Friday, September 28, 2007

I have subscribed to Merlin

Watch This! I have just subscribed to the Merlin network for Maryland Libraries technology resources and information. This should be very useful to those of us who need to raise our Tech-Quotient.

Have YOU been Tagged yet? I have.

Here's how it works: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, and then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged, and asking them to read your blog to find out how it works!
Here are some facts about me.

1) I am celebrating my 25th Wedding anniversary this year.

2) I can walk to work every day, and only use my car on weekends.

3) I am recovering from major eye surgery, but the world gets brighter and clearer every day.

4) I was the unofficial Russian Language librarian for BCPL for 20 years.

5) I started working for BCPL in May of 1975.

6) History is not an interest, it is a passion.

7) I also love Classical Music, drawing, reading, and traveling when I am able to do so.

8) I have travelled to every country in the Northern Hemisphere between the U.S. and Russia and Ukraine since 1982.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Password Management & Housekeeping

It is really a good idea to have a record of your various subscriptions and electonic group memberships online. This list should contain all of your IDs and Passwords so that you don't have to remember all of them (especially if you don't use them regularly.) There is also the problem with Yahoo and others that if you skip two weeks in using the site (because you've had eye surgery and can't read a screen for at least two weeks.) Your membership may be cancelled and you will have to resubscribe to the site. This happened to my Flickr account, but now I am signed on again and I found this very nice picture.

Finally, A video feed for the Pride of Baltimore II

I finally managed to make a successful capture of a Youtube video feed of the Pride of Baltimore II cruising just outside the Inner Harbor last month. This is a very cool video because it not only shows the Pride II under sail, but also shows some her broadside capability using one of the cannon shown in the still photo from the previous post. (See the September 12 post for this video feed)Enjoy me Hearties! (If you feel like singing along to "the Pirate Song", you may, as long as you have Quicktime audio that can play the MIDI file melody)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

September 19: Talk like a Pirate Day

Everyone has a of mine is "Living History". I have an 1812 uniform provided by the National Park Service at Fort McHenry. My job as a volunteer interpreter is to informally teach the public about Baltimore during the War of 1812, the Defense of Fort McHenry...and Privateering. A Privateer was a "legal" pirate who only preyed upon ships and crews belonging to countries at war with the United States. A Privateer Captain carried a "Letter of Marque and Reprisal" signed by the President of the United States that was a license to plunder the enemy. Privateers during the War of 1812 cost the British crown over $45 Million, or about the same amount of money it cost to wage war against the U.S for one year. The insurance rates for British ships crossing the Atlantic in 1814 rose eleven times the cost from the spring of 1812. By 1815 the British government was nearly as bankrupt as the American government...which is why they were willing to sign the Treaty of Ghent (not to mention the military setbacks at Baltimore, Lake Erie, and the British disaster at New Orleans). The Pride of Baltimore II is a very close replica of the Chasseur , one of the largest Privateer vessels built in Baltimore and owned by a cartel of investor-adventurers which included men of the Baltimore Fencibles, which I deptict in uniform. This past Friday I sailed with my unit into Baltimore harbor aboard the Pride II with uniform, sword, and because of my eye surgery...I got to wear an eye patch. Aaaaarrrrrrrghhhh! If i find any pictures from our "invasion of Baltimore Harbor' 2007, I will be sure to post them.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Need a Movie? Check out Ebert & Roeper

This month I received a good lead from fellow Catonsville staff-member Steve Bartosz. We are both film buffs and he told me about a good alternate to the Internet Movie Database ( that has been around for a while.The great film critics Ebert & Roeper have their own website that reviews over 5,000 movies in a lively and exciting format. This site has much of the same information as Imdb, but it is more visually exciting, with film clips of your choice movies up-front and accessible. Movie info, synopsis,Cast & Crew, Trailer, and other information is also easy to locate. There are also great links to films currently running in theaters, to help viewers make choices on which films to see next weekend.Visit or Google Ebert & Roeper and check out this great movie site.Monty Phair (CA)

Friday, August 17, 2007

More of Hitchens nasty Bitchin'

Christopher Hitchens has another outrageous offering in the realm of new non-fiction that seems to be gathering strength in the bookstores as well as public libraries. God is Not Great is another volume in his expanding set of Atheist Manifestos. Another term for them is anti-religious rants. What Hitchens so glibly seems to have forgotten is that Elder Care, Hospitals, Orphanages, Schools, and public charity were originally created by the religious institutions of the world. But charity, from the Latin word caritas, an idea that was created by religious thought, is exactly what is missing from Hitchens' work.
What his works demonstrate is a thinly veiled misanthropism and utter lack of charity towards the majority of the Human Race. In fact, it would seem that if God is Love, Hitchens knowledge on the subject is either completely lacking, or he has set his camp in the opposing army. Whether one prefers to use the concepts of Philia, Eros, or Agape... it can be observed that Hitchens writing contains allusions to "none of the above". He has turned himself into another of the journalistic Frankensteins of the Twentieth Century that include such notorious figures as H.L. Mencken who made tirades against God but ultimately proved to be against most of humankind. Many consider the word bigot too weak in describing his idealogy.
What Hitchens, Mencken, and their ilk prove is exactly what was so wonderfully described by G.K. Chesterton many decades ago. Chesterton wrote that it was the most vocal of the Material Humanists who were so anti-human, while those who were most deeply religious were also those who were so completely human. It could be that the words human and humility enjoy the same roots. Hitchens seems to disbelieve in humility as much as he does in the Almighty.