Just Shelley

Not always good

Sometimes life is good, and sometimes it’s less so. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow understood this.

Into every life, a little bug must fall.

close up of dragonfly

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solenm main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Excerpt from The Psalm of Life

blue dragonfly


Comments to comments

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I don’t remember this being written about anywhere, and I don’t know how old the ability is, but you can now add comments to individual product reviews at Amazon.

As an author, what a wonderful way of responding to comments on one’s work. For others, what a great way to get more detail from the original commenter, or provide counter-point and/or appreciation.

Just Shelley

This door swings both ways

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Sometimes the iTunes store is spot on when it makes a recommendation, and that’s how I can to download Herman’s Hermits Retrospective–the group’s best songs, very nicely re-mastered.

I’ve enjoyed this CD immensely, with its reminders of hip-huggers, tight sweaters, and big bright posterboard flowers, shaggy hair, white lipstick, and color! Color was very big at that time. It’s odd but I’d never noticed before that among the flower-power pop-rock songs, the band had some rather non-trivial lyrics, such as The Door Swings Both Ways:


Everyones life is bittersweet
It’s a door that opens wide
And no man can call himself complete
Till he’s seen it from both sides

This door swings both ways
It’s marked ‘In’ and ‘Out’
Some days you’ll want to cry
And some days you will shout

This door swings both ways
It goes back and forth
In comes a southern breeze
Or a cold wind from the north

This door swings both ways
Lets in joy and pain
In comes the morning sun
And then the evening rain

This door swings both ways
Lets in dark and light
Every day you make the choice
To let in wrong or right

When shadows fall
You must prepare yourself for sunshine
For everything there is an end
And so my friend you must be brave

This door swings both ways
Which one will it be
Will we live in happiness
Or dwell in misery

This door swings both ways
Lets in earth and sky
Make the most of livin’
If you’re not prepared to die
Make the most of livin’
If you’re not prepared to die.

I agree with this reviewer, it’s some of the less well known songs that have better stood the test of time, including the lovely East-West, My Sentimental Friend, and Here Comes the Star. This was the last of this type of music, before pushed aside by the edgier, grittier music inspired by the increasing anti-Vietnam War sentiment and movement.

The time is ripe for a newly mastered collection of this lesser-known group. Looking at the popular Web 2.0 web sites, most would have felt at home back in the mid-60’s: big, curvy flowers, bright pastel colors, and plenty of bubbly optimism made more piquant by knowing that the hammer’s about to fall.


Just Shelley

Guido the Librarian

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I had checked out a book in late July on art and photography. It’s an older book, recommended by one of you, and not necessarily a quick read. It’s history showed I was the first person to have checked it out in several years.

As happens sometimes, I read a bit and then got caught up in the book I’m writing, as well as proofs, and site design. I realized I wouldn’t have time for it until after I finished my book, so I put it down on the gossip bench by the door to take back to the library. I promptly forgot it, until I got a notice a couple of weeks ago from the library. It was ten days overdue, due back August 28.

I immediately renewed the book (until October 10th), which I usually do with overdues, and then dropped it off at the library a few days later. Being distracted, I dropped it off at the county library not the city public library. I realized my error the next day, but the libraries have an inter-department book return plan so wasn’t worried. Not until today when I received another overdue notice, this one threatening to send me to a collection agency to collect the costs of the book if I didn’t return it.

I’m not sure where I was more taken aback: that the county library still hadn’t returned the book, or getting what amounts to a collection agency threat from my local library.

I called and found out the book was returned, and this notice must have gone out the same day. I was also informed that I now owed $.85 (that’s 85 cents) in overdue fines. I refrained from asking if they were going to send Guido over to break my kneecaps and hung up.

I can understand about libraries wanting their books returned on time, and I try to do so, and am happy to pay whatever fines I owe when I’m late. But this: a collection agency? On the second notice? Less than three weeks after it’s overdue? With a $.85 fine?

I checked around and found this weblog post from another person facing the same ‘threat’ from her local library, for what sounds like a book she never even checked out.

This may make sense economically, and from a business perspective, but I feel oddly betrayed. The friendly neighborhood library I once knew from long ago is gone–replaced by this efficient machine more interested in economics than community ties. Oh, before you ask, the public library has a reserve fund of over twenty million dollars, a reserve that gains about a million a year. The people in St. Louis take good care of their library. Too bad the same can’t be said for how the library takes care of the people in St. Louis.

Needless to say, I will drop off payment for the fine next week, when I also turn in my card. As they’ve demonstrated, they don’t want people checking out their books: books are meant to be shelved.

Just Shelley

What’s really interesting

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Time to refocus on what’s really interesting…starting with this post, linking to a wonderful film on the Vampire Squid from National Geographic.

(Thanks to PZ Myers for the link.)