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Prisoners of Hate by Aaron T. Beck - A recommendation

I've been meaning to suggest the book Prisoners of Hate: The congnitive basis of anger, hostility, and violence by Aaron T. Beck for some time now. If you click on the Barnes & Noble link above, you will be able to read some professional book reviews. I found it to be a convincing and engaging read -- though better in the diagnosis of problems than in their solution.

The scope of this book is vast and almost beyond summarizing -- finding a common thread between barroom brawls, domestic violence, terrorism and war. Along the way, it answers the question asked by so many -- why can't the people who hurt me see that I AM RIGHT AND THEY ARE WRONG?

Here is the table of contents for the book, which gives you a flavor of what Dr. Beck argues:

ch 1 The Prison of Hate: How Egosism and Ideology Hijack the Mind

ch 2 The Eye ("I") of the Storm: The Egocentric Bias

ch 3 From Hurt to Hate: The Vulnerable Self-image

ch 4 Let Me Count the Ways You've Wronged Me

ch 5 Primal Thinking: Cognitive Errors and Distortions

ch 6 Formula for Anger: Rights, Wrongs, and Retaliation

ch 7 Intimate Enemies: The Transformation of Love and Hate

ch 8 Individual Violence: The Psychology of the Offender

ch 9 Collective Illusions: Group Prejudice and Violence

ch 10 Persecution and Genocide: Creating Monsters and Demons

ch 11 Images and Misperceptions in War: The Deadly Construction of the ENEMY

ch 12 The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Attachment, Altruism, and Cooperation

ch 13 Cognitive Therapy for Individuals and Groups

ch 14 Perspectives and Prospects: Applying Cognitive Approaches to the Problems of Society

The chapters dealing with war and genocide warn that assuming that all of the good is vested in your group and that all of the evil is vested in the other side only leads to tradegy. He doesn't pretend that people never mean harm, only that retaliation will never lead to peace, but will only strengthen BOTH SIDES feelings that they are ABSOLUTELY right and the other side is ABSOLUTELY wrong. They will then redouble their efforts to eliminate the hopeless evil other.

As we gaze across the globe, this message seems true to me. It's put into the terms of cognitive psychology, but it represents thought I believe that Christ and Gandhi would have recognized and endorsed. It's worth a read.

Job update

Got my "thanks, but no thanks" letter yesterday for the academic position. A disappointment to be sure, but hey, I've got a job, so it's not disastrous. I went out with my mentee last night to drown sorrows in margaritas and guacamole. He's waiting to hear about library school, so hopefully we'll be able to celebrate good news soon.

Yesterday was just one of those not-very-good days. The closing on my refinance went awry, and had to be rescheduled, got the bad news letter, and was woken up at 3 a.m. to hear oldest daughter say, "I'm barfing!" And, boy was she! It was a very impressive spew--pretty much everywhere but the toilet. So I was up swabbing the deck (and the sink and the floor and the bathtub and the wall) till after 3:30. She seems fine and perky this morning. I will try to be fine and perky as well.

donations

Yesterday we got an offer for a donated computer. I'd earlier had a talk with the assistant director and we discussed no longer taking donation computers... because technically, well, they're old computers that people don't want any more. We've got snowbanks of them. I haven't seen so many 486s since... well, 1994.

The lady was nice, and I was gracious, but I prickled a little when she said, "Well, what do I do with it?" It became a little suspect then that perhaps she was just trying to skirt her way out of paying the $20 to have the DPW haul it away.

Speaking of which, I hope DPW gives sister government organizations a break when hauling away old equipment. As I said, we've got snowdrifts of it. Some nice person at one point or another dropped off an IBM Aptiva (circa 1995) and the instruction manuals. I wish people would drop off their driver disks, too. It does make making the printer work a little bit easier.

I stuck an uber stick of memory in the Dell at the circ desk, hoping that it would ward off the crashes. It seems to have. I found my new favorite thing, too: upgrading memory.

There's nothing like seeing:

System memory has changed

in your BIOS splash screen.

I have a dead librarian project. I have to look up some information on a past librarian at our library. She began her career in 1921. This should be interesting.

The girl who cheesed off the cataloger came in today. She asked for the same old book. It was due in today, but had not yet been returned. Alas, the second copy of the book was not yet out of processing.

I really hope the book is returned on time.

How hard is it to turn off your cell phone in a library? Personally, if my cell went off in a library, or theatre, or any place like that, I'd be mortified. I'd not take it out and start talking loudly. And then, when the reference librarian and then the reference librarian's supervisor came out to speak to me about it, I sure wouldn't be surly about the whole thing. Is library use a right or a privilege?

I personally think it's a privilege, but I think it falls victim to the "this message board can't ban me because of my right to freedom of speech!" way of thinking. It's similar to people that think they can behave any way they want in a retail establishment. Of course not. There are rules. We might be a public building, but you can't walk barefoot into City Hall without getting thrown out. You pay taxes, sure. But there are still rules.

Udder Nonsense

Do not, may I repeat, do not read the following if you:

  • are an avid animal lover
  • only eat cheese pizza
  • are a literary critic
  • can't stomach sloppy eaters
  • would rather talk about that Patriot Act thing.

    Just a modest offer to introduce a little humor."Little" perhaps the operative word.

    FWIW I regularly scoop up little spiders and such around the house and free them in our backyard.
    (Probably only to be eaten by a bigger bug ; ) )

  • Harry Potter for the Ancient Greeks

    I didn't think that this would work as an article but thought all Lisnews-ers would like to see this.

    Hopefully, this will help make classical education seem a little less stuffy.

    Friends and Foes and Such

    I just posted this as a comment elsewhere, and I'll just drop it in here as well, it might be helpful to other LISNewsterz as well.

    You set your relationship with other LISNewsterz by clicking the the little face icons (, , ) that appear next to their name wherever they may have left a comment, or on their user page.

    If someone makes you a friend, they are now your fan. If you make someone a friend, then you are now a fan. Your Amigos Page lets you look at all your friends journals. Setting friends and foes also gives you more options on your Messages and Comments pages, where you can choose to highlight, or ignore, things based on relationships.

    Good stuff to kill some time.

    contemporary social issues

    I need to compile a book on vague questions. Like: Do you have any books on contemporary social issues? I have to say, the reference librarian before me put it nicely... "There are a lot of issues. Any one in particular?"

    I still am new enough to get the deer in the headlights syndrome. I can't answer smoothly right away. I think, "Contemporary social issues? How contemporary? Jeez, I could use a drink right about now. Where did my other sock go? Maybe all our contemporary books have been taken out."

    I will only go to local history in the morning, when the sun is out. Otherwise the old building is just too dark and scary. I did find some great information about Harriet Robinson, woman's suffrage champion of Malden, and her appendage of a husband, William. I don't mean appendage in a bad way, he's just certainly not mentioned everywhere like she is. I think he was pretty successful in his own right. I do hope the lady that requested the information springs the ten smackers or whatever we're going to charge for it (we haven't decided how much my time was worth). It was certainly fascinating. I found all this neat stuff, now I want to unite someone with it. Ah, the joys of being a librarian.

    It was a long day and I trounced someone for saying the Mac was buggy. Sure it is. If you had people pounding on you for twelve hours a day you'd be buggy too. I said, "They take a lot of abuse. No, ma'am, you don't understand, a lot of abuse."

    Linux would be perfect for my public access terminal, but for one thing: I can't get the Opera plugins to work when I'm in my Opera only mode. It troubles me. Flash doesn't trouble me too much, but pdf really bothers me. So it's off to LinuxQuestions.org to ask the smart Linux guys what they think is wrong.

    Dumb question...

    How do you "fan" people? I can see how to friend people but what is this "fan" thing??

    Stupid faculty tricks

    Our faculty photocopier is down *again* and has been down for almost a week, which means that the faculty come to the library to do their photocopying. I've noticed an alarming trend with these people--they come in through the door, stand in front of my desk, and shake a piece of paper at me.
    Naturally this confused me. Why was this person shaking paper at me? Have they perhaps lost the power of speech, or forgotten what it is they are even doing on campus? So I ask them in my most polite, friendly voice, "Did you happen to need some copies of that? I'm not really sure what it means when someone shakes a piece of paper at me."
    This seems to get most of the offenders to actually act like human beings, or maybe treat me like one...
    Come on, photocopier repair guy! We need to get these dang faculty out of our hair!!!

    With Friends Like These--Marian the L. in bed with the FBI

    The background: Last week, our city's Human Relations Commission passed a resolution speaking against the Patriot Act. Many folks in the community were pleased that this happened.

    This morning: On the editorial page of the local paper, The Pantagraph is a political cartoon. Since it is not online, let me describe it in detail, since it's awful on so many levels. There is a librarian seated at a reference desk. You know she's a librarian because she's like a fat, old Marian, complete with bun, pince nez and starched white, high-necked shirt. In front of the reference desk is a little kid with an American flag sticking out of her/his back pocket. S/he is checking out a book. The librarian is on the phone, the "Patriot Act Hotline" no less, whispering "We got a live one." The kicker is that the sign on the front of the desk has our library's name on it. It's partially blocked by the little kid, but there's no mistaking what it says.

    Okay...the intent was probably to throw support to the resolution, but man, oh, man is this just plain thoughtless at the very least, and a huge blow to the trust we've built up with our patrons. Never mind what you think about the USA PAT--those who struggle with irony or satire are going to go through the roof with this, and we're anticipating a barrage of questions and concerned patrons. Then there's the whole stereotype thing. Unfortunately, the cartoon is not available online. Hope to have a scanned copy of it later today, though.

    The paper has, overall, been very supportive of library issues, but this just boggles the mind.

    Be nice to the cataloger

    Dear Public,

    Be nice to the cataloger, for she ultimately decides when you will see your book.

    --The Library

    Today is customarily local history day. What with the vacation going on this week and the kind of cold, nasty, overcast weather, I don't know what the turn out will be. There was a gentleman last week who promised to come back this week. Nice guy, young, looking for a history on his house for whatever reason. Honestly, there's not much we can help him with there. I was hoping for a good ghost story or something out of it, but his house is like the many others here, and not documented.

    I am figuring I won't be in local history alone, or I'll not be there at all and just be in reference.

    I found a good way to at least semi lockdown Opera... I can get into menu_standard.ini and do some alterations there, and at least remove entirely the temptation if not the ability to make changes. Not the easiest thing to find, and I spent a little too long last night playing with it.

    To save time today, I saved the preliminary experimental ini file I made last night to disk to use at work today when setting up the internet terminal. I'd like to have that baby fired up today or tomorrow.

    It's a nice even keel on school vacation week. There isn't the influx of kids that we get on school days at 2:30. There's kind of a nice regular steady stream of them. A couple come in here and there looking for trouble, but seeing little, they leave.

    I have noticed more people coming in here and there asking, "Do you have books?" Um. What do you say to that? I mean, what do say to that and not get slapped?

    Digitization confusion

    Somewhere there's a digitization project in the works. I really don't know using what or when yet but I know who, so I guess that's something.

    The way it's going to work (tenatively) is that the selected members of our special collections will create records in WorldCat for whatever collections/items/etc... they choose. Then, we catalogers, will be downloading them from Worldcat into our system. In theory, we'll all get trained on entering these records into Worldcat.

    My problem with this is that none of these people are catalogers. Some have little to no understanding of what standards are (for anything, let alone metadata). The catalogers will have no quality control on these records until we go into Worldcat and download them into our ils. So, in effect, we'll be entering potentially dirty records into Worldcat for public consumption. The expectation here may be that we can rely on others to edit our records for us. I'm thinking it would behoove us to upload the cleanest records possible. IM, that's part of being a good OCLC member agency.

    Has anyone out there in the lisnews wastelands come across a situation like this? Any advice on how to handle it? Since this is still in the planning stages, I think that any input from us peons might actually get used. How have others approached digitizing a special collections? We're a public library with a budget that just went in the crapper (that's another entry) so funds are very limited. Any help/advice/rants would be appreciated.

    You're number 602 in line for the Da Vinci Code

    I got to tell a guy that today. He didn't want to wait. I do hope he realized we had more than one book. He rushed out before I could tell him.

    A gentleman got a little testy out our policy that you need a library card to use "a stupid word processor." Believe me, spend eight hours installing and configuring Linux on a machine that's been virusized -- that can no longer take a current Windows operating system -- calling any piece of machinery stupid with me is not going to fly. The library has no money for hardware, and had to fight for their systems person. We have to watch who uses it and how.

    Not that this guy looked like he was going to break anything. But when they get defensive over a library card, it's a little scary.

    Linux is beautiful. Sort of. I spent most of the day trying to get a browser to run by itself at login and look decent on the screen. I gave up on the Mozilla kiosk, which for some reason wouldn't let me use the keyboard to input anything. So we've resorted to Opera with my tweaking so that certain preferences can't be changed and bookmarks can't be saved. Now if I can figure out why it's not auto-logging in, we'll be golden.

    Konqueror, KDE's kind of silly Fisher Price looking browser, looked even sillier without a desktop around it. So I opted for Opera.

    Time to play with some source code! Well, just with the toolbars. I sort of know what I'm doing, honest.

    I spent a lot of time in the closed stacks today. I think I was feverish, and it was cooool in there. It was also dark and quiet. I discovered up in the 940s the floor looks a little weak, and I was hesistant to step in certain areas. The whole place is rather dizzying anyway.

    Now, there's some cold medicine with my name on it.

    The Joys of RPA

    I really do wish I could be back on the grounds of my MSLS program getting my work done. I had come home to preach as guest speaker at church on Sunday (the congregation did not tar and feather me, thankfully) but picked up a stomach virus while home.I am just happy that the consortial RPA is actually working decently from home allowing me the database access I need to get some work done.

    The victims and survivors ...

    Regarding the article today predicting librarianship will be extinguished by Google: Being from a long line of engineers, my nature isn't to bank on the security of anything, ever. (Think: Not FDIC insured. May lose value.) Not that I would equate librarianship with a declining stock, but as an almost-there library school student who has had to deal with these doomsday articles since the get-go, I've come to the peace that while the writer behind this Google-worship story du jour could be blamed for a number of obvious holes and faulty assertions, the skinny on it all is that nothing escapes evolution or the potential for extinction -- and that things are indeed changing at an exponentially faster rate. Not that we shouldn't worry about people being exponentially more stupid in the future -- that's a huge concern for me personally. I just think careers come and go or evolve and change to adapt to specific market forces or social conditions, etc. (Romanian libraries did not practice collection development for more than a decade.) Professions merge, or they split and become more specific -- on and on. LIS itself is much more interdisciplinary now than it was 20 years ago, and every librarian I know is very oriented toward technology and embracing new developments to reap the benefits for users; look at all the academic institutions seeking librarians who can meet the needs of students virtually. And we've got to consider this type of prediction in the context of other sectors or industries -- the physical product of a newspaper comes to mind. When I was in journalism school, I saw an old Chicago newspaper columnist be totally dismissive of the Internet and the fact that folks would be willing to read news off a screen. Well, he was almost dead then, and he is dead now. And guess what? The physical product of a news PAPER isn't going to be around much longer, but a lot of jobs from the newspaper industry have and do and will survive. Librarianship will either be a victim or a survivor depending on those in the profession, and I appreciated the comment to this article by the librarian who said this could be interpreted to mean librarians will be in greater demand than ever. That's my bet. And if I'm wrong? Well, the whole Google-worship deal reminds me of that line in "The Lost Boys" when the vampire played by Donald Sutherland's son says: "It's rice. Eat it. Twenty million Chinese people can't be wrong." In other words, if the Everyman says so, it is pretty much so. Even if the Everyman has no sense of what's being lost. Even if it goes against our better judgment. I have just accepted that I can't worry about forces outside of my control on a daily basis.

    The Trouble with Horowitz - A reply to nbruce

    Hi nbruce,

    For some reason, the system prevented me from posting the response below to your comment. So I posted it in my journal.

    ------------------
    I appreciate you holding my feet to the fire and searching his site. I should have done so first and now I have. In my original comment I said:

    "In his FrontPage Magazine, he has denounced librarians and others as traitors. If he ran a college, I'm positive there would be a lengthy list of people forbidden to step foot on his campus."

    So now I'd like to share a couple of FrontPage articles about librarians AND OTHERS listed as traitors:

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=6679

    The Fifth Column Left Declares War
    By David Horowitz
    FrontPageMagazine.com | March 17, 2003

    "We have long warned on these pages that the peace movement is not about peace, that it is a fifth column communist movement to destroy America and give victory to our totalitarian enemies."

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=7704

    --------------------
    The ALA Library: Terrorist Sanctuary
    By Paul Walfield
    FrontPageMagazine.com | May 8, 2003

    The American Library Association has signed up for battle in the War on Terrorism; unfortunately, it has signed up to fight the Bush Administration and the USA PATRIOT Act. Siding with civil libertarians against public safety is just the ALA’s most recent leftist act of political defiance. However, this is their most corrosive stance for the well-being of all Americans, undermining and sabotaging public efforts to stave off terrorism."
    ------------------
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=12157

    Stab in the Back
    By David Horowitz
    FrontPageMagazine.com | February 12, 2004

    " The Democrats’ campaign is a stab in the back not only of the President but of the nation he serves and which he is sworn to protect."

    --------------------------
    Treason, named in the first article and strongly implied in the second and third articles, is an extremely serious charge. It merits the death penalty. It implies immediate and grave harm has been done to the country.

    If Mr. Horowitz and his fellow writers TRULY believe that their opponents in the peace movement and the American Library Association are traitors to this country, then they are in effect, advocating for the imprisonment or death of those enemies. I think it's safe to say these folks would not be invited to any venue that Mr. Horowitz controlled.

    If the writers at FrontPage don't believe their opponents are traitors who want to "destroy America and give victory to our totalitarian enemies" then they should stop poisoning legitimate policy dicussions with such labels.
    ------------------

    Having said all that, I still think Mr. Horowitz should be free to make speeches on college campuses or anywhere else.

    Today's build up and knock down--still waiting

    So today, I was feeling a little down about the academic job I'm waiting to hear about. I got to work and whined to my colleague about not having heard from the university and said they'd probably invited other people for on-campus interviews. Two minutes later, the phone at the reference desk rings, and it's someone saying "Hi this is xxxxxxx from xxxxxxxx"--someone from the library and department I applied for. In the split second it took me to respond, I thought, "Wow, they're calling me back. But wait! Why are they calling me at work at night? And was this woman on the search committee? Maybe they hired me without telling me and I was late for my shift...." and on and on.

    She just wanted to know if we were registering voters. Psych! Sigh....

    Chris Ware and Keep on Keepin' on

    I'm sure that everyone else has known who Chris Ware is--I'm usually a couple of years behind the times--except with 80s music, I was right there in the thick of it.
    I buckled under The New Yorker's professional rate ($25!) and subscribed for 2004. This last week's was a double issue (February 16 & 23). There I was, on the MBTA Red Line heading to Alewife Station when I come to Chris' graphic story "The Whole Time." I don't care what you have to do--beg, borrow, photocopy, this 2-page story.
    There I am, bundled up in my winter coat, bag slung at my feet, crying over a stupid comic.
    I then went to a local comics store in Coolidge Corner begging them for anything that some person named "Chris" wrote--I made the mistake of not writing down the name...The owner asked me to describe the comic--asked me, a person that only reads Boondocks and Doonesbury. I said that they are very sad with clean lines, and he said, "Chris Ware."
    Keep on Keepin' on:
    I've decided that life is too short to not have dessert--calories be damned.

    kiosks

    Oh, how I hope I have a good long stretch before I am on reference tomorrow, for two reasons.

    I am battling a cold that is quite nasty. I've been sick (low grade) for about a week, and it bloomed beautifully on Saturday. Normally I would not want to go to work to make all my co-workers sick, but we were so short staffed, and I am still probationary and can't take sick time. I've had yesterday and today to recuperate, and I guess I do feel a little better, but limited time in public with my runny runny nose would be a good thing.

    I found that Mozilla can run in kiosk mode. This is truly a thing of beauty, if I can manage to set it up correctly in Linux. If this works, I'll zorch the hard drive on the public internet unfiltered terminal and have two running Linux. If this works, I'll set up Mozilla in kiosk mode on all the iMacs that run OS X.

    As you may well know, Opera is my browser poison of choice and I'd gladly use their kiosk mode (since they have excellent instructions that assume no knowledge of Linux and are quite good for someone with spotty knowledge like mine) if I didn't have to pay for it. I wouldn't mind paying for Opera, except that the budget's been near depleted. Free is good.

    Thing is, to download and set up a kiosk will take several hours, since I don't know exactly what I'm doing. So I'm hoping I get my traditional 2-5 reference slot tomorrow.

    I ordered new mice from City Hall. We need them desperately now, as one of our public access mice died on the floor the other day. I tried cleaning it to no avail. I happened to have a spare at my desk which I threw out on the floor. The spare was a donation from the staff. This is now the second cheap-o mouse we went through in less than three weeks.

    XRM Radio/TV....I'm hooked

    I spent the V-Day weekend alone...which was great. My wife and daughter were on a brief vacation. I spent the weekend writing and getting hooked on XRMradio (http://www.xrmradio.com) and XRM TV on WinAmp 5.0. Alone with the video feed, they have an IRC server than posts the messages over the videos. Very fun. It's been maybe 6-7 years since I spent any time on IRC. If you like music, check out XRMradio's two audio feeds and the video feed.

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