Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bush Excitement: Catch it!

Blah3 recently addressed the fact that Bush increasingly is speaking to audiences composed primarily of government employees and/or soldiers. I knew that this was always his preferred audience, but I didn't know that he was now speaking to them exclusively. But the initial advantage of this policy still applies: He can be assured of a positive response to whatever he says. All of this makes the following photo and caption courtesy of Reuters even funnier:

Midshipmen catch naps as they wait for more than an hour for U.S. President George W. Bush to deliver an address on the war in Iraq at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland November 30, 2005.

He doesn't elicit a lot of natural enthusiasm even from captive audiences ... until under direct orders to do so, that is.

Postscript: Speaking of Blah3, it appears they also noticed the lackluster reaction, and they even found a better picture than the one I did.

Yellow Literature

It's been years since I watched a new Simpsons episode. But this one will definitely bring me back one more time:

Soon, a team of animators will render (Tom) Wolfe bug-eyed and yellow-skinned. A year from now he'll appear on television alongside Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and the bartender Moe in an episode of "The Simpsons" parodying highfalutin literary culture.

"We started with the idea of Moe as Charles Bukowski," explains Matt Warburton, who wrote the episode. "We brought Lisa in as the person who discovers in scuzzy, barfly Moe something that we've never seen before: a poet." Antics ensue, with Wolfe and fellow guest stars Gore Vidal, Michael Chabon and Jonathan Franzen voicing themselves. All were thrilled to participate.

"This is the only show of any sort that I watch on television," Wolfe says, sitting in the greenroom after recording. The immaculately dressed author is surrounded by a group of scruffy Harvard-educated "Simpsons" writers, hanging on his every word. "My son, Tommy, who's now 20, one of his first words was [Homer's trademark exclamation] 'D'oh!' And now any conversation he has with anybody, he'll reference 'The Simpsons.' "

The writers laugh knowingly. This isn't uncommon. The show is in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for the most guest voices of any animated series, and invitees are often begged to participate by their children or younger friends who see it as akin to nabbing the Nobel Prize. Past guests include actors (Kirk Douglas, Drew Barrymore), musicians (U2, the Who) athletes (Andre Agassi, Magic Johnson), politicians (Tony Blair) and even the most reclusive of writers (Thomas Pynchon lent his voice twice, and faxed in a list of jokes beforehand).
Gore Vidal is one of my favorite authors, and one of my favorite Simpsons moments was when Lisa pulled out a thick book that read "Tome by Gore Vidal". Most of his books are huge with important, one-word titles like that. It's good to see he has a sense of humor about himself.

Jedi Mind Tricks for fun and profit

Last week, the police finally caught some guy in Nevada who gradually stole $600,000 worth of LEGO and resold them online. The guy's scheme consisted of going into various Target stores throughout four different states, finding the really big expensive sets and switching the barcodes with much lower priced LEGO items before purchasing them. According to the article, the police needed a 20 foot truck to haul his remaining sets away.

Though the CNN piece is brief, I'm guessing that this guy specifically took tags from sets like #4488 (Retail $6.99) ...

... and switched them with sets like #4504 (Retail $99.99) ...

... thus netting a profit of over 90 dollars per purchase. Since both are named "Millennium Falcon" and therefore would be the name that popped up on the scanner display, he was able to dupe a whole lot of cashiers before getting caught. This isn't even the worst of them. He may have been able to do a switch with some "Star Destroyers" models as well. The difference between models #4492 and #10030 is just under $300!

I'm sure this has gone down through memos at Target headquarters already, but allow me to emphasize this to all those unwitting cashiers out there: The only time you would be selling a 900 piece set for less than ten bucks is in a LEGO maniac's wet dream.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Farewell US 82! See you again in a year or so!

Another trip to Mississippi has come and gone, and I'm left tired from the thirteen hour drive back yesterday.

Aside from seeing Mrs. Mosley's folks and gorging on dressing, we both made numerous book purchases. This included two volumes that apparently signify a depreciation in the genre of "Groundbreaking Comedy Biographies": The Pythons (Originally retailed for $60 and picked up for $10) and Live from New York (Originally retailed for $25 and picked up for $1). I also did my bit for independent booksellers by faithfully visiting McCormick's Bookstore in Greenville and shelling out full price for Wild Ducks Flying Backward by Tom Robbins.

Mrs. Mosley continued her Genealogy research by visiting the Greenville public library downtown to pour over dozens of microfilm reels of the Delta Democrat Times. I was also enlisted for the three and a half hours we were there. Special thanks should be given to Charlie, a librarian there who helped us out a lot with our work. Yes, even Librarians like myself need help once in a while, and a little kindness goes a long way. Thanks again, Charlie.

Finally, a suggestion prompted by an audio Thanksgiving tradition that Mrs. Mosley and I participated in once again: For any young, budding artist looking for an performance art piece idea, may I suggest making a list of the address of every psychiatrist office in town, stepping inside the waiting room, yelling out "You can have anything you want at Alice's Restaurant!" and then promptly leaving for the next office on your list. If you go through with it, then let me know how many you visit before getting arrested.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thanks to the River City

Tonight, Mrs. Mosley and I leave for Greenville, Mississippi to spend Thanksgiving with her family. The town of Greenville makes Jacksonville look like a veritable Disney World of activity in comparison. And even though I'm sure we'll find enough to keep us occupied in our four days there, I thought I'd use this opportunity to name off ten things I'm thankful for in Jacksonville:

The Dreamette - This legend of Murray Hill, the Westside neighborhood where I grew up, still stands and serves the best chocolate dipped cones in town. Inexpensive, too.

The San Marco Theatre - Pretty much the last of the old, old movie theaters still in operation. This is close to our house, and Mrs. Mosley wants to make it a point to give them our business as much as possible, which I have no problem with. We saw Good Night, and Good Luck. several weeks ago and will be seeing the latest Harry Potter there when we get back.

Five Points - Every healthy town needs it's own little corner of Bohemia. For all our town's faults, at least we have that.

Chamblin Bookmine - Hands down the best used bookstore in town. In recent years, it has become the business equivalent of the Katamari Damacy: It rolls around and picks up every item in its path. This includes books both used and new, CD's, VHS tapes, DVD's and, with the continuing expansion plans, buildings.

Kuhn Flowers - I have memories of visiting this floral shop during the holidays and seeing the big Christmas displays they have in their tall windows. I introduced Mrs. Mosley to this last year and, judging from her reaction, it's safe to say that it will become a tradition.

The Beaches - I'll admit to not enjoying this aspect of Jacksonville as much as other people; I never was into the whole sun-worship thing. However, for sunset strolls, it can't be beat.

The Docking Station -This is half legitimate affection/half shameless plug. One of my oldest friends co-owns this place and I like to throw him any recognition I possibly can. It's Jacksonville's longest running cybercafe (going on 5 years now) and really is a great place to drink coffee, surf and game.

The University of North Florida - It's my local alma mater and, with the combination of my student and work years, the place where I spent the most time during the 1990's. In addition, it continues to have one of the best jazz programs in the country. For the 1992-1993 season, I saw the likes of Ramsey Lewis, Joe Williams, Arturo Sandoval and Cassandra Wilson. Unforgettable.

St. Augustine - Alright. I'm stretching things a bit, here. Although technically not a part of Jacksonville, our locations just thirty minutes north of the oldest city in the country is a great convenience. For those who have never been, it's the perfect place to spend a weekend.

The New Downtown Library - Did I mention it's huge? Did I mention it's the biggest in the state? Did I mention it has WiFi? Did I mention I get to work in it five days a week?

See you folks next Tuesday. And, as Crow T. Robot would say, go forth and consume enough L-tryptophan to knock you on your sorry Thanksgiving ass.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The final word on torture and torturers

Imagine that the police caught a notorious child molester in your town. It's been revealed that, over a period of years, this man has molested dozens of children. When a reporter asks for an explanation for his horrid acts, he becomes defensive and barks back, "Hey, at least I didn't kill 'em and dismember their bodies!"

That sort of weak-ass response is the same that we're getting from the Bush administration, conservative talking heads and even current Iraqi officials when presented with the issue of torture. It's insane to sit here and talk of degrees. The practice is legally and morally wrong, PERIOD! We cannot stand as a moral beacon to the world while this sh*t goes on with our say-so. Beyond that, torture has been proven again and again as an ineffective technique for getting information in the first place. There is no reason for the practice to continue aside for the pleasures of cathartic sadism that people angry over 9/11 receive when killing a Muslim.

Any Muslim.

It may seem a harsh thing to say, but people who gleefully support and practice torture need to be ranked alongside child molesters. Because, in the end, both of these groups are simply getting their rocks off at the suffering of others.

Dubya's hooked on phonics

There's some subtle name calling in this latest image for bumper stickers everywhere (via Blah3):

For those who don't get it: "W" plus "Anchor" equals "Wanker". You could also see the matching of the anchor to Dubya as symbolic of his possible drag on Republican candidates come the 2006 elections.

I'm guessing that most of his supporters who see this wouldn't even get the joke. They'd probably think it was some endorsement by the Marines.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

When's Dinner?

So, the British newspaper The Independent has an article up on their site with fifty culinary bigwigs describing their ultimate food moments, and it's quite a fun read. For the benefit of my Sushi-crazy wife, I thought I'd feature the two that describe their high on Sushi (ironically, these are also two of the few names I recognized out of the fifty):

Jamie Oliver chef
"I was in Japan promoting one of my books and feeling totally jet-lagged. It was 4am and I found this sushi bar. It was just amazing to be eating such great sushi and drinking beer at that sort of time, as it's not the sort of thing you can find in the UK."

Morgan Spurlock documentary maker whose films include 'Super Size Me'
"Biting into a sea urchin at a sushi place in Tsujiki Market, Tokyo, because it felt like the ocean exploding in my mouth. I was eating this amazing sushi at six in the morning in the middle of this crazy market and I thought, 'This is the way I should start every morning.'"

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Brother, can you spare a million?

Honey? I know what gift I want for Christmas now.

DESCRIPTION: Built on a cliff 180 feet above Shoal Creek, this 4,000-square-foot castle has a turret with roof-top battlements and arrow-slit windows. There are two stone fireplaces and two outdoor fish ponds with fountains ... The 15-plus-acre property contains two guest homes, one is multi-level with a deck, the other has a loft bedroom. There is also an in-ground swimming pool, tractor shed and two-story stable.

Of course, if I had the money to pay for this, then I could also offer my wife horses to fill that stable and then everyone would be happy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"Them peoples are good with e-lec-tro-nik gadgets."

Yahoo! News headline:
Bush surprises Koizumi with Segway scooter

I can just hear the conversation now: "Here. See if you can get this sumbitch to work, cuz I sure as hell can't".

Alexandra the Great

Let me start off by thanking an old friend of mine for introducing me to Tuesday Morning. From the commercials I'd seen with Lauren Bacall, I had guessed it was some combination of William Sonoma and a high-end clothing store. Lo and behold, it actually sells all kinds of cool stuff for really, really cheap prices. That's including, of course, LEGO, of which I got my fill on my first visit. Life is good.

Anyway, I went to visit a different location over the weekend for more LEGO goodies. I didn't find anything to my liking, but I did find something else: Alexandra the Great.

Using a cute, Russian teenage babe to sell something as intellectual as Chess is pretty shrewd. If Michael Jordan can sell Nike's, then a Chess grandmaster can logically endorse a chess set. Still, this marketing move seems primarily intended to make the hearts of geeky boys go a-flutter at the prospect of speaking and playing (Chess! Playing Chess, you pervs!) with this exotic, brainy beauty. Additional pictures of her on the box cover (different from the box above) with her in various evening and casual wear confirms that suspicion. I have to say, though, that I find it a bit refreshing that some young men out there may be forming an ideal of beauty that goes beyond Brittany Spears and Hillary Duff.

For the record, the girl's full name is Alexandra Kosteniuk and she has her own website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

So much for libraries being quiet.

Not that I'm complaining. Not at all. At this moment, we apparently have several events going on at various levels of the (open) grand staircase.

On the fourth floor above me, a boys and girls choir called "Ritz Voices" is performing choral and a cappella music (their version of the national anthem, I have to say, is one of the best I've ever heard).

On the second floor below me, a group of nine children decked out in white karate outfits are executing practiced moves and shouting out simultaneously with each one. They have followed this with them all taking turns throwing one another over their shoulders and onto the mats.

This is making an interesting point / counterpoint. I wish all my night shifts were as cool as this one.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Ancient Vulcan Proverb: Only a Hooterville pig can go to China

I saw this headline on Yahoo News over the weekend. The headline that appears on the other end of the link has now changed (for good reason) but you can still find the original in a Google news search:

Arnold travels to China on trade mission

You know, journalists don't refer to Senator Frist by "Bill" and and they sure as hell don't refer to the President as just "George". We look at the headline and have a pretty good guess of whom they are talking about, yet why didn't they ues the proper (and far more unique) last name of the California governor in the headline instead.

As I said above, this has been changed since it first appeared. One wonders, however, what other Arnolds could people have mistaken it for. Palmer? Ziffel? Or perhaps the beloved title character from Hey, Arnold! on Nickelodeon? Hell, he looks about as well informed as Schwarzenegger on the issue of Chinese trade.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Opening Day: The Aftermath

There have been critics who said that the city should not have spent so much money on a library that is not visited as much as the branches. First off, the system is cognizant of the traffic the branch libraries get, and that's why six big new ones were built to service areas that did not have one before (such as West Regional and Pablo Creek). Second, the top two reasons we were not visited very often (bad parking and an unattractive facility) has been remedied by this new facility and the new parking garage across the street. Also, our new location next to the Federal Courthouse and City Hall will no doubt attract people on their lunch breaks and after work to stop by and visit us. Finally, if Jacksonville is truly going to renovate and stimulate interest in downtown again, they have got to start somewhere. Call me biased, but it seems like the investing of money into a new main library is a good way to start.

Well, if the grand opening was any indication, we'll be getting the increased traffic we're looking for. I realize that these are the inflated number of an opening day on a weekend, but I don't think any of us at the library had an idea of the throngs of people who would come (according to the FTU, it was 6,000 people in the first hour). The grand staircase that reaches all five levels allows one to view the grand entrance from anywhere, especially the circulation desk where materials are checked out. At many points throughout the seven hours we were open yesterday, I looked down to see how busy it was. Even with four checkout stations fully manned, there was never a moment during that day where the lines weren't at least four or five people deep. I can't wait to see our circulation statistics.

The other area that was mob of people all day was the Children's department, and it's easy to see why. Perhaps the coolest business located downtown is the Sally Corporation, which manufactures props and animatronics for theme parks. They designed much of the Children's area and the result is pure eye candy. Of course, I'm just speaking as an adult. I can't imagine how the kids must see it. The folks in that department worked their asses of with all sorts of story time book readings throughout the day. The results, I'm sure, were a lot of excited kids eager to come back again and again.

My schedule had me doing two hours of call center duty and two hours at the third floor reference desk located next to the football field of non-fiction books (the rest of time was spent simply walking all the floors and making myself available for questions, of which I answered many). It was my opinion going in that third floor nonfiction was going to be the least used by visitors that day. After all, we don't really have the razzmatazz of children's or teen or popular fiction or even the stunning professional look of the Genealogy and Florida collections on the fourth floor.

My guess was wrong, and my two hours on desk was a nonstop fielding of questions by patrons. I told this to Mrs. Mosley and she registered surprise that people would come downtown to do research and such on a day they must have known would be a madhouse of activity. I can't speak to people's thinking on this matter, but I was guiding people to subject areas such as serial killers, the civil war, business strategies, video game tip guides, home ownership, computer programming, Shakespeare's Sonnets, and biographies of Catherine de Medici, just to name more than a few. Yes, it was tiring as hell given the amount of walking I had to do to show people where they needed to go, but it's also a basic component of my job, and I loved it for that.

Now that the day has come and gone, I am left with pride (and aching feet) from being part of it. We'll soon know after the first week if we've attracted people as regular and semi-regular visitors. Time will tell.

Postscript: Jeb and Laura Bush did not show up after all for the opening ceremonies. I was going to start that sentence with "Unfortunately", but my heart's not in it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


The opening has made the new library a madhouse for its first day of service. My feet ache like hell, but I'm pleased as all get out that so many people came.

Not much time to post details, but I thought I'd pass this link (via Blah3) along on Bush's Veteran's Day speech yesterday. Good Christ, George, how friggin lazy can you get?!?!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I am not a statistic! I ... oh, wait a minute, yes I am.

Posts have been sparse because of the upcoming grand opening on Saturday. I'd be lying if I said the library was completely ready, but it's ready enough for (literally) government work. I'll be posting on the opening either late Saturday or sometime Sunday.

In the meantime, the Mosley household is wrapping up a week of an experiment. We were contacted by the Nielsens a month or so back and asked to record in a journal our TV viewing habits for a week. We were happy to comply, and our week started last Thursday and ends tonight. Aside from getting fifteen bucks cash for our troubles, we imparted the following information:

We are among the very few that do not have cable. Yep, we remain content with rabbit ears, thank you very much. I really don't see the point on blowing so much a month for cable or a satellite dish when we're trying to watch less TV than we already do. And aside from the occasional yearning to watch Rescue Me when we read an article about it, we're fairly content.

Four words: Will & Grace reruns!

Of primetime shows, our journal will show six programs we watch regularly: Lost, House, M.D., Gilmore Girls and all three (1, 2, 3) Law & Order's. For me, that's quite enough, and it amounts to only three days a week: Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I even tried to decrease it even further by swearing of L&O, much to my wife's amusement. Needless to say, Detectives Goren, Stabler and Fontana just dragged my weak ass back in. It's an addiction, I tells ya!

Actually, it's really seven programs we watch in primetime. The seventh is the rotating Mystery/Masterpiece Theater on Sunday nights. This week was off since they were showing the second part of Kidnapped, of which we missed the first part. We did, however, watch The Murder Room, which we recorded a month ago. This two-part adaptation of the P.D. James novel is one of the best things they have shown so far, and Mrs. Mosley is happy to tell the Nielsens that, dammit, there are folks out there that still watch and appreciate PBS.

And, finally, we do watch our share of stuff on VHS and DVD, which the journal allows us to record. Included during this week was Toy Story 2, a Hercule Poirot mystery on tape and several episodes of, yet again, House M.D. on the DVD set Mrs. Mosley got me for my birthday. Thanks, sweetie.

Overall, the experience was very cool. So if you Nielsen folks want to set us up again with some journals and fifteen more bucks, you go right ahead. We'll be waiting.

Monday, November 07, 2005

And when he's in NYC, he can't help but look up at all those e-nor-mous skyscrapers!

This is a cheap shot, which is why this is not a "Skippy of the Day" post, but the man really brings it on himself when he goes off script like this (via Think Progress):
At one point, da Silva even exhibited a map of his country, which is larger than the continental United States. "Wow! Brazil is big," Amorim quoted the U.S. president as responding.
With quotes like this and a brother named "Jeb", it's a wonder he hasn't yet installed a ce-ment pond at the White House.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I Ga-ron-tee it!

Here's a little Library 101 for those of you not in the business:

One of the basic tasks of librarians is something called "Weeding". This is the process in which you go through the collection and withdraw items that are damaged, out of date and/or unnecessary duplicates. Libraries are constantly running out of space and have to accommodate new materials by selectively getting rid of the old ones.

Even in this new building we have moved into, weeding is necessary. We're currently doing a thorough run through of the nonfiction books and getting rid of items that fall into one or more of the above mentioned categories. There are a lot of stuff that are easy enough to get rid of. There are also a number of items that you just can't let go.

To the former category was How to get your dream job using the Internet by Shannon Bounds and Arthur Karl. To be sure, we get a lot of use out of our employment section, and this book was still in decent shape. However, the fact that the copyright was 1996 (!) is probably a mark against it. Did I mention it had accompanying software?

To the later was something I found in the cookbook section. Though these are also popular, we always seem to have way more than necessary and it's therefore a tempting weeding target. When I came upon one that was worn, had a plain cover and a copyright of 1982, I was tempted to withdraw it. Then I saw the title: Kosher Creole Cookbook by Mildred L. Covert and Sylvia P. Gerson.

That, my friends, is the kind of material that makes this job so cool.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

If we can make it there...

Well, it's been two months since our big trip to D.C. and we're already planning our big trip for next year, which we have finally decided will be New York City. Mrs. Mosley is particularly interested in seeing the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Plaza, which means we'd be going around the first or second week of December. Cold as hell? Most likely. But I'll be pleased to possibly see snow for the second time in my life (the locals fondly remember the first time).

As I said, we're already in the planning stage. I'm really big on planning trips. Researching hotels, attractions and the like. One misstep with the D.C. trip was the distance between our B&B and the nearest subway station. This was my fault, as I had heard it was remote, but you never realize how remote until you actually get there and have to walk that distance every friggin day!

For this trip, I'm taking a serious look at a place that a friend of mine recommends from his stay there several years ago: The Pickwick Arms. It's not the fanciest in the world, but it has a great location (a couple blocks from the Waldorf Astoria) and is only $99 bucks a night which, given that this is New York, is a great deal.

As for the subway, I found out that two stations are about two blocks away from the hotel as well, which brings me to Google Maps Mania. As great as Google Maps is, this concept is even greater. This blog keeps track of programs created by people to interact with Google maps and lay out maps for specific items. As I expected when I visited, there is one for the NYC subway (not to mention one for finding Pizza by the slice)!

I ask you: How in the hell did we ever get around before this?!?!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Keith David Quote of the Month: November 2005

With the recent passing of Rosa Parks, I thought I'd present this quote from Clockers, in which Keith David plays a character nicknamed Andre the Giant. It's not the most eloquent exchange in the world, and it loses something in the transfer from visual to print, but it still demonstrates how much of a kick-ass character Keith David can play.
Andre The Giant: [beating up Strike] It's motherf**kers like you that mugged Rosa Parks!

Ronald 'Strike' Dunham: Who the f**k is Rosa Parks?

Andre The Giant: Who the f**k is Rosa Parks?

Ronald 'Strike' Dunham: It's hard on brothers out here!

Andre The Giant: Brothers? YOU STUPID IGNORANT MOTHERF**KER! [slams Strike harder]