wkrp in cincinnati

“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”


by 20th Century Fox

Baby, did you ever wonder?
Wonder whatever became of me?
I’m livin’ on the air in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati WKRP

I'm not sure when I first watched WKRP in Cincinnati. I was only two years old when the show first aired, so I'm pretty sure I didn't watch the original broadcasts until the later seasons and possibly not until it was in syndication, but it was definitely prior to the airing of The New WKRP in Cincinnati in the early 90s. All this is to say, I was pretty young when I was watching the show, so the details are perhaps more fuzzy for me than my older fellow fans.

This show was one of my favorites in the 80s. I don't remember why, but it could have been because I liked rock music and was fascinated with radio stations from a young age. Also, I felt like this was my TV show, since I lived in southern Ohio at the time. This is the perspective that I brought with me when I sat down to watch the recently released first season DVD set.

Continue reading “wkrp in cincinnati”

#5

Puss ‘n Cahoots: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown

Meh. I’ve been a fan of the Mrs. Murphy series from book one, and this is the first to disappoint me. The author spent more time describing the setting and the technical elements of saddlebred horse shows than on character development or suspense. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem because most of the rest of the books take place in one area (Crozet, Virginia) and with some of the same characters throughout.

Brown usually has only a handful of newcomers to introduce and maybe one or two new locations. However, this time all of the action takes place in Kentucky, and the only constant characters are Harry, Fair, Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tee Tucker. Everyone else is new, and frankly by the end of the story I could care less about what happens to them.

I guess this is one problem with long-running book series — there is an expectation that each book will be as good as or better than the last one, but sometimes the author can’t deliver on that promise.

ala midwinter seattle day one

How much swag is too much swag?

I arrived in Seattle yesterday around noon, thankfully without incident. I opted for taking the shuttle rather than taking my chances that the pass would be okay both going and returning. Plus there’s the whole finding and affording parking in downtown Seattle.

After getting checked into my hotel room, I went up to the convention center and picket up my badge holder and packet. ALA has got this conference thing down to a science, it seems. I haven’t been to an ALA conference since 2002, and I had forgotten how organized it is. The signage is very helpful and well placed.

My first official event was the Innovative Users Group meeting. The first part was all about the upcoming IUG meeting in Chicago, which I’m not attending, so it wasn’t of much interest. I took that time to make use of the free wifi and catch up on email. After that, Dinah Sanders did a presentation about III’s upcoming “discovery services platform” called Encore. It looks really good – lots of Library/Web 2.0 widgets done in a helpful and tasteful way. It’s not meant to be a replacement for the OPAC, just a different layer for delivering resources for basic information needs. Seems like something public and undergraduate libraries would find very useful, if they can afford to purchase the product. Knowing the pricing that tends to come with these things, it may take a while for it to catch on, no matter how cool (and useful) it may be.

After that, I attended the author’s forum. It featured three science fiction and fantasy authors talking about the rise of sf/f since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They all agreed that the premise of the talk is a bit off, since sf/f was already on the rise when that happened, but that world events leading to the attacks and the rise in popularity of sf/f are linked. Two good reasons are that sf/f presents a relatively non-threatening way of discussing current problems and possible solutions, and that readers are able to escape (in a good way) for a little while to a world where at some point there will be a resolution of something. Of course, depending on the series and author (*cough*Robert Jordan*cough*) that resolution may not come at the end of the book.

The grand opening of the vendor hall followed the author’s forum. This was yet another ALA conference — specifically ALA midwinter conference — event that I was not prepared for. Apparently this is a free-for-all get as much swag as you can while chowing down on the finger food event. I now know to leave the laptop in my room along with my heavy winter coat before embarking on that quest. By the time my group was ready to go to dinner, I was dragging from the weight in my bag, and I really didn’t take much of the swag.

npr report on clark atlanta

NPR’s All Things Considered reported this evening on the closing of Clark Atlanta University’s LIS program.

NPR’s All Things Considered reported this evening on the closing of Clark Atlanta University’s LIS program. I wrote a longer commentary when word of the closing hit the librarian newslines last year.

“In a cost-cutting move, Clark-Atlanta University plans to shut down its library sciences program. The program is one of only two in the nation at historically black colleges and universities, and since 1941 has graduated more black librarians than any other institution. Emily Kopp of Georgia Public Broadcasting reports.”

KY to WA – day four

I woke up feeling somewhat depressed and ready for this trip to be over.

I woke up feeling somewhat depressed and ready for this trip to be over. Part of my depression was in knowing that we would not be in Ellensburg that night, having decided to get a motel room in Yakima instead (all of the rooms in the Super 8 in Ellensburg were booked, and I didn’t know of any other motels that would allow a cat). The other part was that this was the morning of yet another long day of driving.

We stopped at a bagel bakery for breakfast, and then a quick visit to the next door Barnes & Noble cafe for a picture with the Starbucks travel bug and my mocha frappucino. Then it was on to the scenic overlook on the edge of town. It was breathtaking and surreal. I took many pictures.

The landscape of Idaho and Oregon and Washington was stunning, of course, but most of the rest of the day the miles flew by without my hardly noticing the world around me. I was numb to the beauty of the earth, and there is only so much stunning and beautiful landscape one can see before the brain stops assimilating it.

Around two in the afternoon, we stopped in Baker City to find some lunch. We ended up in the downtown area purely by accident, but it was a fortunate accident. The historic downtown is a vibrant commercial area; a throwback to twenty or thirty years ago. We had several lunch options and settled on the historic Geyser Grand Hotel. The food was quite good and inexpensive. The decor was as grand as the name implied. I felt a bit like a character in an Agatha Christie novel, staying at a 1930’s hotel on holiday.

On our way down a mountain near Pendleton, we pulled over for a scenic overlook. It was a little hazy, so we couldn’t see much, but what we could see was quite beautiful. Again, I took several pictures. I wish I had taken more pictures in the early part of the trip. Not too long after that we crossed over into Washington.

Yakima was probably the dullest stop on the journey. The motel was definitely the dingiest, and the food options weren’t particularly enticing. We were both so exhausted we could hardly move enough to explore the town, but we did stop at a Starbucks for another picture with the travel bug. The barristas gave us the sympathy we craved after we told them how far and how long we had been traveling.

interrupt mindless TV viewing

Litterate activist action plan via Powell’s Books newsletter.

I just got around to reading the recent newsletter from Powell’s Books. One of the fun features of the newsletter is the random things they throw in between features. Here’s the one from this issue:

Every Saturday afternoon in the TV showroom of a big-box electronics outlet in Davenport, Iowa, a book group gathers, not to talk about books, but to read them. “It’s about time a little mindless TV viewing was interrupted by literature, instead of the other way around,” Helen Mabry told Quad Cities radio reporter Andrew Cummerbund. (“Helen!” another book group member could be heard saying in the background. “Don’t stir the pot!”)”

That would be so much fun! I’d love to get together a bunch of book-loving folk and go read at Best Buy.

bloodsuckers respond

Response to Elsevier’s spin doctor.

“It’s also unfortunate that they’re coming up now, when budgets are under pressure,” he said. “But not all universities are poor, and these certainly aren’t.”
–Eric Merkel-Sobotta, global director for corporate communications at Elsevier

Open Access News pointed to this article in Monday’s issue of Information World Review where the above quote came from. Merkel-Sobotta is referring to the decisions made by some major US higher education institutions to cancel Elsevier journal titles for 2004. He also downplayed what he called hype over these cancellations, saying that “The vast majority of this is about getting rid of duplicates, moving from paper to electronic editions only.” Mmm-hmm. Right. If you tell yourself that often enough, Eric, you might actually come to believe it.

My institution has had serious budget cuts for the past two years, and we’ve slashed our print subscriptions down to under 2,000 titles and reduced our book budget as far as it can go. When I looked into the pricing of online v. print subscriptions from Elsevier, there was no savings to go online only. They tout that on their website, but when we got into negotiations with them, we discovered that the online discount is almost exactly the amount they tack on for an electronic access fee. With our budget in shreds, we had no choice but to cancel some of our most expensive and under-used journal titles. Coincidentally, many of those happen to be Elsevier titles.

I think what ticks me off most about the above quote is the assumption that if a university has money, it would want to throw a disproportionate amount of it at one publisher. Any serious look at library literature on the topic of Elsevier and subscription pricing would reveal that more money goes to that publisher than any of its competitors. I applaud institutions like Cornell University and the University of California for standing up and saying to the Dutch Pirates, “No more!”

minority librarians

My reaction to Clark Atlanta University closing their library science program.

According to a posting on LISNews.com, Clark Atlanta University is closing their LIS program (along with four other programs) due to budget problems. I nearly applied to Clark Atlanta when I was shopping around for library schools. I’ve never lived in Atlanta, so that was one of the appealing factors. When I told my parents my top five list of schools, they were shocked that Clark Atlanta was on it. That was the first I had ever heard that this school is one of the historically black schools. That shouldn’t have made a difference in my choices, but for some reason, it did.

In college, I spent two months in a West African country as a part of my studies; so I was already familiar with what it is like to live in an area where I am a racial minority. However, I have since discovered that the things that set me apart from my Ghanaian friends were not so much race as culture. I am a North American from the Midwest and they are West Africans. Here in the U.S., the differences in culture are less and it becomes more about race. I realized that I was afraid to go to a school where most of the students are black. I was afraid that I would be rejected and excluded socially because I am hopelessly not black. And that, my friends, is a stupid reason to cross an institution off of your list of graduate school possibilities.

The closing of the LIS program at Clark Atlanta concerns me. The library profession in the U.S. is, for the most part, overwhelmingly white. If I was uncomfortable with going to a school where I could possibly be the only person of my race, I can only imagine what minority students considering librarianship must be feeling like. At least Clark Atlanta University’s program offered black students an opportunity to attend a graduate LIS program where they would not be a minority.

There are two things that I see happening as a result of this closure:

  1. Fewer black students consider a career in librarianship.
  2. Other LIS programs experience an increase in black enrollment.

Frankly, I hope it’s #2.

Please feel free to correct any misconceptions expressed in this entry. I know very little specifically about Clark Atlanta University, it’s now defunct LIS program, or the position of black librarians in the profession beyond my limited experience. All comments expressed in this entry are a reaction to the news item read on LISNews.com and are not researched. If any offence is taken, please remember that none is intended. I welcome all opportunities for enlightenment.

live@your conference

Wanna see me in action? I will be doing a presentation on my library’s implementation of SFX at the Kentucky Library Association‘s fall conference in Louisville this October. My session is at 10:10am on Friday, so you’ll even get to sleep in a little. One small complaint about the conference organization: I was never notified … Continue reading “live@your conference”

Wanna see me in action? I will be doing a presentation on my library’s implementation of SFX at the Kentucky Library Association‘s fall conference in Louisville this October. My session is at 10:10am on Friday, so you’ll even get to sleep in a little.

One small complaint about the conference organization: I was never notified that my proposal had been accepted. I found out last night when I received the conference brochure in the mail and read through the presenations. In any case, I had already planned on giving the presentation, so I was happy to find out that they were planning on it, too.

Bryson v. Winters

A fellow Where’s George? person recommended “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson because I had enjoyed reading “Walking Home” by Kelly Winters. I hate to admit it, but I was not very impressed with Bryson’s tale of his Appalachian Trail experience. Maybe it’s a gender thing. Bryson spent more time focusing on the … Continue reading “Bryson v. Winters”

A fellow Where’s George? person recommended “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson because I had enjoyed reading “Walking Home” by Kelly Winters. I hate to admit it, but I was not very impressed with Bryson’s tale of his Appalachian Trail experience. Maybe it’s a gender thing. Bryson spent more time focusing on the hardship of the Trail and the politics surrounding the Trail than he did on the culture and life on the Trail. When I was reading Winter’s story, I felt transported into the trail. It was almost like I was hiking along with her through out. On the other hand, I had to force myself to finish Bryson’s story. Should I ever choose to hike the trail, his is the last type of personality I would want to be hiking with me.