Monday, September 28, 2009

A reference colleague related the following anecdote. In the course of teaching a reference workshop she would hold up photos of users, and the attendees would provide a background profile for them. She showed them a photo of an older gentleman in a plaid flannel shirt with his white hair sticking out at odd angles. Every public librarian in attendance identified the user as a homeless man. every academic librarian in the audience saw a professor emeritus.

- Julie Hersberger, "The homeless and information needs and services"

I think anyone who's ever been here knows my love of English Russia. I don't get there every day, since I find it incredibly time-consuming, given the simplicity of the site. It's not just the complete insanity of the commenters there (this is the only site I actually read the comments on), or the awesome cultural weirdness, but also the way you get to see all of these little things about the Soviet era that would've been swept under the rug of history were it not for the downfall of the regime. The submarine bases at Sevastopol, the Road of Bones, etc...
What's even more amazing is that these things are still there. The USSR ran out of money, and never bothered to cover these things up. Here, the greatest of efforts are made to urge the population to forget about our previous mistakes, and instead to focus on our triumphs, regardless of where they came from*.
So I was pretty shocked to discover on Mental Floss this morning that remnants of Manzanar are still there. Manzanar was one of the "relocation centers" to which we herded the Japanese-Americans on the West coast following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Interestingly enough, Japanese-Americans living in Hawaii at the time were relatively unmolested.
Anyway, I knew that it was made a National historic Site in the nineties, but I had no idea that any of it was still there. It just seems like the sort of thing we would bulldoze, put up a modest marker, and then move on. And while I'm sure they were pressured into doing so, I'm still happy to see that something was done. I have a friend whose parents were interned, and the stories she told me were awful. I like to see that we still wear this black eye.

Anyway, head over to Mental Floss to see the site as it looks today.

It's a road trip I should really consider making, and I guess that "I don't like driving through the desert" isn't really a viable excuse...

*It'll be curious in October, when we're celebrating the moon landing, if much mention is made that the space program which revitalized our national pride was the ultimate result of Nazi scientists and their slave labor. One of the reasons that we've prospered so much as a nation is that we've lifted technologies and methods from every culture around the world. Doesn't it strike you as odd that we feel obligated as a nation to be so proprietary about these ideas?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cheese steak at Philly West. Not bad at all! Followed that up with n amazing night at Largo, a beer in Echo Park overlooking the city, and then a late breakfast, and you have one of the nicest nights I've ever had.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beef squashed?

Okay, so I am positive that I've mentioned the Adidas/Puma rivalry and where it stems from on this site, but the search function appears to have lost it and I'm a little angry about it right now. The wheels come off at 961 posts, it would seem.

Anyway, it looks like a tentative step towards (sneaker) peace has been made, with Puma and Adidas employees holding a charity soccer match on Global (sneaker) Peace Day.

Not exactly ground-shaking, but still a nice thing to see.

Seriously, I'm wondering if those posts have been disappeared? I think it was also about the rivalry in the Houses of Huddle and Waffle. It might be time to pack up the tent and mosey on over to somewhere else. Maybe I'll switch at an even 1,000 posts. So look forward to 38 more posts about comic books and pictures of animals pooping!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

okay, I updated that link to the mix. Everything should work fine if it didn't earlier. Sorry for the confusion

I don't know if you guys have noticed it, but English Russia has been killing it lately. A couple of weeks ago, they had these great old comic books listed*, and there seems to be quite a number of pagan-themed posts going on as well. Today, though, there's some photos of Lena's Stone Pillars, which is just one of the most amazing things I've ever laid eyes on. Anyway, check it out!

Incidentally, you'd be crazy to think that the pic I posted yesterday of a tank in a sunflower field wasn't from ER, but I actually found it while flipping through an old book and then scanned it.

*I've had that saved in a toolbar for weeks now and never got around to posting it. Apologies!
I have no idea where I found this, but check out this interactive graph of the American labor force from 1850-2000. I played with it for a while earlier and it's worth checking out for a little, even if it is a little scary in some ways...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who's Next?

Who's Next?

  1. "Do you believe in the monsters?"
  2. "Kiss With a Fist" - Florence and the Machine
  3. "Can You Get to That?" - Funkadelic
  4. "Lalita" - The Love Language
  5. "Carly Simon" - The Haints
  6. "Hope Dies Last" - Magnolia Electric Co.
  7. "Going Back to Mexico" - Lula Reed
  8. "March of the Dawn" - The Mummers
  9. "Tattoo" - Petra Haden
  10. "Look Back in Anger" - Television Personalities
  11. "It's a Gas!"
  12. "Deliverance" - Avenue A
  13. "Indian War Whoop" - Hoyt Ming and his Pep Steppers
  14. "There Goes a Girl" - Johnny Truitt
  15. "The Grips" - Benjy Ferree
  16. "The Last Kiss" - Aidan Moffett and the Best-Ofs
  17. "Nothing but a Heartache" - The Flirtations
  18. "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" - The Beatles
  19. "Ingredients"
So, I haven't gotten to any of the correspondence that I've been waiting to get to, but I have had the bulk of this mix sitting on my desktop for the past 2 months. Some of this is very old and you might well hae heard a lot of it, but it's been played pretty steadily around here lately. This is a little more whimsical than most of my mixes tend to be, but I think it's still worth listening to. But then, that's your call.

download here.

updated link, for anyone having trouble with the last one

Friday, September 04, 2009

I think I need a new nickname...

That could probably use some explaining. It came up in a search earlier. I'm in like hour 20 of working on my last final of the quarter, and I'm listening to a lot of Springsteen. This wasn't intended, just one of those things where I thought about it for a second, and then 20 years later I'd downloaded a bunch of old shows to help me get through the night.

At some point, my dad's favorite song came up. This is no surprise, Bruce played it almost every show. Still, it got me a little saw and since I'm working online, I was wondering if there are any pictures of him on the internet.

This is weird, and something I've never done. I don't keep many pictures, and I've gone to considerable lengths to keep pictures of me form being taken, let alone posted on the internet, but that's a different story. Anyway, my dad was different. He belonged to organizations and did charity work and for years was a township commissioner. So I was surprised when only one picture came up. I was even more surprised when I realized it was for one of my mom's high school reunions. and I just sank in my chair when I saw the picture.

It was late into the cancer. You hear people talk about it sometimes like they'll never forget watching their loved ones shrink away. That it's etched into your mind the way they just vanish so slowly. That's entirely true. It's long and shitty and you hate yourself for making the faces you make when you see them.

But what you never really hear about is what happens afterward. Or at least I didn't ever hear about it. Almost immediately, my memory just skipped over itself and the image of my father as this frail, fading man was practically gone. Almost as if by elastic, my mental image of him snapped back to the way he appeared my whole life before then. I can picture him with beard, without, whatever. Just there, you know? Actually tangible and not a whisper of the man who raised me. Of course, this is a good thing. I'm going to remember him the best way I can, and that hardly includes when he could barely speak from the pain. I guess this is some sort of cosmic right that allows people to cope easier. I'm grateful for it.

So seeing this picture was a blow for me. I haven't seen many of them, because frankly it's too fucking hard. The mercy of not seeing him like that was suddenly robbed of me for a few more minutes.

and I started to think about how unfair it is that it someone who didn't know him were to start looking for a picture of him right now, that's what would show up. It really upset me. Of course, he wouldn't care, and I'm not sure I should. But still, I m going to.

I have to get back to work, though. I cannot stop and think about this now, but I promise that first thing tomorrow I'm going to put up a better picture of him and then tag the hell out of it so that maybe google image won't be such a dick about things.

Anyway, that's all I got. Back to work. My dad would be pissed if he knew I put this stuff down for a half hour.

Anyway, cheerier stuff to come, I promise.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I know, I should be working on wrapping up Final #2. Well, I'm closing in on that. Halfway finished and have most of the research all lined up.

That didn't stop me from checking out Mental Floss on a study break.

When I hear the term Victorian, I tend to think of architecture. After that, it's Jack the Ripper, chimney sweeps, child labor, etc... you know, the fun stuff. But lately, what I'm realizing is that I should really just equate "Victorian" with "creepier than a haunted sanitarium".

I should point out that I don't mean that the Victorian-dressed goth kids are creepy. In fact, I admire their tenacity, especially in a subculture that has let itself go to a depressing (no pun intended) degree. I have no inclination to put on a corset and pointy hat and carry around a lace umbrella, but I respect that decision. At least more than the decision to wear ten year old Marilyn Manson t-shirts accompanied by a leash and acne.

But that's neither here nor there. Because what I'm talking about is the everyday Victorian-era items that are routinely used to terrify me. Like baby carriages, medical equipment, and the super-creepy practice of port-mortem photography. I mean, I get it, and I can sort of understand that having a portrait, any portrait of the deceased might be a valuable memento. I get that.

But Mental Floss went the extra mile by showing me a number of post-mortem pictures in which the deceased is posed as if they are awake and alive. Sometimes, retinas are painted on their eyelids.

I think I can blame a lot of my vear of all things Victorian on the slew of horror movies that make great use of these props (and often nothing else), but I still have nobody to blame but you, dead people of the era, for this insanity.

for shaaaaaaame.

Now I'm supposed to try and sleep? Great.