Friday, November 28, 2008

Age - By the Numbers

While we all recover from our tryptophan comas, here's a little list for your reading pleasure, courtesy of the Atlantic Monthly.
  • At age 1, Keith Richards is evacuated from suburban London to escape German buzz bombs, 1944

  • At age 3, Sigmund Freud sees his mother naked, 1859

  • At age 6, Alfred Hitchcock’s father sends him down to the police station with a note instructing the officer in charge to lock him in a cell for five minutes, circa 1905

  • At age 9, Proust suffers his first asthma attack, circa 1881

  • At age 10 Martin Luther King Jr. sings in a boys choir at the premiere of Gone With the Wind in Atlanta, 1939

  • At age 11, Giacomo Casanova experiences his first orgasm, 1736

  • At age 12, Joan of Arc begins to hear voices, 1424

  • At age 13, Spanky McFarland retires from Our Gang, 1942 and William F. Buckley Jr. takes up sailing, 1939

  • At age 14, Marie Antoinette is packed off to be married to the heir to the throne of France, 1770. She is stripped naked and carefully inspected at the French border

  • At age 15, After twirling lassos in Disney’s Frontierland and pricing hats in Adventureland, Steve Martin gets a job doing magic tricks in Fantasyland, 1960.

  • At age 16, Allen Stewart Konigsberg changes his name to Woody Allen. He sees his first Bergman film, Summer With Monika, 1952

  • At age 17, Kurt Cobain leaves home and finds work as a hotel cleaner but is fired for sleeping in the rooms, 1984

  • At age 19, Zsa Zsa Gabor is chosen to be Miss Hungary, 1936 and Joan of Arc is burned at the stake, 1431

  • At age 20, Clyde Barrow meets Bonnie Parker, 1930

  • At age 21, Alice Waters visits France for the first time, 1965

  • At age 22, Dwight Eisenhower misses a crucial tackle on Jim Thorpe, and the Carlisle Indians go on to defeat Army, 27–6. Before the game, Carlisle coach Pop Warner told his players to remember Wounded Knee, 1912

  • At age 23, Neil Young joins Stephen Stills, David Crosby, and Graham Nash to form Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, 1969

  • At age 24, Newlywed Sylvia Plath consults a Ouija board with her husband, Ted Hughes, 1956 and Bob Dylan goes electric on the first side of his album Bringing It All Back Home, and is booed at the Newport Folk Festival, 1965

  • At age 25, Anne Boleyn marries Henry VIII, 1533

  • At age 26, Ho Chi Minh is working as a pastry cook at the Carlton Hotel in London, circa 1916

  • At age 27, Alice Waters opens a restaurant called Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, 1971

  • At 28, Thomas Lanier Williams shuttles from New Orleans to California, Missouri, and New York; along the way, he adopts his college nickname of Tennessee, 1939

  • At 30, Adolf Hitler grows his famous mustache, 1919 and Jerry Lewis parts ways with Dean Martin at the end of their 10th-anniversary show at the Copacabana, 1956

  • At 31, Charles Schulz gives Linus a security blanket, 1954

  • At 32, Lizzie Borden is found not guilty of giving her stepmother and father 40 and 41 whacks, respectively, 1893

  • At 33, Gertrude Stein meets Alice B. Toklas, 1907

  • At 34, Sigmund Freud is given a couch by a grateful patient, circa 1890 and Charles Manson buys a copy of the Beatles’ White Album, 1968

  • At 35, In the midst of the Depression, Walt Disney spends a million and a half dollars to make a feature-length cartoon about a young woman living with seven men, 1937.

  • At 36, Einstein completes his General Theory of Relativity, 1915, Marilyn Monroe dies in her Brentwood, California, home of an overdose of barbiturates, 1962 and Diana, Princess of Wales, dies in a car accident in Paris, 1997

  • At 37, Coco Chanel introduces Chanel No. 5 perfume, 1921 and Marie Antoinette is guillotined, 1793

  • At 38, For a television special, broadcast from Hawaii, Elvis Presley commissions a special patriotic caped jumpsuit with a sequined eagle, 1973

  • At 39, Ian Fleming vacations in Jamaica with his mistress, 1948. While there he purchases a copy of Birds of the West Indies, by the ornithologist James Bond

  • At 40, John Lennon and Yoko Ono have a session with Rolling Stone photographer Annie Leibowitz. The most famous image is of John nude and in the fetal position embracing Yoko, who is fully clothed. That evening, Lennon is shot dead by a deranged fan, 1980 and Winston Churchill is forced out of the Admiralty after the disastrous Dardanelles campaign, 1915. He retreats to the country and takes up painting

  • At 41, Columbus sails the ocean blue, 1492

  • At age 42, Elvis Presley dies on the floor of his bathroom, 1977

  • At age 44, Ronald Reagan co-hosts live coast-to-coast TV coverage of the opening day at Disneyland, 1955

  • At age 45, John F. Kennedy is serenaded by Marilyn Monroe at a large birthday party held at Madison Square Garden, 1962 and Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo, 1815

  • At age 47, White House sage Henry Kissinger is dating Jill St. John, 1970. The red-haired soon-to-be Bond girl is reputed to have an IQ of 162

  • At age 48, Paul Newman’s name turns up on President Nixon’s secret enemies list, 1973 and Mick Jagger becomes a grandfather, 1992

  • At age 50, Former ’60s radical Jerry Rubin is organizing networking seminars on Wall Street, 1988

  • At 51, Ronald Reagan becomes a Republican, 1962

  • At 53, Walt Disney opens a theme park in California, 1955 and The Graduate soundtrack asks: “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” The retired ballplayer is living quietly in the Bay Area and coaching for the Oakland A’s, 1968

  • At 54, Christopher Columbus dies in Spain, 1506. A year after his death, a German mapmaker names the New World after somebody else

  • At 56, the now-nearly-forgotten Victor Fleming directs both Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, 1939

  • At age 57, Richard Nixon receives the velvet-suited Elvis Presley in the White House, 1970

  • At age 58, Abraham Zapruder makes a keepsake film of John F. Kennedy’s motorcade as it passes the book depository in Dallas, Texas, 1963

  • At age 61 Orson Welles performs card tricks on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, 1976

  • At age 62, Aristotle Onassis marries 39-year-old Jackie Kennedy, 1968

  • At age 63, Walt Disney secretly acquires land from orange growers in central Florida, 1964

  • At 65, Jack Welch retires after 20 years as chairman and CEO of General Electric, taking with him a retirement package paying for telephone and computer service at his five homes; flowers, food, wine, and waitstaff when he’s in New York; memberships at three country clubs; Red Sox, Yankees, and Knicks tickets; a box at the Metropolitan Opera; very nice seats at Wimbledon, the French Open, and the U.S. Open tennis tournaments; and dry cleaning, for the rest of his life, 2001

  • At age 66 Hunter S. Thompson invents “shotgun golf” at Owl Farm, in Woody Creek, Colorado, 2004

  • At 67, as a guest on The Dick Cavett Show on PBS, Mary McCarthy says that her fellow writer Lillian Hellman is overrated, and then says, “Every word she writes is a lie, including and and the,” 1979

  • At 70, Long-range photos of a still-svelte, semi nude Greta Garbo sunning herself appear in People magazine, 1976 and Robert Frost gets the young Truman Capote fired from his job at The New Yorker after he walks out of one of Frost’s poetry readings, 1944

  • At 72, on his birthday, Albert Einstein has his picture taken while he sticks his tongue out, 1951 and Mao Zedong launches the Cultural Revolution, 1966

  • At 75, George Plimpton appears as a corrupt spelling-bee emcee in episode 303 of The Simpsons, 2003

  • At 77 Retired senator and former astronaut John Glenn becomes the oldest man to orbit Earth, 1998; After exhibiting some of her paintings at Thomas’s Drugstore in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., Grandma Moses is discovered by art collector Louis Caldor, 1938

  • At age 80, Poet Marianne Moore throws out the first pitch at the Yankees’ season opener, 1968

  • At age 84, Dame Agatha Christie complains that Miss Marple is nothing like Margaret Rutherford, who portrays her in the film versions of Christie’s novels, 1974

  • At age 86 Robert Frost recites his poem “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, 1961

  • At age 87, Sir John Gielgud plays his first nude scene, in the film Prospero’s Books, 1991

  • At 88, Walter Cronkite maintains an office and a staff of four at CBS headquarters in New York. He has a consulting contract with the network, but is rarely consulted. He thinks about writing a blog, 2005

  • At 89, Julia Child decides to give her Cambridge, Massachusetts, kitchen to the Smithsonian, 2001

  • At 90 John D. Rockefeller Sr. watches as half of the family fortune is lost in the stock-market crash of 1929. But there’s still enough Rockefeller money to found the Museum of Modern Art, build Rockefeller Center, restore colonial Williamsburg, and buy enough of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for a national park

  • At 91, On his deathbed, W. Somerset Maugham asks a friend to reassure him that there is no afterlife, 1965

  • At 93, After having four car accidents in a month, George Burns hires a chauffeur, 1989

  • At age 94, Bandleader Artie Shaw dies, 2004. His obituary in The New York Times bears the byline of a reporter who died in 2002

  • At age 95, Titian writes a letter to Phillip II of Spain, to bug him about a portrait that hasn’t been paid for, 1571

  • At age 96 Philip Johnson is still seen occasionally at Table No. 32 at the Four Seasons, the ground-floor restaurant located in the Seagram Building, 2002. He designed the building with Mies van der Rohe

  • At age 98, Rin Tin Tin dies at his home in Los Angeles, 1932. In human years he was 14

  • At age 99, Bob Hope has amassed an 85,000-page joke file, digitally scanned and broken down into categories, which he stores in file cabinets in a theft- and fire-proof walk-in vault in the office next to his North Hollywood home, 2002

  • At age 100 Dr. Albert Hofmann, the inventor of LSD, celebrates his 100th birthday, 2006

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting Away From it All

Today is one of the biggest travel days of the year around here. I will be staying home to celebrate the Feast of Turkey with Mrs. Brave Astronaut and her family. But don't worry about me, I'm heading to my father's next week to divest him of his belongings as he prepares to move in with his new girlfriend.

On the subject of travel, I spotted this in the New York Times Magazine several weeks ago and thought it might be a nice place for the "old archivists rest home," which is a subject of some discussion around the work lunch table. Clingstone, a home built on top of a rocky outcropping in the middle of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island is a rather rustic, remote getaway. Of course, it does sort of give new meaning to the phrase, "getting voted off the island." We may have found a solution to our problems anyway. But we would need to come up with the money to pay the taxes on this house until we were ready to occupy it. Maybe we could rent it for the Obama inauguration. Anybody want to go in on a ticket?

Believe me it has occurred to me to rent out the Brave Astronaut manse and make some money. But then again, I wouldn't miss the event for the world - and already I have reservations from friends looking for floor space that weekend. I'm assuming that Ed guy from Pittsburgh is out.

While I am likely never getting a vacation again, I lived vicariously through this site, which chronicles famous trips, including a few that didn't end so well for the people involved. And of course, if you are getting away, remember don't leave home without this (courtesy of the Smithsonian - the American History Museum has reopened as of last week!), via kottke.
Finally, I hope that your travels, if they include air travel, don't include your needing to reference this checklist:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken

With a young child, I am constantly on the look out for good things to make for dinner that he will eat. The toddler seems to eat anything I put in front of him. This recipe was posted by fellow Cheverly resident, Scott, who writes on cooking on his blog. The recipe comes from Simply Recipes. Of course, with Turkey Day coming up fast, is chicken wise to be on the menu?

Sweet and Sour Chicken
from Simply Recipe

  • 1 pound of boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1/4 tsp table salt)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 10-ounce can pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
  • 1/4 cup juice from the canned pineapple
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1/4 tsp table salt)
  • 2-3 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB + 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  1. In a bowl, combine the chicken with the egg white, salt and cornstarch. Stir to coat the chicken evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. In the meantime, whisk together the pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, salt, and brown sugar.
  3. Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates. Pour in the 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and swirl to coat. It's important that the pan is very hot. Add the chicken and spread the chicken out in one layer. Let the chicken fry, untouched for 1 minute, until the bottoms are browned. Flip and fry the other side the same for 1 minute. The chicken should still be pinkish in the middle. Dish out the chicken onto a clean plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.
  4. Turn the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 teaspoon of cooking oil. Let the oil heat up and then add the bell pepper chunks and ginger. Fry for 1 minute. Add the pineapple chunks and the sweet and sour sauce. Turn the heat to high and when the sauce is simmering, add the chicken pieces back in. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Timing depends on how thick you've cut your chicken. The best way to tell if the chicken is done is to take a piece out and cut into it. If it's pink, add another minute to the cooking.
  5. Taste the sauce and add more brown sugar if you’d like.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What Do I Need

Pinched from my friend Lana some time ago.

Here are the rules:
  • Google your first name with the word "needs" after it and post the results
So what does John need? Evidently, I'm pretty needy. Putting "John needs" into Google returns 46,300 hits. A fair number of them referred to what John McCain needed or what Elton John needs (and I'm not going there). Here are some of the other highlights:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Building a Team of Rivals

Well not so far, but President-elect Obama has promised to fill his cabinet with a wide spectrum of people. He has noted that he hopes to follow in Lincoln's footsteps, but should probably be a little more up on his FDR history. I note today is the 146th anniversary of Lincoln's delivery of the Gettysburg Address, given at the dedication of the cemetery for the Union War dead.

Now remember people, this blog has been labeled as one that covers a wide variety of subjects, but let's remember that history and archives will still occupy the forefront. I still have a number of posts ready to roll and ideas for several more, so you won't get rid of me that easy. And as long as my teeth cooperate, you won't have to hear about them.

You might note even remember some of the things you read here - as happened to Edward Everett, who was noted for his oratorical skills and asked to speak at the cemetery dedication before the President. He spoke for nearly two hours. Anyone remember what he said? No? Well that's because Abraham Lincoln got up and spoke these words:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sometimes You Just Need a Big Mac and some Fries

My wife has a problem. Sometimes she just wants to have the quarter pounder and some fries. And of course, there is nothing like a hamburger grilled on the barbecue. And we have been known to make our own french fries.

But a gang war in McDonald Land? How sad . . .

This is our favorite Garlic Fries recipe
Oven Fried Garlic Fries
  • 3 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced (about 5 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Adjust oven rack to middle position. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine potatoes, oil and salt in bowl or zipper-style plastic bag. Toss to coat.

Spray baking sheet or jellyroll pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place potatoes in single layer on prepared sheet. Leave a little space between potatoes. Bake 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning after 20 minutes.

Place butter and garlic in large, deep nonstick skillet; cook over low heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add potatoes, parsley and cheese; toss to coat. Serve immediately. [Note: too many fries on the baking sheet and they will not crisp up]

Friday, November 14, 2008

Top 25 Documentaries

A straight up list via kottke (with a little comment) of the 25 best documentaries as rated by the International Documentary Association.
  1. Hoop Dreams (1994), Steve James (um, it's a basketball movie - really, number 1?)
  2. The Thin Blue Line (1988), Errol Morris
  3. Bowling for Columbine (2002), Michael Moore (possibly one of Moore's best)
  4. Spellbound (2002), Jeffrey Blitz (but I really prefer this movie about Scrabble)
  5. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976), Barbara Kopple
  6. An Inconvenient Truth (2006), Davis Guggenheim (shouldn't this be first?!)
  7. Crumb (1994), Terry Zwigoff
  8. Gimme Shelter (1970), Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin (not being a huge Stones fan, I missed this. I know, ask Mrs. BA, it's one of my faults)
  9. The Fog of War (2003), Errol Morris
  10. Roger & Me (1989), Michael Moore
  11. Super Size Me (2004), Morgan Spurlock (I already dislike eating McDonalds - I'd never eat there again if I sat down to watch this.)
  12. Don't Look Back (1967) D.A. Pennebaker (so we're heavy on the musical documentaries, I see.)
  13. Salesman (1968), Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin
  14. Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance (1982), Godfrey Reggio (and if it's not music, it's death and destruction)
  15. Sherman's March (1986), Ross McElwee (to this day, Northerners driving to Florida have to tread carefully driving through Georgia.)
  16. Grey Gardens (1976), Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, and Muffie Meyer (Mrs. BA saw this, as did the OSGs. I passed. And will always do so.)
  17. Capturing the Friedmans (2003), Andrew Jarecki
  18. Born into Brothels (2004), Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski (this film comes very close to a point about my being able to watch films where children are in peril. Mrs. BA can't watch that stuff anymore, even the fictionalized stuff)
  19. Titicut Follies (1967), Frederick Wiseman
  20. Buena Vista Social Club (1999), Wim Wenders
  21. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), Michael Moore ("Now watch this drive . . ." - sigh . . . )
  22. Winged Migration (2002), Jacques Perrin
  23. Grizzly Man (2005), Werner Herzog
  24. Night and Fog (1955), Alain Resnais
  25. Woodstock (1970), Michael Wadleigh
For the record, I have seen parts of numbers 3, 6, 9, 22, numbers 4, 10, 21, and most of 25. I prefer my film watching to somewhat escapist.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

#44 - Barack Obama, 2009-

When I realized that I would need to add another post to this long series, I toyed with the idea of creating two posts, one for each candidate and then posting the one with the victor. I am a little too suspicious for that, so I created a template post and just had to plug in the vital information once the results became known. Even thought the 44th President, according to Hollywood, is this man.

So now that this series is done, any ideas for the next profiles? First ladies? Vice Presidents? British Prime Ministers? Popes? I would be interested in your ideas. I hope that you have enjoyed reading these as much as I have had in writing them. I even learned a few things along the way and I hope that you have as well.

The 44th President of the United States will be Barack Obama. I am still getting used to that wonderful idea. He will become the first African-American to hold that office.

Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a black father and a white mother. Obama's parents divorced when he was two and he saw his father only once before Obama's father was killed in an automobile accident in 1982. Obama's mother died of ovarian cancer in 1995. He was raised mostly by his maternal grandparents. Obama's grandmother, Marilyn Dunham died two days before Obama's historic election. Obama graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, at the latter he served as President of the Law Review. After graduating from Harvard, Obama returned to Chicago, where he had been working as a community organizer.

Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996, where he was reelected twice. In 2000, he ran for the United States Congress and lost by a wide margin. In 2004, Obama was elected to the United States Senate, an office he had been contemplating a run for since mid-2002. He gave a stirring keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. With his election to the Senate, he became only the fifth African-American to serve in the Senate. As the only African-American in the Senate, he was the sole Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In February 2007, Obama stood on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois to declare his candidacy for President of the United States. In June 2008, he emerged from a bruising primary battle to become the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party. One week ago, on November 4, 2008, he defeated Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona to become the President-elect.

The Facts
  • Born: August 4, 1961
  • Party: Democrat
  • Wife: Michelle Robinson, married 1992
  • Children: Sasha and Malia
The Election of 2008 (as of Tuesday November 11, 2008, from CNN)
Here's footage of the evening (I'll never get tired of the Fox News guys having to report it):

  • Obama was known as "Barry" when he was young, but asked to be called Barack starting in college.
  • In his election to the United States Senate, it marked the first time that both candidates were African-Americans (Alan Keyes)
  • He will be the first president to have been born outside the contiguous United States.
  • He will be the fifth youngest president to accede to the office.
  • He is the second president whose political base is Illinois (Lincoln - although Ronald Reagan was born there).
  • Obama is the first Democrat since Lyndon Johnson to receive more than 51% of the popular vote.
  • The Obama family has received their Secret Service codenames. Barack will be "Renegade," Michelle is "Renaissance," and the two girls are "Radiance" and "Rosebud."
  • Today is Veteran's Day - Barack Obama is the first president to be ineligible for the Vietnam Draft, born during the war and came of age after its conclusion.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Recipe: My Deviled Eggs

This post that I saw on kottke, prompted me to write this recipe post on my deviled eggs. My deviled eggs were featured on Special K's blog, when the eggs made an appearance for a baby shower that Mrs. BA and I hosted for Mr. and Mrs. C in DC. My deviled eggs are a popular item at picnics and parties.

While it is kind of hard to screw up hard boiling eggs, the recipe that I prefer the most comes from the "Very Best Recipe" cookbook.

Place the eggs in a saucepan with just enough cold water to cover the eggs. Bring the eggs to a boil and remove from the flame and cover for ten minutes. Remove the eggs from the water and place them in an ice bath. The eggs will shell easier this way. Older eggs work best.

After you boil the eggs, shell them and then cut the eggs lengthwise. Place the yolks in a bowl and arrange the whites. Add some mustard and mayonnaise to the yolks and mix to a creamy consistency. If you want to be fancy, pipe the yolk mixture into the whites, if not, a spoon will do the trick. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

One way to enjoy deviled eggs is to eat them at a party as an hors d'ouvre. And in the why didn't I think of it first category, here is something that will come in handy at every party where you have to eat standing up and hold your drink at the same time. Fingerfood. Brilliant.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I am sitting in the last session of the Fall Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, in Silver Spring, MD.

My colleague and friend, ADR, is live blogging the session here. The session is entitled, the session is titled, Harnessing the Power of the Blog, and features a fellow colleague and blogger, who deals with archival issues at her professional blog - Archives Next.

Update: Kate is leading off the panel taking about Archives Next and how archival blogs get promoted and featured.

11:50: Kate continues, giving Order from Chaos a plug as a blog that covers a broad spectrum. I would tend to agree. Comments?

12:00: Next speaker, Elizabeth Hull from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who is discussing the blog, A View to Hugh, devoted to Hugh Morton.

Geof Huth is also blogging the session at his archival blog, the Anarchivist.

12:10: Hull finishing up telling about the most popular blog post, based on comments, which was on Duke-UNC basketball - of course, one of the largest rivalries around. She then is concluding with a story of one particular commenter to the blog, who got a little bent out of shape about a particular blog post and a gentleman who has commented on the blog more than seventy times.

12:15: Power running out on laptop, so final update from inside the session. I will try to add something about the final presenter, Dickinson College Archivist, Jim Gerencser - who is also my successor as MARAC Treasurer.

2:45: So the final speaker, Jim, spoke of a relatively new blog created to catalog reference requests. It sounds very interesting and in time, should prove helpful to archives staff who will not have to reinvent the wheel.

I learned after the session that the ADR's live blog along with Geof and my posts, were being monitored at the registration desk. A successful outing for a MARAC session on blogging! Live online sessions next stop!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Movie Cameos / Scene Stealers

This list was compiled by the AV Club and features the best single scene portrayals by actors and actresses in feature films. A list that is sure to generate some discussion. (You can click on the link and see the videos of the scenes)
  1. Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross (how much trouble am I in for not having seen this movie all the way through?)
  2. Ray Charles, The Blues Brothers (it's a musical number, but I think James Brown is better)
  3. Pamela Anderson, Borat
  4. Dean Stockwell, Blue Velvet (this is such a creepy movie and Dennis Hopper is so good, one can easily forget that Dean Stockwell has this scene - almost)
  5. Janeane Garofalo, The Cable Guy (I've been to Medieval Times - wait, did I just say that?)
  6. David Letterman, Cabin Boy (What? No Jon Stewart?)
  7. Billy Ray Cyrus, Mulholland Dr.
  8. Ned Beatty, Network (this scene earned Beatty an Oscar nomination)
  9. Chris Rock, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka
  10. Topher Grace, Ocean's Eleven (it's that opening scene and it is very funny)
  11. David Spade, Reality Bites
  12. Sammy Davis Jr., Sweet Charity
  13. Vanessa Redgrave, Atonement (I would expect nothing less from Lady Vanessa)
  14. Charlie Sheen, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Drugs?)
  15. David Bowie, Zoolander
  16. John Carroll Lynch and Charles Fleischer, Zodiac (one word - CREEPY!)
  17. Samuel L. Jackson, Kill Bill Volume 2
  18. William Hurt, A History Of Violence

Thursday, November 6, 2008

MARAC - Thursday

Today is the first day of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) Fall 2008 Meeting, being held here in Silver Spring, MD. It is the first meeting in several years that I am not attending the Steering Committee Meeting, which is held on Thursday evenings. To celebrate my freedom, I am taking a small group to the Washington Capitals hockey game at the Verizon Center. It is sure to be a good time.

Tomorrow the meeting will start up with session, several of which I helped to organize. I also don't have to be at lunch, so I will be able to partake of the great restaurants in the Silver Spring area. I will be sure to post some more about the meeting tomorrow.

Here are a few things that have been sitting in my Google Reader for some time and this is as good a time as any to share - they are somewhat archivally related. The first comes from our brethren at the American Library Association, a virtual slide-rule to help figure out whether an item is still protected by copyright. As my friend ADR pointed out when he posted about it, it's a very nifty Web 2.0 application.

The second item also comes from a fellow archives blogger. Spellbound posted about Dipity Timelines, which I now seem to see everywhere. Spellbound also posted about the slide-rule, but I saw it from ADR first.

The last item comes from Buzz Feed and it is about Wordle. Wordle creates word clouds from the content of a webpage and then shows you the words based on the frequency. Another great Web 2.0 toy. So enjoy the links and hey, Lets Go Caps!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dare To Dream

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning

- Maya Angelou, January 20, 1993

I went to bed last night overwhelmed. My wife and I drank champagne and toasted our president-elect and dreamed of a better country for our children. We reveled in the moment, unable to comprehend what had taken place. We were both moved to tears on several occasions last night - I again felt tears of joy when I saw this editorial cartoon in today's Washington Post and after hearing the commentator Colbert I. King on WTOP News this morning talk about growing up in a capital city where he had to enter buildings by the back door and now the Obama family will move into the Executive Mansion through the front door.
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer . . .

We are, and always will be, the United States of America . . .

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you . . .

This is your victory . . .

And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me . . .

This is our moment . . .

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can."
- Barack Obama, November 4, 2008
When I awoke this morning, there was a sense that, "was it really true?" Had we elected a man to lead us in a new direction and get us believing in hope again? Yes, we did. Some of my readers have commented and questioned the validity of the two candidates in this race. My response is yes, neither of them are perfect, but we have elected the best person out there right now. Barack Obama is the real thing. He has to be.

The road ahead is long, the hill we must climb is steep. There is no perfect solution to the ills that are before us. Barack Obama was elected as an agent of change and he will do everything in his power, which with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate might be a great deal, to make this country a great nation again.

I had pestered a family member to vote, which she finally did. Prior to this she had not voted for President since Gerald Ford. I tried to explain to her that yes there were issues with the way this country votes, but we finally had a candidate that might actually be able to do something about the system. If not a first-term United States Senator, an African-American, and a Democrat who should cruise to election in the anti-Republican wave that was building all summer, then who? Change is coming and many of us will benefit.

She tried to tell me that her vote didn't matter - and yet her state has not yet been called. Don't tell me that every vote doesn't matter. If one person feels that way - there are others and that's how apathy gets out of control. She lives in a state where the black population is overjoyed at the idea of a black president, but this election was not about race. To a point. Yes, we have elected a black man, who defeated a white man, but first and foremost, we have elected a man who truly believes in the future of this country.

As President-elect Obama has said on many occasions, we are not a nation of red states and blue states, we are the United States. He will have to govern that way. He must surround himself with the right people (Rahm Emanuel is a good first pick) for the big tasks that lie ahead. He must be careful to avoid the pitfalls that befell Jimmy Carter in 1976, who arrived in Washington as an outsider and he and his advisors could not contain the Washington mentality.

President-elect Obama must also beware of lofty ideals that could derail some initiatives. He is given to high oratory. There is surely an international crisis out there waiting to test the new leader (Joe Biden wasn't wrong). But possibly the biggest danger may be the President-elect himself. Although he received a significant mandate (no Democrat had been elected with more than 50.1% of the vote since Jimmy Carter in 1976), winning traditionally Republican states and securing a large margin in the Electoral College, he is sure to face resistance from many sides. Change may be a good thing, but in general, people hate it. President-elect Obama will need to temper his enthusiasm to try and do too much, too fast.

One of my regular readers has left me comments with her criticisms of the current political climate and the lack of an acceptable candidate to her views. I grant her that our two party system is broken and that we are in need of real change in the way we elect our leaders and the party structure which we subscribe to. But as I said earlier, we have found someone who, first is willing to take this job right now, and two, was truly the best choice we had.

It is up to him to see if he can surround himself with the right people and truly lead this country in a new direction. Hope is alive, change is coming. Our wish and dream should be that Barack Obama can "Let America Be America Again." May God bless and protect our President-elect and continue to look over our country.
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed -
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek -
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean -
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today - O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."
The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay -
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again -
The land that never has been yet -
And yet must be - the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine - the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME -
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose -
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath -
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain -
All, all the stretch of these great green states -
And make America again!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jed Bartlet is my President - Until Tonight

It's Election Day in the USA

Well, here we are. The end is here. I think that most of you know who I am voting for - I'm voting for change. Our political system is not perfect and there are lots of inherent problems and it needs a complete overhaul. The two candidates are politicians and that leaves a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths. So head over to Ben and Jerry's this afternoon and maybe you can get a new taste.

This is the most important election in our history. There is no reason to not vote. Please - exercise your civic responsibility. You'll feel better afterward. And next week come back to read the final chapter in the American President series here on Order from Chaos, when I will post about the 44th President of the United States, ????????.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Food! (And Bacon)

Of course tomorrow is Election Day. Get out and Vote - it's too important - Vote For Change!

Then have some friends over and eat. Here are some suggestions:
  • Election Themed Party Food from Buzzfeed (love the Moose Cookies)
  • Donuts and Bacon '08 - Taste We Can Believe In (also Buzzfeed)
And is your BLT bland? Spice it up with some Baconnaise, but have the paddles standing by (more Buzzfeed).