Saturday, April 30, 2016

Uh oh, who am I?

Yesterday afternoon I was out at the front desk with one of my pleasant co-workers. The horrifically smelly man, who we institutionally refuse to deal with in any way, came, as he does, to the front desk to use our phone to call a cab. This is a sometimes elaborate process because, I suspect, many cab companies and drivers refuse (I think understandably) to allow him into their vehicles. Also we have to burn the phone after he uses it, which is smoky, toxic, and time consuming, but totally worth it.

Anyway, as this gentleman was on the phone, dressed in his better set of grease and urine soaked togs, a woman came up to him and nicely handed him something. I believe it was a bill, though I could not see the denomination. The man thanked her and she left.

After the smelly man was cleared out, and we had dealt with the needs of a line of patrons, and the entire area had been cleaned in a 50-50 solution of carbolic acid, my co-worker turned to comment on events to me.

"Now I feel bad!" My co-worker exclaimed.

"Why?" I asked.

"That woman gave the man money. I feel guilty now, like I should give him something."

"Oh, don't feel guilty. You know what I was doing? I was sitting over here hating that woman for giving him anything at all."

Friday, April 29, 2016

Working at work

I was talking with a co-worker at the front desk of my library. We were talking about work. This brings up the question: Does talking about work at work count as work?

Yes. It does.

You know what also counts as work? Broadening the very idea of what constitutes work. I am here to tell you that that is a lot of work. I'm exhausted by it so often that I have to take little breaks, though usually, if I can manage it, they're working breaks. Which is exhausting.

In this conversation with my co-worker, about work, I said, in response to something my co-worker said, "I consider that my job here is to not feel guilty about whatever it is I'm doing." It was, like many things I say, pretending to be a joke, but barely even pretending because, working as hard as I do, I don't usually have the energy to do all that pretending. And so here I am collecting righteousness once again. I look around me and find that for many of my co-workers it comes naturally. They engage in mind boggling varieties of strange activities and seem completely oblivious to the very possibility that it might not be work. And I find that hierarchically the higher you go the people get even better at this immaculate self justification. But not me so much. I don't really have a very strong innate facility for considering my actions productive. I really have to work at it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

An Internet aphorism

Every once in awhile I consider the Internet, which is more that I can say it does for me. Then I come here and sum it all up for you. Of all the comments I have received on clerkmanifesto I can't recall anyone ever mentioning one of these Internet summations to me, as in "Boy, you really summed up the Internet good the other day!"

I take this to be a result of the natural reticence of people on the Internet. Or it might be people are nervously sensing my bitterness. But it could be that I haven't gotten the wording just right yet. So for today's aphorism we'll try to cover a small series of minor differences. Are you ready?

Oh. You were?

Well, you see, I kind of had to do the long introduction otherwise it's just a twitter post.

I'm glad you understand.

Okay, here we go.

I'm kind of nervous.


The Internet is a resource where all the world's information and ignorance is compiled randomly together in one place.


The Internet is a place where all human knowledge and all human ignorance are gathered together in one convenient location.

Which, conversely, could be:

The Internet is a place where all human knowledge and all human ignorance are gathered together in one inconvenient location.

Please don't feel you have to study the differences.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cocktail hour

Stop me if I've already written this one before.

It's okay if you need to go back through the 1,200 post history of clerkmanifesto and check. While I am delighted and even honored that you (at least occasionally) read my daily missives on the state of the universe, if I had one, well, not criticism, let's say wish, if I had one wish it would be that you re-read all my posts in a state of rapt attention. And this is such an excellent opportunity for you to do so while you are going back and checking if I've written this one before.

Oh, right, what's this one about?

Yes, yes, how can you know if I've written this before if you don't know what this is about.

It's about the intensity of socializing in the back room of my library.

It's about how it's pretty near always cocktail hour at my job. Look at it right now! There are the little groups clustered by the book carts involved in deep conversation, there's three people in consultation over at the transit bins, and look at those two back by the request processing area, just chatting and chatting and chatting and chatting. Oh my god the chatting we do! The real question here is not how we get any work done, the question is how do we talk so much and still breathe!

I may get a detailed account of a long past vacation. I might receive an exhaustive synopsis of a movie. I can get a highly involved account of what books someone is reading, or an exciting stream of soccer gossip. I can hear about lunch, kids, evening plans, patron interactions, and the weather. And I'm not saying that I'm not something of a talker myself at times, but, I mean, seriously, this is our workplace! I simply can't in good conscience talk all the time.

I've got blogposts to write!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The conundrum

Sometimes I wander the Internet. I don't know what I'm looking for there. Do you? Well, you. Look who I'm asking this of. You have found it. But I am out there looking for my own clerkmanifesto. Maybe that's what you'll be exiled to do as well, as soon as this one is over for the day.

Amid the festive desolation of this vast Internet I kick the tires and poke around in the weeds. How can something so large be so small? At its best I listen to the music of famous and talented people. At its worst I sink down to the comment sections of machine stamped articles where only the names have been changed. And there my heart is taken from me. My blood is stirred. And wild, angry responses to the careless and misguided comment of strangers flood into my mind.

I roll up my sleeves. I sharpen my pen. And only at the last minute, I remember:

These aren't people. This is the Internet.

Monday, April 25, 2016


On the rare occasions I peruse the geographic statistics of where people are reading my blog I find that a third of all my readers are from a place called Samara, in Russia. The fact that these people are all Internet manipulations, computer bots on some vaguely nefarious and meaningless pursuit, and do not reflect any humans, is a notable contributor to why I so rarely consult the geographic statistics of where people are reading my blog. But I admit my ignorance on these matters. It is theoretically possible that these Samaran readers are not all part of the vast sea of automated and pointless Internet, and that, for all I know, there is a small town in Russia where everyone hangs on my every word, learning English through the study of my essays, and thinking of my great body of work much as I think of it.

How do I think of my work?

I'm too shy to say. You'll have to ask someone in Samara, Russia.

And so, with all of this in mind,  I have decided to explain America to my devoted readers in Samara, Russia. If you are not one of my many Samaran readers, and hail from the same country as I do, you can just knowingly nod along as you read.

My wife and I were at one of the great malls of America, perhaps even the greatest mall in America. It clearly thinks it is because it has named itself "The Mall of America".  It is a place where many, many, many things are for sale (more than you can imagine, but somehow all slightly less appealing than you might imagine as well) in a weather sealed, multi-level, enormous indoor environment. As we walked along one of the great balconied lanes of this mall a large American woman came walking the other way towards us. Her T-shirt boldly caught our eyes:

"Amount of fucks I give..." It read on the first line.

Then there was a picture of a Nun, who was flipping us off, followed by the final insouciant line:


Now you might imagine my point is that this is America because of all the not giving, if you'll excuse the expression, a fuck. But that is not my main point. What makes it such a beautiful expression of America is in the confident, untouchable nature of its closed system: No matter what one's reaction to the shirt, and how could one not have a reaction to so wildly obnoxious, aggressive, and offensive a shirt, the shirt has that reaction covered.

"What a rude shirt!"

(She does not give a fuck)

"You have offended me, a Catholic, and the many Nuns I know who have selflessly toiled for the poor."

(She gives no fucks whatsoever!)

"That is one hilarious shirt. Right on sister!"

(You think that changes whether or not she gives a fuck? It doesn't. She gives no fucks and never has.)

It's like Buddhist, but angrier. And you can shop in it.

You could run a large American Corporation in it.

You could probably even run for President in it.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

One liners

I found a collection of one-liners that struck me as so amusing that I jotted them down on one of the hundreds of scraps of paper I carry in my jean pockets. Then, as there wasn't much else to do with them, I shared them out with various of my co-workers and with an occasional lucky library patron as well.

I started with:

A friend told me I've been acting too much like a flamingo, so I put my foot down.

I like that one even if somehow it's not quite perfect, and I keep wanting to try and edit it. People laughed though.

 No one got this one, and maybe you or I wouldn't either if we were hearing it instead of reading it:

I, for one, like roman numerals.

but either way it's frightfully clever. 

I was also fond of:

Dark humor is like food, not everyone gets it.

which just goes deeper as you think of it.

But there was one of these one-liners that I'd written down and just kind of held onto. There was something a touch uncomfortable about it, and I didn't want to say it. But maybe because of that I ended up having to try it out to see how it felt:

People say I'm condescending, (leaning in) that means I talk down to people.

Perhaps it was just a tiny bit too close to home. One doesn't want people to think 

"Yeah, I can see that." 

Ah well...

They all laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian;  Well they're not laughing now!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Just what is a library

Today the semi annual Friends of the Library book sale had its opening day. Many little old ladies staffed the tables outside our community room, which was now so chockablock with books of all kinds that the actual sales transactions had to take place outside the room. As the opening bell neared, eager library shoppers queued up in a line that filled our lobby and spilled thickly into the library itself. It was all a moment of chaos, holding, and eager anticipation. I innocently wandered into it in order to put out some bus schedules. Job done one of the little old ladies staffing the sale and waiting, along with everyone, greeted me, as we are old acquaintances.

I leaned towards her conspiratorially. "Don't worry." I said. "I won't let any of them know that the whole rest of this building is filled with all the same items, only those ones are all for free."

Friday, April 22, 2016

In memorium

I have consistently posted at 6:30 a.m. pacific time for so long that this might throw you, but here, from my archives is a reposting of a two or three year old story about Prince. As you surely know, he died yesterday, and a little piece of the International identity of my Twin Cities went with him. 

We are the smaller for it.

The original post was part of a series, and it was called:

Prince at the Library

Sure, this is titled Prince at the Library. It's for the sake of consistency. I'd like Famous People at the Library Week to have a kind of matching look. All the portraits, for instance, are done with clickable black sharpies on copy paper. And all the titles are "So and so at the Library" But the real title for this one should be:

How I Gave Prince His Secret Name at the Library

Our story begins quite a few years ago. Back then, instead of a front desk, we had a big Circulation Desk; check ins, check outs, registration, non reference help, fines, all in one, sort of an overcrowded, desperately behind, open kitchen. I was there. Typically doing seven things at once, some of them directly job related, when a small man walks in.

Now, a real advantage to famous people stories, especially ones with pictures at the top, is that one need not waste much time describing the person. Nevertheless it is traditional to include a descriptive observation or two represented in contrast to expectation. "His mustache was darker than I expected." or "She had really long fingers. I wonder if that's why she likes to wear gloves so much." These are nice. They add texture and authenticity. Unfortunately, with Prince, he looked pretty much like I would've thought. Here. Picture Prince. Okay. Then there you are. But I can at least say this: I made him as Prince very quickly, but partly this was because he was the sort of person you look at, famous or not. He drew your eye.

He needed to register his Minneapolis Library Card into our system. He had the card, picture ID with his current address, no problem. No problem at all. Well, one problem. This all was during the time when Prince had just changed his name to that symbol. Just as I have no good way to put the symbol in here, I had no good way to enter the symbol into our patron registration program.

"What do people call you?" I asked.

"Prince." he said "And when they do I refuse to answer. So mostly they just say 'hey' to me, or tap me on the shoulder."

"Hmm." I responded.

Several clerks gathered, a supervisor, but as a solution eluded us they all sort of drifted away.

"I have to get going." Prince said "Can you register my card or not?" He wasn't being petulant. It was just straight up and reasonable.

"How about if" I answered with dawning inspiration "I just put in 'The Artist Formerly Known as Prince'?"

Prince tilted his head a bit and looked earnestly at me for a bit. "That could be useful." He said "That could be very useful." And I suppose it was, just about everyone started using it for awhile. I should check our database sometime, and see if it's still in there.

Not for the weak of stomach

This is the letter I hope we receive one day at my library. But then, perhaps, we already have:

Dear Branch Manager:

Usually I avoid your entire fiction section because of the man who sits there everyday, smelling of an unspeakable rot and peeing and defecating on all your chairs. But today, after lunching on a large burrito, I was really in the mood for a good mystery, so I ventured over hoping for the best. As I was perusing some old Rex Stouts I became so absorbed in them that I forgot to breathe in only through my mouth and reflexively breathed in through my nose! Alas that your epically smelly patron was within a mere 40 feet of me. His putrid odor slammed into me like a runaway locomotive of raw sewage. I gagged, and then, I'm afraid to say, I threw up my lunch (and a few older bits as well) in a wide arc, all across many dozens of mystery books and covering a rich portion of flooring as well.

Anywhere else I would be mortified. I would report it immediately, and, if at all possible, I would do everything I could to clean it up myself.

However, at your library, I get the impression this sort of thing does not concern you or your patrons, and I can only assume the quart of vomit I left in your fiction section will go completely unnoticed. It might even improve things a bit. I hope so.

Yours in all cordiality,


Thursday, April 21, 2016


Oh, hi. Welcome to my blog. Usually there'd be a joke here, but I've decided to be more spiritual. I thought maybe it was time for me to move closer to the soul of the universe and everything, so no comedy here, nope. I'm on a spiritual quest. Sorry. I'll just mostly be ruminating on the graceful nature of clouds and occasionally expounding on what we can learn from the humble rocks and trees.

Oh, look, there's one of my co-workers. No, I can't talk with them about our annoying colleagues or about how problematic the patrons are. Why? Because I believe those people all have sunshine in their hearts. Let us take a deep breath. Maybe we can help coax their sunshine forward. Did you know Siddhartha once said:

"I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value."

I'm pretty sure he said it in German though. But that doesn't mean I can't learn something from it. Jesus once said:

"The world is an open book, and we are an open book to the world."

Or it might not have been Jesus. It might have been St. Augustine, or possibly Oscar De La Renta. The important thing is that I'm a better, more considerate person today, kinder, purer, and more full of love. It wasn't easy. I have been tempted by the small things. But I have found the place where I am free of want. I am at peace.

I did have one question for god though:

Do I get some kind of prize?

No, I mean, seriously.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cracked system

Between the usual daily library hijinks of a bat getting into the library (a Thursday I wasn't here!) and holding up for inspection kids' books about komodo dragons and saying "Isn't it great they've already got biographies for children about Ted Cruz." life mostly plods on at my library. The shelving never stops, always with the shelving. Those Proust books aren't waddling up to their spot in the "P's" by themselves.

And so there I was up in the fiction section with an hour of shelving to take care of. We've been going through a rash of new trainees at my library and samples of their shelving work was all around me. When one is just starting one's career in shelving here at my branch one is instructed to tilt the shelved books spine up as they are placed on the shelf. Then that supervisor guy (I know him!) comes along to make sure they've got the concept down okay. It is not an unreasonable caution. Last week I saw the results of a new hire's work and it was not pretty- about a thirty percent error rate. Nothing curdles my blood in a cold clench of fear quite like a possible rogue shelver being introduced into our library eco system. Fortunately today's new shelved stuff was perfect. Every book was exactly in place just where it should be. But just as I was relaxing into this perfection I noticed a peculiarity. All of the tilted books were duplicates of other, already shelved books.

Was one of our new hires avoiding inspection by merely tilting down surefire, properly shelved books? Had they cracked the system?

Ah well, if they're clever enough to crack the system they should fit in just fine here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The phlegmatic dog


While I'm not above flipping off dogs as I walk my neighborhood I am not unalterably opposed to dogs either. Indeed as hatred fills my heart while some clannish, uncivilized dog barks and gnashes its teeth at me for having the temerity to walk on a sidewalk within a thousand feet of him I try to remember, it is not the dog I so despise, it is the owner. Dogs need to be scrupulously and obsessively trained, and every annoying bark or suggestion of violence on the part of a dog is the responsibility of the dog's dark overlord, er, I mean owner.

If one wants to get a darling, one of the family pet, who one doesn't have to train, get a cat!

That said there are plenty of dogs I am perfectly delighted with. The indications that a dog falls in this category will be largely in the negative. To start with, if the dog is not screaming at me in violent fury and hatred we are off to a good start. Another indication I might like a dog will be that the dog isn't mindlessly barking. It will not be running at me with teeth gnashing and violent rage in its eyes. It is not growling or taking offense at my presence. It is not hyper or shaking or racing madly about. Such a dog will not consider me as an object of extraordinary interest, threat, edibility, or competition. And too it is a dog that is not even that keen on sucking up to me.

Yes, we have eliminated a lot of dogs, possibly even most dogs.

But I have one left for you: a phlegmatic dog. A dog who eyes me with a curiosity both mild and respectful. This is a cordial dog, with the light of humor and intelligence glinting in its eye. A Buddhist dog, a dog who may or may not have forgotten how to bark, but will probably never let us know either way. This is a dog who is vying against the very odds arrayed against it to be dignified and yet appealingly failing in that quest while never ever giving it up. Yes, there is a dog for you. That is a dog for me. I saw one on my walk today. We looked at each other, a fence between us. We said hello. That's all I'm asking.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cat magic

I hate to quote myself, rather I retain an abiding belief that others should do so for me.

Take that Oscar Wilde.

And yet here I am compelled to bring forth this nugget on my own from out of yesterday's missive:

Of all things in this world, magic is both the most skittish and the most friendly.

Even as I wrote it, and could not at that moment in literature travel down the path of it, I thought, like cats. Just like cats

And perhaps there is why the cat is the common and appropriate familiar of all things magic.

A couple of nights ago my wife and I got out of our car, unaccustomedly parked at the front of our house because our garage was being painted, and we heard an insistent,  plaintive mewling. Honestly it sounded like the fake cries of a cat, too loud, too cat-like. But they were no fake cries. Down the middle of our street, on a gorgeous, windy Spring night, came a fluffy, but short-haired gray cat. He was crying out that he utterly needed us. I crouched down. My wife stood in place. The cat reminded me of Olive, a sleeker gray cat who once roamed our neighborhood, eviscerating bunnies and paying us visits. This cat was well fed and collar-less. He swirled around my wife's ankles. He tucked his head into my open hands, rubbing and bumping his face against them. He made a dozen repeated rounds of us, at my wife's feet and pouring through my hands. I pet him. His tail whacked me with a friendly thwap in my back. I thought "This is our cat now, he will never leave us. What will we do?"

And then after ten minutes of utter communion, he was gone.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Take what you have gathered from

I don't mind bandying about with the gods and making easy use of them. But I am cautious in what I call magic, and am slow to use it, for of all things in this world magic is both the most skittish and the most friendly. 

So let's just prudently call this one an act of coincidence, even if I did find it charming.

In the morning, over a brunch of avocados and cold press, I was talking with my wife about a post I had written a day or two previously concerning new people, and about all the thousands of people I have known at the library, and about how much slower I am to now make full acquaintance with people who are around me regularly at the library. I used as an example one person that has both stood out to me as I wrote the piece (which you can surely find just a couple of days back here on the blog) and stood out as I was telling her about this. I told her about a man who we will call Steve, because that may or may not be his name, and who is somewhere within ten years of 67 years old, has been volunteering at my library for several years. For a year or two I did not exchange a word with him. Then, with a slow incremental increase we began greetings, until now we never fail to greet each other with great warmth. Our conversation remains slight, but our greetings are thorough and full of cordiality.

Two hours later my wife and I are in the area of Grand and Victoria. For those of you not from my cities this refers to the intersection of two streets, Grand, and Victoria. More? That's not enough? Okay, it's an area in the city of St. Paul with a fairly dense variety of shops and restaurants, about half chains, half originals. This is all many miles from my library, and even with the thousands of library patrons and staff I know by sight, it would be rare indeed to see any one of them in these cities of three million people, there or almost anywhere not in or quite close to the library

My wife and I are walking along when I hear my name called out in a kindly fashion from a car at an intersection.

It's Steve!

At least, I think that's his name. 


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Causing problems

A patron was up at the front desk of my library, talking to my co-worker, and I heard her saying she didn't want to do something if it caused any bother for the library. Of course my co-worker assured her it wasn't a problem, whatever she may have actually felt in her heart of hearts about it.

And it wasn't a problem, no matter what the issue was. Because I am here to tell you that, in my experience, if you don't want to cause the library any bother, whatever you're asking for isn't a bother. It's the people who evince not the slightest suspicion that they might be causing an undue inconvenience on the library and those of us who work there who might be causing an unreasonable problem.

This rule only applies to people who express concern about causing a problem once though. If you say you don't want to cause a problem twice, you might be, and three times or more and you are definitely causing a major problem whether anyone will tell you or not.

Friday, April 15, 2016

New people

More new people arrived at the library today. It is the first day of training for two pages destined for other branches. I'm pretty sure they have names, but don't ask me what they are. I have never been one to form fast alliances, but decades of working at this library has only increased the stateliness of my pacing. I have now met thousands of new people. I have a highly expanded sense of time here. If you are around long enough I will eventually get to know you, but in one day?  I'm afraid not.

I sympathize. If you are a new employee at my library, or perhaps training for a sub position or for a position at another branch, or too if you are a new volunteer, your first days will be enormous as an overall proportion of your career at the library. But for me that day, in the scope of the geology of my library life, is a grain of sand on a beach. Do you understand how small that day is? I have got to keep on my feet. I have got to keep my eye on the moment I see my wife again. So I hope you will understand. You are like a polaroid picture resolving in slow motion. Don't worry. I have my eye on you. But it may take weeks, months, or even years for you to appear out of the depths of time, out of the murkiness, out from the vast history of a thousand faces until you become distinctly visible.

At which point I will introduce myself. 

And if we're both lucky, we may even become friends.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

I really don't mind

A woman comes to me at the front desk of the library. She has a book club in a bag that she had checked out, which is a collection of ten of the same book, in a sort of a small duffel bag, along with a notebook full of useful information for people having a book club meeting featuring said book. She was missing one of the ten books. There was a long story about how this book had been frantically searched for. All the book club members had been individually grilled. All insisted they had returned their copy of the book.

The theory this woman was now operating with, and hoping was true, was that one of the book club members had returned the book individually to one of our libraries. Unfortunately there was no note on this person's record to indicate such a thing had happened and, when I searched our problem area, this theory fell apart, we did not have the book.

At this point the woman decided she had kept the item over long, and she was extremely unlikely to ever track the missing book down and figured she'd best replace the book. I told  her that she could pay for a replacement copy but not actually buy a copy and replace it. This disappointed her, but she accepted it. I researched costs on the item, explained that once paid for we would not be able to take back the book. All was agreed to and I put a charge for $15.99 on the patron's record. She handed the book club in a bag over to me.

It had all ten books in it.

I cleared the fine from her record, checked the bag in, and sent her on her way.

Eh, I suppose that's library work for you. You put the book on the shelf, someone takes it off the shelf, and you put it on the shelf again . Then someone takes the book off the shelf and you put it back on the shelf in the same place they took it off from. There is no real destination or completion. You don't actually ever get anywhere. It's all about the joy of the journey.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Not bitter at all

I ask the gods:

"Why does time move more swiftly within two feet of my front door, but more slowly anywhere near the front desk of the library I work at, especially whenever anyone says, within hearing distance, 'I just need to get a library card'?",  and the gods get so chatty in their response that it is basically impossible to stop them from talking.

"Time is like a grand buffet, the cheap items that no one wants very much are always plentiful." The gods say. Or "Space is not the same width or weight in all places but comes out even no matter where one averages it."

But then I ask the gods something perfectly simple, like "Why is my blog is not insanely popular and world renowned?" which I don't ask too much these days, but it does occasionally come up, and the gods are all like "Shoot, hang on, I left my hat in The Elysian Fields. I'll be right back!" Only they don't ever come back unless I ask about the meaning of life, or about their favorite painter (John Singer Sargent). Then they talk about John Singer Sargent and Emil Nolde as long as I can stand it, until I ask them what is causing the cramping in my foot, at which point they suddenly have a dentist appointment they are late for.

So what's my point?

I don't know, I'll ask the gods.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Frothing blind

After my comprehensive post on milk frothing you probably were pretty clear on the proper method for frothing milk. Nevertheless some niggling thing oscillated at the back of your brain and you couldn't stop thinking about milk frothing. Finally the question deep in your neo cortex burst forth and you were consumed by the one unanswered question that haunted my blog post:

How does one froth milk if one is blind?

Yes, this is a good question.

The answer is, one froths milk by the sound. If one inserts the steamer wand in the milk and it makes a high, screaming noise, that's okay, but it also indicates that the wand is too deep in the milk. Lower ones pitcher. One is listening for the smooth roar of a distant jet engine. Is it shuddering? Then the wand is too far out. Lower the wand into the milk more. Smoothness is the key here in all things. That smooth and gentle roar will produce a smooth and gentle foam.

Now go and, if not blind, close your eyes as you steam your milk. It's not so hard.

What's that? What does one do if one is both blind and deaf?

One froths by vibration, low and smooth once again. The thrum should be steady and pleasant in ones hands. When the pitcher is hot, but not at all uncomfortably so, one is done.

One can also play pinball using these methods.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Mystery of the glamorous parking spot

I know you come here to have all your questions answered. 

You don't? 

Not even the questions you didn't know you had?

Hmmm. Well that's why I come here. But I guess it makes sense that the two of us might come here for completely different reasons.

But anyway, even though you come here to have all your questions answered, I mean, except for how you don't, there are a variety of things that befuddle me in life, things that I do not have the answers for.

Fortunately I have the gods. As my blog is to you, if you were different, so the gods are to me.

And so here is today's problem:

We not only have a lot of parking spaces at the large suburban library I work at, but they are scattered in a vast variety of distances from the entrances to my library. Not only that, but there are a great many specialty, preference spots at my library, including vanpool and carpool only, handicapped, library use only, and fuel efficient vehicle parking spaces. One of our handicapped spots is by the staff only entrance. It is there, presumably, for the use of disabled employees or disabled volunteers. Its location is convenient to a low key staff/volunteer entrance, but it's location is incredibly far from the front doors of the library. Outside of one or two major events each year there will always be dozens, possibly a hundred available spots closer to the front door of the library than this one, including a few handicapped spaces directly across from the public entrance to the library. And yet every time I glance out the back windows of my library it seems there is some disabled patron parking there or returning, via long, cross parking lot journey, to their parked car there. I have long wondered who these people are that seek out this obscure spot designed for those who have difficulty covering long distance? Who parks in this spot and then treks 200 yards to the entrance of the library? Why do they do so?

I have a few weak theories, but they will not do. So I humbly ask the gods.

The gods are busy roasting a chicken.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tai Chi Library


Welcome to the Tai Chi Library. It is part of our system wide pursuit of multiculturalism. You are very lucky to be here on this day. Tai Chi Library happens just one day every year.

You would like to be directed to the talking book section? I will point the way.






I'm glad I could be of assistance.

Hello, welcome to the Tai Chi Library. In our determination to provide a higher level of multiculturalism today we are the Tai Chi Library. What can I help you with today?


Ah, you would like a good book to read.


Let me see.








Here you are.

That took a long time?


Yes, but you will find that the book is