the hotel, and will start admitting patients today. Many with be from the hotel, but many with not. We are anticipating to dealing with multiple medical problems, medications and acute injuries. Infection and perhaps even cholera are anticipated major problems. Food and water shortages are imminent.

The biggest question to all of us is where is the national guard. We hear jet fighters and helicopters, but no real armed presence, and hence the rampant looting. There is no Red Cross and no salvation army.

In a sort of cliche way, this is an edifying experience. One is rapidly focused away from the transient and material to the bare necessities of life. It has been challenging to me to learn how to be a primary care phyisican. We are under martial law so return to our homes is impossible.

I don't know how long it will be and this is my greatest fear. Despite it all, this is a soul edify experience. The greatest pain is to think about the loss. And how long the rebuid will. And the horror of so many dead people .

PLEASE SEND THIS DISPATCH TO ALL YOU THING MAY BE INTERSTED IN A DISPATCH From the front. I will send more according to your interest. Hopefully their collective prayers will be answered. By the way suture packs, sterile gloves and stethoscopes will be needed as the Ritz turns into a MASH

Greg Henderson