Thursday, September 30, 2004

The freedom to edit

IHT: The freedom to edit

From the International Herald Tribune.

As the article says: "No matter how the Treasury's ruling is framed, denying editorial cooperation of this kind deprives Americans as much as it does the sanctioned countries. The United States should be doing everything it can to encourage freedom of information. Most of the countries under trade sanctions enjoy extremely limited freedoms. One of the most effective things America can do when it comes to spreading its principles is to offer the exercise of real intellectual freedom to authors from sanctioned countries."

There isn't much that could be added here.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Magic 8 Ball

I've always thought that the Reference Desk would be very well served by having a Magic 8 Ball. Calculate the cost of your reference items, your PC, the connection to the internet, and I think it becomes very obvious that the Magic 89 Ball is a phenomenal savings (about 11 bucks). Think of all the interesting books you can buy. No more Encyclopedia of Associations or Thomas Register of Products and Services (which are incredibly BORING). You can finally afford that subscription to the Journal of Irreproducible Results (is that still even being published?). With the Magic 8 Ball, when a patron comes up to your desk, just flip the ball over and read out the answer. My personal favorite is "Ask Again Later".


Magic 8 Ball
Click on the link, then click on the 8 ball, and get an idea of how it would work. Go ahead, ask it a question, and see how it turns out.

Some libraries may not want to rely on only one source for their reference work, and the Magic 8 Ball has its limitations when it comes to Reader's Advisory. For that reason, I would suggest that libraries invest in Fortune Cookies. Even with the additional cost of having the cookies made for the library, it is still not a budget buster. Have a series of fortunes made up. They can have a call number, the author and title of a best seller, or a genre. Really, let your imagination go wild. Have a bowl set up with a card that reads "Reader's Advisory". When a patron asks for a good book to read, refer them to the reader's advisory fortune cookie bowl. Snack and a book. In fact, this method has the further advantage of redirecting them out of their reading rut.

A Fortune Cookie Reader's Advisory Play in 1 Act

Patron: "I've read everything you have by Grisham, do you have any other books that are like that."

Librarian: "Hmmmm.... let's see what we've got... take a cookie from the bowl."

Patron: "What the hell?"

Librarian: "Just take a cookie."

Patron (sounding dubious): "OK... I guess...."

Patron takes a cookie, opens it up, and reads a fortune.

Patron: "Huh, it says 'Honda Accord automotive repair manual by John Haynes - 629.2872 HONDA'. I'm not sure...."

Librarian: "Well, evidently that is what your destiny is to be."

Patron: "If you say so."

Librarian peers over glases and raises eyebrow.

Don't get me started on Ouija boards.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Mud Flies, Books Fly Off Shelves

Mud Flies, Books Fly Off Shelves

Note: you'll have to register (for free) in order to read the entire article.

Osnos writes: "Attack advertising in politics is hardly innovative. But in this year's election, attack books have added a significant new factor to the shrillness of presidential campaigning. Get used to it."

And.... "Are these books any good? As in all media, there is a spectrum from brilliant to awful. But standards for books are different from, say, newspaper standards. The biggest sin for a book writer is plagiarism (when it is uncovered). Rarely does a book get discredited for mere exaggeration or distortion. Outright falsehoods are frowned upon, of course. But short of that, anything seems to go in books"

Now, I've got to admit that I've read a few of them. Plenty of red meat. So much so, that if you read enough of them you'd probably end up with BSE and your brain resembling Swiss Cheese. I've read Franken and Moore. I tried to read Coulter, Hannity, Savage and Oreilly, but being a good Lefty, I couldn't do much more than skim them for a few minutes before I got too frustrated. I'm sure Righties have the same problems with Moore and Franken.

The more I read, the more I'm convinced that they are all bad children. Very, very bad children. And the need to be spanked. With a paddle. I'm volunteering to spank Bill O'Reilly. Get him over my knee and spank him until tears come running down his face and he finally admits that he is Conservative and that the "No Spin Zone" has one word too many.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Library seeks theme ideas for centennial

Herald and News: Klamath Falls, Oregon

Happy Birthday to the Klamath Falls Library which turns 100 this fall.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

San Francisco gallery threatened - Guy Colwell's "The Abuse," San Francisco gallery threatened

Unfortunately, we don't hear enough about these forms of intimidation. While it is not official governmental censorship, it is certainly heckler's censorship.

Feminists For Free Expression - the issue of Pornography

Feminists For Free Expression

This is a fantastic site, and gives a Feminist, free-speech, perspective on the issue of pornography

Oppose the Induce Act

EFF: Deep Links

"For the first time in history, it would hold technology makers and service providers liable for copyright violations by end users even if they never knew, contemplated, or intended to facilitate user infringement."

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Uses of "Indecency"

National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC)

Oh, where to start. I think the best quote is from Shawn Dell Joyce, the spokeswoman for an airport near Newburgh, New York: breast-feeding is “a controversial issue all over the world.”

As controversial as it is, it is truly amazing that the Human Race managed to limp along until they could invent blouses and bras.

I do happen to agree with the sentiments in the last paragraph. In fact, I would extend the logic and say that the same applies to sex as much as it does to women's breasts.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Burning the Bill of Rights commentary

A very good article about the Flag Burning Amendment: you don't protect rights by taking them away.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Filtering law tossed out of court

Pennsylvania child porn-blocking law tossed

Filters are a sledge hammer used to address a problem that needs a scalpel. I wish I would remember who said that, but it's not my creation, but still very apt.

Thanks to FangFace at LISNews

Friday, September 10, 2004

Murals and Free Speech in Portland

Paint Me Bureaucratic

Lets see... the city wants to approve the content of murals. What's wrong with that picture? Oh, yeah, now I remember, the First Amendment to the Constitution. God forbid should everything not be nice, neat and tidy. I'm really surprised, with as messy as it can be, that we're actually allowed to vote.

How Liberal is the New York Times?

The Times Refuses Reprint in Moore Book

You would think, since the New York Times is a "liberal" newspaper, that they would have jumped all over the chance to help out a fellow Lefty. I guess just calling the NYT liberal doesn't make it so. Go figure.

caveat lector

They were pardoned before they were executed

I just ran into this while looking at the Rosen Publishing Group catalog. It's a blurb for a book about a woman named Francisca Alvarez who helped American soldiers who had been captured during the Mexican-American war.

"...under standing orders from General Santa Ana -- all caputured American soldiers were to be shot. Fracisca Alvarez, known as The Angel of Goliad, intervened and secured pardons for a number of men before they were executed."

Which must have been of some comfort to the American prisoners to know that they weren't being blamed for anything just before they were shot. Of course, makes ya wonder just how effective was the Angel of Goliad?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Presidential Election Year

We're smack dab in the middle of an Election Year, and I couldn't be more pissed off about it. I hate this. Four years is not enough time to get over the last one. EVERYONE panders, distorts, attacks, and, worst of all, they are all extremely careful about what they say because they are afraid of offending anyone. What can we do about it? I'm not sure, but getting rid of all the pols, handlers, and "experts" would be a good start. Both conventions this year were a huge snore.

However, there are some informative sites out there, if Presidential Elections are your thang. Using "thang" instead of "thing" just gave me a wonderful idea, why don't we handle this the same way they do Beauty contests? After all, there isn't all that much of a difference. We would start with a Thong contest. If they want to be President that bad, they can parade on a stage wearing nothing but a Thong.

Back to the informative sites.

The University of Virginia has an excellent site that maps out both the popular and electoral votes. The best part, is that the maps are teal and green, instead of the overdone Red and Blue.

The Library of Congress also has a site that, while geared toward a younger audience, has some very good information about the structure and history of Presidential Elections.

caveat suffragator