Saturday, June 21, 2008

Weekend Edition

The Quiet American

The Work is throwing a benefit concert this weekend that features light jazz. There are about four dozen reasons why I don't wish to attend this event, but when my supervisor was offering me a free ticket yesterday, I stuck with what seemed like a safe one. "I dislike jazz," I said.

"Oh, really!?" she asked, seeming sincerely surprised. "I always think that really quiet people must always like jazz."

"Really quiet people"?


Books Are Good. Libraries are Good.

In a rare moment of civic-mindedness, I recently got myself elected to the board of the Friends of the Multnomah County Library. Why? Well, because the MCL is probably the best goddam municipal library on the planet, per capita, and because I am passionate about the enrichment it brings to our city, blah blah blah blah blah blah. You know the drill.

I mention this only to put those of you who live here in the City of Roses on notice. When I come after you in person, wouldn't it be satisfying to produce your little membership card and brightly announce "I'm already a member!"?

Those of you who don't live in Multnomah County, you can support your libraries too. Or, if you would prefer to support our library instead, drop me a line. I'll set you up.

A michael5000 Salute to..... Scandium! the Neglected Element that Gives Its All on the Lacrosse Field!

Scandium, a strong but light metal, has the atomic number of 21 but is only about the 50th most common element. It is found in minerals in Scandinavia, from where it takes its name, and in Madagascar. Its biggest use is in alloys for high-end bicycle frames, but its alloys are often used in a few other specialty products, including tent poles, lacrosse sticks, and some handguns.

It could be a useful material for aerospace vehicles, if there was more of it, but world production is only a few thousand kilograms per year. There appears to be plenty of Scandium in the sun, but at the present time we don't have an efficient means of retrieving solar materials. So for now, titanium and chromium fill the general roles that Scandium doesn't.


gl. said...

i'm a member! *waves library card wildly* but (ha!) i have yet to check anything out.

but i love the salute to an obscure periodic element. more!

Michael5000 said...

Ahem, gl. That looks like a LIBRARY card, not a FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY MEMBERSHIP card you are holding there.....

Rebel said...

You're damn straight, it's the best damn municipal library around! I was just there yesterday (I picked up Grammar for Dummies & Thai the Easy Way... btw-there is no easy way).

But on Thursday I was talking to people who hadn't been to the library in like MONTHS... one hadn't been in a year or more. I was shocked, honestly couldn't believe that people could go that long without hanging out in the library.

Anonymous said...

Hm. I don't have a Friend of the Library card, although most def have a regular card. I think of myself as the, uh, patron saint of the library. If they only know the effort I put in to archiving their music collection for them, they'd have a picture of me up in my branch. But I'm a quiet person myself (and do like jazz), so I don't want the attention and adulation that would obviously follow.

Anonymous said...

Yes, living halfway across the county, I must acknowledge that Multnomah is one of the top libraries in the county. I've seen it on many "Top Libraries" type lists... and when the Director of the library I work at want so cite an example of "how to do it right" he often uses MC.

Now if he had half a brain, he could actually implement some of those "best practices" and we could have a cool library too.

Ha! Not in my lifetime.

Tereza said...

Quiet people like jazz? Never heard that one before...

On the subject of supporting our library system: I think my fines alone keep that whole operation afloat! ;)

Yankee in England said...

Grammer for Dummies! Finally a book published just for me.

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting to note the free-flowing, improvisational music blaring from M5K's room down the hall as I read of his alleged distaste for jazz.

And, having so recently scoffed at the possibility of the existence of Scandium, I am delighted to see it in all its glossy, irregular-coastlined splendor.

Anonymous said...

Got here through Rex P's XW site. Two things that caught my eye about your latest posting.

1. I love jazz. Listening to it right now, and going to Herbie Hancock in concert tonight (in Ottawa Ontario). And I'm one of the loudest guys I know.

2. Something you said about Scandium seemed weird to me. There's enough of it at reasonable price to make bycicle, but not enough of it to make an aerospace vehicle. That's odd. I thought that NASA's budget would be bigger than most retail bike purchasers.....

fingerstothebone said...

I didn't know you get a card from Friends of the Library! I need more cards! Where's my card, Mr. Member of the Board? (I did give them money, and I don't believe I received any cards.)

The [Cherry] Ride said...

C'mon, admit it - you LOVE jazz

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I am going to have to become a friend of my library. I am already friends with a librarian. This should make the transition easier.

Good for you btw!

You're a really quiet person? Well, you are library friendly.

Salute scandium. I just bought a new bike. Not high end though. Will have to see what's in it.

Michael5000 said...

@Rebel: I lived three blocks to a MCL branch for more than a year without going inside. That seems very strange to me now.

@Tereza: Thank you for keeping the system afloat with your late returns. Since it's such a big part of the budget, I probably shouldn't tell you this, but: go to the website, go to "my account," push "renew all." Fines, begone!

@Yank: I'm thinking of starting an organization called "Dummies for Grammar."

@Mrs.5000: Hail, Victor! That would be the Coleman Hawkins.

@Opus: Aerospace vehicles tend to be pretty big. There could be, and is as I understand it, enough Scandium around to alloy into a couple thousand bikes, and not enough to make a spacecraft. And, they tend to want to make several to many of an aerospace vehicle, not just one. And, here in the United States of America anyway, we are still flying our space vehicles from the 1970s. How many people are riding bicycles from the 1970s?

@fingers: Now that you mention it, I'm not sure there's an actual card. I'll get back to you on that. We certainly appreciate the money. In fact, send more. In fact, let's talk about estate planning.

@[Cherry]: I'm not willing to admit that as this juncture.

@boo: I'll be a friend of your library if you'll be a friend of my library.

I think of myself as a moderately noisy person. That could be delusional, though.

Yankee in England said...

Yesterday when I got off the bus at my train station they were playing live jazz as part of the summer of live music it made me think of you. If I was in posession of my camera I would have recorded it for you. He He He.

Let me know when you start up the Dummies for Grammer and I will pay my dues and collect my card.