Archive for the ‘General Discussion’ Category


Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Hello from Seattle! 

Yes, three weeks into my latest adventure, I am happily west coastal and loving my digs.

Though nothing can replace Roseledge on the harbor of my summers,  I am still near water, busy monitoring boats as they line up in the Ship Canal to go through Ballard Locks on their way to Puget Sound.  I see mostly a few very big fishing boats and lots of too-big pleasure (power) boats, both of which are new to me. So much to learn.

Action Picture 1.  Monitoring. You may think this is Alfred Hitchcock, with chipmunk cheek, planning a Rear Window adaptation, tentatively titled Canal Window, but you would be wrong.  It’s a good idea, though.

East coastal Roseledge, the place of my heart and a memory for the ages, will carry on only in blog-dom as  Roseledge Books, which will be ever there for inquiring minds, those curious folks who ask and vote and generally make the world a better place — except for 2016.  Where were you when Disaster Trump appeared? Aargh! We have our 2020 work cut out for us. I hope for all of our differences in books and other matters, that we can join together, as people who read and think and get things done to rid the world of His Pestilence.  

This makes Roseledge Books and it’s readers sound very much like the “business” started by the Canadian ex-spy who, for pay, recommends to his Wall Street followers, that they choose best books from his lists and, then, set apart reading time in their days (all previously noted two posts back, dated March 20, 2019). More recently, it sounds like Ceridwan Dovey’s efforts to find out if reading can make you happier. She did this by signing up for a remote session with a bibliotherapist from London’s School of Life.  The session was a gift. Similarly, but on her own, Marianne sent me the following note: “I just finished reading Soul of America by Jon Meacham, about surviving the Trump presidency. It was encouraging, so I appreciated that.” I call that hope, and surely hope is at the center of happy.  So maybe reading CAN make you happier. Better and more interesting, I know for sure. 

In this spirit of learning about current affairs through reading books, I continue to tackle  Middle East mores and moves from the exploits of Israeli spy and art restorer,Gabriel Allon, and Daniel Silva is spot-on again in his brand new novel, The New Girl..  Equally learned about intrigue in places less well- known is David Ignatius, foreign policy analyst for the Washington Post, though his last two, The Quantum Spy and The Directorate were as much about the FBI as they were about world affairs, but the FBI seems a mess, too.

So we read, which is good..  But, increasingly, we also see, too.  Remember the recent “Pelosi looks drunk” video? BIG ALERT!  It was a deep fake, about which Regina Rini notes, among other good points, that with so much seeing, we need to start paying more attention to  what the video says, who it comes from, how it got to us, and why, because it all matters.  Prior to Professor Rini,the latest, best source I remember reading about visual sophistication is documentarian Errol Morris’ Believing Is Seeing.  So, CHECK YOUR SOURCES.  BE PERPETUALLY WARY! Pictures have always been malleable, but with unregulated social media and new technologies, videos can be easily manipulated, then distributed widely and virtually instantaneously through all kinds of channels.  We, as readers and voters have to be vigilant for our own good, and we, as librarians, need to be vigilant and pro-active for the good of the world. I firmly believe librarians can — and should — save the world, one wary reader at a time.

Okay, books are good, but not enough when a mighty lonesomeness sets in. So, this weekend, I indulged my love of rocky coasts by getting up way too early and watching for way too long, the (cough) British Open Golf Tournament on the magnificent coast of Northern Ireland. WOW!  And though I have a few sailboats and the calls and swooping flight of gulls nearby, it is not enough. I miss Tenants Harbor a lot. So I am calling on the Sea Street walkers-by, to rest a bit on Roseledge’s rock wall, watch the harbor, and through ESP, keep me in the loop which Scott has promised to invent.

In a word,  my move defines “bittersweet.”  For all that I love being near Charlie, I miss the you-all of my former lives.  It’s a bit like knowing when my sister, Charyl, than Gordy died, that there was no one left to keep me honest when telling of my early years.  Well, except for my college roomie, Nons, who recently rediscovered yearbook pictures better left unseen. So I’m starting a new history in a new place at 80.  Bittersweet, indeed.   

But I am ready for new adventures, and in every way, every day offers just that..  At the moment, I am trying to convince Charlie that I could be his caddy when next he golfs.  I could roll like a golf cart and strap his clubs to the back of my chair. He has not said no, which is VERY encouraging  But today, when he gets up, we are starting the BIG picture-hanging marathon, which I know requires an enormous outlay of goodwill from everyone.   He has promised me one hanging and one re-do, so I am optimistic. LARRY, WHERE ARE YOU IN MY TIME OF NEED? I am also generally encouraged because Charlie was a very good sport and put on his sunglasses to get me a Starbucks medium skim, extra hot latte.  Thusly anonymous,he retained his Seattle coffee chops and I slurped my latte right down and didn’t say a word as he did the same, surreptitiously.  

All in all, I’d say we’re settling in.  Good omen: the street was closed and I rolled right out, just as if Kathy and I were walking and rolling again.  And my telephone number — 612.331.7643 — and email address — — remain the same.            

Action Picture 2. Waving and pink toes.





Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

I waited to tell you until I knew for sure, and now I do.  So the news is that Jamie Wyeth, a good and abutting neighbor on three sides, is buying Roseledge.  I sold it “as is” so it will remain a classic Maine cottage and a Sea Street counterpoint to Harry’s graceful c.1861 cape next door, and, further down the hill, Ginny Wheeler’s  c.1831 “farm” house, both beautifully renewed by Dave Lowell, who, until two years ago, lived down the hill and across Sea Street.  So the neighborhood remains grounded, with Roseledge’s stone wall a welcome respite for walkers-by of varied heights, who want a break half-way up the hill.   Good to remember that some walls offer comfort and joy.    I expect the closing to be in the next 2 weeks.


Last Saturday, I completed the Saturday NYT Crossword puzzle — which is VERY hard; Friday is hard — with only two Google searches for obscure names, which I consider growing, not cheating. “Wow!” I say.  Let’s hear it for the usefulness of reading much and widely, as Roseledge Books made easy to do, and being a reference librarian. According to research reported in US News of 5/16, because I do daily crossword puzzles and sudokus,  I am rapidly turning into a spring-ish chicken.

And now, a big YES!  The Obama Presidential Library will have no traditional book collection.  Surely, they will have digital access to all of his materials anywhere and the expertise and equipment on hand to help searchers gain access to any items housed anywhere.  They will have on hand people who are Obama experts, who can help searchers set boundaries of relevant materials, find records as yet unidentified, know how to digitize the as yet undigitized, develop search-able indexes, e.g. a list of people of interest, and make more permanent the sources too-easily lost to changing technology.  This is all music to my ears, as those of you who have known me for way too many years (Hello, Metro State friends!) will attest.  And Robert Caro would not have had to travel to twelve (or so) presidential libraries when writing about Lyndon Johnson, as he says he did in his new book, Working, which I have just started and love.  Truth alert: Okay, I added a few details to the Obama Library article cited below because I forgot how to insert, but CLEARLY they were inferred.

Jamie has let me know how welcome I am, anytime I want to come out.  I love knowing this, but it won’t be this summer.  Come late June, I am moving to Seattle to keep an eye on Charlie. But maybe next year.  However, Roseledge may be for rent this summer.  Several of you left notes in my door last summer asking if I ever rented it out.  I didn’t, but the new owner may, and it will be wonderful, as always, with the occasional rough spot tended to and the too-effusive bush by the light pole cut way back.  If you are interested, contact Mary Beth Dolan by email at or by snail mail at P.O. Box 445, Tenants Harbor, ME 04860.

Meanwhile, I will miss you all, but do not expect for a minute that I will stop having AND SHARING  opinions about books because readers matter, especially Roseledge readers.



Thursday, March 28th, 2019

There is no easy way to say this.

I am selling Roseledge, place of my heart.

It is a hard decision, but the right one.  Let me count the reasons why.

In a nutshell, my body made me do it.

First, traveling in a wheelchair is a nightmare, a minefield of possible and, unfortunately likely, disasters, or as I have come to know them, Public Displays of Awkwardness (PDA’s).  The worst for Angie, the able PT student who traveled with me last summer, might have been the 4 near disastrous transfers from wheelchair to miniscule aisle chair to end seat with raised arm and back again, but more probably was facing a crowd of growlers at the gate who had waited 20 minutes to board and now had to make an aisle for us to get through.  Based on my vast experience of PDA’s, I keep assuring Angie that one day it will be funny.  A year earlier, 2017, goodheart Scott, who came to Minneapolis to be my plane buddy,  and I lived through transfer trauma, and two hours of wheelchair dysfunction, during which he pulled me and my 350 pound wheelchair up the slanted gangway, and, with noodle legs, spent the next hour of a late Friday afternoon with me trying to find someone who knew how to make my brand new power wheelchair move.  Fortunately, Brian, retired IT good-guy, parked the rented fan, and got the synchronized system of my chair and me moving.  I like to think I helped, but…

Clearly, many problems could be solved if the airlines cleared a place per plane for a wheelchair, much as the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) requires of trains and buses.  But this isn’t going to happen until the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 is updated and amended to be as accommodating as the ADA.  Not an easy or quick task, but I’m working on it.  This NYT article is a good overview.

Not to forget, the rented van was terrific.  It cost a bit and asked a lot of a third person (Thanks, Brian.), but it made the trip possible — both years.

Once arrived, I discovered just how much living in a wheelchair took away my being OF Maine while I was IN Maine.  I can no longer reach shelves in the bookstore, pjck and fix blueberries, rhubarb, or other food favorites, grow herbs, a few flowers and sun-glo tomatoes on the porch, putter in the yard, walk Barter’s Pint Road, etc.  In a word, I cannot live independently or simply, as Mainers do.  I have become high maintenance, which Charlie says is nothing new, and though Scott, Kris, Angie and Brian were at the ready, it’s just not enough like the way it was, especially having Roseledge Books.

Roselededge Books was perfect: good books, thoughtful people, a better world.  Well, nearly perfect.  Somehow, “low information” people (someone else’s term) elected the worst ever President. Make it a glitch and spread the faith: read, think, act.  Hand out public library cards and a sample copy of a best seller every time you ring a doorbell for whatever candidate you support.  The NYT has a good article about a Canadian ex-spy with a Roseledge Books-like idea, minus Tenants Harbor and Roseledge Books’ shelves of books to browse and front porch to sit and ponder.  But, like RBer’s, his people read, think, and act (Okay, I’m not sure about voting or proselytizing.), and he makes a pot of money.  Well, I covered my book costs each year, got a tax deduction, and met all of you.  I’d say we’re even.

Oh, how I will miss you all.

But I am moving to Seattle, close to very nifty #1 — and only — son, Charlie, near the water and my Kindle, and filled, as always, with opinions, which, on occasion, I will post.

Let the next adventure begin.




Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Bring on the sunshine; I have a new hat.  I’m coming to Maine on August 13 for only one week, so get ready to party.

Here I am lurking in Minneapolis,  shade-testing the hat and managing not to do a Mary Poppins on an almost windless day.


Book questions: I found two new-to-me authors’ books that I liked a lot: Elsa Hart’s The Jade Dragon Mountain and The White Mirror (1700’s, southwestern China, librarian, Jesuits) and Joe Ide’s I. Q. and Rightous (East Long Beach, CA wholly new to me, and oh! the sounds of language!)  Question: what algorithm finds more like them?

Another Question:  Does anyone do CIA, Asia, and problems of now, e.g. quantum computing and personal identity, better than David Ignatius in The Quantum Spy?  His earlier book, The Directorate, ostensibly about hacking, reads like the front page fights within the NSC —  perhaps as written in “his” Washington Post.

Scott says Roseledge is ready.  The harbor is waiting.  So many good times to be had.

And don’t we deserve it?


Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

I think I might be petrifying.

I have more and growing kidney stones, gallstones, calcified granuloma in my lungs, appendicoliths in my “normal appendix” which I thought had been removed when it ruptured in 2013 (the amazing part of the Day Amazer title ), pelvic phleboliths, and calcifications of the abdominal aorta and its major branches, or so my recent x-rays and CT scans document.  Clearly I am calcifying, but petrifying?

You scoff, but just check out these definitions from Google:

TO CALCIFY: harden by deposition of or conversion into calcium carbonate or some other insoluble calcium compounds

TO PETRIFY: change (organic matter) into a stony concretion by encrusting or replacing its original substance with a calcareous, siliceous, or other mineral deposit.   Synonyms: ossified, fossilized, calcified

Need I say more?

If i’m right and we are all turning to stone, then we can stop worrying about preserving our remains. No more looking for the best peat bog, cloner, cryogenics lab, mummy maker, or taxidermist. Instead, we can think yoga and assume a pose or posture useful for a stony (stoned?) hereafter, e.g. as a lamp or table base, a cello holder, an all-purpose scarecrow, an art class model…. (Enough, Luis!)  The good news is that we can think about all the possibiities AND how not to be called a fossil at the same time.

To sum it all up: if kidney stones weighed a lot, I’d be a lot thinner now.

It’s been a long and icy winter, folks.


Sunday, March 18th, 2018


If an argument is only as good as its sources and there are so many sources and so many kinds of “good,” how does an inquiring person decide which of the many sources is or are the “best possible, under the circumstances?” Well, she said modestly, you could call the librarian.

Or you can hope that Steven Brill’s proposed rating process, which sounds promising, actually works. Rating systems are usually iffy when applied (Think movies.), but they can be a start.

And I love that Paul Allen, whose mother was a librarian, is, with a $125 million donation to his Brain Institute, trying to add “common sense” to artificial intelligence  This is exciting, if daunting, because a lack of common sense seems to be the common denominator among the clueless.

Finally. for diy’ers and those who think the search is as much fun as finding out, the NYT has a raft of ways you can use to evaluate your sources.  I especially like the suggestion that you find out where the information came from, how it got to you, and who did or could have changed it along the way. This brings back grand memories of the mantra of the enlightened Information Management Program at St. Kate’s: How does the information move and why and who can change it and why would he or she do so?  Adding social media and self-publishing would change the timing, paths, and influence appreciably, mostly by removing filters and adding sources and outlets, but it might help to advance the cause of sensible argument and therein, save our democracy.

Know your sources, argue wisely, convince your neighbor to checkout candidates.

AN AFTERTHOUGHT:  Just finished two good novels  about information moving.   David Ignatius’ The Quantum Spy is about quantum computing and the ways China and US try to keep tabs on each other.  I like David Ignatius a lot and learned a lot.  Then I read his earlier book, The Director, which is about hacking, about which I know too little, but  could also be a primer about the McCabe fiasco, among other intelligence service quandaries.



Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

What sources of information do the muddlers trust? It used to be that the checks and balances of scientific research, news media, conventional publishing, even government documents were well in place, understood, and able to be challenged or balanced as the user chose. But now, too much information is too much with us and some of us are going crazy.

Remember Pizzagate? A man with a rifle charges into the Comet Ping Pong pizza parlor in Washington, D.C., ready to rid the world of Hilary Clinton’s child pornography ring in the basement. He fired one or two shots and was arrested, No one was hurt. Whew! Of course, there was no child sex ring; in fact. there was no basement. Welcome to the world of the information nitwits.

How could this happen? How could someone agree to be so hideously misinformed? Welcome to the Internet you may not know. To know it and it’s roll in Pizzagate a bit better, start with Reddit’s forum on Trump, 4chan and, the more extreme,8chan alt-right message boards, then go the more familiar YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and from them leap into InfoWars and Breitbart. (The NYT lays it out beautifully. The Rolling Stone digs much deeper. The Washington Post covers the “crisis actors” in the Parkland school shooting and  finds most of the same sources and procedures.)

Cass Sunstein  writes of information spread and conspiracy theories.  Then he watched as his ideas published in little-read academic journals got picked up and distorted by far left, then far right bloggers who then placed articles in lesser-read sources, from which any key parts of the articles  were picked up and spread by InfoWars and Glenn Beck on Fox News.  It is a similar tale of an obscure entity, distorted and spread without challenge to a blindly believable audience who then act, unfortunately.  

Do you see how a pattern for the creation and spread (or production and distribution) of fake news is emerging?  Timing, sources, sequence, changes, spread, audience, authority, and influence all figure in. We as citizens, liberal arts grads, and especially we as librarians and readers, need to understand how information evolves from nothing to something crazy with consequences.   We need to give new, well-argued life to “common sense” and take back our future.

Know your sources.  Love the search.  Spread the word.  Roseledge Books forever.


Sunday, February 11th, 2018

It was 7:00 am on a normal morning at the Kenwood, where I live on the 12th floor. Several of us on the elevator were silently thirsting for that first cup of fresh, hot coffee, when this newbie I had seen but not yet met got into the elevator and said, “You again.”

(i’m hard to miss in my fancy new wheelchair, especially in a filled elevator.) “Well, it’s time for morning coffee,” I said.

“I had a horse who did that,” he said.

Trying hard, but failing, to laugh discreetly. I choked, “It’s an unusual comparison.”

“Horses are smarter than people think.” he said.

“Good to know,” I said, zooming into the dining room with this wonderful morning pick-me-up. I still laugh every time I think of it.


Two takeaways:  1.  I think he likes both horses and me.  and  2.  There is never a dull moment in this post-college dorm that is so clearly not a group home, as suggested by Mr. Snotty, who shall remain nameless.

  1. A takeaway on the takeaway is that I could not get rid of this indented 1., so I included it to make it appear less obvious.  There must be a larger lesson there.


Friday, February 9th, 2018

The world is in a muddle at the moment, but what is one who cares to do?

I am currently readIng Kurt Andersen’s Fantasyland:How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History and Kevin Young’s Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbugs, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post Facts and Fake News to try to understand why people choose such wrong sources of information and Tali Sharot’s The Influential Mind: What The Brain Reveals About Our Power To Change Others to figure out how  librarians can help these people to want and choose better sources. Several years ago,I also liked a lot Farhad Manjoo’s book, True Enough: Learning To Live In A Post Fact Society.

I still firmly believe the world is one giant library, in dire need of the enlightened suggestions of  librarians and the well-informed.  Picky readers of the world, it is time to step up and speak out.  Voting season is upon us.


Friday, August 18th, 2017

Roseledge Books launched its best ever, if first, all out sale, and people came for, or maybe stumbled onto, old new books that were better than new new books — which of course I didn’t have, as I have been away these past two summers. FICTION $1.00 and NON-FICTION $2.00, limit of 5 books/person.

Most Roseledge Books folks came from boats moored in front of Tenants Harbor Boatyard and, as noted, stumbled onto Tenants Harbor’s Destination Bookstore on their way down Sea Street to the General Store. Mention the sale to the brave of mind and watch them buy 5, then  find the faux-readers in the group and bring them in, only to watch the faux’s turn into ringers, and sales soar, well sort of.

“Did you curate the collection?” a newbie asked, and I liked him forever.  I liked his partner, too, who agreed that Titus Welliver is a great Harry Bosch

I tried making 5-b00k piles, e.g. kickass women, 2 piles of mysteries around the world, learning enviroments — maybe my favorite pile, jargoned up a bit for a friend, Maine for a Mainer, Maine for a newbie, fun with food that could be in Maine, in the vicinity of Labrador, really about books, sort of about books.  I had a good time, and almost no one bought the whole pile, which just demonstrates the interesting complexity — okay, weirdness — of the RB reader.  For my North Carolina friends, I’ll leave some unlabelled piles to see if you can find a theme.

Tomorrow, the Minneapolis migration happens.  The summer mornings before 8:30 were cooler than I remember and the undappled sun was hotter.  The off-shore breezes mellowed the days and kept the bugs away.  I will bring more suitably flexible clothes next year.

Next year I’ll see the Fed Ex driver, who, after delivering the second box of wine — thank you, Santa with a bit of a drawl — noted, with a grin, that this seemed to be an unusual bookstore and she would be back.  And so would the three Swedish sailors with books in hand who said they will come back here or go back there next year via the northern route, sometimes called the stepping stones, less often called the Viking route.  I promised to have on hand books about St. Brendan’s earlier-than-the-Vikings voyage to Iceland, which would surely convincingly suggest that the Irish taught the Vikings how to sail the longer distances non-marauding adventures required.  The most amiable of the sailors with pitch-perfect English just stared at me for a minute, maybe stunned, and said, pointing,”Your IRISH taught MY Vikings how to sail?”  I admitted it was just a theory.  “No,” he said, still not sure he had heard right, as he walked away, with a grin and a wave, and said, “See you next summer.”

I love it here, but it’s time to go back.  Next year, for sure, North Carolina.