Mar 062012

[PDF]  JV Richardson and Khalid Mahmood. Library Hi Tech, 2012

Eighty-one information studies graduate students were surveyed about their ownership of specific eBook readers, their likes and dislikes as well as perceived issues. The authors found that the Kindle’s features made it the most popular, but respondents disliked the poor navigation and inability to loan titles in their collections regardless of specific eBook reader. In addition, the respondents also liked the portability of the readers as well as the ability to have multiple books on a single reader. Nonetheless, they also identified three major concerns: notably, the licensing of titles versus outright ownership, being tied to a particular eBook vendor, and non-replaceable batteries. In contrast to some other published reports, the respondents did not value non-Roman script support or color display. Appendices include a list of WWW resources for downloading eBooks.

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Aug 262011

Looking across
The water we are
Startled by a star –
It is not dark yet
The sun has just set

Looking across
The water we are
Alone as that star
That startled us,
And as far

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Aug 262011

To provoke, or sustain, a reverie in a bar, you have to drink English gin, especially in the form of the dry martini. To be frank, given the primordial role in my life played by the dry martini, I think I really ought to give it at least a page. Like all cocktails, the martini, composed essentially of gin and a few drops of Noilly Prat, seems to have been an American invention. Connoisseurs who like their martinis very dry suggest simply allowing a ray of sunlight to shine through a bottle of Noilly Prat before it hits the bottle of gin. At a certain period in America it was said that the making of a dry martini should resemble the Immaculate Conception, for, as Saint Thomas Aquinas once noted, the generative power of the Holy Ghost pierced the Virgin’s hymen “like a ray of sunlight through a window-leaving it unbroken.”

Another crucial recommendation is that the ice be so cold and hard that it won’t melt, since nothing’s worse than a watery martini. For those who are still with me, let me give you my personal recipe, the fruit of long experimentation and guaranteed to produce perfect results. The day before your guests arrive, put all the ingredients-glasses, gin, and shaker-in the refrigerator. Use a thermometer to make sure the ice is about twenty degrees below zero (centigrade). Don’t take anything out until your friends arrive; then pour a few drops of Noilly Prat and half a demitasse spoon of Angostura bitters over the ice. Stir it, then pour it out, keeping only the ice, which retains a faint taste of both. Then pour straight gin over the ice, stir it again, and serve.

– Buñuel’s memoir My Last Breath

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Aug 102011

How meanly and miserably we live for the most part! We escape fate continually by the skin of our teeth, as the saying is. We are practically desperate. But as every man, in respect to material wealth, aims to become independent or wealthy, so, in respect to our spirits and imagination, we should have some spare capital and superfluous vigor, have some margin and leeway in which to move. What kind of gift is life unless we have spirits to enjoy it and taste its true flavor? if, in respect to spirits, we are to be forever cramped and in debt? In our ordinary estate we have not, so to speak, quite enough air to breathe, and this poverty qualifies our piety; but we should have more than enough and breathe it carelessly. Poverty is the rule. We should first of all be full of vigor like a strong horse, and beside have the free and adventurous spirit of his drive; i. e., we should have such a reserve of elasticity and strength that we may at any time be able to put ourselves at the top of our speed and go beyond our ordinary limits, just as the invalid hires a horse. Have the gods sent us into this world, – to this muster, – to do chores, hold horses, and the like, and not given us any spending money?

I heard some ladies the other day laughing about some one of their help who had helped herself to a real hoop off a hogshead for her gown. I laughed too, but which party do you think I laughed at? Is n’t a hogshead as good a word as crinoline?

From Thoreau’s Journal for August 10, 1857.

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