At Home He's a Tourist

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

Friday, July 11, 2003

Robert Christgau Words of the Day

Gnos·tic adj. 1. gnostic Of, relating to, or possessing intellectual or spiritual knowledge. 2. Of or relating to Gnosticism. n.A believer in Gnosticism.

ri·poste n. 1. Sports. A quick thrust given after parrying an opponent's lunge in fencing. 2. A retaliatory action, maneuver, or retort. intr.v. ri·post·ed, ri·post·ing, ri·postes 1. To make a return thrust. 2. To retort quickly. (

Amy Grant Heart in Motion [A&M, 1991]

Xian Xover queen: "What's the difference between a PMS'ing woman and a bulldog? Lipstick! See, only a woman can tell that joke." Don't be so sure, lady. And note Hits's gnostic riposte: "What do you get when you cross an atheist with a dyslexic? Somebody who doesn't believe in dogs!" C (

Thursday, July 10, 2003


The Boss found my key in a coffee cup/pencil holder on my desk. Apparently I absent-mindedly left the key on my desk and the cleaning lady put it in the cup. I definitely have a Rep now. Everyone had a good laugh about it, so I get to put into practice St. Teresa of Avila's recommendation that we seek humiliation as often as possible.

Robert Christgau Word of the Day

lu·gu·bri·ous adj. Mournful, dismal, or gloomy, especially to an exaggerated or ludicrous degree. (

John Lennon Imagine [Apple, 1971]

Primal goes pop--personal and useful. The title cut is both a hymn for the Movement and a love song for his wife, celebrating a Yokoism and a Marcusianism simultaneously, and "Gimme Some Truth" unites Lennon unmasked with the Lennon of Blunderland wordplay as it provides a rationale for "Jealous Guy," which doesn't need one, and "How Do You Sleep?," which may. "Oh Yoko!" is an instant folk song worthy of Rosie & the Originals and "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier" an instant folk extravaganza worthy of Phil Spector. "It's So Hard" is a blues. "Crippled Inside," with its "ironic" good-time ricky-tick, is folk-rock in disguise. And the psychotherapeutically lugubrious "How?" is a question mark. A (

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Damn it, I'm closing tonight and I can't find the key. That would make the third copy I've lost. I remember now having given it to a student worker last week to let a patron into the media room, but I can't remember if I got it back from her or not. In any case, I'll have to call security and have them lock up.

Robert Christgau Word of the Day

o·pal·es·cent adj. Exhibiting a milky iridescence like that of an opal. (

Zeitgeist Translate Slowly [DB, 1985]

I don't want to alienate my target audience or anything, but I can't contain myself: from their offhandedly opalescent songpoetry to their hints of social commentary to their chiming pop polytechnique to their better-name-than-Angst-at-least-only-these-fools-try-and-live-up-to-it, this is one collegiate band. There's hope, though--if they get picked up by Elektra and break through on a fluke video, they may start writing about cocaine and Holiday Inns. B- (

On the Job

Our sales rep from Midwest (a book jobber) stopped by on his tour of Panhandle schools. He was concerned that we hadn't been buying much from them lately. Indeed, months ago I had gotten frustrated at not being able to find many needed items on their website, and gave them up in favor of Baker and Taylor. I learned today that instead of searching the "Midwest database," which contains only a fraction of their stock, I should have been using their "express entry" search engine. Oops. I'm not sure how much to blame myself for this mistake. On the one hand, I think their terminology is genuinely confusing: "database" suggests to me the catalogue itself and "express entry" merely a method of accessing it. On the other hand, looking back at the web site I can see that there are descriptions, though vague, of their respective functions. Better read the fine print more carefully next time. This revelation has given ammo to D.B., our acquisitions lady, who has continually urged me to use Midwest because their invoicing is much more perspicuous. Nevertheless, the library might be better served by sticking with B&T because their volume of business allows them to offer discounts Midwest cannot match. I reckon I'll need to sit down with a calculator and figure out how many more books per year we could expect to fit into our budget by using B&T, and balance that against the value of a contented acquisitions clerk.

We received a resume from a young librarian whose previous employment ended in March. No indication what he/she has been doing since then. I googled the name and found something interesting: a "what's new" page of an academic library web site announced that this person had been hired there in April for a two-year project. Suspicious.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Movie Notes

To escape the clay oven that is Palo Duro Canyon on a summer afternoon, Pablo and I drove into Amarillo on Saturday to see The Incredible Hulk in air-conditioned comfort. It makes me sad to see Ang Lee following Anthony Hopkins down the meretricious path from art-house to megaplex. I've followed his career ever since seeing the charming Eat Drink Man Woman. Though an action flick, at least Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon had humor, exotic locales, and intricate choreography; Hulk is as noisy and mindless as its title character. Avoid.

Robert Christgau Word of the Day

de·rac·i·nate tr.v. de·rac·i·nat·ed, de·rac·i·nat·ing, de·rac·i·nates 1. To pull out by the roots; uproot. 2. To displace from one's native or accustomed environment. (

Woody Guthrie Struggle [Smithsonian/Folkways, 1990]

Protest music with a vengeance--originally conceived as a six-song project by Guthrie in 1946, expanded by Moses Asch to mark the Bicentennial, and now reissued by the federal government for the good-politics people at Rounder. The title may be a progressive shibboleth, but there's nothing especially uplifting about these tales of class warfare, most of which detail grisly defeats. Guthrie's heroes are smothered or incinerated in mine disasters, massacred by company thugs, hunted down by bloodhounds, left to rot from nonslip hangknots. A few times they get to kill back, but if they're really lucky they're buried in union coffins--"Every new grave brings a thousand members." In short, morbid shit, its tradition the Appalachian ballad and Emily Dickinson rather than the deracinated spirituals and pink-cheeked camp songs of good clean American leftism. Can thrash covers be far behind? A- (