Wednesday, January 30, 2008


'i get a little warm in my heart
when i think of winter
i put my hand in my father's glove'

the problem with rich people

A Spanish businessman filed a lawsuit against the parents of a boy he hit and killed with his luxury automobile in order to make them cover the costs of the damage the incident caused the car because, you know, he's a victim here too. Seriously. Luckily for humanity, he has since dropped the suit, but I still think someone should run him over with his luxury automobile and see how he likes it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

confession ii

I just watched Thirteen. I've loved Holly Hunter ever since dragging Catrin, Alice, & Erik to the Paramount Theater in Peekskill to see The Piano instead of hitting the Jefferson Valley Mall to see Ace Ventura Pet Detective back in high school. I've been intrigued with Evan Rachel Wood since seeing Down in the Valley a couple months ago. And I have a rather embarrassing confession to make. I've developed something of a crush on Jeremy Sisto of late. Oh the scruffiness.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

everyone hates maureen

Maureen Dowd, it seems, is on track to becoming just about as loathed as the Ann Coulters and Michael Savages of the world. I'm not sure what's pushed her over the top in the minds of Googlers recently, but my silly little diatribe from last June seems to have garnered more comments recently than practically the rest of the Darker Mind in its entirety (not that that's saying much...).

And here I thought it was just me, being overly excitable again.

sex & the Catholic Anchor

The Catholic Anchor is running an editorial in its current issue that boggles the mind. You'll have to scroll down towards the bottom of the page, just before the Questioning the Pope section.*

According to this editorial, Alaskan youth are in serious trouble, for various reasons including but not limited to marijuana use, alcohol use, and sex. But the most troubling statistic of all, and this I can't really argue with, is that more than 1 in 10 teenagers said that they'd attempted suicide sometime within the last year.

The problem is that the Anchor goes on to blame the suicide rate on human sexuality. Any human sexuality that is not within the confines of marriage and for the purpose of procreation is, according to the Anchor, the cancer that is destroying an entire society. And furthermore, the government wastes money applying band-aids (drug awareness campaigns, crisis counseling, sex education, etc.) to cancer when what it should really be doing is weeding out the cancer. Meaning, I guess, human sexuality.

But you can't just assume that there is a correlation between high suicide rates and the fact that almost half of the teenagers had recently had sex. You can't just lump together all the myriad forms of human sexuality into one big nasty monster and say that this is the root cause of suicidal behavior.

The Anchor elaborates, "In the case of our hurting youth, their problems can often be traced back to their home life. Ultimately, many of these problems come back to the misuse of sex."

Alaska has the highest rate of rape in the United States, 2.4 times higher than any other state, and sexual assault on children is 6 times higher than any other state. One can only imagine that victims of rape are not limited to the 20 and over set, and one can only imagine that victims of rape and sexual assault (everything else being equal) might tend to attempt suicide at higher rates than those lucky enough to have never been raped or sexually assaulted. I don't have numbers on this, but still, it stands to reason.

But this is not the kind of sex that the 45% of kids who'd recently had sex are referring to, presumably. Are they really arguing that sex between a pair of sixteen year olds is the same thing as being molested by an uncle or older brother or any number of possibilities? This is just ludicrous.

Our brilliant editorialist goes on to explain that "once sex is unhinged from the context of a marriage between a man and a woman, it begins to wreck havoc human lives." I'm not quite sure what the point is here, but the writer seems a bit unhinged himself, and intent on blaming teen suicide rates on all forms of sexuality, both youth and adult.

I don't know that much about this stuff, but I've read that Alaska has among the highest domestic violence, poverty, depression, and substance abuse rates in the country, as well as rape and sexual assault rates. Isn't it possible that these other issues just might contribute more heavily to teen suicide than good, old-fashioned pre-marital sex?

*Which in and of itself annoyed me. I mean, doesn't "questioning" generally mean "calling into question" or doubting or otherwise wondering if something is right or wrong, good or bad? These questions are totally inane, not to mention somewhat nonsensical. I'm sorry, Mr. Ward, but you can not say, "What do you think is the greatest issue for American (Catholics) today?" You can say, "What is the greatest issue for (American) Catholics today?" but not the other way around.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

catching up

Yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

I thought the rat I saw scurrying around the north end of the subway platform at 125th Street the other day was big, but that little guy didn't have anything on
this particular rodent.

This from Erik, who clearly also spends too much time surfing the web.

Shockingly enough, the pharmaceutical industry has been misleading us about the effectiveness of certain antidepressants. I just saw a Law & Order rerun about that very notion last week.

Which brings me to a bit of happier news. Fred Thompson officially withdrew from the presidential race yesterday and I can go back to watching Law & Order reruns without thoughts of the most annoying DA ever being the next leader of the free world.

The great state of Virginia demonstrated its ongoing commitment to guns for everyone last week. I mean really, why shouldn't the mentally ill or the criminally minded have open access to guns?

This from the Onion earlier this week.

The New York Times came out swinging against Giuliani yesterday in this rather disturbing look at a man way to petty and vindictive to be in charge of weapons of mass destruction.

There was an excellent piece in the Times awhile back about an abortion provider by the name of Susan Wicklund, and yesterday Salon ran a short interview with her. I'm very much wanting to read her book.

Somehow, years ago, I ended up on a CNN breaking news email list, or something, and so I get an email or two a day about the latest, greatest, tidbit of information, sometimes actual news, political or otherwise, but more often the latest scandal (O.J. arrested again!). Yesterday's was an announcement that Heath Ledger had been found dead in his apartment. Apparently of a drug overdose. I'm feeling pretty sad about this, more than I would have expected certainly, perhaps due to coming to terms recently with the fact that I actually really liked him.

And that's it. As Hard Harry would say, "I'm done. Stick a fork in me, it's been grand."

Monday, January 21, 2008

missing cats & amazing friends

It's been a strange and surprisingly sad time, this week of losing Nova, this month of January.

I tend to be the kind of person who gives voice to the worst possible scenario; the darkest of black humor; the most dire of predictions (thus, I suppose, a stuffed Ebola virus being one of the best Christmas presents ever). The day before Nova was euthanized, I was joking with Erica about the possibility of her demise, and the joy of a catless existence, much to Erica's horror and dismay. I think, I hope, that Erica understands some people do this, I do this, to pull the rug out from under the worst thing happening, to make the world more manageable.

But I wish I could take it back, though Nova herself was a cat of dark humor, or so I imagine, and would probably not have minded my gallows humor, had she been able to understand it.

I find myself pausing out in the hallway before putting my key in the lock, hoping against hope that her previously annoying yowls will greet me at the door; that her previously annoying, stumble-inducing, ankle-entwining, fluffy little self will greet me upon entering my apartment.

It keeps on not happening.

I find myself glancing quickly at her favorite cardboard box, full of crumpled tissue paper, which I have yet to throw away, expecting to see her curled up, nose tucked firmly under paws. Or better yet, I keep hoping to be yowled at as I walk by this box of hers, one of her favorite activities, "heckling passers-by from the bleacher seats," as Chris and I used to put it.

I keep seeing the pile of yarn on the couch out of the corner of my eye, thinking first that it is Nova, second that I should not leave the yarn on the couch for fear of her inevitable lounging on top of it, third that the first is wrong and the second is no longer an issue.

It was in-between weather last Thursday, the day after I put her down. I'd had plans, or thought I had plans, to meet a particular friend for dinner that evening. I was playing down losing Nova, and declined another friend's offer to get together after work, only to discover at five o'clock that I really did want to see a friendly face, that I really did not want to go home to an empty apartment, and that the particular friend with whom I thought I'd had plans was nowhere to be found. It was raining, or snowing, or some unpleasant slushy mix betwixt and between. It was decidedly cold and windy and awful out that night. I walked down Broadway, and then down Central Park West, all the way to Columbus Circle, in this dreary, spitting weather, and found myself in tears much of the way, stumbling now and then, partially blinded by these tears and the rain.

I called my friend Dave, hoping against hope that he might be available for a drink, but there was no answer. I called Jill, who was on her way to a wine-tasting and couldn't talk long. So I went home, changed into dry clothes, curled up with a cup of tea and an afghan, alone on the couch.

Dave called later that night. He and his boyfriend, Josh, had been locked out of their apartment after work and had apparently spent the evening tracking down their landlord, drinking wine, and talking about me and Nova. And this is what they came up with:

Subject: Supernova ~ A celebration of life
From: David Bowles
Date: 1/17/2008 10:18 PM

"Nova was weird, but she was an institution." - Jill

As you may know, Emily's inimitable gray kitty was put to sleep this week. Losing a pet is really tough. Nova was a cat who, despite her notorious foibles, was a big part of Em's life. Josh suggested a gathering to celebrate her feline life, and I think it's a brilliant idea. Em's on board too, and would greatly appreciate your company. I'd offer our place, but we're living out of boxes. So come on over to Emily's place next Saturday, bring a bottle of wine or nosh, and a story or two about Nova.

We can all drink, talk about the cat, and then catch up or play Apples to Apples or drink more... because after all, Nova never liked being the center of attention for too long.

Saturday, Jan 26
6:00pm - whenever (not too, too late)

Friday, January 18, 2008

i'm half drunk on babble you transmit

There are songs, sometimes, that you fall in love with a little bit. For whatever reasons, because of a single turn of phrase, or catch in the throat, a song can grab you and never quite let go. Soul Coughing's True Dreams of Wichita, for me, is one of those songs, though I couldn't quite tell you why. I think it's a little bit because I've got relatives in Kansas, but mostly because, even after listening literally hundreds of times to "and you can stand on the arms of the Williamsburg Bridge crying hey man, well this is Babylon," something about it can still bring me to tears.

"signal got lost to the satellite
got lost in the rideup to the plungedown

man sends the ray of the electric light sends the impulse
through the air down to home

and you can stand on the arms of the Williamsburg Bridge crying
hey man, well this is Babylon
and you can fire out on a bus to the outside world down to Lousiana
you can take her with you

i've seen the rains of the real world come forward on the plain
i've seen the Kansas of your sweet little myth
you've never seen it, no,
i'm half sick on the drinks you mixed through your

true dreams of Wichita

Brooklyn like a sea in the asphalt stalks push out dead air from
a parking garage where you stand with the keys and your cool hat of
silence where you grip her love like a driver's license

i've seen you fire up the gas in the engine valves
i've seen your hand turn saintly on the radio dial
i've seen the airwaves pull your eyes towards heaven
outside Topeka in the phone lines her good teeth smile
was winding down

engine sputters ghosts out of gasoline fumes
they say you had it but you sold it

you didn't want it, no
i'm half drunk on babble you transmit through your

true dreams of Wichita

true dreams of Wichita..."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I had to have Nova put to sleep this afternoon. We had a good run of it, she and I. It would have been eight years this March.

and then there was nova
nova & daniela
nova & me

in his own words, or, when crackpots go to washington

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”

Mike Huckabee, on the failures of the Constitution. Because the Constitution should be God's Word. Because what we really want ruling our society, and the myriad religions and cultures and ethnicities and beliefs that make up our society, is Biblical law. Because we should offer to sacrifice our daughters in order to placate angry hordes, reinstate slavery and polygamy, execute any and all adulterers, and so on and so forth.

Willie Geist of MSNBC explained (pre-Michigan) that if the average American made such inane comments about the Constitution, "he’d be dismissed as a crackpot, but he’s Mike Huckabee and he’s basically the front-runner.”

The incomparable Steve Benen's take on this? "Maybe, but I’m still pretty comfortable calling Huckabee a crackpot anyway."

For more Bible fun, take a look at The Brick Testament, my new go-to site for all things holy. Well, that and The Skeptic's Annotated Bible.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

in the news

Texans report seeing UFO

Rahm Emmanuel of the US House of Representatives recently gave Bush a light smack

Have I said how much I love Bob Herbert? I love Bob Herbert. That's not to say that I necessarily agree with everything he says, even in this article, but I love that he consistently writes for people who do not or can not write or speak for themselves. He is a moral compass in the newspaper world and I admire him greatly.

Yet another Texan in trouble, this time for inappropriate emails

Pre-emptive funerals are apparently gaining popularity in South Korea

New birthing center to open in Manhattan, which pleases me immensely, having been very disappointed that the Seton one closed several years ago.

Things get confusing when the pharmaceutical industry outruns the medicine it's supposed to be helping

A shout-out here to Maia, in the form of Anchorage in the news, or, when bald eagles go kamikaze

Friday, January 11, 2008

celluloid city

It's kind of weird to live in a city that regularly gets destroyed, on film at least. At my subway station there's currently a huge poster advertising Cloverfield, soon to be playing in theaters near you, and involving, I gather, the decapitation of the Statue of Liberty.

I dragged poor Mom to see I Am Legend over Christmas and was delighted to see on the big screen the scene I'd stumbled across the filming of on 42nd Street months ago. There's something strangely thrilling about watching my beloved city get demolished again and again, from Independence Day to The Day After Tomorrow to I Am Legend to Cloverfield, only to rise again.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

of interest (at least to me)

Further thoughts on J.K. Rowling's lawsuit against the Harry Potter Lexicon. (More on my irritation with Rowling here and here.)

Op-ed on the continuing need for the Innocence Project.

Dahlia Lithwick's take on Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, argued yesterday before the Supreme Court. More on this here.

Gail Collins strikes again. Oh how I love this woman.

You've gotta love old New York.

For all that Iran might not be on the brink of nuclear war, it's still a fearful place.

Support the ACLU's opposition to Guantanamo Bay tomorrow, the 6th anniversary of the arrival of Gitmo's first post-9/11 prisoners. Wear something orange! Even I, I of the daily ninja dress code, will be wearing something orange tomorrow, specifically my fuzzy orange scarf in all its Muppetish glory.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

bill o'reilly & the falafel

I remember being pleasingly scandalized by the Bill O'Reilly sexual harassment case a couple years back. Nathan and a couple friends were on line behind him at a Knicks game around the time the story broke and I was sorely disappointed that they failed to offer him a loofah. He is a very big man, though, and clearly has some very serious anger management issues, so perhaps its best they left well enough alone.

But it wasn't until earlier this week, while reading about an O'Reilly run-in with an Obama staffer, that I found out he actually, at least in one instance, said falafel instead of loofah. As in, you know, he fantasized rubbing her down there with a falafel.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

men & abortion

There's apparently a rising movement, at least based on this Los Angeles Times article, addressing the trauma that men go through after experiencing an abortion.

I don't disagree with the idea that men, too, require and deserve sympathy and counseling when going through the sometimes heartbreaking experience of an abortion. The fallout from an abortion, whether a sense of relief, of tragedy, or simply of a difficult experience survived, effects men, women, and of course the relationships between them. In the real as well as the abstract, support for men in this situation is crucial, and yet frequently ignored.

The problem with this movement, though, is that it seems to be at the expense of women, and has been turned into (or always was, from the start), a religions/political movement, used not to truly help men deal with what might quite legitimately be a traumatic experience, but rather using the male experience to limit the female experience.

And parts of it are just plain silly. One therapist, by the name of Vincent M. Rue, developed a list of possible symptoms caused by the trauma of suffering an abortion, and asks men to fill out a questionnaire. Among these possible symptoms are feelings of irritability, insomnia, and impotence. Fellows, had you been impotent, this would not have been a problem in the first place. Just so you know. And if you feel impotent because your girlfriend / wife / one night stand decided to terminate an unfeasible pregnancy, maybe you should have talked to her more. Or signed a legal contract promising 18 years of child support. Or used better birth control.

Another man, towards the end of this article, waxes poetic about the loss of of two children, by two different girlfriends he inconveniently knocked up years ago. When asked about how the loss of these fetuses may have affected the lives of his former girlfriends, he responded, "I never really thought about it for the women."

What? He never thought about it for the women?? He's out there, protesting in front of abortion clinics, knowing "from the depths of [his] belly" that abortion is wrong, but he knocked up two women, never gave a thought to them, clearly wasn't father potential, at least at the time, and now wants to ban the procedure entirely?

Again, men need support in this, deserve sympathy and empathy, counseling and healing. But acknowledging their role in this experience, in both the instigation of the need and the emotional response to the deed, in no way gives them the right to decree the possibilities.

An abortion is still performed on the woman. And when it comes down to it, no matter the impact something like this has on any group of people, it cannot possibly outweigh the impact it has on the individuals who physically go through it.

Monday, January 07, 2008

jonah in action

videos of the day

I hadn't even heard of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) until this afternoon, when I saw a link to a speech given by Isabelle Allende at their annual conference last March. I like Isabelle Allende, but my friend Julie adores her. So I thought I better check it out, and send it along to Julie, and indeed it was pretty amazing. And so, it seems, is TED.

While I was on the phone with my mother this evening, call-waiting went off. I ignored it, because damned if I still don't know how to answer call waiting without hanging up on whomever I'm already talking with. But I checked my messages and it was, coincidentally enough, none other than Julie. So I called her back and she said I had to check my email. And lo and behold, another video. Turns out Julie's father made it on to Barack Obama's web site tonight, the eve of the New Hampshire primary.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

in-laws & the EPA

I was talking to Lauren yesterday and mentioned that I'm meeting Karen for coffee tomorrow afternoon.

Lauren said, "Who?"

"Karen," I said. "You know, Chris's mom."

There was silence on the other end of the phone.

Eventually, "You know that's really weird, right?"

I got a little defensive, demanded to know what she meant. She said, "Well, you know, most people don't meet their ex-boyfriend's mother for coffee after they break up."

I explained that I have mail to pass on to Chris, that his parents are still, after all, my landlords, that I want to stay on good terms with them, and so on and so forth. Probably still somewhat defensively.

Finally Lauren said, "I didn't necessarily mean it was bad weird. And I forgot about the apartment thing. It's just weird that you two like each other enough to still want to get together sometimes. I guess it's kind of cool. I mean, I don't want to see Justin's mother, and he's my husband!"

It's funny, these connections that linger. I lucked out immensely, for all intents and purposes getting Karen and Jerry as in-laws for five years, but that's something I didn't necessarily recognize or appreciate all that time being essentially their daughter-in-law. And clearly the relationship has changed, has become something odd and tenuous, short notes over email every few months, rent checks written and cashed, Christmas and birthday cards exchanged, a coffee now and again. But I'm glad to still have this connection, even as fragile as it is, and will probably continue with the birthday and Christmas cards, at least for awhile longer.

On another note, and very much a non sequitur, I was disappointed earlier this week, if not particularly surprised, to learn of the clash between the state of California and the EPA concerning automobile emissions. California wants to enforce stronger restrictions on pollution, the EPA (you know, the Environmental Protection Agency) is refusing to let them, and now California is suing the EPA. Here's a good take on the situation.


I spent New Year's Eve last week at a small shindig at Nate's apartment, and was tickled pink to see three of my nearest and dearest sporting neckwear made by yours truly. Thanks Jill, Lenny, & Chris for loving these scarves, because they were sure made with lots and lots of love for you!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

weekend round up

First, I thought in honor of the beginning of the year that will see the end of the Bush presidency, I would include here one of my favorite Bush quotes ever. And, as you probably know, that's saying a lot:

"I understand not everybody agrees with the decisions I've made, but that's not unique to Central or South America. Truth of the matter is, there's people who disagree with the decisions I've made all over the world. But that's what happens when you make decisions."

(2005 interview)

Which brings me, in its convoluted, twisted way, to my second point. I finally got around to watching
Obama's Iowa victory speech last night, at Andrew's insistence, and it's hard not to feel that this really is a momentous occasion in American history. Especially compared to Huckabee's speech. It's been awhile since anything political gave me goosebumps, at least in a good way instead of a cringe-inducing way. Take a look.

Third, I was whining and moaning to Erik the other day, dear Erik who's been patiently putting up with my moaning and whining since we were, oh, fourteen years old, and he sent me this link. I think it's pretty self-explanatory.

Also, I'm up to my eyeballs in yarn these days, with not one but two Knitty City gift certificates, the first from my dear mama and the second from bookstore Patti, burning a hole in my pocket. This after spending way too much money at Ana-Cross Stitch's post-Christmas store-wide sale last week. Thank you, Mumsie & Patti! You know this girl too well. I'm hoping that Knitty City is carrying yarn from Wool Peddler. I saw some of their stuff in Anacortes and was completely intrigued, both with the fiber itself and the vibrant, saturated colours, but already had a basket overflowing and managed to demonstrate a trace amount of self restraint. I'm just constantly amazed at the possibilities for fibers these days. Banana leaves. Soybean protein (this Rowan stuff, 70% wool, 30% soy, is lovely to work with). Possum (I have a pair of wool/possum socks, very warm and soft, but have yet to work with possum yarn). Chitin (yes, Paul, there is yarn made partly of shrimp & crab shells!). Bamboo. Pets (okay, that's a little bit disturbing even for me). Tencel (gorgeous stuff, haven't worked with it yet). But enough yarn.

Lastly, I ordered for myself three CDs recently. They arrived yesterday and I am ever so pleased. As some might recall, it was a certain former boyfriend who somehow bought the vast majority of our music over the years. And I realized, while I was home visiting Mom over Christmas, that I haven't bought a single CD for myself since well before Chris left, which is just about a year ago now. So, Brandi Carlile's The Story, Springsteen's Magic, and the Shins' Wincing the Night Away are now in heavy rotation in this apartment. This is actually the second time I've purchased Wincing the Night Away, believe it or not. The first was for Chris for Valentine's Day last year, ordered before we broke up. And he took it with him when he came back to pick up some stuff at the end of January! I figured it's about time I got to hear it myself. It's not so great, at least compared to their earlier stuff. But even as I type this, Bruce is crooning sexily away about a long walk home. I know I'm biased, but he's still got it.

Friday, January 04, 2008

iowa on my mind

I'm finding it very difficult to imagine Mike Huckabee as the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination. Obama, yes, I get that, and though I'm somewhat disappointed that Edwards didn't take Iowa, and that Clinton seems to be in difficulty, I can certainly still be excited by the notion of Obama for President. But Huckabee? The man who thinks it's funny to joke about his ignorance on foreign affairs just because the current occupant of the White House has the intellectual curiosity of a door knob? The man who stands by his statements concerning quarantining AIDS victims? The man who claims that his entire life revolves around his faith and his belief in Jesus? (But then condemns his opponents for failing to execute people and defends his support for executing people by arguing that if Jesus were against capital punishment, he would have begged for clemency from the cross) Good Lord, please save us from ourselves.

I've also been confused about the logistics of an actual caucus, given that here in good old New York, we just go into an old-fashioned voting booth, draw the curtain shut, and pull a bunch of levers.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

quirky pacific northwest videos

Spoonshine performing Pocketful of Ashes at Folklife.

And then there's this, which is one of the weirder things I've ever seen, and sort of defies discussion. But I had a soft spot for this song once upon a time, and still love the ferry.

And last, local babe Brandi Carlile makes good and brings a fan along for the ride.

milford's first new year's eve

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

new year ranting

I flew back to NY on the red eye Saturday night, got home early Sunday morning and saw this piece on airport security in the Times. Nate flew back to NY last week and was telling me yesterday of his security (mis)adventures at SeaTac Airport. He got to the front of the security line and suddenly remembered that he still had his half-empty water bottle in his back pack. He pulled it out, showed it to the security personnel, asked if he could just quickly drink it or throw it away. They said no. He had to leave the security checkpoint, find a trash can back in the main terminal, and wait on line again. This is insane. And this doesn't do anything to thwart terrorism, it just pisses people off so much that they're likely to punch someone in the face. I at least had no such hassles, and in fact was offered a free drink on my flight as thanks for switching seats with someone who wanted to be next to his family. Fell asleep almost immediately, though, and missed out on said drink. More than made up for it last night, though.

On the political front, Bloomberg Moves Closer to Running for President. Not sure how I feel about this one yet.

Yesterday, the last day of yet another year, saw yet another scathing, and heartbreaking, take on the Bush administration and the shaming of America.

Then there's Dahlia Lithwick's smackdown of the Bush legal team in yesterday's Slate.

And lastly, a little geeking out. Okay, a lot of geeking out.
Late Library Books Can Take Toll on Credit Scores, about the Queens Public Library System cracking down on recalcitrant library users, and a follow-up op-ed piece condemning this practice. Yes, this kind of stuff interests me. I had a woman come into my library a few years back to take out a book, but it turns out her borrowing privileges had been suspended because she'd exceeded the maximum fine limit of $299 (recently reduced to $99). In fact, she had exceeded the limit by about, oh, $32,000, give or take. And she was furious with me and my coworker for refusing to let her take the book, demanding to know who we thought we were, when her husband could buy our entire measly library! Given that we have about 400,000 volumes in our collections, and one of the most extensive Tibetan manuscript collections in the world, I doubt that he in fact could buy the whole thing. But if he could, then he clearly could pay off her library fines, too. So I'm not overly sympathetic to those complaining about the Queens system's harsh tactics. When you take out library books and do not return them, you have essentially stolen them, and are depriving other people of having access to them. The library should be able to take measures to get its property back. Of course, on the other hand, having your credit history destroyed by an $80 library fine might be a little excessive.

On a more pleasing library note, it turns out that adolescents aren't as stupid as I thought they were! Or at least, they seem to read more than I gave them credit for.

And really lastly, my new crush, librarian extraordinaire David Smith.