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!

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

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

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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!

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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!

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Source: NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

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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

Sincerely,
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