28.7.05

Quite right, too!

Deb sent this to me. Pity more judges don't do the same:

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050726/NEWS17/507260367

BOWLING GREEN - An idea that Wood County Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry has been kicking around for a while played out yesterday in his courtroom when he sentenced a young mother.

He ordered the Perrysburg Township woman to perform 200 hours of community service, but he went a little further, telling her she must spend 200 hours at the local library reading to her children or listening to them read to her.

25.7.05

Notable Quotes

Technology is not panacea. The word archival has no operational meaning when used in a sentence with computer.
Ray Schneider, SpareOom discussion list

23.7.05

Bad day, Bad book

I had a bad day yesterday... topped off by the fact that someone (in an SUV I can only assume) scratched my Brand New Car. So I comforted myself with a good crying jag and some frozen mini-eclairs.

Then I started to read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. What an awful book. Oh wow - more Quiddich. Hey! Snape's a bad guy! Whoda thunk? Will Hermione and Ron get together? What are the odds? Harry experiences more loss. Sob. Rowling is one of the least subtle writers and her imagination stopped in Book 2. Unlike most series books where the writer loses it, I can't just not read - sort of in the contract to read these things if you work with young kids. But really! Oh, I wish I didn't have to. One more and then we're done. If you want to catch up on the fuss but don't want to read 650+ pages: BookSpoiler is the place to go.

Off to cleanse my soul with something better, What, I don't know, but there's still a pile of books from ALA Chicago waiting to be read. Like one about the 1906 earthquake and one about the last Tsar... Or I'll watch a movie. Or something. Just not Harry Potter!

21.7.05

Death of Smalltown USA

Terry Teachout writes about the changes he's seeing in Smalltown MO. I was inspired to write to him, and then thought I'd share with the rest of my "vast audience":
I've been mourning the death of my two smalltowns (one in upstate NY, one in northern VT). The local department stores have closed, replaced by Wall-Mart or Lord & Taylors or some other "name"... the diner "proudly serves Starbucks"... the local radio has been bought and programmed by Clear Channel... and the charm and character are just seeping away. On the other hand, where I live now (so small there's no supermarket) also has no fishmonger, cobbler, jeweler, stationer, greengrocer or butcher. These are all things I had living in the Big Bad City.

I was in O'Hare last month after a conference and heard a little boy say, "Look, Mom, they've got McDonald's here just like at home!" It saddened me because isn't the joy of going someplace else NOT to see the things you see at home - to experience the new and slightly different yet still somewhat familiar?

Enjoy what's left of your Smalltown. Who knows how much longer it'll be there?
Along with the constant need for us to be plugged in and reachable, I think this is the second insidious thing that's ruining Life As We Know It. Small is better.

Agree or disagree? Leave your comments below.

20.7.05

Historic Event Commemorated

Google celebrates the 1969 moon landing. Check it out.

18.7.05

The quality of Silence

Yesterday I attended my first Meeting in the new area. I've previously attended in three very old buildings - 15th Street (Manhattan), Brooklyn, and Hampstead (London). This was in a much more modern building, and the Meeting itself is "young" (40 years, vs. 200+). Yet the sense of connection to the Light, the ease I found in being able to be with these F/friendly people was the same as at the other Meetings.

There was only one message, but what stayed with me was the Afterthought. The gentleman who spoke had tried to turn off the a/c unit, which was blowing quite hard during Meeting. He apologised not just for the coolness of the room, but for the "white noise" of the machine, which left the sounds of nature outside the room and outside our experience of Meeting. As I lay in bed last night, listening to the night noises, I agreed that the silence inside the "white noise" was not preferable to the "real noise" of the outside world, even during Silent Meeting.

15.7.05

Imponderables

Complaint Filed Against ABC F-Word

They're complaining because Roger Daltry had the balls to sing(?) "who the fuck are you?" at Live8 and MTV and VH1 didn't censor it. GET LIVES, people. The real complaint is that half The Who are dead and they're still touring!

You don't see the Beatles doing that with only half their original members, do you?

12.7.05

By the page or the pound

What is it with YA fantasy books? They're growing... one or two are even thicker than a Manhattan phone book and outweigh a bag of cat litter! As an adult, I don't enjoy the strain on my wrists, the ache in my back and the time commitment demanded by these Giant Tomes.

Here are a few examples:
  • Inkspell (Funke's sequel to Inkheart): 672 pages
  • Wizards at War (the latest in Duane's Young Wizards series): 560 pages
  • Magyk (Annie Sage): 576 pages
  • Amulet of Samarkand (second in Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy): 462 pages
  • The Will of the Empress (Pierce's Four Mages reunited): 320 pages
  • Peter and the Starcatchers (Barry & Pearson): 442 pages
This weekend, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is being released. Order of the Phoenix came in at 870 pages, a 150-page increase from the previous book. Since Rowling seems to expand, not contract, with each book, I'm thinking of hiring someone else to hold the new one for me.

How do kids manage? Are they really going to enjoy a 1,000-page, 5lb epic simply because there's hype? I'd love to believe that we're growing a nation of readers, but I fear we're scaring them off with ever bigger, heavier books that take forever to read.

5.7.05

Matthew Cheney explains it all

In an essay on collecting, Cheney writes:
"We collect to fill holes. I have surrounded myself with books partly for pragmatic reasons—I do read them, or at least a lot of them—but also because acquiring books allows me to give concrete form to certain aspects of my personality. When the days grow solitary, I don't need to feel lonely, because I can read the words of thousands of people. When the world becomes bewildering and life slips into shades of meaninglessness, I can rescue myself with other worlds and ideas. When I grow tired of my own words, there are always millions of somebody else's waiting within arm's reach."
I've known many collectors and I think Cheney hits it right on the head when he says "we accumulate our collections, sifting and sorting them so that should we, by some catastrophe, disappear from the Earth tomorrow, the connections between every item in the collection would be in a perfect state, harmonizing and vibrating in just the right way so as to express our personality better than we did ourselves."

In England, there is a place called Showshill Manor. The owner was a collector of epic proportions (ultimately he had to move into a shed because the house had no more room!). People visiting often wonder what type of crackpot was that obsessed with "stuff".

I wonder what the detritus of my life will say about me. I also wonder why that bothers me.

1.7.05

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

(I'm probably one of the few that feels that reading 23 books in three months is slacking, but I do!)

The following were added to The Collection April - June 2005:

The Spiral Staircase
, Armstrong, Karen
The Printer's Devil, Bajoria, Paul
The Final Solution, Chabon, Michael
The Naming, Croggon, Alison
Bitter Fruit, Dangor, Achmat
The Sign of the Book,Dunning, John
With No One as Witness, George, Elizabeth
Death of the Party, Hart, Carolyn G.
Vows, Manseau, Peter
Winter House, O'Connell, Carol
The Egyptologist, Phillips, Arthur
Nobody Was Here, Pollet, Alison
Pity Party, Pollet, Alison
Only You Can Save Mankind, Pratchett, Terry
Johnny and the Bomb, Pratchett, Terry
Johnny and the Dead, Pratchett, Terry
Dark Side of the Sun, Pratchett, Terry
Unadulterated Cat, Pratchett, Terry
Taking Wing, Price Graff, Nancy
Magyk, Sage, Angie
The Golem"s Eye, Stroud, Jonathan
Girl from the South, Trollope, Joanna
Sky Carver, Whitlock, Dean