- Ramak Fazel: 49 State Capitols An exhibition at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, NYC – one man travels to all but one of the US state capitol buildings and documented the experience in photographs and postcards. Sounds like an exhibit worth seeing if I had a chance to be in New York prior to March 8th.
- A cool poster of Boston neighborhoods – a definite delight for fans of maps and Boston (via Universal Hub).
- Their House to Yours, via the Trash by Susan Dominus (New York Times, 1/18/08) – the fascinating story of people who scavenge discarded books and resell them on the streets and at the Strand bookstore. “Is there any other industry in which such high-quality goods regularly make their way to consumers via a trash bin? Stand in the bookselling line at the Strand and the store starts to feel less like a dusty bastion of erudition and more like a messy, mulchy place where old ideas struggle to find new life.” I believe I read a book by Iain Sinclair where he talked about the life of book vendors on the streets in London that sounds like a similar lifestyle to these New Yorkers.
- As gentrification spreads, rich, poor seek a balance by David Abel (Boston Globe, 1/20/08) – rich newcomers to Boston neighborhoods decide they can’t have longstanding homeless shelters near their homes and businesses. Yuppies make me sick.
- WBUR’s Here and Now (1/21/08) has an interview with the mayor of a town in Louisiana who had the telephone exchange off 666 changed because of requests from Christian citizens (opens in Real Player). I’m amused by this since my telephone exchange in Somerville (alluded to by Robin Young as a “town near Boston”) was 666 for 9 years. Interestingly enough I’ve been told it originated as the first letters of MONument referring to the Bunker Hill Monument in nearby Charlestown.
- Today Might Have Been Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 79th Birthday by Anna Clark (Isak, 1/21/08) – in a great article Anna wonders what it would be like if MLK were still alive and offers some profound reflections on his real legacy regarding economic justice and US militarism.
- What the Birds in the Park Think of Us (Francesco Explains it All, 1/21/08) – this just made me laugh.
I’m paying more attention the primary elections this year than I have in the past. I have some thoughts on the presidential election that I’m going to compile into a post eventually, but in the meantime, here are some links to articles of interest related to the electoral process and political issues:
- FactCheck provides an interesting analysis on how The winner-take-all system in the U.S. favors two stable parties. While I see this as a rational toward reforming the electoral process to allow greater participation in our democracy, Nick Baumann sees it as a reason to just give up on third parties entirely: Forward This to Every Naderite and Bloomberg(ite? ian?) You Know (Mother Jones, 1/10/08).
- Two articles contest the media emphasis on dramatizing the “wins” and “comebacks” in the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary without noting how close the actual vote is and how the number of delegates pledged to the major candidates are almost equal! Now that’s what I call a Christmas bonus (FairVote.org, 1/9/08) and More Fuzzy Math: Why the Primaries Mean Whatever We Want Them to Mean by Joseph Lane (BritannicaBlog, 1/10/08). Here’s a scorecard from CNN to keep track of the actual delegates pledged to the candidates.
- Experience Does Not Mean Everything by Andrew Greeley (Albany Times Union, 1/11/08) – some of the most experienced candidates have made the least successful presidents while those with little experience have been among the best, including the greatest US President ever: Abraham Lincoln.
- Stooge or hypocrite? asks Steve Bogner (Catholicism, holiness or spirituality, 1/12/08) , a question every Catholic politician must make when deciding between favoring the Vatican viewpoint or opposing it. Very well written and timely post!
- Ironic Sans lists The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Propagandists (1/14/08) and how they’re being demonstrated by our presidential candidates.
- FactCheck.org again with What was known to U.S. intelligence and Congress about WMDs in Iraq before the vote to go to war? Worth reading especially considering that many of the candidates were members of Congress who approved the war without apparently reading all the documentation.
- Finally, a good column by Joan Chittister on racism and sexism in the election: What about the ones who are both sexist and racist? (National Catholic Reporter, 1/18/08).
EDIT on 1/20/08: I just have to add this video in here, “Changes”:
This morning I fell back to sleep and had one of those dreams where I got up and got ready for work. I should have figured out it was a dream when I gathered up all my clothing and headed out to catch the T. Once I boarded I took a shower on board the trolley in a public shower which replaced the booth for the conductor/door guard. That was a definite clue that I was not really awake and going to work, because I never take the trolley! Sounds like a good idea though to have showers on public transit. Imagine the efficiency for those of us who are always running late to work!
Anyhow, it was one of those days, so here are some links:
- For kids: Watch it – this art is on the move! by Sue Wunder (Christian Science Monitor, 1/8/08) – I experienced the Clouds exhibition at Dublin’s Irish Museum of Modern Art. There were a bunch of school kids playing with the clouds and it would have made a great photo, but photography was prohibited and I’m a flagrant rule follower. It just occurred to me that visit to the art museum will be 10 years ago on January 22nd. Man am I old!
- The Secret History of the Revolving Door by J Morrison (nonist, 1/10/08) – an amusing if perhaps factually challenged history to be sure.
- Actual Urban Nature Post by Jef Taylor (The Urban Pantheist, 1/16/08) – talks about the coyote in the North End and has a great quote about where “the wild” is for wild animals.
- Diagramming the Preamble (1/17/08) in which Mallard Fillmore’s Bathtub teaches a civics lesson by way of English class. He also reminds us that today is Benjamin Franklin’s 302nd birthday.
Here’s another walking through Harvard Square story. On my way to work, a passerby said, “You just missed seeing that guy get hit by a bike!”
“Ouch!” I said.
“Yeah,” he replied.
The police were already on the scene and as far as I could tell no one was hurt. At least if the guy with the courier bag holding the bike was actually the bicyclist who got hit. His bike didn’t even look in bad shape. The car however was worse for wear as the entire windshield was shattered. Something for those anti-bicycle motorists who say things like “in a contest between a bike and a car the car always wins” to remember. Collisions can hurt people and damage vehicles, period. Hopefully everyone is okay after this accident, and well-insured.
Here are a couple of Bicycling in Boston links I’d planned to post before I’d witnessed the aftermath of this accident:
- Free bikes? Maybe if you live in Cambridge, MA. (Commute by Bike, 1/14/08) – a story about a bicycle borrowing program at the Cambridge Innovation Center (links to the Boston Globe 1/13/08 article Free bike rides? Yes, for a few by Christina Pazzanese).
- Pedaling through winter (Bike Commute Tips Blog, 1/14/08) – a story about cold weather bicycling in Boston (also links to a Boston Globe 1/13/08 article Pedaling through winter on a bicycle built for one by Ethan Gilsdorf).
Good stories for Boston bicycling on a bad day.
- On being in bed with Google by Paul Courant (Au Courant, 11/4/07) – a response to the criticism of the University of Michigan Libraries collaboration with the Google Book Project. Some of my earlier posts on this topic include Boston Athenaeum Lecture Series: Libraries and Copyright and Library Trick or Treat.
- Pew Internet & American Life Study has prompted numerous responses
- Breaking news: the Internet is useful, people still use libraries by K.G. Schneider (Free Range Librarian, 12/31/07) – investigative questioning of the report comparing the survey statistics to the sunnier report.
- Networking with the 20s and 30s (Library Stream, 1/3/08) – as a positive response to the report, suggestions for ways to market the library to people in their 20’s & 30’s (I was going to say Young Adults, but that means something else in library-land).
- Another controversial topic is library book weeding, such as this article in the the December issue of AHA Perspectives by James W. Cortada: Save the Books! and in the Washington Post Hello, Grisham — So Long, Hemingway? by Lisa Reins (1/2/08). It seems to indicate that libraries have not been as effective as we like in pr since Nicholson Baker’s Doublefold was released, and the general public is still under informed about what libraries can and cannot collect. For example, if there’s to be a collection of every computer book ever published just in case, why aren’t the publishers pressured to keep in archive instead of criticizing libraries for not keeping every single book? :
- But where do we keep the stuff? (Required Field Must Be Left Blank, 1/6/08) – As always for librarians it comes down to the justifying choices based on space and budget allowances: “Maybe Cortado can make a donation to a university that’s long had a strong computer science program – so they can use those funds to process and house these items. I can’t justify keeping much of it where I work.”
- Does Library Book Weeding Lead To Less Student Reading (The Kept-Up Academic Librarian, 1/7/08) – this actually connects weeding back to the popularity of libraries described by the Pew study.
- There’s also good discussion of this issue on the January 9 podcast of Uncontrolled Vocabulary, which includes the following great quote:
- “I kind of think of Interlibrary Loan as facilitating the long tail of libraries.”
- Whaddya do with LibraryThing? (Librarian in Black, 1/3/08) – what do I do with LibraryThing? I started an account ages ago but despite good intentions haven’t done much with it since. Here a some good suggestions for libraries at least.
- Two articles show the financial benefit of libraries:
- Bookmark this: Libraries circulate $1.1 billion in Hoosier economy by Keith Benman (The Times nwi.com, 1/6/08) via LibVibe – good news, but this is a funny sentence “Now an industry that barely whispers its name is getting into the game.”
- How Much is a Free Public Library Worth in Cash (LISNews, 1/7/08) – as opposed to the economic impact of libraries for a state, this tool allows individuals to calculate what they would pay for services provided for by the library
- Links du Jour (Random Musings from the Desert, 1/9/08) – not content in making lists of links on my own, here’s a list of another librarian’s library-related links (including one that finishes with the magnificent sentence “I’m an eating, shitting, drinking, fucking, librarian… I’m not proud, I’m real.”
This is a very special edition of the day because each link goes to another blog where I have made a comment in accordance to the goal I set for myself on my one year blog anniversary. Mind you, all these posts are worth reading whether I commented on them or not:
- Historical Maps of Jamaica Plain – Online Resources, Remember Jamaica Plain? 1/2/2008 – Not Whitey Bulger very nicely solves the mystery of Washington Street at Forest Hills.
- Obey or Not, Commute by Bike 1/5/08 – should cyclists obey the rules of the road? Longtime readers should already know how I feel about that.
- Out of the Loop, Hoarded Ordinaries 1/9/08 – on diaper changing tables in the men’s rooms at Boston Garden.
- 5 (Actually, 6) Three Letter Acronyms for Librarians, The Other Librarian 1/10/08 – a guide to TLA’s used by coders for librarians (although librarians have plenty of TLA’s of their own).
- Open up: Despite a growing backlash, the boom in migration has been mostly good for both sending and recipient countries, says Adam Roberts (The Economist, 1/3/08)
- Gods Don’t Kill, People Do by Bernard Chazelle (A Tiny Revolution, 1/6/08)
- We Forget What It Was Really Like Under the Clintons by David Morris (Alternet, 1/7/08)
- Actually, happiness isn’t within: Some cultures are simply better at producing happy citizens than others by Eric Weiner (Christian Science Monitor, 1/7/08)
- Conservative Myths and the Women Who Love Them by Jessica Valenti (The Nation, 1/7/08)
- The imperfect storm by Joan Chittister, OSB (National Catholic Reporter, 1/9/08)
- Is the Supreme Court going to define “well regulated militia”? by Brooks Jackson (Annenberg Political Fact Check)
- Subways: The New Urban Status Symbol by Jennifer Fishbein (BusinessWeek, 12/5/07)
- Society on Steroids: A Bill Moyers Essay (Bill Moyers Journal, 12/20/07) – cheating and cutting corners are endemic in American culture, not just Major League Baseball
- Best Urban Spaces by Dan Hill (City of Sound, 12/21/07)
- Blair’s plan to convert started in no. 10 by John Hooper and Caroline Davies (The Guardian, 12/23/07) – a former British PM becomes a Catholic
- A Spin Through Bicycle History by Gregory McNamee (Britannica Blog, 12/25/07)
- Britain has become a Catholic country by Jonathan Wynne-Jones (The Sunday Telegraph, 12/26/07) via Whispers in the Loggia – Tony Blair is not alone as Catholicism is once again the dominant religious group in Great Britain
- Behind the Edwards Surge: Right Message at the Right Time by John Nichols (The Nation, 12/26/07) – anti-corporate ideals strike a chord
- A Colony With a Conscience by Kenneth T. Jackson (New York Times, 12/27/07) – the 350th anniversary of the Flushing Remonstrance, a cornerstone of religious freedom in America
- No Reason To Get Excited by John Kenneth Fisher (MetaFilter, 12/28/07) – the 40th anniversary of one of the great rock and roll songs of all time, “All Along the Watchtower”
- A Solar Grand Plan (Scientfic American, January 2008) – “A massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants could supply 69 percent of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 percent of its total energy by 2050.” Wow!
I’m on holiday break thanks to my union so I’m not thinking too much about library work right now, but here are three interesting stories I’ve culled just for you!
- Ten Stories that Shaped 2007 from LISNews (12/20/2007). Here are my contributions to four of the stories:
- Down the Organization: Disorganized Librarianship by Tom Peters (ALATechSource, 12/12/2007)
- OCLC Critiques by Karen Coombs (Library Web Chic, 12/26/2007)
- Uh-oh, an Old Person Rant: Quiet in the Library (The Boomer Chronicles, 12/28/2007)
Merry Christmas to all. I’ve had a wonderful day celebrating with my family and friends. I hope it was a happy, hopeful day for everyone.
Here are some Christmassy stories for the day:
- National Geographic features an essay about Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus: “Bethlehem, 2007 A.D.” by Michael Finkel (December 2007).
- Snopes has the scoop on one of my favorite historical events, the Christmas truce of 1914. It’s kind of hard to believe something like this would happen during the first World War. I also had always assumed it lasted just a few hours but it turns out that it lasted through New Year’s Day in some places. And it figures that the Germans would beat the English in the soccer match as they have done for decades since.
- This Holiday Season London’s Streets Are “Absolutely Jammed” due to streets being open only to pedestrians reports Streetsblog (by Aaron Naparstek, Dec. 10, 2007).
- Robert McHenry of the Britannica Blog takes on the phony war on Christmas in “This Christmas, Just Say “No” to War” (December 24, 2007).
- Jonathan Schwartz decries the commercialization of decrying the commercialization of Christmas in “My Christmas Message” at A Tiny Revolution (December 24, 2007).
- The World Almanac remembers the Christmas when Nancy Reagan sat in Mr. T’s lap (Posted by Edward Thomas on December 25, 2007).
- Bad Astronomy skeptically explores the star of Bethlehem.
- I close with this lovely quote from Saint of the Day (Christmas at Greccio, Dec. 24, 2007):
- God’s choice to give human beings free will was, from the beginning, a decision to be helpless in human hands. With the birth of Jesus, God made the divine helplessness very clear to us, for a human infant is totally dependent on the loving response of other people. Our natural response to a baby is to open our arms, as Francis did, to the infant of Bethlehem and to the God who made us all.