Category Archives: Blogs

A Confession

(2014-10-11 013)I have a confession to make.

I started a Masters program in September and am taking two classes. I’m also working on a grant that is up in July, when the web site I’m designing needs to go live.

In April I was elected the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) union chapter chair of the CUNY Graduate Center. This chapter has been inactive for over five years. I am expected to attend at least three meetings a month, not counting any meetings I chair at the GC. There’s a lot of work in trying to reactivate the chapter too: planning meetings, recruiting meetings, organizational meetings. Even with one day a week release time for union activities, I am finding the chapter needs a lot of attention.

Meanwhile, one class has me constantly reading and posting materials to a web site while I have no idea what I’m doing in the other one. That one is using SPSS, a program that can manipulate census data in such ways that it can answer and raise questions. I came from a humanities background and have no training in statistics. I am completely lost, and our final is taking a problem and manipulating data to get answers, and then writing a report on that data. The only reason I took the class was because I thought that it would be good to have some idea as to how data is processed.

I still volunteer and serve as a trustee at the Historical Society. However, I had to drop volunteering at the Warner Library because it conflicted with one of my class times, but I intend to go back when the term is over.

Needless to say, I have been doing a lot. And, because of this, I no longer have as much time to write blog entries. This is sad, since I do like writing my blogs. I guess I’m just asking for you to bear with me.


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Dinosaur Mummy at the American Museum of Natural History

The grand, imperial statue of Teddy Roosevelt in front of the AMNH

The grand, imperial statue of Teddy Roosevelt in front of the AMNH

The real reason I went to the American Museum of Natural History last week was to see the dinosaur mummy.

J.W. Ocher mentioned the Edmontosaurus on his OTIS (Odd Things I’ve Seen) blog. I was intrigued, so I had to go and take a look.

The place was a zoo, far worse than the Met. My friend Caroline and I were surrounded by people, mostly kids from summer camps. You could hardly get close to any of the exhibits. Still, I was on a mission, so we wandered all over the building, finally finding the fourth floor and going room to room.

Ocher’s right: the dinosaur isn’t in a special area. The signage is ordinary or, as Ocher says, “whoever designed it didn’t really understand the awesomeness of what they were labeling.” The museum certainly hasn’t promoted it. It is, after all, a rare type of dinosaur “mummy.”

These dinosaur remains are akin to the Egyptian mummies that litter our museums across the world. Those human mummies are fascinating, as they are more than just bones but dried skin and tissue, with features that we can recognize. Though there are no dessicated tissues left (see the description), there’s more here than the usual bones. This is why the Edmontosaurus is exceptional, but the AMNH doesn’t seem to think so.

The mummy came up on Ocher’s entry because he was comparing it to another natural dinosaur “mummy” in Indianapolis that is named Leonardo. That museum really knows how to promote it’s unique dinosaur. Of course it’s a much newer museum, with dinosaurs “breaking” through a wall of the museum and out into the sunshine.

The AMNH should hold a naming contest for the Edmontosaurus. How about one of those nifty, stuffed dinosaurs made in the Edmontosaurus’ likeness? (The gift shop has some great stuffed dinosaurs.) This would be a great way to generate interest (and cash) in the AMNH.

By the way, this is the J.W. Ocher who wrote The New England Grimpendium, which I have in my library. (Yes, that 25 cents in royalties came from me.) The book is as fascinating as it is macabre.

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30 Days, 30 Posts: NaBloPoMo is Here?

This headline is how I was introduced to NaBloPoMo by WordPress today when I signed in. It was misleading.

Writing-Fountain Pen writing on PaperI had heard of  NaNoWriMo from Karen Ringen, one of the people at Whimsies, and when I went to the web site it all came back to me. Karen mentioned this to me last year when I was on sabbatical, but two things kept me from even trying to do it: Hurricane Sandy, and the death of a colleague. I didn’t have power for nearly two weeks, and I was very depressed. Last November was not a good time to try and start writing anything.

If I’m going to write a novel, I’m certainly not going to do it on a blog. I can’t imagine a worse place to try and write a novel than a blog. (Writing 50,000 words in a blog was suggested by WordPress in their blurb about NaBloPoMo.) I give kudos to anyone brave (or crazy) enough to try–and I’m sure there have already been some.

Also, my Greece: 2013 blog is 53,750 words alone. This was written from February through July. I’ve already done my duty to blog-land for this year, and this isn’t even counting my current blogs. Therefore, NaBloPoMo does not interest me. However, NaNoWriMo–the original writing idea–is.

That said, I once tried to write a science fiction novel when I was a teenager and got well over 100 handwritten pages before I foolishly started editing what I had written before I finished writing it. This is a no-no, and I got so dispondent that I stopped writing. I tried once or twice over the next several years, but it never went anywhere. My first attempt was the furthest I had gotten.

I like the idea of having a national novel writing month, although I’m not so sure Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season is best, but apparently people have had a lot of success. (Besides, Thanksgiving is late this year.)

Either handwritten or by computer, just DO IT!

Either handwritten or by computer, just DO IT!

In academia, faculty are expected to write articles (and sometimes books) and do research in whatever their area of specialization is. I’ve got some ideas I’m working on, and I’m still doing some research. Still, it might be fun to try and take up the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days–well, 28 days.

I am going to try and write that sci fi novel. This means that I have to write about 1,786 words a day by December 1st. Piece of cake? I’d  be a fool to say it was. I have an old outline of the novel that I wrote several years after my first attempt, and I will have to dig it out. (It was written in long hand, although I may well have transferred it to a Word file a few years ago. I’ll have to look.)

Anyone else want to try their hand at creative writing on a schedule?

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New Blogs for Q & A, and Book Reviews

I’ve decided to add two new blogs to my growing presence on the Internet. Since I’ve worked in academic libraries for over two decades, mostly in technical services (cataloging, serials, acquisitions, etc.) I am in a position to answer questions that may perplex the lay users of libraries, so this blog ( will answer any questions posted.

Currently, I am also volunteering in a public library, so I might be able to answer some of those questions, too. Ask away!

The other blog ( will be my reviews of books that I have read. Surprisingly, I used to read a lot of sci fi when I was growing up, but now I predominately read non-fiction books–and no, not in library science. I have a wide range of interests. You might find what I read of interest to you. If so, please tune in!

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New Blog Created

I moved my blog for Greece to because I intend to continue to use this blog for professional research. The blog entries for Greece will stay at that site as I begin to develop this blog.

Stay tuned.

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