Friday, October 31, 2008

The Media Savvy Leader, Daily Thoughts

Good Morning

Happy Halloween to you all.

The Media Savvy Leader, Visibility, Influence, and Results in a Competitive World by David Henderson

I was reading a bit of The Media Savvy Leader. I noticed that there was quite a bit on public relations in the book. On the back of the book, the category is business/marketing. There is no indication that there is any public relations content on the front or back cover. It might be good to get the word public relations somewhere on the back or front cover. It would help clarify what the book is about to the reader.

There is no CIP data with categories for the book The Media Savvy Leader. This is an example of a Cataloging In Publication Entry.

MacKowski, Chris.

The PR Bible for Community Theatres/ Chris MacKowski

p. cm

ISBN 0-325-00440-4 (alk. paper)

1. Community Theater-- Handbooks, Manuals, etc. 2. Publicity-- Manuals, Handbooks, etc. I: Title: Public Relations Bible For Community Theater II. Title

PN 2267 M34 2002

792.022-- dc 21 2002003541

There is an important reason to include this. The library has to determine where the book is going to go in the building. It is better that you determine the call number and the subject headings than they do. Call numbers and subject headings are chosen at the discretion of the librarians. The book, The Media Savvy Leader, could be put in a variety of other locations than you want, media studies, or communications for example if you don't give this information. I am assuming you want it to be in business, marketing, and public relations.

Also on P.73, there is a reference that the Handbook for Bloggers by Julien Pain and Dan Gillmor being available for free on the internet. There is no url for where the book is located. It might be nice to have a link. Here it is:

I also think you might want to include a list of recommended books and websites at the end of the book. You do cite some books. This would be appreciated. It does not have to be formal.

So far I am enjoying the book immensely. There are a lot of useful tips on how to talk with the media. I really like the bullet pointed lists.

Daily Thoughts

This morning, I wrote my monthly report and sent it to my supervisor. I also did a new display, Making Comics. This includes titles on drawing, storyboarding, and writing. I put Scott McCloud's Making Comics, Will Eisner's Comics & Sequential Art, The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics, How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema and many other titles in one of the glass cases in our lobby.

Planet Stories has reprinted The Ginger Star by Leigh Brackett. Leigh Brackett wrote the script for film, The Empire Strikes Back my favorite of the Star Wars films. She is one of the best of the classic space opera writers. I really enjoyed The Hounds of Skaith. Her character, Eric John Stark is an excellent example of the classic adventurer character.

I found this article on Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury. Apparently, Doonesbury has predicted an Obama win and some papers are considering not putting the strips in because of the ethics of having the strips put together before the election is finished. It is kind of an interesting idea.,0,2244580.story

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good Morning, The Media Savvy Leader

c1900 , Louis Rhead, Morning Journal

Good Morning

The Media Savvy Leader by David Henderson

Yesterday, at work, I received a nice new package. Dave Henderson from had sent me a nice, fresh new copy of The Media Savvy Leader of which he is the author. The book is due out on January 8, 2009. He sent me this book because I was on Twitter.

He might like it if you followed him . I am also on Twitter . I read my Twitter every morning. I started reading the book last night on the train home from work. The writing is very direct and understandable.

I also posted a bit about the books on Blogcatalog in two different groups,

Book Readers

Twitterers .

I hope this helps him get a little publicity for his new book.

Today has been another busy day. I spent a little more time looking through the McGraw Hill Professional site at science books. I also compiled a list of patron requests from the reference desk.

I spent another several hours weeding more of the 300s. I also pulled damaged books and suggested books for replacement.

No new magazines came in for me to read today. I got a call to do another business program which would be a combination of computer tutoring and introduction to business. It sounds kind of interesting.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good Morning, Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes, Evening Thoughts

Betty Boop In Snow White

Good Morning
Google settled its landmark lawsuit over book scanning.

On Twitter, I found a link for Brewster Kahle's criticism of Google's settlement with the publishers. Brewster Kahle works for the Open Content Alliance.

New York Comic Con now has a twitter address: NY_Comic_Con
New York Comic Con is going to happen 100 days from now. I am looking forward to it.

Ice Haven A Comic Strip Novel by Daniel Clowes.

This book is written is in the comic strip style like you would see in a newspaper. This makes it a kind of unique format and shape for the book. The story itself is named after the town Ice Haven. It is a morose, angst filled, and ironic story in the comics format. This made me somewhat ambivalent when reading it.

Even the little kids spout philosophical. If you have a really strong sense of irony you might like this graphic novel.

My favorite sections of this work are the opening of the book, and the closing biography narrated by Harry Naybors, Comic Critic.

I liked the character Charles who is a little kid with glasses. His head is very big for his body. He even plays baseball like Charlie Brown. The drawings are almost realistic. They are just slightly off from reality making things look very odd.

I spent some more time ordering books this afternoon. This afternoon, I went to which is a publisher of computer books. They have an excellent selection of computer books. One series which I order a lot of is "The Missing Manuals" series. I also ordered a book which I very much want to read, We The Media: Grassroots Journalism By The People, For The People by Dan Gillmor.

As is the case every day, I also spent quite a bit of time weeding books. I have a lot more weeding to do.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This Book Contains Graphic Language, Good Morning

The Katzenjammer Kids 1901

Good Morning

I read some more of This book Contains Graphic Language Comics As Literature by Rocco Versaci. Chapter 4 was about comics as a medium for journalism. My favorite comic book journalist is Joe Sacco who wrote Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde. Chapter 5 is on war comics. It was a a learning experience. I do not know a whole lot on World War II comics. I am vaguely familiar with Fighting Combat, Unknown Soldier, and Sergeant Rock, but not much else. I like my comics to be closer to fantasy than reality a lot of the time.

The final chapter, Chapter 6 is on comics as literature. He talks quite a bit about Classics Illustrated, a comic which I do not like at all. It tends to be poorly done and flat in my opinion. I prefer original works focused on literature. Rocco Versaci does mention Peter Kuper's interpretation of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and Robert Crumb's Introducing Kafka which is a morosely funny interpretation of Kafka's life.

Shakespeare seems to be the standard which many comics aspire to. Mr. Versaci praises the series of Puffin Graphics Shakespeare comics. Quite frankly, I think the best theater comics are P. Craig Russell's opera adaptations including Bluebeard, The Magic Flute, The Ring of the Nibelung and Parsifal.

Later in the book, he identifies who he considers to be the most literary comic book writers, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Robert Sikoryak. I have never read Robert Sikoryak, so I really can't comment on him. I would add Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis and Bill Willingham's Fables.

This book taught me quite a bit and it is worth reading if you want to learn about comics as a literary medium.

I spent some time looking through the McGraw Hill Professional books website this morning. I looked through the construction, medical, and engineering books sections. It is a useful website.

I think I am going to read Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes on the train home tonight. There is something about Clowes graphic novels which somehow combines absolute nerdiness with absolute coolness.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Good Morning

A Short History of America by Robert Crumb, Joni Mitchell

I read some more of This Book Contains Graphic Language Comics As Literature by Rocco Versaci. The second chapter is about comics memoirs. There are a lot of very interesting books mentioned in this chapter, One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry, The Quitter by Harvey Pekar, The Playboy by Chester Brown, and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Alison Bechdel's story is quite interesting.

This is a short movie of Alison Bechdel drawing.

The third chapter of the book is about Maus by Art Spiegelman. The original drawings of Maus that appeared in RAW magazine are very different than the current graphic novel. The current graphic novel which won the Pulitzer Prize and the Harvey Award is much more minimalist. Art Spiegelman said he would not make Maus into a movie. The story is about Vladech, Art Spiegelman's father who is a Jewish holocaust survivor. It both tells the story of Vladech's experience of the holocaust and his relationships with his family. The book is very interesting to read. It is not an easy story.

Today has been very busy. They passed on most of the mail from the collection development librarians to me. I sorted through a number of catalogs and made recommendations from; Oxford University Press, Modern Language Association, and Baker and Taylor.

Along with lots of minor things to take care of, I have been very busy. This morning, I arranged to have some old law books discarded, talked to someone about the movie licensing agreement, checked in the business office about my healthcare coverage, and took care of a number of minor activities.

I really like Oxford University Press. Their reference books are surprisingly affordable compared to many other publishers. You can get a number of reference books for under $50 which is cheap for reference books. This is true of many of their dictionaries across a variety of subjects. Libraries are always looking for things which they can afford. Budgets are soon going to tighten if the economy gets worse.

Recently the Oxford English Dictionary celebrated its 80th Anniversary. Their blog has a number of special articles on this subject currently

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Daily Thoughts

Mary Shelley A Miniature Portrait by Reginald Easton.

Daily Thoughts

I've started reading This Book Contains Graphic Language Comics as Literature by Rocco Versaci. Rocco Versaci teaches the Comics As Literature course at Palomar college. I've just started reading the book. It has a quote from Dan Clowes on the cover, "Big-Hearted And Clear-Minded".

One of the first characters that Rocco Versaci recognizes is Krazy Kat by George Herriman. Krazy seems to be a favorite of cartoonists. This is a short video of an early Herriman cartoon.

Rocco Versaci also mentions Daniel Clowes and the Brothers Hernandez as being very literary. I am partial to Love and Rockets. Fantragraphics maintains a page the Brothers Hernandez.

Los Brothers Hernandez are one of the few artisits that have as many female readers as male readers. They are very accessible. Another popular artist who has an equal number of male and female readers is Neil Gaiman. But, then Neil Gaiman is a fantastic all around writer of fantasy.

This Book Contains Graphic Language Comics As Literature is a fairly complex book. It is not the kind of book which I can sit down and finish in a single evening. The language is dense and contains critical interpretations you would find in academia, as well as very carefully thought out arguments about why and how comics are a literary form. There are a lot of different artists and types of comics being covered.

This morning I went to the doctor. I lost five pounds. I am planning on systematically losing five pounds every two weeks. I was told I had to cut back on carbohydrates, no bread, no pasta, no sugar, no rice, and eat less, focusing on eating five small meals a day instead of three large ones. I still have a little bit of reactive airways from the illness from a week ago, it should clear up in a few weeks. I have to change my lifestyle. I'm going for a walk in a little bit.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Slow Train To Arcturus-- Eric Flint and Dave Freer (Science Fiction)

Slow Train To Arcturus-- Eric Flint and Dave Freer (Science Fiction)

Slow Train To Arcturus by Eric Flint and Dave Freer is a novel of a generation ship.

Earth Sysgov decides they no longer want various malcontents and the best way to get them to go away is to build a generation ship and send them on their way. Each utopian group is sealed into its own habitat ball. The ship is accelerated on its way on a permanent journey to the stars. The ship looks like a string of attached balls.

The alien Miran spot the ship and they send explorers. What ensues is a comedy of social mores and errors. The best and worst characteristics of humanity are commented on. The Miran are portrayed as a relatively rational group of bipedal aliens. They start as males and slowly change into sessile females as they age.

As expected, the first thing that happens when the aliens visit the ship is that the humans in one of the habitats attempt to kill them. The habitat they first enter is full of violent extremists. Several of the aliens die, but one of them escapes.

The story of the book is told from an alien named Kretz who is struggling to survive. He makes a journey through the ship and encounters various human groups, biblical luddites, a tribe from the amazon, extreme sports enthusiasts who have learned how to fly, a matriarchal society where men are genetically engineered to be smaller and weaker than women, and a utopian workers paradise with a "great leader" that is having population problems.

Kretz acquires various human helpers on his journey get back to his ship. I don't want to give away too much about the story so I will just say they are misfits which don't quite fit in their respective societies. The story has an ending that is different than expected.

The story is hard science fiction. Dave Freer is a biologist, and Eric Flint is a historian. This makes for an interesting style of writing. I really liked Dave Freer's earlier series, Rats, Bats, and Vats and The Rats, Bats, and the Ugly. It was fun to read. Slow Train to Arcturus has a quirky kind of humor to it. The ship is falling to pieces in many places and the humans because they are isolated in their own little utopias don't quite know how to fix things. Because Kretz and the people who travel with him combine different kinds of knowledge, they can outsmart the people in each habitat.

There is some fighting, but nothing gratuitously violent. The characters use their brains. I liked the story. It makes for an excellent adventure yarn. It is also a new take on the generation ship story.

Thoughts For Today, Ancestral Dreams

A Photograph of H.G. Wells, it makes me want to grow a handlebar mustache.

Thoughts For Today

I went back through my telephone list of contacts for the disadvantaged. I went to each website and looked for a summary paragraph of what each agency did. I added this to the contact list. Then I added a few more contacts which I found on their websites which I had missed. One of my colleagues is writing a telephone script for contacting the agencies, something flexible enough that it won't sound rote. This is more about getting across the same message than selling something.

There has been a follow up to the New York Times article on street lit or urban fiction in libraries on library journal. This article from Library Journal recommends a few urban fiction books.

I spent some more time ordering books on construction this morning; carpentry, masonry, energy efficiency, roofing, carpentry, and similar materials. I am getting a bit tired of ordering right now. The new Nolo Law catalog came in with some recently published titles.

I have been feeling a bit disjointed today. Not at the top of my form. I am not fond of working on weekends. But, then life is like this sometimes.

On another thought, I have been finding the blog of Blogging Poet quite entertaining. He seems to resonate well with my view of the world. I really can't quite explain it. I like to pretend that I have limited poetic insight. I find it odd that someone would make the avowed claim of being a poet. More than anything, I find his writing to be quite funny at times.

I tried to read Hot, Flat, and Crowded Why We Need A Green Revolution And How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman. I simply could not read it. The book is written in a conversational style much like Jim Lehrer's news hour or Charlie Rose. It turns my stomach. The style feels like I am watching PBS and being fed ideas by television. The author constantly quotes authorities usually governmental or scientific that are the most dry and unquestionably authoritative to prove his points. It feels like I am being fed propaganda.

I may agree with the authors points, but his style is almost Orwellian. The authority speaks and you should believe citizens. Some people like to have their opinions confirmed this way, I don't. I can understand why it is number one on the New York Times bestseller list, but I don't like it. For me, this is not a book which I can read.

I ran into another disappointment with Robert Zubrin Energy Victory. A major premise of this book is that wahabism or the form of Islam practiced by the Saudi family is the major cause of the United States oil and terrorist problems. Because of Wahabism we should switch to flexible fuel vehicles. There is plenty of vitriol against the Wahabis as well as some wild claims made about ethanol and methanol being the fuels of choice for our future.

Supposedly there should be a law that mandates all cars be made flexible fuel vehicles from now on. This is not likely to happen for various reasons which I don't want to go into. It is an interesting premise from an impractical book. If you have something against the Saudi Arabians you might really like this book.

Ancestral Dreams

I dreamed I was at Agincourt
I rode a horse and carried a black shield
The sky rained steel tipped arrows
I fell from my horse seeing red and died

I dreamed I was at the Coliseum
I held a begging bowl at the open gate
Too few coins fell for me to eat
I held my belly starving on the stones

I dreamed I was in a village
I chopped at the earth with a hoe
The earth was broken, barren
The lords tax took all I had

I was no prince, no king, no noble
But common with the worlds pain
The generations go with sorrow
Each one following into the next

Friday, October 24, 2008

Good Morning

David Tenniers (1645-1650) Stilleben. I rather like the globe in the background.

Good Morning

This morning my alarm clock did not go off so I ended up rushing to work and barely making it on time. It has been a rush, rush morning. Mostly, I have been taking care of the small details. Filling out forms for supplies, sick leave slips, and other miscellaneous things like redoing the central floor book display for the subject, the election.

I also spent a little bit more time looking for phone numbers for agencies that help the disadvantaged. Many of them are not listed in the yellow pages. They often require a certain level of confidentiality, so it is not always easy finding things like residential drug treatment facilities, homeless shelters, shelters for homeless families, and housing assistance agencies.

Anyways, two new books came in for me to read this morning, Thomas L. Friedman Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Why We Need A Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America, and Eric Flint and Dave Freer, Slow Train To Arcturus. I rather like Dave Freer's writing; it is humorous science fiction and fantasy. His official site is . I rather liked his science fiction novel, Rats, Bats, and Vats.

As always, I spent a bit more time ordering career and industrial books. I was looking at Worldcat using my New York Public Library Card. I have library cards for Westchester, Queens, and New York Public Library. I use all of them regularly.

This evening I read some more of Slow Train to Arcturus on the train home. It has a nice surprise ending which makes the book different than what I expected. I won't give it away.
I just caught up with reading a bit of Twitter. DCagle on Twitter had a nice gallery of politcal cartoons for the week. Sometimes it is good to take a break for a laugh now and then.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale Illustrated by Nathan Hale

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale Illustrated by Nathan Hale

This graphic novel is a fractured fairytale written for about age ten plus. I really like the setting. It is in a fairytale west with dwarf miners, native american villagers, settlers, and magic. The magic has to do with growth so there are giant snakes and boars. The color illustrations are quite striking. The illustrations look like they are from the American civil war period except for in full color.

The content is entirely appropriate for a younger audience. The jokes in the story are light and funny. There are references to other tales if you look closely. There is a jackalope, a giant boar, and Mother Goethel could be a reference to Mother Goose.

Rapunzel is being raised by Mother Goethel who has seized control of the countryside with magic by causing the farmlands to dry up and taking over the mines with her thugs. She learns Goethel is not her real mother. Rapunzel's real mother is being forced to work in the mines. Goethel imprisons Rapunzel in a magic tree, but Rapunzel escapes using her long braids.

Thus begins a silly and wondrous adventure where Rapunzel meets up with Jack the trickster and they conspire to free Rapunzel's mother. Various adventures ensue in a manner which seems to combine the American tall tales and traditional fairytales. Rapunzel uses her hair to lasso a giant snake, as a whip to knock pistols from bandits hands, and defeat a pack of coyotes. Jack helps her out by tricking her enemies and finally using his last magic bean. Jack looks native american which is a nice touch. Rapunzel has a kind of Pippi Longstocking look with her bright red braids.

A fun and colorful adventure in an unusual setting. The artwork is quite pretty to look at. The story is an excellent fracturing and retelling of a traditional fairytale in a new setting. The cover immediately catches your attention with Rapunzel in a cowgirl outfit spinning her braids and Jack riding a horse. I find the setting to be very unusual. I would have a hard time categorizing this tale. The closest thing which I can think to compare this graphic novel to is Castle Waiting by Linda Medley which is another fairytale graphic novel. Rapunzel's Revenge is a light read. I've already read it twice this asternoon.

Shannon Hale has a website with some other writing that looks interesting.

Good Afternoon

Jules Verne, a man who plays a prominent place in my imagination.

Good Afternoon

Good afternoon. Today, I have Thursday off because I am working this Saturday. I went grocery shopping this morning to catch up with the time I was sick. So, I didn't get a whole lot of reading or writing done this morning. I am about to have a cup of tea. I like to mix lemon zinger tea and chamomile tea. I find it quite soothing.

I'm going to watch a bit of V for Vendetta in a while and drink some tea. Later in the afternoon, I'll probably stop by the library to drop off some books which I checked out.

Sometimes, you get the oddest invitations on Facebook. On November 3, 2008 there is a literary spelling bee. It is a bit expensive for my tastes $75 and $250 for tickets. It is in New York, New York. Still, the attendees and supporters look quite interesting. .

I go under the name Charles Dickens on Facebook. It is a kind of joke. You are not allowed to use an anonymous name, and they would not let me be Jack Kerouac.

I was reading Twitter and found an interesting article from the New York Times on Urban Fiction.

Urban Fiction is very popular in our library. People like Teri Woods, Zane, Noire, Michael Baisden, Omar Tyree, and Eric Jerome Dickey. They eat this stuff up. It is not my favorite. I have read Omar Tyree just to see what it is about. I like his writing. I'd say this is the next generation of street literature after Iceberg Slim or Donald Goines. Not all of this writing is about violence and drugs. Zane writes about sex, so does Michael Baisden. There is also a new subgenre, urban christian fiction which has a message. I haven't read any of it yet. It is just one of those things that nags at you a little bit.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good Morning

Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson, "The Reigate Squire", Postage Stamp, United Kingdom. I rather liked the image.

Good Morning

I am rather at a loss for words this morning. I am not sure what to say. Sometimes life is like this. I am sure more words will come in time. Luckily, it is one of those lazy mornings where all is quiet. I am drinking a bit of tea. Maybe, I'll read the paper on the way in to work in a few minutes. I'm working late tonight. I can see a quiet, peaceful, uneventful day outside my window beckoning. It will be unlike my other days of late.

There was an interesting article in Library Journal, The September 15, 2008 issue on Green Weeding. There were two companies that offered to have discarded books sent to them. They would sell the books and give a portion of the proceeds back to the library. Apparently, Brooklyn Public Library contracts with to take away their discarded items. There is also another company that does this. It might be something which my library could possibly do.

Today, I spent quite a bit of time ordering computer books. I ordered some linux books focused on desktop pcs not servers today. I also updated some JIC books for the library.

There was only one book that came in for me to read, King of Sword and Sky by C.L. Wilson. I tried reading a bit of it on the train home, but found it not to my liking.

I also read the sections of Toll The Hounds with Karsa Orlong in it. This amounted to maybe five or six chapters out of a 725 page book. It seems some fantasy readers love overlong very florid complex writing. I think the book could have been half the length it was and still told the exact same story. Not everyone likes their writing short and sweet.

It has been a nice pleasant slow day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Good Afternoon

Good Afternoon

Today has been a long day again. I found a book which looks rather interesting Green Collar Economy, How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, by Van Jones.

We spent a long time discussing the Bridges Out of Poverty again in a meeting. Right now, I am preparing a telephone list of agencies to contact that are related to poverty. We are planning on doing a meeting with some of the local agencies to discuss library services to the disadvantaged.

I also spent some time this afternoon going through the BOCES Adult School catalog looking for ideas on materials to order. Things like carpentry, house inspections, construction bidding, and other similar material. We also ran out of civil service ARCO Police Exam books so I had to reorder some things.

This evening on the train home, I was reading Toll The Hounds by Steven Erikson. There really is only one reason I've figured out that I am reading this series. I really like the way he writes about one of the characters Karsa Orlong. The character improves on Conan, Kull, and many of the classic barbarian characters.

Right now, I am thinking of skipping the rest of the book and just going to the chapters with the character, Karsa Orlong. I find the character utterly fascinating. The rest of the book, I could almost do without. It would be great if he had some stories with just Karsa Orlong. He even has his own Wikipedia entry.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Joe Haldeman Reading From The Accidental Time Machine at Google

Marsbound-- Joe Haldeman-- Thoughts

Marsbound-- Joe Haldeman-- Thoughts

Carmen Dula, a nineteen year old on the cusp of womanhood wins the lottery for her family to go to mars. She takes the space elevator up with her brother, mother, and father to a waiting mars bound ship.

I like the way the technology is described in this book. The space elevator, the marsbound ship, the aliens, and the mars settlement are described in a very interesting fashion. The first part of the book is hard science fiction. Towards the end of the book, the science becomes much more speculative. The latter part also has some wonderful speculation about SETI, linguistics, and alien beings.

The book in addition to being a coming of age novel for the main character is a novel of first contact with an alien race on mars. The martians are strange looking quadripedal creatures with two arms and potato like heads.

The story is quite intriguing. The aliens are convincing, so are the adversarial aliens who appear later in the story. However, where there may be some difficulty for some people is the relationships in the book. Carmen Dula who is nineteen has sex with an older man who is twenty nine early in the novel. This may upset some people.

Also, some of the human characters are not portrayed sympathetically. The administrator of the mars colony is quite nasty to Carmen. The aliens are also divided. The aliens which Carmen first contacts are relatively benign, they even save Carmen's life when she falls and breaks her leg, but the later nitrogen based aliens view humans as savages.

This makes for very interesting if not complex reading. It is not good humans, bad aliens at all. Every character is different. Some people will hate this book. It does not give the typical science fiction story. The story breaks a lot of science fiction taboos and cliches.

I am rather partial to Joe Haldeman. His writing is very high quality. He wrote one of my favorite books, The Forever War.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Good Morning

A good place to find crap, old books, old comic books, and kitsch.

Good Morning

This morning, I entered a contest to win a Neil Gaiman poster. There is going to be a new book out about Neil Gaiman, Prince of Stories The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman by
Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden, and Stephen R. Bissette published by St. Martin's. This is a link to the contest.

For a little more science fiction, I put Eric Flint and Dave Freer's Slow Train to Arcturus on hold. One of the nice things about Baen, is that they put up the first eight or so chapters of a new book for free on the web to see if you like it for most of their new books. Not the whole book, but enough to make you interested.

I read Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now, the graphic novel. I had read most all of the short stories turned into graphic novels previously so there was really only one surprise.

I really loved the story Craphound with art by Paul Pope. It has an absolutely wonderful quality to it. An alien visits earth to collect junk. The alien understands flea markets, but wants to understand the essence of human nostalgia. He travels around with his human companion and collects junk, cowboy and indian outfits, ten gallon hats, old magazines and nostalgia. The aliens even trade technology for junk. I like Cory Doctorow's one page summary about why he wrote the story, it is almost as good as the story. The idea of Cory Doctorow being nostalgic over glow in the dark disney cards and victorian watches is neat.

This is a link to the free online version of the story:

I think I am going to read Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution- and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman. This book is currently #1 on the Business New York Times list, and #3 on the general New York Times list. This has been one of the themes for my blogs for a long time. Take the time and learn about clean technology if you can.

This afternoon, I spent some time watching the new version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Tim Burton. I don't think it is as good as the old version starring Gene Wilder. I think it was still very entertaining and Johnny Depp did a good job. My favorite part of the movie is the Squirrel Room. I rather like the idea of trained squirrels able to separate the good nuts from the bad. This one part was better than the old movie. The rest was not as good. The childrens book by Roald Dahl of course is far better.

Sometimes when you read enough of an authors novels, you begin to recognize a pattern in their work. I found A Nameless Witch to be essentially a plot variation on Too Many Curses. Both are quest novels where the main character must ultimately defeat a great wizard. They have a number of quests to fill to reach that goal. I enjoyed the novel, but it was not different enough from A. Lee Martinez's other novels to say it was better or worse than The Automatic Detective or Gil's All Fright Diner. They are all enjoyable, entertaining and funny. It was another novel which I just sort of passed through on to my next read.

The only really good thing I can say about A Nameless Witch was the unique set of characters, a white knight, a demon duck, a beautiful undead witch, a troll, an animated broom, a villainous sorcerer, and a mystical fox.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Afternoon Thoughts

Library of Congress, Washington DC, from pre 1910 postcard.

Afternoon Thoughts

Today has been another rather busy day. I read a bit more on the train into work. When I got here, I found I had the video V for Vendetta waiting for me. I still have not checked it out. I've spent most of the afternoon ordering books in three different categories, computers, industries, and careers.

They still have over 200 books from my 300s order to process waiting in the storage area along with a book truck of graphic novels. I am looking forward to having them process the graphic novels. I check out books from the library like everyone else.

Other than that, I did a little bit more with the law books. They are starting to have a bit of a back log.

I changed the small display from banned books to books on writing. I filled it with a variety of classic books; On Writing Well, The Elements of Style, The Reader Over Your Shoulder, and other titles.

I went to check out V for Vendetta and found I had a few other items waiting for me, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp on dvd, The Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez, Marsbound by Joe Haldeman, and Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now. Sometimes I get surprised.

Reading the OED, One Man, One Year, 21, 730 Pages by Ammon Shea-- Thoughts

Reading the OED, One Man, One Year, 21, 730 Pages by Ammon Shea-- Thoughts

Ammon Shea sets out to read the Oxford English Dictionary and spends a full year doing it. He considers the Oxford English Dictionary the greatest of dictionaries. We learn that Shea is obsessed with reading and collecting dictionary of all kinds. He even has a girlfriend Alix who used to be a lexicographer for the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

This obsession for me is quite comforting. It is nice to know that there are people who are more obsessed with words than I am. He is even one of the "library people." He spends many hours in the basement of the Hunter College library in New York reading the famed OED. I like the idea of sitting in libraries for hours reading endlessly, the only company being mice that peak out from under the door.

Every day he consumes a thermos full of coffee while reading the Oxford English Dictionary. I am glad that I am not him. He has to get prescription glasses and suffers regular headaches from reading the book. I could never do this. I have a hard time reading through the first letter of a dictionary. The line between reading pleasure and pain is blurred.

The book is divided into an exordium (opening), an excursus (closing), and a chapter on each letter in the alphabet. In each chapter of the book, Ammon shea starts with a short essay of about five pages, then picks out his favorite words from the Oxford English Dictionary.

I must admit, my choices of words would have been different. I only found a few of his choices very interesting, goat - drunk (n) make lascivious by alcohol, and Postreme (n.) he is who he is last, to be particularly interesting. What is fascinating to me are his wonderful essays.

The essays are a peak into the wonderful world of words. For example, He visits the dictionary sales lady, Miriam, who has an apartment full of dictionaries and dictionary ephemera which she sells. He never seems to leave emptyhanded. Every essay draws you further into the world of words. Ammon Shea also states that the written form of the dictionary is far superior to the computer form because he can hold it in his lap, make notes in it, and leave bookmarks.

To me there is a common bond between Mr. Shea and myself. We both love the accumulation of useless knowledge or knowledge for knowledges sake. There is a deep thrill in learning what you will probably never use in the practical world. It is very much seeking after knowledge "because it is there."

This is also a wonderful explication of the relationship between writing and reading. In a sense, because Ammon Shee is reading the complete Oxford English Dictionary, he is defining the process of becoming the ultimate dictionary reader by writing about it. We could call this reading the definitive example of reading the OED.

If you are from Oxford University Press, you might see him as the exemplary reader. Ammon Shea even writes essays for the Oxford University Press blog about reading. . It makes me feel admiration and envy.

This is a book for the scholar, the book worm, the information hound, and the knowledge obsessed. It teaches as much about writing and words as it does about reading. Read it, enjoy it, and learn. The book is both entertaining and charming.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bridges Out of Poverty

Bridges Out of Poverty

I was at the Hudson Museum all day today at a workshop entitled Bridges Out of Poverty. It was not what I expected. The focus on the workshop was coming up with ideas on how to improve library service for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. It was not necessarily focused just on poverty, but on our attitudes and the way we created barriers to service for people who had a difficult time encountering the library setting.

We started with identifying many of the barriers to getting service in the public library. One of our first projects was identifying tbe basic difficulties a library patron would have getting to and using the library. My job was to identify a patron who was coming for reference services.

We created a mythical visitor who first had trouble finding a parking spot, then had difficulty going through the large steel doors and up the two flights of stairs to the circulation desk. From there they passed through a detection system with a large metal bar which had to pressed aside. Then they entered a room without enough signage indicating where to go to get reference. They first had to go to the circulation desk which was at the entrance and the circulation clerk had to point out the sign across the room at reference.

Then I had to imagine various difficulties associated with the reference desk. A line of people waiting to be helped. A phone ringing off the hook while there was only one person at the desk. No map to the different sections in the library. Then when the person was helped, no way for the librarian to get up and walk them to the area where their book was. From there it was handed off to the technical service librarian who had to describe how to build a map of the library and properly arrange signage.

It was a long constant barrage of questions. They even had us relate what we had done from our last session. Apparently the childrens room created a goodie bag for new patrons and the adult room created a whole slew of bookmarks and exhibits.

The lunch was not too bad. We had wraps, salad, and coffee. Mostly, I sat with my colleagues. A lot of the staff were there. I had done the first part of the workshop amost a year before.

It seemed half of the day was about attitude readjustment, why we should be considerate of people from different economic classes. How, we should take the time to really listen and be polite to everyone no matter what their background was. It was a lesson on understanding others or at least how to pretend to understand others discreetly. They keyword was understand, understand, and understand some more.

Pretending to understand others discreetly is a large part of a librarians job, no matter how frustrating this may be. This goes for all of you customer service people as well. Remember, no grins, no raising eyebrows, listen closely, a polite but gentle voice, and a willingness to be flexible about how you talk to people is an absolute must. And most of all have a sense of humor and a thick skin. Park your ego at your desk with your coat.

They even did the classic angry customer roleplay which always happens at these things. Usually someone is angry about a library fine they received and doesn't want to pay...

Then we spent the rest of the day brainstorming on different ideas on how to make the library more accessible to people from many different backgrounds. Our first exercise was create twenty five different ideas on how to improve service. Each table had a director of a large library in Westchester County and their staff. Our director was there. A person from Westchester Library System was there as well.

So, it was one of those things where your job was too discretely perform and do a good job in front of everyone else. I think I did alright. We winnowed the list of twenty five things down to several activities which we promised to do; do outreach to troubled groups so they can visit the library like the group home, the drug rehabilitation clinic, and the mental rehabilitation clinic in our neighborhood, open a tutoring center for teens, and create a community survey.

This thing has a lot of interesting political ramifications. I am not sure what they are right now, but they should be fascinating. The whole thing was kind of exhausting and a bit relentless.

I am glad the day was over.

It was a great relief to get on the train and head home. I got to crack open a book and read a bit. I even wrote a short review of Reading The OED while sitting on the train. I am going to type the review tomorrow. I am too exhausted to do anything else tonight.

Nolo Law

Nolo Law

Nolo is an excellent publisher of legal self help books. In my opinion they are the best publisher of legal self help. They are often the first place I go to find books for people who need help on basic legal issues like tenants rights, divorce, forming a corporation, or many other every day legal activities. We have a law collection in our public library which is a rarity. asked about a new book which they have on their website, Foreclosure Survival Guide Keep Your House or Walk Away With Money In Your Pocket by Attorney Stephen R. Elias. The quality of their books is excellent. This is a book I will definitely be ordering for our collection. It came out on September 29, 2008 so all the information is up to date.

Nolo has an excellent Bankruptcy and Foreclosure blog which is running a variety of articles on Chapter 7 Bankruptcies and Foreclosures. .

I think this could be a tremendous help for people facing this problem.

Nolo will not replace a lawyer, but they will certainly help you understand the basics of the law much better.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Good Afternoon


Good Afternoon

I am sitting here wondering why I am writing anything at all. As one of my colleagues said, why did you come in yesterday, you are off tomorrow. I felt I had to in order to make things proper. Logic is not one of my strong points sometimes. I am off today, because I am working on Saturday.

Anyways, I am going to Bridges Out of Poverty Part 2 tomorrow at The Hudson River Museum. The train ride is rather pleasant. You ride past a large lake which is rather picturesque. I went to Bridges Out of Poverty Part 1 over a year ago, somehow, now I will be able to claim I will have gone to both sessions. I hardly remember the first session. Anyways, that belies the major purpose of these workshops which is to drink coffee and talk to your colleagues.

Right now, I am about half way through Reading The OED. I am up to the letter M. The book of course is in alphabetical order. Ammon Shea has a website conveniently listed on the back flap of the dust jacket along with his photograph.

On another work related thought, I have found to still be quite useful. Many of the things I am ordering now simply will never have reviews. Intellectuals rarely review books on lathes, concrete, computers, or career books. They are not filled with words to be analyzed. They are practical, something which few intellectuals are. I guess this might be one of the reasons I am currently reading Reading the OED.

Often, the only way to know which books to order is to visit bookstores and libraries and look at what they have. This means physically examining, handling, and reading portions of the books. After a while, you grow to enjoy this, especially if you are as obsessive as I am.

Right now, I think I am going to take a break and boil some water for more tea.

After reading Ammon Shea's book, I find him to be a true Vocabularian (n.) one who pays too much attention to words. (P.134) Reading The OED. The book is still simmering in my brain. I'll probably write a review of it while I'm on the train to the Bridges Out of Poverty Workshop.

Sometimes while you are going through checking for people who have linked to your page, you find the oddest things. I have a new idea to add to the Super Librarian concept, the Jedi Librarian. Maybe I should get out my lightsaber. May the farce be with you.

The Darker Mask Heroes From The Shadows Edited by Gary Phillips and Christopher Chambers-- Review

The Darker Mask Heroes From The Shadows Edited by Gary Phillips and Christopher Chambers-- Review

This book is an anthology of eighteen short stories about heroes. They are not just superheros. The short story, Strega's Last Dance is about a witch who gets her revenge on the local crimelord. Avatar is about a man who sweeps away evil and is the next incarnation of the buddha or other religious figures.

There are of course many superheroes, but these heroes are often not what you expect. Walter Mosley's Picket is a young thief who acquires his powers in a most unusual way. The Henchman becomes a villain to feed his family and pay child support.

A number of these heroes come from the poor quarters and the ghetto, Dred is a heroin addict, The Remover is fighting urban blight, and Flow is found by accident by a crew of thieves. There is a strong urban component to this anthology.

My favorite story in this collection is The Whores of Onyx City by Michael A. Gonzales. Sage Steel is a young girl who watches her mother die and is taken in by Dr. Sax who trains her to become a superhero. She must fight Kidd Babylon and his Wild Bunch who are selling drugs and pimping women.

My second favorite story is In Vino Veritas. Veritas is a hero who can smell lies. He must drink to avoid being overwhelmed by the people around him. I won't give away anymore.

The mix of authors is excellent; the husband and wife team of Steven Barnes and Tannarive Due, Walter Mosley, Gar Anthony Haywood, Ann Nocenti, L.A. Banks, Naomi Hirahara, and many others. There is a very diverse ethnic background among the different writers.

At the end of the book, they give one paragraph biographies of the editors, writers, and artists in the book. There are four artists who do black and white illustrations throughout this book. I especially like the illustration of the hero, The Alienist on P.334. are Brian Hurtt, Jeff Fisher, Shawn Martinbrough, and Sean Wang.

This is a very entertaining anthology with a different take on what it means to be a hero. I did not find any stories in this anthology which were not readable. This is a real accomplishment for the editors.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good Afternoon, Going Home

Rosie The Riveter. Maybe we can do something to put this country back to work.

Good Afternoon

This morning I did a training on a new interlibrary loan system for books outside of our library system. I managed to slip in a couple of orders for books that are not in our library system.

A Safe and Sustainable World: the Promise of Ecological Design by John Todd and Nancy Jack Todd and Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creatitivity, Copyright and the Future of the Future by Cory Doctorow. I really admire both John Todd and Cory Doctorow. They offer a different viewpoint on the future.

The interlibrary loan system is replacing the paper slips with an electronic order form which should speed up the process considerably. It should make at least a week of difference.

I have to go to a Bridges Out of Poverty Workshop on Friday. I did the first part of the workshop, but not the second. I will have to see it goes on this one.

I also put the film, V for Vendetta on hold. There were several books waiting for me to pick up, Every Last Drop by Charlie Huston, Reading the OED by Ammon Shea, and Killing Sacred Cows by Garrett B. Gunderson.

My desk was piled high with various papers, law books, and annual reports. I gave my library aide about twenty annual reports to file, then sorted through my mail, and replaced some old Code of Federal Regulations with new new ones. There were a lot of little details to take care of today, mostly sorting and organizing. I did spend a little bit of time updating the current events display. This financial crisis has shown me the unending supply of financial corruption, crime, and misery that this country is currently going through.

I also spent some time ordering industrial books; machining, lathes, welding, engineering, locksmithing, concrete, and similar titles.

Going Home

On the train home, I finished reading The Darker Mask. The superhero and heroic figures names in many of the stories had a nice ring to them Dr. Sax, Sage Steel, The Henchman, The Alienist, Veritas, and others. A wonderful collection. The book was also nicely illustrated with black and white illustrators. One of the illustrators is the comic book artist for The Tick,

I also started a second book, Reading the OED One Man, One Year, 21, 730 Pages by Ammon Shea. You immediately get a sense of the authors obsession with words and his compulsive collecting of dictionaries. He says it perfectly "I am reading the OED so you don't have to."-- Ammon Shea.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good Morning, Good Afternoon

Poster for the "War of Wealth" by Charles Turner Dazey, a play that opened February 10, 1896. Reminds me a bit of what is happening now. We never learn.

Good Morning.

A link to the Obama read poster. I wish they had these posters available through the American Library Association. Posters of both McCain and Obama would be a nice boost.

A. Lee Martinez has a new paperback of The Nameless Witch. I am looking forward to reading it. Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now is available for free as a web download here. You Can also purchase it in print if you want. It should be fun to read.

Good Afternoon

If you feel like wasting a bit of time on a game, Soldak is running an open beta for Kivi's world. It is a 40 megabyte download. If you like the game Diablo, you will probably like this.
I am sitting in the library right now, having looked at diet and exercise books. The thought scares me, but I have to do it. I walked up to the library today. I am finally getting over a week and a half of acute bronchitis. My doctor told me lose weight and start exercising or else I am in serious trouble. I don't know if I will get a pair of light weights and do high repetition exercises every day, or simply walk a lot more to start.

I picked up another superhero anthology of short stories, The Darker Mask Heros From The Shadows, Edited by Gary Phillips and Christopher Chambers. It has stories by Tannarive Due, Steven Barnes, Jerry Rodriguez, and others. Tannarive Due and and Steven Barnes are African Amerucan authors. It should be an interesting anthology to read.

Right now, I am reading E. E. Knight, Valentines's Exile A Novel of The Vampire Earth. It is your typical the good guys are the underdogs fighting off the evil extradimensional vampire hordes. At this point our hero, Valentine is fighting the evil Kurians on the border of the Texas Republic. It is an entertaining slightly ridiculous romp.

It remained an entertaining slightly ridiculous romp throughout the novel to the point where it became something unexceptional. It is the kind of book which is there if you want some very light reading. I did not find that it is a book worth reviewing. The concepts of vampires who treat humanity like cattle is not a new one. If you want a story along these lines you are better off reading the Vampire Hunt D novels by Hideyuki Kikuchi.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Poetry, Afternoon Thoughts. Books to Film

A Book on a Plinth by a Rose Bush at the Ruins Simon Saint-Jean (1808-1860)

Poetry, Afternoon Thoughts

I finally finished reading Writing Begins With The Breath, Embodying Your Authentic Voice by Laraine Herring. I am not sure that I will ever be truly finished with this book. There are pieces of it that require me to do things which I haven't done yet, like write a novel. This would take me at least a year to finish. As part of the process, I of course wrote a few more poems.

I also revised the poem, The Green Dream because of this book. It still needs work. I think I'll slowly revise the poem into something unique.


Strip yourself to bones
Let your bones turn into dust
You are half way there


There is a clear plastic snowglobe
With a flower in it
A piece of flawless clear crystal
A flower painted on it
A living blooming red flower
In a small purple vase
It is a flower in my thoughts
A blooming red rose


I have lost my faith
Politicians, teachers, preachers, bigots, zealots
No longer hold me tight

I went to see the doctor this afternoon. I am finished with my bout of bronchitis. Now, I have to work on my diet and exercise. I have to lose a considerable amount of weight. I feel like one of those weight loss blogs making this statement. It is a rather bothersome idea, but I have to do it for my heart.

Books To Film

Ridley Scott plans to direct the film, The Forever War, a classic science fiction title by Joe Haldeman. Ridley Scott directed Blade Runner and Alien. This could possibly be the best science fiction film ever made if it is done correctly. I thought Blade Runner the directors cut was fantastic.

Tim Burton is currently directing Alice In Wonderland. It is a mix of live action and cgi animation. I am really looking forward to this. Johnny Depp is going to be the Mad Hatter.
Both of these are films which I definitely plan on seeing in the future.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tides, Alan Moore

Tsunami by Hokusai


The tide rolls in
The tide rolls out

It never stops
That rolling about

Ebbing and flowing
Into day and night

Rising and sinking
With sun and moon

The tide comes in
The tide goes out

I did not go anywhere last night. No bookstores, no library. I took down and reread three works by the writer Alan Moore; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volumes 1 and 2, and Watchmen. The graphic novel Watchmen is being turned into a movie. It won the Hugo Award for its writing. Alan Moore also wrote V for Vendetta which I have read as a graphic novel but have not seen in film. I will probably get around to it sometime soon. He is one of my favorite comic book writers. He reminds me of a cross between an english country gentlemen and rather crazed cunning man.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Green Dream Poem

Amtrak Acela Express

Green Dream Poem

I took some time to rewrite a poem I had written in May called Green. I changed the title and changed some of the wording. All of the technology is real. There are such things as mag-lev trains and electric cars have improved tremendoulsly. Aquaflow Bionomic has made biocrude. Wave turbines are being placed near Roosevelt Island in the Manhatan, New York harbor. Skyscraper farms is just another term for vertical farms. The vision I have is a very real one. It is something which I hope to see one day.

Maybe with the growth of national platforms like The Pickens Plan or The Apollo Alliance we will see a national green reindustrialization of America. Both of the candidates for the presidency, Barack Obama and John McCain are attempting to embrace clean technology. Let us see something done about it.

The Green Dream

Green is the ocean
Green is the sea
Green is the river

I ride on a mag-lev train
From New York to San Francisco

Green are the fields
Green are the trees
Green are the grasses

Fields of switchgrass wave in wind
Biocrude refineries dot the land

Green is the lizard
Green is the frog
Green is the snake

Cities bloom brightly like flowers
Small towns are vibrant with growth

Green was the desert
Green was the dump
Green was the land

Every community has a garden
Every community has a park

Green grows the lime
Green grows the grape
Green grows the apple

From the train I see rivers
Clear, pure, clean, sweet water

Green is my mind
Green is my dream
Green is my spirit

There are no landfills
There are no toxic dumps

Green is a color
Green is a feeling
Green is a thought

Windmills spin slowly
Solar towers shine brightly

I wear green collars
I touch green plants
I smell green earth

Electric trucks and automobiles
Roll by on smooth highways

I ride green transport
I buy green products
I invest in green stocks

Tree farms grow fresh timber
Greenhouses bloom on the land

Green is peaceful
Green is quiet
Green is clean

The train glides by the ocean
Wave farms float quietly by

Green is not plastic
Green is not pollution
Green is not garbage

The skyscraper farms of San Francisco
Rise in the distance, vertical, clean, green

Green is the sprout
Green is the twig
Green is the leaf

The city is quiet, peaceful, and clean
America reindustrialized, clean and green

Morning Thoughts

Illustration 11 of Edgar Allan Poe's Raven by Gustave Dore (1832-1883)
"Dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before."

Morning Thoughts

I was on the OUPBlog and noticed a book which I want to read, Reading the OED by Ammon Shea. I put the book on reserve last night. I know that I like his writing already because he has written several articles on the OUPBlog already which I enjoyed. Here is a link to one of them:

Joe Haldeman has a new book, Marsbound. I think it might be good. I rather liked his classic work, the Forever War. My favorite book by him is All My Sins Remembered about a future spy who does many morally questionable actions. It would be nice to see it in print again. This is Joe Haldeman's website.

I submitted a poem to Society of Midnight Wanderers today. I have a book review up on there right now. You wonder if it makes you a writer if people start posting your work on other blogs. It intrigues me a bit. Does this make me published? Or am I only published if I get money for a piece. I am not particularly interested in the money right now. It is more of the opportunity to make a statement than anything else.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Science Fiction and Fantasy Graphic Novels Widget



I decided to test out the slideshow feature for Amazon affiliates. These are books in my collection of science fiction art books. A lot of books were no longer in print, or did not have pictures available of the covers. Thus, I could not post, Virgil Finlay's Strange Science, Frank Kelly Freas The Art of Science Fiction, or Wonderworks by Michael Whelan. I just wanted to make a short example of some science fiction art books.

I might also do the same thing with some science fiction or fantasy graphic novels which I enjoyed. I would like some feedback on whether or not you liked the style and format. I think it could be used successfully for a number of different things.

I tried a different format for doing a short graphic novel slideshow. I hope you appreciate it. It is the first time I am doing this.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Art Books Widget

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Little Sammy Sneeze, Winsor McKay, c1904-1906 (Public Domain)


I spent some time on Mahalo getting a better feel for the search engine. I joined and recommended some comics oriented sites like , a guide to web comics and File 49 by Sara Turner
I put together a list of recommended comic sites and ran it up on Maholo. They do have a person check your recommendations. One didn't have proper security. So, the site is quite real.
I am using the name MytGroo. I don't know why, I should have chosen BookCalendar.

Cromely left me a message that Jason Calanis, the founder of Mahalo was on Twitter. So now, I am following his tweets.

Mahalo is clearly not a very academic search engine. If you look through the top fifty searches, the number one choice appears to be video game walkthroughs, then guitar instruction, then baking, followed by Sarah Palin. It is not just Sarah Palin, there are a lot of results for Paris Hilton as well. Still, I am enjoying looking through the chosen results.

The search engine itself is in beta. There are a whole bunch of links underneath the search engine with featured articles and news. This one caught my eye. The zero dollar bill.

I searched for literature and found something interesting. They have a number of complete profiles of individual books. This is the profile for The World Without Us . Many of these profiles are of classics like 1984. . This may be useful for reading assignments.

I can't seem to shake the cold I have, it has turned into something worse. I am resting a lot and drinking tea by the gallon. I saw my doctor last Friday. It still hasn't stopped. I am going to see him again tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Morning Thoughts, Afternoon Thoughts

Monkey Reading From This Giddy Globe by Oliver Herford, 1919. I just liked the image.

Morning Thoughts

I read The Good Thief last night by Hannah Tinti. It was wonderful for the first 2/3 of the book then it fell apart. I did not like the way the ending tied together at all. It made me not want to review it. So, I am not going to. Perfection with a poor ending just about sums it up.

Last night I listened to the debate on the radio. I don't like looking at politicians. I prefer that they be heard but not seen. I know that sounds odd, but it is how I feel. I want to cut out all the distractions and get directly to the policies they represent.

A little bit more on the library controversy in Wasilla.

LJ Talks to Alaska Children’s Librarian Charlotte Glover on the Wasilla Book Banning Controversy and Other Collection Decisions.

I am feeling a bit random today because the book I read was not quite on target.

Will Eisner has a new book coming out that is printed posthumously Expressive Anatomy for Comics and Narrative. This is an article from Publishers Weekly on the book. I will definitely order it.

Afternoon Thoughts

I am doing some housecleaning tasks with my blog. I went and checked who had linked to me using Sitemeter, then checked the link command on Yahoo. Alabama Bookworm is now part of my link exchange. I like her clean, simple design.

Because I am looking at random sites. I found an interesting article on Library Design and Bookstores. It uses the Barnes and Noble model.

I suggest Mahalo . It is a human powered search engine where people create lists of hand selected websites. One of the difference with this search engine and Hakia is that people are payed to create the lists. They have a greenhouse plan . Maybe Hakia can learn something from this.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Apollo Alliance and Obama

I was listening to the debate on 1010 WINS on the radio tonight. Obama gave a set of figures on spending for alternative energy that almost exactly match the spending figures for the Apollo Alliance project a liberal green energy group. I found it rather fascinating. Obama's energy plan figures $500 billion over 10 years creating 5 million jobs are the exact figures as their executive summary.

This shows that the Apollo Alliance is picking up steam and gaining more public support.

I realize now that I made a mistake. I so much wanted to hear the figures the way the Apollo Alliance had them that I misheard. It was $150 billion over 10 years or $15 billion a year for an Apollo like program. So, it sounds like a watered down version of the Apollo Alliance. Not real change. It would generate less jobs than the Apollo Alliance program.

Writing Begins With The Breath-- Laraine Herring-- Thoughts

Writing Begins With the Breath Embodying Your Authentic Voice by Laraine Herring

This afternoon, I sat drinking tea and eating almonds. I also was doing writing exercises from Writing Begins With The Breath. Each chapter is quite short and concise. In each chapter there are short easy body exercises to increase awareness; open and close your palms like a book, check your pulse, breathe in and out from your nostrils eight times on each side. They are easy things, but focused on paying attention.

At the end of the chapters are writing exercises. Maybe three or four of them. They are designed to get you to pay attention to different aspects of your writing; relationships, acceptance, empathy, body as source, ancestors as source, and many other topics. I have spent about an hour each day doing the exercises from a chapter. They dredge out emotions, feelings, and ideas many of them you didn't know you had. It has been both frustrating and enjoyable doing these exercises.

I write them out long hand on a folded in half piece of paper. This gives me four sections to write on. I don't keep a journal. I like to keep things jumbled together in a small pile. Among the responses, I include some poetry. These are not great poems. They are about my inner life. I have three more of them. Some would call them unplanned sloppy. In a way, they were written as part of a simple exercise.


There is a shadow
It follows me everywhere I go
I think it likes me


Soft and stinky runny cheesy
Brown, gooey, full of red earth worms
It replenishes the world


Wonderful reeking smell that
Drives away vampires and businessmen
Keeps away colds and kisses

I have finished some 15 chapters in this book and still have far to go. Sixteen days of reading is far more than I usually do on any book. I find this book fascinating because it combines psychology with creative writing with awareness exercises. I have many more chapters to go. I may renew the book so I can redo some of the exercises.

I have found many of the exercises to be quite helpful in improving the quality of my writing and self expression. I am beginning to think of my voice as my shadow which follows me everywhere and is with me all the time.

The author Laraine Herring has an MFA in Creative Writing and a MA in counseling psychology. I have not read her two novels and her counseling books, so I can't really comment on them. This is her blog: . The writing is crisp, clear, and readable.

The book is published by Shambhala which produces many quality meditation, new age, buddhist, texts on mysticism, and other esoteric titles.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Morning Thoughts, Hakia

Morning Thoughts

Charlie Huston has a new hardboiled vampire novel set in Manhattan, Every Last Drop. it is the fourth in the series featuring Joe Pitt, the hardboiled vampire p.i.. I look forward to reading it.

I rejoined the Society of Midnight Wanderers and put their logo up. I think I may send over some book reviews for them. They have asked me to.

I also am reading the latest issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly, Fall 2008. I get it as part of my membership in the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association. One of the articles is Best Free Websites Tenth Annual List. Two of the websites that I have used are and Factcheck is a site which checks political statements for accuracy by candidates. It can be quite interesting.

Indeed is a job search enging aggregator. It pulls together job listings from all over the internet in one place. In the search engine industry this is called scraping. It is a place to find huge amounts of searchable job listing.

On the lighter side, Sinfest had a really good comic on 10-5-2008. It has some swearing in it, but it is still entertaining. . I like the style. Another web comic whch I really enjoy is Schlock Mercenary Howard Taylor's Space Opera.


Mashable has a short announcement on Hakia, a semantic search engine supported by librarians.

This article actually makes me rather angry. Hakia has a club which librarians can join to voluntarily give peer reviewed websites to Hakia. The only benefit is a social one. The thing that bothers me about this is that Hakia is a for profit company. We would not be giving peer reviewed information to an academic source, and it is still not necessarily a credible place to send information. The site is in beta.

Also, when websites are rated for search engines, quite a bit of the time, this activity is paid for. Google pays quality raters $14 to $20 an hour to rate the quality of their search results. Yahoo pays onsite web analysts to rate the quality of their search engine results. The Yahoo position is an in house position. Lionbridge also pays people to check the quality of search results.

Hakia is asking people who have a masters degree to work for free for social recognition. They are asking them to not just rate the quality of the sites but provide peer review on the sites which is a specialty function of academia. Peer reviewed journals generally give a certain amount of cachet to the writer of the material.

I found reference to the Medical Library Association providing a list of unbiased sites. There is a certain amount of cachet in this. The list is quite short.

I also looked at the list of directors of the site, there is a Director of Business Intelligence
Stacy Schinder. But, there is no indication of any ties with any library school, any library oriented magazine, or any library association other then the Medical Library Association. If it is true, SCIP Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals which is what a Director of Business Intelligence would most likely belong to. There are no librarians hired by the company.

There are most likely some members of ASIS, American Society of Information Science because there are numerous software engineers involved in developing the search engine.

This is an article on the technology:

Here is the general press release from their website to CNBC:

What happens when a private company approaches librarians in an academic setting or a public setting. Because they are not generally considered the public, private companies are charged on a per hour basis for research. For example, NYPL offers Express Information Services. I, personally would not join this service.