At Home He's a Tourist

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

Saturday, May 08, 2004


I don't have the patience anymore to transcribe Steely Dan songs (although I'd really like to get the chords to "The Fez" if anyone out there knows them). So for fun here's a nice little Stereolab ditty with only 6 chords, and all of them major sevenths. Lyrics and translation courtesy of ultra-high frequency: the unofficial stereolab website.

Chords for Stereolab, "Des Etoiles Electroniques", from Mars Audiac Quintet


Amaj7 Gmaj7 Fmaj7
F#maj7 Bmaj7 Amaj7


Amaj7 Cmaj7 Fmaj7
Les villes vues d'avion sont semblables,

Amaj7 Cmaj7 Fmaj7
Les villes vues d'avion sont semblables

Amaj7 Cmaj7
À des étoiles électroniques

Ce soir, écrasées

Amaj7 Cmaj7
Au sol pour prendre racine

Et vivre ainsi étalées

repeat a few times, play the intro again, verse instrumental, intro, verse again

Electronic Stars
Towns seen from an airplane are similar
Towns seen from an airplane are similar
To electronic stars
Tonight, crashed
to the ground to take root
And live spread out thus


Nigerian State Bans Christians From Drinking, Selling Alcohol. Presumably an exception would be made for the Eucharist, but the article doesn't say.

Friday, May 07, 2004


Lubbock library receives budget increase. Problem is, the increase doesn't match last year's cut.


Esdaile, Charles. The Peninsular War: a new history. Palgrave, 2003.

Choice:"Historian Esdaile (Univ. of Liverpool) separates fact from fiction in his mesmerizing examination of this confused and turbulent period. Deftly weaving battlefield drama with revolution and reaction in politics, he presents a compelling account that analyzes military strategy, problems of supplies and morale, commanders' human failings, and the ever-fragile alliance between England and Patriot Spain. Based heavily on primary materials and larded with wonderful contemporary quotations, this book should be in every college and university library and all major public libraries. Summing Up: Essential. All libraries." Publishers Weekly: “a sure guide…an enthralling narrative…Esdaile paints an indelible picture…His vigorous writing, comprehensive analysis and even-anded judgments make this an indispensable treatment of one of the watersheds of European history.” Library Journal: “Esdaile provides clear, concise accounts of major military actions with the resulting aftermath of murder, plunder, and rape by soldiers on all sides of the conflict…Well written and featuring rational conclusions based on solid research, it is highly recommended for academic libraries with European history graduate programs and large public libraries with European collections.” Guardian: "powerful, absorbing...a detailed military hisotry that will delight battle buffs. Yet Esdaile also embeds this military history in a sophisticated and careful analysis of political and economic developments." H-Net: "This is not an easy story to tell. A scholar must have command over an enormous body of evidence drawn from English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish sources, and must also have a flair for military narrative. Charles Esdaile qualifies on all counts, and his work sets a new standard for the history of the war...Unfortunately, when evaluating the Spanish revolutionaries, Esdaile has a tendency to cite Wellington and other British officers repeatedly and at great length. It would have been interesting to hear more from the Spanish revolutionaries themselves to balance the frankly racist and elitist assessments by British officers." Economist: “a whiff of the anti-hispanic Black Legend still hangs over Mr Esdaile’s account, which all too often stresses the inefficiency and factionalism of local forces. He has done impressive work in the libraries and makes a valiant effort to describe the culture and politics of the war, but he relies overly on British memoirs and dispatches, which inveighed against Spaniards’ cussedness and chaos…”

Thursday, May 06, 2004


Benedict, Philip. Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism. Yale, $50

Canadian Journal of History: “an invaluable synthesis…This elegantly written book is a masterpiece that brilliantly combines a compelling narrative, a superb overview of existing scholarship, and fresh interpretations. A must read for Reformation specialists, this synthetic history of the Reformed movement—the first such work in a half century—is also most accessible to the general reader.” H-Net: “This is not your father’s history of Calvinism, but an improved version that brings the best of modern scholarship on the early modern period to a new generation of readers…Benedict has done a remarkable job of synthesis, presenting a coherent and very readable portrait of a movement that profoundly influenced political and cultural developments through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Even more remarkably, he has succeeded in writing a book that can be read by several different audiences…McNeill’s book served its purpose for more than a generation of scholars, but it is time to be retired, now that Benedict has provided us with such a splendid replacement.” Church History: “Impressive both for its scope and for its erudition. Benedict has written a comprehensive survey of Calvinism in the early modern period, and it will be the standard work on the subject for years to come….a work of major significance. All students of both the history of Calvinism and the history of early modern Europe need to be familiar with Benedict’s narrative, arguments, and conclusions.” Choice: “A thoughtful, learned, and lucid synthesis…This is an important book of lasting value.” American Historical Review: “the first English-language synthesis of Reformed Protestantism in nearly fifty years, and it replaces John T. McNeill’s The History and Character of Calvinism, which students and teachers of the Reformation have relied on for half a century…replete with a scholarly apparatus of more than a hundred pages of references to primary and secondary sources…Benedict argues persuasively that Reformed believers tended to share the same general economic and political outlooks as their Lutheran and Catholic counterparts…a laudable achievement. Although I expected to find greater coverage of the French Huguenots in these pages, overall the book is well balanced and for the most part a pleasure to read.”

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


Study says coffee, wine help seniors live longer.

Collection Development

Hmm, we don't have a copy of the Kama Sutra. Granted, a Southern Baptist university library would not be expected to have a particular interest in Hindu sex manuals, but this is Classic Literature, right? Should I get it?

(My looking for it in the first place was innocent, I swear! Back in tech services we were talking about Tim LaHaye, because we lease his Left Behind series through McNaughton, and I mentioned that before he took up premillenialist science fiction LaHaye wrote an explicit sex manual for married couples, which made me wonder if we had the considerably older work by Vatsyayana Mallanaga.)


Dijkstra, Bram. American Expressionism: Art and Social Change 1920-1950. Abrams, $60.

Tikkun: “captures the sweep and tensions of the period more effectively than any written text…sheds light on a wide range of interconnected political and sociological issues…not only fills a major gap in the historical record by resurrecting the currently unfashionable social realists, but also in the process conveys in a broad range of imagery the capacity for dissent through visual expression.” Library Journal: “In this landmark study…cultural historian Dijkstra…liberates American Expressionism from the long shadow cast by its successor, abstract Expressionism…Dihkstra’s argument is carefully conceived and thoroughly argued, and the book features many important but underrecognized artists and their works…Because this book compellingly recasts and revitalizes the social realist period of American art, it will prove a valuable addition to all comprehensive art libraries.” Black Issues Book Review: “insightful and handsome” Choice: “Like many great works, this book is thoroughly fascinating—and totally infuriating. At one level, it reads like a predictable neo-Marxist screed; at another, it is a brilliant fusion of perversity and intellectual provocation. Dijkstra’s [thesis] is hardly original…What is new, and a significant contribution to art history, is the rediscovery of numerous nearly forgotten examples of native pictorial ‘expressionism’ from the era of the Great Depression…Lacking here is any hint of discrimination concerning aesthetic quality…Highly recommended.” Publishers Weekly: “Although Dijsktra pads the case with some sentimental choices—noble sharecroppers and grungy smelting factories and the like—his case stands as a convincing rebuff to the exhausted narratives of contemporary advanced art. Moreover, it resonates interestingly with the sources and practices of emerging artists in the post-conceptual era. This is a provocative, important book.”

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Figures that the composers of one of the cheesiest, most annoying songs ever written are from Plainview.


Lubbock man starts petition to extend liquor sales to the north part of town. May the Lord prosper this noble undertaking.


I'm going to start ordering the blurbs by their evaluation of the book under review, from better to worse.

Zaltman, Gerald. How customers think: essential insights into the mind of the market. Harvard Business School Press, 2003.

Choice: Zaltman (marketing, Harvard Business School) offers an insightful new way of understanding consumers...It is the final section that sets the book above so many others; it offers practical advice on how marketers can change their mindsets to more fully appreciate consumer complexity and, from this new perspective, capitalize on it. Any student, academic, or practitioner interested in better understanding consumer complexity will benefit from this fascinating but highly readable book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections." Publishers Weekly: “Drawing on an impressive array of recent multidisciplinary research, Zaltman is especially provocative on the importance of memory, metaphor and storytelling in customers’ decision making…outlines efficient methods…Zaltman’s smart, practical analysis and many success stories will hold special appeal for those facing competitive markets, as well as for those rethinking more limited marketing approaches.” Journal of Marketing Research: “When reading the work of Gerald Zaltman, I always expect to find fresh insights and provocative challenges delivered with rigor and panache. How Customers Think meets my high expectations…A beautifully conceived argument.” Journal of Business Strategy: “Quality thinking…Genuinely fascinating…an accessible and scientifically-sound foray into human thinking and draws heavily on insights from many fields beyond marketing…a brilliant but dense book that will yield little to the casual reader…firmly grounded in the scientific research of multiple disciplines…” Fast Company: “exciting in a way that business books rarely are: it advances provocative ideas that set the stage for real learning and change.” CIO Insight: “This book is not easy reading. Zaltman is not big on demonstrating how to put his findings to work. And he tends to combine the worse of business-school speak with accurate but off-putting phrases from biology and neurology…And yet it is worth the effort so you can understand critical distinctions.” Sport Marketing Quarterly: “not a traditional, quick-read marketing book. Zaltman goes into great detail to make his points. However, the author fails to take the next step in demonstrating how to incorporate these findings into market research. Zaltman’s tone at times is condescending to the current business executive and academic researcher studying consumer behavior. Zaltman offers some interesting ideas on thinking; however, I do not see him creating the major paradigm shift that he claims.”

Monday, May 03, 2004

Movie Roundup

My Neighbor Totoro--A gentle, idyllic anime about a young girl who moves to the country with her father and little sister while her mother recovers from an unspecified illness. She adjusts to her new surroundings with the help of some (possibly imaginary) supernatural creatures. Basically the same theme Miyazaki treated in Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away, and I'd say it's about as good as the former.

Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns--This documentary about They Might Be Giants is informative but only skims the surface of its subject. I could well believe, though, that despite their cleverness, the two Johns have no depth to begin with; their unrelenting flippancy and ironic accordion make them basically a hip NYC version of Weird Al Yankovic.

Trainspotting--Combines Pulp Fiction's gritty yet ultimately romanticized portrayal of wisecracking underworld types with some drug-induced surrealism á la Naked Lunch, with the requisite retro-alternative soundtrack (Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, etc.). Not a bad film, but perhaps overhyped when it came out in the mid-90s. And whatever happened to Kelly MacDonald? She looked great in that schoolgirl uniform--or out of it, for that matter.


Yet another boring mainstream band visits the South Plains: Van Halen to play Lubbock and Amarillo.

Collection Development

Since we have such a small periodicals collection, I'm looking for high quality academic book reviews online. I mentioned Political Review Net last week; another one I discovered today is Leonardo Digital Reviews, sponsored by MIT.


Royle, Trevor. Crimea: The Great Crimean War, 1854-1856. Palgrave, $19.95

History: Review of New Books: “a highly readable, new account…he has made a major effort to include the Russian and French perspectives on the war, perspectives that other authors have often neglected while retelling the familiar tale of British suffering and inefficiency…includes personality profiles and vivid descriptions that go beyond the scope of more analytical works such as Winfried Baumgart’s recent The Crimean War…Some readers might be misled into believing that religion and national prestige were at the heart of the Crimean War. With that caveat, however, the general reader will find this book both entertaining and informative, and professional historians may glean useful ideas about a general topic. Recommended for general collections.” History: “a welcome addition to the large bibliography on the war…Royle’s past publications leave the reader in no doubt of his capability to grapple with the military technicalities of war or evoke the feelings and sufferings of the soldiers on the battles. It is to the author’s credit that on this occasion he never fails to treat the convoluted diplomatic battles that prefigured and concluded the war with anything less than the vigour with which he approaches the actual battles. While this is not a rigorously academic text, Royle’s archival research and, even more so, his use of a myriad of personal accounts of the war are both impressive.” New York Times Book Review: A Notable Book, 2001; “a well-written, thorough study.” New Statesman: “Thorough and scholarly…The most original part of his account deals with the wider international ripples of the conflict and the largely unseen roles of Austria and the US…Royle’s juggling of all these elements, using a variety of sources, contributes to making this an exemplary history of an unnecessary war.” Library Journal: “Royle’s narrative is clear and readable, balancing battle descriptions and political maneuvering. The only flaw is the lack of a large-scale map, though smaller maps appear. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.” Canadian Journal of History: “What Royle has not done, however, is to make better use of scholarly analytic studies, which would have clarified the context and even the conduct of the war…Royle’s book sheds no light on Britain’s surprising decision to fight…It is also striking that Royle, a well-published journalist as well as historian, did not take the opportunity to include the fierce battle over blame and consequences of the war that raged in the influential quarterly reviews. Interesting as this book is, there is still room for another that will incorporate all this readily-available material.”