At Home He's a Tourist

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

Friday, July 25, 2003

Robert Christgau Word of the Day

gri·ot n. A storyteller in western Africa who perpetuates the oral tradition and history of a village or family. (

Oumou Sangare Worotan [World Circuit, 1997]

Traditional? Folkloric? Malian? "World"? Fusion? Pop? Ignoring such petty distinctions, this sexy sister and radical queen is all these things and none. Its interlock Malian, its forward motion as imbued with possibility as the message it carries, her music has never been more confident or distinct. She's proud to be a griot, a political force, an earth mother, a modern woman, a star. She exploits possibilities she finds in Europe and America, and she gives new possibilities back. A- (

Thursday, July 24, 2003

@ our rinky-dink library

I suppose most libraries have a Grumpy Old Man among their habitués. Ours comes in most afternoons to check his Yahoo email and look at the websites of various National Geographic-type organizations. He marches in with a serious mein, trim and erect, looking like a superannuated boy scout with club patches sewn on satchel and cap. Within minutes of sitting down at a computer he will upbraid a staff member in his warbly voice about some problem he's having using the internet. In my experience the problem has always arisen from some basic blunder on his part--e.g. typing in his password incorrectly, trying to check his Yahoo mail by clicking on the IE mail icon, that sort of thing. Once the boss had to call in her husband to help calm him down after he started beating on the keyboard in frustration. Our tech guy is worried that our upcoming switch to XP is going to pique his wrath even further. The Boss says he is reputed to be, or to have been, a "brilliant scientist," yet he doesn't understand the most elementary facts about the internet. Not that I find the combination of theoretical smarts and technological cluelessness to be implausible--my dissertation advisor at ND didn't have an email account, and another of my professors was still using a manual typewriter.

For some reason, our G.O.M. came in the other day with what I can only describe as a Monkees wig à la Davy Jones, a tousled mop of fake brown hair. A less subtle hairpiece on the head of a man in his seventies cannot be imagined. He never wore it before that day, and hasn't since. Perhaps he had a date?

Being a Christian librarian, I have to serve even annoying patrons like this with the same dedication I would anyone else. But it's tough giving aid to the ungrateful.

Latest search leading to Biblioblog: tibetan+vulva

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Have I done this one before? Can't remember. Anyway, the album should be rated an A...

Robert Christgau Words of the Day

plum·my adj. plum·mi·er, plum·mi·est 1. a. Filled with plums. b. Smelling or tasting of plums. 2. Choice; desirable: a plummy leading role; a plummy job. 3. Exceedingly or affectedly mellow and rich: a plummy voice.

plan·gent adj. 1. Loud and resounding: plangent bells. 2. Expressing or suggesting sadness; plaintive: “From a doorway came the plangent sounds of a guitar” (Malcolm Lowry). (

Oumou Sangare Ko Sira [World Circuit, 1993]

Established now, she stretches out, which in general is more fun for her than it is for us. Note, however, the almost giddy response her plummy, plangent call gets from her delightedly girlish backup followers by the end of the seven-minute title workout. Regal yet outgoing, this is the model of a woman who could lead a movement. B+ (

My archives finally seem to be working again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Globe of Blogs lists over 6,500 blogs by geography and subject (including librarianship).

Heads Up

My comments tallies are reading low for some reason. Just thought you should know that one of your comments may have gotten a response without it registering on the counter.--The Management.

Robert Christgau Words of the Day

pro·pi·tious adj. 1. Presenting favorable circumstances; auspicious. 2. Kindly; gracious.

be·di·zen tr.v. be·di·zened, be·di·zen·ing, be·di·zens To ornament or dress in a showy or gaudy manner.

gew·gaw n. A decorative trinket; a bauble.

sim·pa·ti·co adj. 1. Of like mind or temperament; compatible. 2. Having attractive qualities; pleasing. (

Fela Anikulapo Kuti Army Arrangement [Celluloid, 1985]

I've never had complete confidence in Fela's myth. By both African and Euro-American standards, his arrangements are repetitive, his singing and playing nothing special, and his political ideas ill-informed and grandiose. But as pop pros of any culture go, he's an original and a radical, and even if he weren't his music would deserve our attention and his imprisonment our abhorrence. Let's hope this Bill Laswell remix proves propitious. Rather than bedizening it with aural gee-gaws, Laswell imports sympatico cousins to beef up the groove--Bernie Worrell (on Hammond B-3!), Aiyb Dieng (on five different percussion devices), and, most spectacularly, Sly Dunbar, whose Simmons pulse could make a skinhead dance once foot at a time. Fela's best album--wonder if they'll let him hear it. A- (

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Robert Christgau Word of the Day

What is brucellosis? Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria of the genus Brucella. These bacteria are primarily passed among animals, and they cause disease in many different vertebrates. Various Brucella species affect sheep, goats, cattle, deer, elk, pigs, dogs, and several other animals. Humans become infected by coming in contact with animals or animal products that are contaminated with these bacteria. In humans brucellosis can cause a range of symptoms that are similar to the flu and may include fever, sweats, headaches, back pains, and physical weakness. Sever infections of the central nervous systems or lining of the heart may occur. Brucellosis cab also cause long-lasting or chronic symptoms that include recurrent fevers, joint pain, and fatigue. Center for Disease Control

Warren Zevon Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School [Asylum, 1980]

I don't know why the title tune's the title tune, except maybe to contextualize the classical interludes he composed all by himself, and Lord help us he's been hanging out with the Eagles, just like Randy Newman, who could teach him something about slandering the South--even Neil Young could do better than incest and Lynyrd Skynyrd, though the brucellosis is a nice touch. In fact, just about every song boasts a good line or three. But the only ones that score are the jokes: Ernie K-Doe's sly, shy "A Certain Girl," and "Gorilla, You're a Desperado," a satire of the Eagles, not to mention Warren Zevon. Don Henley sings harmony. Linda Ronstadt will not cover. B- (


Libraries have always refused access to constitutionally-protected material when doing so is a side effect of restricting access to sexually explicit material. I can't get Leonard Maltin's movie reviews in Playboy, for instance, at the local P.L. So ALA's argument against CIPA is inconsistent.