Randomly Sunday


Random thoughts and links for a Sunday afternoon:

Naked Airports


A great thing about having lots of credit at the local used book emporium is that you sometimes take a chance on a  book you might not have grabbed if you’d had to pay cash for it. This one is a good example that I picked up last night. Apparently, it even comes with its own website (one that really annoyingly tries to resize your browser window when you launch it).

Interestingly enough, I was reading coverage last year about the reopening of Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal at Idlewild Kennedy and have really been itching to see it, even if the renovation was less than desirable, and also involved the demolition of an important part of the structure.

Happiness Is a Warm Penguin

This is news I’ve been hoping to read for several years.

“Bloom County” was always about the daily strips and bizarre storylines for me, which is why I never really warmed to “Outland” or “Opus”. Evere since the “Peanuts” and “Calvin & Hobbes” collections appeared, I’ve been hoping Milo and Binkley and Opus would get a similar completist treatment, so if anyone is looking for that perfect Hallowe’en gift for me, this would be it.

Buy American?

I just saved over twenty bucks on a textbook by buying it from Amazon’s UK site rather than the US site. It’s the same book, but it apparently costs less to sell it and ship it across the Atlantic than it does just to transport it across a couple of states. Go figure…

Unexpected Surprise

Not to sound opportunistic or anything, but I like it when other people’s mistakes work to my advantage.

For example, last week I finally bought a copy of a long out of print book by Victor Gruen that I’d been wanting for quite some time. I’d never seen a decent used copy for less than forty or fifty bucks, but this one Amazon seller had one for about twenty. It had an intact dust cover, but the seller noted somewhat apologetically that there was writing inside the front cover from when someone had given the book as a a gift. I think that may be part of why it was priced so low.

As I looked at the book yesterday,  I noticed that the signature looked an awful lot like the name of the author, and that the inscription looked an awful lot like something an author would have written. After a quick Google search or two to verify the signature, I realized that I did in fact have a book signed by one of my favorite commercial architects of the 1950s (the designer of America’s first enclosed shopping mall, among other projects) and at a nice bargain price.

Randomly Wednesday

Today’s randomness courtesy of the ALA’s weekly newsletter:

I want a Flexible Fred:

But these days, the 5-foot-tall, 200-bone plastic skeleton slumps on his roller stand in a corner of the Delaware County Law Library. Taped to his clavicle is a sign that reads: “We have had a neighbor complain that Flexible Fred is scaring her children. Please do NOT put him near any windows.”

I keep reading about this book and I think I must have it:

So begins Rick Wartzman’s “Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ ” (Public Affairs Books, $26.95, 310 pages). The title comes from a comment by powerful Kern County farmer Bill Camp, who said Steinbeck’s book was “obscene in the extreme sense of the word.” Camp would supervise the burning of “The Grapes of Wrath” a few days later in downtown Bakersfield.

A couple of these nifty new free WordPress themes  may actually convince me to use WP rather than Joomla or Drupal for the new version of Groceteria.

Randomly Friday

Randomly Friday:

  • Since one of my primary professional passions is making old newspaper archives available online, this is pretty exciting to me. I’m a little disappointed that the demo suggests there will be no built-in mechanism either for printing or saving the content in question, but it’s still better than nothing. I assume the print and save restrictions are part of the copyright agreement wit ProQuest and (presumably) with the original publishers.
  • Warning to candidates: don’t mess around with librarians. We will fuck you up. Or at least cause you mild embarrassment in a relatively polite and professional manner.
  • Speaking of libraries (sort of), I ran across this interesting book in my local one the other night. It’s a good read; the author derides such modern “geniuses” as LeCorbusier, Sert, and Gehry among others not merely for having needlessly expensive and  ridiculous-looking buildings that don’t integrate with their surroundings, but also for designing buildings that don’t even serve their stated purposes well, either because of generally bad design or through astronomical maintenance requirements. It might be worth owning, methinks.
  • The crazy week is over. I still have a lot of work hanging over my head, but I may be able to sneak out for a little drive this weekend, assuming gas prices don’t jump a dollar or so over the weekend like they did during Katrina.

Birthdays and stuff

A big happy birthday to my dad, who turned 83 today. As is his custom, there was dinner at the cafeteria followed by cake at home and no further fuss.

While I’m at it, a big happy birthday to me, who turned 44 last Sunday. I allowed slightly more fuss: dinner at Anton’s on Saturday night (as is my custom) and then a lovely day hanging out with my boy (which is something I don’t get to do enough of) on Sunday.

I got lots of cool stuff, much of it books:

And then there was my new puppy:

I love having a boy who understands that a big stuffed puppy and an Elmo piñata are absolutely appropriate gifts for a bitter, cynical 44-year-old.

Mmmmm. Books.


Latest addition to the ever-growing library at our house: the complete run of Progressive Architecture from 1953 to about 1990, and the complete Architectural Record from 1950 to 1969. These gems were picked up at the Forsyth County Public Library’s recent book sale, and I assure you we paid nowhere near $3000 for either set. The purchase required us to invest in four new six-foot bookshelves, bringing the total in our library to ten, plus four additional three-foot shelves in another room, for fiction.

Excessive? You be the judge. I have too much reading to do. I have to admit that it disturbs me to find that these items are still in the library’s online catalogue, even though they are very much in my house and likely to stay there.

Speaking of libraries (which I do a lot of lately), I start work tomorrow as a volunteer on a digitization project at the Greensboro Public Library. I’ll be scanning and cataloguing newspaper microfilm on the Greensboro sit-ins and other civil rights era stories. Should be interesting, and it will make nice resume fodder as well.