October 03, 2003
"Slime and Defend"
Please read Paul Krugman's column about the leaking of a CIA operative's identity by unnamed sources in the current administration. Robert Novak, long-time journalist/conservative stooge, seems "surprised" that all this fuss has come about from his July 14 column in which he revealed the damaging information. Whatever, old man.
If you haven't read Krugman before, you should. He writes clear, analytical pieces that consistently pierce the smokescreens thrown about by this administration and their aides and abettors. Somebody, or several somebodies, is guilty of a felony. Who knows how many information lines have been severed, either because sources have been scared off, or perhaps even killed off, all in the name of political revenge against Joseph C. Wilson IV, the operative's husband and the former ambassador who criticized the President's bogus claim of Iraq's attempted buying of nuclear materials from Niger.
I wonder if the pinheads who burned Dixie Chicks records can wrap their brains around this one. Who is less patriotic, a musician who said she was ashamed of being from the same state as our Chief Executive, or the people in the Chief Executive's employ who broke the law by leaking a CIA operative's identity? Who is actually the traitor to this country?
Addendum: Buzzflash interview with Paul Krugman, dated 9/11/03.
Zagat's Music Guide
The Zagat people have issued their first Music Guide, which lists the top 1000 albums of all time, according to those surveyed. Crowded House's eponymous first album made the list:
Exhibit A on how to do pop music" was "sprung on an
unsuspecting public" by "frontman Neil Finn who proved
to be a most sensitive songwriter", as well as a
"gorgeous vocalist", on this "brilliantly assembled"
"debut from the Splint Enz splinter group"; "complex
lyrics" "counterpoint" "melodic" keyboards with
"clever" "twists and drops" to "capture something
pure" on this "marvelous" disc--"Beatlesque is a valid
Out of a score of 30:
I'm pleased, and yet I'm vaguely appalled. I must confess I have used Zagat for finding restaurants, I suppose a music guide from them should be equally useful. But what do you think?
To my sisters, who are flying somewhere over the Pacific at the moment.
October 04, 2003
One Damn Cute Baby
Allow me to introduce to you Hayden, who is five months old. He enjoys eating, sleeping and other bodily functions and has otherwise rational adults completely wrapped around his little fingers. Imagine this image 75% larger, and you can understand why I awwwwwwwed out loud when I got the email. [Thanks, B, for letting me share this!]
My friend Marco has one of the newer iPods. It's one of the most beautifully designed objects ever to come into being - it represents a fine balance of form and function. To hold it is sheer tactile joy - the iPod is sleek, light, smooth and curved - its gleaming underside evokes the sense of precious metal, platinum or perhaps titanium. You feel as though you are not merely holding an object, but a magical totem, full of the potential, the possible. It's like an artifact from the future.
It gives me pleasure to know that such a thing exists in the world. Of course, I'm also jonesing for one in the worst possible way. But for those of us who can't have one just yet, we can construct our own Paper iPod in the meantime. [via BoingBoing]
Renaissance, the Elizabethan World - features a Compendium of life in Elizabethan England, information on heraldry and sumptuary laws, and a transcription of the trial of the Earls of Essex and Southampton, 1601.
The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman - An impressive hypertext of the novel.
Old but cool news: British researchers - PhD students, no less - have pinpointed the geographic location of Blandings Castle, the fictional creation of P.G. Wodehouse.
CrazyFads - Covers fads from the 1920s to the 1990s. When they get to the Oughties, flashmobs should be at the top of their list.
Who Wants to Go?
Or not go, as the case may be. OMG - I'm going to be completely uncool and salivate over this news: The Lord of the Rings - Special Extended Edition Screening.
Yes, the extended editions as available on DVD, on the big screen, for one time only in movie theaters. You can see The Fellowship of The Ring and The Two Towers at separate screenings, OR watch both extended editions as well as the new release of The Return of the King in a single marathon session on Tuesday, December 16 (which is also Jane Austen's birthday).
Tickets go on sale October 9. The only Atlanta venue is at the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 24. And now I need to end this post before I have an accident.
Why Not Re-Read the Book?
I should make fun of this, but I'm guilty of playing Pride & Prejudice, the board game. And I enjoyed it, too! :p
And speaking of RPGs, of which I admittedly know little, here's someone's take on applying the D&D alignment system to world politics: Neutral Good in a Lawful Evil World. [also via MeFi]
October 05, 2003
Close to Home
This happened just down the street from where I live. I didn't hear about it until late this afternoon from the neighbors, who only found out what happened when they saw all the news trucks converge on the scene.
October 06, 2003
Soho House "library"
[Note: The cross-section of those interested in librarianship and celebrity/media coverage is undoubtedly a limited population, but I include this for those of us starved for tawdry library gossip.]
Soho House is a private club in NYC, one of those current hotspot havens for rich, young expats, media darlings, media hounds, etc. - the usual subjects of gossip columns. It's a periodic setting for many of Gawker's posts, including one about Dido's recent performance in the club's library, which really more of a thematic lounge.
It's an old post, but Gawker also cites a NY Post snippet that snipes about the quality of Soho House's library. Sadly, the Post link is dead, and the paper's archives don't seem to have it available. Suffice to say, there is mostly wallpaper displaying shelves lined with books, because "media people don't read books—they only read book reviews"; the bar is better stocked.
She's the One That We Want
Margaret Cho, our favorite profane All-American Korean girl, has a blog.
Anyone Read This?
Christopher Paolini wrote his fantasy novel Eragon when he was 15. Several drafts and four years later, his novel is third on the NY Times hardcover children's chapter books best-seller list, ahead of four of the Harry Potter books. Of course those books have been out for some time, so I doubt J.K. Rowling is bawling about making fewer royalties.
So buzz aside, has anyone read this book? Is it any good as a work of high fantasy? Guess I'll find out at some point.
October 07, 2003
Peter Waters, Book Preservationist
Waters passed away in June, but the news of his death was only recently reported here in the U.S.
New York Times, October 5, 2003
Peter Waters, Who Preserved Hundreds of Thousands of Books Internationally, Dies at 73
By DOUGLAS MARTIN
Peter Waters, a superb bookbinder who became one of the world's leading authorities on large-scale book conservation, died on June 26 at his home in Fairfield, Pa. He was 73.
The cause was heart failure due to mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, his wife, Sheila, said.
His death was not widely reported in this country until an obituary in The Washington Post last Sunday.
Mr. Waters was considered one of England's most accomplished artisans when it came to saving rotting old books by giving them new bindings and preserving brittle pages.
At 21, he was one of the youngest artists ever to have a book cover he designed bought by the British Museum. But he left this specialized and lucrative calling to lead in the preservation of hundreds of thousands of books around the world. He became the first restoration officer of the Library of Congress in 1971, and led its book conservation efforts for 25 years.
He also directed efforts to save books damaged by floods in Florence, Italy, in 1966 and in Lisbon the next year. He led similar efforts to save fire-damaged books at the Los Angeles Central Library in 1986 and in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1988.
In 1984, he headed a team of 20 experts, most of whom he personally trained, to restore a water-damaged opera by Leonard Bernstein, "A Quiet Place," in time for its debut at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.
Most significant to library professionals were the procedures he devised to conserve large numbers of books. The standard practice had long been to repair books as librarians noticed they were damaged.
But with perpetually limited resources, this meant conservation essentially occurred on a catch-as-catch-can basis. Kenneth E. Harris, preservation projects director at the Library of Congress, said Mr. Waters established a completely new approach to conservation.
One of his innovations was the "point system," through which each library division was assigned a budget of treatment hours in a given year. This meant that other books, a vast majority, were stored in special boxes to prevent further deterioration until their turn for repair came.
These so-called "preventative" or "phased" conservation measures became the norm in the library and museum conservation world, Mr. Harris said.
For this reason, Mr. Waters privately resented campaigns that described as a crisis the estimated 6 million volumes in the Library Congress that were too brittle to read, his wife said. He believed the books could be fully preserved through temporary measures and repaired as time and funds allowed.
His many contributions to the Library of Congress included developing and training a respected conservation staff, beginning an internship program to encourage careers in book conservation and adding the conservation of photographs to the library's mission.
Peter Godfrey Waters was born in Surrey, England, on May 19, 1930. He took his first bookbinding class at 14 and promptly spilled a pot of hot glue, but he became the school's top student.
From 1945 to 1949, Mr. Waters studied bookbinding under the master William Matthews as part of his course at the Guildford College of Art. He continued his studies of bookbinding and graphic design at the Royal College of Art, where he met Sheila Salt, a highly regarded calligrapher, to whom he was married for almost 50 years.
Mr. Waters is also survived by his sons Julian of Gaithersburg, Md., Michael of Fairfield, Pa., and Chris of Crownsville, Md.; and four grandchildren.
After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1953, Mr. Waters taught bookbinding and lettering techniques at the Farnham School of Art in Surrey. He was also a tutor in bookbinding at the Royal College, where he helped run the college's Lion and Unicorn Press.
From 1955 to 1971, Mr. Waters worked as the partner of Roger Powell, an English bookbinder famed for his 1953 restoration and rebinding of the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript written around A.D. 800.
Together, Mr. Waters and Mr. Powell studied the Stonyhurst Gospel, a Coptic manuscript of the Gospel of St. John, dating from the seventh century. They revised opinions concerning the binding of the rare volume by offering convincing evidence that the binding was original. Many had previously supposed that it had been added in the 18th century.
In 1966, flood waters swept through the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence, damaging thousands of priceless library treasures. Mr. Waters was summoned to head a 120-person restoration team.
After floods in Lisbon the next year, Mr. Waters worked as a consultant for the restoration efforts of the Gulbenkian Foundation Museum. As a result of these two incidents, Mr. Waters wrote one of his best-known technical works, "Procedures for Salvage of Water Damaged Library Materials." It has been translated into Spanish, French and Japanese.
After the 1988 fire at the Academy of Sciences Library in what was then Leningrad, Mr. Waters was called in because his system of "phased conservation" seemed the only way to approach 3.6 million damaged books. Accordingly, he devised boxes to preserve the books as a necessary first step. The second step, actually repairing the books, promised to take far longer.
"It could take another 50 years," Mr. Waters said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 1993. "It could take 500 years."
Oh Happy Day
When I last lived here, the Krispy Kreme on Ponce de Leon was probably one of the safest spots in Atlanta. Scott and I would have a craving late at night for fresh hot doughnuts, we'd drive over and there would be cop cars from several jurisdictions. Sometimes ambulances or fire department vehicles too.
Apparently it's been closed for some time since I moved, but today it has reopened. Ok, so it's not like I couldn't get KKs in NY in my office building, or any time I want at Kroger or QT these days. But I want to make pilgrimage to Doughnut Mecca, where it will be a clean, well-lighted place and the neon sign will tell me that fresh hot original glazed Krispy Kremes are coming down the conveyor belt, and I will buy half a dozen and inhale them whole, washing them down with a cup of coffee, and I will declare them good.
I'll probably go tonight when I pick up Scott from work. Good thing I'll be walking my four miles with Marco before then.
There are 404 pages, telling you that the site you are looking for cannot be found, and then there's Ministère de la culture et de la communication- Page inexistante. Americans rename their fries, the French have made a functional web notice into a thing of beauty. Who is more enlightened?
Yeah, because having star power in the box office naturally qualifies one to run a state the size of a small country.This isn't really news, yet I'm still surprised at just how flaky people are in California. I have quite a few friends out there; I only hope I know them well enough to trust that they didn't vote for a sexist pig action hero.
Addendum: Gawker's open letter to California - "You are a state of stupid self-hating fruitcakes. But we're still concerned. We'll build the political equivalent of a battered women's shelter for you when your hot and totally dysfunctional love affair with Arnold is over."
October 08, 2003
Marriage Protection Week, Oct. 12-18
Proclaimed by W. himself. Because dealing with internal felony-inducing leaks, the Middle East and the sucky economy are not enough.
The legal rights that come with civil marriage should not be limited to heterosexuals. Gays have significant others that they want as their partners for life, and they're taxpayers and voters too. If churches want to dictate and discriminate as to the makeup of religious marriages, that's up to them.
Although I have crossed over and am married now, I think there should be Singleton Protection Week. Do you know, Mr. President, how humiliating it is to be a single woman or man surrounded by couples when you go to a dinner party? The marrieds grill you on your love life, seeking vicarious thrills through your romantic travails and ask deeply personal questions and point out how you're not getting any younger. Then they wax rhapsodic about their couple-y activities - having babies, buying a house, going on a second honeymoon even though it's only been a few years since the first one - and sighing happily, smugly, that in spite of all that's going so well for them and keeping them so busy, they still have time to hold each other's hands and coo gooily to each other in public, proclaiming to the world just how much they are still in love. And then they look at you blankly as you (for the most part) honestly declare that your life is quite fulfilling even though you don't happen to have a significant other at the moment.
Can you not see, Mr. President, the plight that singles suffer? In addition to Singles Protection Week, there should be Relationship Promotion Week. For the most part, people don't want to be single, but it's awfully hard to find The One. Perhaps a week of awareness might help in that regard. Every week would be even better.
Night of 1000 Doughnuts
So we went to the newly reopened, refurbished Krispy Kreme, where everything was bright and shiny and new. A line of cars inched patiently towards the 24-hour drive-thru windows. A giant Mayfield cow stood placidly on a truck bed, and a retro KK delivery car was parked out front. (Much cooler than the stupid PT Cruiser.)
We walked past the long window where you could watch fresh doughnuts being made, jiggering up and down in a contraption before landing into the hot oil, then flipping onto the conveyor belt, marching victoriously like a yeasty "Ride of the Valkyries" towards the "waterfall" - a pure white sheet of original glaze. Southern music played over the speakers, stuff like James Brown and Elvis.
A woman behind the counter welcomed us warmly, and I couldn't stop grinning. I asked for an original glazed and a New York cheesecake while Scott ordered a chocolate glazed creme filled and a glazed raspberry filled. The woman pulled my original glazed right off the conveyor belt. I told her how happy I was that they were back, and she smiled. At the register there were flyers and retro paper hats - the kind that Arnold wore on Happy Days, except with the logo. Of course I grabbed one.
There was a display of t-shirts and mugs and other souvenirs for sale. They make a onesie and matching booties with the Krispy Kreme logo - now I've got the perfect gift for the future niece or nephew we're expecting.
We sat and ate blissfully at a low counter opposite the view of new doughnuts being made. We also watched the people who came in after us, waiting in the suddenly long line. People were giddy and smiled openly. They eagerly accepted the free samples of doughnuts straight off the belt, then purchased boxes of dozens for home or the office for the next day. We listened as they watched the panoramic scene - two college guys stood mesmerized as the doughnuts went through the waterfall, then said longingly as how they would love to dive into a pool of original glaze. I even saw one of them whip out his digital camera (I'll borrow Mark's for next time!). I couldn't help but laugh, with my paper hat jammed onto my head.
October 09, 2003
Nancy Pearl, Celebrity Librarian
"Librarian Makes a Big Noise" [NYT] - Nancy Pearl, whom I've mentioned before, is the model for the librarian action figure, source of controversy in librarian circles. She appears at NYPL's Mid-Manhattan Library branch, 455 Fifth Avenue, at 6 tonight. Wish I could go.
The article refers to the controversy: "The doll has caused a small furor in the more humorless reaches of librarianship for perpetuating the stereotype of the dowdy librarian." Again, I'd like to say that librarians do get the joke. The problem is, will non-librarians get it? How does the doll fight back against the stereotype by perpetuating it? The New York Times reporter congratulates herself and flatters its readers for being in on the joke, but there are still plenty of people who believe in the stereotype. And sadly, there are librarians who still perpetuate it themselves.
Of course, I still want to get one of the dolls.
October 12, 2003
Things to Be Happy About
I suppose there's something to be said for positive thinking. So I'm going to list some of the things that have given me bits of joy.
1. Let's start with the best. Zeebah got a new job! Congratulations! I knew you'd find a situation that's much better and saner and more rewarding for you! And I'm so thrilled, it's as good as my getting a job, which will happen eventually. Hurrah!
2. Peppermint choca chip ice cream at Jake's. That is some damn fine ice cream.
3. Getting together with my new book group to discuss A Fine Balance over drinks and tapas at Lunatique. Did five women split three kinds of dessert? You bet we did.
4. Watching Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. It doesn't have fancy production values, but I'm enjoying how London is portrayed as a fantastical place.
5. Brunch at the Flying Biscuit. Boy, did I miss this place.
October 13, 2003
Sunday in the Cafe with Scott
Two girls, ten or eleven years old, are having lunch together with their families. They're absorbed in a matter of great import. They speak furtively, but loudly enough to be heard across the room, where we sit in a corner booth with our coffee and bagels, reading the Sunday Times.
Girl1: Hey, you know that song, "Stacy's Mom"?
Girl1: Do you know what it's about? "Stacy's mom has got it going on." Do you know what that means?
Girl2: No, what?
Girl1: "Stacy's mom has got it going on." Stacy's friend likes her mom, not her!
Girl2: (gasps, scandalized) No way!
Girl1: (smugly) Yeah! Like, nobody knew what that meant.
October 15, 2003
"You'll ruin him, Colin!"
Apparently when Colin Firth was offered the role of Mr. Darcy, his women friends urged him not to take it, telling him "'you'll ruin it forever, Colin. Mr Darcy is supposed to be sexy'."
Did you know that the original script called for Colin to dive into the lake au naturale? But regulations did not permit Colin to dive into the actual lake, so it's a stuntman doing the actual diving, and Colin's swimming about in some studio lake. But it's definitely all Colin when he emerges from the water in his wet shirt and breeches. Not sexy, not at all.
Yes, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy was such a mistake. In fact, I should watch Pride & Prejudice again, to thoroughly examine how Colin simply ruins Mr. Darcy as one of the great literary hearthrobs of all time.
Pasta with Spinach & Blue Cheese
Mark Bittman discusses the heretic ease of cooking the spinach and pasta together in the pot, then adding the remaining ingredients (after draining). Yum.
I like gorgonzola. Not just because it's a really strong, savory blue cheese that you can eat simply smeared over good bread or crackers. I like saying the name, the syllables rolling dramatically over the tongue.
Pasta With Spinach and Blue Cheese
(NYT, Dining: October 15, 2003)
Time: 30 minutes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound spinach
1 pound spaghetti, linguine, or other pasta
2 tablespoons butter (preferred), or extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound Roquefort, gorgonzola, or other good blue cheese, crumbled.
1. Set large pot of water to boil, and add salt. Remove largest, thickest stems from spinach; roughly chop leaves and remaining stems. Wash thoroughly.
2. When water comes to boil, add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender. When just about done, add spinach. Stir. As soon as spinach wilts completely — less than 30 seconds — drain quickly.
3. Immediately return pasta and spinach to pot, with butter and cheese, over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese and butter melt, all water is absorbed, and pasta is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Yield: 3 to 4 servings.
October 17, 2003
The Strand Makes Page Six
STRAND SHOWS ITS STAR QUALITY
THE Strand near Union Square is famed for its "8 Miles of Books" - but did you know that many of those very volumes are featured in movies and TV shows? Beguiling blonde owner Nancy Bass supplies tomes for Dr. Melfi's office on "The Sopranos," "Law and Order" episodes and "Saturday Night Live" skits. She's just compiled a library for Mikhail Baryshnikov's Russian painter's pad on "Sex and the City," which Bass says is heavy on antique, leather-bound volumes on modern painting, art history and works by Chaucer and Shakespeare. The Strand provided 125 feet of books for the apartment of Denzel Washington's unhinged army sergeant in the remake of "The Manchurian Candidate." Bass, who started lending out libraries after being approached by cinematic propmasters, says she often gets compared to Meg Ryan's struggling shop owner in "You've Got Mail," for which she also supplied the books. "They see a pretty blonde who owns a bookstore and say, 'You're just like Meg Ryan.' And I say, 'No, our store is successful.' "
October 21, 2003
Radiohead's Intellectual Appeal
One of the recent issues of Creative Loafing offered an article on Radiohead, who passed through town earlier this month. It quoted a Spin magazine staffer, who said that "Hanging out with Radiohead is kind of like getting high with a bunch of librarians."
Jane Austen Portrait Authenticated
Not much in the way of details to provide, I'm afraid. The Times, the British paper, only provides the article online to paid subscribers. More enlightened papers, such as the New York Times or Washington Post, at least offer free registration. Not that I'm really so keen on having to give them my personal information, but at least articles are available online for a limited time before moving into fee-based archives and news databases.
Here's the citation info: "My dear, it's a matter of dress sense and sensibility" - Jack Malvern, The Times, 10/17/2003.
The Jane Austen Society of Australia (JASA) offers a page of Jane portraits. The Rice portrait is the recently authenticated painting, which shows Jane at fifteen years of age.
Hopefully I'll be able to post a link when some other newspaper is willing to entertain a wider audience for the information.
Addendum: See here for an archived BBC article.
Voracious Like the Wolf
Yes, Planet Earth, there is a Duran Duran Book Club, courtesy of singer Simon Le Bon. Check out Simon's Library of past reads. And Simon not only reads, he writes - recommendations and reviews of the books he's read are available, and fans can contribute reader opinions and vote for their favorites among the selected titles.
I heard about Simons Reader via Simanoff, who's much better about keeping his blog focused than I am. Anyway, this news sort of makes up for my deciding to skip Duran Duran's show next month, because I'm not up to springing $50-60 to see the guys, even though it's probably my last best chance before even Nick Rhodes loses his looks.
Clark Atlanta Closes Library School
Last week, the board of trustees at Clark Atlanta University voted to close their Library and Information Studies program, the only MLS program accredited by the ALA in the state of Georgia, conditionally at that. Other programs were also targeted for closure; the students currently in the programs will be allowed to finish their degrees.
October 22, 2003
An expecting coworker of some friends decided to use her pregnancy as an excuse to get rid of her cats. It's not unheard of - people might think it's too much work to take care of animals and a newborn, or maybe there's a fear of allergies, or that the animals might not adjust to having a new person around. And sure, pregnant women aren't supposed to handle the cat litter, but that's a problem that can be sorted out.
Decent people find new homes for their unwanted pets. If they can't do so personally, at least they take them to the pound, and hope that homes are found before the animals are euthanized.
This woman didn't want anyone else taking care of the cats. Perhaps she worried that there wasn't a good enough home for them. Instead, she had her baby daddy take the cats to the vet - to have them put to sleep! A woman who was there offered to take the cats, they were in fairly good health, there wasn't anything wrong with them, but he said he had sworn up and down to do this.
If you're going to needlessly kill your animals, you ought to have the guts to take them yourself. And if you're willing to dispose of living creatures so callously, then maybe you shouldn't be allowed to bring a child into this world either.
Promoting the Profession
In one of my courses, the professor stressed the point that any subject was game for serious, scholarly treatment. It's just that when the outside world hears the scant details about your research, you just might be in for some ridicule.
The NY Times reports on the "sushi memo" that's going around New York legal circles - I'd hazard a guess that it's probably shot its way around the world internationally as well via email. It's the kind of absurd creation - a memo written by a paralegal at the request of a partner, researching the options for takeout sushi in midtown Manhattan - that gives the legal world a bad name. Having worked at law firms myself, I'm not surprised at something like this coming up. It was probably more of a joke than anything, albeit a well-researched, useful document with footnotes from Zagat's, but now the joke is at the expense of the people involved and their law firm, which is probably not amused at being the subject of mockery.
Currently hunting down a copy of the memo. Any leads are appreciated.
"Brothels for the Mind"
"Libraries are brothels for the mind. Which means that librarians are the madams, greeting punters, understanding their strange tastes and needs, and pimping their books."
"Libraries were the original internet. All knowledge was available even in a local branch library. You could order a book and, if they didn't have it, they'd get it from a library in Yorkshire that did. This would give you the double pleasure of having the book you wanted and the knowledge that a Yorkshireman would be searching in vain for it."
"In most libraries, there is a section of large-print books. The print is so large, in fact, that most of the text has to be removed. For example, in 100 Years Of Solitude, you'll be lucky to get 40 Years Of Moderate Loneliness. What makes this even more of a swizz is that they only tell you about this in the small print."
"Pensioners use libraries much the same way as junkies use dealers."
Sine Fiction offers musical soundtracks composed for works of science fiction, such as Orwell's 1984, Burroughs' Nova Express, The Soft Machine, and The Ticket That Exploded, and Arthur C. Clarke's The Nine Billion Names of God. The soundtracks are available as mp3s, free for the downloading.
MTA Service Advisories via RSS
No longer useful for me, but perhaps my big city friends can take advantage.
Sir Mix-a-lot Goes Latin
That's right, "Baby Got Back" translated into Latin.
So "I like big butts and I cannot lie" becomes
magnae clunes mihi placent, nec possum de hac re mentiri.
(Large buttocks are pleasing to me, nor am I able to lie concerning this matter.)
October 23, 2003
UN Head Librarian Gets Nod from NY Post
Cindy Adams mentions the UN Head Librarian in the context of a gossip item:
TODAY's United Nations Day. The UN's head librarian, Sindiwe Magona, who fled a Cape Town ghetto, writes best sellers like "Mother to Mother."
This fictionalized version of the death of young Fulbright scholar Amy Biel, who'd gone to South Africa in 1993 to help in their first open elections after the end of apartheid, has been optioned by Reese Witherspoon, who has her own production company, Type A Films.
Says Magona about her adopted city: "I love New York City's subways. I ride them every day from the UN to my home in The Bronx. I love New York."
Guess I'm Going to Burn
Christina Blogs for Jesus - "Hi my name is Christina and I am a 14 year old home school student and I am going to blog for our lord and savior Jesus Christ since he is in heaven and there is no internet in heaven since internet is mostly filthy porn and athiest places that dont get into heaven." [via BoingBoing]
She's only 14, we'll forgive her for having her head up His ass.
October 25, 2003
"Let Me Go Wild"
Last weekend, I was up in Long Island for a wedding, the guest of my friend Jen. Handsome groom, beautiful bride, I cried at the ceremony, there were tasty appetizers and free-flowing alcohol, as well as an ice sculpture. Since the groom was a big UT fan, the wedding took place on a non-game day. The use of Tennesee orange in the flowers and the wedding cake was remarkably restrained.
The DJ wasn't too annoying, although I hope my dance floor antics don't end up in the wedding video. The selection was a bit schizophrenic, going from Glenn Miller and polka to the Electric Slide and Enrique Iglesias to 80s music. I'd get up and dance, then find myself refusing to stay for the next song. I was about to head with Jen for her smoke break/escape from our table guests when ABBA came on over the speakers. I apologized - "I'm sorry, it's 'Dancing Queen'!" and promptly abandoned her for the dance floor. Later, it was the B-52s - you know when "Love Shack" comes on you simply must get up and gyrate, even if your dancing is like Fred Schneider singing.
The best musical moment, however, as a guest anyway, came just as the wedding cake was being served. I had just slipped off my strapless two-inch round-toe mules when I heard the opening strains of Violent Femmes. No way! "Blister in the Sun" at a wedding?!? You could feel and hear a collective gasp going through the room among people our age. We couldn't get to the dance floor fast enough. Somehow I managed to run in my heels and then contrive to stay in them while I practically jitterbugged. I didn't get any wedding cake, but the tradeoff was worth it.
Other random moments: the bagpipers serenading the bride and groom; the groom's guy friends dashing in to the theme from Hawaii Five-O and paddling like they were on a giant canoe, complete with miniature paddles; mortifying my tablemates with my ability to identify "Copacabana" within the first few beats, then revealing my new-found knowledge that an anagram of Barry Manilow is "Library Woman" (thanks, TinyLittleLibrarian!); "Rocky Top" as the penultimate dance floor song, which brought out the Tennessee folks in a big circle as the groom did reels with his friends. Ok, yeah, I sang along, but only the chorus.
Oh and then there was an afterparty that lasted till 3 a.m. I think I acquitted myself reasonably well.
And So to Bed
Couldn't sleep, hence the earlier posting. A quick encapsulation:
Happy Birthday, Marco! Actually it was yesterday, but we're having a joint birthday/housewarming party tonight. We went out for Thai at Royal Orchid, where we all had spring rolls and various curry dishes, washed down with bottles of Tsing Tao. Did you know that Jake's offers a free scoop on your birthday? We made sure that Mark took advantage, then got our own scoops of strawberry cheesecake (with actual cheesecake) and Chocolate Slap-Yo-Mama(TM).
Have been to Marietta twice in one day, though I did not live my life in one day nor speed my time away. The First Trip: Helped Mark out at his dad's estate sale - said dad and wife are moving to FLAHrida and needed to unload stuff. I set aside stuff to buy, just little things, like some makeup bags and a picture frame, but they wouldn't let me pay. And then his stepmom slipped me a $20 through Mark, and it was too late to give it back. I suppose this means I have gotten my first job, albeit unexpected and completely temporary.
The Second Trip: I met up with one of my sisters at her office in Midtown, then we drove up to her apartment in Kennesaw(!) to walk her dog, then go to Costco, one of those big warehouse shops. Sometimes bulk buying is too much - I had planned on buying soda, but I don't need 4 two-liter bottles of Coke at one time. So now I still have to go to the supermarket for some last minute things.
I can't wait for my sister's dog to get fixed - maybe he'll quit spazzing out everytime he sees me and alternately lunge up at me/hump my leg. Bulldog slobber is really unappealing.
Gee, I guess I should actually clean up the house today. But I'm going back to bed first.
P.S. I'm really loving No Doubt's cover of Talk Talk's "It's My Life." Says Gwen Stefani: ""It turned out so good. I'm so excited about it. It's just insane." Me too, I'm totally psyched. Gotta get a copy of both versions.
October 26, 2003
It's Not a Party...
until the cat has shat in the bathtub.
I'm Pathetic and No One Likes Me Having a joint birthday/housewarming party concept sounded good in theory, but inviting people at the last minute meant that no one I invited showed up. Even my sisters ditched me, having acquired free tickets to the Georgia game. So it became Mark's birthday party, as originally conceived, and we hung out in his side of the house.
Still, an Excellent Party Everyone got on well, and we had an excellent spread of munchies and cupcakes, which we made that afternoon. We bought way too much beer, which Mark will now have to finish off. We even made sangria, which turned out pretty well for having improvised the concoction. At one point we turned into our own "We Love the 80s" focus group, discussing the cartoons we liked - I'm so relieved I'm not the only one who remembers Jem and the Holograms! One guy's dad wouldn't buy him a Commodore 64, which was priced at $200, because his father didn't think computers were the wave of the future. Someone else speculated that in the future, kids will sit around and complain how their fathers wouldn't buy the first flying cars.
Bad Cat Mummy Since we opted to keep the party in one side of the duplex, I'd forgotten to reopen the closet containing the litter box. (I'd planned to keep the cats in the bedroom during the party.) It stayed shut until I sheepishly discovered my error the next morning. Tabitha immediately climbed in to use it, and Ginger sat right outside, awaiting her turn. And yes, I felt terrible.
When I flung open the shower curtain, about to perform my own ablutions, I discovered to my screaming horror that the cats had taken matters into their own paws. It's really not fun to have to suddenly scrub the bathtub whilst clad in a towel. Then again, I'm relieved that my cats picked the most sensible place for their emergency, as opposed to relieving themselves, say, on my bed.
October 28, 2003
My dad got hurt in an accident today. But he's ok.
He's a temporary postal worker, temporary until he can get his own route, which apparently takes forever. He has to drive a shitty van that he had to purchase himself (permanent employees get real mail trucks, I guess). So he had the van in park, went to deliver some mail at a house, then saw that the van was starting to roll. He ran back, tried to get into the van to stop it, but he fell face down, chipping his teeth and busting his lip and badly scraping his face, arms and knees. A flower bed kept the van from doing serious damage to the house.
Nothing's broken or fractured, but my dad has to go in for a followup visit and then he has to go to a dentist. He doesn't have insurance, being temp, but worker's comp should cover him. My mom's freaking out because she thinks he might get fired. I don't think that will happen. He reported it right away and brought back his supervisor to document everything.
When I first got the call, it felt like my heart had stopped. My poor dad...he's a good man and he works so hard, and life keeps giving him bad deals. I talked to him on the phone and he's fine, saying it was no big deal but I'm sure he's playing it down to spare my mom. I'm glad he's ok. I just wish I could do something meaningful, to make life easier for them.
October 29, 2003
No, this isn't a collection of cardigans and sensible shoes; it's fashionable t-shirts for librarians. I rather like the "Info*Bitch" myself.
A Linguist's View of Politics
George Lakoff, UC Berkeley professor and member of the Rockridge Institute, a progressive think tank, takes a linguistic approach to political debate, explaining why conservatives are more successful at framing the debate:
"...[C]onservatives, especially conservative think tanks, have framed virtually every issue from their perspective. They have put a huge amount of money into creating the language for their worldview and getting it out there. Progressives have done virtually nothing."
October 30, 2003
I just saw an old episode of Isaac Mizrahi's talk show, which featured Lisa Loeb and Dweezil Zappa attempting to bake a cake for Isaac. Then Lisa played guitar and sang "Someone You Should Know," with Dweezil playing electric and gazing adoringly. They are just so darn cute!