Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

'Read. Speak. Know.' Celebrating Banned Book Week September 26th-October 3rd, 2009

'Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.' Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Two videos from the American Library Association regarding Banned Books Week:

Here are a few from other people:

Top 10 from last year (according to the ALA):

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman; Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
  3. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  4. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz; Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
  5. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky; Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
  7. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar; Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen; Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
  9. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini; Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper; Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

There were 517 reported challenges last year. But many go unreported.

Check out some of the statistics at ALA's website, banned and challenged classics. Plus, there are the top 100 banned books from the last decade and lists for the 21st century.

Also, see a map of challenges for 2007-2009.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I must have been exhausted

I got home last night through the graces of a police officer who gave me a ride in a rainstorm. I'd hung around the store for an hour waiting for it to abate with little luck until then. I've never ridden in a police car. The back was cramped and the floor slippery. Once I got home I spent a few minutes in the comfy chair with a sleeveless fleece blanket I won at the book fair at the hospital (it also came with a book light), but my feet were really bothering me so I decided to stretch out in bed to relieve the pressure on them. That was 12 hours ago. My. So much for doing laundry this morning.

A couple of hours ago I got a phone call but accidentally let my phone close back shut when I was trying to open it. It wasn't a number I recongised. They left voice mail, but it was all in Spanish. I haven't had Spanish since 9th grade. The only thing I could make out (she was speaking quickly, of course) was 'español' and 'gracias'. I'm going to treat it as a wrong number.

Did you hear about the emu that had to be tasered and handcuffed in Mississipi to get it off of Interstate-20>? According to reports there were two birds on the loose, so one may still be out there. How about the 19-lb baby born in Indonesia? There's your odd news for the day. :)

Also of interest (at least to me) in my news reader today:

Peak renamed after Welsh princess

When the last (true) prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, was killed on the battlefield defending Wales from England's Edward I in 1282, his infant daughter, now orphaned, was taken and placed in an abbey in Lincolnshire, where she lived out her life. Now members of the Princess Gwenllian Society have negotiated with Britain's Ordinance Survey to rename the mountain Carnedd Uchaf Carnedd Gwenllian instead. In doing so, her name joins those of mountains named after her father, her mother, and her uncle.

Cambodians in U.S. recall Khmer Rouge terror

The Khmer Rouge is implicated in wiping out an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians, nearly a quarter of the population, during their rule from 1975-79 under Pol Pot. People died from disease, overwork, starvation and execution in the notorious 'killing fields.'

Now an international tribunal is giving those who were refugees from the regime a chance to tell their stories, to list camps, relatives, and experiences of this horrible era that wrecked their lives, to be used legally against those who committed the atrocities but also to be archived so the full story of Cambodia may be told. As one woman said, 'I'm here to teach history to the next generation, so this horrific crime will never happen again.'

Four-Winged Fossil Bridges Bird-Dinosaur Gap

It had two bird-like wings and then wings on its hind legs that look a little like the ones sported by images of Mercury. It was also covered by a soft 'dino-down' on its body.

Fanged frog, 162 other new species found: Environmental group announces findings from Mekong River region

The frog eats birds, by the way. The fangs are for fighting other male frogs.

I also came across this on Jane's A Wandering Eyre blog. It's comedian Louis CK's take on the difference between girls and women. Warning: lot's of the 'F' word but it's right on.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It was too quiet in my apartment when I got home

the aquarium's little wheel was motionless; just a trickle of water fell back down. The duckweed and evaporation had left it in that state.

I put down my things, went to the bathroom (don't most people when they come home?), and the toilet wouldn't stop, so I took the lid off and was trying to glide the balloon up just a bit when the assembly came off in my hand. The only way to stop the water running was to turn it off at the tank. I did so, and will turn it in to maintenance tomorrow. But not tonight. I was on a roll and had things to do.

I turned my attention to the aquarium. First, I scooped out as much duckweed as I could, giving the fish a chance at open water. I am coming to despise the stuff. When Brenda brought me the swords with one or two pieces, I was fine. I'd always rather liked the little plant. But I'd never seen it reach to kudzu proportions like this, either. Then I treated some water and put it in. The filter waterfall immediately sprung into life. I went ahead and fed the fish for good measure. It's been several hours now and the fish are very energised. I love watching their movements.

Today had its ups and downs. Despite setting four alarms I woke up at 9:30, enough time to get to work by 10 when I had the car, but not on the bus, so I was late. I spent all day getting a tally of how much had been spent on a grant, how much needed to be spent by end of year, and what I was going to spend it on.

I left work and took the Woodhill bus out the back for a change, because I had an eye appointment. She did a recheck of the pressure in my eyes (it had been elevated six months ago). The left eye has gone down some; the right eye is still elevated. The higher pressure and differing pressure are something to not mess with, so I've been referred to an ophthalmologist who specialises in glaucoma whose equipment is more sensitive and can find out (hopefully) what's going on. She says that from what she can see, the optic nerve itself looks healthy. The new doctor may have better ways to find out.

The nice thing was since it wasn't a full-blown exam, they just charged me $10, which was a little over what I needed to get my flexible spending card turned back on. The company turned it off due to some dental expenses that had been denied, and I had to 'repay' the amount by sending in requests for compensation as I spent in order to get that amount taken care of. It's been annoying, because the dental expenses were legitimate and because I've been only able to get my absolutely necessary meds. Now I can submit the claim and they'll turn the thing back on. While I was at the Woodhill shopping centre (my doctor's office is attached to a Pal Optical), I went to Office Depot and got some canned air (I've gone on a keyboard cleaning rampage at a friend's, at work, and now my own home) and a nice monthly/weekly planner for next year that opens up to a week per two pages, but has monthly tabs that open out for further notes and planning. It's similar to mine but more compact and I really need the weekly view rather than the daily, so that was great.

To get back to where I could make the Richmond Road bus, I had to take the Woodhill bus out because it didn't come back the same way. When I made the loop, I found the bus stop I should have taken, so I'll have a shortcut for next time. I had him drop me off by the pharmacy and then went inside to get some lancets for blood sugar testing and a travel version of my contact lens cleaner to keep in my purse. Those are also both flexible spending items, so at least I'll get the money back once I submit the claim.

I caught the Richmond Road bus from there (although it took me so little time in the pharmacy, I wound up waiting nearly the full thirty minutes) and got off at the shopping centre where I work. (I was really putting that unlimited bus pass to work). I ate at Subway (I'd gotten very hungry after all that). I stayed there for awhile finishing the book The Brief History of the Dead. I'd first tried to access it as a downloadable e-book from the library, but the copyright protection issues made it unplayable on either computer or on my phone. So I'd checked out the print and gone the traditional route. I'm glad I did. The book is beautifully written. There's not much in the way of action--it's virtually 100% description--but the language is very well done, and it quickly lured me in. The premiss is that there exists a city of the dead where those newly dead stay as long as someone on Earth remembers them (tying in with the ancient Greek idea of immortality, in a sense). As a pandemic rages on Earth, the city swells, then empties, as there remain few people to remember anyone. One survivor, Laura Byrd, is alone in the Antarctic, fighting her own battle for survival with the elements and discovering slowly that she may be the last one on Earth. The denizens of the city come to realise that those remain are connected with her, and even in death their fate is tied to her. The ending was very much an elegy on humanity, on its frailty, and on the memories that bind us together. It was somewhat depressing, I suppose, and I can't imagine it working as a movie in America because, after all, there's no desperate action by some sort of hero that turns back the spiral into oblivion and save humanity in the end. There are no explosions, no aliens, nothing of that sort, to spur movie audiences to see it. The experience of the book is in the reflection, the thoughts, the idea that death can come in hours and yet you can live a lifetime beyond death, but that there is an end to every dance. It's certainly one of the better books I've read in a long while.

I walked to the library, where I had a book due and returned it and the one I'd just finished. I picked up three more:

Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, Or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper

Despite being an animal lover, I don't normally read animal tales (although James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small series enchanted me when I was young). Plus, I don't normally pick up 14-day books. But this one just called to me. It is the story of a cat no one wanted, whose life was saved as a kitten at the expense of his eyes (and therefore vision), who should have spent his life meekly bumping into things but instead taught his human companion a lot about how to live. From what little I've read so far, Cooper's writing really draws you in as well. I'm looking forward to reading about Homer.

Sorcerer by James Byron Huggins

I couldn't resist. It's set in New England where a retired detective searching for a normal life instead is drawn into a plot involving an evil sorcerer. It even includes a sect of holy warriors. It had enough elements that match our Cthulhu game I had to give it a try.

The Whisperer and Other Voices by Brian Lumley

Speaking of Cthulhu, this is a collection of Lovecraftian short stories. I've read several of Lumley's Necroscope series, and I knew that he had contributed to the Cthulhu Mythos, but I haven't read any of those stories yet, so I thought I'd give this a shot. Apparently our library system segregates sci-fi and mystery into their own section, but files horror in with the general fiction and then puts a label on it marking it so. Hmm.

I checked the news and did some things around the house, then went to bed for awhile. Riding around on buses tires me out, and I didn't get home until after 8 pm. I meant to do my laundry; I'll try to get up early (hah!) and do some. For some reason I asked for a dollar in change because I was thinking of laundry. But you need a dollar to wash and one to dry. I already have two dollars reserved for it, but a third won't help me do another load. I'll check my purse; I may have another dollar in quarters, but I can't for the life of me figure out what I was thinking then.

That's all for now. I'd like to tell you about the giant squid, water on the moon, an HIV vaccine that cuts infection by 31%, one child, one telescope, and the census worker they found hanged here in Kentucky, but you'll just have to follow the links for yourself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I will unfortunately be nowhere near Second Life then

(I go onto Second Life once in a blue moon, after all, and I work/have plans that day.) According to Through the Filter of a Victorian Aesthetic there will be a presentation of the HP Lovecraft Historical Society's radio play for 'The Shadow Out of Time' on Thursday. I have to admit, I'm sorely tempted to buy the packaged set of HPLHS's Dark Adventure Theatre's four plays, which includes 'At the Mountains of Madness', 'The Dunwich Horror', 'The Shadow Out of Time', and 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth'. I love radio plays, and I love Lovecraft. I unfortunately don't have $80 to spare just now, though. But still...it's tempting. (If you already have a CD or so, you can mix and match, even get the wooden box, all at different rates, which I think is pretty nifty.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Small actions matter

Someone related the following to me yesterday:

He was at a bus stop with an older black woman and a young foreign woman. It was raining. A young black man walked up to the stop with an umbrella and offered the young woman a ride (despite the fact that his car was nowhere to be seen). She agreed haltingly, at which point my friend (ever known for his tact) intervened.

Him: Excuse me--where are you from?
Woman: The Philippines.
Him: Do they have cars there?
Woman: Well, yes (sounding offended).
Him: Did your mother ever tell you not to get into a car with a strange man?

At this point the woman sheepishly said yes, becoming aware of her situation. The man was angry and walked off in another direction (still no car in sight). She then admitted it was odd. For all I know, his intervention may have saved her life. Who knows what was going on with the guy offering the ride?

I told a co-worker this story, and she had one of her own. One of her friends saw a woman who looked to be in her late 70s struggling with a granny cart with several grocery bags in it. He stopped, got out, and showed her his ID, asking if she wanted a ride. She was deaf, but he managed to make her understand his offer. She agreed. He packed her and her things into his car, went down to the light and turned around. As he was coming back, a truck ran into a car, triggering a pileup where the vehicles wound up right where the woman had been standing. She wouldn't have heard the squeal of brakes or otherwise known what was going on behind her until it was too late. Again, it was a small act, but most likely saved a life.

Sometimes it's those small interventions that have great consequences. I guess I'm musing on the butterfly effect. But it also shows that it is always good to act when acting is right. Both men did good by choosing to act. Most people wouldn't want to involve themselves. The good person does good for its own sake and because it is the right thing to do. I admire that, although I don't always choose wisely myself, and I look back on those failures with regret. Inaction is also a choice, after all, and it can have devastating consequences--look at the Holocaust, for example.

Exploring the inner vision of a pioneer of the mind

The Holy Grail of the Unconscious
This is a story about a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. The book is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say “Liber Novus,” which is Latin for “New Book.” Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. If you didn’t know the book’s vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome.

And yet between the book’s heavy covers, a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure — taking place entirely in his head — he finds it again.

Some people feel that nobody should read the book, and some feel that everybody should read it. The truth is, nobody really knows. Most of what has been said about the book — what it is, what it means — is the product of guesswork, because from the time it was begun in 1914 in a smallish town in Switzerland, it seems that only about two dozen people have managed to read or even have much of a look at it.

Of those who did see it, at least one person, an educated Englishwoman who was allowed to read some of the book in the 1920s, thought it held infinite wisdom — “There are people in my country who would read it from cover to cover without stopping to breathe scarcely,” she wrote — while another, a well-known literary type who glimpsed it shortly after, deemed it both fascinating and worrisome, concluding that it was the work of a psychotic.

The book was created by Carl Jung, one of the most prominent names in psychology, and in it are images and words sprung from his own inner turmoil, including his own hallucinations. According to the Early Word, it isn't even published yet, but it's already #4 on the bestselling list at Amazon--and that's at a publisher's price of $195.00 (but the current price at the online retailer is $105.30). It is over 400 pages long and has over 200 colour illustrations. Here's the description listed at Amazon:
The most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology. When Carl Jung embarked on an extended self-exploration he called his “confrontation with the unconscious,” the heart of it was The Red Book, a large, illuminated volume he created between 1914 and 1930. Here he developed his principle theories—of the archetypes, the collective unconscious, and the process of individuation—that transformed psychotherapy from a practice concerned with treatment of the sick into a means for higher development of the personality.

While Jung considered The Red Book to be his most important work, only a handful of people have ever seen it. Now, in a complete facsimile and translation, it is available to scholars and the general public. It is an astonishing example of calligraphy and art on a par with The Book of Kells and the illuminated manuscripts of William Blake. This publication of The Red Book is a watershed that will cast new light on the making of modern psychology.

What's next, a meteor strike?

In the last 24 hours, Australia has been hit by earthquakes, hail storms, and bush fires. Now Sydney is being attacked by a red dust carried by gale-force winds from the outback. For more, see:

Dust storm sweeps East Australia

I've been in dust storms before (I lived in the Californian Mojave Desert and sometimes even walked home from school in them), but the video that accompanies the story is extremely eerie. If it weren't for the water (some of the dust was brought in by thunderstorms), you'd think it was some sort of Mars landscape or strange orange-red camera filter. People susceptible to breathing issues have been urged to stay inside. Others are venturing forth at a crawl, many wearing masks.

Wow. It sounds like something out of Cthulhu, omens for another apocalypse. Maybe all those wingnuts going on about the End Times are right after all.

Happy Fall!

The autumnal equinox is today, a day of equal parts of light and dark. The leaves are already starting to fall here but it's still been pleasant temperature-wise. Hope this season is a good one.

PS I shouldn't leave out you folks south of the equator. Happy Spring to you!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Last night I got home very late (after both game and giant grocery run) and was both very tired and keyed up because we finally reached the climax/conclusion to the insidious Utatti Asfet campaign module for Call of Cthulhu. Okay, granted, my character had her head split open from an ushbati soldier with a bronze sword, but there's every bit of hope that she'll get better. And another character was sidelined three-fourths of the way through due to asp bites after having been riddled with bullets half-way through. So my characters have definitely been in the line of fire this campaign. Through it we went through Tonga, New Orleans, the Sudan, and back again, ran afoul of Homeland Security, dealt with mummies, flying monkeys, and a cultist with lots of money and substantial magics.

But we saved the world, anyway.

There were some missteps, but we came through in the end and even resisted Great Cthulhu's offer to help. That's something.

But I'm glad it's over. Hopefully we'll have time to recover and have some downtime. I know those of you who have never played a pencil-and-paper roleplaying game, or know HP Lovecraft's Mythos probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but it was quite exciting and satisfying, and I do this for fun every week--dealing with fictional apocalypses. :)

Tonight it's over to a friend's for the 'Heroes' premiere. Yay!

PS My friend is having issues with Commodo (the anti-virus program) detecting a trojan virus when this page loads. I can't duplicate it either at home or at the library. Is anyone else having any trouble? Please comment if you are! It may be one of the javascript gadgets, but for the life of me, I don't know where to begin, save removing them one at a time. But I can't detect it, even though I have an up-to-date Commodo on my machine as well, so there you are. I think it may be time to e-mail Google. Thanks!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh, and by the way

it's raining pretty hard and thundering, which is one reason the light didn't wake me up. Should be a good setting for the game, though. :)

It figures

I went to bed at a decent hour last night (for me), a little after 1:30, after searching out some information for our game master. But I tossed and turned in the bed for a good two hours without sleep, and then I apparently slept through several alarms (one VERY loud one to wake the dead, along with my cell phone wake-up-tones-every-10-minutes-for-an-hour. I woke up exactly when I should have stepped off the bus at my friend's house. Since that is also an hour before another bus, and then an hour's ride after that, I'm now waiting for a taxi to take me there. It should be here in 20-30 minutes, fair given that it's almost time for churches to start, and at least I'll get there by about 10 rather than 11. The game starts at 1 and I have to have some time to get the house ready. Normally I start at 8 or 9 am. Agghhhh!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stuck in my head for days

Thanks to YKWIA, grrr.

But I was humming it at work and so now it's in a co-worker's head, too. Heh, heh.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Big day for museums, parks on Sept. 26: Free admission to many on Annual Museum Day, National Public Lands Day

Museums participating in Kentucky:
Frazier International History Museum, Louisville; Headley-Whitney Museum, Lexington; Historic Locust Grove, Louisville; International Museum of the Horse, Lexington; Kentucky Gateway Museum Center, Maysville; Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort; Lexington History Museum, Lexington; Liberty Hall Historic Site, Frankfort; Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Louisville; Mary Todd Lincoln House, Lexington; McCreary County Museum, Stearns; McDowell House Museum and Apothecary, Danville; Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site Museum, Perryville; River Discovery Center, Paducah; and Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site, Wickliffe

Find out what's near you.

That's three in the city I live in and two in my home county, including one (the McDowell House) where I used to be a docent. :)

Who thought that was a good idea?

Killer escapes on trip to county fair
Authorities have put out a statewide alert for a mentally ill killer who escaped during a hospital field trip to a county fair, leading to fears that he'll become more unstable and potentially dangerous the longer he is on the loose with no medication....Paul was committed after he was acquitted by reason of insanity in the 1987 slaying of an elderly woman in Sunnyside. He soaked the woman's body in gasoline to throw off search dogs and buried the remains in her flower garden. He reportedly said voices in his head told him she was a witch.

Tackling poverty and environmental issues

Meeting India's tree planting guru
An Indian civil servant, SM Raju, has come up with a novel way of providing employment to millions of poor in the eastern state of Bihar.

His campaign to encourage people to plant trees effectively addresses two burning issues of the world: global warming and shrinking job opportunities.

Evidence of Mr Raju's success could clearly be seen on 30 August, when he organised 300,000 villagers from over 7,500 villages in northern Bihar to engage in a mass tree planting ceremony.

In doing so the agriculture graduate from Bangalore has provided "sustainable employment" to people living below the poverty line in Bihar.

L'Shanah Tovah

Happy Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)!

and just for fun:

Oh, my, nothing like body bags to say you're all going to die

Canada anger at 'flu body bags'

Large numbers of body bags were sent to a number of indigenous reserves in Manitoba. The government has said that it was part of a routine re-stocking. The indigenous peoples were alarmed and offended. The Minister of Health, herself an aboriginal, has ordered an enquiry. The indigenous communities had suffered a disproportionate rate of H1N1 influenza (swine flu) several months ago. The latest faux pas came after hand gel was delayed over concerns that alcoholics would abuse it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm sorry I haven't posted

I have come home three nights running and put a fan on, stretched out on the bed 'for ten minutes' and essentially crashed--no blogging, no notes, nothing useful at all--then sleeping until it's time to get up in the morning for work. Sunday night I slept for 12 hours, but I'd been awake for 18. I don't know what the deal with Monday and Tuesday were. Tonight, although I'm tired and my feet hurt, I'm sitting down at the computer and actually looking at news and blogging.

Sunday I went over to our gamemaster's house in the wee hours of the morning to prepare for the game. We're finally to the climax of the adventure--we're preparing to dive in a mini-sub to corner the cultist in an undersea temple of Cthulhu before he can bring his nefarious plans to fruition, thereby saving the world, and one of our own, too. Next week should be very stimulating. I got home at 8:30 and went straight to bed.

Monday I was very productive at work and then went to see my doctor. He's added another diabetes medicine, Avandia, to my regimen (I'm already on glipizide and Janumet, which is Januvia + metformin). I'm trying to eat more sensibly, check my blood sugar twice a day, and remember to take my second dose of Janumet in the evening. My blood sugar yesterday was about 190 each time, but that's a far cry from the 364 I was about three weeks ago. Today was the first day I took the Avandia, and I forgot to test in the afternoon, but I did remember to take the rest of my medicine. I am somewhat nervous about Avandia. I was on it before and then they came out with studies of heart trouble. But the studies since have been conflicting. I don't have any evidence of heart disease, so I guess it's alright.

After Dr Nesbitt's, I went to a friend's to deliver a birthday present and socialise. The present was 'Heroes' season 3. He's just like a cat--he was mesmerised by the shiny box. :) Next Monday is the 4th season premiere, yay! We visited for awhile and then I came home and got to bed about 10 pm. Monday I also got 'R.O.D. (Read or Die)' in the mail. It's an anime about a book lover who can manipulate paper and is part of a secret organisation. I've seen the first episode but I'm excited about seeing more.

On Tuesday I again had a productive day at work, then did some errands and went into work at the gas station about 1 1/2 hours early because someone called in. It was truck night, so I was pretty tired when I came home and went to bed about 10:30 pm.

Today, work at the hospital went really well. It's amazing how much I can get done when I get enough sleep. Then it was off to the gas station. It was pretty slow at times and the hours seemed to drag by. My ankles do alright for the first three hours or so, but then they get really sore and hard to stand on or walk. Today was payday at the store and we got our quarterly bonus, so that was nice. I think I'll use it to open up my savings account again.

That brings me up to now. I'm going to check the news and see what's going on.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shortest note session ever

It only took me a little over an hour to distill five hours' worth of game play down into the essentials. That means I can get some sleep before going over to my friend's house, but I'm afraid I'll oversleep again, putting me behind on game preparations. I think I'll set the new alarm clock, my cell phone, and the large manual alarm clock of doom.

If I sound anxious, well, the last 24 hours have been very anxious ones. Last night when I left work, the computer said I was $100 short. I fretted over where that money could have gone, and didn't sleep well. This morning I found out the money was there all along, but I'd hit the wrong button on the cash register and that had caused the discrepancy.

I applied for a great job last night (at the last minute) and was still upset from the cash shortage, and I wrote a very generic, not great cover letter. I'm good at résumés, but I really suck at cover letters and put off things because marketing myself is something that does not come easily to me. I had the résumé finished two weeks ago. Because I put it off, the application went through at 12:01, technically putting it past the deadline, so I may have just shot myself in the foot once again.

It's a really good job at the local university, a full-time medical reference librarian position with faculty status. I know several of the people who work there, including the director, so hopefully the ho-hum cover letter will be offset by that. Wish me luck. I could really use it.

After work today I went and got some medicine, came home and caught up on the news, and slept for a couple of hours, and talked to YKWIA on the phone for awhile, so I feel better now. I was just feeling like I didn't have enough time in the world to do everything I need to do, but I'm finished with all for now. But tomorrow starts very early, so I guess I'll lay down for awhile and see if I can get some rest. Good night.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I know it's somewhat hokey and tree-hugging

but I still love the movie Silent Running with its crazy but determined forester, music by Joan Baez, and robots named Huey, Dewey, and Louie. I actually own a VHS copy; it may be time to watch it again.

Sadly, I had to explain to someone on YouTube that the Mike + The Mechanics song 'Silent Running' had nothing to do with the film, having come out 13 years afterwards (1972 for the film, 1985 for the song). But hey, I always liked that subversive little piece (Mike was Mike Rutherford from Genesis, by the way), so I'll include it here. It was linked to a movie, though. According to Wikipedia: 'Printed on the single "Silent Running" was a notation that it was from the movie On Dangerous Ground. The movie was released in North American in 1986 as Choke Canyon, and in the UK as On Dangerous Ground.'


A post by Warren Ellis shared by David Rothman in Google Reader brought this very powerful and moving speaker back to mind. This is from Jacob Bronowski's 'Ascent of Man' (there's a few moments of silence before the speaking begins):

According to Ellis, Bronowski once wrote: “It has been one of the most destructive modern prejudices that art and science are different and somehow incompatible interests.”

I agree wholeheartedly. Thank you both for sharing.

Follow up: Alan Turing receives posthumous apology from the British government

Read Prime Minister Gordon Brown's rather nice apology in toto. Kudos for those who petitioned the government to do the right thing. If only things had been different, so that Turing would not have had to choose chemical castration over prison for the crime of being gay, only to end his life two years later. Brown recognises that a huge debt is owed Turing for his work during World War II and that he deserved far better than he got from his homeland. Fortunately that cloud of criminalising sexual orientation has lifted from Britain. Now if we could get rid of prejudice against gays around the world, I'd feel a lot better. No one should suffer just because they love their own sex rather than the other.

Nice examples of how tweeting can be used for important things

How Your Library May Not Be Using Twitter, But Should by David Allen Kelly

(Thanks to the Librarian in Black for the link.)

I have to admit, it made me smile

Hubby Hubby ice cream carton
[Photo: Business Wire]
when I came across a Google ad for Ben & Jerry's on the bottom of a news story. The ice cream company is celebrating the legalisation of gay marriage in their home state of Vermont by dubbing their 'Chubby Hubby' flavour 'Hubby Hubby' for the month of September. Ben & Jerry's is partnering with the organisation Freedom to Marry to raise awareness for marriage equality.

So go out and have some wonderful creamy dessert in celebration!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's not every day you read a line like that

"I just love his story -- the fact that he's a librarian in Salt Lake City with Tourette's who can tear phone books in half, and also reads storybooks to children," DiMona said from her office in Westchester County, New York. "The juxtapositions are mind-boggling."

The speaker is talking of Josh Hanagarne, who writes as The World's Strongest Librarian and was recently a subject of a story in the Salt Lake Tribune. I've got a feed from his blog in my reader now since I was pretty impressed. You should check him out, too.

I skimmed something about this a few days ago, but went to the links via Jessamyn West. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

What an intriguing little film

I saw part of an interview with Jennifer Connelly on Jimmy Kimmel, where they showed bits of the movie. Although it looks like stop-animation, it's computer-generated. Its main characters are known as 'stitchpunks' (the film has a certain steampunk feel to it, but the main characters are rag dolls that are animated by their creator). 9 looks to be pretty interesting. I still haven't seen Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Perhaps a double-feature is in order?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Relaxing to some pagan music from Damh the Bard

For more on Damh the Bard, see http://www.paganmusic.co.uk/.
To see his live shows on YouTube, try http://www.youtube.com/user/damhbard. His blog is at: http://damh.wordpress.com/.

PS Interestingly, dámh means bard in Gaelic. But damh means ox or stag, a nice pagan sort of thing, I suppose. Plus, his name is Dave (the 'mh' in Irish is pronounced 'v'), so it all comes together in several ways. I love names.

Bad librarian, no cookie

I missed the first bus to work this morning, so I dropped all my borrowed items off at the library before catching the next one. Only one problem: I came home tonight to find a message from the library saying that one of the CDs I returned was missing disc 1. It was still in my CD player. Guess what I'm doing tomorrow as soon as they open?

Over all it was a good day. We had a free lunch at work that I forwent since it was hamburgers and hot dogs. I appreciate that the group sponsored the meal, but the only thing I could have eaten that was vegetarian was a cheese sandwich and maybe some potato salad if it was the kind without bacon. The line was very long, so I slipped in the other way to examine the salad bar. There were some chopped eggs, but no tuna, so I decided to order pizza instead, forgetting that it was Tuesday, the day that Papa John's delivers to schools, so it took a little over an hour to arrive. It was good, however. They have a five-topping anniversary special for just $9.99.

On the way to work at the store I stopped by the grocery to see if they had any bus passes, since mine expires today. No such luck. I'll have to use dollars tomorrow and then go downtown Thursday and get one.

Work was actually pretty fun. I love working with Teressa. One of my co-workers sadly had her car throw a rod today, so she's in the same boat that I am, but it's worse because she lives all the way in Richmond, about 30 minutes away from Lexington.

We had quite a rainstorm with hail that fortunately waited until I was inside and at work before hitting. People swarmed under our canopy to keep their cars from getting hit. The hail was about the size of crabapples. I think people got out of the rain as soon as possible, and it slowed down considerably after they got in and settled, but I was quite busy, especially with money orders, before that.

We got our quality assurance inspection tonight and passed with a 100%. That's five months in a row. That adds to our bonus, yay! We should be getting a bonus the third week of September, so I guess that would be next week. Double yay! Bonus cheques are normally about 1 1/2 to 2 times my normal or so.

The only bad thing about today was that I was in a lot of pain due to the tendonitis. I finally broke down and took some ibuprofen, which knocked it down to painful-but-able-to-move. I really may have to go back to Dr Rooney. I hate to think what she'd do about two ankles with tendonitis. Two surgical boots? Crutches? But it's not getting better; it's just getting worse. I have an appointment with my primary doctor next Monday. I'll see what he thinks. I really don't want to have limitations that could keep me from working at the store, but working through the pain isn't really doing so well. The braces help a little bit, but not much. The stretches she gave me help the best. I'm getting very good at tracing the letters of the alphabet with my foot. :)

It is so nice to come home to such a cleaner house. It's much more restful. I'm glad YKWIA challenged me to actually get some work done rather than just talking about how I needed to work on the house.

A beautiful foggy morning to be up early

So, the trash is out and the laundry (well, a load) is in the dryer. The granny cart was useful for both. I did dishes last night, so the only ones left are the few that aren't dishwasher safe. I've had a banana, packed up my library books to take back (the library is right next to the bus stop). Oh, and I made the bed for the first time in months. Go, me. I need to make sure I take my work shirt and shoes, along with the braces, etc., since I have to be at the gas station by 3 pm and I get off at the hospital about 2:30.

I wonder what they're having for lunch in the cafeteria today. Maybe I should take a lunch just in case. Most of my portable food is in the form of snacks, though, like chips or popcorn. Everything else has to be cooked. I have some Indian food in a package, but it doesn't come with rice, but maybe I can make some tonight and take it tomorrow. It comes with a mini-CD of Indian music, which is a little weird but appreciated. :)

I am looking forward to getting to the hospital and tackling some projects now that I feel somewhat revitalised by the weekend. Among other things I have to order some books for our family resource centre and catalogue more for the library proper. I'm actually cataloguing the collection on LibraryThing. We only need basic entries and it's only $15 a year for a non-profit. The only problem is that since we use National Library of Medicine classification, I have to put that in the comments field, since Dewey and Library of Congress are already listed.

Okay, time to get ready for work. Hope you have a great day.

Monday, September 07, 2009


Wow, I feel like a slacker

Man's next blood donation will be gallon No. 40: New York print shop operator began donating blood 58 years ago

I have been donating for 25 years, but only once or twice a year, so I've donated a bit over 3 gallons. I really should make an appointment with the Central Kentucky Blood Centre.

A very productive day

During the early part of the day I:

  1. Excavated the love seat.
  2. Excavated the dining room table.
  3. Filled 6 garbage bags with various detritus that has been plaguing my house.
  4. Cleaned my bathroom thoroughly.
  5. Did a load of dishes, twice (my dishwasher isn't that great, and these really needed it.)
  6. Sorted my laundry.
  7. Organised the videos. The holder isn't especially stable and some had fallen behind it.
  8. Straightened things in general, like putting jewelry back in the jewelry box rather than atop a bookcase.
  9. Dusted the living room.

Then I went and visited friends.

Next to do sometime this week (among other things):

  1. Take out the garbage bags (tonight)
  2. Laundry (tonight)
  3. Another load of dishes (tonight)
  4. Pay rent
  5. Pay bills
  6. Floors
  7. Kitchen
  8. Sort and file important papers
  9. Send in copies of pay stubs to the Department of Education for income contingent student loans
  10. Contact a couple of creditors and make arrangements to pay them
  11. More dusting, straightening
  12. Put some more water in the fish tank
  13. Find places for books I got in a book fair in July
  14. Check on due dates for library books; I think some are due tomorrow or Wednesday
  15. Try to get my flexible spending card reinstated by paying back dental claims that were denied
  16. Tell my mom about the car
  17. Call my ex-boss and check up on her
  18. Call my grandmother and check up on her
  19. Find a place for the return section of the computer desk that's useful and not right behind me
  20. Get rid of a fan, a phone, a VCR, and a printer, hopefully through Freecycle (or wait and put them in our apartment complex' community garage sale
  21. Water the plants at home
  22. Retype my living will
  23. Work on game notes, including back notes and some requests by the game master
  24. Do a cover letter for a clinical reference librarian position
  25. Apply for said clinical reference librarian position

In other words, I'll be pretty busy this week, and that doesn't include work at either job, chores I do before the game, or helping my friend out with his projects. Whew!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

I was telling the game group about this a couple of weeks ago

These sea worms release glowing globs of themselves like bombs to distract predators. I'd read about it, but here are some actual images:

Nifty, hmm?

This is great

I have been going strong

since 4:45 this morning, and I think it's almost time to turn in for the night. I enjoyed the game, although it's been awhile since one of my characters were in charge, so I'm a little rusty. I think the climax of the campaign is coming up next week, which is good. This has been a particularly hard one. I've had one character on the brink of death twice in this adventure.

Yesterday I worked a very busy shift at the store. It was Saturday, meaning Powerball and beer were major commodities, the 5th of the month, so lots of money orders for rent, the first home UK football game, and of course Labour Day weekend. I went to the grocery and then came home and slept a couple of hours before working on the game notes. I finished those last night, but overslept in terms of getting over to the game master's house and starting my weekly preparations.

Tomorrow I'm off both jobs, so the plan is to work on the house from 9 am till 2 pm, then go over to a friend's house for awhile, so I probably won't be blogging until later that night.

Okay, this hasn't been a very substantial post; sorry about that. I'll try to write more tomorrow.

Rats of Unusual Size discovered in Papua New Guinea

Giant rat found in 'lost volcano'

We're talking almost three feet long--32 inches long--from nose to tail. In the accompanying video with the story, they show the explorers petting the rat, which had no fear of humans. No word on whether the area has gouts of flame spurting up like in the swamp in Princess Bride, but the area is volcanic. :)

Friday, September 04, 2009

In tonight's monologue

Conan O'Brien was talking about an upcoming authorised sequel to Winnie the Pooh. He said that he didn't think the sequel would be true to the book and said it was called Pooh II: the Wrath of Piglet. I have to admit, it was rather funny.

In the actual sequel, author David Benedictus and illustrator Mark Burgess will be presenting a somewhat older Christopher Robin. It should be interesting to see if it can live up to the spirit of Milne's work.

I think I'd be yanking my child out of this school

Welcome to the library. Say goodbye to the books.
Instead of a library, the academy is spending nearly $500,000 to create a "learning center," though that is only one of the names in contention for the new space. In place of the stacks, they are spending $42,000 on three large flat-screen TVs that will project data from the Internet and $20,000 on special laptop-friendly study carrels. Where the reference desk was, they are building a $50,000 coffee shop that will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine.

And to replace those old pulpy devices that have transmitted information since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1400s, they have spent $10,000 to buy 18 electronic readers made by Amazon.com and Sony.

Such changes will bring Cushing Academy into the cutting edge of education, according to their headmaster, Dr James Tracy. Okay, so leaving the cost of coffee gizmos and its relation to learning aside for a moment, you're going to have 18 e-book readers to serve the needs of 450 students (or at least that was the number as of 2006)? What about licensing digital content? What about the cost of digital content? What happens when the lights go out? Digital content can enhance learning--but that doesn't mean you have to throw out the baby with the bathwater, either. It's not cheap, it's not always reliable. In some cases print is actually superior--which is why most libraries offer a combination of the two, rather than throwing out all print in favour of electronic data.

The comments are largely against this move; they talk about the visceral experience one has with paper, the ability to browse the stacks for paper topics, the wonder of the library experience. That's rather heartening. (And I agree with one of the commentators...they should get rid of that awful carpet next.) Anyway, check out the story make your own decision. If I were a parent forking over a lot for tuition, I think I'd be appalled.

Thanks to Cynthia David from MEDLIB-L for the link.

Fun with names :)

LogoThere are
people with the name Elisabeth Rowan in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

The other does scientific illustrations, and I think her middle initial is 'E' as well. But when you put it with 'Eilir' as my middle name, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one here:

LogoThere are
or fewer people with the name Eilir Rowan in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

YKWIA is quite unique--only one of him in the US, and only 114 with his last name (but oddly enough, 1,537 with his first name). Thanks Brian for the link.

PS There are 14 people in the US with my birth name.

Oh, how awful

Plight of India's mentally ill
Jaikrishna, like everyone here, was fettered round the ankles by heavy iron chains. Another chain trailed across the floor, coupling him permanently with another man, convict style.

"I'm a graduate," Jaikrishna told me. "And divorced. I'm also a schizophrenic." His English was confident if imperfect. "When I'm on medication," he said, "it's under control but then I start forgetting to take the tablets and the problems come back."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

What a long but lovely day

Today I went to Bardstown, Kentucky, where we ate at the Old Talbott Tavern and then went to the Nelson County Public Library for a meeting of the Kentucky Medical Library Association.

The meeting went very well. KMLA is the result of the merger of two organisations and finally has a by-laws in place. The criteria for membership was the main topic and had the potential to be divisive (the outlooks of the two groups in terms of mission had been very different), but instead everyone spoke up and a good consensus was reached.

Bardstown and the surrounding countryside were very picturesque, and it was nice to get out of Lexington for a change. Thanks, Mary, for the ride.

Then I went to a friend's home and did a lot of stuff with him, and took a taxi home with a great cabbie who took the shortest/cheapest route and was very personable. I took his card to have for later. Now I'm at home eating and enjoying some Mike's Harder Cranberry Lemonade, which is only 8% alcohol and I've had half a can, but I'm a little buzzed. Did I mention I don't hold alcohol well? I hate to think what I'd do with something really strong. Fortunately I know this, rarely drink, and stop at one, two at the most. And of course, I only drink when there's no chance I'll be driving.

I think I'll find out what happened today in the world and maybe write some more if something strikes me, but I'm also tired and sleepy, so I don't want to stay up too late. So if I don't see anything blogworthy, good night.

Seventy years ago today

war was officially declared in response to Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1st, and thus World War II began. A solemn moment of remembrance for the millions that died is in order. According to one website, an estimated 48,231,700 people died, including both military and civilians--with the majority of deaths being civilian. Think of that...nearly 50 million, enough to populate six metropolises the size of New York City.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Okay, not surprisingly--

although I did get up a half-hour early, it wasn't enough time to actually do laundry. But I did discover that a co-worker had given me not one but three dressy outfits that were still in a bag from when the car went down. There are two pairs of khaki and one pair of brown dress pants, a brown pinstriped dress shirt, a khaki-and-brown flower motif shirt, and a white shirt with brown and khaki dot patterns (which I'm wearing now). The nice thing is I had been dubious because they were a size down from what I've been wearing--but they fit. I must remember to weigh myself today. I have notice several of my pants have been really loose on me lately (one pair actually fell down when I was at home the other day--note to not wear those out in public).

The clothes aren't my general style, but on the other hand, I do wear brown as an alternative to purple sometimes. Although most of my jewelry is silver rather than gold, I have my grandmother's dangling heart earrings, a Victorian penny I also got after her death, and a knotted gold bracelet my mother gave me to wear with the outfits, so I feel rather 'together' in terms of outfit. I am wearing my brown sandals, though. But they'd do well with dress shoes, too. And my purse is black and brown, so it's multi-functional.

Okay, it's off to the bus. It looks like rain, which I didn't think we were supposed to have, but I carry an umbrella for emergencies. My umbrella is bright pink and doesn't in any way go with the outfit, but I'd rather be seen by the traffic and the bus driver than resort to fashion. :)

Thanks, Teressa, for the outfits!

I got home about 10:30 tonight

It's almost 2 am. I've been going through stories in my news reader--there were over 500. Plus I went through some of my e-mail, too. I should have done my laundry during that, but instead I'm going to try to get up at 7 am to do it. Thankfully, I've been rather perky today and so I haven't been sleepy yet. I got a lot of rest last night. I'd taken a friend and his husband out for his birthday at Masala and had vegetable pakora, pishwari naan, and vegetable korma that was hot (but not 'Indian hot'). It was quite possibly the best food I have ever eaten. I would have had gulab jamun, a dessert, but the korma and piswari naan are already sweet. I got home about 9:30 pm. I went straight to bed and didn't get up until this morning, which is no doubt why I've been so productive today.

Today was interesting, being back to work at the library after taking off Wednesday-Monday. I discovered I was sorely missed as the colour copier went down the second day. It was something I had fixed in fifteen minutes, and everyone was grateful. A couple of other things had come up over my absence as well, and I have to admit, it was nice to be missed. One drawback to being a solo librarian is there isn't really anyone to act as backup for much of what I do.

I found out that I got the grant for inter-library loan funding I'd applied for. Yipee!

then I went to work at the store to find out that the manager I've had since April has been moved to the store down the street and a woman whom I have met before has taken his place. Gee, I wish they'd give us some advanced warning. Also, the grocery has started digging for its own gas station. I don't know what our status will be soon. We own the building, but the grocery store owns the land. I think our lease is up in December. If the store does close, the fact that my former boss is up the road may make it easier for me to transfer there; it's the best place in terms of riding the bus between the two jobs.

What I really hope, though, is that the application I'm working on will go through. It's for a full-time medical reference librarian position. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Day after tomorrow I'm going to Bardstown's public library for a meeting of the Kentucky Medical Library Association. It should be an interesting meeting--we're hashing out criteria for membership.

Next Monday is a holiday, and I'm off at both places. Maybe I'll get around to doing some of the stuff I didn't get around to doing this time, like the housework. But it was really nice to get so much rest and spend a great time with friends watching movies, playing the game, and eating Indian food. All in all it was a great vacation--I just wish I could have taken off from the store as well.

Okay, that's enough blogging for one night. Good night.

So sad, even after five years

Russians recall Beslan school tragedy: ‘We live with this every day of our lives,’ says mother of slain son

Militants herded over 1,000 people into the building on the first day of school, and 334 people died, the majority children.

A very good point, although keeping an open mind on both sides is important

Is alternative health a form of fundamentalism?

Amy Tuteur, MD, writes:
There once was a time when all food was organic and no pesticides were used. Health problems were treated with folk wisdom and natural remedies. There was no obesity, and people got lots of exercise. And in that time gone by, the average lifespan was … 35!

That’s right. For most of human existence, according to fossil and anthropological data, the average human lifespan was 35 years. As recently as 1900, American average lifespan was only 48. Today, advocates of alternative health bemoan the current state of American health, the increasing numbers of obese people, the lack of exercise, the use of medications, the medicalization of childbirth. Yet lifespan has never been longer, currently 77.7 in the US.

Advocates of alternative health have a romanticized and completely unrealistic notion of purported benefits of a “natural” lifestyle. Far from being a paradise, it was hell.

Thanks to David Rothman for sharing this!

Everyone has the potential to be a hero, but not everyone steps up to the plate

Retracing a life-saving journey

Jewish children from Czechoslovakia were saved when Nicholas Winton, a young British stockbroker, arranged for families to take the children back in England. Between March and August of 1939, trains carried 669 children to safety. Another 250 were to leave on September 1st--the day Hitler invaded Poland--and were prevented by the Nazis. But for those who were saved, his work made all the difference.

In other countries, refugee organisations had begun organising the "Kindertransports" - a series of trains carrying thousands of Jewish children out of central Europe. But no such plan existed in Czechoslovakia.

After visiting refugee camps outside Prague, Winton realised he had to act quickly.

"I found out the children of refugees and other groups of people who were enemies of Hitler weren't being looked after. I decided to try to get permits to Britain for them.

"Everybody in Prague said, 'Look, there is no organisation in Prague to deal with refugee children, nobody will let the children go on their own, but if you want to have a go, have a go'.

"And I think there is nothing that can't be done if it is fundamentally reasonable."

Many ordinary people did extraordinary things during World War II that saved lives. This kind of quiet heroism is always present in some amount through wars, famines, disasters, etc. from time immemorial through today, and it is one facet that reminds us of the beauty and good of humanity, especially in contrast to the darker aspects.

Yes, please

Thousands call for Turing apology

Alan Turning was a brilliant British mathematician and groundbreaking computer scientist. He is best known for being a code-breaker during World War II. But he was prosecuted in 1952 after admitting that he had a sexual relationship with a man. He lost his security clearance. He was 'treated' with chemical castration. Two years after the prosecution, he killed himself.

The call for an apology and posthumous pardon was begun by computer scientist John Graham-Cumming. He has also asked that Turing be knighted posthumously. I say, yes, it is about time.


Dame Vera Lynn re-enters charts

Legendary singer Dame Vera Lynn has become the oldest living artist to enter the top 20 of the UK album chart, her record company said.

Dame Vera, who kept up the spirits of millions of soldiers during World War II, has entered the album chart at number 20 - at the age of 92.

In a video, Dame Vera expressed her surprise and delight at getting on the charts when the music that is the norm today is so different than the type she sang in the 1940s. I say it's rather nice. Good music should be appreciated no matter what the style.

A bit scary, actually

YKWIA shared this with me yesterday.

Disney to buy Marvel in $4bn deal
The deal means Disney will take over ownership of 5,000 Marvel characters, such as Spider-Man and the X-Men.

Missed this awhile back

U.S. Military Working on Flesh Eating Robot

Is this really a good idea? I wish I could find the animated short YKWIA showed me where the inventor's project went awry and his invention ate everything, even him.

I don't have a tag called 'Things That Might Run Amuck' but maybe I should.

Our public library allows us to download some audio books

so I'm going to try one called The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier. Here's the blurb on it from the online catalogue:
All residents of the City have recently died, and they will remain in the City only as long as someone still living on Earth remembers them. On Earth, however, the population has been devastated by terrible pandemic. Laura Byrd, isolated at an Antarctic research station, is running low on supplies and has only her memories to comfort her. The people of the City realize Laura is the common thread binding them together. But Laura, who may be the only person to have survived the pandemic, is running out of time--and her memories are fading.

The book is over 8 hours and the size of the .wav file is 120 MB, but I think I have that available on my phone. Much easier to carry around than a bunch of CDs, hmm?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A very sobering but thought-provoking article on medical ethics and disasters

Strained by Katrina, a Hospital Faced Deadly Choices

The smell of death was overpowering the moment a relief worker cracked open one of the hospital chapel’s wooden doors. Inside, more than a dozen bodies lay motionless on low cots and on the ground, shrouded in white sheets. Here, a wisp of gray hair peeked out. There, a knee was flung akimbo. A pallid hand reached across a blue gown.

Within days, the grisly tableau became the focus of an investigation into what happened when the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina marooned Memorial Medical Center in Uptown New Orleans. The hurricane knocked out power and running water and sent the temperatures inside above 100 degrees. Still, investigators were surprised at the number of bodies in the makeshift morgue and were stunned when health care workers charged that a well-regarded doctor and two respected nurses had hastened the deaths of some patients by injecting them with lethal doses of drugs. Mortuary workers eventually carried 45 corpses from Memorial, more than from any comparable-size hospital in the drowned city.

At some point in the aftermath of Katrina, a decision was made at Memorial to put the patients with 'do not resuscitate' orders dead last in the evacuation. Contrary to most triage schemes, the healthiest were evacuated first, leaving the sickest to linger. Others were thought too big to move (a sobering thought for me, I might add, given my weight, that being fat could doom you). And quite a few patients were 'made comfortable' with injections of medicines whose combined effects made them calmly die. A doctor and two nurses were charged, but the case never got beyond a grand jury. The writer, however, has access to interviews and records that were not made public to those juries, and the story of Memorial, its conditions, the mentality of desperation, and the chilling decisions made is really quite compelling. It's a long article, but well worth a read.

Sometimes it's hard to find the right one for you

Amusing French animated film