Monday, December 24, 2007

Anarchists in the Aisles?

Anarchists in the Aisles?

“What we do is try to inject a brief moment of wonder that helps wake them up from that rushed stupor,” he said, pausing to add, “That’s the true holiday spirit, isn’t it?”

Friday, December 21, 2007

Quick Notes

i consider myself to have officially joined the open source revolution. My laptop, upon which i'm writing this post, is now running Ubuntu Linux.
i'm seriously digging Linux and OpenOffice. It is equal to and in many, many ways better than Windows, especially Vista. It's not perfect but Linux is very, very good. It's is also free, hence the open source.
I believe Liux and open source computing is the future of computers and would encourage you to

First Monday and Stephanie Mills

This Monday, First Monday released their monthly podcast, which is really quite fantastic. This month's podcast featured Stephanie Mills who, according to the blurb on the site functions as a "[m]odern day Luddite, ecological activist, writer and lecturer". The podcast is introduced in a similar manner that the blurb on the site refers Mills' purposes to" to critically assess the totality of technology which might mean limiting our pursuit of certain kinds of knowledge."
This podcast was tremendously interesting for two reasons. Mills focuses mainly on the impact of technology on the ecology of man in relationship to his stewardship of this Earth.She presents her point of technology's overwhelming footprint, especially in regards to our flagrant use of technology, without necessarily thinking of the effects to the local, national and international environments. Mills also stresses the needs to establish community on several different levels. This stress on the idea of community reaches from a desire for creation of "neighborhoods" between scientific,religious and technological factions to a propagation of community between local individuals. One of her most poignant points is the labeling of our culture as a culture of confrontation.
However, there are some things that were lacking in this podcast. Understandably there are only 15 minutes to present, defend and discuss on these ideas so they cannot be completely fleshed out but truthfully I was hoping for some more definitive concrete steps that could be utilized to either 1) create community or 2) take steps to analyze one's impact. (see Radiohead's site for a dramatic analysis of this) This podcast falls into the area of utopian idealism without necessarily prompting for continued action. This is not say Mills should have standing on the conference table waving the flag of revolution but it's strangely ironic that a self-proclaimed Luddit would be propagating her message over a podcast and owns a Mac. Mills understands the impact of her technology a landfill or developing country but seems unable to reconcile her use of technology to lessening the impact of technology.In all of Mills calling for community, the idea of community is not defined. Is community people simply meeting together? Mills gives the idea of a book group but what is the purpose of the community? Community for community's sake quickly degenerates into a art pour la art mindset which I do not believe is healthy.
I would encourage listening to the podcast; let me know what you think.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Doris Lessing

Crossover Dreams: Turning Free Web Work Into Real Book Sales

Crossover Dreams: Turning Free Web Work Into Real Book Sales

This is an intensely interesting article for two reasons. The first follows this quote from the article. "That a book derived from free online content has sold so well may allay
some fears that giving something away means nobody will want to pay for
it." Umm has anyone heard of Radiohead; anybody? Obviously this is slightly different but blogs amass their own cult following which evolves into what essentially is a fan base that will support that blog. If the blog is good enough, as Radiohead is good enough, the content put out by that blog will be support in other mediums. To paraphrase Thom Yorke's quote in a NYT article several months ago, people are willing to pay what they think the item is worth.
The second interesting thing that follows is a second quote, just below the one above. "I think books are still things, thank goodness, that people want to
own,” said Michael Jacobs, chief executive of Abrams. “The package of
the book and the way it feels is something apart and separate from
being able to read it online." Perhaps; but the people who bought this book are growing toward an increasing minority. What is not answered is here is why people want to own books. according to the last line of the article is an olfactory reason: “There’s nothing like holding the weight and smelling the paper.” Well if you want weight and smell I would suggest purchasing a ream of paper and smelling away.
It's the content of the book that is selling not the packaging. The original contents were posted on blogs and turned out to be fantastic so the transition to a marketable, purchasable item is not far off. This continues to parallel the Radiohead model. Radiohead introduce their songs for In Rainbows to concert audiences who immediately bootlegged them so that fans started coming to these shows already knowing the songs. Radiohead went into the studio and completely redid some of these works; see recent NYT article below.
Content is what matters not the smell.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pay What You Want for This Article

Pay What You Want for This Article

This is one of the best Radiohead post-release In Rainbows articles that i've read.
My favorite part is this quote from Yorke on pg. 1

"Signing a new major-label contract “would have killed us straight off,”
he [Yorke] added. “Money makes you numb, as M.I.A. wrote. I mean, it’s tempting
to have someone say to you, ‘You will never have to worry about money
ever again,’ but no matter how much money someone gives you — what,
you’re not going to spend it? You’re not going to find stupid ways to
get rid of it? Of course you are. It’s like building roads and
expecting there to be less traffic.”"

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Searching for Common Ground on Copyrights

Searching for Common Ground on Copyrights

What's most interesting about this is the second comment at the very bottom of the page. I'm assuming this information is true but any "copyright alliance" that has Microsoft signing on is rather sketchy. Especially as Microsoft has referred to Linux as un-American and violating copyright because of Linux's open source software.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

The natives are restlessly texting

There has been some really interesting debate going back and forth on the subject of "Digital Natives" (see Vaidhyanathan's Googlization of Everything and Gomez's Print is Dead for commentary and comments from both on this)
I would like to add my two cents, such as it is, to this debate. I had the distinct pleasure of hitting up the Electric Factory in Phila on Friday, December 10th to catch MeWithoutYou, Thrice and BrandNew. (Side note: Good show overall; wasn't a big fan of Thrice when I got there and that didn't change watching their set. BrandNew and MeWithoutYou continue to prove their energy and musicianship) The age of crowd probably ranged from 15-27 with some exceptions. I am admittedly on the older end of the scale weighing in at 24 years of age. What was really interesting to me, and bears the point of the "Digital Natives" is that as soon as the current band was finished with a song, not the set but a song in that set, these neon glows started popping up all around the crowd. In the middle of a show, these individuals were texting like they were breaking the next Pulitzer Prize winning story.
Please know that I'm not against texting or technology. The word "technology" is in my job title and I regularly utilize the alpha-numeric keys on my mobile for non-verbal communication. What really astounded me and continues to do so is the seeming inability to stop "being native" that is participating in a digital world. Just from looking around where I was in the crowd most of the texts were responses to conversations. Obviously there's a level of "I'm here; you're not sucker" but at the same time that wasn't the content of every single conversation. This is not to say that all 15-27 year olds fall into some marketing dynamic or technology cliche but I believe there is definitive truth in the nomenclature of "digital native". The behavior demonstrated at this show is bound to be consistent with behavior outside of the show.
I understand that attempting to label an entire generation on the basis of a 5 hour experience is not exactly a Barnum poll but I think it sheds some light on the debate. Texting is how these kids stay connected and breaking that connection, even for a short amount of time was not even comprehensible. I believe that this constant interruption of outside forces calling for attention is a trend that is noticeable in other areas. Taking this scenario outside of a rock'n roll show, why are these kids texting their friends between songs? Just a wild guess but if you ask I'll bet they say they are bored. the current spectacle has paused, however briefly and the need for new entertainment/stimulation is required. This changes the scenario from a love/hate one to a scenario where the individual feels perfectly justified in expecting interactions to fight for his attention by being the most entertaining, the most enjoyable or the most _________. This is not to say that we need to change all current approaches to education or outreach to only include digital models but that we need to be aware, especially myself as a MLIS student, that this digital zeitgeist is going to affect perceptions, philosophies and worldviews in yet unforeseen ways. At best it will provide us with incredible tools and knowledge; at worst it will birth a culture of entertainment vampires.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

note this

David C. McClain who is a fantastic librarian at Baptist Bible College has been hooking me up with all sorts of good articles/information both on and by librarians.
This following excerpt is an email from Anthony Verdesca who is a reference librarian at The Warren Library of Palm Beach Atlantic University.

I can't help but be irked by the notion of librarians changing job
titles as a way of receiving a boost in salary. Does a librarian want a
substantial increase in salary? Then get a second job, or change
professions. You don't enter librarianship to become rich. It's not
like it's one of THE professions. In fact, I have my doubts as to
whether librarianship is a profession at all. A librarian is, after
all, a perpetual student, a lifelong learner par excellence. You don't
really become a librarian as much as morph into a one. How does this
formation begin? I believe it begins with that virus that traditionally
has gone by the name of bibliomania. You begin to love books-the look,
feel even the smell of them-and then you also love to be surrounded by
people who love books, who talk books and write books as well as those
who deal in them, retail or second-hand, even those who make them. The
virtue that naturally flows from this mania eventually translates into a
desire to put one's "knowledge" to the test by assisting the earnest
inquirer. This "putting to the test" is the librarian's meat, making
his labors, however mundane, sweet.

I've found that the work of the librarian, and particularly the academic
librarian, is the best job in the world! The librarian is afforded the
opportunity to read. And yes, I mean on the job as well as off. Bib
records, blurbs and publisher's brochures only serve to whet the
appetite. The librarian can't help but imbibe the review literature,
book excerpts, and abstracts out of the professional literature as well
as the articles they represent. Sorry, no time for Maxim or McCall's,
or anything else of un-redeeming value. There's much too much
substance. Those who restrict their reading to popular literature are
best suited to serve in the public library. Those who subsist on the
business literature or other professional fare such as medicine and law,
are cut out for the special library--where the "big money" is. Academic
librarians, however, read what faculty read-and write. That means they
luxuriate in the ancients and the moderns and all the lit crit in
between. Indeed, it is a truism for the librarian: you are what you
read. And as if reading were not enough, the librarian has the
privilege, the responsibility and the opportunity to write: to
contribute to the review literature and/or to submit articles and enter
into dialogue with his peers, crossing swords or sharpening irons.

I can't help but be irked by the notion that librarians, perpetual
students, require second degrees to become more educated or marketable.
Oh perhaps a second degree would be helpful at a research university,
but then the librarian sheds the very thing that makes him unique: his
command of generalities. Does he desire to become a subject specialist
and thus narrow his outlook? I prefer to swim the limitless sea of
generalities. Leif Eriksson, not St. Jerome, should be the patron saint
of librarianship. Who but the librarian sets sail, the world's wisdom
before him, to discover and explore? Why, his library is the heart of
the university! There are enough books on the shelves to last a
lifetime. And there are enough books on the shelves to make a scholar of
every student. That perpetual student characteristic in the librarian
must rub off on the student. The Almighty provides the miracle of
sight; the grammar school teacher miraculously instills the reading
arts. The student need only supply the discipline.

I can't help but be irked by the notion of librarians concerning
themselves with what the public imagines a simple and quiet job.
Librarianship today is not simple and quiet enough! The librarian's
work is simple and yet profound, quiet, but its silence is its strength.
If this simple and quiet profession is in jeopardy, as Mr. Gates states
(and I believe it truly is), it's because librarians are fast becoming
useless on the vine and find themselves, consciously or not, grasping at
paradigms based on business models instead of common sense. Why
useless? Because like a cat at play, our country's long-bemoaned
erosion in reading habits is having its way with the profession. We are
living the transition that's been the subject of association discussions
for quite some time now. I fear the transition has long shown signs of
our having entered an age of "sub-literacy." It would only be natural
that in an age of sub-literacy, there would be less call for traditional
librarians. And indeed that is the case. Librarians were useful in the
past to the earnest inquirer precisely because these librarians were
widely-read. Wide reading, discrimination, a grasp of context, a sense
of history, an understanding of order-librarian characteristics all. I
can go on. But today, we prefer to strain after trends and trinkets and
more rounds of self-serving and self-fulfilling poster sessions, while
the modern world fades into intellectual atrophy.

Rather than engage in novel schemes and yet another generation of toys,
librarians would do well to start a campaign of pruning. Yes, pruning.
It's very simple. It costs nothing and I think it quite biblical: slash
the distractions that so easily beset and rob the young and college-aged
of their God-given gray matter, those distractions that devilishly
decrease their attention span and their patience and undermine the very
notion of discipline. In the end, the young lose the desire and the
sympathy for anything that went before them. And after all, anything
that went before them is what libraries and librarians are all about.
If we can read the signs of the times and act accordingly, maybe, just
maybe, the earnest inquirer will return, and with him, the sense of the
inestimable value of the simple and quiet librarian.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Century’s Playlist

Century’s Playlist

This is a rather excellent introduction to The Rest is Noise a work by Alex Ross,who is, among many other things, the music critic for the New Yorker. I'm looking forward to reading this and this review supports my assumption, based on reading other '"Rossian" outputs that it is indeed both an excellent read and a fount of knowledge.

Take Five, and Call Me

Contuining on in the musical vein is also a review of MUSICOPHILIA: Tales of Music and the Brain. by Oliver Sacks. I picked this work up briefly in Barnes and Noble and I wasn't that impressed as the work is closer to those "penny dreadful" titles emerging this time of year. It's less a study of music's effects on people but more a study of people who happened to be affected or disaffected with music. Please don't take my word for it; the first chapter is available for perusal as well by following the link.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Composer and Computer: Partners Across the Years

German Border Threat: Cheap Books

German Border Threat: Cheap Books

This article is worth reading especially in light of the previous post on Jeff Gomez's Print is Dead work soon to be published on Nov. 13. A quote from the article indicates that "...Germans as a nation believe publishing quality books to be a cultural obligation."However the majority of the individuals interviewed were booksellers who believe in the power of books because of the physically printed media's role in their history. I believe that, however unfortunately, this article shows the beginning of the end for German booksellers. The last individual quoted in the article when asked why books will remain states, "Because we need them." The problem is that national economics rarely respect the individual's cultural needs especially in regards to private book sellers and private publishers.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web

Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web NY TIMES

October 22, 2007
Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web

Several major research libraries have rebuffed offers from Google
and Microsoft to scan their books into computer databases, saying they
are put off by restrictions these companies want to place on the new
digital collections.

The research libraries, including a large consortium in the Boston
area, are instead signing on with the Open Content Alliance, a
nonprofit effort aimed at making their materials broadly available.

Libraries that agree to work with Google must agree to a set of
terms, which include making the material unavailable to other
commercial search services. Microsoft places a similar restriction on
the books it converts to electronic form. The Open Content Alliance, by
contrast, is making the material available to any search service.

Google pays to scan the books and does not directly profit from the
resulting Web pages, although the books make its search engine more
useful and more valuable. The libraries can have their books scanned
again by another company or organization for dissemination more broadly.

It costs the Open Content Alliance as much as $30 to scan each book,
a cost shared by the group’s members and benefactors, so there are
obvious financial benefits to libraries of Google’s wide-ranging offer,
started in 2004.

Many prominent libraries have accepted Google’s offer — including
the New York Public Library and libraries at the University of
Michigan, Harvard, Stanford and Oxford. Google expects to scan 15
million books from those collections over the next decade.

But the resistance from some libraries, like the Boston Public
Library and the Smithsonian Institution, suggests that many in the
academic and nonprofit world are intent on pursuing a vision of the Web
as a global repository of knowledge that is free of business interests
or restrictions.

Even though Google’s program could make millions of books available
to hundreds of millions of Internet users for the first time, some
libraries and researchers worry that if any one company comes to
dominate the digital conversion of these works, it could exploit that
dominance for commercial gain.

“There are two opposed pathways being mapped out,” said Paul Duguid,
an adjunct professor at the School of Information at the University of
California, Berkeley. “One is shaped by commercial concerns, the other
by a commitment to openness, and which one will win is not clear.”

Last month, the Boston Library Consortium of 19 research and
academic libraries in New England that includes the University of
Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts, said it would work
with the Open Content Alliance to begin digitizing the books among the
libraries’ 34 million volumes whose copyright had expired.

“We understand the commercial value of what Google is doing, but we
want to be able to distribute materials in a way where everyone
benefits from it,” said Bernard A. Margolis, president of the Boston
Public Library, which has in its collection roughly 3,700 volumes from
the personal library of John Adams.

Mr. Margolis said his library had spoken with both Google and
Microsoft, and had not shut the door entirely on the idea of working
with them. And several libraries are working with both Google and the
Open Content Alliance.

Adam Smith, project management director of Google Book Search, noted
that the company’s deals with libraries were not exclusive. “We’re
excited that the O.C.A. has signed more libraries, and we hope they
sign many more,” Mr. Smith said.

“The powerful motivation is that we’re bringing more offline
information online,” he said. “As a commercial company, we have the
resources to do this, and we’re doing it in a way that benefits users,
publishers, authors and libraries. And it benefits us because we
provide an improved user experience, which then means users will come
back to Google.”

The Library of Congress has a pilot program with Google to digitize
some books. But in January, it announced a project with a more
inclusive approach. With $2 million from the Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation, the library’s first mass digitization effort will make
136,000 books accessible to any search engine through the Open Content
Alliance. The library declined to comment on its future digitization

The Open Content Alliance is the brainchild of Brewster Kahle, the
founder and director of the Internet Archive, which was created in 1996
with the aim of preserving copies of Web sites and other material. The
group includes more than 80 libraries and research institutions,
including the Smithsonian Institution.

Although Google is making public-domain books readily available to
individuals who wish to download them, Mr. Kahle and others worry about
the possible implications of having one company store and distribute so
much public-domain content.

“Scanning the great libraries is a wonderful idea, but if only one
corporation controls access to this digital collection, we’ll have
handed too much control to a private entity,” Mr. Kahle said.

The Open Content Alliance, he said, “is fundamentally different,
coming from a community project to build joint collections that can be
used by everyone in different ways.”

Mr. Kahle’s group focuses on out-of-copyright books, mostly those
published in 1922 or earlier. Google scans copyrighted works as well,
but it does not allow users to read the full text of those books
online, and it allows publishers to opt out of the program.

Microsoft joined the Open Content Alliance at its start in 2005, as
did Yahoo, which also has a book search project. Google also spoke with
Mr. Kahle about joining the group, but they did not reach an agreement.

A year after joining, Microsoft added a restriction that prohibits a
book it has digitized from being included in commercial search engines
other than Microsoft’s.

“Unlike Google, there are no restrictions on the distribution of
these copies for academic purposes across institutions,” said Jay
Girotto, group program manager for Live Book Search from Microsoft.
Institutions working with Microsoft, he said, include the University of
California and the New York Public Library.

Some in the research field view the issue as a matter of principle.

Doron Weber, a program director at the Sloan Foundation, which has
made several grants to libraries for digital conversion of books, said
that several institutions approached by Google have spoken to his
organization about their reservations. “Many are hedging their bets,”
he said, “taking Google money for now while realizing this is, at best,
a short-term bridge to a truly open universal library of the future.”

The University of Michigan, a Google partner since 2004, does not
seem to share this view. “We have not felt particularly restricted by
our agreement with Google,” said Jack Bernard, a lawyer at the

The University of California, which started scanning books with the
Open Content Alliance, Microsoft and Yahoo in 2005, has added Google.
Robin Chandler, director of data acquisitions at the University of
California’s digital library project, said working with everyone helps
increase the volume of the scanning.

Some have found Google to be inflexible in its terms. Tom Garnett,
director of the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a group of 10 prominent
natural history and botanical libraries that have agreed to digitize
their collections, said he had had discussions with various people at
both Google and Microsoft.

“Google had a very restrictive agreement, and in all our discussions
they were unwilling to yield,” he said. Among the terms was a
requirement that libraries put their own technology in place to block
commercial search services other than Google, he said.

Libraries that sign with the Open Content Alliance are obligated to
pay the cost of scanning the books. Several have received grants from
organizations like the Sloan Foundation.

The Boston Library Consortium’s project is self-funded, with
$845,000 for the next two years. The consortium pays 10 cents a page to
the Internet Archive, which has installed 10 scanners at the Boston
Public Library. Other members include the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and Brown University.

The scans are stored at the Internet Archive in San Francisco and
are available through its Web site. Search companies including Google
are free to point users to the material.

On Wednesday the Internet Archive announced, together with the
Boston Public Library and the library of the Marine Biological
Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, that it would
start scanning out-of-print but in-copyright works to be distributed
through a digital interlibrary loan system.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Iron and Wine: Songs of Love and Death

Iron and Wine: Songs of Love and Death

You really have to admire NPR for their music selection. I know I've said it before but their selection is truly awesome. This interview and in-studio performance by Sam Beam is fantastic especially as Beam plays one of my personal favorites "Naked as We Came". The combination of the interview with the performance balances out the traditional writing on the artist with the artist's own words. It's a decent recording as well. Continued kudos to WXPN and World Cafe for their hosting of these artists.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Left on the shelf

Left on the shelf
Jeff Gomez, who among other things, maintains the stellar blog Print is Dead, has a fantastic article on the book's need to embrace the digital world.
Gomez also practices what he preaches by putting excerpts from his soon to be published book, Print Is Dead: Long Live The Digital Book , online at
( I believe Nov 13 is the publish date)

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One Book, One Philadelphia Picks Dave Eggers' What Is the What for 2008

One Book, One Philadelphia Picks Dave Eggers' What Is the What for 2008
This is awesome; Philadelphia has picked the work What is the What for the One Book, One Philadelphia reading period. I picked this book up at random in our library and it is fantastic. It is fiction but it is powerfully written and well done as well as being based on actual events. I would highly recommend it especially if you want to pick me up a copy. That would be great.
(I'm also looking for a job in a library so if you find one, or if you're hiring please let me know. Especially if it deals with cataloging, archiving or anything that I can work 45 hours a week in a library. I have very little experience, none really, but I'm a fast learner. I am enrolled in the MLIS program at UPitt. I understand this sounds desperate but desperate times call for desperate measures.)

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The Nobel Prize in Literature from an Alternative Universe

The Nobel Prize in Literature from an Alternative Universe
This is worth checking out simply because the writer, Ted Gioia, took the time and effort to go through every Nobel prize awarded and picks a writer who should have won the award as their contribution to literature has proven to be much richer and deeper than the actual winner.

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Books in the landfill

Books in the landfill

Check out this article from which is a pretty good blog on literature and its overall effects and possible future as well.

Also check out

eBook Hunting at the Highstreet Brands

The writer is taking a sabbatical from all physical books and only buying/reading ebooks. Good post on the current availability of ebooks. What's especially interesting is that he refers back to booktwo's post, the first link, in regards to why he decided to make this decision.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's here

I did it; got the new Radiohead album and it was worth the 7.25 pounds I paid for it. Willingly I might add. Because Radiohead is worth it and because it's what we're doing anyway. We=music fans. We pay for the music we think is worth it; we pay for the bands we want to support and then rip the music for the bands that we are interested in. I do have to confess that I have ripped the last two mewithoutYou Cd's instead of buying them but I plan to make that up in merch at the show on December 7th @ The Electric Factory.
Also, if I have not mentioned it, the In Rainbows album is unbelievably good. It is a fantastic mix of standard rock instrumentation infused with the "radiohead" touch of rhythmic and electronic shifts that inform and support each song.
And please enjoy this. ( I can laugh at it because I get it) Check out more at

Exploits of a Mom

Leadership and Library

In light of the current semester's assignment of planning and organizing a working library, this essay is particularly poignant. Reflections of a former CIO: Leadership lessons learned.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Google Hints at Social Network Plan

Google Hints at Social Network Plan

Please note the especially interesting line of "...Google is planning to use information it has about the connections between its users..." tell me that's not a little invasive and/or scary

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Digging Up Thelonious Monk's Southern Roots

Digging Up Thelonious Monk's Southern Roots

I started subscribing to the NPR music feed and it is one of the best around. A HUGE range of music from Messian to Maddonna to Monk. You can also listen to different selections and check out additional web resources. Please enjoy the article and check out the rest of NPR; it's straight with no chaser.

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In Radiohead Price Plan, Some See a Movement

In Radiohead Price Plan, Some See a Movement

Check out where all the sweet, sweet hype is at
If you're going to get the album, bloody well pay something.

Radiohead, Big Enough to Act Like a Baby Band

“Digital technology has reintroduced the age of the troubadour. You are
worth what people are prepared to give you in the digital age because
they can get it for nothing."

Support the Rainbow!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Stand and rhyme


Douglas Goetsch has written six collections of poems, the most recent of which is
Your Whole Life. He taught high school for 21 years for the City of New York, where he now writes full-time. This essay pulls from The American Scholar online and is a wonderful idea where for a term students work on poetry in its various forms and then hosted a poetry stand writing poems on demand for passersby. It's really an excellent article.

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Siva Vaidhyanathan is at it again. In conjunction with the IF:Book he working on a book in a progress entitled : The Googlization of Everything. (and why we should worry) (The ironic part is that I track the updates to this using my customized iGoogle page and am typing this entry via blogger which is, you guessed it, run by the Google)
The project is interesting because it invites open interaction by the readers of the blog as well as the opportunity to participate in the project via the forum of open questions. This is old news but I was excited about it again.
so please toddle on over to and add it to your list of favorite feeds and read it as well. It's really not much good if you just hoard it.
"It's not culture if you keep it in your living room." My paraphrase: "It's not helpful if you don't open it.
and read it
and interact
and do something about what you have read."

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Frontier Foundation
check it out; this is a good copyright site and knowledgebase.
I also stumbled across this site:
I can't tell if it's still functional; hope so.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Prisons Purging Books on Faith From Libraries

Prisons Purging Books on Faith From Libraries

One of the most interesting points to this story is the fact that the government is using the possibility of preventing terroristic recruiting/terrorism to operate with impunity and remove works it did not find to be appropriate. I think it is possible there is a direct correlation to the Patriot Act where the government's purpose is not to seek out terrorists but to increase the ability to peer into the lives of its citizens.

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To Burundi and Beyond for Coffee’s Holy Grail

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

how does it work?

There is a good post here about the point of a blog in academic writing from a fantastic blog entitled The Valve which has proven to be thoroughly excellent.
It's amazing how the classes I'm taking are so relevant to our present situation. Check out Mining the Blogosphere at First Monday. Listen to Siva Vaidhyanathan discuss the Googlization of Everything via the New First Monday Podcasts. Vaidhyanathan with his work, The Anarchist in the Library has trampolined himself to one of my favorite author/agitator/blogger/scholar/person I would really like to meet and to be really sauve in greeting but I would be really awkward bc of Vaidhyanathan's almost celebrity status.
First Monday is a valued and necessary place to be accessing information if you're not already using it.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

and we're back

from vacation that is. a glorious week of vacationing at a cabin on a lake in Maine. absolutely wonderful. Almost didn't come back but managed at the last second to pull ourselves away. School started up last week which means I'm a week behind already but vacation was worth it. Among the other cool things we did like climb Mt. Washington and fish and kayak, we also did a lot of reading. I read, among other things, On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I would like to write a more stylized critique of this work in the future so i will hold off for right now and simply state that I enjoyed it. I would like to discuss Fiction and Literature for a moment. I was in use d book store in Bridgton, Maine and toward the back of the store there was a section of used books. On the right hand side there was a section of shelves labeled 'Fiction' and on the left hand side was a much smaller area, thrust in between the children's section and misc other writings was the section labeled 'Literature'. Why is this important you ask? glad you asked. This is important because the works in the 'Fiction' shelves were sci-fi and trade paper back thrillers such as Grisham, Steele and other writers I don't know. Now the 'Literature' section was a much more respectable, albeit smaller, section containing misc works of Shakespeare, a short story collection by Huxley, which we quickly appropriated, and various and sundry other works associated with the grand old title of 'Literature'. However the works in the 'Literature' section, according to Kermode, contain fictions which assist the author in dealing with the world or relationship to the world. Obviously all works of fiction use 'fictions' as vehicles for the story but what causes the separation from simply a work of 'Fiction' to that vaunted pedestal of 'Literature'? I'm not totally sure. Frankly most, if not all, of the works in the 'Fiction' section would be better off as recycled wood pulp for printing more 'Literature' books. But the fact that the 'Literature' section was approximately a quarter of the size of the 'Fiction' section and that 1 out of 4 Americans didn't read a book last year, according to the AP's poll.
Makes you wonder.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

the LongPen is back

the LongPen is back
This is an impressive technology but makes me think about how absolutely removed we can be and still claim to interact. I'm not sure if this counts as a meaningful autograph; order the thing off of ebay for crying out loud
On the Road 50th Anniversary at the Free Library
This isn't until oct 4th (7 pm) but mark your calendars kids because it's going to be awesome.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Seeing Corporate Fingerprints in Wikipedia Edits

Seeing Corporate Fingerprints in Wikipedia Edits

This article is interesting because it points out one of the main flaws of Wikipedia which is the inability to constantly maintain informational credibility as well as the ability to input false information. The idea of the WikiScanner is tremendously interesting. I'm open to the possibility though that this is a media related one. Errors and occur in printed materials that are assumed to go through a rigorous editorial process but mistakes are able to be made to the same extent here as well. I.e. did Jack Kerouac really write On the Road in the three straight weeks fueled by only coffee on a single sheet of paper. One writer says he did and one writer says he did not, see last post. How does this editing of Wikipedia play into censorship and marketing propaganda? I'm glad to see that Wikipedia does not support this and will reject changes because of a lack of objectivity. (pg. 2)
Does Wikipedia force people to further examine the subject they are interested in to produce a cross-section of information to correctly fact check or does it engender laziness in looking for information because it seems to be comprehensive?

From Salzburg, a Mozart-a-thon

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Friday, August 17, 2007

On the Road Again

On the Road Again

It's unfortunate that Sante is not fact checked better as the alleged fact, really legend, that Kerouac pounded out this manuscript in three weeks is complete pish-posh according to Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954 edited by David Brinkley who presents solid evidence to the contrary. This book is a fantastic, albeit edited, look into Kerouac's thought processes and writing labors while writing Town and Country and On the Road. Brinkley writes a fantastic biographical introduction to this collection which really helps piece together, especially for a Kerouac newbie as myself, to get a grasp on the writer and his world and the real life characters that built his writing.
Another good review:

You Don’t Know Jack

I hate to admit this but On The Road is actually a book on my "to-read" list rather than a book I have read. It's in my top 5 to read at this point, along with finishing Gravity's Rainbow and the collection of essays on writers in exile entitled Altogether Elsewhere. Benajmin's Arcades Project is always in the top 5 as well as Adorno in America.

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A Most Bookish Borough

A Most Bookish Borough

(we're moving)

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The Boy Who Lived

This is worth reading!!! The Boy Who Lived
*quick synposis: fantastic paralles drawn between Potter's books and Orwell.

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Still Vital, ‘On the Road’ Turns 50

Still Vital, ‘On the Road’ Turns 50

Also of interest referenced in this article is Kafe Kerouac in Columbus OH. website is here and myspace page, slightly more interesting than the current website, is here.

Thirdly of interest Silenced Press.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


so I've been neglecting this blog a bit over the past couple weeks for which I am sorry. I had a good groove going but with the term finishing up kinda lost it. But starting tomorrow morning will be back in business. Keep your eyes peeled for:

1) an essay in the works on whether our society is knowledge based or information based. I'm not
sure yet; you'll have to read the essay

2) Check out this site:

Thursday, August 9, 2007

good things!

Yes it is true! Brand New is touring with MeWithoutYou. (No idea who Thrice is) December 6th and 7th are the Electric Factory show dates and the presale tickets already sold out so be alert. Ducat King is the ticketing site used.I emailed them to make sure the tickets were not already gone and was reassured that the tickets will be going on sale and to watch Brand New's website for those tickets.

I'm all tingly inside. MeWithoutYou is quite possibly the best band out there right now. I listen to Catch for us the Foxes and Brother Sister on just about a weekly basis. For a little excellent MeWithoutYou video action enjoy Nice and Blue (pt 2)

In other news the poem I posted to The Heel Press won their Moleskine Challenge for the month of July. Basically I get a sweet Moleskin book with my name embossed in the front. Pretty cool!

Friday, August 3, 2007


1) If you're not reading if:book you should be! Check out this brilliant post entitled the future of print.
2) Marketing the book :Tanks for the Memories: Print not dead, but it does have a hacking cough
3) Suggested reading from some fools, in the best sense. These books are on "Politics and Current Events and Issues. Each suggested book has a brief
explanatory blurb. These are not, of course, the only books worth
reading on these topics, but these stood out as particularly worthy of
4)Everything is dead
well at least in music. (Not Wolpe though)

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Audiobooks are not cheating

I was trying to post this along with NY Times article but it's not working for some reason.

Listen, Do You Want to Know a Secret?: Audiobooks are not cheating

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Interesting Links:
1) This link
is interesting because it shows how the most current search engines are related to each other over the past. Also check the link,View the Search Engine Relationship Chart ® histogram,at the bottom of the first chart. This chart shows the progress over the past 7 years of how search engines have morphed and grown. It's a pretty cool chart.
2) On a completely different note American Music Center has a new website. You can listen to new works, see what artists are in your area and check out the AMC Online Library. You can search for composers and works as well as search the AMC score collection held at the The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. There are some pretty heavy copyright policies on here so the actual ability to get a score is questionable. I thought one particular sentence in the explanation of the policy was particularly illuminating: "We can now circulate only copies of scores for which we have permission to make a photocopy via a Deed of Gift form from the copyright holder. Some composers have not yet signed a Deed of Gift form, and, to this date, no publishers have signed one."(emphasis mine)
3) Upon the recommendation of Lydia, a fellow student in Cohort 7, I picked up Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow today in B&N. All I have to say in the first 50 pages is wow. It's one of those works where you have to immerse yourself completely and deeply in the text in order to catch the intricacies of the language. To simply gloss over the words in an attempt to catch the main areas of the plot will leave you very lost and confused in a matter of sentences. The first two sentences convinced me I was going to like this work.
"A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before but there is nothing to compare it to now."
-Pynchon pg. 1
Some Pynchon links for your information: ( I'm not going to lie, this guy is possibly more reclusive than Salinger and stranger in personality than Thompson.)
Pynchon Notes

Your Cheatin’ Listenin’ Ways

Archaeological Digging In the Digital Age

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Goodbye to Newspapers?

Goodbye to Newspapers?

This is supposed to be a book review but it morphs into a genius bit of writing on blogs, the future of journalism, how big money affects/will affect newspapers and how once again people with money,power,stocks get to make decisions that will ont only affect us but our children.

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Chinese Market Awash in Fake Potter Books

Chinese Market Awash in Fake Potter Books

Any connection to Harry Potter aside, this is a fantastic article on copyright, intellectual property and the attempts vs. the non-attempts to enforce those type of rules.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

When Great Art Meets Great Evil

When Great Art Meets Great Evil
Dr. Samuel Hsu and Marshall Taylor have done a series of concerts in this area under the title of Entartete Musik or Degenerate Music playing music written by composers who by some who lived and were displaced by the Third Reich. This article examines the other side of the coin using fiction as the vehicle. This is an issue that has been explored numerous times, any of Michael Kater's books, but the article at least provides an interesting read.

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It's not difficult to do but I have a poem published on the front page of
Take a look
(the title is post-it note)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pay attention


1) Walt Crawford's new Cites & Insights is available here.
Frankly you should already be subscribed to it but if not, check it out.

2) If you use ScribeFire and got the latest update, have you noticed that there is no longer a way to exit? There used to be an "x" in the upper right hand corner and now it's gone. Not sure what happened there.

3) I've shared some articles in the share box in the lower right hand corner of this blog which are worth checking out.

4) After the last week being at Pitt, which was awesome, I'm having a hard time getting back into the flow of things. But Pitt was uber cool especially since I got to do a lot of non-required reading.
I would recommend
Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland (yes like the Beatles' song)
Bluebeard Kurt Vonnegut
God Bless you, Mr. Rosewater Kurt Vonnegut
Player Piano Kurt Vonnegut
The Revenge of the Lawn, The Abortion, So The Wind Won't Blow it All Away Richard Brautigan (I really like Brautigan's writing and this is frankly the best of his work that I've read so far.)

5) Check out heelpress
It seems to be a sort of self-published peer review deal. I'm going to try it and see what happens Will let you know how it goes. so it goes.

6) Really fantastically good used/rare bookstores in Pitt:

Just What the Founders Feared: An Imperial President Goes to War

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I'm staying with a roomate from college this week while at pitt and his roomate is a director of some really fantastic short films. His name is Lucas McNelly and his most current project is gravida. Check out his website here.Buy a DVD; they are awesome!!

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

it's up and it's amateurish

Well my website is up and you can see it here.
It needs some work but it's progressing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

keep it coming

another Peeling the Onion review definitely tempers the John Irving review and the John Irving defense.

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Reading habits

This article from the NYTimes dealing with the Harry Potter books and reading is interesting because of the varied displayed approaches to reading and more importantly what is expected from the experience of reading. Growing up time for reading was never optional. If there was time it was spent reading. I'm now 24 and I still think that is true much to my wife's amusement and occasional chagrin. (I do believe this is due to my mother's influence, mainly because she read to me while I was still in the womb, at bedtime and lunchtimes before going to school and we still share book titles and thoughts on books.) The real point of this post is that the goal of reading is pure enjoyment; reading isn't meant to be easy. Yes, there are some lovely books that are meant to be enjoyed. I enjoy Harry Potter. Really. I also enjoy Joyce though I believe that enjoyment results from a much higher and more intense intellectual stimulation but I have to work hard to ejoy Joyce. Extra reading outside of the source material is required in order to gain the proper perspective to truly appreciate and ultimately enjoy the work. (This is also true in modern music; education about the piece and its composition is the key to understanding and possibly appreciation. At the very least understanding will garner a level of respect and a correct criticism based on the work's merits rather than just personal opinion) Gunter Grass is another writer that requires research from the reader to accurately and clearly read, appreciate, ponder, mull, discuss, debate and critique if only in one's head, the work at hand. Grass has the Germanic history at his fingertips and uses it fantastically and unless I do the extra work to understand his allusions, puns and meanings I miss the point of the work. The struggle, as it were, the fight through the book becomes the reward because knowledge is reaped. (Corny but true)

I liked it fine so I decided to change it

If anyone questions the worthiness of the Internet I offer this example as the redeeming point of of the web. It's only 17 minutes long so please take time to listen.
Click here to hear Donald Antrim read Donald Barthelme's "I Bought a Little City"

1) It's a Barthelme short story; what else do you need?
2) Donald Antrim reads this fantastically!
3) The discussion at the end is humurous, especially regarding Antrim's replies to the interviewer's thoughts and questions on the story.

(For my fellow MLIS students it provides a lovely surreal backdrop to wrestling with Kompozer)

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and the winner is

I posted an article recently from the NY Times on all those hip librarians out there.
Well check this out here. I wasn't paying particular attention to the author and surprise, surprise I'm subscribed to her website feed. (If I was really hip I would have caught this sooner)

Also check out other feedback in the share box directly to the right of this post for some other feedback, by a musicologist no less.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

graze away

I don't know why this took me so long but graze to your heart's content. The widget will give you the same information. For whatever reason the code when generating the widget for the opml was screwing up Blogger with an inability to parse the xml. After multiple attempts to adjust decided it was easier just to update the link. hurray.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

A Hipper Crowd of Shushers

A Hipper Crowd of Shushers

The fact that this is in the fashion section is a little silly but here's to us! (well those of you who are already librarians and I include myself because I am looking for a librarian job, I'm enrolled in a MLIS program and I'm hip and with it or something like that.)

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Review of Peeling the Ontion by Gunter Grass

Gunter Grass is by far one of my favorite authors. His ability to create memorable chracters utilize incredible language to set unsurpassable scenes is unmatched. He spins Germanic history directly into his stories and the fall of the Berlin Wall with onions in hand waltzes through his works as a leitmotif. I haven't read Peeling the Onion just yet but it's on my list. This review by John Iriving published in the Ny Times is fantastic.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Death of an indie publisher

The struggle for independents

The bankruptcy
of a book distributor sent shock waves through the indie publishing
world, leaving small presses like McSweeney's struggling to survive.
Can the Internet help keep them afloat?

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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Celebrating the Bridge

Bridges can play music to!  Joseph Bertolozzi is using the Mid Hudson bridge near Poughkeepsie, N.Y., as an instrument and is composing a suite for it. Check it out.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

(This is approximately the 15th time I've read this today and I'm still laughing out loud.)

News Flash: Google isn't perfect

In a crazy revelation posted as recently as today, it has been confirmed that the Google search is not quite, as delicately as I can put this, perfect. There's an excellent article available here on the subject.I think the comments below the article are especially insightful to seeing how patrons/researchers perceive librarians and their roles.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007


the grazr link is not yet correct; it does not include all correct feeds at this point.

for the win

Bloglines RSS Feed available here. Scopus was kicking my face until I realized in a blazing moment of paradoxical happiness and anger at my own stupidity that you can click the link in the databases instead of searching for keywords, selecting view and then selecting the options in that database. go figure; I doubt it should work that way but it does. The main difference and my sticking point was selecting the RSS feed button generated a blank window with a gibberishesque link.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

It's postulated on pg. 136 of The Social Life of Information that "people learn in response to need." Thus if need is not understood or non-existent learning to fulfill an invisible need doesn't happen. Conversely, Brown and Duguid make the point that those people who need/want to learn directly add importance to the level of need that they understand which is necessary to retrieve and capture information to make the necessary skills/knowledge available to them.
Walter Benjamin, a 19th German critic-philosopher, in his monumental essay "The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction" suggests that the original work or works of art possess a particular aura defined as where "the authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experienced." (pg 221, Illuminations) Benjamin goes on to say that the multiple reproductions of a work of art ultimately diminishes the aura of a work by saturating the visual market, so to speak, changing what would have been a reactionary attitude in the viewer to a progressive reaction. (pg 234) While Benjamin's discussion is particularly directed toward printing and photography, I think that there are certain facets that can be directly applied to the need to learn mentioned above. Brown/Duguit make a fantastic point that "learning to be requires more than just information. It requires the ability to engage in the practice in question." (pg. 128; The Social Life of Information)

With the enormous amount of information available, with the multiple digitization projects occuring and the ability to capture information available through bookmarking, blogging, feeds and wikis learning seems to be available like no other time before. However, I would suggest that perhaps the aura of learning has been slightly skewed by the saturation of information that is available. Learning also involves practice and while such programs as GoogleReader allows the user to quickly sum up and read their favorite blogs this does not mean that learning is occuring. To draw again on Benjamin's definition, the aura of a work of art is dependent on "...the historywhich it has experienced." The aura of learning and ultimately knowledge is dependent on the same history. Traditionally it seems that the amount of time a work or concept can survive validates its existence as well as making it worthwhile to learn about. While history is not a perfect filter, it is a very effective one. The Internet is proving though to exist in an 'a-historical' existence as links are deleted or updated based on their effectiveness rather then their place in a tradition.
The main point is that physical objects have a distinct "specialness" for a lack of a better term. To be able to stand before Picasso's original Three Musicians in the Philadelphia Art Museum or to listen in person to Beethoven's 9th are events that unsurpassable in terms of their transmission to the viewer/listener. The ability to search and capture a reproduction of an image thus lessens the aura of the work. The ability to search and capture the knowledge/learning of a concept in your favorites or bookmarking service lessens the aura of the importance of that knowledge. The implementation fo that knowledge is still tremendously important and vital but the aura of the act of learning has been dimmed. Even with the digitization as a tremendous tool for preservation/conservation of historically important materials, the impact of the original work is unsurpassed.
To quote Hindemith
"And when to live and learn, they ranged the countryside and not just the closely printed paged...The old is good not just because it is past nor
is the new supreme because we live with it.
And ever yet a man felt greater joy than he could bear or truly comprehend.
Your task it is amid confusion, rush and noise
to grasp the lasting calm and meaningful
And finding it anew
to hold and treasure it."

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Today is officially Bloomsday and to recognize/commemorate I went down to catch the last 2 hours of the reading at the Rosenbach Museum and Library. There were some distinct highlights. One was two blind men reading from Braille machines reading the end of Bloom's call and response just before Molly's monologue. Their voices were fantastic and the emphasis and energy well put. Another distinct highlight was that the work was performed rather than merely read. Professional singers performed the appropriate songs in hand with the readers. It made a lot of sense to hear the work read/performed to better understand what was going on in Joyce's mind as he wrote this work. A third highlight is the impact of language especially when read aloud. To listen to another individual read a work such as Ulysses is to purposefully embark into a journey of words and phrases that requires utmost attention but rewards with greater and more deliberate understanding of the text. This was especially true for Molly's end monologue where as she switches from dreaming about Stephen to deriding Bloom. Often the switch hangs on the word "his" which when read is easy to miss especially with the lack of punctuation in this section. With the keen eye to detail, including an Irish accent, Drucie McDaniel did a superb job. It is also interesting to note the way language drives meaning deeper when spoken aloud. I think it is an worthwhile and profitable practice to read familiar or important works aloud to re-learn the ideas, train of thoughts, setting, moods, characters as well for the sheer enjoyment of the story as a story. Granted, this is a little bit harder with Ulysses but one of the luxuries of simply listening is enjoying the grand flow of the language Joyce uses; the alliteration that abounds, the imagery, his cyclical approach to some sections and the inverting of texts from previous sections all make themselves very apparent.
It was a lovely Bloomsday for the reading especially in the afternoon. The end of the street was cordoned off with a half moon of chairs arranged in front of a row house door before which 2 microphones and stands were set up. Two other stands stood facing outward on which placards were placed showing who was reading. There was a light breeze which rolled through the street at periodic intervals providing a refreshing change of air. People who were listening through were, for the most part, respectfully quiet and very interested in the words being read. People who were just walking through were also quiet in respect for the crowd of seeming fools gathered just for the purpose to listen to "the apathy of the stars." I sat on the sidewalk across the street from the rightmost speaker if you are looking at the speaker from the audience. I leaned myself against an available space on a row home wall, kicked off my flip flops, cracked open Ulysses quickly realized I had no idea where they were and simply listened and rejoyced.