Tag Archives: reading

TJ’s 5-Tab Browser

A friend of mine posted an interesting picture the other day. She’s a librarian and often posts items of interest regarding libraries, books, reading, and education in general. It was of a 300-year-old library tool that enabled a researcher to have seven books open at once. She also commented, “Now they’re all just browser tabs,” referring to how we do research nowadays using multiple tabs on whatever browser we happen to be using, whether it’s Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, etc. Below is the photo from her post.

Old-Fashioned Browser

Seeing it instantly reminded me of a tool I had seen over a decade earlier when I had the opportunity to visit a vendor in Charlottesville, Virginia, the owners of which I had become friends with. I was on my way back home from a conference in Maryland and stopped to visit with them for a couple of days. Inasmuch as Thomas Jefferson’s mansion and slave plantation, Monticello, was nearby, I felt obliged to check it out. It was in Jefferson’s library that I saw the item this tool had reminded me of. It was another type of research tool (depicted below) that served the same purpose. Also, I remembered it specifically because, at the time, I thought the same thing my friend did; this was the 18th/19th century equivalent of having five (Jefferson’s wasn’t quite as lavish as the one above) browser tabs open simultaneously.

TJ’s Monticello Five-Tab Browser

I also had the pleasure of visiting the University of Virginia, which had been founded in 1819 by Jefferson. Seven years later, Edgar Allan Poe attended the University where, apparently, he had to raise money for tuition by gambling because his father hadn’t sent him to school with enough money to get my. Below are a few more pictures from my visits in Charlottesville.

Fully-Mustachioed Rick Apres-Visit
Jefferson’s Burial Plot Marker
I Think This Is The Entrance To The University Of Virginia
Edgar Allan Poe’s Dorm Room, Which Is Sealed. This Photo Was Taken Through A Window On The Other Side Of The Room. Can You Say, “Nevermore“?

Free Access to “A People’s History”

A People's History

A Classic . . . and Important . . . work!

Most historians in the U.S., as far as I can tell, tend to believe in the “Great Man” theory of history; the belief that history can be largely explained by the impact of great men, or heroes; highly influential individuals who, due to either their personal charisma, intelligence, wisdom, or political skill used their power in a way that had a decisive historical impact.

Howard Zinn’s classic, A People’s History of the United States, takes the exact opposite view; that history is made by the people, the masses, the average working man and woman who comprise the body politic, and whose lives tell the story of a society’s development. Individuals are seen as products of the society in which they grew and came to prominence, representatives of the people or oppressors of the people, but not apart from the “salt of the Earth”.

If you ever wanted to read this wonderful book, but haven’t gotten around to it, or you’d like to be able to peruse it before taking the plunge (it is a formidable, but entertaining, read) you can find the book in its entirety at History is a Weapon. I believe this particular book is more important than ever, as we become more and more politically active and strive to wrest control over our government, which has been hijacked by vile white nationalists, religionists, and science deniers. I’ve included the link to the book below.

http://www.historyisaweapon.com/zinnapeopleshistory.html


Can I See You Now?

Reading Glasses

Life Savers for a Bibliophile

A little while ago I wrote about one of the “interesting” challenges I’m facing as I grow older. I was reminded the other day of another challenge; one that’s been around for a while but is taking on a slightly new dimension.

I have been wearing bifocals since I was about 40. Many people need glasses early in life, but almost everyone eventually suffers from Myopia as they age and need reading glasses. At the beginning I really didn’t need much more correction but, since reading was so important to me and an exercise I indulged in quite frequently, I decided to forego them in favor of full size spectacles. I did have a very slight astigmatism, which my lenses corrected for, but I would have been fine without them. This way, however, I didn’t have to wear something around my neck or have to continuously reach for a case to take out – and replace – my glasses in order to read.

As the years went by, I reached a point where my astigmatism was such that I needed the regular lenses as well and by then I was used to wearing glasses all day long; had been for years. I never even considered contact lenses as I didn’t think the extra work was worth it for whatever convenience (and vanity) it might afford. I even had a special pair of glasses made specifically with only my regular prescription, which I used exclusively for practicing and playing golf.

About a year or two ago, while I was driving (a car, not a golf ball) I happened to look at what I thought were a couple of birds flying in an amazingly tight formation. I remarked to my wife about the incredible closeness in which those two birds were flying. She looked at me like I was a bit nuts and pointed out there was only one bird. It wasn’t long before I realized my vision had finally begun to deteriorate a little more.

Unfortunately, by then I no longer had vision insurance and I just wasn’t prepared to spend a lot of money on a new prescription and new glasses. I resolved to deal with it for as long as I could, but I’m getting tired of seeing every star and planet in the night sky with a small companion to its lower left. The Moon is now a somewhat featureless circle too. The other day, while driving to pick up my daughter from gymnastics, I noticed two women jogging closely together as I glanced down a side street I was passing. I knew there was really only one person, as they were both wearing the same exact clothing. I guess it’s about time to fix this before I become dangerous.

Photo via Flickr by Mr. T in DC


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