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March 01, 2004

Two women

Two women are sitting together on the morning train. One says to the other, with great solemnity and resignation, "Lucifer is busy today, that's for sure."

Professional Development

Wow. I'm going to be taking a legal research course - a refresher for me, I hope - and my firm is going to pay for it. It's corny, but I'm going to say it - my boss is great, and I really, really like my job.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:24 PM | Librariana | TrackBack (0)

March 02, 2004

Daniel Boorstin

Obit for Daniel Boorstin, Former Librarian of Congress

Yours, &c., LC at 04:41 PM | Librariana | TrackBack (0)

Criminal Editing?!?

"Treasury Department Is Warning Publishers of the Perils of Criminal Editing of the Enemy" (Adam Liptak, NYT, National, 2/28/04) - The department has issued advisory letters to publishers warning them against the editing of material from countries under a trade embargo - the reasoning being that such activity amounts to trading with the enemy.

Specifically these advisory letters currently refer to Iran, but could be applied to countries such as "Cuba, Libya, North Korea and other nations with which most trade is banned without a government license." So the publishing of "camera-ready copies of manuscripts" is allowed, but not the editing of the texts or addition of illustrations.

March 03, 2004

Oscarzzzzzzzzzzzz

Behind the curve, as usual. I'm a late adopter, what can I say? Or just late.

Made chocolate cupcakes, assisted greatly by Marco. If I never learn to make anything else, that's ok.

Made sundried tomato & basil pesto. Marco and I just about died after tasting it.

Settled in for dinner and to watch the Oscar pre-show and critique the fashions. What the hell was Uma Thurman thinking, wearing what looked like a tulle kimono? She usually has such exquisite taste (assuming she picks her outfits, unless it's a stylist). Scarlett Johansson and Nicole Kidman looked exquisite. Renee Zellweger seemed to have a post-modern bridal thing going on - of course, it was Carolina Herrera, and she looked beautiful. Please Renee, don't go Skeletor on us after you're done with Bridget Jones.

We filled out ballots to pass the time. I was happy to see LOTR win its awards, but it got boring real quick. But thank goodness all the Kiwis kept to short, sweet speeches, including the guy who gave his future wife two rats as a gift back in the 8th grade. For purely sentimental reasons I would have liked to see Bill Murray win.

The interesting bits were few and far between. Bill Murray's funny introduction for Lost in Translation. The "You're Boring" song by Jack Black and Will Ferrell. Ferrell's intentionally pompous pronunciation of Sting. The performance of the Triplets of Belleville song. Adrien Brody making reference to restraining orders and spraying some Binaca into his mouth before announcing the award for Best Actress. The Blake Edwards montage.

A long damn night, and for the most part bland. But the cupcakes were good!

March 04, 2004

It's a Toss-Up. Or is it?

An article in Science News reports that a new analysis suggests that coin tosses are inherently biased - the coin is more likely to land on the face it started with when it's tossed.

There's a discussion about coin tossing in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, although I can't remember if it's Rosencrantz or Guildenstern who's consumed about having tossed a coin 99 times and it continually landing on heads (or was it tails?). The point that life is chance, it's all a random toss-up, is slightly turned on its head (or tail) with the discovery that the metaphor is inherently biased. Then again, perhaps Stoppard's Rosencrantz, or Guildenstern, is superhumanly precise and could toss a coin randomly every time.

Damn scientists. ;)

Yours, &c., LC at 12:06 PM | Sundries | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

March 05, 2004

Talking Bush

There's a big shrubby bush with tiny leaves near my neighbor's back porch. If you listen closely, it sounds like Rice Krispies in milk. "You mean, like 'snap crackle pop?'" I ask Marco, incredulous.

We go to the bush. We touch the waxy, shiny, tiny green leaves. We lean our heads down on this windless, balmy evening.

And there it is: Snap, crackle, pop!

So what are these sounds, the sweet murmurings of Spring? The sound of photosynthesis? If I listen closely enough, will I be able to discern the secrets of the universe?

Two daffodils now bloom in the back yard. But this isn't as exciting as the noisemaker outside Marco's door.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:04 PM | Sundries | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Martha Stewart, Baconovic Guilty

Interesting to see the development of this story in the last 40 minutes. First there were AP updates on the New York Times website indicating a verdict had been reached. Then there was a text bar at the top of NYT's news content indicating she'd been found guilty, including a flashing red exclamation point to grab one's attention. A quick check to CNN found that they were still showing the Shiite's reluctance (surprise, surprise) to sign the interim constitution for Iraq as the top news. Moments later, that had been updated as well, with a brief article and color chart indicating Stewart and Bacanovic's charges and how the jury had voted.

In the meantime, Scott had called and I knew exactly what he was talking about when he asked if I heard the news. Multiple refreshes of NYT and CNN pages and still no story. Guess the reporters had to actually write their stories, instead of going all Jayson Blair on us. The more instant news fix would've been to turn on the television where all the talking heads would be bursting in on people's soap operas to tell us the latest developments. But no, I kept refreshing the page, because I'm a webaholic.

Apropos tidbit: Gossip columnists Rush & Molloy reported on Wednesday that Douglas Faneuil, who testified that Baconovic had told him to tip off Martha, as well as that Martha had been really, really mean to him over the phone in their dealings, works at a gallery co-owned by Choire Sicha, editor of Gawker.

And what does Lady Crumpet think of all this? I'd like to see the prosecutors target everybody who's ever been guilty of insider trading. Ha! Was Martha a political target? Sure. Should she go to jail for 20 years when there are people equally guilty, with significantly higher amounts of money at stake, but are walking around freely trading stock tips? Talk about hypocrisy, as well as unequal dispensations of justice.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:55 PM | Sundries | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Ends Justify the Means...

Especially if you're Republican.

Report on the Investigation into Improper Access to the Senate Judiciary Committee's Computer System [Findlaw]

Report Finds Republican Aides Spied on Democrats [Neil A. Lewis, NYT, 3/5/04] A redacted version of the report was supposed to be released, but the version naming the staffers, Manuel Miranda and Jason Lundell, got out instead. According to the article:

Mr. Lundell was described in the report as a young and curious clerk who was eager to impress his superiors. The report said that he freely admitted to Senator Hatch and investigators his role in the matter and had left Washington to attend graduate school in accounting in Texas. His whereabouts could not be determined.

Is anyone else disturbed that this "young and curious clerk" who stole documents for 18 months is now going into accounting? Of course I'm also disturbed by the stupid level of security that made this breach possible.

Former Senate Staffers Faulted in Memo Leaks [Steve Turnham, CNN] Of interest:

[C]onservative groups, such as the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, contend the content of the memos is more important than how they were obtained, charging that they show Democrats were colluding with outside interest groups to develop strategies to block President Bush's judicial nominations.

Hmmm. So should we not-hack into Dick Cheney's office and not-steal those energy memos he doesn't want the American public to see, because it's not any of our business as to whom they speak to for their "unvarnished" opinions?

Yours, &c., LC at 04:30 PM | Politics | TrackBack (0)

March 09, 2004

On Communication Skills

I had to call a vendor this afternoon about a newsletter we had not received for an entire year. Unfortunately we already paid for a renewal and we haven't seen this year's issues either.

My predecessor kept lots and lots of files, thank goodness. What I should have done was check the files first, but no, I called and asked if our subscription could just be extended since we received no issues, and what a surprise - the vendor says they can't (or won't) do that. We have to get the back issues, and they'll extend our subscription for whatever issues they can't provide. I am flustered. The more I try to say, the more stupid I sound. Why can I be so articulate in writing but in person I am a babbling idiot? How the hell can I possibly do reference if I'm stuttering and stumbling for the next word?

The vendor's records are shoddy. The woman tells me she has no record of the dates I've told her we called. I try to explain, but what sounds like garbled gobbledygook, that we are paying for current information. The back issues are nice, but they're no good to us one year after the fact. I tell her we contacted her on several occasions requesting back issues and still we never received them. The best she can do, after speaking with a supervisor, is to give us our back issues and a 4 month extension on our subscription, as a "courtesy." I can't answer for my boss, but I just know she won't go for that. So I tell her I will call back.

So I've spent the better part of the afternoon stewing and writing a letter summarizing our timeline and reiterating our position that the vendor has totally screwed up, in nicer business language of course. It's not exactly helpful that it seems that no one from our library called and harassed them since not getting the first issue until late last year, when we supposedly got an extension - which of course they have no record of. I understand their position - but we are the customer. I just wish we could ask for a refund since they're being so damned resistant to admitting that they fucked up and to doing something meaningful to correct the situation. So I've written a letter, and my boss will proof it, and hopefully we can get something done. In the meantime, I'm nursing some apricot tea, because the whole experience just makes me ill.

I have never been good with conflict, but I'm going to have to improve. My communication skills probably will be brought up in my review as something to work on. Bleah.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:08 PM | Librariana | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Promises, Promises

Check out the dramatic graph that illustrates U.S. job growth in Paul Krugman's most recent column, "Promises, Promises."

Yours, &c., LC at 08:52 PM | Politics | TrackBack (0)

March 11, 2004

Dirty is as Dirty Does

You can generate your own Bush/Cheney poster in PDF. Wonkette is collecting slogans from readers and reporting what words are being filtered out by the site's techies. There's only so much language they can filter out. Special characters don't work; only alphanumerics as far as I can tell. However, placing spaces between the letters of filtered words lets you get by, so far.

Yeah, it's totally juvenile. But now I've got signs that say "Lords of the Underworld," "For the Rich, White, Christian and Straight" and my current favorite, "ACCESS TO E V I L."

Yours, &c., LC at 01:50 PM | Politics | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Dissembling

I wonder sometimes if one of my cats is going to have a shorter lifespan because she's so high-strung. She's incredibly skittish and easily startled, even when we're the only ones around the house.

Walking around in a state of fear just isn't acceptable. It's too exhausting and unproductive. But sometimes my imagination goes in directions I'd prefer it didn't. Took the train to work, as usual. Today I was in the front car, and as it was crowded, I found myself standing just outside the conductor's door. And I realized it wouldn't be so hard to do something, if I was a coldblooded fanatic or insane or both.

Being in an open society involves a degree of trust - there's a social contract that we enter into so that we can live and work together and have civic byproducts such as public transit. It's just...what do you do, how do you comport yourself, when there are people willing to step outside of the acceptable ways to deal with each other? I read about the terrible train bombings in Spain, which happened during rush hour. So killing over 190 people and wounding at least 1200 other civilians is going to persuade people of the merit of your cause, whatever it is? How does that make any sense?

I go about my day, because I have things I'm supposed to do. Everything seems normal enough, if you don't think too much and act as if everything is normal.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:38 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 12, 2004

*yawn*

A gallery of animal yawns.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:09 AM | Sundries | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 16, 2004

Differences of Opinion

A friend recounted a conversation he had with a friend, to illustrate how the guy hasn't really grown up yet. The guy can relate more easily to a teenager than someone his age (early 30s), which he's beginning to realize is kinda weird. So he says something like "I don't want to be aged x and still talking about OutKast with 16-year-olds." [Note: I don't think he actually hangs out with teenagers, it's just dramatic license.] The friend who's telling this story says that he doesn't know who that is. The guy rattles off some song titles, but he still doesn't know the band, and the guy's incredulous.

I found myself more intrigued by the side story. I don't know a lot of OutKast, but given their extensive radio airplay and their success at the Grammys with Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, it's amazing to find out they're still completely unknown to some people. So if you've never heard of a singer or a band, does that mean the music's no good, that it's only good for juvenile tastes?

In another conversation, I described as "fantastic" No Doubt's cover of "It's My Life." Even though I love the original by Talk Talk, I was genuinely thrilled to hear the cover. Some of my friends remarked critically that the remake wasn't very interesting, that it wasn't brilliant or genius, which a really good cover accomplishes. Point taken. Yes, the cover has No Doubt flourishes, but it's otherwise faithful. Sometimes it's enough to hear a good band do a good song.

People have strong opinions about their personal tastes, so talking about art, books, movies, or music can be more controversial than one expects. There should be room for spirited debate, even if in the end you still disagree. Yet I find myself surprised at times by the disconnect. Sometimes I wonder if we're just talking about the subject, or if we're trying to demonstrate something about ourselves to each other. Taste is subjective, but people should like what they like, even if no one else does, even if there's ridicule or disdain. I just hope that I remain open enough to entertain the new.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:22 PM | Music | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Outrageous!

Seventh grade was one of the more horrid years of my life so far. I had moved to an upper-middle-class town in Florida, where everybody seemed to be blond and sun-kissed and running around in layered tank tops, cute shorts and double pairs of contrast-color socks and Keds. I was a nerd wearing jeans from Marshalls with the Playboy bunny logo on the pocket, who wasn't allowed to shave her legs, whose mom walked her home from school. It was the year that I found safe harbor in the books of Anne McCaffrey, who had a voice for girls who felt completely stuck and ugly and on the outs with everybody and everything.

My sisters made friends more easily, but fourth grade isn't quite so bad. Stuck at home together while our parents worked, we had the kind of violent sibling fights where you know you're going to kill each other. Being the oldest sister, I'm still not proud of that. I've learned to temper my temper around them, even though we still can drive each other crazy.

Saturday mornings we called a truce. We didn't have cable, but we had a tiny b&w television that gave us fuzzy reception if you could set the antenna just right. Somehow we discovered the cartoon Jem, a musical rock soap opera. Jem, the pink-haired alter-ego of Jerrica Benton, the rich philanthropist who sets up the Starlight House for foster girls. Rio, Jerrica's boyfriend, is also drawn to Jem, but naturally he's torn, not knowing he loves the same girl. And then there are the Holograms, Kimber, Aja, Shana and Raya. Their music rivals are The Misfits, with more aggressive music, shredded outfits, severe makeup and big hair in acrid colors. And there were songs, mini-videos within the cartoons!

The media setup being fairly minimal, my sisters wanted to tape the songs. So they took one of their tape players and held it up to the television whenever a song came on. Once I forgot that the recorder was on and started talking about what we were watching. One of them was so upset she started to cry.

Well, Sis, no need to cry anymore, because Seasons 1 and 2 are coming out on DVD.

Addendum: Listen to the groovy theme song. [Link deactivated] There are also several French versions of the theme, with translations and downloads.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:20 PM | Film/TV | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

March 17, 2004

Soul Stirring

Met for a fine dinner at Watershed with Little Toy Robot and rawbrick. Made reservations for 6:30 - yes, on a Tuesday night. But given that the special on Tuesdays is fried chicken, that Indigo Girl Emily Saliers is an owner, and Scott Peacock, co-author of The Gift of Southern Cooking, is executive chef, it was a good thing I called in.

It was fried chicken all around, accompanied by sides of biscuits, green beans and mashed potatoes - marvelous. A glass of wine, some beers, coffees and a slice of chocolate cake later, we managed to ring up an impressive tab. We had talked perhaps of making this a weekly ritual, but after we discovered that our specials cost $17 each, we realized this is a place for Mom&Dad to pick up the check. Actually, there's a variety of price ranges, so it's possible to eat there less expensively. Sunday brunch looks good; they even offer Toad in the Hole.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:52 PM | Food | TrackBack (0)

March 18, 2004

Strange Bedfellows

Maureen Dowd's latest column, entitled "Pride and Prejudice," draws apt, yet cringe-inducing comparisons between the presidential candidates and Jane Austen's characters. John Kerry is Pride, akin to Mr. Collins, whose wife is all "condescension" like Lady Catherine. President B___ is Prejudice: "Like Miss Bennet, who irrationally arranged the facts to fit her initial negative assessment of Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bush irrationally arranges the facts to fit his initial assessment that 9/11 justified blowing off the U.N. and some close allies to invade Iraq."

But Lizzy realizes how blind she has been. B___ will never admit he was wrong.

Having just finished Reading Lolita in Tehran, a memoir that intertwines the literary and the political, I appreciate Dowd's references to Austen. And yet I wish she had left our sparkling dear Jane out of this muck.

Neil in the News

CNN article about Neil Finn. (New Zealand's Neil Finn: 'I'm a lifer' 3/4/04) The next Finn Brothers album looks to be a more finished product than the last one. Let's hope there are no awful lines about the "information highway." And there will most likely be a tour behind the international release. (Please, please come to Atlanta!).

Yours, &c., LC at 12:36 PM | Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 19, 2004

Underachiever

18.75 %

My weblog owns 18.75 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

Clearly Lady Crumpet ought to become more obsessive devoted. It's kind of funny how these quizzes have really taken off. There are quizzes for everything and you can even write your own. Mostly they really don't mean a lot but we all want to take them so we can compare our results with each other.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:07 PM | Blogos , Memes | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Samuel Johnson Treasure Trove

Harvard's Houghton Library is the recipient of the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection, a private collection of Samuel Johnson materials ("A Samuel Johnson Trove Goes to Harvard's Library" - Katie Zezima, NYT, 3/18/04):

The collection offers an intimate look at the private and professional lives of Johnson and his literary contemporaries. It contains more than 4,000 rare volumes and 5,500 manuscripts and letters between Johnson and his acquaintances. It also holds more than 5,000 prints, drawings and objects, including Johnson's engraved silver teapot and a portrait of him by Gilbert Stuart.

Also in this amazing collection: A first edition of Johnson's 1755 dictionary, the only known copy with untrimmed pages (in bookbinding at the time, the paper edges were rough until they were cut cleanly as part of the final binding of the book); corrected proofs of Boswell's biography of Johnson; books from Johnson's private library, many containing his annotations in the margins; and his personal Bible, separated into seven leather-bound volumes for easier handling (Johnson read from it daily).

The library hopes to make the collection available within two years to scholars and students, and items such as Johnson's Bible will at some point be displayed. Incredibly exciting.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:14 PM | Librariana | TrackBack (0)

Innovations in Parenting

Mom on mission after kid exposed to porn at library (Karen Goulart, The Patriot Ledger, 3/18/04) A woman in Boston is very, very upset because her daughter's "emotional safety" was compromised when the 12-year-old saw the dirty pictures another kid was looking at on another public library computer. Which is rightfully upsetting. (What about that other kid's parents - obviously they don't know what's going on.) The mother demanded that internet filters be installed. But the library doesn't receive any federal money, so it's not required to install them. Moreover, the library director doesn't believe they're effective. The librarians do keep an eye on things and take action when necessary, but they also try not to invade people's privacy.

So the mom is having to resort to an extreme measure:

[The mother], who in the past would drop her daughter off at the library to do homework, said she won't do that now.

‘‘My family will not be utilizing the public library system unless I'm with my children,'' she said.

Direct supervision. Of one's own child. How revolutionary.

In the sixth grade, I borrowed Beverly Cleary's Fifteen from my junior high school library. It was a teen romance - the most risque thing was a tender kiss between the heroine and the boy she liked. My mom found the book - I guess I must have left it on a table with my other school stuff, and she didn't like that I was reading this, not one bit. I was astonished - now she was paying attention to my reading, when I had read much worse things the year before, like Sidney Sheldon, and my classmates were reading V.C. Andrews? It must not have occurred to her that I'd have access to dangerous material. I was really offended, because I was self-sufficient with my schoolwork, making the honor roll every term, actually excited to be going to school (yes, I was a nerd, have I mentioned that before?). To be reminded of my lack of independence - in general, as well as regarding my pleasure reading - really pissed me off. Of course, she was being my mom, doing what she was supposed to do. I see that now, but the memory still rankles.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:28 PM | Librariana | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 22, 2004

Cats in Libraries

A library does seem more complete when there's a cat around, which is why we have two tabbies at home. An article about library cats offers a glimpse into how such felines came to reside in the stacks. The Library Cat Society celebrates and promotes cats in libraries. The site also displays a map showing library cats around the world.

Addendum: Only somewhat related. A man up in Gwinnett County owns 75 cats which he keeps track of through a catologue...er, database. According to the article, the good care given to the cats, as well as the maintenance of the database, demonstrate that the guy isn't a classic "hoarder" - that is, one of those mentally unsound people who keep lots of animals in horrible conditions and don't understand why that's wrong. He's also willing to give some cats to good homes, if anyone's interested.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:37 AM | Librariana | TrackBack (0)

Will Michelle Say Yes?

Stephen has proposed to his girlfriend - possibly the first via blog. I'm surprised it hasn't been done before. So far we don't know whether she has accepted or not. Let us hope that the young gentleman is reasonably sure of her response.

On another front, I read with great interest a doozy of a correction in NYT's wedding pages:

A report on Feb. 15 about the wedding of Riva Golan Ritvo and Alan Bruce Slifka included an erroneous account of the bride's education, which she supplied.

Ms. Ritvo, a child therapist, did not graduate from the University of Pennsylvania or receive a master's degree in occupational therapy or a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Southern California. Though she attended Penn for a time, her bachelor's degree, in occupational therapy, is from U.S.C.

The Times should have corroborated the credentials before publishing the report.

I imagine that this sort of revelation is probably worse than not getting one's announcement in the NYT. [via Rosmania via Gawker]

CPA sues Search Engines for Libel

Accountant 'Googles' Himself, Sues for Libel [AP, 3/19/04] Mark Maughan, a CPA with the firm Brown & Maughan, has sued Google, AOL, Time Warner and Yahoo! for libel. Google's Page Rank system is apparently at fault for generating "alarming" information about Maughan. According to the article:

"Specifically, the search results falsely represent that plaintiffs Maughan and/or Brown & Maughan have been disciplined for gross negligence, for failing to timely submit a client's claim for refund of overpayment of taxes, and for practicing as a CPA without a permit," according to the proposed class action filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Google's search results already show top ranking links from people and sites ridiculing this news story.

The lawsuit itself is disturbing in several ways. First, why is the tool (the search engine) the culprit? It's the information itself, not the means for finding it, that should be problematic. More worrisome is the not-unwarranted concern that average users of Google or other search engines will look at the first page of results and take the information at face value - which is what the guy is concerned about, because the perception hurts him and his firm. As librarians we continue to stress that material from the Internet is not always the best, most accurate information out there. But this is also a basic premise of surfing the Web - and yet how many people don't get that?

March 24, 2004

"I Dated Jane Austin"

The writer T. Corraghessan Boyle has written "I Dated Jane Austin", a story with accompanying art by Sophie Dutertre.

[Discovered via Pemberley]

Yours, &c., LC at 03:36 PM | Jane , Writing & Language | TrackBack (0)

Gothic Hangovers

Now that I've finally got an unabridged copy of Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, this drinking game from Busy Nothings will come in handy. [via Austen-tatious]

Yours, &c., LC at 03:51 PM | Jane , Sundries | TrackBack (0)

Passing the Hat

If you love Jane Austen, it's quite possible that you also enjoy the society of other Janeites. Pemberley is a labor of love, managed by volunteers who do everything from the design to the maintenance to the monitoring of the discussion boards. The site gets between 7-10 million hits a month and over 140,000 unique visitors representing traffic from 132 countries.

This source of so much happiness is available for free, but the cost of maintaining such a quality website on a reliable server is not. No one's asked me to say anything, but I'm mentioning this here because I'm a big fan of Pemberley and an even bigger fan of the folks who devote their time and energy to such a wonderful endeavor. So please, please donate!

Yours, &c., LC at 04:39 PM | Internet & Tech , Jane | TrackBack (0)

March 25, 2004

Aurally Lubricious

A collection of Colin Firth sound files. Don't miss the Bridget Jones files as well. V. addictive and v. likely to turn one's insides to mush.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:29 AM | Sundries | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Words Made Real

The Oxford English Dictionary people have set up a pilot project in which "the words associated with a special field of interest are collected so that knowledgeable aficionados can help the OED find useful examples of these words." Their first field of interest is science fiction literature. Submissions for citations are welcome, but be sure to check their standards for acceptable sources.

One of the many things that I like about SFF is that the creation of imaginary worlds also requires the invention of cultures and languages. Tolkien often said that his interest in writing The Lord of the Rings had much to do with his linguistic pursuits. In college, I even wrote a linguistics paper that discussed how "native" words were revealed and explained to the reader in several sci-fi and fantasy novels, including Ursula K. LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness and Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:14 PM | Writing & Language | TrackBack (0)

March 26, 2004

Le Deluge

We have an interesting problem here at the Armoire. Our traffic is climbing beyond the limits set forth by Lady Crumpet's lovely host. Since we are not well-versed in the ways of reading our statistics, it is difficult to say how much of the traffic is intentional as opposed to some bot crawling the site. Clearly, the strategy of blogwhoring has taken some effect. Now we must consider upgrading, perhaps migrating to another space if that proves more feasible.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:33 AM | Admin | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

March 27, 2004

An Unpleasant Discovery

Browsing at Tower Records on a late Friday night. We've picked out a few things but are still looking around. Some instore music starts playing, a Hall & Oates collection. I hum along as I thumb through the used CD singles.

It's only after several songs that I wonder if the staff is playing this particular music so customers will hurry up and leave for the evening.

March 28, 2004

On Buying Lemon Drops at Manuel's

Scene: A bunch of librarians have gotten together to celebrate a friend's birthday. Rawbrick has offered a round of shots with the birthday boy. Having also agreed to partake, with my pint of Hefeweizen still on the table, I have gone to help carry them from the bar.

While we're waiting, it occurs to me that this isn't the first time I've had a drink today. Earlier, I went to a cooking demo that also featured a wine tasting. Feeling a little lightheaded, I thought it best to walk around a bit before getting back on the road. Wandered into a used bookshop, and went slightly crazy, picking up a retold version of Faust, a literary critique of Mrs. Radcliffe, and Who Betrays Elizabeth Bennet?, a book of essays that work out obscure literary puzzles.

Gosh. What would have happened if I'd been blind drunk? "Hello, Mr./Ms. Bookseller, I *hiccup* would like to purchase a full, unabridged set of the OED. No, no, not the single volume in the slipcased cover with the magnifying glass. No, I want the full, multi-volume set. Thahnksssh...."

As it was, being only slightly tipsy, I joined the others later for a few rounds of pool at Twain's. Having not touched a cue in ages, I somehow managed to hit the balls into the pockets more often than not. The conversation ranged from the cataloging issues of setting up one's collection in Mediachest to "Is that Africa or South America tattooed on that woman's back? And are those tattoo flames coming out from her ass?"

March 29, 2004

Sweet, Sweet Victory

I'd been dragging my feet since my last contact with a particular vendor. After revising my letter, I sent a copy by both e-mail and snail mail last Friday. This morning, I get a call from the woman I last spoke with, who is sending me my missing issues from this year. Then I get a call from her supervisor, who agrees to extend my subscription and apologizes for the inconvenience. I am equally exceedingly polite. I exude warmth, friendliness and regret for having to get all medieval on them in my letter. We clear the air, I ask for written confirmation, and all is well.

Can you blame me for doing a jig in the elevator?

Yours, &c., LC at 12:22 PM | Librariana | TrackBack (0)

March 30, 2004

Charming

My library subscribes to the local paper of record. It's available for perusal in a reading area that we have on another floor. I just found out that if I'm ever unable to find today's edition, I have to ask our catering guy (whose kitchen is on the same floor) to go into the men's room to retrieve it. I am equal parts grossed out and giggling.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:38 AM | Librariana | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 31, 2004

All the Sites Fit to Link

Rich Meislin at NYT edits the CyberTimes Navigator, a start page featuring useful web links for the paper's editors and reporters. But by making this page available to all of us, Meislin also wants "to show people that there's still a lot of fun and useful stuff going on out there."

[presurfer via Gawker]

Yours, &c., LC at 04:45 PM | Librariana | TrackBack (0)