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In my last post, I stressed the importance of focusing on policies rather than riduculing or demeaning an individual, say President Bush.
One of the reasons I think this is important is because some of the worst policies of the past few years have had bipartisan support. A few examples:
2001 "Bush Tax Cut" - This passed a Democrat controlled Senate and is one factor among several contributing to our $400 Billion Deficits.
The USA PATRIOT Act - Atty Gen Ashcroft is absolutely correct when he states this passed Congress by HUGE margins. All the current regret from some of the Dem pres candidates doesn't change that vote. They were weak and rushed when we needed them to be strong. I shouldn't blame them too much -- their offices were contaminated with Anthrax when they passed the thing.
We should also remember that most of the measures in USA PATRIOT were proposed by the Clinton Administration in 1996. Congress didn't pass it then because they didn't trust the executive with that much power.
The Iraq War - Dennis Kucinich ALONE of the Dem candidates IN CONGRESS voted against the war. Kerry and others remain proud of their votes, even if they quibble about intelligence.
I'm not saying you should vote for Kucinich, but I am saying that you should make sure that you are FOR someone who has at least some of the same positions that you do rather that AGAINST the Filthy, Psychotic Babbling Cowboy Bush and wind up with someone who happily carries out the Bush program. Someone like, say, John Kerry or Joe Lieberman.
Viewers Note -- My next post is going to leave politics behind. I have some final quotes from Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation and a magazine recommendation for you.
Since there will be enough political commentary between now and November to fill the Galaxy, I'll try to restrain myself from overtly political commentary unless it somehow involves government documents.
I'm starting to feel like I'm going to have to start beating off photographers. More than a few people here at work, who never otherwise talk to me, have asked me about my OLA talk, and now I'm one of the most popular journals!
Somebody say something to deflate my ego! ;-)
Our email terminal did something very uncool yesterday at 4:55 pm. It's an iMac or an eMac or an aMac or whatever the hell flavor it is.
A librarian came down as I was doctoring yet another computer and said, "It's flashing a question mark!"
So it was. I know diddly-squat about Macs, but it was evident that when you do a hard reset, and a smiley face and a folder with a question mark come flashing on your screen at start up, that there is a major problem.
First off, though, what's up with that flipping smiley face? I'm not seeing what I want to see... The systems librarian is most definitely not smiling. It's like the hunk of circuitry was mocking me.
Haha, new girl, I'm not going to staaaar-aaaart! Haha!
Since it was 4:55, and I planned on getting out of there at five, I wasn't going to tangle with Mr. Mac. I find most patrons hate that terminal anyway (even though, yes, it is always busy). So today, Mr. Mac is on the agenda. After the print station, but before then LAN reticent Dell on my desk. And somehow, I have to work in my training period on reference.
To the person who zorched our startup file (as this is what I think probably happened): Couldn't you at least have waited till my third week?
Hahahahahahahahaha! Just kidding on the subject line.
Yesterday I found my favorite thing to do at the library... throw obnoxious kids out. I hate to be the shushing librarian, sure, but this was downright fun. Of course, it would have been more fun if the little creeps were actually ashamed of their behavior.
I followed the little creeps around until they left. The last thing I wanted them doing was throwing their book bags into the eMacs. I have no idea how to fix an eMac. I don't need anyone complicating that.
Today I am doing inventory on the machines. This should prove interesting. The plan of attack is staff machines first. I can't forgot the director's machine. She is located somewhere in the building. I could probably find her office again if I wandered a few days. Hey, I've only been there a week! I want to work on it while she's not there. I have to say, I talk to machines while I work on them. And swear at them, on occasion.
Speaking of swearing, the print station is ready to go. I just can't put it online until our "trial" status is off the coin op machine. I don't want to tick off the vendor, since they do all our stuff and they're local. Politics suck. That should be done tomorrow. I'll have to ask.
I felt like a doofus on the phone with the printer people. I sent them our MAC number, and they said, "We have no record of your account." I almost had a cow right there at the reference desk. Turns out, they have an account with the coin op vendor, not us. I am so confused.
I am using SuSE Linux right now to access the web (you know, if I put Linux on all the Macs, I could probably use printers on all of them! Hey!) and my pppd daemon keeps dying. I love Linux terminology.
One more day till my pocket pc!
I had a dream about crayons arranged by Dewey Decimal number... I am worried. It took me at least six months before I started having dreams about patents at the patent office...
No help from the BPL today... For some reason I can't log into Horizon as administrator on my computer. That would be nice to be able to do that... Anyway, not the point of this journal post.
Next on the agenda? Better antivirus. If I have to operate many things in a quasi administrator account, I sure as hell want some assurance that no one is downloading stupid stuff onto our drives.
But the feather in my cap today... I got the blasted printer network up and running, with a little help from my friends at Fortres. I had the right idea, just didn't know how to beat the path to the right file. We are a-okay. My assistant director can die a happy man.
I was kindly offered microsoft's web address today by someone who didn't like our array of fonts. Granted, we should have simplified Chinese, just going on our town's demographic, but I don't know if our printer will support it. Either way, the poor guy had no way of actually putting it in a Word document on the internet terminals anyway.
Tomorrow I work reference. More stories from the front, but probably not till Wednesday, as tomorrow is my "late" night. I work till nine... Yes, sadly enough, it is past my bedtime.
So, I'm talking at the OLA conference at the end of the month on the subject of Saving the Time of the Reader: The impact of new technologies on public service.
We all know that online journals and bibliographic databases are wonderful, but they blur all sorts of lines, and undergraduates don't understand where one service ends and the next one starts. I regularly hear people say that they found the journal articles "on the library's web site".
Then there's wireless: It's great for patrons, but forces library techs to all become computer support people, or at least feel like they should, in order to provide appropriate service.
But that's all I'm going to say. If you want to hear the rest, come to Toronto.
My fixing o' the Dell seems to have quieted some of my fears about my new position. At least, I didn't have dreams of computers bursting into flames last night (as I did the night before).
I think I even know what the problem might be with the printer, but I'm not telling any one at work. I don't want the poor souls to get their hopes up.
Nice thing: the assistant director sat down with me yesterday (you know, before the computers started freaking out on me all at once) and told me that Rome wasn't built in a day and that I shouldn't feel pressure to have the, er, wide variety of issues we face fixed immediately. Since I am someone who puts an inordinate amount of pressure on myself, this was greatly appreciated.
"A" drive man came in yesterday. He wanted desperately to use the A drive on the information desk computer (later I realized it didn't have one...) Little did he know I was about ready to hide all the public access computers yesterday and keep them under lock and key where no one could break anything, never mind the staff computers.
Last night I bought an iPAQ, even though I once swore I would never give more money to HP. Why? Because with all the crud I have to keep track of, my old Handspring Platinum (which I adore) isn't going to cut it. It's running Palm OS 3 point something I believe. Anyway, the iPAQ seemed to be the best received for the buck.
And as they say "LOCKSS" (Lots of copies keeps stuff safe)... Meaning I need to get some semblance of order on the computers at work, and I don't quite trust the old IBM that's sitting on my desk. Or all those celeron processors.
Ah, a day off till Monday, when I will have yet more adventures in computing, I'm sure...
Just ran across a fascinating tidbit in a book I'm rereading*.
A footnote on page 152 reads "Researchers at Bell Laboratories estimate that there is more information in a weekday edition of the New York Times than a person in the sixteenth century processed in a lifetime." Pretty interesting to think about.
...and this (1979) was before the NYT added Weekend, Circuits, Dining and World Business, etc.
*The book is Lawrence Shainberg's BRAIN SURGEON (Lippincott, 1979). It's the psuedonominous biography of Dr. Joseph Ransohoff, MD, now deceased, whom I knew in the early '90s.
This week I got an e-mail solicitation to purchase:
"The Bush-Hater's Handbook: A Guide to the Most Appalling Presidency of the Past 100 Years"
The e-mail quoted Bob Fertik, co-founder of Democrats.com as saying: "Bush-hating is a
demanding vocation. Beginners simply hate Bush's character--ignorant, warmongering, and contemptuous of those who dare to question him.
Intermediates cite Bush's theft of the presidency, turning a $5 trillion surplus into a $5 trillion deficit, destroying 3 million jobs, and waging a war of lies in Iraq. But advanced Bush-haters need an in-depth understanding of the devastation Bush has wrought at home and abroad. From AIDS to the 'War on Terrorism,' from Ashcroft to welfare 'reform,' there is no better guide to Bush's reign of horror than The Bush-Hater's Handbook."
If you want to explore the "Bush-Hater's Handbook" in more detail, go to http://www.nationbooks.org/book.mhtml?t=huberman. This book may well have a place in libraries, as might Richard Perle's new book "The End of Evil", but I don't plan to purchase either book.
My particular problem with this book starts with the title and the attitude expressed by Mr. Fertik, which I know is shared by many otherwise reasonable people. That of total visceral hatred of the President and his minions, which extends to bloody frothing and frequent crude humor.
I do hate many of the President's unjust and unwise policies. Many of these policies, especially that of "preventive war" will eventually destroy this country if continued indefinitely.
However, as Gandhi teaches, it is VITAL that we separate our anger at his policies from personal hatred of the man. In Christian tradition, "Hate the sin, but love the sinner."
Why is it vital? In my view, for two basic reasons related to November. First, focusing our hatred on the man, taking it out in crude humor, painting swastikas on his ties, etc, takes away energy that could be used to better explain the President's failed policies and more importantly, formulate some authentic alternatives. Second, the more we accept the originally Republican label of "Bush Hater," the easier Karl Rove's work is as he helps push the meme of "The hate Bush/Hate America" crowd. We sadly live in a society increasingly accepting of bald propaganda -- think of the "Saddam did 9/11" thinking that held (still holds?) more than half the country in thrall -- even though even the DoD disavowed a connection when they had a chance to have a "See I told you so!" moment. In the same way, the more that Republicans can say:
Democrats hate Bush
Hatred of Bush = Hatred of America
Therefore, Democrats HATE America
They can still TRY if we focus on the policies the President is pursuing, but it will be much harder to fool "middle America" if we're not flinging obscenties and ridiculing our enemies.
Going back to the example of Gandhi, he often stated that he hated every last brutal, unjust policy of the British Gov't in India, but he wished nothing but health and blessings for the Governor-General and prayed each night that the Governor would be converted to right and justice. Gandhi's approach did eventually lead to home rule. If we adopt his ways in our politics, perhaps we can convince the 5% or so of our opponents we need to send Mr. Bush back to Crawford. We sure won't get there by calling them mindless evil ones following their dark lord.
I don't know what happened on the circulation desk this morning. All the computers rebelled. Refusing log ins, then finally one just gave up the ghost, right there on the circ desk.
Pahphooey! Beeeeeep! Beeeeep! Beeeep! Six long beeps, no signal on the monitor. When my supervisor asked what that meant, I said, "He's dead, Jim."
It wasn't that bad. It was memory that somehow got shook loose, and I put it back in. Trey at Dell gave me the hint, and opening the case confirmed it.
If it wasn't the memory, it would have been the mobo. Thank god it wasn't. That requires the nice Dell man come out and fix it. I mean, I could do a mobo. If I had the time.
Where does the time go?
A fight also broke out over who got to use the payphone. Yeah. Like there's only one payphone in the whole state.
The public is just so civil.
The term "pack rat" is thrown around a lot these days... I'm about half way to being a digital pack rat. I've got maybe 100 CDs of backed up old stuff. I save all the sent emails I can, which is about 80% of what I've sent in the past 6 or 7 years. I save very few other emails, but a few make it to my special "stuff" folder that's chock full of email goodness. There's a few flames, some praise, reminders of friends I've lost, job offers, and various other tid bits. One of the emails in there was a reply from long ago, and part of the reply had my little message from the mailing list that day, in which I write "The LISNews mailing list is now over 500 people!" I went on a bit about how nifty that was.
This week, we went over 2500 members, a bit different than the old mailing list counts, but a significant number nonetheless. Although, you might notice, the newest member is currently #2572, I've killed off around 70 accounts for one reason or another. The mailing list number seems to have been more or less consistently at half of the daily visitors number for the entire life of LISNews, which is some what interesting, if that kind of thing interests you.
I swear I had a point when I started writing this, now I've lost it.
After spending eight hours trying to get our printer software to work with our security software, I've made some progress. However, why I am still in front of a computer screen typing this is beyond me.
I think I am going to go let my brains leak out my ears.
I've been thinking about our crazy society, and how Americans are wildly attracted to anything and everything that's FREE. Surely people must realize that there's always a cost somewhere along the line, if not directly from their pockets, then from somewhere along the supply chain. Case in point being the new "free" AM newspapers being handed out at NYC subway stations, published by none other than Rupert Murdoch. Likewise, "free" samples given and sent by advertisers,"free" e-greeting cards, "free" subscriptions of print magazines and "free" offers from those ridiculously greedy prescription drug companies. If anyone has other examples, please chime in.
I'd done (some) reference work at the MoS, and I enjoyed it. Yesterday, my second day on the job, two people called in sick and I got to man the reference desk (at least not all alone) for an hour and a half or so.
Here's what I learned:
All and all a good experience. I was more uncomfortable with the phone. It all seemed so immediate on the phone. In person, I could smile and people could see it and that was nice.
Today: weeding and systems work!
According to Blake's journal, there have been 14 hits on my journal in the last 36 hours. I guess I should start writing in here again.
This is in the last 36 hours:
10 /~Great Western Dragon/journal/
When I get a chance I'll write something more automagic that builds a page every so often, or better yet work something into slashcode.
Pardon my shameless ploy for head-patting and soothing/inspiring words. I've got a phone interview for a general reference academic position tomorrow. Quite a jump from my near-decade in public libraries, but I'm stoked and feeling extremely positive about it. Any advice from others who have made or attempted to make the jump? Would also appreciate any pennies thrown in fountains, wishes on stars, good words put in with whatever brand of diety you keep in touch with....
Will any of the LISNews assemblage be trekking to San Diego for Midwinter? It's always a bear to organize gatherings at conference, but if anyone would like to say hi, I will be pretty much ball-and-chained to the convention center owing to my brand-spanking-new role as ALA Councilor, and my duty as Cognotes editor.
Jen--will see you (and all you other Illinois alums)at the Downs reception, eh? Safe travel to you all!
It lives in the reference department. I bet the two, when networked together, could make sweet music. Or at least be really really loud.
My first day was good. I am tired. Boy, am I ever tired.
It's pretty scary... come see the systems librarian that couldn't figure out what the hell she did to clog her inkjet printer. Honestly, if it's a computer I can deal with it.