Looking at the cross currents of historical and contemporary events
Happy belated birthday, New York. Hope you had that extra glass of bubbly.It's my final night in DC -- was able to take in a last minute performance of an extremely provocative King Lear this evening -- I think this was the first time I've ever seen it live. Amazing.I did go by Ford's Theatre one evening and the house where Lincoln died which is just down the street from my hotel, but never had time during the day to go in. Thanks to Obama, they've extended the hours of the museums (I distinctly remember when Reagan cut them to close at 5), so was able to re-visit the portrait gallery and view all the Civil War portraits. Interesting this time knowing who most of all the people were. Also looked down the alley Booth escaped which is marked on the Lincoln trail -- but didn't have time to follow all the other markers. Next time.Will try to catch up with everything else when I get home tomorrow night.I should add that the Lears' book is great since it picks up at Reconstruction. I'm really enjoying it. The way he describes reconstruction of the South makes it almost sound like America's first colonial experience.
I finally broke down and got basic basic cable a few weeks ago and I was surprised that it includes some of the cable tier.Last sat morning TV Land ran like 4hrs of Sponge Bob and I put off everything.It is so delightfully goofy that it sucks you in.I usually get to see it only in hotel rooms and when I stay with friends.On a more serious note the passing of Walter tonight is the end of the era of Jounalists from the age of being almost larger than life.I'm hoping someone mentions the tiff he had with then Senator John Kennedy that almost derailed Kennedy's run for the Whitehouse.
I have to confess I've never seen Sponge Bob, but I remember Robert talking about it before so thought we should meander around his birthday.
Why, thank you avrds, there was another almost full glass in the bottle..."The way he describes reconstruction of the South makes it almost sound like America's first colonial experience." I have heard it said that the South is unique in that it is the only part of the US that has been invaded and occupied by troops.I forgot about the wonderfully silly Sponge Bob. We (OK, it was the kid's) had a videotape of some episodes with parodies of various song styles, which were spot on and quite funny. "The Fool Who Ripped His Pants" is a gem.
Well, in celebration of his birthday I may have to seek out a brief meander with the sponge. I loved how the religious right found so much evil meaning in the show -- that should be worth watching the show if for no other reason. Regarding the Lears book, it really is interesting to see the contrast of economies and how the South was "developed" to concentrate capital and land, and how slavery was contined in the strangest forms -- like renting out prisoners to work on the roads. I'm not crazy about his "rebirth" analogies, but I've really enjoyed picking up the pieces of the nation after Goodwin. I'm almost done with the book, so will probably stick with it for the time being, although did read another couple chapters of Uncle Tom.
On another meandering note, while in DC I had an interview with C-Span which is about to initiate a 48 hour programming series on the weekends focused on American history like they do on books. It would have meant moving to DC, but talk about a dream job...! The woman I talked to was very upfront -- I had to convince her to hire me over two other applicants who have worked there for 20 years and are also applying, which is sort of impossible, although the interview went extremely well. She used the interview as a consulting session, getting ideas about how to establish the programming. Interesting process.
This one might be fun to read:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/books/review/Kennedy-t.html
We had to lug home a huge "Sponge Bob" drinking cup from Universal Studios when we went to America last year. Like Sponge Bob himself it was squeezable, which eased in fitting it into the luggage. Our little daughter prized it dearly.
avrds: In your interview, did you find yourself hoping you were everyone's 2nd choice after the others knocked each other out? Fingers, toes and anything else crossable (maybe not eyes) securely in place for enlightenment to descend on choosers.
Thanks, NY. It was only one person who interviewed me -- the VP and co-Executive something -- so it seems to be her call. I don't think I can trump all that in-house experience, but you never know. They may need a consultant or something at some point -- which is how I usually work anyway. Still, they had close to 200 applicants and that they wanted to talk to me at all was a real honor. (I think it was because I'm such a book tv junkie...!) As I told my daughter, if I got it I would have to move to DC -- but it would be worth it. If I don't get it, which is likely after talking to her, I don't have to move and that would be a relief.
I had an interesting ethical question come up today -- I purchased a book on the Origins of Natural Science in America (it takes a certain type, I know) from an Amazon seller. This is not a rare book by any means, but I haven't found it until recently through Amazon. But when it arrived, I found out it was a library book with its card still in place.This is the second time I've had a seller send me a book from a library that showed no sign of being officially withdrawn. I won't purchase a used book that says it's an ex-library book for just that reason -- but both of these books failed to mention that they were ex-library books. The first time, I emailed the seller and asked them about it and after checking they "assured me" that it was a sell-able book and apologized for the confusion. They also discounted the sale. So I let it go. But this time, it sort of got under my skin, so I contacted Amazon asking them if they could make it clear that they have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to selling library books. I gave them all the library information so they can check on the book. We'll see if they "assure me" again or what will happen, but it does seem easy enough to put library books online and sell them to idiots like me who really want/need the books. I'm assuming it's not always the seller who is responsible for initially taking them off the shelves, but still they should be very careful before offering a book for sale that in reality belongs to a library.My tale of woe for the evening.
940 pages! Wow! My summer reading is set:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/23/books/23maslin.html
Hope it turns out the book was sold in a library sale, avrds. That's the only positive spin I can put on the situation. I know the discouraging feeling, though, but my most outraged was when I worked in my college library and found pages missing from some of its very expensive art books--it seems some folks were decorating their dorm rooms...
Avrds, I purchase used books through abebooks, which I have found to be more reliable than amazon, which for some reason won't send used books to Lithuania anyway. I wouldn't hold my breath in regard to a satisfactory response from amazon. You will get no end of e-mails from Bangalore clerks reciting you chapter and verse of store policy without ever specifically addressing your complaint.
One of the things I have enjoyed from booksellers using abebooks is that they are often very courteous. When my copy of Team of Rivals got mangled in the mail, the bookseller notified me and sent me another copy which arrived in one piece. I've sometimes received carefully wrapped books which had notes inside saying how much the bookseller had valued this particular book, like a little 1943 first edition of Vilna by Israel Cohen, and hoped I would do the same. Reminds me of that wonderful movie with Ann Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, 84 Charing Cross Road.
Yes, I loved that movie (and the book -- although as I recall the woman in the book isn't nearly as charming as Anne Bancroft).And yes, I should only buy through ABE -- it's the association of used booksellers and they have ethics that they follow. I was trying to get Amazon to be more up front about their "ethics" which they also have but I guess it's best just to avoid it. I have only ordered a few things through sellers there and have been mostly satisfied. One book was all marked up so I returned it -- but library books are a different issue for me. Anyway, lesson learned.