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Links 1 through 10 of 100 by Joe Germuska tagged booktagged

"How should we begin to make amends for raising a generation obsessed with the pursuit of material wealth and indifferent to so much else? Perhaps we might start by reminding ourselves and our children that it wasn’t always thus. Thinking “economistically,” as we have done now for thirty years, is not intrinsic to humans. There was a time when we ordered our lives differently. "

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'In this telling Monk emerges as (not least) a heroic African-American Emersonian at the keyboard. Monk’s insistence that “the piano ain’t got no wrong notes!” resonates with Emerson’s war on conformity and consistency. Monk’s stubborn, self-sacrificing attachment to his own aesthetic summons up Emerson’s “trust thyself” wisdom, and his advice that “a man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within.” “To believe your own sound,” (paraphrasing “Self-Reliance”) “… that is genius.” Monk knew.'

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"Mr. Bazan’s book documents that parallel and heartbreaking reality, devoid of color but rich in gritty black-and-white textures. He captures the stoic pride of the guajiros, farmers with rough hands and strong faces. Inside a store filled with empty shelves, a bored caretaker — how could he be a salesman if there is nothing to sell? — sits at a counter. Penitents in Havana seek divine intercession crawling on their hands to the shrine of St. Lazarus. Or they haul crosses, oblivious to the revolutionary slogans that no longer put food on the table or hope in their hearts."

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"You could do a lot worse with the next 220 days of your life than to begin each one by reading an entry from the freshly published "A New Literary History of America" -- the way generations past used to study a Bible verse daily. You could do a lot worse, but I'm not sure you could do much better; this magnificent volume is a vast, inquisitive, richly surprising and consistently enlightening wallow in our national history and culture."

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'We hear a thousand objections of this sort throughout history: Thoreau objecting to the telegraph, because even though it speeds things up, people won't have anything to say to one another. Then we have Samuel Morse, who invents the telegraph, objecting to the telephone because nothing important is ever going to be done over the telephone because there's no way to preserve or record a phone conversation. There were complaints about typewriters making writing too mechanical, too distant -- it disconnects the author from the words. That a pen and pencil connects you more directly with the page. And then with the computer, you have the whole range of "this is going to revolutionize everything" versus "this is going to destroy everything."'

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And still, it was not enough. Dangerously underweight at 98 pounds, Renn took a test photo for her agency in which her collarbone juts out like a shelf and her arms look about as strong as pussy willows. Her agent's opinion: "You're too heavy here." It only got worse when, despite her continued starvation and obsessive exercise, she began gaining back the weight. After she hit Size 4, the then 18-year-old was hauled into her agency for a come-to-Jesus talk. Staring at a Polaroid of Renn in which she still looks utterly waifish to a layperson's eye, the agent declared, "The thighs need to come down."

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'She won’t kill the slugs that have wrecked her garden, as some people propose, by drowning them in Budweiser, because “this seemed suspiciously close to buying the slugs a beer, which was more generous than I felt.”'

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"In Library Mashups, Nicole C. Engard and 25 contributors from all over the world walk readers through definitions, summaries, and practical uses of mashups in libraries. Examples range from ways to allow those without programming skills to make simple website updates, to modifying the library OPAC, to using popular sites like Flickr, Yahoo!, LibraryThing, Google Maps, and Delicious to share and combine digital content. This essential guide is required reading for all libraries and librarians seeking a dynamic, interactive web presence."

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"The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells, has been continuously in print for over 100 years. Collected here are the covers of many of those editions, submitted by generous fans from around the world. My purpose is primarily educational: the span of covers represents a huge swath of graphic design, from 1898 to the present, across languages and through the effects of radio, movie, musical, and television re-interpretations. Enjoy!"

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"As Arika Okrent writes in her new book, "In the Land of Invented Languages," "from an engineering perspective, language is kind of a disaster." English in particular is choked with irregular words and anachronistic phrases that long ago stopped making intuitive sense. If it were a car, it would be a jalopy patched together from a bunch of spare parts. Such is the curse of the natural language. It's not as if French or Swahili is much more logical."

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