Friday, July 24, 2009


New Citizen Alert!

Had a big 'ol honkin' group of people come to the 'ol biblioteca to take the oath today to become brand-spankin' new US citizens. Our Teen Council members coordinate this at least once a year. Welcome to our new citizens and props to our teens!

Health and Entertainment

Publicist: Mischa Barton 'making improvements' via NPR Topics: Arts & Entertainment on 7/21/09 OK, nobody has come right out and said it, but the fact that they didn't indicates it's probably a mental health issue. I don't know much at all about Ms. Barton. What I want to say is, if it is a mental health problem, bravo for having the courage to take care of it before it gets out of hand. And double-kudos to those who have let the lass have privacy.

Pharmacists can't refuse Plan B pill, appeals court says
via All News Feeds on 7/8/09 "Pharmacists are obliged to dispense the Plan B pill, even if they are personally opposed to the "morning after" contraceptive on religious grounds, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday."

While I respect a person's individual beliefs, the pharmacists trying to refuse medications are not following the ethics of their profession. Even though I hate some of the things my library customers ask for, if it's legal and in my power, I can't refuse to look for it. Follow your professional ethics, please!

International Report

Face it, our neighbors to the south are in one helluva pickle with these drug cartels and government corruption. And, living in the US kidnapping capital, I can say without qualification that the violence is spreading across the border. It scares the crap out of me. This is just one small drop in the bucket, but bravo to those who caught the killers. It was a brave thing. Keep working on it, Mexico.

Fugitive U.S. white supremacist captured in Israel via Recently Published/Updated on 7/14/09 "A fugitive American white supremacist was arrested Monday in Israel, ending an international manhunt that began in 2007, Israeli and U.S. officials said."
Hallelujah. Let's keep fighting the good fight against hate. And find out what would make a person like that.

Africans reach out to Obama via text messages via Recently Published/Updated on 7/11/09 I just think this is just cool. Individuals in a continent torn apart by poverty and civil war have an avenue, however tiny, to plead their case to one of the most powerful men in the world. It may not be much, but it's a small step.

US Politics
Although I did not want him for president, when Sen. McCain stands up for the right thing people listen. Well done, senator.

"With each failure our conscience is stung, and we resolve to do better," he said. "Each time we say, 'never again,' whatever our flaws, whatever dangers we face, however sharp our debates, we must remain a country with a conscience..."I will tell you, if you inflict enough pain on someone for a long enough period of time, that person is going to tell you anything that they think you want to hear in order to make the pain stop," he said...He said even if torture did elicit useful information that would help keep the country safe, the tactic is almost always wrong."
Food For Thought

(quoted in full)
Changing Our World via Stephen's Lighthouse by stephen on 7/10/09

On of the more thoghtful and well written blogs is Dave Pollard's How to Save the World.
In a recent posting entitled
4 World Changing Questions, and 12 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. Dave asks, on a personal level:

1. "What one additional capacity or skill, more than any other, do you think you need to acquire or learn, to equip yourself to make the world a better place, and why? What is the single best way for you to acquire or learn (or motivate yourself to learn) that additional capacity or skill?"

2. "What one additional action, more than any other, do you think you can take, personally, to make the world a better place, and why? "

3. "What one additional action, more than any other, do you think you can take, in your community, to make the world a better place, and why?"

4. "What one additional action, more than any other, do you think you can take, in your job or enterprise, to make the world a better place, and why?"

For each question Dave asks "What's really holding you back from doing so? What can you do to get past this block?"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Big Snark-Off: Death Turtle Edition

AHA! Great Minds Think Alike!
One of my snark-idols, Lileks had thoughts similar to mine on Monday's 40th anniversary of the moon landing. This indicates to me that we must be approximately the same age.
“This is the hour of rejoicing” via (title unknown) by Lileks on 7/20/09.

"I knew we’d make it. I knew they’d come back safe. They were astronauts...It wasn’t just geeky nerd-boys who lived for Space. It seemed everyone did. Now that I think of it, I had my first - and possibly last - act of actual journalism in the summer of 1969; I got a cassette tape recorder for my birthday, and went over to Northport Shopping Center to ask people what they thought of the moon landing. (They were for it.) "

Let This Be A Lesson To You Department!
Back...away...from...the turtle... This torrid tale is reprinted in full below.

Turtles have a leisurely, gentle way about them. They're slow and steady and don't partake in any seaside drama. But just try to mess with their eggs!

These are some of the last known photos taken of one C. Sheldon Smith during a school field trip to the shore. Repeatedly told by his teacher "not to disturb the eggs; to look, don't touch; and to get your grimy hands off the goddamn eggs, how many times do I have to tell you, you freakish little moron," Sheldon squatted down, scooped up a cache of freshly laid leathery orbs, and in so doing, incurred the mighty wrath of mama turtle.

May the following snapshot, taken moments before the horrible deaths of Sheldon and his classmates (and the surrounding townsfolk) serve as a warning to us all.

Thus passeth the glory of the naughty boy/lizard king/potential death turtle

Vocabulary Department
The story is nothing particularly new, but the phrase "cow-irker" will now be stuck in my vocabulary forever! Blathermouth Cow-Irker via Etiquette Hell by admin on 7/21/09

Politics Department
This is bizarre. I can not figure out the reason for this. In the name of love and taquitos, WHY?

I'm Guessing They Didn't Have a Matching Card via Cake Wrecks by (Jen) on 7/21/09

On the other hand, I am struck by the detail on this representation of a dead Lenin.

And I also think it would be cool to name a band "The Dead Lenins," but I'm funny that way.

Paranormal Fiction Department

Now the Christian authors are getting into the act! And even NPR can't shut up about werewolves and werecoyotes and vampires and wereducks and crap like that. I expect to soon see a traffic warning sign: Caution: Amish Vampire Crossing

Makeitstop makeitstop makeitstop!

But, on the up side, a sequel to a book I'm fascinated with but haven't read yet (quoted in partial):

“The runaway success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (which I have written about here and here) has inspired the publishers to try again, this time with sea monsters.
As reported in Early Word, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is taking Jane Austen's text into a world where terrible monsters lurk in every lake and pond. Our heroes must find love and stop the monsters.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sharing Wonders

And here it is, 40 years later. The moon. Man walked on the moon. Do your children and grandchildren know the wonder of the achievement? Do they understand the wonder? Have you shared?

My grandmother was told flat-out in the 1920s that a trip to the moon was impossible.

In my time, it happened. We did it. It wasn't just NASA. The entire country hoped and dreamed and did it. Sciences and mathematics were big. Interest was high. For a moment in 1969, we were all concentrated on One Big Thing.

I remember early test shots, going back to the Mercury program days. I thought they were cool. At 3, this may not have been an opinion formed on my own, but because my older brother said so it was so.

Lunchtime was interrupted at home. The black and white television was on. And we saw it go off. Something that flew higher than anything had ever flown.

Something that held promise of a wondrous future.

And looking back, it now seems almost impossible what we accomplished with slide rules. How did we dare? How did our wings, like Icarus, not melt off and send us crashing to the ground?

But we made it. We all made it. And someday, maybe we will make it again. A nation's pride and a universal wonder. Someday.

Perhaps the biggest dreamer was Walter Cronkite. His simple comment as the landing was confirmed, a simple "oh boy" summed it up. What more could be said? What more needed to be?

Walter Cronkite loved the space program as he loved sailing, his job, and his sense of humor. In the joyous and in the tragic moments of mid-twentieth century history, he led us. He was everyman and an exceptional man. And he loved the space program.

The most fitting tribute I can think of, from this small space today, is a song from the Sacred Harp. It is called White or also I'm a Long Time Travelling. Perhaps Walter's ashes will go to space someday. And that will make the singing all the sweeter.

These fleeting charms of earth Farewell,
your springs of joy are dry
My soul now seeks another home
A brighter world on high

I'm a long time travelling here below
I'm a long time travelling away from home
I'm a long time travelling here below
To lay this body down

Farewell kind friends whose tender care
Has long engaged my love
Your fond embrace I now exchange
For better friends above

I'm a long time travelling here below
I'm a long time travelling away from home
I'm a long time travelling here below
To lay this body down...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Big Snark-Off - Bastille Day Edition

Libraryland Department

I want to be a LIBRARIAN! via Awful Library Books by marykelly48 on 7/13/09
I want to be a Librarian

Thanks to anonymous submitter for this wonderful relic from the past! Submitter says there is lots of information about the card catalog and finding good books. (I wonder if this counts as a good book?) I quickly breezed through the world cat holidings and A LOT of public libraries are hanging on to this title. Please do the profession a favor and get something more current.

Trust me, this book was not my inspiration for my career choice.

ALA, Going to via A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette by J on 7/9/09
Don't feel guilty about spending your library's money to travel to ALA. It is the one time of year when your colleagues and staff actually get to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the library without you in it. Everyone will agree that that is money well spent.

It's just a jump to the left...via Judging the Books by beth on 7/11/09

There's an image so frightening here that shakes me to the core and turns my insides into pudding just thinking about it. No, it's not the thought of traveling through time and meeting one's older, cross-dressing self as this young man has done.

That would be awesome. Look above that. See the girl falling through space? Egads! I can't think of anything more spectacularly frightening than to be precariously perched, not being able to hang on, to lose one's slippery hold .......... and then drop.

In The Name of Love and All the Little Fishies Make It Stop Department

'Jon & Kate Plus 8' plus one? via Recently Published/Updated on 7/13/09
Just three weeks after Jon and Kate Gosselin announced their separation, there is speculation of a new plus-one in the mix for "Jon & Kate Plus 8."

Unemployment Department
Does commute seem shorter? Report confirms less traffic via Recently Published/Updated on 7/8/09
Americans are spending less time stuck in traffic and wasting less gas, according to a new report. Yup. And it's because they have no jobs to go to and, frankly, can't afford the gas to just go joyriding. Nope, they're taking the bus to my library to use free internet to sign up for unemployment and look for jobs. Especially if they've never used a computer before.

Funny Pictures Department

Yes, we would like to rent a manger for the night… via Picture Is Unrelated - WTF Pictures by pizzaburger on 7/8/09
"All we have left is the manger suite, sir"

"Jesus Christ! You expect us to rock the house in a friggin' manger?"

Condom dresses are so vogue right now…
via Picture Is Unrelated - WTF Pictures by pizzaburger on 7/10/09

An army unlike any other…
via Picture Is Unrelated - WTF Pictures by pizzaburger on 7/14/09 Also known as the inner circle of hell. Note also the brightly lit naughty bits on the Big One

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Dork Report - Worst Book Ever Edition

Publishing Department
New 'American Patriot's Bible' sees USA's 'godly roots' via Books - Top Stories on 7/2/09 WHAT? How the hell did this happen? In the name of love and Grover Cleveland this is just the thing religious zealots need.

"See here Chester? It says right here in this book we's a Christian Nation! That's whut the fella that prints that newspaper for folks who read said. He even checked them facts on the interweb."

Ex-executive accuses insurance giant of 'purging' customers via Recently Published/Updated on 7/2/09 WHAT? How the hell did this happen? I never would have suspected. I must say thank goodness Wendell Potter is speaking out. Bravo Mr. Potter!

Strange Headlines Department
U.N. nuclear watchdog agency elects new head via Recently Published/Updated on 7/2/09 WHAT? How the hell did this happen? Just a new head? What about the rest of the body? Or is the committee a group of bodies somehow connected to one head? And what good would that do?

Mississippi tops U.S. obesity rankings via Recently Published/Updated on 7/1/09 WHAT? How the hell did this happen? They missed me!

Civil Rights Department
Racial profiling still a problem in U.S., groups tell U.N. panel via Recently Published/Updated on 7/1/09 WHAT? How the hell did this happen? Although not mentioned in the article, might the stage have been set with Sheriff Joe Arpaio's repeated hispanic-targeted roundups of undocumented workers?

Battle Likely Over Jackson Will via NPR Topics: Arts & Entertainment on 7/1/09 WHAT? How the hell did this happen? Michael Jackson is dead? Why was I not informed? And, in the name of peanut butter and Mick Jagger, did no one see this will thing coming?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Read the High Country

Read the High Country: A Guide to Western Books and Films (Genreflecting Advisory Series) Read the High Country: A Guide to Western Books and Films by John Mort

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another excellent book in the Genreflecting Advisory Series. Yes, the Western has dropped in popularity in the past few years, but there are still classics that every large library should own.

The book is organized into the major sub-genres and then further sub-divided into types of plots. The diversity of the western and its representation of western history is thoroughly examined.

Items of "classic" reputation are clearly marked, as are award-winners and YA-interest titles.

A great addition to any collection development library or fan of the genre

View all my reviews.

The Big Snark-Off - Information and Referral - Lileks Edition

A week or so ago I reviewed the Gallery of Regrettable Food. Oh silly me! I hadn't looked at the main Lileks homepage in years. And oh what I have missed! Started in 1996, the site has grown and grown as Lileks has discovered more and more things to snark on!

This is an incredible time-waster. Going through gallery after gallery of things as varied as WWII propaganda to 1950s and 1960s Stag Magazines, this may be the ultimate snark site! Lilek's home may be a fire hazard due to all this paper, but holy gee, it's worth it!

Let's just look at some of the thousands of examples:

"This cover features a waaaay popular Mattel toy, Matt Mason. I had the moon scooters, the transports, everything. (I fully expected to live on the moon myself, eventually.) As a young boy, I was naturally drawn to this cover, which seems to suggest that people will have powerful, incandescent flatulence in the future."

"The Rotating Bar made a complete circle every hour and 20 minutes. If you like, you could scoot out from the bar, use your legs and the wheels on the chair to remain in a gobbler-synchronous orbit while everyone else passed you by.
Hey, Hank! Howya doin', Verne? Bob! Good to see you; catch you in an hour-twenty."
My Personal Favorite? Comic Book Covers!
We begin with “Popular Teens” from the early 50s, one of the more incompetent comics ever fed to a printing press. This panel tells it all:

In the background, the Blue Man Group is practicing their “Salute to the Air Force” routine; to the left, a red-haired Ed Grimley dork is picking his nose while his mind goes click-click-click saving up this image for later; in the foreground, an instructor - who has a form of chronic lycanthropy that starts at the wrists and ankles and works its way in – is attempting to show “Miss Gay” how to stand straight up by inflicting irreversible spinal damage.