LibraryThing has added a great (beta) section of user-created lists. Lists of what, you ask? Well, lists of great books, of course, but also lists of books about women with no heads, lists of things that really shouldn’t be on LibraryThing, books about public transportation.
It’s a new feature, and I can’t find a link to it from the home page, but it’s loads of fun. Not to mention that it’s useful, too.
I was sitting in the Telway diner around the edge of midnight. The Telway is a story in itself: a chrome island built during the 1940s, floating on a blighted stretch of Michigan Avenue. Telway is staffed by the Appalachian whites who long ago moved to Detroit for work and, more recently, to the suburbs to live. It’s open 24 hours and nothing costs more than $2.25. I ordered a fish sandwich and had the place to myself, except for the short-order cook, the waitress, and the cashier. A pair of bulky night workers stood in the vestibule and asked for hamburgers, heads framed by the take-away window. Then an ambulance pulled off Michigan Avenue and parked on the sidewalk outside. A stocky, balding EMS worker with reddened skin and tired eyes came in.
“How much time you got?” he asked the powder-faced redheaded woman working the counter.
“How much time you need?”
“I just watched the cops beat the shit out of somebody,” the EMT said to all of us. “He was being stupid.”
He ordered a large coffee with double cream, and proceeded to tell us the convoluted story. He spoke with a flat affect and blank eyes. It was a robbery/assault at some house “by the train station.” He’d waited outside with the woman who had called 911. She kept telling him to go inside and help the man who’d been assaulted. “‘He’s spitting up, you gotta get in there.’ And I told her again,” he said, “‘I can’t go into a violent situation before the police get here, so we’ll have to wait for the police.’”
It took the police over half an hour to get there, and so they waited on the sidewalk while the woman grew steadily more agitated, railing about it being the EMT’s duty to save lives. She said, “I’m going in to get him! If he dies while we’re waiting and you aren’t helping him, I’m gonna sue the city.” The EMT replied, “Well, that’s a great idea, ma’am. Because in case you haven’t heard, the city’s broke. They don’t have the money to pay my pension. They’re taking away retirement benefits. I’m suing the city. So you can just get in line.”
“That’s Detroit,” said the lanky blue-eyed counterman, with a laugh. He had white hair and was probably of the first generation of Appalachian migrants to come to the city.
Who knew that some noises could eventually become as extinct as the passenger pigeon? Depending on your age, you or your kids or grandchildren may have only heard some of the following sounds in old movies, if at all.
“I know that municipal libraries are feeling the pinch horribly. Feeling the punch might be more accurate, right in the solar plexus, and of course many of us are anxious to believe that public libraries have a real future in the internet age. The London Library may seem like an elitist enclave, but actually it is just another example of what great cities can achieve over time and can keep alive with care and continuity. Its existence isn’t a threat and never has been, to public libraries, or to the great British Library in St. Pancras. It costs no more than many gyms, and what gyms can do for your body, this magical place can do for your mind.”—
“From the National Archives’ Text Message blog, the following letter illustrates what decades of military families have felt this time of year. In December 1969, six-year-old Shannon Hensley addresses her father’s commanding officer, asking, “Will you please let my daddy come home for Christmas?” The officer replied with a promise: “Your father, Shannon, will not be home for Christmas this year, but will serve for you and his country on Christmas Day, in hopes that you, your mother and two sisters, will never have to spend another Christmas alone—without your daddy.””—'Your Father Will Not Be Home for Christmas': Letter to 6-Year-Old, 1969 - Brian Resnick - National - The Atlantic
“How do the zookeepers know the couple wanted to adopt?
The male penguins, named 0310 and 067 — ugh, let’s call them “Adam and Steve,” says Erin Skarda at TIME — were notorious for trying to steal eggs from heterosexual penguin couples. The zookeepers let them try their hand at babysitting, and their success with kids was a big reason Polar Land embraced the pair and had them waddle down the aisle. “They have been a good couple and deserved their reward,” said one keeper at the time, according to Britain’s The Sun.”—The ‘adorable’ gay penguins who adopted a baby chick - The Week
“Thirty-one years ago today, John Lennon was shot to death in front of The Dakota building in New York, where he lived with Yoko Ono. The man who did it lives in a correctional facility in upstate New York, and as news organizations mark the anniversary of that day, comedian John Fugelsang wants them to follow a rule: don’t say his name. That’s exactly what Fugelsang says the killer wants.”—John Lennon Death Anniversary Advice From John Fugelsang: Don’t Say The Killer’s Name (VIDEO)