Thursday, September 30, 2010

Protect yourself

At the Cosmos

Filet At the Cosmos Club

Saturday, September 25, 2010

QotD: The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn

Crisis mongers
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” - Alvin Toffler. Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century, 1990.
Next time you complain about having to "figure out some new computer/system/reading device/etc." think about what this really means. If you could not read or write, would you complain about those who invented writing?

Random thoughts on William Faulkner on his birthday

Happy birthday William Faulkner (September 25, 1897 - July 6, 1962)!

A hundred and thirteen years ago, William Faulkner was born. One of my all time favorite authors, the world he's created remains large and resonant in my mind (and many others!). Faulkner rose on my horizon again lately when Peter Brantley's blog post "Get in the goddamn wagon" appeared earlier this month. The post, about the failures of the top library leadership in North America, took it's title from the great short story, "The

Since I was doing some home library cleaning, I took this time to dig out and arrange my collection of Faulkner paperbacks (see picture right). Most of them are the first copies I read (though I think this is my second copy of The Sound and the Fury).

One of Faulkner's slighter works, Knight's Gambit, a collection of short stories and the title novella, inspired my short article, “Faulkner's 'Knight's Gambit'.” Explicator 45.3 (Spring 1987): 47-48. The article examines a relationship between the novella and a now little known novel, The White Rose of Memphis (New York, G. W. Carleton & co.; 1881), by Faulkner's grandfather, William Clark Falkner.

Knight's Gambit also contains the story, "An Error in Chemistry" which is a must read for any mixologist out there and a warning to those who don't take their drink seriously!

A few more random Faulkner tidbits:
  • Listen to his Nobel Prize speech
  • A friend of mine who worked at the University of Virginia (where in his later years Faulkner taught) had a lovely old desk chair, salvaged from the trash, that was reputed to have one been in ole Bill's office at Mr. Jefferson's University
  • Faulkner lived in New Orleans for a while (and wrote his first published novel, Soldier's Pay, while there); the house he lived in, at 624 Pirate’s Alley, is now the home of Faulkner House Books, and right near the Pirate's Alley Cafe and Absinthe Bar House, where I had my first taste of the green fairy!
  • In grad school, you had to fill out 3x5 cards with some facts about you, including favorite book. I put down Absalom!, Absalom! (because I don't hate the South - Faulkner joke!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eel Pond

The Garnett Comet

BOS to Woods Hole

QotD: One must imagine Sisyphus happy

Can you, Camus?
The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy (La lutte elle-même vers les sommets suffit à remplir un cœur d'homme; il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux). (The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942)
I return again and again to Camus. The fiction, particularly The Plague), but mostly the essays in the collection, The Myth of Sisyphus and the book length essay, The Rebel. More human than the (all too human) Sartre  his work captures a moment in the human experience that consistently rings true.

The final lines from the "Myth of Sisyphus" essay quoted above are a perfect summation of the 20/21st century state of being.

I try to keep Camus close at hand (literally and figuratively!), but just the other day, the always inspirational Tom Moritz happened to close an e-communication with those last lines from the Myth. Perfect timing for my state of mind.

On the ground at BOS

Let the BHL begin

US Airways: DCA to BOS

Then to Woods Hole

Friday, September 17, 2010

You know, I could write a book. And this book would be thick enough to stun an ox

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
I met this guy - and he looked like might have been a hat check clerk at an ice rink. Which, in fact, he turned out to be. And I said: Oh boy. Right again. Let X=X. You know, it could be you. It's a sky-blue sky. Satellites are out tonight. Let X=X. You know, I could write a book. And this book would be thick enough to stun an ox. Cause I can see the future and it's a place - about 70 miles east of here. Where it's lighter. Linger on over here. Got the time? Let X=X. I got this postcard. And it read, it said: Dear Amigo - Dear Partner. Listen, uh - I just want to say thanks. So...thanks. Thanks for all the presents. Thanks for introducing me to the Chief. Thanks for putting on the feedbag. Thanks for going all out. Thanks for showing me your Swiss Army knife. and uh - Thanks for letting me autograph your cast. Hug and kisses. XXXXOOOO. Oh yeah, P.S. I - feel - feel like - I am - in a burning building - and I gotta go. Cause I - I feel - feel like - I am - in a burning building - and I gotta go.
Gotta love Laurie Anderson, hugs and kisses. XXXXOOOO

Growing dodo collection

A postcard from London joins my collection.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ars longa, shelf space brevis

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
I've run into the problem of Newtonian physics in that space cannot expand infinitely, specifically, shelf space for books. I've been in denial about this, boxing books and tucking them into closets and storage areas, but the time came to face it, there was no more room for books in the house.

There are still a lot left, hundreds and hundreds, but also looking down the line where the future is shorter than the past (for mortal me that is) and also realizing that there were many books that I would probably, well, face it, never read again, why keep them around (especially when there are new items coming in?)

So, what do do? Wait, a solution! I got a Kindle, so, that means that I can still keep some of those odd books in my immediate life (like, the lesser works of Thomas Hardy) and those brilliant Dickensian door stops (Bleak House). As well as those curious baubles like the works of Verne, Wells, etc.

I was a bit like a kid in a candy store: every single novel, poem, etc. by Thomas Hardy for $4.97; all of Austen; Nicomachean Ethics!

Lots and lots more. Of course, there are lots of titles you still can't get in ePub (Faulkner, Nabokov, Camus), but it's just a matter of time.

And for those not on Amazon for free or low cost, there are uncorrected ePub version of many titles at the Internet Archive and elsewhere. Speaking of the Internet Archive, I'm looking forward to the "Books in Browsers" meeting later in October.

Will I miss those slowly burning (acidifying) copies of Hardy? Yes. Will I miss the glorious Penguin editions with their cover art? Yup.

So, off these (and a bunch more) either to friends, the library book sale, Goodwill, and yes, sadly, the trash (for those whose perfect bindings are no longer so and whose pages ex-foliate with each tender turn).

So, as some of these are disentombed from boxes where they've lived for the past number of years, I say ave atque vale. And see you on the Kindle.

Friday, September 10, 2010

AACR II, Buh-bye

AACR II, Buh-bye
Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
Doing some more office cleaning ... or purging as my office moving consultant calls it ...

World Traveller

Doing some cleaning and came across this old boarding pass for BA 217, LHR to IAD, from the 1990s!. I'm "World Traveller" on the stub.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

QotD: I find myself affected with various ideas which I know I have not caused

I find myself affected with various ideas which I know I have not caused. And they couldn’t cause themselves or cause one another, nor could they exist on their own, because they are wholly inactive, transient, dependent beings. So they have some cause other than me and other than themselves; all I claim to know about this is that it is the cause of my ideas. And this thing, whatever it is, I call ‘matter’.
George Berkeley. Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713). The Library of Liberal Arts, New York, 1954. p.60.

Cisco Telepresence

Future keepsgettong closer!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Obama-Bieber '12

Obama-Bieber '12
Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
This is so wrong, it shows a complete ignorance of the Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Bieber is neither old enough nor born in the U.S., hence ineligible to be Vice President.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Wolf Trap

To see The Sound of Music

Stately, plump, Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead ...

Coffee stained, dog eared, cover bent, now imperfect binding, ungathered gatherings slipping out rearranged the word. Yes I said yes no more the vintage cover black long ell suggestive You now new replaces worn scraps and scribbles from Security National Bank and faded receipts.

So long Ulysses, no not forever, just to my falling apart and many read copy, Vintage Books edition, published and printed in 1961, born the same year as me. Replaced with a newer copy ...

Flipping through one last time, I find some scribbles, notes, and underlines:

  • "He was a man they say invented barbed wire" p. 155, p. 207
  • Had I served God as I served Art, He would have not have left me like this
  • Sons of Ireland , p. 329-30
  • "We'll put force against force, says the citizen. We have our greater Ireland beyond the sea. They were driven out of house and home in the black 47. Their mudcabins and shielings by the roadside were laid low by the batterinram and the Times rubbed its hands and told the whitelivered Saxons there would soon be as few Irish in Ireland as redskins in America" p 329.
  • From the Night Town episode: "The bells of George's church toll slowly, loud dark iron p. 471
  • "Rhymes and Reasons. Mouth, south. Is the mouth south someway? Or the south a mouth?" p. 138

And so now, together with Molly, "...and yes I said yes I will Yes"


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Cruising Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
The weather was clear, so we thought we'd take a chance aboard the Risky Business for a two hour cruise.

Captain Chris gave us a great ride and we got to see some very interesting sites, including the beds of the famous Indian Point mussels!

Don't miss it!

View Mahone Bay in a larger map