Miskatonic University Press


alc art

I’m very pleased that two of my LARGinalia series are hanging in the Small Works Show at the Arts and Letters Club. This show happens every year in December, and the rule is that no work (before framing) can be larger than 12” a side. This means the walls are full of many works by many people, usually at very reasonable prices, perfect for presents or for grabbing something by an artist you like but couldn’t afford before. Other LARGinalia prints are bigger, but these two work pretty well at 5” x 7”. (I misunderstood the instructions and thought the limit was 12” after framing.) The price is $50.

If anyone is interested in seeing the show, drop me an email, and I can arrange to meet you there or suggest a time when you could just drop by for a look.

Two framed LARGinalia hanging
Two framed LARGinalia hanging

I’m also very pleased one sold! Each is one of a numbered run of five, and I was able to replace the LARGinalia #6 that sold with another print.

Associate dean job open at York University

code4lib libraries york

York University Libraries, where I work, is hiring an associate dean of the Research and Open Scholarship division.

YUL moved into a new organizational structure in the summer of 2018. There are three divisions, each overseen by an associate dean (AD). The Restructuring Progress Update – Sep 26 explains a bit about Research and Open Scholarship, which is where this AD is needed. (The person who had held that role for a long time left to become a chief librarian at another university; someone internal filled the role for two or three years but then stepped down and the role is now vacant.)

God is an Astronaut in performance.
God is an Astronaut in performance.

(Now, I should say we began to move into a new structure in 2018, because it’s not all done yet. The librarians and archivists have moved and by and large are settled into new roles, though there are a number of unresolved issues. The restructuring is still an item on the agenda of the regular meetings between YUFA (our union) and the Employer. For more about library reorgs, see my post Navigating the Reorganization about an October conference on the subject.)

This division contains Content Development and Analysis (where I am; this department manages the $13 million collections budget), Open Scholarship, Archives and Special Collections and Content Development and Acquisitions (the acquisitions department, which has about a dozen people, but no web presence).

Warning sign on compact shelving: Crushing hazard
Warning sign on compact shelving: Crushing hazard

The ad says:

York University Libraries (YUL) is seeking an experienced leader for the Associate Dean, Research & Open Scholarship position. The position will be attractive to individuals who understand the evolving role of the research library, have a strong understanding of research culture, scholarly communications, content and unique collections, and are adept at championing the Libraries.

Qualifications include:

A successful record of leadership, planning, developing and managing library programs and services and leading staff through change gained through at least five years of experience in library management positions.

There’s no closing date in the ad because the search will be open until it’s filled, but it looks like they’ll start reviewing applications in the second week of January.

No associate dean job is easy. Whoever takes this job will face many of the same problems as at other academic libraries. On the other hand, York University is (aside from the strikes) a fine place to work. I really like being there: the students are smart and engaged, the faculty are doing interesting research, the salary and benefits are good, and it’s coming up on two years since we got a subway station. On the third hand, there are (as you’d expect) some things about the job that are unique to York University Libraries.

I’m not on the search committee. If anyone is considering applying, or gets asked for an interview, I’m happy to take a phone call and answer questions. See also Interviewing at York University Libraries for a general idea of how the day will probably go; however, this is not a regular position so various things during the day will be different.

We need an associate dean, and I hope we get a really good one. Spread the word.

Veronica declines to go to the library

archie libraries

“For Veronica’s Eyes Only” has a one-panel mention of a library. In the story, Betty and Veronica admire Justin Tanley (one of those Riverdale High Students who only appears once), who is very handsome and very intelligent. He only goes for smart girls, who all happen to wear glasses, so Veronica starts to wear glasses to attract his attention. The glasses, which belonged to her college professor great-grandmother, have some sort of supernatural power that makes her want to study more, and she starts to get excellent marks. This attracts Justin.

Justin invites Veronica to the library.
Justin invites Veronica to the library.

Veronica declines because she is going to the museum to study fossils.

The story shows that the public library is used by students as a study space after school is out.

“For Veronica’s Eyes Only” first appeared in Veronica #125 (June 2002), but I read it in B&V Friends (Jumbo Comics) Double Digest #275 (December 2019). It was written by Dan Parent, pencilled by Jeff Schultz, inked by Al Milgrom, coloured by Barry Grossman and lettered by Bill Yoshida.

Wodehouse on Stout

literature quotes

P.G. Wodehouse on Rex Stout and his Nero Wolfe novels:

He passes the supreme test of being rereadable. I don’t know how many times I have reread the Nero Wolfe stories, but plenty. I know exactly what is coming and how it is all going to end, but it doesn’t matter. That’s writing.

I read this in the introduction to Death Times Three, a 1985 collection of three older novellas. It’s by John J. McAleer, who wrote the biography of Stout, which I must read soon. I’ve read almost all the Wolfe stories, but these were new to me, and they’re as good as all the rest, which is to say, excellent.

Wodehouse is dead right: Stout is wonderfully rereadable. That’s a rare treasure to find.

Archie casts a spell

archie libraries

“Book Banter” is top-notch Archie, written by the great Frank Doyle and drawn by the great Harry Lucey. Archie and Jughead are in the library, and Archie is reading Emily Ghost’s Handbook of Spells and Incantations. (That name is a play on Emily Post.) He reads three spells that, without them knowing, all affect Reggie. It’s a really funny story.

Archie studies an eldritch tome.
Archie studies an eldritch tome.

Archie and Jughead are in the library for the entire story—it ends with them leaving, and we see the outside of the Riverdale Public Library. Inside the library, as shown in the panel above, Jughead must be in the fiction section, because nonfiction would never be labelled by the initial letter of the author’s last name. But surely the public library’s fiction section can’t be so small!

“Book Banter” first appeared in Archie #160 (December 1965) but I read it in Archie and Me (Jumbo) Comics Digest #16 (May 2019). It was written by Frank Doyle, pencilled by Harry Lucey, and inked and lettered by Mario Acquaviva. It is copyright Archie Comic Publications.

Elaine the assistant librarian

archie libraries

In “Family Tree Trials” Archie goes to the library to do some genealogy research for a school assignment. Before the web, this was naturally the first place to go when researching one’s family tree. It’s still a great resource. The Toronto Public Library’s genealogy research guide shows the special resources they provide and guides librarians have made. Your local library probably does the same. (Also: don’t give away your DNA.)

The librarian at the reference desk has white hair but seems otherwise vibrant and definitely not old. The assistant librarian, Elaine, is not only the expert on genealogy but also young and rather dishy. This is a rare story where we see two librarians at the Riverdale Public Library. (I think an “assistant librarian” would be a trained professional librarian, while a “library assistant” position would not require a library degree.)

Archie ogles assistant librarian Elaine
Archie ogles assistant librarian Elaine

This is one of a few stories where Archie is enraptured by an attractive young librarian or library assistant.

In the following panels we see Elaine and Archie sitting too close to each other at a table as they each hold one side of a book. Veronica dumps a pail of mop water over Archie’s head in petulant anger. Later Archie tells Midge they are distantly related but Moose doesn’t like that and beats up Archie.

“Family Tree Trials” first appeared in Archie #332 (November 1984) but I read it in Archie and Me (Jumbo) Comics Digest #16 (May 2019). It was written by George Gladir, pencilled and inked by Dan DeCarlo Jr., and lettered by Bill Yoshida. No colourist is credited. It is copyright Archie Comic Publications.

Currently inked


Six pens, with list of inks
Six pens, with list of inks

I’ll leave this on my desk so I know which pens have what. Ideally, I work my way through them all, then when they’re all empty I clean and refill. Sometimes I refill one I really like before then.

framework part 2

art conferences field.recordings podcasts

Part two of “France Audio Montage” is episode #693 on framework radio, just released today. For all the details, see this post about episode #691 a fortnight ago.

Craquelure on a painting by Jacques-Louis David in the Louvre.
Craquelure on a painting by Jacques-Louis David in the Louvre.

Many thanks to Patrick McGinley for running it. It’s an honour to be part of the series. If you don’t already listen to the show, do try it. You’ll hear great things.

Tin trunk


When I was up in Ottawa last week, at the Navigating the Reorganization conference, during a lunch break I went out for a walk with Jane Schmidt, Patti Ryan, and another librarian whose name I have completely forgotten (sorry). We had a nice wander down Lyon Street and back up Kent, where we passed by highjinx. I always like to look in antique and vintage stores, and I’m very happy we went in.

I’ve been wanting to get a lockable metal trunk for a couple of months, and I thought I’d have to get one at the Tire or some place like that. But upstairs there were two stacks of suitcase and trunks, and one was this:

Here’s the top:

A label still attached to the handle shows that David Wilson took it with him when he travelled first class on the Cunard ship RMS Franconia from Le Havre to Montreal in April 1965.

Inside, a page from the 03 February 1930 issue of the Singapore Free Press is stuck to the bottom.

Top left is an ad for what’s on at the Raffles Hotel (“Mura Smirnova, the well-known dancer from Shanghai” and “Murray, the Australian escapologist” were performing), and below that an ad for a Remington Portable typewriter.

And it has a key and it locks.

I was in a rush and didn’t stay for long or get to chat to the people there, and I didn’t clue in to what it’s all about. Next time I’m back in Ottawa I will definitely go back.

Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral


At the Scriptus Pen Show on Sunday I bought a vintage pen: a black Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral. It’s light and slender; at 12 cm long it’s the same as a Lamy Safari but weighs noticeably less.

Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral
Sheaffer Snorkel Admiral

(That’s not a very good picture, I know, but it’s night time and I don’t have one of those little photo boxes. A Duck Duck Go image search will turn up a lot of much better photos.)

There were three other very nice vintage pens I had my eye on, but this one fit my budget ($80, though apparently it was $10 USD when it was new sixty years ago) and the filling mechanism is so strange I couldn’t pass it up.

Sheaffer Snorkel 1952-1959 has all the details about it, with pictures.

In 1952 Sheaffer introduced the Snorkel pen line, which is recognized today as one of the most complex filling mechanisms ever made. The pen was supported with a heavy advertising campaign, proclaiming its clean “dunk free” filling and ease of use. Sheaffer’s early advertisements focus on the filling system, often showing the Snorkel extended and comparing it with hummingbirds or straws to get the point across. Later in the 1950s Sheaffer enlisted celebrities to sell the pen: famous actors such as Jackie Gleason, sports figures such as Jack Dempsey, and cartoonists such as Al Capp.

The insides of this thing are very complex! This video shows how it works.

I bought it from Fifteen Pens, which is Scott Newman, up in Ottawa. He explained all about how it worked inside. He’d restored the pen and guarantees it for a year, so I couldn’t pass it up. I think this pen will become a regular for me when I need a fine nib.

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