Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Whilst working today I had some time to have a play (call it professional development) with Ancestry.org, the genealogy service my library offers patrons for free. I tried a link on Churches and it took me to a general index of Scottish Presbyterian ministers. Searching randomly under the letter L, I selected one Archibald Lambie as my research subject. I chose this gentleman because he shares a first name with my father. Reading through his biog I was amused by the detail, ‘he intimated his demission of the office of Clerk, “on account of a series of ill-usages, as he could not hold it without pain, being exposed to insults and opprobrious language at every meeting”.’ My god, that reads exactly like my career in teaching! I hear ya, Archie, I hear ya. And look at the details about the first wife, Isobel. If I’m reading this right, over eight years she had four children with Archibald and almost none of them outlived her. His second wife, Catherine, lasted less than two years with him before she died. His third wife, Marion, had five children with him, one of whom, William, lived for 35 years. ‘Died in Jamaica’ – at the point of a pirate’s cutlass, no doubt. Or was he the pirate and was he forced to walk the plank? Aaargh! I love how Ancestry.org can take you down a rabbit hole of some amazing history. So, Archibald Lambie, from down the years, here’s to you, sir. And your long suffering wives.

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Still on the past, but a little more recent: I encountered what, to me, was an interesting factoid whilst perusing Trove‘s X/Twitter account. It seems Australia’s very first female newsreader and radio announcer didn’t happen until 1940, and then only because there was a shortage of men during World War 2. Her name was Margaret Doyle. On ya Marge, which is almost but not quite my mum’s name. Trove is a research database covering all things Australia, and is itself a national treasure.

 

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Still on the work theme, I looked through some online copies of the Australian Library Journal (courtesy of Taylor & Francis Online). It stopped publication in 2016, but it’s still one of those invaluable treasure troves of information. I know, it sounds boring to anybody but a library and research nerd like me, but please stick with me here. In Volume 65, Issue 1, there was a book review piece that caught my eye. The title was Start a Revolution: Stop Acting Like a Library by Jane Gibian. Centered around ideas for the promotion and marketing of libraries, I liked one idea in particular that was mentioned. It was for a series of beer coasters that were handed out in local pubs. Besides promoting the library, the coasters included the theme ‘add a word, ruin a book’. Some examples were The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Malfunction, and Fifty Shades of Grey’s Anatomy. I love it, and apparently it went down a storm among the pub-goers. This is meme heaven. What titles can you come up with?

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I had some very vivid dreams this morning. They inspired the thought, wouldn’t it be great if you could record your dreams like a film? Some smart inventor ought to get onto that right away. I can think of a couple of cinema treatments that cover some of that theme. Douglas Trumbull‘s Brainstorm from 1983 has his characters (one of whom was Natalie Wood, whose last film this was before her untimely death) inventing a device that records people’s thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t quite go into dreams, but at the end it does go into some transcendent areas. The other is Paprika, the 2006 anime film by the great Satashi Kon. In it, a ‘dream terrorist’ steals a device that does actually allow people to share their dreams. As you might expect, it’s quite surreal and a brilliant film.

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I bought a new phone today. My old one was doing weird things and not being reliable. I’ve had it for about four years, so I figured it was time to update. Is it just me, or is buying a new phone an amazing rush? No, it’s definitely not just me. It’s the lure of new tech, of exciting new possibilities and shiny new plaything objects. Of course, I no sooner took possession of my new phone when my old phone decided to start working again. This is annoying but handy, as I’ll need the old phone working so I can transfer lots of stuff from it. Shiny.

On the subject of phones, though, I was appalled to find that, especially among school students, there’s a lot of bullying going on around iphones versus androids. A colleague told me her daughter can’t reveal her ownership of an android for fear of being outcast. I read of similar things happening amongst students and youngsters in South Korea too. Is this really a thing?

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