I’m washing so much my hands are as dry as my wit.
I’m washing so much my hands are as dry as my wit.
Two good recent resources for a Stoic approach to COVID-19 and the crisis:
Some things are under our control and some things are not, as Epictetus said. It’s time to reread his Discourses.
Of the sixty-nine issues of Listening to Art published (the latest came out two days ago), due to the COVID-19 closures only five works of art are publicly accessible now. If you’re missing the experience of being in a gallery, audio field recordings will bring it back to you.
These locations are closed (the counts are how many recordings were made there):
These locations are still accessible:
Nuit Blanche (Toronto) is a one-night-a-year event; who knows if it will happen this fall. There are also two private collections which are also closed to visitors.
Following up on two days ago: all the branches of York University Libraries are now closed, and the law library is shut too.
COVID-19: York Libraries Services and Operations Update lists everything that’s happening. All research and reference support is now purely online. There is no access to physical items (print books, archival material, etc.); all in-person workshops were cancelled already; interlibrary loan is suspended.
Access to all online resources remains, and help for students and faculty is available online, as it was before. We’re all still working, just from home.
I’m very glad the libraries are closed. How things are going to go over the next while I don’t know, but I’ll keep posting about it.
I’ve uploaded two hour-long audio files to the Internet Archive: York University Libraries Ambiences.
These are recordings of ambient environmental sounds and room tones at York University Libraries in Toronto, Canada.
The first was made in the Steacie Science and Engine ring Library on 28 August 2019. It was closed, but sounds from outside came in through the wall. The second was made in the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections vault on 21 October 2019. No people were in the vault, so only the air circulation system can be heard.
Anyone who usually works or studies at York University but is now at home and misses the sounds of the libraries and archives can use these to provide some comforting background sound. Others may enjoy them too.
The files are CC BY. I will check my sound archives and see what else I might be able to add.
I’ve written a long piece, Judge Frank Denton and the Brown’s drug store case, 1938, about a drug store theft that my grandfather tried in July 1938.
It starts with my grandfather’s handwritten notes from his bench books, which were journals where he wrote notes on trials as he presided. They’re in the Archives of Ontario and available to the public, so I had a look. One case in particular caught my eye, so I transcribed the notes and did some research into the case and the neighbourhood where the crime happened.
There is relevant digitized material from the Archives of Ontario, the City of Toronto, the University of Toronto and the Internet Archive all freely available online, and I have access to ProQuest Historical Newspapers so I could look at old issues of the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail. (The Toronto Telegram I looked at on microfilm. It really needs to be digitized, and I know there’s a project starting to try to do that. I hope it succeeds.)
It’s rare I do this kind of research, and I enjoyed it very much.
If you’re interested in a close-up view of a small crime in a Toronto neighbourhood that no longer exists, have a look.
Many of us inside York University Libraries are trying to get the dean and those above her to close the libraries. “Beginning Monday, March 16 all #YorkU classes will move to online formats in response to COVID-19” says the Coronavirus Information and Update site, but a message from the dean on Friday evening said, “The libraries remain open.”
“The only thing wrong with a mistake is when you keep making it.” —James Brown, in the introduction to “World” on Live at Home With His Bad Self, recorded 01 October 1969 in Augusta, Georgia.
He was interviewed by Nora Young, who didn’t get much of a chance to ask questions because Gibson was quite loquacious. I imagine it was a combination of his natural nature and being at the end of a book tour.
A couple of good quotes from Gibson:
I mentioned the podcast Fungi Town last year (and the year before), but I’ll mention it again because a) if you’re interested in fungi, you’ll definitely want to subscribe, and b) I myself am mentioned because I just started to support it on Patreon. (I was supporting it before, but stopped and restarted.)
The current show is the first of a two-part interview with Roo Vandegrift, who talks about a particular kind of fungi that live on leaves of trees: the fungi eat sugars made by the trees, but the trees aren’t hurt, and they like the fungi because the fungi are disliked by ants who want to eat the leaves. It’s like the trees are supplying food to a helpful army of fungal guards who defend against ant attackers.