Archive for February 8th, 2008

library links of the day

I’m so far behind on these “of the day” posts.  I’ll start this one off with a fun clip from the Star Trek animated series:

via Librarian In Black

And now the links, focusing mainly on Library 2.0, library humor, and all of the above.

Panorama of the Mountains Fashion Report

I don’t usually report on fashion, and any of you who have ever seen me know that I lack anything fashionable in my wardrobe and usually look like a rumpled mess (and thanks to Peter, usually covered in spitup as well!). Today however I want to pay tribute to a style that has persevered while many other fads and fashions have come and gone: teenage boys in baggy pants. This is inspired by the large group of teenagers on the Orange Line this morning, mostly boys, wearing jeans the ubiquitous overly large garments. It’s almost as if it’s a contest to see how much extra fabric one can have miraculously hanging down below one’s knees.

It occurs to me that teenage boys started dressing like this when I was in high school, and I graduated in 1991! Granted I went to Catholic school so I would never be able to dress like this for school as a teen, nor was I hip enough (or had enough hip?) to wear jeans this baggy on my own time. Still it’s quite fascinating to think that the teens of today playing with their cellphone cameras and sidekicks are connected with the teens of nearly 20 years ago who only had Gameboys and Walkmans. The connection crosses cultural divides as well from the black and Hispanic urban young men I saw today to the privileged suburbanite frat boys at our nation’s colleges.

So, I have to give credit to the baggy pants which although they often look ridiculous and even uncomfortable, have stood the test of time. At least they’re better than the acid wash and pre-torn jean styles that preceded them in the late 80′s.

Ireland/Britain 1998 day 19: Belfast and across the sea to Scotland

Another Sunday in Ireland, I start the day of 8 February 1998 with a long walk to view the murals and sites of West Belfast. I start at Milltown Cemetery where many Irish Republicans including those who died as a result of the 1981 hunger strike are buried. I walk along Falls Road where there are a great variety of political murals, some covering entire buildings such as the headquarters of Sinn Fein. Compared to Derry, the murals are a shoddy and uninspired. At least many of the newer looking ones portray visions of a peaceful future. This is less true in Sandy Row, an adjacent Protestant neighborhood where the murals depict calls for violent action and “No Surrender!”

Bummed out by all of this, and feeling like a “terrorism tourist,” I head to the more cheerful environs of the Belfast Botanic Gardens. I don’t know much about plants but I love botanical gardens and visit them in any city I encounter them. Belfast’s is quite lovely with a couple of large greenhouses dating back over 100 years. I refresh myself in the warm, misty, lush surroundings.

In the afternoon, I departed Belfast and Ireland for good, setting sail on the SeaCat ferry – aka the “vomit comet” – to Stranraer in Scotland. Sharing my passage are a large number of drunken Scotsmen in kilts returning from the Five Nations Rugby match in Dublin. Scotland won so at least they were happy drunken Scotsmen in kilts. As the ferry picked up speed and the seas got rough, they spilled more and more of their beer on the deck. They took advantage of this by turning the ferry into a giant slip and slide.

I saw a fellow tourist trying to take a picture of a drunken, dancing sliding Scotsman but before she could the picture he lifted his kilt and showed us that he was wearing nothing but what God gave him. I talked with the flashee and learned that she was Charlotte, a Canadian traveling with an evangelical group called Youth With a Mission. After docking in Stranraer, I followed about a dozen of the young missionaries to the train station where the train was waiting empty and unlocked. We all just dumped our bags on the train and headed into town to find a chip shop for supper. Back on the train, we took our seats and ate, after a long prayer of grace of course.

An hour later the train steamed off to Glasgow. I arrived tired and dopey and stumbled to the SYHA Glasgow Youth Hostel. I’d been staying in independent hostels and avoiding the overpriced, overregulated HI hostels, but my Let’s Go guidebook listed this as the only one in town. After being charged for a sleepsack even though I brought my own, I was put in a room with two ruffians who stayed up all night smoking and shouting with the lights on. This was the most awful night of my vacation but somehow I fell into a fitful sleep.

Belfast mural

This wacky mural on the Falls Road appears to have no political significance, but I like it very much.

Catalonia

The Irish Nationalist movement gains solidarity from people around the world involved in political struggles.

Botanic Garden

A moment of solace in the Botanic Garden.

Scotsman

One of the more sober kilted Scotsman on the SeaCat to Scotland.

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