Tuesday, June 6, 2023


This is the backside of the Homebase store where I bought my garden plants over the weekend. This store is supposed to be demolished, along with a nearby grocery store, parking lot and mall, to make room for a massive housing redevelopment scheme, but that's all still in the planning stages. I'm not sure why the graffiti bees are sad, because supposedly there will be a lot more green space under the new plan, but overall it's a contentious project.

I slept like a rock last night and it was fabulous. The night before I didn't sleep well at all -- I woke up at 1:30 a.m. and didn't get back to sleep for a couple of hours -- so I guess I had some catching up to do.

And now I have no idea what to write because there just isn't much going on. Or rather, there's a lot going on but it's all boring, at least for blog purposes -- just end-of-the-year tasks at work. I sent a bunch of e-mails yesterday in a last-ditch effort to get kids (especially graduating seniors) to clear their accounts and turn their books in. Supposedly they don't get yearbooks otherwise, so I held that possibility over their heads, though I'm not sure that rule is ever actually applied. It may be an empty threat.

You know, I like a paper book when I'm reading, but it's times like this that make me think, "Wouldn't it be terrific if all this was done electronically?" Why do I have to beg errant teenagers to turn in their yellowed, battered, dog-eared paperback copies of "The Handmaid's Tale" when, if they had an e-book, the system would simply end their access? We have e-books, so that's not a huge leap. They just don't get used as much as the paper ones. (I don't think -- to be honest I know nothing about the circulation stats for e-books, because that's my boss's domain.)

The same goes for magazines. Why do I spend so much time processing paper magazines -- unwrapping them, putting them in the binders, taking them out when the next issue arrives and circulating them to staff members who signed up to read them, filing them in the past-issue boxes until the boxes fill up, then recycling the oldest issues? Why don't people just read them electronically? I ask myself this question about my own New Yorker subscription. As I've said before, it seems ridiculous that I get a paper copy in the mail every week when I could just go online.

THINGS. Why are we still passing around OBJECTS?

Yes, I know, I'm talking myself out of a job. In this position I feel a bit like I did when I worked in newspapers -- like I'm surfing and the wave of coming technology is about to swamp me, but by golly I'm going to surf as long as I can.

This snapdragon has sprouted on its own in a crack on our front porch. I had a pot of yellow snapdragons out there a couple of years ago and one of them set seed, so this was a nice surprise. I was afraid the Russians would pull it out, not knowing what it was, but they've left it alone and now it's pretty obvious so I think it's safe. I even try to water it now and then, though getting water into that crack is a challenge.

Speaking of which, we haven't had rain in quite a while and the ground is pretty hard out there. I'm seeing showers in the forecast for this weekend. We'll see!


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Objects? The word "object" is another odd one. An object can be a thing or a verb that suggests protest as in "I object to the object you have placed in front of me!". I find "by golly" to be an odd expression. I trust you were not referring to gollywogs/golliwogs as that term is now deemed to be politically incorrect.

sparklingmerlot said...

How decent of the Russians to leave well enough alone.
I am surprised the young'uns read actual paper books. This is to be applauded.

Ed said...

Over here, they threaten to not release your final report card or let you graduate if you still have a book checked out. If that doesn't carry enough weight, the cost of a replacement book is tacked onto registration costs in the fall for the following year. My daughters are always bummed because the library is essentially closed to them for the last couple weeks of the school year.

I think your idea of ebooks is a great idea but I know if we tried to implement it at our school, I would hear an unending stream of how it disadvantages those without electricity or internet access or ability to carry another physical object in their backpack. People tend to complain mightily about any change instead of trying to figure out solutions to make something different work.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Is “by golly” an expression commonly used in England? Because, by golly, I haven't heard it in a long time. That snapdragon is a stunning volunteer.

Andrew said...

I am surprised kids still read physical books, but whether or not, there will always be a place for school librarians.

Boud said...

Dull end of year tasks. What happens if the books never come back?

Bob said...

I am THAT person that wants to hold a book in my hands and turn the pages one by one; I once had an e-reader and it didn't last long because it didn't feel right.

Marcia LaRue said...

I believe the term "by golly" is an American expression! Perhaps a replacement for "absolutely" or "yessiree" ... For instance: Yes, by golly, I am going to go see that show!"

Red said...

As I've said before, "End of year activities are stressful. Much of it is busy work and field trips.

ellen abbott said...

I love flowers that volunteer in cracks like that.

Ms. Moon said...

Whenever I see a plant coming up and even thriving from a crack in the cement, I am always reminded of that quote from Kurt Vonnegut- "Life. There is just no stopping it."
At least I think it was Vonnegut.
I don't think that paper books will be gone entirely for a long time. Again, I could be wrong.

NewRobin13 said...

I don't know why, but I want paper books to stay around. There is something about holding them in our hands, turning pages, placing bookmarks and sometimes even highlighting a sentence or paragraph that feels so right about literature and everything else that gets published.
I love that snapdragon's blooming beauty and perseverance.

Sharon said...

I subscribe to the NY Times and the Washington Post and use both of those online only. However, I do still like to hold a book in my hand when I read a book. I wonder why that is. My sister has a Kindle and uses it exclusively.
I love that snapdragon growing from that tiny crack.

The Bug said...

Our local paper is going to three days a week, so on Sunday I spent some time setting my dad up on their digital site so he can see the comics and obituaries. I really prefer my books to be digital, but I know for a fact that I won't read a digital magazine or newspaper. It just feels weird.

That snapdragon is amazing!

Allison said...

I have not held a book in my hands for years, I've completely gone to the dark side with books. However, I still read paper New Yorkers, which is weird. Newspapers are all online, just don't like the feel of the ink on paper. IMHO New Yorker has slipped a bit in article goodness, I may not renew next April.

Damselfly said...

Love the tenacity of the snapdragon! Plants are so resilient. Glad you're watering the snapdragon.
Books - want to hold them in my hands to read. Not a fan of e-readers & digital books. Books will always be found in my home.
Newspapers - online versions of US & UK papers. May pickup a paper copy of a local paper when traveling out of curiosity.
Magazines - don't read very often these days.

Kelly said...

The advantage to ebooks for me is being able to enlarge the font for my old eyes, but I still like to read "real" books. As for magazines, I only want the real thing! Then I'm able to pass them along to other family members to enjoy, as well.

Margaret said...

I like both types of books but have switched over mostly to Kindle since I read a lot before going to sleep. (bad, I know) However, I tend to remember things better in books I read in physical form. I can also re-read passages way easier in actual books; I am always discombobulated in an e-book.

Ellen D. said...

I hope paper books will be here as long as I am still here and can read them. I really do.

Tasker Dunham said...

Going by its size, the snapdragon has plenty of water.

John Going Gently said...

Snapdragons are tenacious devils
I’ve always loved their ability to live from a crack in the ground

Steve Reed said...

YP: You've made me wonder where the exclamation "golly!" comes from. I assume it's because people wanted an alternative to taking the Lord's name in vain -- similar to "gosh!"

Caro: It IS to be applauded, absolutely. I just wish they'd bring them back!

Ed: Well, in public schools, it's true that e-books would put some people at a disadvantage. Our particular school probably doesn't have that issue, as it's private and quite expensive.

Mitchell: I'm definitely drawing on my Southern roots!

Andrew: They check them out, anyway. The cynical side of me wonders how many of them actually get read!

Boud: We threaten and cajole and contact the parents to try to get payment, and in the rare instance that none of that works we just erase it from the system and call it a day.

Bob: I've never even tried an e-reader, so you're a step ahead of me. I definitely prefer a paper book, but at the same time, it seems silly.

Marcia: That's it! You know what I'm talking about. :)

Red: Yeah, there is a lot of traveling going on at the moment!

Ellen: Me too. It's amazing how durable flowers are.

Ms Moon: It SOUNDS like Vonnegut, but when I Google it I'm not finding that exact quote by him or anyone else. Hmmmmm...

Robin: Well, as I said, I like a paper book, so I get that. But there's a real feeling of futility after I've spent weeks or months trying to get a kid to return a book, only to find when it comes back that it's a tattered old relic that probably belongs in the trash!

Sharon: I should probably subscribe to the Post. I've thought about it but I haven't done it yet.

Bug: See, that's interesting. I read the newspaper online every day. To me it seems much less natural to read an e-book!

Allison: Interesting! I still find The New Yorker pretty riveting for the most part.

Damselfly: Yeah, I love buying a local paper when I travel. You can learn so much about a community that way! (Less so now than in the past, because local papers are so thin.) I think magazines have suffered most of all in the digital era.

Kelly: That IS a good point in favor of e-books and e-readers.

Margaret: THAT's interesting. I've heard that our brains process information from paper books differently from what they see on a screen. I'm not sure why that is. (Training from television?)

Ellen D: I prefer a paper book too, even as I realize it seems like an antiquated way to read.

Tasker: I don't know how, growing in a cement crack like that! But yeah, it seems to be holding its own.

John: We had one in our previous flat that grew out of a crack in the wall above the front door. It was there for years!

Jeanie said...

You make a lot of sense, at least for a library, to be digital. I hate reading online, though. But especially for kids checking out and not returning, lots of sense. There's something about paper -- turning the page, reading a used book and wondering if the person who read it before was liking it (or not) as you were... I don't ever want to see them end. (Though when my vision goes and I need bigger print, I'll probably buy into it...)