Monthly Archives: May 2010

The AP Doesn’t Understand This “Reburial” Concept….

Over the weekend, Canon Copernicus’ recently rediscovered remains (found in their honorable, but as usual for people not paying for conspicuousness, unmarked grave under the floor of the cathedral where he served) were moved to a new tomb in the cathedral, as is suitable to his posthumous fame. The AP freaks out.

Putting a book on the Index was not the same as declaring it heretical. It was a sort of product safety label, telling people not to trust the book without any reservations. Serious students could read them, although in religious orders, they had to get permission from superiors. (But then, in religious orders, you sign up for that obedience stuff.) Books got put on the Index for various reasons, mostly moral and not doctrinal. It didn’t happen to every book with objectionable features; it was about a book being influential but misleading.

In the case of Copernicus’ book, apparently several decades after his death it was put on the Index temporarily, until various religious statements made in the book could be “corrected”. (This being the Vatican, this took several centuries.) The information in the book was not itself forbidden, and by that time there were many other physics books passing the info along about Copernican heliocentrism.

So no, Copernicus wasn’t in an unmarked grave of disgrace and horror. If they’d thought he was a heretic, they wouldn’t have buried him in consecrated ground, much less in the beating heart of the diocese. They just buried him like any normal canon of the cathedral, as was apparently his wish; and now they’ve reburied him like a famous man of achievement, which is what posterity has decided is fitting and he doesn’t get to argue with. 🙂


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Chinese Guy Sings Whitney Houston

Apparently this was a big Chinese internet meme back in April…. It’s from some sort of Chinese version of American Idol.

Anyway, the song starts about the 1:20 mark.

Via Desu ex Machina. (Yes, that’s spelled correctly. It’s a pun thing.)

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Parish Surprise on Staten Island – From Convent to Mosque

Fr. Keith Fennessy, pastor of the Staten Island parish of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, has found a sure way to unite all his neighbors and parishioners. In righteous wrath, that is.

After telling people he was going to sell a big old disused convent on parish property on a residential street to some home developers, he decided instead to sell the convent to a Muslim organization planning to turn it into a community center and mosque. Without asking anyone. Without telling anyone until the papers were signed. For an amount that’s at least $200,000 below the current market value.

Nobody seems happy about it. Parishioners are angry, because their grandparents didn’t scrimp and save to build a convent so that it could be turned into a mosque. (And for cheap.) Locals are angry because parking is already horrible and the streets congested, and they don’t need more people flocking to a mosque set in a residential neighborhood. And just to make it better, the convent’s on a street renamed Egan for a fire captain who died on 9/11.

It seems that Father wanted to be neighborly to the local Muslim community. But… there’s neighborly and neighborly. Selling ground meant for Christ’s use, so that people who deny Christ’s divinity can use it for worship, is not neighborly. It’s imprudent and disloyal to Him. Doing it at a bargain price is grounds for worrying that Father is either mentally ill or was under duress. (Under duress from bureaucrats in the archdiocesan chancery, perhaps?)

And if the local Archbishop approved it, it’s really not good. The article sounds like there was a lot of interference from chancery bureaucrats, and one wonders if the Archbishop even knew about the whole thing.

But even better, parishioners say that “Every time someone speaks to Father Fennessy about this, he accuses them of being bigots or racists.” Nice, Father. Nice care of souls there.

In fact, the Muslim American Society to which they sold the convent is known for espousing racism and anti-Semitism, and for having many extremist ties. The ADL has five pages of background on them that isn’t nice. So why didn’t the Archdiocese do some due diligence on this?

Here’s an article on one of the former pastors of St. Margaret Mary, and about its proud history as a parish.

Fr. Fennessy was previously in the news as the priest who said the requiem Mass at Old St. Patrick’s for John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife.


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Meanwhile, on the Other Side of the Axis….

It looks like those crazy Finns are still on track to release their saga of Nazis invading from their secret base on the Moon. They’ve released a new trailer with actual footage from their movie, Iron Sky.

Turnabout is fair play: a fan video called Rust Sky.

A rather irreverent Action Man action figure fan video. It’s relevant. But I gotta say, somebody’s been watching too much tv from the Sixties and Seventies. The Sean Connery voice is hilarious.

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Yes, the Space Battleship Yamato theme does have lyrics to it.

Many years afterward, here’s the Japanese lyrics being sung. Enjoy!

Also, here’s a nice fan video of an RC model of the Yamato, tooling around in underwater mode at “Starfleet Yokosuka Dry Docks”. 🙂 Yes, the rebuilt Yamato could launch from water or land, fly through atmosphere or run deep in the ocean, as well as being able to travel through space on normal space drive or go into hyperdrive through a warp. She’s an All Purpose Starship. 🙂 has some great stuff from last year’s big (minicon) Japanese fan gathering, Yamato Party 2009. The fandom is aging, small, but hardy! We also meet Anton from Siberia, who looks like he should be a character on the show.

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Not being a very plugged-in fan, I missed the news last January that there will be yet another Space Battleship Yamato (or Starblazers, as we American kids saw it back in the day) movie out this December.

So I see that today, and think, “Aeh, that’s nice.”

A live-action movie.

“Aeh, that’s nice.”

Then I watched the trailer. (Yeah, Harry uses language. You might not want to scroll down too far.)

Derek Wildstar, complete with 70’s hair! Captain Avatar, solid, old, wily, and white-bearded as life!


You can learn more about the movie here.

Yes, darn it, I’m excited about this movie. Very excited. I’m “getting up at 6 AM to tape-record the show dialogue while holding my hand over my mouth” excited. And you know what?

It’s going to be released in Japan on December 1, 2010.

You know what that means?

“Hurry, Star Force! There are only 281 days left!”

On the dark side… they’ve made the sometimes sage, sometimes hentai, nearly always drunk Dr. Sane, Argo’s curmudgeon medical officer, into a woman. Ewwwwwwwwww. They’ve made the ship’s redheaded, freckled male communications guy, Homer, into a woman also, which is… um… way too Uhura, and also creepy.

I’m not as disturbed by them making Lt. Nova into a Cosmotigers fighter pilot. It’s weird for her, but fighter pilot is one of the things her character did occasionally do. (She was a jack of all trades as a spaceship officer.) But given her character’s role as a gentle balance to the amazing amount of extra- and intra-ship combat in the show, I think that turning her into a neo-female Starbuck would be a huuuuuuge mistake.

However, the actress playing her is a female singer and model, so I doubt they’ll de-sweet-ify her too much. Also, she apparently has the Matsumoto-required Long Heroine Hair and Big Almondy Heroine Eyes. She’s from Okinawa, interestingly. Not a typical looking idol singer, either, because her father was half-Brazilian. Hard to tell from her videos if she can act, since they’re mostly all dancing or looking at the camera. But she seems to project a winning personality, so I’m feeling positive.

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How to Use Up Hardboiled Eggs.

Obviously, I should have found these Indian recipes at Easter.

Egg chaat seems to have a lot of variants, but it pretty much seems to mean “halved or quartered hardboiled eggs, plus yummy stuff”.

Egg chaat at the wonderfully informative site

Egg chaat as a street food in Belgium.

Another similar egg chaat.

Egg Manchurian, which is hardboiled eggs with a hot sauce on top.

Another similar dish, with coconut, curry, and garlic.

Hardboiled eggs with a hot sauce for spaghetti.

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Maureen Vs. Writer’s Bump

Apparently, corn remover bandages are good for removing that bump on the side of your finger that you got from writing too much. I am currently trying it. The active ingredient on the bandage is a tiny spot of 40% salicylic acid (ie, just liquid aspirin), but it’s acid nonetheless. So the trick is to get the acid only on the nasty weird waxy calloused skin, and not on your nail or the healthy skin next door. (I’m glad they invented these bandages. I wouldn’t want to pour acid anywhere near my finger.)

The upshot is supposed to be that the acid turns your skin white, the yucky skin dies, and a layer of it comes off when you’re done. If it’s stubborn, you soak your yucky skin in warm water and then the dead skin peels off. You do a few rounds of this, and the bump gets worn down to the normal skin level again. This allows the people around you not to worry about your Giant Writer’s Bump of Doooooom. It’s also supposed to discourage writer’s bump better than freezing or chopping does.

The trick is that each treatment lasts 48 hours. Two whole days of keeping a bandage on your finger and dry, when that’s one of your most used appendages. Not doing well with that. But if you do get it wet, you might get acid going everywhere, even if it’s mild acid. So I’m trying to be careful.

On the bright side, Dr. Scholl bandages are about five zillion times stickier than a normal finger Band-Aid. I guess if you’re aiming at keeping a bandage on somebody’s foot while they walk around and wear socks, a finger is as nothing.

The other trick is that it depends on what kind of bump you’ve got. If it’s really just writing callus or some weird finger corn, it will probably go away forever. If it’s really about an eentsy bit of harmless goo coming out of your joints and puffing your skin up under the writing callus, it’ll come back. (Even faster, if you pick at it.) The dermatologist who looked at it before, she thought it was one of the goo ones. They chopped off a chunk of skin, but it did come back. So I don’t know that this will do anything besides making the finger look better for a while.

But it really does bother my mom to see the bump, and it is a tad unsightly. So we’ll see what happens. I’d rather play with acid than have that dermatologist’s nurse (Yes!! Not a surgeon!) cutting away at me again. Maybe that dermatologist was wrong. Even if not, a spot of acid on a bandage now and then would be easier to maintain than having someone freezing or chopping it away. There is a risk of scarring, but that callus already had plenty of scar. So we’ll see.

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Finally, a Good Explanation of Russian Shashlik

I was looking for more information on the shashlik party vs neopagan temple and pagan guy with ‘traumatic pistol’ incident over in Russia, and found this explanation of shashlik, over among the Freepers:

I’ve had Russian barbecue or shashlik, and it went something like this:

Marinate golfball-sized chunks of pork and slices of onion in lemon juice and water, then alternate them on steel skewers.

Take a rectangular section of heating duct and place it on the ground with the open end up. Build a hardwood fire in it and build up some coals.

Lay the marinated skewers across the open end of the duct and let them cook, turning frequently. Open some warm beers. Drink and tell stories.

Periodically baste the pork skewers with your warm beers. This is a good time to open up the vodka and hey, can we get some zakuski down here?

Eat. Drink some more. Get in the banya. Get out and drink some more. Have some melon. Back in the banya. Jump in the frigid lake.

At no point was any sauce required, whatsoever, other than the alcohol.

88 posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 11:42:33 PM by Sender (It’s never too late to be who you could have been.)

Oh, and a “traumatic pistol” is apparently a sort of Russian non-lethal civilian self-defense gun that really shoots, but with a rubber bullet that’s supposed to be perfectly safe. Except it’s not really safe, especially near eyes and such. And it will put bullet holes through your clothes, too.

“Zakuski” are little snacky appetizer things, like hors d’oeuvres or a relish tray or pickles. They can get very elaborate, but probably not at a grill-out or campout.

“Banya” is bath and/or sauna. You know, the whole beating with sticks and sweating thing.

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List of 2009 Murders of Catholic Priests, Religious, Missionaries, and Aid Workers

My conclusion is that there’s an awful lot of home invasion followed by stabbing in Latin American countries today. Also, that helping people for free is a surprisingly dangerous profession.

Pray for us, holy people of God, and we will pray for you. Rest in peace.

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The Secret Center of the Audiobook World

They say there’s no honor among pirates on the Internet, and yet there are certain things you can’t get for love or money. For example, I point out the largest collection of restricted-use audiobooks anywhere. These books are performed by well-known, experienced voice actors; and they are available on the Web in downloadable form. Yet you don’t find this stuff surfacing anywhere else but in the proper authorized distribution channels.

I speak of the Library of Congress’ famous program of audiobooks (and audiomagazines, and audio-pamphlets) for the blind. (There’s also tons of Braille books and music and so on, in the program… but that’s not my focus. There are various charities and national library efforts in other countries, too, but I don’t know anything about them. But they don’t seem to show up either, so what I say probably applies to them also.)

The LoC audiobooks used to be available only on albums, and later, cassettes, that only played on special players that you ordered from the Library of Congress when becoming a member of the program. This was done partly to get the cooperation of publishers and authors, who were deathly afraid of piracy; and partly to maximize the material you could stuff onto an 8 RPM record (which was also harder to break or scratch with blind handling). These used to be mailed from and to DC, like a sort of ur-Netflix. (Though some materials, like local daily newspapers, were broadcast regionally over the radio on some stations.)

Nowadays, the special cassettes are available from various regional libraries (which also have subprograms of volunteer recordings of local publications), and there are audio files available for download from various authorized sites, as well. You can even look at the LoC catalog and see what books they’ve got and who narrates them.

(So if you know somebody with really impaired eyesight, like an old person who’s going blind or someone who can’t read without putting a lot of effort into it, get them to sign up. It’s all free for blind or seriously visually impaired people.)

(Also for disabled people who can’t turn pages, that sort of thing. You can look it up.)

However, given the number of players kicking around, the number of conversion techniques, and the number of people good at getting stuff they’re not supposed to do, you’d expect much of this vast and timely collection to be available for illegal download. But as far as one can tell, it’s just not. I don’t remember there ever being a time when you ever heard of people distributing them. (Unless there was a time when folks were converting this stuff to digital formats themselves, for the use of the blind.) There seems to be a vast store of respect for this collection and the people who run it, and it seems that nobody wants to mess it up for the blind people.

Yet the tradition of audiobooks for the blind, from various sources pay and volunteer, is probably older than the BBC or Caedmon or any of the sources for commercial audiobooks.

(I will say that, at least back in the 80’s when I knew somebody who used the program, the audiobook readers were very very boring. The house style of the LoC recording studio was as bland as possible, and the readings had a weird tempo, if I recall correctly. Apparently they did a lot of experiments on compression and word spacing and speeding things up, back in the day, so maybe that was why it sounded weird.)

The big audiobook and audiomagazine effort these days is apparently housed at a government contractor called Potomac Talking Book Services, over in Bethesda, Maryland. They seem to employ a fairly large number of professional voice actors/narrators, as well as audio production folks. Their job is to record pretty much every book and magazine that comes out, or at least a good proportion of them.

If you really want to break into audiobooks or voiceover work, I suspect that working for them is probably a lot easier than trying to get a job in California or New York for the big publishers. Certainly Bethesda is somewhat cheaper!


If you know somebody who can’t see very well and would benefit from this program, see if you can get them into it. I’m happy to pay for this with my tax money; and if they’ve paid taxes they’ve already paid for it; so no need to be shy!

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The Secret Center of the Audiobook World, Part 2

According to the Library of Congress, the first audiobooks (“Talking Books”) for the blind came out in 1933. The players for them were developed by private associations, not by business or government. So I was wrong above. Anyway, the LoC initially just bought the Talking Book records from the private group (the American Foundation for the Blind) and distributed them. The other major publisher was the American Printing House for the Blind, in Louisville, Kentucky. So I guess it was always a government contractor thing. It’s just that the vendors were non-profit organizations; and they would have made the books without the government money — just not as many.

(The Library of Congress does have a couple of audio studios. One was for tape recording, but may be defunct now. The other was for academic recordings of folk music, poets, etc. So there were some audiobooks along the way, of a kind.) (Usually, there’s no copyright on anything produced for the US government, because the people have already paid for it. So I’ve never understood why the homebrew LoC recordings do seem to be copyrighted. It’s very weird, and someday I should find out. Possibly they worked through a government contractor also.)

All records from 1933-1958 were normal 33 1/3 RPM. It was after this that the slower-speed players were developed, primarily to provide more playing time per record. But it also kinda cut the program off from the rest of the world’s recording standards; and stuff being “unusable by the public” is actually a desired thing in this segment of the copyright law. (In exchange for being able to ignore copyright, with the full blessing of publishers. Eh, it’s a fair enough bargain.)

Anyway… it would seem that unless legalities stand in the way, or copyrights were renewed, or the recordings in too poor a condition, at least some of the earliest “Talking Books” should be in the public domain by now, since they seem to have focused on public domain books back then. It would be interesting to hear what sort of audiobooks people did back then, since the 1930’s were an audio-oriented age of radio and the talkies.

But if the people are right who say there’s no US domestic public domain sound recording from pre-1972 till 2067 (except for labels that went out of business with no forwarding address or heirs), we’re all out of luck. (And we’d better hope the LoC does good upkeep on its recordings.) OTOH, most countries only copyright recordings till 50 or 75 years after the original date they were put out. So… in almost all countries outside the US, a good chunk of the US library of sound recordings for the blind would be in the public domain right now. This would certainly be very nice for communities of blind people outside the US (not to mention theater buffs). But I don’t know if the US government could legally give them out. Maybe the US foundations could, depending on how weird the legal situation is. An “eligible US citizen living abroad” could probably do whatever he bloody well pleased, if he pleased to. Blind and disabled people from other countries can also participate in the LoC program through libraries in their own countries. However, this very openness of approach will probably tend to prevent the release of books into the wild. (Contented people tend to follow policy, and I’m sure nobody wants to mess this up.) So I don’t anticipate the current situation to change, whether or not it’s legally permissable outside the US.

The American Foundation for the Blind put out the first “Talking Books”, including all four Gospels and the Psalms (the Protestant version), the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Shakespeare — and the following works of ordinary bestseller fiction:

Carroll: As the Earth Turns
Delafield: The Diary of a Provincial Lady
Jarrett: Night Over Fitch’s Pond
Kipling: The Brushwood Boy
Masefield: The Bird of Dawning
Wodehouse: Very Good, Jeeves

(John Knight, an actor, narrated the first Talking Book for the AFB. He stayed with the LoC program so long that he ended up leaving them money! So did the euphoniously named Nymphus Corridon Hanks, a blind gentleman from Heber City, Utah, who left the LoC program his house.)

Interestingly, Helen Keller initially opposed the Talking Books program, thinking other stuff (like blind people not starving) was a lot more urgent during the Great Depression. Construction of the players became a WPA program, however, and apparently Keller was leaned on by FDR to change her mind. (Charisma vs. charisma battle of doom!) But apparently what really helped was that in Annie Sullivan’s last illness, the writer and radio announcer Alexander Woollcott often dropped by to read to her. She even asked for him to come read in her last finger-spelled words. Keller changed her mind.

In the end, blind people ended up being involved in production of the record players (to install small screws by touch, because sighted workers had trouble with it). So it’s an interesting story altogether.

The history of AFB audiobooks is really well put together, and includes some archival audio clips. They employed a fair number of celebrity actors and authors, since they were working out of NYC. (They got the money for production from donations and sponsorships.) They never really planned on producing or manufacturing such things, but the big companies weren’t interested or able to handle so many small “print runs”. So after years of futzing around and meetings with executives, the AFB just went ahead and rolled their own, and the APH followed their lead later. (Despite initially opposing them, since the LoC purchases would be taken from the same budget as was used to buy Braille books — and APH was a major Braille publisher.)

The AFB, employing so many radio actors and stage actors in an era of audio drama on radio, soon found itself producing audio versions of contemporary Broadway stage plays as well. These were particularly popular with rural American blind people, and little wonder.

The first audiobook produced by the American Printing House for the Blind was Gulliver’s Travels, read by a gentleman named Hugh Sutton in 1936 and published in 1938. (By trade, he was a radio announcer for WHAS in Louisville.)

The APH initially concentrated on getting the copyright law for the blind emended to include books for kids, since it was associated with the Kentucky state school for blind kids, and apparently always had school materials as a main focus. Gulliver’s Travels was part of this — though it was an unabridged recording, suitable for adults.

Here’s a whole book chapter about the various AFB readers. It really does sound like some of the major audiobook publishers should get together with the book publishers (or not, in the case of public domain stuff) and the actor agents, and see about releasing some of these for the sighted market — before it goes public domain and they belong to everybody. The historical value of hearing some famous author read her own stuff is incalculable. But of course, it may well be that things are tied up so tightly, legally, that this won’t be possible until they hit public domain.

Shrug. Hard to say. I’m not super worried, since there’s a fairly large population with an incentive to keep them preserved. Certainly I don’t want to glom something not meant for me. But in fifty years or so, it would be a nice present for Americans to hear the dead voices of the Thirties, Forties, Fifties, Sixties, and early Seventies.

Apparently the AFB recently decided to stop producing audiobooks and spun off their production facility as a company called Talking Book Productions. It records books for BBC Audiobooks America, Audible, and a host of other New York City audiobook publishers. The AFB has apparently kept its back catalog, though. (And I don’t blame them.) But the institutional memory seems to have gone into today’s audiobook industry, and probably is part of the reason why audiobooks today are such good quality. It would seem that the secret tradition reserved for blind and disabled folks has partially merged with the commercial one.

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The Secret Center of the Audiobook World, Part 3

The other side of all this are the many volunteer recordings which were and are produced across the country. Inexpensive recording equipment for this purpose appeared after WWII, and volunteer recording was done by so many groups that it got to be an embarrassment of riches. After a lot of different coordination committees and a lot of freaking out, Recording for the Blind Inc. came into being, just to divide labor and distribute stuff, along with some standardization guidelines for recording practices. (Now, apparently, it’s “Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic“. Don’t know when that happened.)

Here’s a 2008 YouTube video about the charity (and a pledge drive). Ironically, the sound stinks. 🙂

It’s fascinating to see how many of us have had to “reinvent the wheel” on this sort of thing. Equally, one can see why some people involved in recording for the blind assumed that podcasters and amateur audiobook readers were wasting their time, when they could be recording for the blind. But it’s also obvious why many people already recording for the blind moved over into podcasting and audiobook reading. Allied hobbies frequently have this sort of churn.

Apparently, though, a lot of the churn was caused by the 1995 Chafee amendment to the blind/disabled copyright situation. Apparently, too many people had been having Too Much Fun recording for the blind, so the definition of a proper volunteer organization that was allowed to donate stuff to the LoC’s library for the blind was greatly narrowed, restricting the power to donate to groups with the primary purpose of doing this stuff. (I think this explains why so many clubs stopped doing recording, in my area. I had no idea.) It’s stupid, because a lot of people are willing to do something as part of their club activities who don’t want to make it their only activity. It also specified that you couldn’t donate anything of a dramatic nature, and that everything donated had to have been previously published in some other form! Smells fishy, frankly.

So if you’ve wondered why some groups just do recordings of stuff for the blind around their state or region, and can’t get it out further, I guess we know now.

Ironically, the very popularity of audiobooks today seem to have threatened ease of use for blind and disabled people. The Library of Congress took a zillion zillion years to develop a digital audio player that wouldn’t be compatible with other digital audio players. They ended up with flash drives in casings shaped like “cassettes”, which are inserted into huge clumsy audio players that look and are operated like cassette players. I suspect that disabled people with mobility problems would find them a giant pain in the butt. The only advantage to them seems to be that you can use these things to play downloaded files from the Library of Congress — since the files won’t play on normal audio players at all — and that they’re free for the blind and disabled.

Meanwhile, normal audio players are smaller, easy to use, and allow you to trade files with other people you know. You can buy them down the street instead of having to order them. Some of them aren’t very accessible, but others are pretty good for that. Some players have customized firmware for such purposes, from official and unofficial sources. The LoC audio players won’t play Overdrive audiobooks, or other common formats people can download from their local library or free sources. There’s even that iPod that talks and tells you what track you’re on.

However, non-LoC players that are specifically designed for the blind have all sorts of speed control and interface features that standard players don’t usually have (without firmware and other extra downloads).

I suspect that since the one is free, and since people are apt to give them the other, a lot of blind and disabled people will just have two separate, totally incompatible audio players hanging around the house. But it seems silly.

Speaking of reinventing the wheel, there’s apparently an organization called Bookshare that provides electronic files of books for free to those disabled people unable to use normal libraries fully (done with publisher permission). It’s apparently a lot like other book scan projects, except more contemporary. I suspect that they’ll have to do less and less, as publishers do ebooks themselves more and more. It’s a lot easier just to give a free book pass at Amazon or Google or whatever to a disabled person, than to make e-texts exclusively for the disabled or mail them copies of books.

Right now, however, there’s a wish list for donated books and a general wish for book donations!

Oh, and here’s the current copyright law that applies to recordings for the blind (and people with other physical disabilities — folks who can’t turn pages, for instance).

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Sometimes History Rhymes

So… you’ve got this powerful country, and one of its border provinces way out on the side keeps having trouble with people coming over the border without checking in. So they ask for more guards or more help, but nada. There’s talk of some kind of new and improved wall, but that doesn’t happen. The province does stuff on its own, and the centralized government gets huffy about it.

All we need are a few more Picts, Scoti, and Saxons, and maybe a big conflict drawing all the forces away from the border and over someplace else… and it’ll be Arthur-zona instead of Arizona.

(Which ain’t my idea of a good time, even if you get the Matter of the Southwest out of it. I’m not sure where the drug dealers and terrorists would fit into this concept… but I guess if sheepstealers and highwaymen can be ballad fodder, anything can.) (And yeah, I know we’ve already got the annoying narcoballad tradition.)

The moral of the story of the province of Britannia is that border administration is kinda important, if you like your territory staying yours.

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