Ink Paper Words' Profile

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Pacific Northwest, United States
In elementary school, I desperately wanted my mother to order books for me from those flyers Scholastic hands out to kids. She refused, citing the "perfectly good library down the street." I exacted revenge by becoming a card-carrying ALA accredited reference librarian. Ha! Take that!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lexicographer's Dilemma

Quoth the Salon reviewer:

"Memo to grammar cops: Back off!
A new book on the history of "proper" English says you're just stuck up"

So the hell what? Everyone is stuck up about something. Language (and by inference, its correct use) is mine.

Believe it or not, language matters. It is the mode in which anyone communicates with the world. The fact of the matter is that people who can't be bothered to learn to speak or write at least halfway correct will be forever misunderstood. I understand that not everyone's brain is wired for words the way mine is and don't fault them for it -- that is, until accusations like this start flying around. I mention the brain issue because for my of my childhood I was made to feel like an idiot due to my innumeracy. My math teach in seventh grade, one Wayne Kamp, openly mocked me when I had difficulty dividing fractions. One night while struggling with my math homework, I found another way to do it. Excited, I rushed into math class the next day and showed him what I had stumbled upon. He refused to allow me to use that method. Way to inspire and encourage your students, Mr. Kamp!

I ditched math the second I could...although I did make an argument in high school that I should be able to get a math credit for taking music theory. I flaunted my vocabulary because it was one way to compensate. Maybe I wasn't a genius but I wasn't a total dunce, either.

As one might easily imagine, my trouble with numbers and complete lack of algebra caused considerable havoc with my college science classes. My boyfriend, an Iranian grad student in computer science disapproved. Finally, in my last semester I decided to enroll in a beginning algebra class. When I told him, thinking he'd be proud of me, he asked which section I had signed up for. When I replied he said I'd have to change because that was the section he taught. Anyway, I did. It didn't go well and I knew the teaching assistants I got did not understand me and could not communicate with me on any meaningful level. So when I had questions I would take them to Ahmad during his office hours. One day as I was waiting in the hallway, my TA's happened by and asked why I was there. I said I questions and I q\was going to ask Ahmad. They were stunned. "You. Know...Ahmad?" LOL Not only did I know him, our son is now 28 years old.

Despite my best intentions of taking that damned algebra class, I still got a D. When my son was just a baby I enrolled in another algebra class at a community college. This is where I learned that in many situations, a competent teacher can make all the difference. He explained concepts in a way I could understand. He motivated me. Even though I was a single parent and took my baby to class with me (at least, until the day he soaked his diaper, my leg and the floor) I worked through the book at home but still went to class for tests. The result with this effort was very different and I ended up with an A. The single most vivid memory of the class, other my son peeing on my leg and the floor, was the explanation that an equation was just like a sentence. The variable are words. The function signs are verbs. I had an epiphany that day. Now I just wish I could remember his name.

The bottom line is that everyone struggles with something. If people spoke in equations I'd be SOL.

BTW, I have since overcome my innumeracy difficulty. I came to be able to calculate discounts per yard and for total purchase in seconds when fabric stores were having sales.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian???

"I read, for instance, every single book in the whole library about landscaping and gardening, because that was an interest of mine."

How big was this school? How many gardening books were there? 2? 3?

Who the hell is kidding who? Okay, I get that a grant was named after her. Big whoop. However, just because she liked books and became a librarian doesn't automatically mean that she was a good, ethical, or professional one.

Where exactly did she speak out on hubby's nefarious PATRIOT Act that essentially served to muzzle Americans and make their reading selections available to the FBI? (BTW, one of the single most un-American and un-PATRIOTIC things I ever heard of, unless you consider that whole 2000 "stop counting votes" bidness)

What research did she conduct that in some way benefited anyone?

“Libraries allow children to ask questions about the world and find the answers. And the wonderful thing is that once a child learns to use a library, the doors to learning are always open.” --Laura Bush

That's right Laura. Especially if th child is in the school library you work in and the question is about gardening. Anything else...well we're really not so sure.

Funny, one wouldn't necessarily think that any library on the planet automatically has a need for a lot of gardening books -- especially an elementary school library. And yet, somehow, that is what Laura Bush seemed to buy the most of for her school library. Apparently, so she could read them all day instead of serving the informational needs of her students.

Interesting. When I was doing collection development (often in subject I loved, but not always) I never had time to sit and read the books I had ordered for the library. That had to be done on my time.

Sorry, but in my book, Laura Bush taking a job as an elementary school librarian so she could sit on her ever expanding butt to read about things SHE likes smacks more or croneyism and connections and marriage to Hitler's banker's grandson than professional librarian.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Boy, is This a Mistake

I have to say that although I guess I'm something of a foodie and love to try new interesting sounding recipes, I am astounded at the sheer chutzpah demonstrated by Too much clutter about food on the internet? Sorry honey, I don't think that's exactly up to you to decide. Yes, as of October 2, is the only blog allowed to post about food and cooking. They are the only ones that post anything of substance and actually have offered bloggers $25 to close down.

Eater complains about Serious Eats, but I get their newsletter and have been very pleased with the results of the recipes I've tried. They say that on SE one will learn such difficult techniques as "melting butter." Huh. Sounds as though they haven't watched Food network and its gawd-awful programming lately because that is exactly what it has become.

It been suggested that is funded by Food Network, a website famous for its own suckitude. I don't doubt this for a second.

Hey, I think I'll become a food blog, shut down, and then re-open shop once the check clears. Ptui upon you, Eater!

I suggest that bloggers and food readers everywhere boycott

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An Ambiguous Take on Roman Polanski

The news that Roman Polanski had been arrested in Switzerland and held for possible extradition to the US to receive the sentencing he fled from 32 years ago has stirred up no apparent end of fussing and fuming on those Interwebz. As I read through various articles on the commentary on them, I am shocked by several things.

First of all, there is a startling lack of middle ground in the opinions of those posting. Comments seem largely to fall into 2 camps: either the “let's string him up by his balls” school of thought or the “her mother pimped her out/he thought she was older/she asked for it” approach.

Why do people feel the need to make everything so black and white, regardless of the perspective? Few things in life are as simple as that. There's the problem with life and reality: all those pesky shades of gray.

Ironically enough, those most vocal about prosecuting “to the fullest extent of the law” care not a whit about the feelings of the victim of the case. As if prosecuting this case will prevent future rapes...sure, on some planet. “This isn't about justice for the victim, it's about justice for society!” some self-righteously claim. Well gee, nice to know you care. Samantha Geimer has repeatedly stated that she just wants to let it go and not allow the media to re-victimize her. As a fellow rape survivor, I can certainly understand the sentiment. It's bad enough that from the earliest stages of the resulting investigation, the victim is made to feel dirty and at fault. The emotional fallout isn't so hot either. In my case, I wasn't allowed a good look at the perp and hence was unable to identify him at a lineup. The result of that was that for several months afterward every man I saw at work, on the bus, at the grocery store could have been him for all I knew.

People in many artistic circles say that on the basis of his oeuvre alone he should be allowed to put it all behind him. Sorry but I have a hard time buying into this. Despite his stature as an artist, he still drugged a teenager and forced himself upon someone who, even if she had consented (she didn't) was legally unable to give consent. Even if her mother had been pimping the girl, consent wasn't hers to give. And regardless of age, at least according to the California Penal Code (current version, anyway, I have no idea what it was in 1977) if you have to slip someone champagne and a Quaalude to get them to have sex with you, that's rape too. I'm sure that rich, famous and powerful people commit crimes all the time and are able to use their connections to avoid prosecution for them. That doesn't make it right.

And then there are those who say he's been in exile for 32 years, isn't that punishment enough? While I'm not sure how I feel about that one, sure, he's had to alter his life somewhat, but aside from not being able to enter the US or countries likely to extradite, I don't really see how the time itself is much of a factor. Except for the fact that he is now 76 and one presumes that at his advanced age he is unlikely to commit any rapes in the future. I do think that some statute of limitations should be in effect on a charge of fleeing sentencing. He has already pleaded guilty to the rape itself, so the involvement of the victim is not necessary (which certainly has not prevented the media from dragging out pictures of her at age 13 and forcing her to relive the events – all the while making money off her tragedy). Besides, California is hardly in sufficient financial shape these days to be spending a ton of money on a high-profile case. Considering that criminals of all stripes are being released due to the budget crisis I really do not believe that the state is viewing this case rationally or with any sort of realistic view about what they hope to accomplish by it.

The argument that shapes my thoughts on this matter the most, I suppose, is that Polanski himself is a victim. I don't mean the Holocaust, which was horrific to be sure and in which his mother was killed. Rather I refer to the gruesome murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate by the Manson family. I cannot begin to imagine how a person could continue to go on after such a thing and I have to believe that this has damaged Polanski far more than his actions against a teenager have damaged her. I say this not to minimize the trauma that Geimer was forced to live through, nor to excuse Polanski, but merely to highlight the horror of that night in Los Angeles. I daresay that few among us will ever have to experience anything like those murders and the resulting cultural flash point it has since become.

And it isn't as though he didn't serve any time or went completely scot free. He did serve 43 days in the state prison in Chino. That might not sound like much but I suspect it's more than many people serve for similar crimes. Furthermore, Geimer's family filed a civil suit, for which Polanski paid a sum that apparently satisfied them. If the victim and her family are fine with the outcome, why is it up to the State of California to decide that more needs to happen? What do they have to gain by going ahead with the prosecution?

IMO, at this point California should just slap Polanski with a fine for avoiding sentencing and call it a day. It's clear that proceeding with this case will not help the victim, and it's questionable that it will help the state either.

let this one go.