Miskatonic University Press

Tasteful Corn on the Cob

vagaries

Today I saw an something astounding, incredible, bizzare and inexplicable: it is possible to buy pre-cooked corn on the cob in a bag.

Front of package.
Front of package.

One dollar for each pre-cooked plastic-wrapped weirdly soft cob.

I bought this in April. The best before date is in October.

Back of package.
Back of package.

But note: they are “non-GMO.” Phew! That means healthy!

412 ppm

climate.change

Two days ago atmospheric CO₂ jumped up to over 412 ppm (as measured at Mauna Loa and seen on GHG.EARTH). Not good.

412.63 ppm.
412.63 ppm.

York U job: head of science library / physical sciences librarian

code4lib libraries york

At York University Libraries, where I work, there is a search on right now for Physical Sciences Librarian and Head of Steacie Science and Engineering Library.

The deadline for applications is 2 June 2017. If you know a librarian with a background in the physical sciences who might be looking for a job, please send them the link.

I’m on the search committee, so I can’t give any tips, but I’ll point out a few things:

  • York University pays well. For historical pay equity reasons there’s a sort of grid that determines salaries based on the year one got one’s MLIS, so there’s no bargaining that will happen. Someone who got their MLIS in 2007, ten years ago, could expect to make about $120,000.
  • Librarians are in the York University Faculty Association (a union that takes social and progressive issues very seriously) and have academic status.
  • The benefits are good.
  • Americans are welcome to apply. (In Canada health care is publicly funded, etc.)
  • York University is an exciting place to work!
  • The strategic plan mentioned in the ad is a little hard to find on our site, so have a look.
  • There’s an affirmative action plan in place, and in this search we added this to the standard paragraph: “People with disabilities and Aboriginal people are priorities in the York University Libraries Affirmative Action plan and are especially encouraged to apply. Consideration will also be given to those who have followed non-traditional career paths or had career interruptions.” We mean it.

If you want to find out more about York and what the job would be like, email me at wdenton@yorku.ca and I can put you in touch with someone not on the search committee.

Close to 410 ppm

climate.change

Atmospheric CO₂ is almost at 410 ppm, as measured at Mauna Loa and seen on GHG.EARTH.

409.82 ppm.
409.82 ppm.

Unconventional Perogies

vagaries

Unconventional perogies.
Unconventional perogies.

If I ever publish a book of my collected verse, I will call it Unconventional Perogies.

The Frantics

radio

The Frantics, the great four-man comedy troupe that did Frantic Times on CBC Radio from 1981–1984 (one of the top five best radio comedy shows of all time, in my books), is doing a Best of Frantic Times podcast. They say: “The idea behind Best of Frantic Times was to take the best of the 120 episode, 1000 plus sketches that were originally broadcast and turn them into a series of podcasts. We did not want this to be a trip down memory lane, though there will be a some of that, but a reintroduction to a show that is still funny today.” It’s as funny as ever. I recommend subscribing to the podcast to hear the best of the show in all its glory (and in good-quality audio, too). Check out the video clips on their site as well. I saw them live once and they were fantastic.

Duchamp, librarian

libraries marcel.duchamp

I’m reading Calvin Tomkins’s biography of Marcel Duchamp (Duchamp: A Biography) and today learned something new and surprising: Duchamp trained and worked (briefly) as a librarian.

In November 1912, for various reasons, Duchamp was fed up with painting.

Now, in order to concentrate his energy on the large-scale work that he had conceived in Munich, he decided to withdraw from all other artistic activities and to look for a job that would supplement the modest allowance he still received from his father. What sort of job? One that would not take up too much of his time, obviously. Picabia found the solution. His uncle, a bon vivant and man-about-town named Maurice Davanne, happened to be director of the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, one of the city’s most distinguished research institutions. With Davanne’s assurance of a future position, Duchamp enrolled that November in a librarian’s course at L’Ecole Nationale des Chartes. A library job appealed to him because it meant “taking an intellectual position as opposed to the manual servitude of the artist,” but he was not giving up on art. As he would later explain, “There are two kinds of artists: the artist who deals with society; and the other artist, the completely freelance artist, who has nothing to do with it—no bonds.”

I repeat: librarianship meant taking an intellectual position as opposed to the manual servitude of the artist.

Fountain
Fountain

A few pages later (from p. 110 to p. 119):

Having completed his course in library science at l’Ecole des Chartes, Duchamp started work as an intern at the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in April or May. “It was a wonderful job, because I had so many hours to myself,” he said. “My hours were ten to twelve and one-thirty to three, and I got five francs a day. My father helped me, and I wasn’t married, so it was plenty.” Duchamp took advantage of the library’s research facilities during this period to carry out the only serious, sustained reading that he would ever do in his life.

This was at an important point in Duchamp’s artistic development. The implication is clear to me.

Vial of Paris air.
Vial of Paris air.

(Images are of two small parts of the magnificent De ou par Marcel Duchamp ou Rrose Selavy: Boîte-en-Valise, a replica of a box Duchamp made containing examples of all his art.)

Show notes

vagaries

Let’s make “I’ll put that in the show notes” the new “Let’s take that offline.”

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