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Newton Free Library DTRT [27 Jan 2006|12:18am]

I listened to angry talk radio for too long today. Don't I have better things to do on a day off from work? Obviously I don't. I listened to it, and now I'm writing about it.

I shouldn't get high-and-mighty judging about what others do to make a living, but I think that stoking people's hate and anger in order to get a paycheck is something a good person shouldn't do. Of course all of the listeners are free to make up their own minds and not be stupid, and I'm not advocating legally muzzling any of these talk show hosts, but I do think that they should voluntarily find another way to make a living — even just another show format.

Today's hot story was the way the Newton Free Library handled an FBI visit regarding a terrorist threat made against Brandeis. Brandeis buildings were evacuated in response to the threat, and the FBI traced the origin of the threat to computers at the Newton Free Library.

So the FBI paid the library a visit. At the library were the mayor of Newton, the head librarian, and some Newton police officers. I have no idea if the librarian called these folks, or if the FBI called them, or what. But anyway, the librarian asked the FBI for a warrant, and the FBI didn't have one. So they went to get one, and came back nine or so hours later to search the computer, legally.

The lovely Boston Herald has a few stories about it, including Terror threat sparks Newton librarian/FBI standoff, Clueless Running Newton and Throw book at obstinate Newton (they have a rating system for their articles, by the way, so if you'd like to express your opinion about them, you can).

People were really mad about this because it put the security and safety of a lot of people at risk. There was a lot of talk about how every second counts (with reference to such sources of empirical knowledge as the show 24).

Many things about this don't make sense...Collapse )
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E. E. Cummings [27 Jan 2006|04:19pm]

I was about to leave a comment on Mako's post at Copyrighteous about epitaphs regarding my favorite epitaphic irony, which is that e. e. cummings's name is capitalized on his tombstone, until I read this article, which seems to clear the whole thing up in favor of the capitalizers. So, it can be E. E. Cummings after all.

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I don't feel like myself [27 Jan 2006|10:20pm]

Yesterday morning when I sat up, raised the vinyl shade, and blinked out my bedroom window, I saw the dirty roof of the nail salon that shares a wall with my building. At the end of the day I fell asleep, lids tinged with the neon blue from the salon's light. Maybe it's one of those ultraviolet disinfectant things that barbers and rich people have. I only know the color, which is close to violet but maybe not ultra.

Today when I sat up and looked out the same window, I saw the dirty inside of a shoebox. I won't swear it was a shoebox, because I couldn't see the top of it, only the inside, and you really have to see the top, or at least the bottom, before you can swear to something like that.

It's a shoebox because that's what it looked like, from the inside. I'd call it a big shoebox, because my window is no porthole. I wear size 11, and it was much bigger than that. It took up most of the wall, and I do not live in a shoebox. I live in a largeish one bedroom with study, full kitchen, and stall shower. I pay $800 a month.

The shoebox was full of wires. Once I take the shoes out, I usually fill my shoeboxes with wires too. I like electronic things, and computers, so I tend to accumulate a lot of wires. This wasn't my shoebox.

However, mine was the only window inside this shoebox. Even with my window, my gnomish landlord, and some cords, it wasn't full. Not like the rabbit's nests I keep around here: three 25' CAT-5 cables, two AC adapters, one USB cable, a cell phone car charger and a phone cord, and that's just one Hush Puppies box in the top right corner of the closet. Oh, and some batteries, which might be dead but still roll around.

I wasn't very happy about the situation, once I realized that no one was going to raise the lid. Shoeboxes are nice for holding wires, but they are bad for getting sun. Without sun in the morning, and a hot shower, I can't wake up. Inside a shoebox is no way to live. Plus, this shoebox was so big that someone was going to have to sweep inside it at least once a week, and I wasn't about to volunteer for duty.

I closed my eyes again and tried to picture yesterday, with its sunlight and snowflakes. I wouldn't mind the way the shoebox might keep the snowflakes and raindrops out for a while, like newspapers on the train platform. But my window didn't leak that much. I looked at my landlord, but he was busy with the wire, his beard grunting against the window whenever a knot came loose. At his age, I worried about him being all hunched over like that. Better wait and ask him about the leak later. I still had time for a hot shower, so the day was not a total loss.

(It's that time of year again. Here's what happened last year.)

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