Tuesday, August 30, 2005


This whole thing in New Orleans is pretty bad but it's fascinating. I sure hope the vampire Lestat is OK. I guess if he can survive in a shallow grave for several years then he can't drown. I went there for Mardi Gras over ten years ago and New Orleans is weird and creepy at night. Imagine how it is now with no lights and flood waters crawling through the city. Gurgling poisoned flood water, creaking buildings, clumps of fire ants, alligators, snakes, fires on the horizon, the occasional rescue helicopter, sneaking looters and famished vampires.

Monday, August 29, 2005

How about some Tom Waits lyrics?

Well she's up against the register
with an apron and a spatula
with yesterday's deliveries,
and the tickets for the bachelors
she's a moving violation
from her conk down to her shoes
but it's just an invitation to the blues.
Stop me if you've heard this one before

Ever wonder what the most popular pre-orders currently are at Amazon. Wonder no more, baby.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Ever notice how nothing gets fixed until the worst happens?

The Philadelphia Inquirer (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service), Oct 10, 2004
"New Orleans in danger of drowning."
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2004 The Philadelphia Inquirer

Byline: Paul Nussbaum

NEW ORLEANS _ From a helicopter above the Gulf of Mexico, Col. Peter Rowan could see that his first line of defense had been breached.

Where Breton and the Chandeleur Islands had been, only pale green water now sparkled in the sun. Hurricane Ivan had pummeled the sand and grass barriers two weeks earlier, washing away much of them _ and the hurricane protection they provide for New Orleans.

"It looks like it's pretty much all gone," said Rowan, commander of the New Orleans district of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The second line of defense is vanishing, too. Wetlands, which absorb much of the storm surge of approaching hurricanes, are disappearing at the rate of 28,000 acres a year, bringing the sea that much closer to the city.

So New Orleans, tucked below sea level between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, is in growing danger of drowning. A direct hit by a very powerful hurricane could swamp its levees and leave as much as 20 feet of chemical-laden, snake-infested water trapped in the man-made bowl.

More than 25,000 people could die, emergency officials predict. That would make it the deadliest disaster in U.S. history, with many more fatalities than the San Francisco earthquake, the great Chicago fire, and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks combined.

"It's only a matter of time," said Terry C. Tullier, city director of emergency preparedness.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A quote

If television's a babysitter, the internet's a drunk librarian that won't shut up. Thanks to the Book Slut for the link.
Those guys (you don't want to be)

There are two guys that come into the library that are perhaps two of the dumbest people on the face of the earth. Think Bill Pullman in Ruthless People. One is a well-dressed guy from Pakistan who, if you took a looked at him, you wouldn't think he was a complete dolt. The other is is tall basketball-bellied doofus who always has stains on his shirts. He looks like an idiot. Think Alfred E. Neuman with really bad teeth.

The well-dressed knucklehead cannot grasp the concept of highlighting text and printing that text. Without using hyperbole I can honestly say he has been shown at least five times by each of the eight staff members we have how to highlight text in his emails in his Hotmail account and send that selected text to the printer. Language issues aside, I think he should get it by now.

The tall doofus one spends most of his time searching for wives in South and Central America and has at different times claimed to be a semi-pro golfer and a pilot and has announced his impending marriage several times. He can barely use a PC and I doubt he has a drivers license, let alone being allowed to take to the air and he may have actually been engaged several times but I am sure the marriages were called off soon after the first physical meeting. He always has a mouthful of spit and it sticks to the shards of his teeth like gooey cobwebs. Not pleasant to behold.

They both have one amazing talent, they can completely crash a computer more quickly than any two other people on the planet. What makes their talent so unique is that our computers are virtually impossible to crash. They are completely locked down, nothing can be changed or downloaded yet these two consistently frazzle the brains of our PC's. It's like the machines don't work right when one of them is using them. The two special guys have started talking in the library and outside in the parking lot. They are becoming buddies. I swear, the first day I saw them standing in parking lot talking as cars passed them they would stall out and then fire back up as they rolled beyond their collective aura.

I can't help but wonder as Dumber and Slower have these serious powwows what kind of business they might start together and how quickly it would go belly up. That would be an office pool to start. I think I would choose 'real estate' and 'ten days.'

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I remember thinking not too long ago that it had been a while since I had been sick. I jinxed myself, I reckon. I stayed home yesterday with a mild fever, headache and sore throat. I guess yesterday wasn't a total loss, I did watch a good chunk of the Simpsons season six DVD. That kept me from going stir crazy. When you are too icky to read TV can be a good thing. I didn't even hop on the Xbox. In between Simpsons episode I would sleep for a while and then in the afternoon I just plain ole slept. Today I've felt good enough to sit upright and have been putting together a Dave Alvin mix CD for James. I reckon I'll go into work tomorrow. I feel a little guilty staying home since we are short staffed this week. Actually we're going to feel short staffed from now on since we lost two people. I figure it's better to stay home rather than infect the rest of the staff. Not much else to report. I think I'll go take a nap. The cats seem to think it's a good idea.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


After four years of whoring the dead a mainstream reporter finally mentions it. From AP reporter Nedra Pickler writing about Bush defending himself against the mothers of those he had killed: "As he has before when he has been challenged, Bush invoked the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in his radio address.

'On that day, we learned that vast oceans and friendly neighbors no longer protect us from those who wish to harm our people,' he said. 'And since that day, we have taken the fight to the enemy.'"

Challenge this fucker and he starts chanting 9/11, 9/11, 9/11. It was, is and always will be disgusting.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Rock show

Wednsday night Wendell and I headed out to the Visulite and met up with James and Sam for the Knitters show. Until just a couple of months ago I had never heard of the Knitters. Oh sure, I had heard of X and I am a huge fan of Dave Alvin but who knew they had such a great side project?

I've never been a huge X fan. I do have the album Los Angeles and I consider the title track one of the great rock songs. I knew they were good but some groups just don't grab you, you know? Now Dave Alvin, that's a whole different story. I think we all know how much I love his music. How could I turn down a chance to see what is essentially X, one of the great early punk bands, with Dave Alvin blazing away on his gorgeous beat up vanilla colored Stratocaster?

A folk singer from 'Frisco named Phranc opened the show with a solo acoustic set. She was really fun and I think she may be a lesbian. I have that suspicion because she said she was between almost every song. With her haircut and outfit her proclamations were redundant. She did a nice sing along with the crowd on the song "Mrs. Brown you have a lovely Daughter." I guess this is a comeback for her. Her last album came out in 1998. If she comes out with a new one I might get it.

The show was superb. The Knitters were tight but loose and they were having a great time. I had no idea Exene was such a hoot. She really commanded the stage. She and John Doe were doing that off key harmony thing they do so well all night. Dave Alvin played the shit out of his guitar and he seemed to be enjoying being the guitar player in a band instead of the focus of the show. I stood in front of him for a while and being that close the sound from his amp was drowning out everything else and was like a little private Dave Alvin demonstration for about fifteen minutes. It was too loud to stand in front of for too long and moved back to the middle. He didn't sing at all, which I expected but it would have been nice if he sang one song. The only way the show could have been better is if Mojo Nixon had been there drunk and nekkid.

I didn't take that many pictures or try all that hard for good shots. The show was too good to bother with all that but here's a couple.


John Doe and Exene

The awesome Dave Alvin
I love Roger Ebert

The last line of his review of the Deuce Bigalow movie: "Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks."

You know what's sad? What's sad is Rob Schneider can be funny in the right situation. What's wrong with making a living as a character actor?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I ain't done this in a while

I be reading the book "The Icarus Girl" by first-time novelist Helen Oyeyemi. She finished the book before she turned 19. I won't hold that against her, the world needs geniuses. What I haven't done in a while is quote from a book I am reading. An 8 year old is meeting her Nigerian grandfather for the first time: "As Jess sat in the parlour, keeping very still so that she wouldn't take up much space on the brown-and-white sofa, she allowed herself to stare openly and seriously at her grandfather, and he did the same. She felt as if she were a little piece of him that had crumbled off maybe, which he was examining for flaws and broken bits before decidng whether it was worth taking it to be reattached."
Headline of the day

Rush Limbaugh has offered to broker peace between Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Dog Days

You can tell it's a 90 degree Monday in the middle of August in the Piedmont of North Carolina because the usual internet stress is through the roof today. People are bouncing around trying to be the first person without a reservation to sit at a computer with a reservation while ignoring the staff recommending they make a reservation. Two women almost resorted to fisticuffs in front of the reference desk over our cell phone policy. Lastly, I thought this giant red-faced guy was going to punch me when every seat he elbowed his way into was facing a computer with a reservation and then saw the line to make reservations I pointed him towards. This was just an hour after a woman angrily rejected my offer to personally tutor her on using our card catalog because she would prefer a class. Heck, she even raised her voice and turned her back to me. Please let fall get here soon.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Whizzing by

I took a gander at the Sheehan blog on Michael Moore's website and my favorite piece of writing on there is how she describes Bush zooming by in his motorcade. It perfectly captures the impersonality of his rule. Here's an average mother calling out he prez on his lies and all he is is some rich guy flying buy in a convoy of black SUV's.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

New Weirdo

In our library we have a new weirdo. He gets on the internet and for three hours looks at candid pictures of young women. You know the kind, sports photos, prom photos, friends hanging out at the beach. Nothing pornographic or tasteless but three hours of candid 22 year olds? We all enjoy pictures of pretty girls but to sit here in a public place? It's just creepy. He also seems to have an affinity for teens. I'll bet his apartment turns in Yankee Stadium when he leaves here.

If you would like to join this guy in his quest for cleavage then go to this website.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Nice try, jerk face

Here's a quote from our horrible president: "I heard the voices of those saying, `Pull out now.'" And he said, "I've thought about their cry and their sincere desire to reduce the loss of life by pulling our troops out. I just strongly disagree."

Dear liar,

I see what you are trying to do. You are trying to say that protesters are saying we should pull American troops out of Iraq. What they are actually saying is that you lied about the reasons for going to Iraq, you did a bad bad job of preparing for the war's aftermath, you have no idea what you are doing at the moment and you are wasting the valuable lives of young soldiers and Marines. You see, it's a lot more complicated than you try to make it.

The American President Lying to the Media

Monday, August 08, 2005

That Hitler guy

Over the weekend Wendell and I watched a magnificent move called "The Downfall." It's about Hitler's the last ten days of life. Ten days he spent in his bunker in Berlin. It was fascinating. The actor, Bruno Ganz, who played Hitler was mesmerizing. He put a human face on the dictator which I think is important. We all should remember that Hitler was just a guy and someone like him can pop up any time and ride a wave a nationalism and threaten our entire world. It's shocking when you find yourself empathizing with Hitler when he almost cries when his dog is the first to be killed when all is lost.

Some of the reviews I've read compared the scenes of street fighting in Berlin to "Saving Private Ryan" and I just didn't see it. The sets were amazing and the acting superb but it didn't have the realism of Ryan or "Band of Brothers." The special effects were closer to "The Longest Day" than "Saving Private Ryan."

That wasn't all that important, though. What grabbed me was the madness and that famous "banality of evil" that was portrayed so convincingly in the movie. I guess that's the power of film or theater: the human face it can put on the most monstrous of our aspects.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Breaking new ground, kinda

First of all: Man, vacation fucking rocks.

I started up a new novel yesterday. It was one of about five books that were waiting for me when I dropped by work yesterday to pick up my sunglasses and gloat. Five books! When am I going to read all of them? All library employees have this problem. You hear about a good book and you put it on hold. The next thing you know you have a stack of books on your desk and you know you are going to only read a couple of them.

I only gloated a little bit but enough to be told to shut up. The book I started is called "Elantris" by Brandon Sanderson. It's the first new fantasy book I've gotten more than fifty pages into and not put down in a long time. I think I ruined fantasy novels for the rest of my life when the first fantasy I ever read back in grade school was the Lord of Rings. It's also hard to get past a lot of those made up names.

What appealed to me immediately in this novel was the city Elantris. It was once a magical place full of supposedly immortal people with godlike powers. The city's population was made up of people who were randomly transformed in the surrounding land. One day, ten years before the novel opens, their immortality became a curse. They still couldn't die but they lost their powers and essentially turned into walking dead. People are still transformed and instead of being gods they are thrown into the now decrepit city and suffer until they go mad. Harrowing and original. Every now and then though I'll get to a passage that is cringe inducing and spoils the novel for a second. His dialgoue is good but he throws in too much description instead of just saying "he said." He should read a little Elmore Leonard. I'm pretty sure I can figure out when someone is joking or being shy or aggresive just by the context and the dialogue itself. A minor point and only happens occasionally but it is distracting.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The weekend

I went camping Saturday. It was the annual trip to Valle Crucis for the Rhodo softball tournament. We actually go for the concert our friends play on Saturday night. Because the campground gets so raucus a friend and I decided to camp at Julian Price campground on the parkway and drive to the show and back that night. Bad idea. First of all the campground was a lot less crowded than in other years and as soon as we got there to say howdy before the show I started wishing I was staying there. I wished that even more during the ride back. You know how there can be very foggy conditions in the mountains? For our drive back we took a route that had been suggested to my friend by a friend of hers. This route left us south of our campground in the middle of a dense fog with rain. Between us and our camground was the Lin Cove Viaduct. You may wonder what is is like cross the Lin Cove Viaduct with zero visibility where all you can see is the yellow center line and the metal guardrail: It's fucking terrifying. I don't ever want to do that again. We drove through that soup of over half an hour. The only time I've ever been more frightened while driving was when I almost ran into a tank that was being towed by another tank in the Mojave Desert. That was a split second of terror this was a half hour of dread.

A side note

Tom mentioned how disgusted he was by all the packaging that came with his digital camera a while back. I can't help but wonder if they are so willing to make cereal boxes and potato chip bags twice as big as needed and if they include a roomful of plastic and cardboard for a six ounce digital camera why they can't include with your tent a bag big enough to hold the goddman thing once you unpack it for the first time. How in the hell do they get those things in those bags to begin with? It's crazy. I'm going to have to buy a bag in order to store my new tent neatly. My new tent is awesome too. I bought a 13 by 13 footer that you can stand up in. It's so much easier to change pants when you can stand up in your tent, believe me. Before it was kinda like break dancing with a rock sticking in your back.