Bibliofuture's blog

Books and Prisons

I have been selling books online. Recently I have had two orders that have gone to prisons and I have had problems with each order. One book went to a federal prison in Louisiana. Two weeks after I mailed the book I recieved the book back from the post office. There was a sticker on the package that books could only be sent by bookstores and direct from publishers. On the first package I had only included my return address but not the name of my store. I have a batch of return labels that is only big enough for my street address, city, and state. I mailed the package and so far have not recieved that one back so hopefully the person recieved it.
The second book I mailed went to a county jail in Oregon. I recieved that book back with a sticker on it that the book was not an approved item. On that package I used my name on the return address but not the bookstore name. I am wondering if I had to have the bookstore name on to get the book through.
I wish the prisons would have just opened the packages and inspected the contents and then passed them on to the inmate. I am sure there are privacy rules but they could have done things this way. Prison to inmate: "We recieved a package that we think is a book but the package does not meet our labeling rules. We are going to mail the package back unless you let us open it."

I understand the need for security but prisons should do what they can to help get books into the prisons. A prisoner that is reading is a prisoner that is not causing trouble.

Plutarch Quotes

Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.

--Plutarch

To find a fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.

--Plutarch

Learn to be pleased with everything; with wealth, so far as it makes us beneficial to others; with poverty, for not having much to care for; and with obscurity, for being unenvied.

--Plutarch

Quote

I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.
- Franklin P. Adams

ISBN oddity?

I purchased a copy of The Da Vinci Code at a book sale to resell online. On the title page of the book is this ISBN 0385504209. The book is a trade edition size paperback but the ISBN on Amazon links to the hardcover edition of the book. Printed on the back of the book is a price barcode and an ISBN. This is not a sticker put on by the store but it is a printed part of the back cover. The barcode has a barcode number and at the top of the barcode it says ISBN and list this number 0965707202. Run this ISBN at Amazon and see what you get. This is not a joke the ISBN I listed is the one that is on the back of the book. I ran the ISBN at BN.com and is also goes to the same wrong book. Run the search, the book that is retrieved will give you a laugh. Anybody heard of this happening before?

Cliff Stoll Quote

I found this Cliff Stoll Quote.Why is it drug addicts and computer afficionados are both called users?Cliff Stolls claim to fame was catching a german hacker as detailed in the book The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage. He also wrote the books Silicon Snake Oil : Second Thoughts on the Information Highway and High-Tech Heretic : Reflections of a Computer Contrarian In my opinion the Cuckoos Egg is a must read.

50 State Quarters

Here is a link to a little project I have been working on at night that deals with the US Mints 50 State Quarters program. If anyone has any book suggestions I would be happy to hear them.

Ebert

I think I like Roger Ebert so much because you can learn from his reviews. I think a good movie maker could do worse then reading all the reviews of Roger Ebert and taking some of the advice contained in them.
Here is a line that I liked from Ebert's review on the "Revenge of the Sith". special effects should be judged not by their complexity but by the degree that they stimulate the imagination
Full review here.

Is Walmart Good for America

Frontline ran a story called "Is Walmart Good for America". They also created a webpage that has some detailed information. The page does a good job of giving opposing viewpoints. In the section about "The China Connection" there is discussion from both sides.

One Nation Under Law

Book: One Nation Under Law
Book Description

If asked, most Americans would probably point to the First Amendment as the legal basis for the separation of church and state. As Mark Douglas McGarvie shows in this fascinating new book, however, they would be wrong. It is the Constitution’s “commerce clause�—article 1, section 10—which separates church and state by protecting contracted private arrangements from government interference. Americans in the early republic, McGarvie writes, “reconceived of churches as private, voluntary associations, legally recognized as private, not public, corporations.�

Drawing on a range of materials, McGarvie examines the disestablishment of religion that followed this legal change, a process that meant not only eliminating public support for religion but also stripping churches of their traditional role as public service providers. Focusing on three key states, New York, South Carolina, and New Hampshire, McGarvie reveals that disestablishment produced a sharp conflict between two competing worldviews; one informed by evangelical Christianity and the other by Enlightenment humanism, inspiring a “culture war� still raging today.

“This conflict emanated� he writes, “from different conceptions of God as well as of man.� If man is weak and inclined to evil, as the devout believe, then strict institutions must preserve public order against man’s tendency to sin, teaching God’s law as a moral absolute. If man is rational, reasonable, and free, however, then the law need only secure liberty by protecting individual rights.

Through his close study of this heated debate from its eighteenth century roots through to contemporary fights over “faith-based� initiatives, McGarvie has made a tremendous contribution to the study of American law, politics, and religion.

Freakonomics

Interesting book discussion in the NYT about the book Freakonomics.

Sith Reading

With the movie coming out some libraries might consider making this book available. A little Star Wars analysis.
A Galaxy Not So Far Away: Writers and Artists on Twenty-five Years of Star Wars

The Pickup Artist

People interested in intellectual property might find this book fun. Other people might find it fun also.
The Pickup Artist
As a pickup artist, Hank Shapiro has the responsibility of confiscating works of art slated for elimination to make room for works by new artists. When he succumbs to the urge to listen one more time to a forbidden Hank Williams song, he becomes a fugitive and discovers a strange underground organization dedicated to saving the past.

ebooks???

With technology like this coming on the market it suprises me that ebook readers have not made better inroads. Clearly the technology is there. We just have to wait for the law and people to catch up.
What do people think of the "Pepper Pad?" (Link above)

Paperback Swap

I found a cool website called http://www.paperbackswap.com The idea behind the site is that you post your paperbacks on the site. If another member wants the paperback you send it to them and you receive a credit. Your credit then allows you to request a book from someone else. I listed a stack of good paperbacks that I own. For listing nine books you receive three credits.

Magic Camera

Several years ago I read a story at Wired.com about a man that accidently dropped his digital camera into a lake and after it dried out it took really neat pictures. The original article I read is still on Wired. I recently found that there is a book that compiles some photos taken with the camera. The book is called Mr Eaves And His Magic Camera.

Publish America

I found one Publish America book that is getting very good reviews. I looked on WorldCat and found that three libraries have the item. Two are in Louisiana and one is in California. I believe the author lives in Louisiana. Somehow the California library discovered the book and decided to add it to their collection. Is your library doing anything to discover books that are not published by the tradional publishers and maybe even buying from a publisher like "Publish America." Although it is basically a vanity press shouldn't libraries be taking steps to find the great books no matter their source?
There was a story in LISNEWS awhile ago about a book that a bus driver at the University of Nebraska had written. I would have thought that some students at the University would have purchased his book after they saw it in the student newspaper but the book continues to have no ranking at Amazon. It is my understanding that a book only has to sell one copy to get a ranking at Amazon. This book was a PublishAmerica book also. Amazon sales rank and reviews would be one way to discover intersting books.

Google Maps

Using the satellite feature in Google maps I was scrolling around Bellevue, Nebraske. Just to the west of Offutt AFB a famer wrote a message in his farm field. The message was captured by the satellite images. Here is a second image that is from a higher vantage point so you can see the runway and the message in the field. I would reccomend that you look at the image I linked to first before you look at the bigger image so that you can see what you are looking for.

This I Believe

NPR has been replaying selected broadcasts of "This I Believe" and has also created some new episodes. "This I Believe" was a series done by Edward R. Murrow in the 1950's that asked numerous people to share their most fundamental and closely held beliefs. One of my favorites is by Robert Heinlein. NPR does not have this essay but it is at the website of the Heinlein Society. Heinlein read it on the Murrow program and his wife read it when she accepted on his behalf NASA's Distinguished Public Service Medal on October 6, 1988, awarded him posthumously.

On Bullsh*t

This book is ranked #47 on Amazon. On BullshitDescription of book from publisher: One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, "we have no theory."

Frankfurt, one of the world's most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.

Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

Book Reviews

I was reading the reviews on Amazon of the book "Friday" that was written by Robert Heinlein. The main character in the book is a courier for a secret organization. She is captured in the first part of the book and her captors use rape as an interrogation method. Several of the people that reviewed the book mention the rape scene.For example:Twenty pages into the novel she tells us that gang-rape comes with the dangerous territory of being a courier(!), so she might as well enjoy it as much as possible (?!?!).The treatment of the rape is insulting. Not only does she feel totally fine about it (even marrying one of her rapists later) but then she cries when she gets lost in the woods or when she BURNED POTATOES. At that point I threw the novel around the room a few times and swore not to read anymore, but it was about 200 pages in, so...
I don't believe the book truly suggest that she enjoys the rape. My take on this section of the book is that as a trained intelligence agent she is attempting to manipulate her captors. But read the section and see what you think.Here is the rape scene from the book
But why waste time by raping me? This whole operation had amateurish touches. No professional group uses either beating or rape before interrogation today; there is no profit in it; any professional is trained to cope with either or both. For rape she (or he-I hear it's worse for males) can either detach the mind and wait for it to be over, or (advanced training) emulate the ancient Chinese adage.

Or, in place of method A or B, or combined with B if the agent's histrionic ability is up to it, the victim can treat rape as an opportunity to gain an edge over her captors. I'm no great shakes as an actress but I try and, while it has never enabled me to turn the tables on unfriendlies, at least once it kept me alive.

This time method C did not affect the outcome but did cause a little healthy dissension. Four of them (my estimate from touch and body odors) had me in one of the upstairs bedrooms. It may have been my own room but I could not be certain as I had been unconscious for a while and was now dressed (solely) in adhesive tape over my eyes. They had me on a mattress on the floor, a gang bang with minor sadism. . . which I ignored, being very busy with method C.

In my mind I called them "Straw Boss" (seemed to be in charge), "Rocks" (they called him that-rocks in his head, probably), "Shorty" (take that either way), and "the other one" as he did not have distinctive characteristics.

I worked on all of them-method acting, of course-reluctant, have to be forced, then gradually your passion overcomes you; you just can't help yourself. Any man will believe that routine; they are suckers for it-but I worked especially hard on Straw Boss as I hoped to achieve the status of teacher's pet or some such. Straw Boss wasn't so bad; methods B and C combined nicely.

But I worked hardest on Rocks because with him it had to be C combined with A; his breath was so foul. He wasn't too clean in other ways, too; it took great effort to ignore it and make my responses flattering to his macho ego.

After he became flaccid he said, "Mac, we're wasting our time. This slut enjoys it."
"So get out of the way and give the kid another chance. He's ready."
"Not yet. I'm going to slap her around, make her take us seriously." He let me have a big one, left side of my face. I yelped.
"Cut that out!" -Straw Boss's voice.
"Who says so? Mac, you're getting too big for your britches."
"I say so." It was a new voice, very loud-amplified-from the sound-system speaker in the ceiling, no doubt. "Rocky, Mac is your squad leader, you know that. Mac, send Rocky to me; I want a word with him."
"Major, I was just trying to help!"
"You heard the man, Rocks," Straw Boss said quietly. "Grab your pants and get moving."
Suddenly the man's weight was no longer on me and his stinking breath was no longer in my face. Happiness is relative.
The voice in the ceiling spoke again: "Mac, is it true that Miss Friday simply enjoys the little ceremony we arranged for her?"
"It's possible, Major," Straw Boss said slowly. "She does act like it."
"How about it, Friday? Is this the way you get your kicks?"
I didn't answer his question. Instead I discussed him and his family in detail, with especial attention to his mother and sister. If I had told him the truth-that Straw Boss would be rather pleasant under other circumstances, that Shorty and the other man did not matter one way or the other, but that Rocks was an utter slob whom I would cancel at the first opportunity-it would have blown method C.

"The same to you, sweetie," the voice answered cheerfully. "I hate to disappoint you but I'm a crèche baby. Not even a wife, much less a mother or a sister. Mac, put the cuffs on her and throw a blanket over her. But don't give her a shot; I'll be talking to her later."

Amateur. My boss would never have alerted a prisoner to expect interrogation.
"Hey, crèche baby!"
"Yes, dear?"
I accused him of a vice not requiring a mother or a sister but anatomically possible-so I am told-for some males. The voice answered, "Every night, hon. It's very soothing."
So mark one up for the Major. I decided that, with training, he could have been a pro. Nevertheless he was a bloody amateur and I didn't respect him. He had wasted one, maybe two, of his ables, caused me unnecessarily to suffer bruises, contusions, and multiple personal indignities-even heartbreaking ones had I been an untrained female-and had wasted two hours or more. If my boss had been doing it, the prisoner would have spilled his/her guts at once and spent those two hours spouting her fullest memoirs into a recorder.

So after reading the section and for those of you that have read the whole book what do you think? I don't think that this section indicates that she enjoyed the rape but was attempting to manipulate her captors.
Opposing viewpoints?

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