Monday, August 18, 2014

Blogging Around: The Random Edition

Why the Public Library Beats Amazon — For Now
A growing stack of companies would like you to pay a monthly fee to read e-books, just like you subscribe to Netflix NFLX +1.46% to binge on movies and TV shows.

Don't bother. Go sign up for a public library card instead.

Really, the public library? AMZN +2.69% recently launched Kindle Unlimited, a $10-per-month service offering loans of 600,000 e-books. Startups called Oyster and Scribd offer something similar. It isn't very often that a musty old institution can hold its own against tech disrupters.

But it turns out librarians haven't just been sitting around shushing people while the Internet drove them into irrelevance. More than 90% of American public libraries have amassed e-book collections you can read on your iPad, and often even on a Kindle. You don't have to walk into a branch or risk an overdue fine. And they're totally free.
When I saw the Kindle Unlimited plan, I instantly thought of the young ladies in Georgette Heyer's Regency novels. The bookish ones were often lucky enough to have a relative paying for a library subscription. Amazon's plan simultaneously turned the clock back and forward. A neat trick. And one that could cost a lot of money every year.

So naturally I enjoyed reading this Wall Street Journal story pointing out that many libraries offer free access to e-books, many of which aren't available free on subscription services.

I'll go him one better though. Take some time to look at all the books being offered, not just e-books. I've been really happy to find audiobooks widely available also. And, then, there are the plain old vanilla print books. (My favorite actually.) They've got lots of them too.


Sean Bean Death Scene
If you love Sean Bean the way we do in our family, you'll appreciate this Funny or Die bit which riffs off of how many times Bean's characters are killed off in movies.


Ratting Out Landmines
From DarwinCatholic comes this story of African Giant Pouch Rats trained to find land mines with their exceptional sense of smell. And, bonus, they're light enough that they don't set off the mines when they step on them.

If this doesn't put a smile on your face, nothing will!


Praying for Your Conversion
I’ve seen this attitude before. If I say, “I wish you were a Christian,” a certain type of mind hears, “I want to force you to be a Christian. I want to take over the government, and use the coercive power of the state to make you act the way I think you should.” But I’m not saying that. I’m simply saying, “I want you to be a Christian.”

And I do want that. I want you to be a Christian.

Let me lay it out for you.
  • I believe that eternal life with Jesus Christ is the ultimate good for any human being.
  • I believe the alternative is considerably less pleasant.
  • I am commanded, as a Christian, to love those around me.
  • If I love someone, I seek their good.
  • Their ultimate good is eternal life with Jesus Christ.
  • Therefore I seek that.
I know someone out there is sputtering, “How dare you! Who are you to decide what my ultimate good is?”
Somehow I feel as if most of us have been on one side or other of this issue in one way or the other. Go read all of Will Duquette's logical and moving piece.


Who Among Us is Thirsty?
Last night, as I drove home from work, I listened to the NPR tribute to Robin William’s legacy, and there were tears on my face. They were genuine tears. I love what Williams gave the world.

When I arrived at home, I sat on the couch and shared the news with Anne, who was shocked and saddened like most of us.

And in those moments of sorrow, there was a knock at our front door.


I am not making any of this up. And what’s more — at the time, I was completely blind to the stark contrast between my distress over Robin Williams’ loneliness and despair and my attitude toward the man who had knocked on my door.

Now, it seems like the farthest thing from coincidental timing.
Jeffrey Overstreet's moving reflection on real life, faith, and the loss of Robin Williams.


  1. "But it turns out librarians haven't just been sitting around shushing people while the Internet drove them into irrelevance."
    Shh, it's our greatest secret! :)

    1. I thought of you when I read this. HUZZAH for our hard-working librarians! :-D

  2. TNT has been advertising the new Sean Bean TV show "Legends" with ‪#‎DontKillSeanBean. I like a network with a sense of humor.