Showing posts from October, 2008

Physical therapy

I'll start with a rant, but end with something nice. My health insurance premiums are going up 23% next year. I don't think it's because I'm going to get 23% more value. Just a reminder here to my libertarian friends that the people who reach deepest into our pockets, without our permission, exactly, aren't/isn't always government. Rant over.

That said, after going through the costly and pointless referral process (two doctor visits just to point me to a physical therapist): wow. First visit, Eric (the physical therapist) quickly and thoroughly diagnosed the specific muscle and connective tissues that were causing me so much shoulder pain. Then he explained the problem clearly and succinctly. Then he gave me an excruciating painful and pointed massage, and showed me how to do two exercises that would directly address both pain and my range of motion restrictions. I left, after an hour, with less pain and more motion than I'd had in weeks. I'm doing my ex…

Matador sign waving technique

Today I was up at another rally by Lone Tree, and if I do say so myself, have perfected a Say Yes to Libraries sign waving maneuver that you just can't take your eyes off. Suzanne captured it on her little camera, and somehow wound up putting it on the UK Youtube (??!). Click the title of this entry to see my inimitable approach to driver distraction.

Freemind on the Acer Aspire One

There are men who spend the day moving all their tools around the basement or garage. Puttering.

I don't do that. But I did spend much of my afternoon puttering around on the new Acer Aspire One. I didn't actually accomplish anything. But I now have all the tools I need arranged more intelligently than before. That's what puttering is all about: the illusion of work.

First up: after adding a couple of programs I use often (Thunderbird, Notecase Pro, JPilot), I was irritated that there was no utility to add those programs to the default Acer desktop. The built-in email took forever to load, although it ran well enough afterward. Thunderbird is world's better; replacing the old with the new should have been (in the delightful British idiom) a "doddle." But there doesn't appear to be any way to do that at all. (In passing, though, the built-in message client is wonderful. It talks to Yahoo, AIM, Google, and does a webcam.)

So I found some marvelously clear ins…

Rotary meeting on literacy

With several others, I spoke today at a Rotary District 5450 conference about literacy.

There are a few bits of data worth reporting.

According to the 2008 Report of the National Commission on Adult Literacy:

* the US is now the only 1st world country whose current generation (adults coming of age) is less well educated than the previous generation. (Please read this again. Out loud.)

* 1 in 3 young adults drop out of high school.

* low literacy is correlated with family poverty.

* low literacy is correlated with imprisonment: 56% of current inmates are illiterate (I bet that's low).

* 20 million Americans (about 10% of the total) scored "below basic" in literacy skills. I bet it's twice that.

Also: there is a 90% probability that if a child reads poorly in 1st grade (meaning mainly that the child does not recognize letters), he or she will still read poorly in 4th grade, when children become fluent -- or don't.

* 3rd grade reading scores are the best predictors of the pr…

Library Camp of the West

Last Friday I went to an "unconference." (Click entry title to see the website/wiki.) Here's the main thing I wanted to observe. At the beginning, some 130-150 people file into a room and shout out topics they want to talk about. Then they schedule the rooms on the spot. The whole thing took about 40 minutes.

Having planned plenty of conferences starting 9 months in advance, I wonder if the unconference approach isn't just as good, with a lot less cost on all kinds of levels.

I felt that much of the energy, vision, and organizational support came from the Millennial generation librarians, and it was purely a pleasure to see and be a part of it. Well done!

Now, of course, we see what comes of it. But what comes of any conference? A chance to listen, a chance to talk, a chance to connect with some interesting people.

Say Yes cards

I got the first mailer from the campaign a couple days ago, and my wife got hers today. Just in time -- the mail ballots from the County Clerks will be going out today, too. Here's how I understand it: 70% of the voters requested mail ballots this time. 70% of THEM will vote within 72 hours. The election will be over by next week -- and we'll just have to wait three more weeks to find out how it ends.

As noted earlier, I am deeply grateful for the many people who put their hearts into this effort this time. I was very pleased, too, to see the ringing endorsement given to us, and the school district, by the Douglas County News Press. Their heading: invest in your community.


Yesterday, went to an acupuncturist for the first time. I had two reasons. First, I've been interested in Chinese medicine for some time, and never tried it. The flow of "chi" through the body is something I'm inclined to accept, having seen some demonstrations by a tai chi master that I found incontrovertible.

Second, over the past 4-6 months, I've had growing pain in my right shoulder. I suspect it's the same problem I had in my left arm some years ago -- nodules, fatty deposits, "growths" that sometimes grow up tight against a nerve. Last time, I had to pay a surgeon to slice me open and dig them out. I was hoping to find a less invasive and expensive course.

Well, it doesn't seem to have worked. I'm in as much or more pain now than before. But the experience of acupuncture was not in the least uncomfortable, and left me feeling better, more energized, more balanced, than I've been in awhile.

Clearly, it doesn't do all things for al…

John McCain's Vegetable Friends

My son sent me this, and this is why I think the next generations have a better fix on politics than mine. Click the title of this entry for the Youtube video.

Stunt marketing

My good friend Meg Truhler just called to "report in." She came up with an idea to promote the library mill levy. She's dragging a floor lamp, rocking chair, afghan, library sign, and big honking Harry Potter book to some key intersections in Castle Rock, just as folks are driving out of town in the morning. She waves her sign and people honk at her, thumbs up.

I'm touched that she does this. I also think it's brilliant -- just the sort of stunt that people remember. Here's a nice lady spending her own time to conjure up support for the library she loves. And it was cold this morning!

Podcast for library science class

A couple weeks ago, Beth Wrenn-Estes interviewed me about intellectual freedom for the online library science class she's teaching for San Jose State University.

There are two podcasts. The first can be found here, and the second, here.

I'm never quite as articulate in these as I'd like, but I'm sure there's a lesson in that, too. But it was fun to talk to Beth, who used to work for the Douglas County Libraries, and now, with her husband Mark, will be moving to California.

YES to Libraries!

I can't believe I haven't already put this up. The campaign website for YES to Libraries! is up and running. Click the title of this entry for the link -- or look over on the right side of this blog. This is about 5A - the library funding measure being voted on by Douglas County this fall.

And since the mail ballots will be going out this week, that means just about now. Do hop over to the site, read up, and if you can, volunteer or donate to the cause.

Eat out ... for the library

This is a brilliant fundraiser for the library campaign. To quote the YourHub article, "Brainchild of Warren Lynge, chairperson of the library committee, three local restaurants are now getting into the act by offering 'A Night Out for the Library.' The restaurants have agreed to direct 20% of each party's check to help fund the campaign. Choose La Dolce Vita on October 14, Celtic Crossing on October 16, or Jimmy's Steakhouse on October 23. Simply make a reservation, and you will be making a 20% contribution to the campaign efforts when your bill arrives."

I've said it before: the library doesn't belong to library board, to director, to staff -- it belongs to the community. If this isn't proof, I'll eat my hat. If they serve hat at any of these fine restaurants.

Fellow blogger: Karin Piper

One of the delights of working in libraries is the pleasure of meeting so many other book-loving people. An example is Parker's Karin Piper, a Swedish-American mom with a serious addiction ... to books. You can read her marvelous, high-energy, chatty, passionate writings here, or click the title of this entry..

Signs and campaigns

My wife and I spent this fine, fall, Sunday morning sticking library campaign signs around Castle Rock -- one of a couple of teams. It's not easy work. The ground around Castle Rock is often like concrete.

A lot of these signs, despite our efforts to put them in areas that did not infringe on private property, will be collected then thrown away by various sign police. I'm not sure I know why. Seeing things from cars is one of the few ways to let people know what's on the ballot.

We also wandered around Oktoberfest yesterday handing out postcards and buttons. Most people were quite friendly, some enthusiastically supportive. But when I got into longer conversations, I was amazed all over again that BAD information is far more likely to get around than good. For instance, there are those who didn't support us last time because they didn't want to pay for an arts center in Lone Tree (a city to the north of Castle Rock). But we never asked anyone to. And now, both Lone T…

Spinning Stars quilt

Here it is, one of the smaller quilts, and mounted high on one of our walls. And I'm sorry you can't see much of the detail -- very mandala like, with fascinating textures.

Quilting display

My grandmother LaRue was a quilter, and quilts always feel warmer than any other kind of blanket. Yesterday I was one of the many judges of a magnificent quilting display at the Philip S. Miller Library. I highly recommend visiting it -- many are breathtaking. Look for my first choice: "Spinning Stars."

Wall Street bail-out

Representative Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, 9th District, Toledo, is my new hero, and a spectacularly clear speaker about the recent travesty. Click on the title of this entry to see her talk to Congress. This phrase captures it all: the bail-out represents the privatization of gain for the few, and the socialization of loss to the many.

I think and write a lot about comparisons between the public and private sectors. Let's be frank about the bail-out: it seems to represent a complete failure, through unregulated greed, of our private sector, "free market" financial system. After fending off regulation, Wall Street now "can't afford to fail," so requires the immediate support of government. Can you spell "hypocrisy?"

Incidentally, see this piece about how the Swedish government handled a similar crisis by doing much as Rep. Kaptur suggests: require government ownership of properties in the bail-out, so the people get paid back.

Oh, and one last thing. The D…