Thursday, July 27, 2006

Possibly, my definition of "interesting" has changed. I haven't written about interesting library happenings lately, and it may be because I have tightened my definition. The very sharp nine or ten year old girl who spent an hour or more with us yesterday morning should count. She wore her new keytag card with her house key on a lanyard around her neck; she asked great questions and learned from what I showed her about finding books.

One of my so-called Conspiracy Theory Guys has signed up for an Excel class and keeps wearing a Nanci Griffith concert shirt, so I may have to rename him and/or strike up a conversation about Nanci. Furthermore, he never tries to launch the Internets from an OPAC any more. Maybe I am not changing, the patrons are??

Mr. You Have a Name showed up the other night. Did I mention that, like Ford Prefect, he not only doesn't blink enough, but "his skin seem[s] to be pulled backward from his nose," too? This week, he urged me to walk the shelves and count how many books were about murder and mayhem, because I'd see that it's a majority. I talked about balancing the collection, and for once was glad that our reader's advisory bookmarks are by the other end of the floor, because that way we could move closer to the door and wind up the conversation. I think he took "gentle reads."

We've been struggling with noise at our branch. We've had people complain about being shushed, and we've had people complain that it's too loud and the staff never does anything. (You recall of course "Bart the Genius" defining a paradox? If not click the title and ctrl-F "paradox.")

Maybe I do live in interesting times, after all. Maybe I have been too lazy to write about it.

Capital City weather: hot and hazy

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

World eBook Fair offers free eBooks until August 4.

CHPL offers free eBooks year-round; Richmond, Chesterfield, and Pamunkey Regional do not have eBook collections.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Keeping My Cool

To the list of "museum pieces" in the house, add my penguin ice bucket. They're ubiquitous, so it was bound to happen sometime. Placing one in a room setting would be a great way for the curator to evoke Every Home, 1940-1960.

In fact, the one I spotted last week appears in the Virginia Historical Society's new exhibition, Virginians at Work, which presents the diversity of both work places and goods made in Virginia. A amoeboid panel gives a few paragraphs on the history of Best Products, displays a handful of pages from a 1950s catalog, and tacks on a few samples of the goods: a toaster, a blender, the ice bucket. Having sold a couple at Urquhart's in the last year, and the piece being displayed on a clear plexi shelf, I looked at the bottom of it, to see if there was a recent accession number -- if maybe it was "mine" in an odd way. The VHS did buy it recently, but not from me: the price tag read $45.00!! I've seen dealers at our mall ask 30 or so, but I never ask more than 22 or so for one with dark handles.

At the opening reception for the new exhibition, we also enjoyed chatting with a man about Shockoe Creek and the Church Hill train tunnel, drinking the "175" punch, and being just about the youngest people in the place.

Capital City weather: high 80s, not too humid

Monday, July 17, 2006

I just missed seeing some friends and acquaintances in D.C., where I was on Friday. My visit to the American Indian Museum was too short, and was characterized by lunch, mostly. [Disclaimer: I was not with P.] Here's a pretty good article on the Virginia Indians headed to England from the T-D. They left after participating in activities at the museum.

Here in Capital City, we've entered the Dog Days of Summer with temperatures way in the 90s, and a bleak marquee at the Byrd: "Mission Impossible III."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


At closing time yesterday, my esteemed colleague noted, "You don't want to start off not believing them, but it goes faster if you do."

Capital City weather: hot, hazy

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

From the Internets

A view of the Tourinn! Rather smaller than I imagined.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Two for One

"It's a banner and it's a flag!" I can hear the owner-to-be gasp when she spotted in the shop. She just loves having a banner for each season perched by her door, and what could be more perfect for patriotic occasions than a banner with a picture of a United States flag? No need to go to the trouble of finding an actual, official U.S. flag -- just get a banner! On the banner, Old Glory seems to drape gracefully from an angled pole (with just a ball on top or an actual eagle?), with a fancy bit of yellow tassel winding down it. Now that's class.

On the Muzak at the East End Ukrop's: B-52s "Roam"
Capital City Weather: 80s, low humidity, mostly sunny

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Commercial Interruption

For a number of years, Robert Vaughn ("of Teenage Cave Man fame," says P) has been the actor-portrayal face of local lawfirm Marks & Harrison. He's familiar without being a Character (to most of us); he's serious and trustworthy. Imagine my surprise -- the madness of it! -- when I found that the attorneys are now being represented by William Shatner. Alas, the technology at CCD doesn't allow me to grab it off the air and YouTube doesn't yet have it. Let's all keep an eye out!
Everybody Talks About the Weather. . . Dept.

It's not that hot . . . yet: a nice rant by Greg Weatherford, who I still kinda think of as D's drummer.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Another Reason to Dislike Wal-Mart

From "Watching the Waterfront," by William Finnegan, in The New Yorker, June 19, 2006:

The largest American importer by far is Wal-Mart. Last year, it brought seven hundred thousand container units through the green lane into the country [green lane ships are much less like to be stopped and searched by port authorities]. The rise of the big-box retailers, with their global network of suppliers, has caused a shift in power in the international shipping business away from the steamship lines and terminal operators, and towards the importers. What is more, companies like Wal-Mart have been actively working against stronger port- and container-security laws since shortly after the September 11th terror attacks.

We can buy insanely inexpensive goods made a world away because of cheap labor, the efficiency of container shipping-trucking, and because big-box stores don't have to wait around to be inspected. I don't feel good about that on any level. Except, I guess, when I need some insanely cheap goods.