Captivating Library Wit

Random thoughts and lessons while shifting biographies around:

  • Shouldn’t Harpo be shelved before Karl?
  • If it’s Warhol’s autobiography, why is some other guy listed as author? And why is the phrase “Sex Life” in the title, WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN
  • Fun Fact about Malcolm X: shelved under “L”.
  • Who the good goddamn is Samuel Pepys?
  • Adolf Zukor.  In case you were wondering.
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Babies and bathwater

The New York Times reported Friday about a controversial new trend in hospital hiring.  Taking smoking bans to their “logical” conclusion, a fair number are refusing to hire smokers, in one case going so far as to fire a new hire caught smelling like smoke.

As a reformed smoker, I am usually the first one on the anti-tobacco bandwagon, especially regarding the health care industry, where it is rampant for some reason.  It’s a nasty behavior and harmful to smokers and bystanders alike.  It is also pointed out in the article that smokers cost thousands of dollars more per year in health care and lost productivity.  However, treating the smoker as the enemy, rather than the smoking, is going at it ass-backward.

Punishing people for self-punishing behavior is no solution, and comes off as kind of a dick move anyway.  Not to mention that adding stress to smokers’ lives is anti-motivation to quit.  And what about this slippery slope we’re climbing here, society?  Do we want to start targeting other groups that cost more to take care of?  Are we ready to stand up as a nation and say fat people need not apply?  I didn’t think so.  Should we start monitoring frequency of casual sex?  How would you even do that?

“Hospitals.  Turning away people with health problems since 2011.”  Catchy slogan there, guys.

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Thoughts on Teamwork

We’ve been discussing teamwork a lot in one of my classes lately.  In discussing different behaviors and strategies for teams, good and bad, I was able to see myself in a lot of the examples.  Or rather, different versions of myself.

My academic career since high school has been a bit, how shall we say, meandering, meaning that I’ve had the opportunity to pass through a lot of developmental phases over the course of my college career.  We all change over time; none of you are the student or coworker you were fifteen years ago either.  It was kind of amusing, though, to see myself in a bunch of conflicting attitudes.

When talking about people who dominate and exclude during discussions , I thought, “Yep, Impatient Know-It-All High School Rory right there.”  Digressing from topics and reluctance to participate reminded me of Too-Cool-For-School-Early-Twenties Rory.  Unity of purpose and proper division of labor made me think of On-His-Third-Rock-Band Rory.  Enthusiasm, staying on track, conflict management?  That’s Basketball Coach Rory all the way.

Which brings us to the present, or maybe more accurately, Future Rory.  What kind of teammate will he be?  A nice blend of the discipline of Finished-My-Undergrad-Online Rory and the personal skills of Restaurant Assistant Manager Rory, I think, with some of the good stuff from above thrown in for good measure.  Hopefully you’ll all let me know how I’m doing…

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La voie, la vie, la verite

The pretentious-and-educated-sounding title of today’s post is lifted from the end of Book 3, Chapter IV of Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s graphic novel “V For Vendetta”.

I am currently rereading this gem, now that I finally own a copy, courtesy the Friends of the Champaign Public Library.  Calling it a “graphic novel” is a bit of a misnomer, as it was orginally published as a series of 7-page stories in various British magazines.  (People get away with calling Great Expectations a novel, though, so what the hey).  It concerns the dystopian London of 1998 (the near future at the time it was written, beginning in 1981), and a mischievous, anarchist, Guy-Fawkes-masked rebel known only as Codename V.  Post-apocalyptic Britain is ruled with an iron fist by the Big Brotherish Leader.  Codename V fights the overly authoritarian government by killing crooked government leaders and bombing government buildings with dramatic flair.

Moore and Lloyd explore a lot of old territory here, but with style.  Interesting points are made vis-a-vis anarchy vs. authoritarianism (and anarchy vs. chaos, for the unintiated).  Moore indulges his love for repeated use of symbols here, as the letter and Roman numeral V recurs over and over, almost becoming a secondary character to the story.  Almost no character is sympathetic, and even the titular hero is an insane vigilante, almost a bizarre conflation of Batman and the Joker.  Even as we hope the Leader is toppled, we aren’t sure who’s going to make it out alive.  (Don’t spoil it for me, I don’t remember how it ends).

If you enjoyed Moore’s Watchmen and From Hell, a lot of the same intelligence, wit, and style is on display here.  If you are new to Alan Moore’s comic book work, well, this would be a fine place to start.

V For Vendetta.  Read it now!!

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