The future of the library

I agree with Seth about librarians’ need to change the focus of libraries. They need to expand their vision.
The future of the library:

No need to pool tax money to buy reference books. What we need to spend the money on are leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in connecting with and leading others.

(Via Seth’s Blog.)

Living on faith

The only thing certain in life is death and even that comes at uncertain times. Good people die who shouldn’t and bad people seem to dodge the slings and arrows life constantly lobs at them.
Our families have suffered great losses during the past year. It began with Julie’s grandfather on Dec. 26, 2008. All of the holidays since rang hollow as members of our family glance uneasily at his empty chair at Mawmaw’s house.
Death rang again in September when our friend Donna lost her husband, her daughter, and her brother in a collision. And then, on Christmas Day 2009, my sister-in-law died in Birmingham, Ala., while on a solo road trip to Mississippi to see her best friend. We never know when our loved ones will be gone, or when we’ll be gone for that matter, so we must live for each other and we must have faith.
Faith. Five letters. Two vowels and three consonants. It’s a short syllable, but a difficult word to comprehend. The definition of faith that comes to my mind is to believe in something without evidence. Here is what the American Heritage Dictionary has to say:

  1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
  2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
  3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance
  4. In Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will
  5. The body of dogma of a religion
  6. A set of principles or beliefs.

Survey says I’m a winner with the #2 definition, but it’s really #4 I’m here to talk about today, First, Roget’s Thesaurus provides some alternatives:

  1. Absolute certainty in the trustworthiness of another: belief, confidence, dependence, reliance, trust. See belief
  2. Mental acceptance of the truth or actuality of something: belief, credence, credit. See opinion
  3. A system of religious belief: confession, creed, denomination, persuasion, religion, sect. See religion
  4. Those who accept and practice a particular religious belief: church, communion, denomination, persuasion, sect. See religion

Faith is something I have wrestled with since I started breaking away from the church in my teens. I only returned to the church in recent years and still struggle with faith today. I probably always will. It’s extremely difficult for my rational mind to make that irrational leap of faith, but that’s exactly what I need. It’s so difficult to let go of control, but that’s exactly what I should do.
Maybe it’s not so irrational.
We need to live for each other. We fight and whine and bicker about meaningless things. I listen to the kids snapping at each other and hear me and Julie lash at each other on bad days. Lately, in the wake of all of this death, I’ve thought how the survivors will feel when one of us is gone. What if the last words we share are shared in anger. What if a door slammed because someone refuses to stop singing or because we had pasta with red sauce instead of white is the last memory you hold of someone you love.
Instead of holding onto those foul memories, we should hold onto each other instead. Instead of criticizing others, we should ask “How can I help you?” We all know that we love each other, but we need to show that love instead of assuming it.
Our family suffered much loss in 2009—it just wasn’t a good year for us—and I am eager for 2010 to be better for our family. We’re not just tired of pain and loss, we’re weary. Waves of sadness have continually washed over our families and we hope death will take a vacation so we can regroup.
Last night, Julie and I shared our first evening of the Christmas holiday without any kids in the house. It gave both of us some much-needed time to reflect on the past year. I believe that time to stop and think laid a strong foundation for me and Julie to build on in 2010. I advise you to do the same.

Julie and I are charting a course, making a plan, and pressing on, so here’s to overcoming loss, to finding new beginnings, and to a good 2010 for everyone.

ThingsYouSawInAMovie Helps You Find Products Used in Movies [Movies]

What a nifty idea! File this under “Wish I thought of that.”
ThingsYouSawInAMovie Helps You Find Products Used in Movies [Movies]:

If you’ve ever seen something in a movie that you wanted for yourself, ThingsYouSawInAMovie can help. Want the shoes a character was wearing? The car they were driving? ThingsYouSawInAMovie catalogs products used in films.

(Via Lifehacker.)

Daily logs

Pen with Mont Blanc Ink BottleI kept a daily log for quite some time and then, for some reason, I stopped. I think it was a case of tool overload—too much hand-wringing about what tool was perfect for keeping up with the bric-a-brac of daily life—and rather than settling on one tool, I just stopped keeping the log.
To set the record straight, a daily log is not a daily journal. I never intend for it to be a narrative journey through my day, but a bulleted list of daily accomplishments. I used EverNote for a while, but something about it just bugs me and I’m not sure why. I may give EverNote another go.
I also really want to like Circus Ponies Notebook. I think I’ll stick to EverNote at work and Notebook at home instead of one list. If that doesn’t work for me, then I’ll use one or the other.
And yes, I know a text editor would work just as well (and maybe better). Anyway, I suppose I’ll chalk that up as one of my resolutions for 2010.

PBS | Ombudsman | Lehrer's Rules

This from PBS ombudsman Michael Getler on Jim Lehrer’s sign-off last week:
PBS | Ombudsman | Lehrer’s Rules:

One of the things that has not changed, however, is Lehrer’s unwavering approach to journalism. So, in closing that final broadcast on Dec. 4 and providing a glimpse of the forthcoming new look, Lehrer said:
“I promise you, one thing is never going to change. And that’s our mission. People often ask me if there are guidelines in our practice of what I like to call MacNeil/Lehrer journalism. Well, yes, there are. And here they are:

  • Do nothing I cannot defend.
  • Cover, write and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me.
  • Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story.
  • Assume the viewer is as smart and as caring and as good a person as I am.
  • Assume the same about all people on whom I report.
  • Assume personal lives are a private matter, until a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise.
  • Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories, and clearly label everything.
  • Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes, except on rare and monumental occasions.
  • No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.
  • And, finally, I am not in the entertainment business.”
  • (Via PBS with a tip o’the hat to John Gruber over at Daring Fireball for drawing my attention to it.)

    Garlic Zoom

    Garlic Zoom

    Originally uploaded by ELBeavers

    Can you see the bulbs trembling in fear while staring despondently at the dread rotating knives of allium sativum doom inside this iron maiden custom made for garlic?!

    We’re about to get medieval on these bulbs and can’t wait to break this bad boy in.

    This was today’s impulse buy at Mia Cucina in Chattanooga, Tenn.

    Rands In Repose: Up to Nothing

    I always enjoy what Rands offers up to us in his blog and, for me, this is one of the best posts he’s written yet. He talks about the art of doing nothing and the discoveries that come from just wandering around and letting your mind go…

    The moment I walk into a bookstore I remember what I love about them. They are an oasis of intellectual calm. Perhaps it’s the potential of all the ideas hidden behind those delicious covers. Or perhaps it’s the social reverence for the library-like quiet — you don’t yell in a bookstore, you’ll piss off the books.
    A bookstore is where I rediscover that while I might be addicted to the non-stop calorie burning Silicon Valley lifestyle, I also need the serenity only found in the deep quiet of the consideration of nothing. Considering nothing takes work and practice, and the act contains a contradiction: the more I think about what I need to do, the less I’ll discover the thing that I don’t know that I’m looking for.
    It’s confusing, but you need these skills because you have days full of somethings. Your day is probably spent at one of two sides of a spectrum. You’re either reacting to whatever is showing up on your doorstep or you’re proactively looking for new things to place on your doorstep so you can figure out what to do with them. Reactive. Proactive. It’s how you spend your entire day.
    Excursions to the bookstore are essential exercises in inactivity where the whole world stops being a thing to do.

    via Rands In Repose: Up to Nothing.

    Shifting focus

    Meg. Painting.
    Meagan paints some holiday art on Thanksgiving Day.

    My original goal was to limit this blog to writing about the South and Southern literature, but I’m easing that restriction on myself. This blog will be my general outlet for creativity in general. It will include my photography and other types of work, too.
    I hope by easing the parameters I set for myself I will actually post something here for you to read. I also hope that you enjoy the direction I’m taking this blog.

    Still kickin'

    Sorry guys. I know it’s boring here. I don’t blame you if you’ve moved on, but I’m still kicking. I’ve had a ton of work projects on my mind lately and not a lot of time leftover for fun reading.

    Go do some work!

    Most of my reading has been from magazines. I did read Hugh MacLeod’s “Ignore Everybody,” which was an amazing read and hugely motivational for me.
    Last night I bought and downloaded a dedicated blog editor, MarsEdit for Mac, and I love it! One of my hopes in buying it was to put some of the fun back into posting blogs. I’m also trying to kickstart some of my fictional writing. Gotta get the fingers moving again.
    So much of my career has been firmly grounded in fact. Journalism and public relations help me produce a lot of writing but and some leeway allowing for creativity, but I haven’t been able to cut loose for a long long time and my brain struggles to work that way any more.
    I’m trying to revive my imagination.
    Hopefully, this will translate into finding more time to read for pleasure and more time to write for myself and for you. My hiatus was unintentional and regrettable.
    We’ve gotten a lot of rainfall in northwest Georgia this year; enough to offset several years in a row of dry hot summers and water restrictions. I hope this post marks the end of a dry spell and the beginning of a more fruitful season of writing—for my sake as well as yours.