Link to December 30 "Arts, Briefly" article in the New York Times.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Link to December 30 "Arts, Briefly" article in the New York Times.
Mr. Salinger’s disappearing act has succeeded so well, in fact, that it may be hard for readers who aren’t middle-aged to appreciate what a sensation he once caused. With its very first sentence, his novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” which came out in 1951, introduced a brand-new voice in American writing, and it quickly became a cult book, a rite of passage for the brainy and disaffected. “Nine Stories,” published two years later, made Mr. Salinger a darling of the critics as well, for the way it dismantled the traditional architecture of the short story and replaced it with one in which a story could turn on a tiny shift of mood or tone.
In the 1960s, though, when he was at the peak of his fame, Mr. Salinger went silent. “Franny and Zooey,” a collection of two long stories about the fictional Glass family, came out in 1961; two more long stories about the Glasses, “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters” and “Seymour: An Introduction,” appeared together in book form in 1963. The last work of Mr. Salinger’s to appear in print was “Hapworth 16, 1924,” a short story that took up most of the June 19, 1965, issue of The New Yorker. In the ’70s he stopped giving interviews, and in the late ’80s he went all the way to the Supreme Court to block the British critic Ian Hamilton from quoting his letters in a biography.
Franny and Zooey is on Retiring Guy's list of re-reads for 2009.
The 32-year-old, 2-term legislator, Nelson (D-Kaukauna) was re-elected to the 5th Assembly District in November, and the elected by his Democratic Assembly colleagues to the position of Majority Leader on November 13.
I believe that politics is a high calling. This job is extremely important to me. I've worked very hard. I've knocked on over 85,000 doors. And because the Democrats were in a position to take over the Assembly, I was able to run for this leadership post. It offers a seat at the table to make decisions on issues I care passionately about.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Dave Rosenberg expands these 5 reasons.
1. Lack of exclusive games.
2. Minimal modern touches.
3. Out-marketed by competition.
4. (Somewhat) burdenson user experience.
5. The Internet.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
"Library use is going up. This is not a surprise to us. We've seen this pattern in the past when the economy has soured," said Jim Rettig, president of the American Library Association. "People have to make decisions and they rediscover the value their library offers."
Rettig said the top reason people use library computers, after K-12 education, is career development and job hunting.
"There are an awful lot of companies now that will not accept a job application unless it's submitted online," he said. "Somebody who is out of work or looking to change jobs might not have access to the Internet.
"In 73 percent of the communities in the U.S., their best, and maybe only hope for free Internet access, is their public library."
Fox Valley library directors and staff said an increasing number of patrons are job seekers.
Friday, December 26, 2008
For 16 years, a trio of Italian dioramas have greeted guests in the lobby of the Superior Public Library.
This year, the space will get a monthly makeover from local artists. Watch for felt dolls, driftwood sculpture, paintings, photographs, woven fabrics and even floating cups to put in an appearance.
According to The Library History Buff, Superior, Wisconsin has the distinction of being the home of the oldest of 63 Carnegie libraries built in Wisconsin and the home of the last Carnegie library building built in Wisconsin.
If you are not yet familiar with Larry Nix's great website, now is as good a time as any to start!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
For a decade, consumers mostly ignored electronic book devices, which were often hard to use and offered few popular items to read. But this year, in part because of the popularity of Amazon.com’s wireless Kindle device, the e-book has started to take hold.
The $359 Kindle, which is slim, white and about the size of a trade paperback, was introduced a year ago. Although Amazon will not disclose sales figures, the Kindle has at least lived up to its name by creating broad interest in electronic books. Now it is out of stock and unavailable until February. Analysts credit Oprah Winfrey, who praised the Kindle on her show in October, and blame Amazon for poor holiday planning.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Link to December 23 techdirt post, "Record Labels Learning They Have Little Leverage On YouTube".
Excerpt: As noted by some folks, for many kids these days, YouTube is how they find and listen to music these days. Forcing your songs off YouTube would be like demanding their removal from the radio twenty years ago.
Link to December 23 Pew Research Center post.
TV still rules, with 70% of respondents selecting it as their main source of national and international news (down from 74% in Sept. 2007).
The Internet: 40% (up from 24%)
Newspapers: 35% (up from 34%!) This may actually be good news. Newspapers as a source of news have been on an even keel for the past four years in Pew surveys, though you wouldn't know it with all the layoffs and shrinking coverage and reduced delivery zones of late.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Dave Neiwert, a former Times-News staffer from the 1980s and now a freelancer and blogger at Crooks and Liars, says "taking away that cover will remove valuable voices and important perspectives from the public dialogue."
You mean like the stuff you find here?
I agree with Mr. Neiwart but not for any high-falutin' reasons. Let people blather to their heart's content. It's the bloviators that provide Konservative Komedy Kavalcade with its best material.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Excerpt: Internet Access Essential in Today's Economic Climate: Ninety-five percent of adults feel that it is very important, important or somewhat important for people to have devices that allow them to access the Internet. A majority (82 percent) agree that Internet-enabled devices help them stay up to date real-time on the state of the economy. Eighty-seven percent say that Internet access has helped them save money.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries archivist Michael Doylen says he got a "wow" handling a priceless James Joyce text annotated by the author himself.
Hundreds of thousands of readers got the same happy zap from Obama election newspapers. Customers snapped up extra printings of The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other historic election front pages on Nov. 5.
Or a memorable reaction can come simply from your child's handmade holiday card.
But the "wow" may not last long. Toss a paper keepsake into a pile, and in months it can yellow and crumble like papyrus from Tut's tomb. There are, however, some things you can do to keep paper keepsakes safe as you head into the new year.
Most printed paper "contains the seeds of its own destruction," says Doylen. Most paper, he says, is made from wood pulp material with a high degree of acidity. "As the materials are exposed to environmental conditions and light, it activates the chemical process in the paper and it starts to break down."
1. Quickly decide what you want to keep.
2. Avoid extremes of heat and cold storage, i.e., basements and attics.
3. Use acid-free paper to separate pages.
4. Roll up t-shirts; use acid-free boxes for larger objects.
5. Keep handling to a minimum. ("Beware of family gatherings.")
For 32 years, I have kept a 1948 copy of a Springfield Massachusetts newspaper tightly wrapped in plastic and placed in a box (not acid-free) with other memorabilia. The last time I checked, it's still in good condition. The newspaper doesn't have any particular sentimental value, except for the fact that Springfield is my mom's hometown and I worked here for 2 1/2 years. The newspaper was purchased at the legendary Johnson's Second-Hand Bookstore.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Mutanabi Street has long been the intellectual center of the Iraqi capital. But when a car bomb exploded here in March 2007 killing at 26 people the neighborhood was emptied. Blast walls blocked off the area to traffic and members of Awakening Councils, groups made up largely of former insurgents, opened checkpoints to monitor people entering the neighborhood. Resurrecting this area and breathing life back into the cafes and book stores here has long been a pet project for the Iraqi leadership.
The View from Baghdad's Mutanabi Street (NRP, 10/13/2003)
Anguish in the Ruins of Mutanabi Street: In Baghdad's Literary District, Mourning Loved Ones and a Once-Unifying Place. (Washington Post, 3/10/2007)
In Pictures: Bookselling in Baghdad (BBC worldservice.com)
Link to December 19 Green Bay Post Gazette article, "Brown County library's next chapter in works".
The library, built in 1972 for $3.3 million, is at "a pivotal point," Library Director Lynn Stainbrook said. She wants to try to update its infrastructure and is eager to add amenities that will make it more user-friendly.
"The people of this county have gotten their money's worth from this library," said Stainbrook, who has been on the job since February.
- Radio Frequency Identification system that would reduce staff handling hours because it scans books as customers take them out and return them.
- A drive-up window where library users can pick up and drop off books.
- A café atmosphere with vending machines.
- The addition of as many as 26,000 books.
- Better signage to direct users to different parts of the library.
- A more obvious entrance to the children's section.
- Better lighting.
- More comfortable seating areas.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Link to December 17 New York Times article, "Psychiatrists Revising the Book of Human Troubles".
The process has become such a contentious social and scientific exercise that for the first time the book’s publisher, the American Psychiatric Association, has required its contributors to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
The debate is particularly intense because the manual is both a medical guidebook and a cultural institution. It helps doctors make a diagnosis and provides insurance companies with diagnostic codes without which the insurers will not reimburse patients’ claims for treatment.
American Psychiatric Association links.
"DSM-V: the future manual".
"A Research Agenda for DSM-V".
PsychCentral. DSM-V: Transparency or Secrecy?
American Journal of Psychiatry editorial. Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction.
OK, Paul. Enough!
The Ernestine-approved, tasteful cover of the American edition.
Link to December 17 New York Times article, " Revising ‘Sex’ for the 21st Century".
New topics include Viagra and Internet pornography, though not, I assume, in the same chapter.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Excerpt: Terrence Wall said he if offering "a library of the future" and that is he ready to move forward. (But perhaps not until after he reconsiders the library's name. This building would be located on the site of the current library -- W. Mifflin and Fairchild. Brief description: 380,000-square-foot, mixed-use building to include retail space, parking, and hotel or office space.)Excerpt: Fiore executive vice president Bill Kunkler said their proposal will be a symbol for the city. "This is a library as a library should be." (This is the West Washington/Henry Street location, two blocks west of the Capitol. Brief description of proposal: 6-story, 104,900-square-foot, free-standing glass and stone structure.)
My druthers? I have to go with the free-standing (Fiore) design. Why? A red flag was raised when I read the following in a June 5 Cap Times article, "New library has been on city's mind for years." This spring, local developer Terrence Wall proposed tearing down the downtown library in the 200 block of West Mifflin Street and replacing it with a nine-story, $45 million building. That development would house a new and bigger library, several floors of private office space and retail on the ground floor. (My emphasis.)
You have to admit, though, that both are stunning designs.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Link to pcmag.com 12/2 post, "The Fastest ISPs in America—and Where You Live".
(You'll need to register to access the tables.)
Based on my recent experience, Pennsylvania's #3 ranking was not enhanced by the molasses-slow access I experienced in Warren.
In a December 13 Baraboo News Republic article about this ranking, State Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) is quoted as saying, "I think those studies are interesting, but I don't even need to look at them. When I get 20 e-mails a day from people unhappy with their service, it tells me in a more qualitative sense what's wrong."
As a result of this constituent concern, Sen. Schultz is promoting a Universal Broadband for a Rural Region (UBER) campaign. If this is an issue of major concern to you, please consider signing up as a supporter. (You don't have to be a constituent of Schultz's to do so.)
Monday, December 15, 2008
Link to December 15 MaximumPC post.
The survey, which was commissioned by Intel, pinged 2,119 adults in an attempt to show how essential the internet has become, the Wall Street Journal reports. What Intel found is that 46 percent of women would rather put their sex drive on hold for two weeks than to go without internet access for that long. And it's not just older females who feel that way. According to the survey, 49 percent of women aged 18-34 feel the same way, compared to 52 percent of women aged 35-44.
Wisconsin's projected budget deficit is actually a large but manageable $1.25 billion -- not the frightening $5.4 billion that has caused consternation at the Capitol and around the state.
That conclusion offers a useful, attitude-adjusting way for Gov. Jim Doyle, state lawmakers and taxpayers to approach the 2009-2011 budget.
Granted, the $5.4 billion figure Doyle revealed last month is accurate -- but only if you agree that lawmakers should follow through with all the spending increases expected.
If you say, "Stop! Let's freeze spending at current levels," the deficit shrinks to $1.25 billion, according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.
Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance analysis found here.
The remnant of that contract was on Kristi Chlebowski's desk Thursday in the register of deeds office in the City-County Building. It is one of 4 million documents the staff and a Michigan imaging company are diligently digitizing in an effort to stem the tide and effect of time on a process of deterioration, neglect and lack of proper storage.
The total "back-scanning," the first in a Wisconsin register of deeds office, may take up to a year and will cost at least $400,000. And that's a savings, predicted Chlebowski, who with little notice is dragging her office and its ephemera collection away from the onion skin paper, microfiche and microfilm dating to the 1830s, into the BlackBerry days of the 21st century.
• Dane County Register of Deeds
• The Dane County Historical Society
• Vital records available at the Wisconsin Historical Society
Link to December 15 Kenosha News article.
The author of “The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches,” Yeager visited Kenosha recently for a book reading and discussion at Southwest Library.
A retired manager of non-profit organizations in the Washington, D.C., area, the 50-year-old Yeager’s cheapskate ethos isn’t just about pinching pennies. He believes Americans would be happier, their quality of life would increase, if they’d only spend less.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Link to December 14 Pew Internet Research post, "Future of the Internet III: How the Experts See It".
Summary of the findings.
- The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the internet for most people in the world in 2020.
- The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness.
- Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.
- Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing "arms race," with the "crackers" who will find ways to copy and share content without payment.
- The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.
- "Next-generation" engineering of the network to improve the current internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch.
The Selection and Placement of Stories on this Page are a Reflection of the Editorial Judgment of Google Staff
Sometimes a book, or an idea, can be obscure and widely influential at the same time. That’s the case with “Ecotopia,” a 1970s cult novel, originally self-published by its author, Ernest Callenbach, that has seeped into the American groundwater without becoming well known.
The novel, now being rediscovered, speaks to our ecological present: in the flush of a financial crisis, the Pacific Northwest secedes from the United States, and its citizens establish a sustainable economy, a cross between Scandinavian socialism and Northern California back-to-the-landism, with the custom — years before the environmental writer Michael Pollan began his campaign — to eat local.
The rediscovery of this book seems to be slow in coming to Wisconsin. Current status in LINKcat: 3 copies, of which 1 is checked out, 1 is damaged, 1 is "in library", perhaps waiting to be placed in delivery for the 1 hold that's been placed on it.
"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries."
Link to December 13 New York Times article, "Bad Times Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches".
(The main headline in the print edition: "An Evangelical Article of Faith".)
The sudden crush of worshipers packing the small evangelical Shelter Rock Church in Manhasset, N.Y. — a Long Island hamlet of yacht clubs and hedge fund managers — forced the pastor to set up an overflow room with closed-circuit TV and 100 folding chairs, which have been filled for six Sundays straight.
In Seattle, the Mars Hill Church, one of the fastest-growing evangelical churches in the country, grew to 7,000 members this fall, up 1,000 in a year. At the Life Christian Church in West Orange, N.J., prayer requests have doubled — almost all of them aimed at getting or keeping jobs.
Part of the evangelicals’ new excitement is rooted in a communal belief that the big Christian revivals of the 19th century, known as the second and third Great Awakenings, were touched off by economic panics. Historians of religion do not buy it, but the notion “has always lived in the lore of evangelism,” said Tony Carnes, a sociologist who studies religion.
A study last year may lend some credence to the legend. In “Praying for Recession: The Business Cycle and Protestant Religiosity in the United States,” David Beckworth, an assistant professor of economics at Texas State University, looked at long-established trend lines showing the growth of evangelical congregations and the decline of mainline churches and found a more telling detail: During each recession cycle between 1968 and 2004, the rate of growth in evangelical churches jumped by 50 percent. By comparison, mainline Protestant churches continued their decline during recessions, though a bit more slowly.
(Here's a cautionary reaction to the Times article from blogger Bruce Smith.)
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Marathon County Public Library Director Phyllis Christensen said the number of items checked out though October of this year -- about 800,000 -- was up 7 percent from the same time period in 2007.
The T.B. Scott Free Library in Merrill, meanwhile, has seen increased use of its computers, said Stacy Stevens, assistant director.
Both officials credited the increases to a combination of the economic recession and improved services.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Link to Pew Research Center's The Daily Number.
As the audiences for traditional news sources declines, and online news has surged, many Americans, called Integrators (23%), are mixing old and new sources of media for their news. This sizable minority which gets news from both traditional sources and the internet, is typically a more engaged, sophisticated and a demographically sought-after audience. Net-Newsers (13%) are similar, but principally turn to the web for news, and largely eschew traditional sources. However the largest and oldest (median age: 52) segment of Americans remains Traditionalists (46%),who rarely go online for news. Another 14%, the Disengaged, stand out for their low levels of interest in news and news consumption.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Direct link to Department of Public Instruction budget. (Library items found in "Administrative and Other Funding" section, starting on page 150.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
It's hard to imagine, but the computer mouse celebrates its 40th birthday today, making the rodent susceptible to premature over the hill jokes. The one-button wooden mouse, which was built by Bill English, was first used by Douglas Engelbart on this day 40 years ago in a demonstration at the Fall Joint Computer Conference (FJCC). Dr. Engelbart showed how the new input device could be used to clip text files, copy and paste, and how it could come in handy on computer networks.
In addition to my list of 11, I'll let you know if I find a 1001 Books year in which I have a respectable track record.