The Death of Libraries

Jan 3, 2000

I heard something disturbing over the holiday weekend. While riding back from a night out with my friends, one mentioned that she needed to go to Barnes & Nobles, and she wondered if they had a copy machine. When I asked her why she would need a copy machine at a book store, she explained that they had a medical reference book there that she needed some information from (my mom’s a nurse). The book is very expensive, so she can’t afford to buy it, and she only needs the one article anyway. I took this opportunity to point out that there are these big buildings called libraries, and that they’re full of books that people can read and sometimes even take home without paying a dime. “They don’t have it,” she said. “I can only find this book at the bookstore.” I was floored, to say the least. When I was growing up, the library was like a second home to me. I pedaled my little one-speed bike down to the local branch library every week, it seemed, and in high school I actually worked in the city library. But the more I thought about it, I realized I hadn’t really browsed the stacks of a library in years, not since, oh, about 1994. Which, by the way, was the year I discovered the web. I know why I don’t go to libraries any more. Between MemoWare and Peanut Press and downloading everything else via iSiloWeb, I don’t have a shortage of things to read. I have an overabundance, actually, with the equivalent of tens of thousands of pages to read on my computer right now. We’re talking about nearly three times as much as War and Peace (which I can and will once I read enough to free up the room on my shelf it takes up). But what really surprised me is that my mom doesn’t go to libraries either, and why. Big superstore book chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble are replacing the library in America. In virtually all of these places, you have comfortable couches spread throughout, and most of them sell gourmet coffee as well. They practically scream, “Come in, browse, make yourself comfortable.” Rare is it that bookstore patrons are hassled into making a purchase or leaving, and I’ve seen more than few read entire magazines over their coffee, put the magazine back on the rack and leave. How’s a library going to compete with that? What’s more disturbing though, is the title availability. While I’m sure my pal could find the information she’s looking for on the web, she’s not that net savvy, so that leaves print. The library doesn’t carry the book she needs, but several bookstores here do. The decision has been made for her. The library is obsolete, following the buggy whip into cultural obscurity.

Ave Maria… neat memory

Dec 20, 1999

Quoted From friend Mojo – The best version I have ever heard was live in a church in finland. The church is about a thousand years old ( probably less ) and is gigantic. There are Swedish/ Finnish Kings and Queens buried under the floors and in special areas and tombs in the Church. When you walk in the church you can’t even see the Altar. My sister, her family,Steve and I were in the church doing the tourist thing and all of a sudden someone started singing Ave Maria unaccompanied. It was so powerful. He was singing without a mic and it sounded perfect. Finally we found him, the altar it self was almost a separate chapel. And there we saw a little tiny christening ceremony in progress. there were 5 people, the baby, the pastor and the man singing . The power of the moment was so overwhelming. Here in this gigantic historical church where Important historically significant people are buried in the floor and the walls . The sheer size and age of the church is moving much less when the voice of one man singing Ave Maria carries through out . The only people in the church were us and the 7 people and the baby. Yet we were privliged to experience the welcoming of a newborn soul to the kingdom of god. So beautiful And yet so humbling. The moment was so pure and so moving. There were no fancy robes, no fancy gold and jeweled religious paraphenalia, no 50 person chorus, no charismatic preacher, no one asked us for a cent. Just a man singing Ave Maria acapella and a small family celebrating the christening of their new arrival. And we were fortunate to be there to witness the moment. If there has ever been a moment that I would consider to be a religious experience , for me personally, that would have to be it.

Cold Miser Song…

Dec 16, 1999

I’m Mister White Christmas
I’m Mister Snow
I’m Mister Icicle
I’m Mister Ten Below
Friends call me Snow Miser, What ever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch I’m too much!

He’s Mister White Christmas He’s Mister Snow
That’s right!
He’s Mister Icicle
He’s Mister Ten Below
Friends call me Snow Miser, What ever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch

I never want to see a day That’s over forty degrees I’d rather have it thirty, Twenty, ten, five and let it freeeeEEEEEEeeze!

He’s Mister White Christmas He’s Mister Snow That’s right! He’s Mister Icicle He’s Mister Ten Below Friends call me Snow Miser, What ever I touch Turns to snow in my clutch … too much.

Heat Miser Song…

Dec 16, 1999

I´m Mister Green Christmas
I´m Mister Sun
I´m Mister Heat Blister
I´m Mister Hundred and One
They call me Heat Miser, What ever I touch
Starts to melt in my clutch I´m too much!

(Chorus) He´s Mister Green Christmas
He´s Mister Sun He´s Mister Heat Blister
He´s Mister Hundred and One

(Heat Miser) They call me Heat Miser, What ever I touch Starts to melt in my clutch
(Chorus) He´s too much!
(Heat Miser) Thank you! I never want to see a day That´s under sixty degrees I´d rather have it eighty, Ninety, one hundred degrees!

(spoken) Oh, some like it hot, but I like it REALLY hot! Hee hee!

(Chorus) He´s Mister Green Christmas He´s Mister Sun
(Heat Miser) Sing it!
(Chorus) He´s Mister Heat Blister He´s Mister Hundred and One
(Heat Miser) They call me Heat Miser, What ever I touch Starts to melt in my clutch I´m too much!
(Everybody) Too Much! “Oh, some like it hot, but I like it REALLY hot! hee hee!”

pleases me tremendously. Any song with hee hee is all right. See? There’s a little touch of the tard in me. I just struggle to fight it.

Berg, the place I’m named for.

Dec 15, 1999

Berg former duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, on the right bank of the Rhine, now in the administrative districts of Düsseldorf and Cologne in Germany. In the 11th century the counts of Berg came into possession of Westphalian lands east of Cologne. From 1161 these were divided between the senior branch of Berg and the junior branch of Altena (later Mark), which acquired the countship of Cleves in 1368. The Berg line nearly became extinct with the assassination in 1225 of Engelbert I the Holy, the third member of the family to hold the archbishopric of Cologne, and the title passed to the House of Limburg. In 1288 Count Adolf V began to develop Düsseldorf (later Berg’s capital) as a port. A member of the House of Jülich, Gerhard VI (died 1360) married the heiress of Berg in 1348; in 1380 his son William was created duke; and in 1423 Duke Adolf also inherited Jülich, thus uniting the two duchies and associated lands. When the male line became extinct in 1511, the territories passed to John III, duke of Cleves. Berg became a leading iron and textile manufacturing centre in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1806 Napoleon made it a grand duchy in his Confederation of the Rhine, with his brother-in-law Joachim Murat as grand duke. Berg, along with Jülich, which had been annexed by the French, became part of Prussia’s Rhine province by award of the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15. And now you know why I might hate the French, aside from the very basic nature of all humans to hate the French.

Today at work…

Dec 15, 1999

I came terribly close to being fired today. Due to a breakdown in communications, terribly rude people, and my own temper. During the course of the day, I was continuously called upon to act as a liason between two departments that only have a cursory relation to what I do at work. I started out polite, but slowly was worn down to just civil. (I’d say I was at about five out of ten, tolerance-wise.) After doing some data clean-up and minor programming, (my actual job) I get a message from K. "Just checking to make sure this file was done properly, I couldn’t give D an answer, mainly because I didn’t know." No problem, I’ll call up D and clarify, and get information on other data in the meantime, killing two birds with one stone. She responds with nonsensical questions, and general venom. It boiled down to her angrily stating "Why Don’t you answer my questions?" and my reply of "Ask one, and I’ll give you an Answer…" She responded with some sort of epithet and hung up on me. (One of my buttons is "Don’t hang up, Don’t turn your back on me while we’re conversing. I need good closure to any talk.)At that point, I saw red, and trotted over there at top speed and proceeded to Bellow, along the lines of "Don’t you dare hang up on me…" to which she responded with "How dare you talk to me like that?" and it proceeded to snowball into a volley of verbal noise. After a moment or two of yelling, I basically told her to shut up if she couldn’t say anything intelligible, and she told me to get out. So I got out, with a parting remark of "Do all of us a favor, Eat $#!+ and die." She promptly calls the boss, and he bounces to an impartial third party. Long story short, I get a reprieve due to D’s long history of poor social intercourse, and mine of being more possessed of my senses (save for this current adventure.) So, I don’t get fired, but it looks like the raise (of which i’ve been due since June) is no longer going to be considered for a while. Bah.

rambling in general

rambling in general

Dec 14, 1999

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my current friends, where I am in my life, and theirs. It seems to me that most everyone I know that is married has dire and immediate need for council. Fearing for the future happiness of my buddies is currently one of my stronger stresses, now that my Taxi-driving pal’s world is pretty much in a state of decent repair. What can I do to help these guys? All I can offer is a friendly ear to the troubles they have… and for what it’s worth, it’s gotten bent once or twice, and I’ve been allowed to add my personal observations and viewpoints, hopefully to make the life they end up choosing to be as pleasant as possible. This also feeds into a fear of mine regarding where I’m going to be relationship-wise in the coming years. Finally back on track, seeing three circles of friends on a regular basis and even dating regularly. I really don’t want anything to happen to foul it up. I’ve made a number of mistakes in the past, and don’t plan on repeating it. I still compartmentalize my friends, perhaps on a sub-c level to protect them from each other, should one social bubble burst, I still have the other fall-back places. Hippies, Gamers, girlfriend, coworker-pals and best friend all have some sort of invisible wall between them. Newton is the only one that’s crossed all of the lines, and that’s ok… he’s unlikely to let a confidence slip, or misinterpret what is said in moments of unclarity.

Hm. Maybe I should list what’s on my mind, make this mess more legible? Why not?

1. Non-single pals having *REAL* trouble in what should be wedded bliss.

2. The turbulence at work. Will I get a new job, or adapt to this one? Can I get decent hours, now that I have a social life.

3. Money. Never seems to be enough to help those in need and I can’t afford all the Yuletide cheer I wish to distribute this year.

4. Pressures to get a vehicle. Nobody has said anything yet, but don’t want friends to be terribly put out by the fact that they have to pick me up if I’m to hang out with them.

5. Growth. I think it’s time to clean up my act, and start preparing a bit for the future. I could survive a minor trauma, but if anything major happened to me right now, I could easily be homeless, broke and totally out of luck. All for now, I’m getting tired. Talk to you soon, and regularly.

Neato poem, stuff

Reading: Russell Banks’s Affliction Poem of the day! Eating Poetry

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry. The librarian does not believe what she sees. Her eyes are sad and she walks with her hands in her dress. The poems are gone. The light is dim. The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up. Their eyeballs roll, their blond legs burn like brush. The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep. She does not understand. When I get on my knees and lick her hand, she screams. I am a new man. I snarl at her and bark. I romp with joy in the bookish dark. –Mark Strand

Do you ever have overwhelming urges to do strange things? Walking over to the 7-11 to get some SpaghettiOs for lunch (what, you think because I’m vegetarian I’m concerned about my health or something?), I saw a brand new shiny silver VW bug and suddenly just wanted to go over and lean on it face first. Just give it a big old hug. Luckily I managed to control myself. (Not sure what the owner would’ve done, seeing a hairy hippie guy snuggling with his car. (A cohort has a blue beetle… maybe he’ll let me hug it.) I did freak some guy out a few nights ago. I was walking home and was engaged in a lively conversation in my head about why I hate the movie Vertigo. Right as this guy was walking in front of me I just said “Vertigo” out loud. He kind of flinched, looked at me and then away quickly, and hurried off. Hi. My name’s Scott and I’m a freak.


Argh… I just discovered that typing online into a form gets wiped if you refresh on my system. bah. brief recap of what was originally long. Had a lot of fun last night, watched movies, Mummy, Indy 1 -&- 2 with RC,HI,RI,BG -&- the Kitties. Lots of sugary snacks, fun gabbing, and first time RC had seen Mummy. Newt came with me, and played with his sister for about 26 hours, give or take naps, made schedules for future playdates. I have to get Xmas stocking stuff for everyone…. plus the big gifts, plus B-day stuff for DC and BG. I’ll be so happy when February comes… start recharging my bank account. Main upside of last night, much Kitty-fun, hanging out. Downside, chronic cough, trouble breathing, RC thinks I may have chronic bronchitis. I need to go to the doc Monday, and have it checked out. I hugged RC’s Bug, and had tasty cheese enchiladas for dinner! Qute of the moment… reflecting on coming elections: “Television preacher Pat Robertson, who plans to officially announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination next month, said he would not tolerate atheists in his administration, Time Magazine reported yesterday. …Although Robertson firmly denied a quote attributed to him that only born-again Christians and Jews should hold government jobs, he told Time that nonbelievers would have no place in his administration if he were elected.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 21 September 1987 (UPI)] (Right around the first time I voted, For Bush no less. Remember I’m from Massachusetts…Dukakis was not going to be on my list.) I can’t believe I’ve been voting for over 10 years, now… an Adult. Make me feel old, when I talk to some of the young folks where I work… (18-24 range). Now, I’m only 30, but these guys don’t know anything about The significance of the Berlin Wall coming down, or who G. Gordon Liddy is, or even what Reagan was like as a president. Pop Culture seems to have overwritten recent history. Even most of my fellow EMAGErs don’t have a terribly strong grasp of recent history, when it comes to the last century. I don’t know if it’s the educational system, or a question of who’s priorities are more right… but I agree with the cliche’ “Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” Not only that, but of the people I hang out with, only 3 of us vote. (including myself) Why don’t people take more interest in the world around them?

time of year, work folk

It’s questionable just how philosophic one should get on December eleventh. It’s too early for any sweeping statements about the end of the millenium or even the end of the year. I don’t even know what kind of month it’s going to be. Still, it’s December, a month loaded with the spore of philosophical thoughts. Being the last month of the year gives it a weight that September, say, never has, (although September does have Back To School going for it). You are inclined to think about what you’ve done over the last year, or, far more likely, what you haven’t done. I actually feel as though I’ve made some significant accomplishments this year. But this feeling is dampened knowing that my pal S feels exactly the opposite. Different outlooks, different milestones. The ultimate goal is the same, though, in that neither of us really know what the ultimate goal is. There is unity in ignorance. All the same, it’s only the 11th. Time to accomplish more. Time to stop worrying about it. Time to figure out how I’m going to pay for Christmas. Wacky new girl at work, G. Nobody else seems too fond of her. P especially, but F and R are kind of negative about her too. I think P’s problem is that there’s another hen in the henhouse, and she won’t be the only one fawned over in there anymore (like that’s going to happen.) G’s from mixed stock, mother is from Trinidad, and father is Chinese Jamacian. It comes together in a really appealing package, looks quite asian, with slightly darker than gold skin. Hyperkinetic to the extreme, it will come in handy when she learns to focus. (right now she hops from machine to machine, feuled on starburst, twix, and soda coursing through her veins at about the speed of light.) with the right knowledge, she’ll be all over any jobs that come her way. Still a little scattered, but quite a little flirt, too. (probably why I’m more forgiving than the rest, I’ve always been a sucker for an unmarried pretty face.) Now that my time with S is coming to an end, I’d be happy to chase G for a bit, at least until she makes a point of saying “No, I don’t think so” . Still waiting on my raise… only been due since june, and I know there won’t be any retro pay. bah.

Welcome to my wall scrawls.