At Home He's a Tourist

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

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Revenge of the Print Reference Materials!

Internet access is down in the library because I.T. is working on the servers. A student approached the ref desk and said "I can't get on the Internet and I need some information on carbon tetrachloride. Are there any reference books with that in it?" I took him to the CRC Handbook of Physics and Chemistry. His reaction after flipping through a few pages: "Wow, there's a lot of stuff in here!" He took the book with him to a study room.

On the other hand, I'm reading a book by a big-shot scholar who cites Wikipedia in his bibliography.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Crawling into the twenty-first century, I broke down and got high-speed home internet access. This, combined with iTunes' new recommendation feature, ensures that I'll be handing over a lot of my money to Apple. (How could I have forgotten about "Destination Unknown" by Missing Persons, or "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground?) Still, there are some egregious lacunae in the iCatalog: no "Der Kommisar," "Safety Dance," or "Mexican Radio" as of yet.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


A biology prof requested we purchase about $1000 worth of MCAT prep DVDs and CD-ROMs. I explained that we don't have the necessary equipment for those formats in the library. His response: "Oh, that's okay, I was just planning to check out the items and keep them in our department permanently." Grrr...[We went ahead and bought the items, by the way.]

I went to Sunday School expecting the latest installment in the pastor's ongoing series on the Lord's Supper when he dropped a bomb: the mother church is cutting off support in March. Just when I was getting settled in...So should I head to Rome or Wittenberg? I think Lutherans give better coffee hours.


John Mortimer, The First Rumpole Omnibus--Comic stories about a sarcastic London barrister,clearly inspired by Wooster and Jeeves--Rumpole combines Wooster's recurrent allusions to past episodes, his fondness for quoting English poets, and his subjugation under strong-willed female relatives, with Jeeves' quick wit. Not at the level of Wodehouse, but good stuff nonetheless.


Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)--Three men wander around a deserted power plant for 160 minutes. Art-film paradise! A-

Lubbock Lights (Amy Maner, 2005)--Bills itself as a documentary about the history of popular music in Lubbock, but mostly focuses on the Flatlanders, a proto-alt-country band which recorded an underground classic in the late '60s and promptly fragmented into fairly successful solo acts. Interviews, snippets of concert footage. Low-budget but competent. B

Millions (Danny Boyle, 2004)--First half is fresh and funny, but then slowly succumbs to triteness, reaching its nadir at the painfully sappy interview between the child and his dead mother. Good to see a positive use of Christian elements, even if only as a fairy tale.B-

Björk at the Royal Opera House (2002)--Looks good, sounds good. Most of the songs are from Vespertine, her best album. She isn't one for on-stage banter, but the DVD extras have plenty of interviews with her and the supporting musicians. A-