Benny's World

Saturday, October 22, 2005

North of Boston, part 2

Recently, I had an opportunity via being on an advisory board to return to Boston. I saw some former housemates and actually stayed with one of them for a couple of nights. It was nice because even though she dwells in a different domicile, a lot of it was familiar and therefore homey to me. I liked her housemate; he seems to complement her in lifestyles. Seems to be a good fit for both.

It was good to see my McNair Trekker friends too. One of them I worked with at Baker Library. I hadn't seen him in 9 years--since I moved away. While he was having some work issues, he still looked happy, and still doing the entrepreneurial stuff on the side, such as teaching tai chi classes.

Speaking of Baker Library, one of my buddies from the Northeast who is also on this advisory board, picked me up and we went to Baker Library to see the "complete makeover." However, renovation is the right word since it means "To restore to an earlier condition, as by repairing or remodeling" or "To impart new vigor to; revive". The reading room looked like when I started working there in 1988; all of the wood had been taken out, treated, and restored. The differences were good though, in moving the microfilm on the same floor, but still in a quiet space, along with the photocopiers and restrooms. I liked the lobby areas too as the students have a place to watch what's going on "the Street" (wall street) and can choose to read your favorite financial newspaper. What I didn't like was that the trading post was stuck on the bottom floor and not being showcased.

I saw a few former colleagues there too. It was good to see them. And it indeed this visit was a like a mending wall.

But, having been away now for nearly 9 years, while I still have war stories to tell about working at Baker, I have no desire to work there again, despite the opulence of the place. My time there was well spent, but I'm glad I don't have as much to manage in terms of space and personnel. Moreover, I'm convinced my own library is innovative as resources permit, and it's nice to have a closer relationship with some of the faculty.

Oh yeah, the board meeting was productive. We stayed in Salem and it was fun to see the old houses. The town was gearing up for Halloween. It was fun to see my favorite colleagues from the top business school libraries, but also to meet a few new people too. One night I had a lobster for dinner, and ate it like a New Englander--from small parts to big. It was so sweet I didn't need the drawn butter.

The cow paths haven't gone away; they are filled with more cars than ever. That part makes me sad in a way, as the autumn leaves had not turned there yet. Global warming has impacted Boston more than my home in Illinois. I was glad to come back to see that the trees in the neighborhood were beautiful and back to less traffic and my roomy abode.

I noticed that I missed stars in the west,
Where its black body cut into the sky.
--"The Mountain", from North of Boston, Robert Frost, 1914

Opportunity Rocks at Dartmouth

HANOVER, N.H. -- Former Sen. John Edwards on Friday urged students at Dartmouth College to rise up and face the challenge of poverty."There's a reason that I'm not in Washington, D.C. It is because I am not going to count on the politicians to do this," he told the students. "What we're going to do is we're going to rise up and be heard and start a grassroots move in this country. It's you that can do something about this."

LINK to video, courtesy of WMUR.

JRE's appearances have had more students show up than signed up for tickets, which tells me he's got their attention. Even some students who voted Republican believe this is a great cause.

I think this tour will definitely stir a lot of interest. One of the millennials' psychographics is that they tend to want to work on projects together, so a Habitat for Humanity house building is likely to appeal to them.

I love it when John dresses more casually! There goes week one...more to come this next week with the Project Opportunity tour.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

From North of Boston

I was with 16 others recently on the North Shore of the Bay State for a meeting that included a dialog with one of the legacy business publishers in the US and internationally. There was much discussion about their attitudes in collecting revenues for electronic versions of their content, especially persistent links, and that faculty are not allowed to post them on syllabi. The publisher made it plain they wanted to "protect their revenues".

The discussion reminded me of Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" from the book of poetry "North of Boston." Since it is in public demain, I am posting the entire poem here.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing: I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.
The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance: “Stay where you are until our backs are turned!” We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game, One on a side.
It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall: He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.” Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder If I could put a notion in his head: “Why do they make good neighbours?
Isn’t it Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.”
I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

According to this publisher, especially for coursepacks and links from syllabi...and we should pay the tolls, as though we are all liberatarians: one by one. But like Frost, we are not.