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ready.gov

Well, the Ides of March have come and gone. So many dates now signify a horrific event that happened in our world; September 11, December 7, November 9 and now March 11. I will never be "ready.gov" for untold horrors yet to come. Preparedness for annihilation...what a concept.

I hate taking sick days

I hate taking sick days, but I think today I am forced to. What I thought was a brewing migraine seems to have yielded to a virus. At least, I have a fever. I went to work yesterday feeling crappy, and felt like I didn't really do my job properly. I hate that feeling too. Perhaps a day in bed will put things right. I just feel so guilty.

I previously worked a job (not in a library) where they would put you on a major guilt trip if you missed a day. I was in the hospital at one point, and they asked if I'd at least be in on Monday. Gee, guys, thanks for your concern. Anyway, now I have a hangover from that job, and I feel horribly guilty for missing a day, even though most people realize, that, er, that people do get sick.

I got the go ahead to employ a demo of the timed access software. The vendors, who shall remain nameless, are picking up the heat as far as saying, "Use mine instead!" Honestly, though, I think for our patrons and staff, less bells and whistles and less we have to adjust to is better.

I do have a copy of A Beautiful Mind (the DVD) on my desk that belongs to another library. Long story. I do hope it can wait another day before I call them to let them know the AWOL disk was returned by an embarrassed patron. Haven't we all returned boxes and left the DVD in the player before? I know I have.

For the record, no temporary library cards. Ever. I understood that, and I'm fairly sure you understand that. But man, do people ever want those temporary library cards. There must be a temporary library card black market.

Meta-Moderating

Tonight I "did" my first meta-moderation. Now I will be plagued by self-doubt and fears of inadequacy for an undertermined length of time ... it's just very lucky I have such poor short-term memory. I should be able to overcome the anxieties associated with the .... errr ...um, what was I saying?

The public library didn't escape this chill

I didn't obsess about religion, but every now and again a question would pop up, and I hunted for answers in the only place I thought might have some. Picture it: the public library in the pre-Internet period of the 1980s and early 1990s. Most of what I'd read about Islam exuded a textbook tone. Lots of reference, little risk. Then, on February 14, 1989, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini declared a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses. This "unfunny valentine," as Rushdie would later call the fatwa, demanded of Westerners more than a collective tiptoe around theocracy. Many people in the West did take a stand against the death warrant and I'd be disingenuous to deny that. But the commentaries I tracked down at the public library seemed satisfied with merely explaining Muslim outrage; they steered away from asking if the Koran is as virgin, as divine, as the effigy-burners would have us believe. What happened to the religiously respectful yet intellecutally messy West I'd fallen in love with? Was multiculturalism losing its mind?


In a crucial sense, I think so. I say this because my trips to the library coincided with the era of Edward Said. He was the Arab-American intellectual who, in 1979, used the word Orientalism to describe the West's supposed tendency to colonize Muslims by demonizing them as exotic freaks of the East. A compelling theory, but doesn't it speak volumes that the "imperialist" West published, distributed, and promoted Edward Said's book?


Within a decade, Said was all the rage among young academics-turned-activists in North America and Europe. Their worship of him effectively stifled other ideas about Islam. By the time Salman Rushdie came out with The Satanic Verses, Said's acolytes stood ready to denounce as "Orientalist" (read: racist) just about anything that affronted mainstream Muslims. In my experience, the public library didn't escape this chill.


I began to regain faith, in both the West and Islam, after the mid-1990s. Praise Allah for the Internet. With the Web making self-censorship irrelevant -- someone else is bound to say what you won't -- it became the place where intellectual risk-takers finally exhaled. They reasserted what makes the West a fierce if imperfect incubator of ideas: its love of discovery, including discovery of its own biases. And as the critics probed Islam, I picked up on some jaw-dropping aspects of my religion.

-- Irshad Manji, The Trouble With Islam (Muslim-Refusenik.com)

Micro$oft's DNS Client on 2000/XP

Why am I not surprised? Well, it was definately not the proxy autoconfiguration script, or the caching proxy server itself. It all has to do with the rediculous DNS client Micro$oft silently runs as a service that is automagically started after installing either OS. This service is only useful for Active Directory, does absolutely nothing for that machine if your domain is not Active Directory.

The baffling part was the difference between the browser and the standard command line tools. Load up your browser, type in "intranet.company.server.com" and spend all day either getting a "404" page not found error, or waiting for a page to load. But, drop to the command line and type your "intranet.company.server.com" as a parameter for nslookup, and it happily spits out the ip address for that very server without breaking a sweat. Comeon Micro$oft, what is your browser/dnsclient doing that nslookup/ping does not?

Anyway, if you happen to run a split internal DNS in your organization, allow dynamic updates beteen your DHCP daemon service and Bind 8 or 9, and notice your 2K/XP clients cannot seam to resolve local intranet names, is to have in your named.conf file the ability for your Windows clients to be able to update their own athorative ("A") record. Gets rid of the problem, and you can happily migrate to Server 2003/Active Directory at your liesure without needing to remember, "Duhiiie, did I disable the dnsclient on that box or what?"

rewarding the wicked

A disturbing trend: people have been erasing other people's names on our real high tech internet sign up sheet. While I want to commend these people on their ingenuity (and their perceptiveness of at least being able to look at, then figure out our high tech sign up sheet) I feel that this is morally... well, it's between stealing candy from a baby and kicking a dog.

What concerns me more is how I handle it if I am just coming on to the reference desk. Sure, I can see a name has been erased and another has been put in. Sure. But how do I know if your name was there previously? Plenty of people erase their own names when they leave. Besides, if you were really sneaky, you could see someone else's name was erased and say yours was.

So I have to go by what's on the sign up sheet at the present time, if I haven't been there to see who was waiting. That's just not fair. The eraser then gets positive reinforcement, for, as Beavis would say, being a dillweed.

I so want timed access software.

Another disturbing trend: people are telling me our computers suck. Of course they do. The poor things are abused for twelve hours a day. (This was incidentally, uttered by the same aforementioned patron whose frequently uttered cry of "I don't know what I pressed!" is known by the whole staff.) If a machine had feelings, these would be crying out from the ground, folks. Don't mean to get all biblical (but that line is just so poetic). Until the money tree sprouts in the garden though, libraries in general (not just this library, or even libraries in this state) are out of luck.

So they do their best. Go easy on them.

Disturbing trend trois: Library cards are being stolen and bizarre books are being checked out on them! And naturally, are never returned. I've heard this complaint three times in as many days. Odd. As some LISNews stories have reported, if I were going to steal a library card and then steal library materials, I'd steal resaleable stuff. Like DVDs. Not histories of doilies. (Not to insult anyone who's seriously into doilies).

Conservatives are stoopid; LISNewzsters are smart :-)

[Note: this journal entry is occasioned in part by Ender's posting noted below, but also in part by Blake's daring to suggest that there actually is intelligent conservative opinion worth listening to.]

In a reply from Ender, Duke_of_URL (posting as an anonymous patron) in a thread on Christian publishing and culture, said he felt that Christians were more thievish than the rest of the population.

His generalization reminds me of the Duke U. philosophy professor (hmm, Duke_of_Url, Duke U., I wonder ...), who stated that stupid people were generally conservative, by way of explaining why there were so few conservatives in Duke's humanities departments:
"We try to hire the best, smartest people available," Brandon said of his philosophy hires. "If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire.

"Mill's analysis may go some way towards explaining the power of the Republican party in our society and the relative scarcity of Republicans in academia. Players in the NBA tend to be taller than average. There is a good reason for this. Members of academia tend to be a bit smarter than average. There is a good reason for this too."

Observe:

  1. Brandon misrepresents Mill;
  2. Brandon commits a non-sequitur in the first paragraph;
  3. Brandon has the demographics wrong--conservatives are not more stupid than others (scroll down to the Lindgren quote; wait, here's a sample:

    If one breaks down the data by party affiliation and political orientation, the most highly educated group is conservative Republicans, who also score highest on the vocabulary and analogical reasoning tests. Liberal Democrats score only insignificantly lower than conservative Republicans. The least educated subgroups are moderate and conservative Democrats, who also score at the bottom (or very near the bottom) on vocabulary and analogy tests.
    [emphasis mine--ChuckB])

Now think about this for a moment: if LISNewzsters are drawn chiefly from liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, then we come from the two smartest groups in the country!

Ocean Treasure: Commercial Fishing in Alaska: Suggested Read

In keeping with the Alaska theme of the last journal, I'm suggesting an informative book with many pictures for any of your patrons interested in the Alaska fishing industry. There might be more of those in your library than you might think. Each summer, thousands of college students and others come up to Alaska to work on boats, canneries (slime lines), and other desparately hard work that allows them to work in some of the wildest areas America has to offer.

Without further ado, here is some publisher provided information on the book "Ocean Treasure: Commercial Fishing in Alaska":

------------------
Web page with photos: http://www.uaf.edu/seagrant/Pubs_Videos/pubs/SG-ED-41.html

Ocean Treasure: Commercial Fishing in Alaska

Author: Terry Johnson
Editor: Kurt Byers
Pub. no.: SG-ED-41
Year: 2003
No. pages: 200
Price: $25.00 US
ISBN: 1-56612-080-2

Ocean Treasure is a full-color book about the Alaska fishing industry. Author Terry Johnson provides an engaging and authoritative overview of the seafood industry, combined with color photos and drawings of fish and invertebrates and the gear used to harvest them. Ocean Treasure tells how to recognize fishing boats and gear, what the fish look like, and how good they taste. Readers are treated to an account of the fascinating history of Alaska fishing, insight into mariculture, how the fisheries are managed, and the lifestyle involved in subsistence fishing. The book also offers a bibliography, a glossary, and a full index.

Visitors to Alaska whose curiosity is piqued by the fishing vessels and dock activity they see, as well as "armchair" Alaska tourists, will be
rewarded by the information-packed pages presented in the easy-to-read, friendly text of this book.

A resident of Homer, Alaska, author Terry Johnson is a marine advisory agent and journalist, and has sixteen years experience as commercial fisherman.
---------------------

For those you still reading, I came across this book because it is a publication of Alaska's Sea Grant College, and thus is subject to the Alaska State Publications program, which I am responsible for. Ironically, Alaska's "sea grant" college is based at University of Alaska Fairbanks, which is in the central part of our great state and is hours from any part of Alaska's coast.

Reading in bits; no job rights; more random thoughts

Well, I am going back to the Pullman series that starts with The Golden Compass. I started the Subtle Knife and put it down for awhile. I have developed a bad habit of starting novels and putting them down. I guess part of it is that I don't have blocks of time to read anymore.

I was talking to my husband about my job and how we were not allowed to walk at all during the day. My previous principal would let us walk during lunch. Of course, lunch was almost forty minutes so we could get a real walk in. This year, lunch has been cut back to thirty minutes. Grab your food and inhale. No walking. Since I am in the library, I don't have a planning period or any other breaks other than lunch. I have a couple of assistants so I guess I could leave for a minute or two. I might just do that to keep my sanity.

Went for a walk with my husband and son around the middle school track. Well, I walked with my son, and my husband ran. Never could get into that running stuff.

How to spell "Newbery" - as in the award

A couple of years ago, a friend and I got in a discussion about how to spell "Newbery", he was sure that there are two r's. I was certain there is only one. (Need I say which one of us was correct?)

Anyway, this got me thinking, so I did a web search on "Newberry Award". Hundreds upon hundreds. So every once in a while, I send a few simple e-mail informing webmaster or whoever is listed that Newbery is incorrectly spelled.

Most people don't bother replying - which is fine, especially since they do fix the typo. A few people send a note of thanks. One guy sent an abject apology - which made ME feel badly. One person called me a Nazi and told me to mind my own business.

This week-end I sent another 20 or so e-mails. Two web sites were particularly interesting one had Newbery spelled correctly sometimes and also spelled Newberry and Newbury. My favorite though was the one who used Newberry, Newbury AND NewBerry. HMMM.

Let me be quick to say, I'm fully cognizant that we all make typos (there are probably typos in this), but if I had them on a web page I had written, especially for the public, I would want somebody to let me know.

I've found typos on a number of library sites and even more frequently on .edu sites.

Maybe I am too picky . . .

random acts of shut down

What does the public do to computers? Honest to pete... I know that people have the tendency to want to really finish what they start and log out of the computer after they finish using the browser (and some staff members are having a hard time grasping if I disable log out, then no one can log out, public or staff). Logging out I don't mind. People have taken to shutting it off entirely. Either that, or it's crashing and no one is telling me.

Then the OS X iMac sat there, like a giant colorful paperweight, yesterday, while I tried to turn it on after one particular patron rolled through. This patron frequently says, "I don't know what I pressed." After trying to turn off and on several times, I started to get nervous. Nothing. No signs of life. What the hell was pressed this time?

Evidently the computer got moved, and the power cord came loose in the back. Thank you. Thank you. I didn't want to replace another iMac.

Someone suggested some donations I just might take. She didn't know the specs off hand, but they're running Windows 2000. That's a good sign anyway. I told her to call me back with the specs.

migraine time!

I get migraines, and I think there's been a doozy brewing all week. I can sort of tell when they're coming. I start getting nauseous, then losing feeling in my arms and legs intermittently, then I start seeing stuff out of the corner of my eyes. Today there was something black flitting around in my field of vision. We on occasion get bats in the library, but this wasn't a bat.

I can only pray it comes tomorrow, when I don't have to work. I feel mighty guilty if I have to take sick time only two and a half months into the job.

It was busy today. In a way I liked it. It made it go fast.

    Things that don't go fast in our library:

  • Horizon between noon and five
  • The internet between that same time
  • Windows boot up
  • The book on Quattro from our 005s.
    • Things that do go fast:

  • The Da Vinci Code
  • Patrons out the door when we shut off the computers
  • Staff out the door at six
  • That is one thing I am continually amazed by. I worked retail in college, and we were virtually held prisoner by customers that came in 5:59 when we closed at six and proceeded to window shop for an hour. The managers would never kick people out. At the library, you get a fifteen minute warning and a five minute warning, and then things start shutting down.

    Libraries are a beautiful thing.

    Today I noticed that the assistant director has "librarian" handwriting. It's that lovely flowing script I guess they used to teach (from what I've heard.) I do wish they still taught it. I officially have what's known as chicken scratch.

    Fresh baked cookies!

    I've reworked all the cookie settings, so your best bet is to delete any LISNews cookies, and log back in. You should only have to login once now for all sections/areas/journals, whatever, they all use the same settings now, so I think I've fixed the long running cookie problems. If you have any troubles with being asked to login after you've already logged in, let me know.

    Speaking of fresh baked, I'm hoping to have LISNews.org up and running on the new code today. I've got a 50/50 shot at gettin it running today I think.

    Charges against "Skeptical Environmentalist" dismissed

    You may have heard of Bjorn Lomberg, the Danish statistician and director of Denmark's national Environmental Assessment Institute. He wrote a highly controversial book The Skeptical Environmentalist, in which he questioned much of the "scientific consensus" concerning global warming. He was accused by the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD) of--you guessed it--scientific dishonesty (his book was deemed "objectively dishonest" or "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice").

    However, the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation completely rejected the DCSD report, saying that it lacked documentation and was "completely void of argumentation" for their charges of scientific dishonesty. In rejecting the report, the Ministry left it up to the DCSD to decide whether or not to reopen the case, or to dismiss the charges.

    After a two-year investigation, the Committee on Scientific Dishonesty has dismissed the charges.

    Saturdays are a double edged sword.

    In a way, I like working Saturdays. It's busy, but it's a spread out busy, not a "the library is full of bored kids from 2-5:30" busy. However, you run into the same problem you run into on Fridays in that when the children's room closes at five, you get a wave of bored children coming downstairs.

    This will get me death threats I'm sure: I'm not a big fan of kids. I mean, some kids are fine, but I choose not to have them myself. I'm not overly fond of the neighbor's kids. I don't like to go to restaurants have a cranky six year old screaming in my ear (a cranky one year old I have a higher tolerance level of. I can understand that. It's age appropriate.)

    But my distaste for children isn't particularly why I don't want them downstairs. They bang on keyboards, sure, and sometimes, when they get real bored, they whip all the paperbacks off the shelves. That's annoying. That ticks me off.

    But I worry about my responsibility to them. I can't babysit them. I mean, technically the poor children's librarians shouldn't be doing that either (though I know they are). But at least they were hired to specifically deal with the children. I was hired for all ages, but primarily above twelve. Usually, from five to six, I am helping people over twelve. I can't be watching a five year old left by mom and dad. Or by their "very mature and responsible" eight year old brother (happens-- a lot.)

    I wish the library were a safer place, at least, as safe as parents seem to think it is. I wish that I could throw these children out when they're really misbehaving (as they sometimes do), without guilt that I now have a six year old wandering the streets. But I can't in good conscience do that. I'm not a big fan of children -- but I care enough not to put them in harm's way.

    Which I think, sometimes, is more than some parents do.

    Okay... comment away. I know librarians as babysitters is not a new phenomenon and in many ways I am preaching to the choir. And I know that my not too fond of children stance ticks many off... Go easy on me. I'm fragile.

    Voting as a consumer + getting the lime-pricing you deserve

    On the political front: I threw a fit of journal-entry proportions this morning because a friend and I went to the ghetto Safeway and discovered limes cost 50 cents apiece there.

    I’m convinced the pricing of the limes has more to do with the fact that most folks who shop the ghetto Safeway do not own cars -- or enjoy a straight shot on mass transit to the competition -- because you can get limes five for a dollar elsewhere if you have a car; I purchased about 50 limes a week ago for 20 cents apiece.

    (And, yes, I'm aware that someone has to labor for less than nothing and no hope for the occasional trip to the salon to get me limes at that price; jump to the wrap at the end if that's your shtick.)

    My argument is that the pricing has nothing to do with fluctuations in the wholesale lime market, that we could have hit another Safeway served by the same warehouse and found limes five for a dollar.

    The friend disagreed and is (begin emphasis) still (end emphasis) actively disagreeing. (Continuous action in the present, he.)

    He says “they would get busted if they did that.� He says every Safeway served by the same warehouse has limes for 50 cents apiece right now.

    Hello? Who is going to bust Safeway for pricing limes based on what X captive market is willing to pay?

    The larger argument: Fordist urban planning is a barrier to folks getting the lime-pricing they deserve. (I caved and bought a few of the 50-cent limes. They were underperformers.)

    If we had great mass transit and sensible urban planning, not only would uniform pricing of limes result from everyone having equal access to all retailers, but Walmart would not be No. 1 in all significant retail categories -- folks would not necessarily patronize a retailer based on the asphalt-availability index alone.

    My two neighbors, both under 30, do not have cars, and they report -- this while drinking wine on the balcony beginning at 10 or so on a Friday morning -- that it would not matter to them if they could get 50 rolls of toilet paper for 50 cents or 20 limes for $1, they would not patronize Walmart or its subsidiaries.

    The one 23-year-old and said voting with your consumer dollar is equally as important as voting in elections.

    If you think the larger argument is that you'd have to stop buying much of anything if you really wanted to stay clean karma-wise, this is the wrap: Yes, in a perfect world you'd have to pay the lime workers a livable wage and pass the non-savings onto me. But that goes against the Walmart worldview and would require a sustainable economy -- on and on.

    Safer Internet (Double)Plus

    Perhaps someone is tempted to imagine (or even assert) that I suggested the story about the EU's attempts to protect children while they use the Internet to make an argument for filtering along these lines:

    • liberals in the U.S. typically consider EU countries to be more enlightened in their policies than the U.S.;
    • the EU thinks it's a good idea to filter children's Internet use, and is planning to do so;
    • therefore, liberals in the U.S. should approve of filtering children's Internet use.

    Perhaps there is no such Someone, but if there is, that someone would of course be wrong.

    For one thing, the EU does not rank high on my list of folks I would trust to make decisions on what my child should and shouldn't see on the Internet, or elsewhere. For another, I regard Internet filtering as problematic because it puts the state in loco parentis, and as I've said elsewhere, I don't want the state there. (Note that I'm not asserting that this is a decisive argument against filtering, but it's one that all parents who believe themselves responsible for their children's education should consider very thoroughly.)

    I suggested this story firstly because I know that LISNews readers are interested in questions of filtering and censorship. Secondly, the list of people who think they are entitled to decide what others should read and see is by no means limited to religious extremists and malodorous drippy-nosed perverts (as some define them). In fact, I hope to post several more stories EU and UN attempts to regulate Internet content and use. LISNnewsters will, I think, find them of interest.

    Serves me right; gorgeous day; and other random topics

    Serves me right. I am nice. Even though the guy didn't watch his class last time; when he buzzes up, I say sure. The gym was being used for Senior cap and gown pictures, and he needed somewhere to take his kids. For a second time, he sat in the large conference room (now the police officer's office) with his feet propped up. I will say no next time ...

    It is a GORGEOUS day outside. I am taking a personal day next Friday and am hoping it looks like this one. Thank goodness the daycare center my son is in takes the infants outside.

    I purchased Core Collection for Young Adults. Then, I spent a few days going through the sixty some odd page Word document deleting titles we had or I didn't want. Now, I am going through Titlewave typing everything in. These are, obviously, wish lists that I will draw from depending on the kind of budget I get.

    It is amazing that even though we are staying late to make up work time, I am not really getting any work done. The time is slated for SACS, and since I am the head of a committee, I really need to work on SACS. Well, with phone calls and not being able to talk to people (because they were busy), I didn't get a durn thing done. Maybe next Thursday. :P

    love in the stacks

    I love our closed stacks.

    I wasn't so sure about them at first. I mean, it's scary back there. The floor is glass and very sci-fi. This scary glow comes up when the lights are on on the floor below. The lights are just exposed bulbs. Some floor panels on the sides are pieces of plywood that look like they might not hold some of the kids that come in for story time, never mind me.

    Plus the ghost. Alledgedly there is a ghost in the closed stacks. I don't know where I stand on the paranormal issue, but I guess if I were a dead bibliophile, that's probably where I'd hang out. And it certainly makes you want to believe, being in there at night.

    But the books are beautiful. I love old books (this is where we keep things that don't circulate, can't circulate, or are otherwise not really needed in the main library), even though I understand that most of them have really minimal value, relatively speaking. I found a book on Dorothea Dix from the late 1800s. It wasn't anything special, but it was just neat.

    Actually, know what I like? I like the really neat librarian handwriting that goes on the bookplate. And the cataloging information. The script is just gorgeous.

    Library geek journal entry. We will return to our regularly scheduled systems/reference/duties as assigned posting tomorrow.

    Mel Gibson and anti-Semitism

    From Steven Greenhut's review of The Passion of the Christ at LewRockwell.com:

    [Gibson's] only on-screen performance was of his arm and hand hammering the nail through Christ’s hand. In one small dramatic act, Gibson exposed Abraham Foxman’s and the Anti-Defamation League’s efforts to defame the biblical account of Christ’s death as anti-Semitic.

    Gibson was saying, loud and clear, that he helped crucify his Lord and Savior.

    So did I. I plead guilty and throw myself on the mercy of the court.

    Of course, as we all know, the film was excessively, grossly violent:

    Liberal critics of the movie were aghast at the violence portrayed in it. Well, we finally find a movie that is too violent for these critics. Not Kill Bill, which liberals celebrated as a hip and edgy film, but The Passion. Violence is too much for them if it is in service to a religious message they simply cannot stand. [emphasis mine]

    If someone like Rob Reiner made this criticism, it would at least have integrity. As I understand it, Reiner has for some time been critical of the film industry for its gratuitous use of violence and sex.[1] But, to the extent it came from folks who loved Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction, it is hypocrisy.

    I hope I get to see it in a theater. Truth is, I don't get around much anymore.

    [1] I have to confess a soft spot for Reiner, since he gave us Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride.

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