At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Robert Christgau Word of the Day

pul·chri·tu·di·nous adj. Characterized by or having great physical beauty and appeal. (

The Eagles Greatest Hits Volume 2 [Asylum, 1982]

I admit it--this made my A shelves after the Bellamy Brothers softened me up. But that was unjust to the Bellamy Brothers. The Eagles are slimy not smarmy, pulchritudinous not purty, multiplatinum titans not singles artists, pretentious cynics not small-time con men, Topanga Canyon not San Fernando Valley. Sure their tunesmanship, zeitgeistheit, and guitar goodies were fun on the radio. But the next time I weeded my shelves, they were tracked to the reference collection. B- (

The Biz

Our library is all but deserted during the summer. And even if there were more action at the reference desk, I wouldn't get any of it, being isolated in the back corner of technical services occupied with various tedious chores. This week we received boxes of elementary school textbooks donated by the local school districts, who got them as samples from the publishers. We keep a collection of the textbooks adopted by the school districts for the use of our education majors, so I had to sort through them all, checking them against a list of approved titles. Pretty boring. I also started compiling circulation statistics. Nothing I selected has been checked out, but then again my selections have only been on the shelves a few months--languid summer months at that. If I worked the reference desk of a big public library I'm sure I'd get more business, but reading Dr. Chameleon and Male Librarian Centerfold makes me think I don't need that kind of excitement.


Almost finished with the Busnel calvados. It's nice, but for the money I would prefer a good bourbon or, of course, my beloved gin. It occurred to me that the last three bottles of booze I bought--Bushmills, Busnel, and Carmen (a Chilean wine)--are in tight alphabetical order. What's next?

Starbucks is offering "shade-grown" coffee. I'll pick up a bag in Lubbock to see what it's all about.

Another Reason the Llano Ain't So Bad

Empty distance, remote vacancy is, as it were, the sublime in the horizontal. The wide-stretching desert, the boundless uniformity of the steppe, have real sublimity, and even in us Westerners they set vibrating chords of the numinous along with the note of the sublime...--Rudolph Otto, The Idea of the Holy.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Routledge has a new Encyclopedia of Protestantism coming out in December which looks like an obvious acquisition for our library.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

I might want to read this forthcoming book which argues that even in the IT age being well-read helps the reference librarian. Can any of you experienced reference librarians confirm?

Miscellaneous Gripes

Gripe #1: It's getting really boring here. I've got to get out as soon as possible, even if prospective employers distrust someone who doesn't stay at a job for very long. And I now know from experience that they do, since my boss has the same reaction towards many of the applicants for M.D.'s position. "I was hoping that we'd be getting some resumes from new M.L.S. graduates, but I suppose they want jobs at large state schools," she said. I kept my mouth shut, but of course that would be the sort of institution I would have preferred working at as well. I also kept my mouth shut when she looked at one applicant's "Statement of Faith" and said "This guy is strange--he believes in demons." (On the other hand, she is quite satisfied with our reference/database librarian K.L., who not only believes in demons but claims to detect their presence by means of nausea. He got sick in new-agey Santa Fe for that reason, he told me.) Commendably, she has been taking the time to call the applicants' past employers rather than merely assuming the worst. In one case the applicant did have a good reason for leaving--missionary work in China--but in many of the other cases there was some problem. One fellow was an undergraduate here and worked in our library. The boss remembered him having conflicts with a couple of his professors, but told herself "People change--maybe he's matured by now." Apparently some personality traits are stubbornly ingrained because his current employer told her that the guy antagonized the ladies in technical services with his condescending attitude.

Gripe #2: I've had insomnia the past two or three weeks.

Gripe #3: The on-campus gym drastically reduced its hours for the summer, and I've gained five pounds as a result.

Gripe #4: Growing pressure from the gay caucus is splitting Anglicanism apart along the fault line between traditionalists and progressives. This could be the time for me to start looking at Orthodoxy more seriously. (Speaking of exotic eastern denominations, the owner of Delhi Palace--I'll just assume from now on that his name is "Mr. Singh"--told me there is a Mar Thoma congregation in Lubbock. As an Indo- and liturgophile (?), I would love to pay them a visit. I'm dreaming of a potluck with chole, daal, and samosas.)

Some Christians in favor of blessing same-sex relationships argue that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. (I think there's even a bumper sticker to that effect.) It's true that Jesus never overtly dealt with the topic, but that is only relevant given a naive fundamentalist hermeneutic. The principles of sexual ethics laid down by Jesus entail the sinfulness of homosexual activity. First, Jesus proscribed extramarital sex. (Matt. 15:19, 19:10-12, possibly John 4:16-18). Second, everything Jesus said about marriage implies that it is by definition heterosexual. (e.g. Matt 19:4-6 and, if you think about it, Luke 20:34-36.) Ergo, homosexual behavior is prohibited.

Robert Christgau Word of the Day

pudendum n. (Anat.) The external organs of generation, especially of the female; the vulva. (

P. J. Harvey Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea [Island, 2000]

If Nirvana and Robert Johnson are rock's essence for you, so's To Bring You My Love. But if you believe the Beatles and George Clinton had more to say in the end, this could be the first PJ album you adore as well as admire. It's a question of whether you use music to face your demons or to vault right over them. Either way the demons will be there, of course, and nobody's claiming they won't catch you by the ankle and bring you down sometime-or that facing them doesn't give you a shot at running them the fuck over. Maybe that's how Harvey got to where she could enjoy the fruits of her own genius and sexuality. Or maybe she just met the right guy. Tempos and pudendum juiced, she feels the world ending and feels immortal on the very first track. The other 11 songs she takes from there. A+ (