NYPL: Writer Lafcadio Hearn

August 29, 2007

If you don’t know who Lafcadio Hearn is, look him up. No, I won’t provide a link to wikipedia for your lazy ass. (Oh, all right then.) Another one of my gods. Kneel!






All images from NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

Previously in this blog:
The NYPL Won’t Know What Hit Them Now…

The NYPL Won’t Know What Hit Them Now…

August 29, 2007

I’ve mentioned several times how I’m stuck in New York City because of the great the New York Public Library (NYPL) is. It’s my religion; its buildings are my churches, my temples. It is holy ground. Other people go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to seek God. My cathedral has lions guarding it!

Source: NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

For several years now, the NYPL has been building a web presence that I think is probably the best in the country and a model for all other public libraries to emulate.

One of the absolutely stunning features of the NYPL’s website is its NYPL Digital Gallery which contains over a half million photos and other images that are generally in the public domain.

Today I was searching for Red Moon and decided to peek into the NYPL Digital Gallery. I plopped Baudelaire into the Search box and whoa! Some images of one of my gods I had never seen before!

Source: NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

Source: NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

I wanted to run them here. But there was a User’s Guide that mentioned fees for publication, including non-commercial use. Close reading revealed these fees seemed to be for actual higher-than-screen resolution prints and there was no mention of publishing in non-profit, non-commercial blogs such as this one.

I wanted those images here, so I emailed the NYPL:

I’ve read over all the relevant FAQs, User Guides, and even PDF files.

It all still leaves this question: Can images that I see on the screen — not ordering special TIFFs or anything else — be Saved As… and then used on a *blog* without any fee?

I’m a quarter-century user of the NYPL and a published author and it just seems screwy to me that you would charge for reproducing public domain images that are no more than captures of what’s shown on the screen.

My interest in this was piqued when I came across some images of Baudelaire I hadn’t seen before. (There are probably likewise images of other dead writers I’ve not yet searched for.)

My blog is not ad-supported and requires no fee to view.

And since I’ve already mentioned I have a blog, your reply may well be published in it.

Within minutes I got a reply!

Dear Mr. Cane:

Yes, you may use images from the Library’s Digital Gallery free of charge on your web Blog. Please credit as follows:

NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

Thomas Lisanti
Manager, Photographic Services
& Permissions
The New York Public Library
476 Fifth Avenue, Room 103
New York, NY 10018
phone: (212) 930-0091
fax: (212) 930-0533

Is that great or what?

As word of this spreads, I expect many bloggers to go there to get images for posting.

In fact, you can expect more images from there here too.

Thank you, NYPL!

Be sure to support your local library. Ebooks aren’t enough, neither is the Internet (both, by the way, which many public libraries now offer). Public libraries are the difference between civilization and civil degeneration. Do you have a library card?

The NYPL Should Just Take My Soul

June 29, 2007

This is what happens when I do idiotic stuff like blogging instead of reading…

I get an email notice from the NYPL about a hold that has come in.

I look at the bottom of the email and it tells me I have 13 books overdue!!!

That’s twenty cents per day per book! And some were due on the 13th!

It’s now the 29th.

You do the math.

I’m too afraid!

Thank You Again, Ken Bruen!

June 17, 2007

He’s mentioned David Goodis in interviews and in his novels.

Hammering, hammering, hammering; but what did I know. Goodis couldn’t be that good; he had to be that good; who could really be that good; but if BruenBruen! — said he was good, he had to be good, didn’t he…

All right, enough of my little Goodis pastiche there.

I just finished reading Dark Passage (it was also a BogartBacall film that I don’t recall seeing; I probably did, just don’t recall it).

My God! Not only does Goodis write true human beings, not only does he understand human beings, he knows how to glide a knife into a reader’s head and then twist twist twist it. By the end of Dark Passage, I was wrung out!

Goodis did things I’ve never seen any other writer do. Not only is that exciting, it’s the mark of a real writer — a great writer.

I’ve got, thank God!, three other books of his from the NYPL. I hope to get through one of them today and the rest one a day.

Looking for something great to read? Goodis, Goodis, Goodis!

Previously in this blog:
Victor Gischler Has A New Internet Berth
Going Offline
Derek Raymond: He Makes All Others Look Like Shit
Just Read & Now Reading
No More Blogging Today. Blame Author Ken Bruen!
Get The Word, Nerd
Nerd Word

More On The Secret

March 6, 2007

Keep The Secret Away From Me

The Secret just smells like something I’m going to hear about far more than I want to.

But let me impart the thing that makes this dangerous and evil. It’s from a Newsweek interview with the author, Rhonda Byrne:

“The law of attraction is that each one of us is determining the frequency that we’re on by what we’re thinking and feeling.”

Ok, so far so good.

“If we are in fear, if we’re feeling in our lives that we’re victims and feeling powerless, then we are on a frequency of attracting those things to us … totally unconsciously, totally innocently, totally all of those words that are so important.”

Again, this doesn’t sound bad. Here’s the thing: Rhonda Byrne said this in response to a question about how villagers could have avoided being massacred in Rwanda.

Let me add this right now…

I first came across mention of the primary-source book in a recent book called You’ve GOT to Read This Book!: 55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life. I happened upon that book as I usually do: trawling the shelves of the New York Public Library. I was intrigued. I used Google to find The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles. I found a PDF copy somewhere. Right now, for anyone eager to read this seminal work, I suggest using this web browser version at wikisource.

From what I understand, many of the people who are included in You’ve GOT to Read This Book!: 55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life, are also featured in the film, The Secret. I don’t believe this is at all accidental or coincidental. In the Self-Help Actualization Movement (SHAM), there is a lot of mutual-reinforcement that takes place. Colloquially, You Scratch My Back And I’ll Scratch Yours. I’d go so far as to call this group the Self-Help Actualization Mafia. Most of it can be classified as simply bullshit designed to separate suckers from their money. Some of it — a very small seed buried beneath the shit — is worthwhile. But those who are suffering hard times and go on to explore this melange of assertions and bullshit are the least qualified to discern the small good from the mostly bad. And it will wind up doing them much more harm than any possible good.

I’ve read this subject since I first encountered it in the 1970s (again, courtesy of the NYPL!). In my readings, I actually came across some books that lacked bullshit and offered true value. I cannot disclose what they are right now for these simple reasons: 1) They are out of print, 2) They are only available through used book vendors on the internet, and 3) I don’t want to see that supply dry up before I’ve gotten sufficient copies of my own. The author of these books, by the way, has since passed away (God damn you, Death!), so there is no chance of more books of this kind (unless someone else discovers them and simply plagiarizes them — and I’ve come across a few suspects too!). (And dig this: the writer did not go onto try to become a guru or try to offer expensive courses. He wrote the books and stopped there!) Once my own cache is stocked, I’ll post the book titles and the rest of you can go buy up the remaining copies. Maybe a publisher will be interested and re-issue them. I hope so. They are damned good books. And I’d especially like them in electronic form.

Believe me when I say there is indeed a “secret” — a series of real-world non-mystical practical steps that can increase one’s chances for success and even what is termed “luck” — but the current crop of gurus, hypemeisters, and slicksters aren’t the ones offering it. It’d put them all out of business because it’d make those who (are able to!) follow those steps independent.

I highly recommend reading deeply into SHAMblog to save your money and especially to save your sanity. And take a trip to your local public library to see if they have a copy of Steve Salerno’s book, SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless. Even though the book doesn’t go into the farthest reaches of the subject’s history (incredibly — and I didn’t know this before about six months ago — it goes back to the late 1800s!), it’s worthwhile in dealing with today’s manifestation of the subject.

Prior coverage on this blog:
The Secret

Additional reading:
Overdosing on Oprah: The side effects of empowerment.

Ain’t It The Truth!

January 29, 2007

A woman who raised a millionaire also said it:

“The most dangerous place in the world is a public library[.]”
–Bettye Jean Triplett née Gardner

From The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner with Quincy Troupe; page 25.

Tuesday December 19 6:30PM: Get Out And Rock!

December 19, 2006

Girls Don’t Cry will be performing FREE tonight at Bryant Park’s skating rink at 6:30PM! That’s right behind the main New York Public Library — the one with the twin lions.

Go see the next mega-hit band before everyone else jumps on their skyrocketing bandwagon!

GDC poster

Christopher Fowler’s Bryant & May

November 23, 2006

Well, just Bryant in this peek…

Mr Bryant’s informants include those on the wrong side of the law, outpatients, migrants, fringe dwellers not recognised as reliable witnesses in a British court of law, and, on at least one occasion, a convicted murderer. He refuses to document his investigations in accordance with official guidelines; his office is little more than a rubbish dump; his personal habits are disgusting and, I suspect, illegal. He smokes and drinks on duty, requisitions police vehicles for personal use, falsifies reports, and is said to have on one occasion borrowed clothes awaiting DNA tests from the Evidence Room in order to attend a fancy dress party. He has an infested Tibetan human skull on his desk, and has been known to keep animal parts in the unit’s refrigerator for experiments. [pg. 7]

And —

‘Janice is right,’ May concurred. ‘You need to watch Big Brother and Pop Idol and reality TV–that’s how normal people relax.’

Bryant was disgusted by the idea. ‘I would hate to think of myself as normal. What’s the point of working your whole life if you end up having to do what other people do?’ [pg. 30]

Also —

‘[…] I was in Vauxhall visiting my psychochiropodist,’ [Bryant] explained. ‘She reads feet. Apparently I’m about to have an unexpected brush with death. Either that or I’ve got a bunion. […]’ [pg. 56]

The NYPL finally got in Ten Second Staircase, the fourth of Christopher Fowler‘s brilliant Bryant and May mystery series.

I was actually looking to buy a copy of this during the summer, when it was supposed to be out but I couldn’t find it! Yes: I did write buythat’s how much I love this series by Fowler.

I’ve waited months and months and months since the last Bryant and May book. I’m going to read this over several days, savoring it.

Don’t tell me there ain’t a Santa. I got my present early! Thanks, Santa Librarianclaus!

rubbing hands in filthy nasty greedy glee

[Excerpts Copyright © 2006 Christopher Fowler. Excerpts used without explicit permission under the Fair Use provisions of Copyright law. CopyNazis can go fuck themselves.]

The Most Dangerous Place in NYC

October 27, 2006

So, like last time I go to the NYPL to pick up a book on hold (plus return two books).

I go see the book. It’s fekkin two inches thick and about five pounds! I’m not going to lug that tonight!

Still, I want something to read (as if the others I haven’t yet read aren’t enough!), so I engage in a suicidal act: I browse.

Then I think, has M. Dylan Raskin come out with another book? I check LEO. He has!

Bandanas and October Supplies by M. Dylan Raskin

A thin paper book. Ah, maybe I can get away light… no such luck. I ultimately also wind up with:

Framed by Tonino Benacquista

Shakedown by Charlie Stella

Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On The Cosmos by Seth Lloyd

All together they’re thicker and heavier than the original book I decided not to take today!

The NYPL clouds my mind!

Chew on those neural net!

Hemorrhaging the Neural Net

October 19, 2006

So this evening I went to the New York Public Library to pick up one book that’s waiting for me.

I wound up leaving with six books.

I didn’t go there seeking anything other than a single book. Nor did I expect to leave with more than that solitary volume.

Then I thought I should check their online catalog, LEO, to see if they’d gotten in anything else by K.A. Bedford (they hadn’t).

Then I thought I should give the shelves a quick browse. And, in different places, in areas unrelated to specific subjects, making Dewey himself spin in his resting place, I came up with just one more book I wanted to borrow.

In all, it’s about five pounds of weight. But I don’t want the weight, I want the weightless information.

Which brings us to a problem all ebook vendors must face: How can this experience be replicated online?

Microsoft, which loves to torment, uh, challenge interviewees, can use this as a test to discover the best code-jockeys for stochastic programming.

Devise an algorithm for a library of ebooks that will result in a patron leaving with the following titles:

Little New York Bastard: A Memoir by M. Dylan Raskin

Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story by Steve Wilson and Joe Florenski

West of Jesus: Surfing, Science and the Origins of Belief by Steven Kotler (who I heard on The Joey Reynolds Show)

False Profits: Seeking Financial and Spiritual Deliverance in Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes by Robert L. Fitzpatrick and Joyce K. Reynolds

Indecision (A Novel) by Benjamin Kunkel

The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth by Fred Reichheld

Now the tragic ending of this wee tale is this: Microsoft would indeed use something like this. Someone somewhere there will grok the concept. Sadly, the place that needs it right now won’t.

Hello, ebooks.connect.com!