The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

April 13, 2010

Two, Uncanny
I have just had enough, with this one I think, of the alien nature of
this configuration - shapes appearing in the sky, underwater, close-
up but not quite, distanced, but not quite, doubly moving extrinsically
as fallen objects and intrinsically as transforming plasma. These haunt
my dreams and nightmares. The phenomenology is hypnagogic, peripheral:
of the dispersed alien vanishing, generating clouds of virtual particles
residing among memories of a distant future.
Ivan Sullivan on acoustic saz, I'm on electric saz, we're in a garden
at the Flying Saucer here in Brooklyn. There's something driving about
this, as if it were a tradition, shades of Michael Snow and who knows.

(I want to thank the one person who commented on my files yesterday; I
really did/do need feedback. Ah well, too many bytes under the bridge
makes the boy cry wolve.)

email archive:

the drowning world

our turtle Opal, 5 images
bonus image, Ossi

First flooding:: i'm lost and uninitiated. i'm alone and concatenated,
old among julu, waiting for the world to start. is clotting everything.
- Your damming is soaked, written, erased the next smearing of your
thinking skin.

Your binding should be wiped into existence? Consider the following
again, your lost and uninitiated. i'm alone and concatenated, old among
julu, waiting for the world to start ...
the doll splits me, binds you, splits and damns you.

i'm lost and uninitiated. i'm alone and concatenated, old among julu,
waiting for the world to start., then and only then, worlds slow up like
older things, forgetting origins is sufficient for me.

i'm lost and uninitiated. i'm alone and concatenated, old among julu,
waiting for the world to start. if the world started, then for how long
before the end. i rest among animals, waiting for dearths. then and only
then, worlds slow up like older things, forgetting origins oh and then
waiting for origins.
and then, nothing.
and then, everything.

and everything is your chemistry here.
worlds slow up like older things, forgetting origins.

then and only then, worlds slow up like older things, forgetting origins
calling forth hungry ghosts, making things.
calling forth hungry ghosts making things.

in the detritus, then and only then, worlds slow up like older things,
forgetting origins, if the world started, then for how long before the
end, resting among animals, waiting for dearths. and ... ghosts _are,_
and then, nothing, the ghosts of drowning flesh.

|   ghosts

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 21:40:03
From: moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG
Subject: Our Public Library Lifeline Is Fraying

Our Public Library Lifeline Is Fraying.
We'll Be Sorry When it Snaps

By Art Brodsky, Communications Director, Public Knowledge

April 13, 2010, The Huffington Post

This is National Library Week, a time normally reserved for
celebrating an institution that plays a vital role in many of
our cities, towns and counties. Instead, many libraries,
particularly public libraries, are being decimated by budget
cuts at a time when library services are needed most.

Libraries, once considered a necessity, are now seen as a
luxury. They are low-hanging fruit for budget pluckers,
particularly at the state and local levels of government in
communities across the country. It's been a slow death by
attrition over the past couple of years. First, it was the
budget for books and materials because, after all, books and
materials aren't people. No matter that books and materials
are what makes a library, well, a library. Then came the
hours of operation, then the staff, then the closure of
branches. No two communities are approaching the situation
identically, but in cities from Boston to Indianapolis, the
stories are increasingly dire.

In Boston, the trustees voted to close four branches. There
was lots of protest, and Mayor Thomas Menino still has to
make the final call, but the situation doesn't look good.

The Florida legislature is considering eliminating state aid
to libraries entirely, while the New Jersey legislature is
only looking a at a 74 percent cut. Indianapolis and
surrounding Marion County are also looking at closing six
branches and cutting back programs and staff.

In my home community of Montgomery County, Maryland, formerly
one of the wealthiest local jurisdictions, the County Council
is looking at a budget for fiscal year 2011 of $29 million -
down from $40 million just three years ago. This year, it is
slated for a 23 percent cut - one of the largest of any
agency, on top of cuts in the last fiscal year with
percentage decreases larger than all but one county agency.
And this is for a county of about one million residents in
which 70 percent hold library cards. It's even worse across
the river, in Fairfax County, Virgina, where libraries were
declared a "discretionary" service while cutting 30 of 54
full-time librarians. Libraries discretionary? That's nuts.

These are only some of the stories. They are being repeated
endlessly across the country, perhaps even where you live.
Some places put a high value on their libraries. Contrast the
$29 million of my county for the $51 million library budget
in Seattle, a city of about 600,000. Sure, Seattle needed to
cut the library budget, but the fact that they started out
much higher than my home says something about their
priorities. Sadly, Seattle is the exception, not the rule.

One problem for libraries in some jurisdictions is that they
don't fit squarely into any one policymaker's domain, like
public safety or a school system. Libraries serve a range of
purposes - they help teach children to read, they help
students work on projects, they provide meeting space for
tutoring, they provide Internet access. They serve students,
seniors, immigrants. They provide assistance to the
unemployed. Libraries combine education, workforce
development, socialization, recreation. But they aren't the
school board, or a social services agency, and so generally
get buried in the larger budgets.

The cuts come at a time when library use is increasing, for
all types of services. The one that hits home the most these
days is the crucial access to the Internet. A study by the
Information School at the University of Washington found
that: "Low-income adults are more likely to rely on the
public library as their sole access to computers and the
Internet than any other income group. Overall, 44 percent of
people living below the federal poverty line used computers
and the Internet at their public libraries."

In addition, the study reported: "Americans across all age
groups reported they used library computers and Internet
access. Teenagers are the most active users. Half of the
nation's 14- to 18-year-olds reported that they used a
library computer during the past year, typically to do school

Ask any librarian, or read any of the stories about the
budget cuts, and one message that stands out loud and clear
is that the Internet at libraries is a lifeline for many.
Here the unemployed look for jobs, and apply for jobs - many
companies these days accept applications online only. Here
people learn what many would consider rudimentary skills -
how to attach a document to an email, for example. Is this
what a library is supposed to do? Yes. The Internet has
become an integral part of the library mission.

Internet support for libraries is national policy, going back
to the 1996 Telecommunications Act and the amendment from
current Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Jay Rockefeller (D-
WVA) as well as former Nebraska senators, the late James Exon
and Robert Kerrey. Today, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is trying to
update the policy for the 21st century.

But it would be a mistake to say that the Internet replaces
libraries. It doesn't. It's an adjunct. More than one budget
officer has said that people don't need libraries because
they can go online. First, many people can't go online due to
their economic circumstances. Second, librarians help to
guide research. A simple online search will not always
achieve desired results, as anyone who does this well knows.
And libraries still have those quaint old things called
books, many of which aren't online. The printed medium still
has a lot of attraction for many, from the youngest readers
whose parents check out armloads of picture books, to the
serious readers and researchers who realize there is more to
find than what's online.

It would also be a mistake to say that bookstores replace
libraries. Nothing against bookstores, but they aren't a
public resource. Quite obviously, who have to pay to enjoy
the fruits of a bookstore. Libraries are there for everyone.

Politicians are loathe to raise money to pay for libraries.
That's the kiss of death to an aroused citizenry that wants
services but doesn't want to pay for them or, in some cases
doesn't value them at all. Still, it's nice that around the
country, people are protesting the cuts to their local
libraries. In some cases, library lovers have formed
foundations or other organizations to supplement their
libraries. These are to be lauded, and supported, but they
aren't a substitute for the public commitment that led to
public libraries in the first place.

Let's give the last word to someone who has a secret ambition
to be a librarian, but whose career went in a different
direction. No less an authority than Keith Richards put it
best in his forthcoming autobiography: "When you are growing
up there are two institutional places that affect you most
powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public
library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great

Happy National Library Week.


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