February 01, 2004
Super Bowl? What's That?
A leisurely Sunday afternoon. Caught a screening of The Triplets of Belleville, paired with the short Destino, a collaboration between Dali and Disney. Destino was okay - it was pretty, but the animation seemed less than dynamic. Dali's images were more like moving set pieces than paintings brought to life. I think the Disney contribution toned down the darker imagery that might have had freer reign otherwise. I understand that Un Chien Andalou, a work by Luis Bunuel and Dali, is more truly avant-garde, whereas Destino achieves merely the appearance.
When the short finished, there was a loud, sharp burst of rapid-fire applause by a single man, joined by some less vigorous clapping, but only a little. Why do people (adults, not little kids) clap at the movies? If you're at a festival screening where someone involved with the film is actually there, sure. But when the only recipients of your applause are the rest of us in the audience? If you please, sir - we really don't give a rat's ass what you think.
Triplets was thrilling - it was inventive, comical, and barbed. And while the film I saw turned out to be the dubbed version, there was very little dialogue anyway; the visual narrative made words superfluous. I'd like to see it win the Oscar, but I rather doubt it, given the front-runner status of Finding Nemo.
February 03, 2004
Where I've Been
Not counting all the states I've passed through on road trips. California barely counts because I was, like, 8 weeks old:
Places I'd like to go to before I die: New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Italy, Czechoslovakia - sorry, the Czech Republic - Hungary, Germany, Morocco, Greece, Ireland. Somewhere in South America or Africa. Japan, because I was really only there for a night. France, because I was only there for a weekend. And I'm always happy to visit the UK.
But perhaps I should think of something closer to home, that's worth a road trip. Oxford, Mississippi? Key West? A Great Ball of Twine?
Why, why must there be a rush ILL (interlibrary loan) that I'm waiting to hear back from when I've actually got to be somewhere tonight? If I stare at the phone, can I will the secretary to call me back, sooner rather than later?
I've handled two ILLs from academic libraries that required us to complete what are called "ALA forms" - ALA-approved, I suppose. They're carbon forms in quadruplicate - meaning that you have to bear down really hard with your pen and your handwriting looks like you're still in kindergarten.
My exciting event tonight? A viewing of Girl With a Pearl Earring, followed by drinks and tapas with my book group. Excuse me, Mr. Partner, but I have a date with Colin Firth tonight, surely you understand.
Addendum: Good thing I lost patience and called the secretary, who'd forgotten to call me back. The issue is tabled until tomorrow. Hurrah!
February 04, 2004
We All Know Someone Who Should Read This
How to Manage Smart People - A lucid, expansive essay about what it means to be a good manager.
February 05, 2004
How to Determine a Phone Carrier
There may come a time when one needs to find out what telephone carrier belongs to a certain phone number. Or maybe you want to find out what prefixes (the first 3 digits of the phone number, after the area code) pertain to a certain city. FoneFinder allows you to do this - for US and Canadian numbers, type in the area code and prefix, or even just area code and city name, and search results are generated.
The site also offers an international number search, but I haven't tried that yet.
Pro-librarian article in NYT
Okay, not the most zippy entry title. Check out the article, find your favorite librarians and tell them how much you love them. Or at least how much you appreciate their expertise.
When A Search Engine Isn't Enough, Call A Librarian (Jeffrey Selingo - NYT, Circuits, 2/5/04)
February 06, 2004
Sadly, the story of poor Carlie Bruscia is nothing new: Bad Man Snatches Little Girl. The more sensational, the better, as we saw with the story of Elizabeth Smart, the recent rescue of three little Georgia girls whose stepfather killed the rest of their family, and now this, where even NASA got involved to try and refine the resolution of the security camera footage. I'm always struck by how remarkably beautiful these little girls are, smiling out of family or school portraits, and I always want them to be found, safe, sound, unscarred, untouched. But from the news you'd think only the blonde, blue-eyed little girls get taken.
In the wake of Boobygate - what with the FCC investigating the Jackson-Timberlake NFL halftime-show fiasco and some woman in Tennessee seeking to bring a class action lawsuit against Jackson, Timberlake, MTV, CBS and Viacom for the injury of seeing Janet indecently exposed - Ms. Jackson won't be appearing at the Grammys. (She was to introduce an award for Luther Vandross, who's now not coming anyway because of illness.) But Justin "She Made Me Do It" Timberlake is going to be there, since he's up for Grammys this year. No one's calling for him to keep away.
So what's the message here - an exposed woman is a nasty whore and persona non grata - she asked for it, she made him do it - but the guy who rips open her clothing and exposes her isn't equally complicit? The faux rape imagery is appalling enough, but equally sickening is the heaping of blame on Jackson alone, as if this were some tacky retelling of Adam and Eve, and it's really Eve's fault they both got kicked out of Paradise.
February 09, 2004
Georgia Schools Restore 'Evolution to Curriculum [Ariel Hart, NYT, 2/5/04] - The state superintendent felt that the term "evolution" was too controversial and thought that using the phrase "biological changes over time" would be a suitable substitution. Controversy, of course, ensues, with even Jimmy Carter and the governor weighing in. So what have we communicated to the rest of the world about the state of education here? That people here are so stupid they wouldn't know evolution theory was still being taught in schools, just because it went by another description? Great PR move.
Love That Dare Not Squeak Its Name [Dinitia Smith, NYT, Arts, 2/7/04] - Article about homosexuality in the animal kingdom. Apparently there are quite a few gay penguin couples at the Central Park Zoo.
Anti-war Activists Subpoenaed
Feds Win Right to War Protestors' Records [Ryan J. Foley, AP] Federal subpoenas have been issued to Drake University as well as four of the activists who attended a forum at the school back in November:
In addition to records about who attended the forum, the subpoena orders the university to divulge all records relating to the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, a New York-based legal activist organization that sponsored the forum.Also:
The targets of the subpoenas believe investigators are trying to link them to an incident that occurred during the rally. A Grinnell College librarian was charged with misdemeanor assault on a peace officer; she has pleaded innocent, saying she simply went limp and resisted arrest.
Additionally, the subpoena, at least for the university, includes a gag order.
Please please please don't let this happen to me.
I'm going to race home now and just throw stuff away.
February 10, 2004
NYT article on Activists' Subpoenas
An Antiwar Forum in Iowa Brings Federal Subpoenas [Monica Davey, NYT, 2/10/04]:
...[T]he protesters, their lawyers and some national civil liberties advocates described the investigation into the attendance rolls and leadership lists of the lawyers' group as highly unusual in recent years. Some said it could send a chilling message far beyond Iowa, leaving those who consider voicing disapproval of the administration's policy in Iraq, or anywhere else, wondering whether they too might receive added scrutiny.
"I've heard of such a thing, but not since the 1950's, the McCarthy era," said David D. Cole, a Georgetown law professor. "It sends a very troubling message about government officials' attitudes toward basic liberties."
Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said he feared news of the subpoenas — which was spreading rapidly via e-mail on Monday among activist organizations — might discourage people from showing up to protests, attending meetings at universities or even checking out library books. [My emphasis]
"People will have to be asking themselves: will this be subject to government scrutiny?" Mr. Romero said.
It's the little things in life that can generate some of the biggest giggles. Try this:
While sitting in your chair, lift your right foot slightly off the ground and move it in clockwise circles. Now draw the numeral "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will involuntarily reverse direction.
[Via Making Light]
February 11, 2004
A man on the train is listening to some music. His headphones leak tinny versions of Meredith Brooks, followed by Alanis Morissette. Perhaps he's getting in touch with his inner bitch.
Subpoenas Quashed in Iowa
Feds Drop All Subpoenas Against Peace Protesters, University
[The Iowa Channel, 2/11/04]
February 12, 2004
Pazz 'n Jop Critics' Poll
The Village Voice has put up the results of its critics' poll. Nice to see I'm not completely out of touch with the current music scene - we actually own the top three albums (OutKast, White Stripes, Fountains of Wayne). Further down the list, there's a weird sandwich: Led Zeppelin (How the West Was Won), Liz Phair (Liz Phair), and Johnny Cash (American IV: The Man Comes Around) ranked 37, 38, and 39 respectively. There's also a listing for top singles. As for mine:
Lady Crumpet's Top Five Singles of 2003
1. Stacy's Mom - Fountains of Wayne
2. It's My Life - No Doubt
3. Hey Ya - OutKast
4. Why Can't I? - Liz Phair
5. Move Your Feet - Junior Senior
February 17, 2004
Lady Crumpet's Loving Cupcakes
I promised that I would post the recipe, which Marco got from his friend Julia. So now I offer it as a belated Valentine - these cupcakes are too good to make for just anybody. Make them for the people you love - or that special someone who hasn't yet discovered how fabulous you really are.
A few notes:
1. It's perfectly fine to use cupcake papers instead of greasing the muffin tins.
2. You don't need a double boiler - a Pyrex bowl or one little pot settled on top of another will work. I think the instructions for the chocolate I used even explain how to melt the chocolate in the microwave.
3. The frosting recipe is generous enough for two batches. Run the blender on high for short bursts, periodically scooping down the sides and bottom. Once it doesn't seem to be moving anymore in the blender, it's done. The frosting will still seem a bit thin, but it settles nicely.
Lady Crumpet's Loving Cupcakes
(or, Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting)
For the Frosting:
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
For the Cupcakes:
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 oz (1 1/2 cups) flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup strong, hot coffee
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
For the frosting - In a double boiler, melt the chocolate carefully. In a blender, blend the evaporated milk, sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Add the chocolate and blend until the mixture is thick and glossy, about 3 min. Store at room temperature, covered with plastic, until ready to use. It will keep for up to two days.
For the cupcakes - Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tins. Melt the chocolate carefully in a double boiler; set aside to cool. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the coffee, sour cream, oil, and eggs; whisk in the chocolate. Add the dry ingredients, whisking until there are no lumps. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins, dividing it evenly to make 16 cupcakes. Bake on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean, 19-21 minutes. Cool the cupcakes for 15 min. in the pan; then remove them from the pan and cool them further. Ice generously with frosting, or pack the frosting separately.
From June/July 1997 Fine Cooking #21
Darcy Seeking Elizabeth
The British Library recently had its first-ever singles night: "[G]uests queued for lapel stickers - with suitably anonymous labels such as "Darcy seeking Elizabeth", "Titania seeking Oberon" or "Adam seeking Eve". The free program, called Mingle, is for "anyone who is single, likes to talk, and wants to make friends and network with like-minded people" in the setting of the library's exhibition galleries. Presumably one has a better chance of meeting an intelligent future mate here than at the local bar.
February 18, 2004
Care & Handling for CDs & DVDs
What's Your Barcode?
February 19, 2004
Addition to Morse Code
The @ symbol has been added to Morse Code [2/17/04, AP]:
The new sign, which will be known as a "commat," consists of the signals for "A" (dot-dash) and "C" (dash-dot-dash-dot), with no space between them.
The new sign is the first in at least several decades, and possibly much longer. Among ITU [International Telecommunications Union] officials and Morse code aficionados, no one could remember any other addition.
"It's a pretty big deal," said Paul Rinaldo, chief technical officer for the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio operators. "There certainly hasn't been any change since before World War II."
The change will allow ham radio operators to exchange e-mails more easily. That is because -- in an irony of the digital age -- they often use Morse to initiate conversations over the Internet.
Everyone Loves A Wedding
Unless it's a gay wedding. Why is that? Why are straight people so vehemently opposed to allowing gays the right to be married? I've read accounts, seen pictures, read the news about what's going on in Massachusetts and San Francisco. Just reading about people camping out overnight to wait in line at the courthouse, and city workers volunteering to help so more people can be married, makes me want to cry with happiness. But at the same time, I'm troubled. Not "troubled" the way Yahoo-in-Chief is troubled, but more like Barney Frank, who's worried that what's happening in San Francisco will hurt the constitutional efforts going on in Massachusetts.
But honestly, I don't think civil unions are good enough, because at best you have rights in one state, or in the states that are willing to acknowledge other states' granting civil union certificates. Whatever the name for the license, whether it's "marriage" or "civil union," the rights should be equally the same, recognized by the 50 states and the federal government. Less than that is legalized discrimination and - let's call it what it is - selfishness and bigotry.
What rational reason can there be for defining marriage as only between a man and a woman? Why do straight people insist on reaping all the benefits of marriage - the ease of getting married, the legal status and benefits, as well as the ease of dissolving the marriage - but leave everyone else to bear the costs? Religious arguments are irrelevant because matters of church and state are separate - at least they're supposed to be. If the church (whatever church, whatever religion) wants to discriminate, that wouldn't be anything new, but that's up to the church. The government should not be in the business of interfering with people's personal lives.
If the "sanctity of marriage" is such a big deal, why is it that no-fault divorce is so popular, so that even if only one of you wants out of the marriage, that's enough for the divorce to go through? Why is it that a dimwit like Britney Spears can get married and divorced within 55 hours, but not gay couples who have been together for decades?
What are straight people afraid of? That your wedding announcements won't get into the newspaper because you'll also have to compete with gay couples? Too late - as if it weren't hard enough to get into the New York Times wedding pages, the paper now publishes those of gay couples as well. Just think how the wedding industry would get a serious boost if gay people had weddings - wouldn't that be good for the economy?
What, that somehow more people will "turn" gay? That your straight marriage is less meaningful because gays can marry too? I mean, what, what reasonable explanation can there be for otherwise intelligent people to get so emotional and irrational about this issue?
Why are straight people allowed to arrange their lives as they wish, but not gays? What makes gays second-class citizens, who are in every way equal to straight people except in whom they love?
February 23, 2004
Ok, ok, I give up. I find myself far more annoyed by fake or intentionally incorrect email addresses intended to subvert the info requirement of my Comments section, than having anonymous, unaccountable comments. So I'm going to open up the comments once more to allow my vast world audience their say, so long as there is thoughtful or entertaining discourse.
But honestly, is it too much to ask for the civility of your leaving at least a name?
Which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Are You?
YOU ARE RULE 8(a)!
You are Rule 8, the most laid back of all the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. While your
forefather in the Federal Rules may have been a
stickler for details and particularity, you
have clearly rebelled by being pleasant and
easy-going. Rule 8 only requires that a
plaintiff provide a short and plain statement
of a claim on which a court can grant relief.
While there is much to be lauded in your
approach, your good nature sometimes gets you
in trouble, and you often have to rely on your
good friend, Rule 56, to bail you out.
Which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Skadden Arps Dish
Gossip and law firms, a deliciously evil combination. Yet another incident of a lawyer, this time from behemoth firm Skadden Arps, who unwisely used e-mail to express a sharp difference of opinion, leading to furious forwarding, headers and confidentiality notices still attached. You'd think lawyers would be the most cautious about leaving documented trails.
[via Who Stole the Tarts]
Happily Ever After, Maybe
Big, aka John, tells Carrie the words she (and we) needed to hear:
"You're the one."
February 24, 2004
Yankee or Dixie?
I wouldn't call this definitive, but this quiz measures your relative Yankee or Dixie-ness based on what words you typically use to describe things. Surprisingly, I came out 68% Dixie.
Still, I won't be using the window to get in and out of the car.
February 25, 2004
I wasn't up to writing when I heard that W. finally decided to endorse the amendment of the Constitution to ban gay marriage. Everybody's reacting, like Andrew Sullivan, whom I normally don't agree with. Of course Margaret Cho. Here's a funny take on the situation: Attack of the Gay Agenda (swiped via Paul Frankenstein). There's an NYT editorial as well as an article.
I knew it would come to this. And yet I'm still incredulous that the leader of our country is willing to mess with the Constitution in order to shore up his political base, promoting bigotry, hatred, and discrimination through prescribed morality. But then he's always avoided the issues of his presidency by plunging us into war, so what else is new?
February 26, 2004
1. I'd applied to be a library volunteer at the county public library back in September. Today I finally got an email from the coordinator asking if I was interested. I'll have to update her on my job situation, but perhaps I could do something once a week.
2. A librarian from another firm called with an ILL inquiry. She didn't recognize me, and I didn't volunteer that I knew her from when I used to work at that firm as a legal assistant. At the time, I was really intimidated by her and filled with dread whenever I had to ask for her help with research. I was even driven to tears after one of our reference interviews. Now we are just polite voices on the phone, which is ok by me.
3. One of the partners is leaving for another firm. Yesterday I had to haul a massive cart to his office to pick up books that the library hadn't seen in years. In trying to be helpful, he put all the books in one place: on top of a tall file cabinet. I ended up having to climb up on one of his leather visitor chairs in order to get to them. He also had some ILLs that I knew were due - overdue, in fact. Never mind that the same material is in Westlaw, meaning that these books didn't need to be borrowed in the first place. But I couldn't collect them until he'd made copies of the pages he needed. I know how hectic it is to wrap things up and get your office packed up, so I was trying to be helpful. Mainly, I didn't want books that we borrowed to get "lost" in the move. But every time I checked in with him, he still hadn't made the damn copies. I even volunteered to make the copies for him. Finally he gave the books to an associate who will make sure his sections get copied and who's still going to be around for me to pester. Because I so enjoy being a damn book monitor. Anyway, librarian circles are small. The librarian at his new firm has already been warned that this guy requires serious high maintenance.
4. Meeting up for beer and vittles with some librarian friends tonight.
She already had a party to celebrate, but today's actually Zeebah's birthday.