Sunday, November 12, 2023

Sunday Salon



A post on the new biography of Lou Reed by Will Hermes. The skinny: if you like Lou Reed, you'll probably be interested in the biography. If not, not...

That sent me to rereading Delmore Schwartz, who was Reed's teacher when he was an undergraduate. One of Schwartz's poems here.

Then Rebecca Solnit's most recent Orwell's Roses. Pretty great, I thought. 

I read (The third time? I think.) Rex Stout's Fer-de-Lance, the first Nero Wolfe mystery, because...does one really need a reason? It was there. I could blog about it, but I've already finished that challenge. It's a good one.

Two novellas from my list of novella candidates. They should get their own post soon.

Where I Am

This guy showed up. (It doesn't look like the same hawk as previously.) We have seen hawks with their pigeon kills in the back yard before, but lately they've been peaceable enough...though this one doesn't seem to be underfed. (Does the photo make me look fat? Yes, yes, it does!)

But!...The Horror!

The Toronto Public Library has been hit by a ransomware attack, and the website has been down for two weeks (as of tomorrow). 

Library branches are open, but my local branch is quite small and was originally built as a children's library. The books I want almost never come from there, but I go to the website and request they're sent to my local branch. Under normal circumstances that works beautifully. But now I'm not likely to go hunt them down elsewhere, and, in any case, I don't have any clue where to find them without the website. (TPL has a lot of branches.) So I'm limited to the books I have.

For myself, I'm not too worried about the data breach. I'm good about passwords, and my PIN for the library is different from every other PIN. My address and phone number wouldn't be that hard to come by anyway, and if they can figure out how to monetize the knowledge that I read a lot of books, well, God bless... It's the fact I can't get more books that's driving me nuts.

The poop on the Internets is it's some outfit calling itself Black Basta. They're shadowy, of course, that's the point, but they seem to be Russian and quite possibly state-adjacent. Not that I didn't already have enough reasons to dislike Putin, but if now he (or his minions) have taken down my library, it's...time for Regime Change!

But it's the rare cloud that doesn't have at least a little silver on the inside... 😉 I read the New York Times via the library. The way it works for us is that you get a three day subscription, and then you have to renew. Maybe you can renew and maybe you get an 'All of your institution's passes are currently in use. Try again later' message. I can play Wordle without the NYT subscription, but I can't use the WordleBot to find out how my guesses stacked up unless I'm connected. But with everything frozen in place at TPL, my three-day subscription has now lasted two weeks. The Other Reader and various friends are locked out of the newspaper, but the WordleBot (and any of the awful news I want...hmm) I can get to.

Hope your week has been good. (And your library is working!) 


  1. I had something like that happen to our school library district library network and we couldn't check out books, or had to do it the old-fashioned way, for 6 weeks! I was a nightmare.

    Head Full of Books

  2. Oh my gosh. Why in the world would Russians want to take down the library? I've had my head spinning for months now about all the crazy book bans going on. I feel like I am in some sort of horrible alternate universe these days.

    We often have hawks show up in our yard, but ours are mostly Mississipi Kites. This hawk is beautiful.

    Thanks for the reminder about Orwell's Roses. I need to read it this month, I think.

    1. For the money, I guess. Much as I want the library back, I hope they don't pay up, but they're being discreet about what exactly is transpiring.

  3. Not being able to get books from my library would drive me crazy, too! I hope they're able to solve the problem soon.

    1. They're still saying they don't even have a timeline. Yikes!