Category Archives: connections
I grew up in a family where my father was — and still is — very connected to the Jewish community of Omaha.
While most kids had social connections from their places of worship and school activities that established community, me and my brother and sister had some of that, but it was fractured by the fact that we had a very 1970s, nomadic childhood.
We took the bus to and from Omaha from Lincoln — where we lived with our mom — to visit our dad in Omaha. We did this pretty much 10 years straight for every weekend of our childhood, from around 1970/1971 (when they got divorced) to 1981 (when we moved to Omaha). Continental Trailways on Saturday mornings and Greyhound on Sunday afternoons.
So that cut into a lot of time when I think we would have been a bit more connected to our community in Lincoln. And made us weirdly constant and familiar visitors to Omaha, but not necessarily tied and connected….
But also it put a very focused emphasis on our dad’s life in those intense two days every week that we spent with him. He would pick us up from the Continental Trailways bus station in Omaha and we would go to Bishop’s Cafeteria, 1414 Douglas, for breakfast. Then we’d spend the day with him at his office. And back to Lincoln on Sunday after the 3:00pm movie I always seemed to watch. Hopalong Cassidy was a consistent favorite.
I always knew we were Jewish, but in Lincoln especially it wasn’t something we talked about a lot. Like having divorced parents. It was the 1970s when this type of thing wasn’t as common. We weren’t observant but I definitely knew — especially when it came to our dad’s life in Omaha — that there was a bubble of Jewish community in Omaha that we were tangentially a part of.
One of the things I have always experienced with my dad was what we jokingly refer to as Jewish Geography — my dad would tell stories about some of the people in the Jewish community in Omaha that his parents knew and socialized with, or that he grew up and went to high school with, or knew from living in Omaha. Maybe it’s the fledging librarian and genealogist in me, but I was always very interested in hearing the stories about all the people, imagining the glamorous lives of my grandparents. My Grandpa Irv had these shiny suits in some of the pictures we had of him, which I thought were super cool.
There was just this constant influx of names and stories of people from the community. And going to Bishop’s we would meet a lot of these characters. During high school after we had moved to Omaha, I would get a ride from my dad every morning and continue the Bishop’s breakfast tradition, sitting with my dad and his friends who I remember told terrible jokes and didn’t seem to mind having a high school kid in their midst.
I ended up knowing the parents of some of the Jewish kids in Omaha — and not really the kids themselves. It was odd, but it was history and Omaha and our dad and just sort of how things were.
So in talking with my dad recently he told me that he had a great honor. I could hear in his voice how touched he was. He had been asked to be one of the pallbearers who carried Rabbi Kripke’s casket, for his funeral.
Rabbi Kripke conducted my dad’s bar mitzvah, and was the rabbi at the synagogue his family went to, Beth El, in Omaha. Over the years my dad would often refer to Rabbi Kripke as a huge influence in his life. And when my Grandma Pearl went into The Rose Blumkin Jewish Home, my dad would always point out Rabbi Kripke (as well as many other Jewish Geography folks who were there and who I had heard stories about) with reverence.
To spend more time with Grandma Pearl my dad volunteered at the Saturday services, assisting in conducting them. Sometimes Rabbi Kripke led but towards the end I just remember the Rabbi being there, enjoying the services. My dad still does this volunteering, and I know it means a lot to him — even though Grandma died.
So I have this weird reverence — and semi-skewed connection — to the Jewish community that is essentially my father’s (and grandparents). Names and some faces are very familiar to me, like Maury Katzman.
My dad would always talk of these people, after they passed, and say, “of blessed memory.” Like he would tell a great story about his father, and say, “my father, of blessed memory.” I always loved that, how there was a small moment of time where there was remembrance of this person within the conversation.
There was another article in addition to an official obituary about Rabbi Kripke in the New York Times recently that triggered me writing this post (and adding the cite to Wikipedia). I think the article on Rabbi Kripke was due to Warren Buffett’s annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting in Omaha that just happened. Rabbi Kripke died this year at age 100.
I have been editing Wikipedia now for a while. I do it to relax and really enjoy the quick publish factor — as well as connecting to my former profession as a word processor for 15 years. Very satisfying.
So in homage to Rabbi Kripke I created a Wikipedia article about him. In his blessed memory.
Rabbi’s wife, Dorothy, as an author of Jewish books, already had her own page, but as usual it needed citation and format cleanup. While creating the Rabbi’s page, I did that. But I hope to add more to her page at some point.
But really, Rabbi Kripke needed his own page, in honor of his accomplishments and years of service to the Jewish community in Omaha. I was so glad — and honored in my own way — to do that.
I have been meaning to mention I did this to my dad when we talk next. I think it continues the tradition “of blessed memory” — and hopefully commemorates a small part of the Omaha Jewish community that yeah I guess I sort of am a part of. At least a little bit.
Aaron’s beard is red, full, and magnificent.
So it’s the very end of October and during this extremely frustrating time — career and life-wise — I have been living like a church mouse, not spending money. Which means a lot of time spent Hovel Chez Moi. With the TV to keep me company. Which means it is a Wednesday night in October and I am watching baseball while trying to whittle away on my various passion projects semi-successfully.
Is it just me or has the television gone all hillbilly? I am just loving this — it’s like saying “add more banjo” to any good country song: “Add more beard!” And the woollier the better.
Omaha-Kansas City Royals
The TV experience — especially the audio of a baseball game being played — brings me back to my childhood, where one of the great things we used to do on Saturdays (after spending the day at my dad’s office) was go see the Omaha-Kansas City Royals play night games at Rosenblatt Stadium (RIP).
Even though they were an expansion team, I loved the Omaha-Kansas City Royals. The games were hypnotizing, the rhythm of the pitching, runs, strikes. And the snacks were great. The peanuts that left crunchy shells on the ground. And those frozen ice creams that came in the circular tub with a flat wood spoon-like thing.
I think we sat near third base in my dad’s partner’s box — we almost always had these great seats. Bless Bob Fromkin. I have fond memories because of his generosity.
Today the team has been renamed (a time or two) to the unrecognizable and sort of dumb — in my opinion — Storm Chasers and they play at some other stadium in Sarpy County. Rosenblatt Stadium is no longer.
Johnny Rosenblatt, Camelot
The stadium was named after former Omaha Mayor Johnny Rosenblatt, who was the first Jewish mayor of Omaha and was, per Wikipedia, responsible for bringing the Omaha-Kansas City Royals to Omaha (along with the College World Series).
The Jewish community in Omaha is (and was) small. And it is weird but when people are shocked that I grew up in Nebraska, I guess a good part of that time I grew up within the loose framework of that community, though we weren’t religious and weren’t only friends with other Jews.
I know I definitely felt like an outsider, maybe not just the Jewishness but my mom came from Brooklyn and we definitely didn’t have a conservative upbringing. At all.
Though these pictures sure tell a different story.
This Camelot like image didn’t last long, though I like the way it looked later, when I was a little girl.
This was supposedly at an Anti-Vietnam War Protest at Memorial Park — not far from the house on W. 53rd and Farnam where we lived during that time (yes, a couple of blocks away from where Warren Buffett lived/lives). But to me it looks more like a picnic (it’s probably mis-labeled).
We moved to Lincoln in 1970 or 1971 after my parents separated and got divorced. But we’d visit Omaha on the weekends and go to these great baseball games with our Da. It was a pretty great part of my childhood….
i am getting very very excited for the upcoming IAJGS 2013 Boston conference:
3rd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy August 4-9, 2013
Co-Hosted by International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston
i’ve put together a schedule on Google like i do each conference i attend — have done this for Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Philadelphia, i think.
if you would like to see it i’ve made it public (send me your email to view it).
the idea is that all of the information is in one place, collocated, with the minimum amount of clicking around. and then also end-users can copy events to their personal calendar and use that as a tool to make the most out of the schedule, which is very deep and rich.
i also use the therapeutic tool of a Google Map to reduce my own travel anxiety (don’t love traveling).
here’s a view of the map. it’s pretty extensive. have been very grateful that folks have offered such great suggestions.
if you look on the larger map you can see that there are a lot of Jewish genealogical resources for the region. blue snowflakes represent cemeteries — which was culled from an incredible resource created by the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts. just beyond words great information. i wish the New York region had such an easy to use and thorough resource.
the cutlery symbol is for sit down restaurants, and hopefully the rest of the icons are somewhat self-explanatory in their groupings. not being a Boston native i am sure i have some things in the wrong categories but hopefully it can be a starting point for those interested in making the most out of their trip.
i recently got my 23andme results back so all of this DNA stuff is very new. hope to learn a bit more at the conference.
here’s a little bit on Michael K. Williams’ story, discovering his African ancestry. very cool.
and a little music they posted on okayplayer….
a time of growth, regrowth, renaissance, hard work, learning, growing, absorbing, etc.
this week, which feels like it started today even though it’s Sunday, is going to be a busy one.
today i was so glad that a Milwaukee-based fam-member, Freddi (3rd cousin once removed), gave me a call because she was in town for a quick visit.
our relationship is clear as mud, eh? basically her mom and my grandma — well their grandmothers Brauna and Chana were sisters. our common descendants were Mondral sisters (Brauna and Chana) whose kids (Ben SEGALL ne LOPATKA and Leo STEIN ne Szafirsztejn, among many other LOPATKA and STEINs), cousins from Radzanów, Poland, came to Milwaukee from Poland together. there is another sister, Shaindel, who are also part of the mass exodus from Radzanów, Poland to Milwaukee from abt 1885 to 1939….
basically this is my paternal mom’s branch of Segall and Stein families in Milwaukee.
i don’t usually like to post pics of myself — find the selfie fad to be fundamentally disturbing — but i loved seeing Freddi and i’m smiling like an idiot here so enjoy a rare glimpse.
Broadway Bagel has these mounds of cream cheese, sort of awesome and very New York.
reminds me of the New York chain of Strawberry stores…
so spending a couple hours catching up with Freddi sort of restarted something fundmental in me. i don’t want to say my faith in humanity is restored or anything quite so dramatic, but when i meet up with people who are so clearly mishpucha of loveliness, well it’s a magical thing for me.
it also means in addition to my other summer projects, i’m going to re-focus on the family genealogy. first priority is going to be Frank’s of course (hope he’s doing okay). but then also the Milwaukee branch, who i just love completely.
rest of week plans…
so the rest of the week will be busy.
i am finally sitting down to learn Adobe InDesign CS6. bless you Lynda.com for making tutorials that may take me forever to get through (i get distracted by shiny objects) but are comprehensive and informative.
BagIt/Bagger at METRO
i missed the in-person workshop on File fixity and checksum tools (but got the course materials that i will go over after the InDesign deal).
this Tuesday will be METRO’s BagIt/Bagger workshop. these great workshops are part of the Keeping Collections series, and are excellent. there will be an ExifTool workshop in July that i’m planning on attending.
July 16 (Tuesday) – ExifTool
also this week, in a longer, all-day format, is a MODS workshop called “Using MODS to Describe Cultural Heritage Resources.”
am a little gunshy about attending a cataloging workshop because i have such a low comfort-level with description — haven’t flexed that muscle in any significant sense since taking classes in grad school with the awesome Rick Block. so in other words, no real life experience. but i think that i need to just go and absorb and allow myself to have cataloging anxiety. i hope to surprise myself.
MODS stands for Metadata Object Description Schema and was developed at the Library of Congress. the MODS website is here.
so this week will be intensive skilling up. i need to contact temp agencies and head hunters but i would like to be able to truthfully say i have a familiarity — even if it’s at an Essentials / beginner level — with InDesign. it seems to be a mandatory requirement in addition to Microsoft Office, for word processing jobs in NYC these days. at least for jobs that pay enough for me to work 3 to 4 days a week while i job search and/or work on my passion projects and figure out my future. you know, small stuff!
music discovery of awesomeness ‘o the week!
new Mando Saenz record is out and it is WONDERFUL. produced by Mark Nevers and featuring great folks like Bobby Bare, Jr. and Kim Richey. highly recommend. so so worth it. talented singer-songwriter with a velvet smooth voice.
okay, just wanted to check in here in blog-land. going back to the salt mines of learning! yay….? oy.
it is june, that time of the year when i am grumpy (29 years as of June 10, RIP MGH) but also sort of amazed and glad to have a lot of light and sun and nice weather.
well it has been raining nonstop here in NYC, but summer, in general, as a principle, seems to be here and/or coming.
so i have a couple of summer projects.
i’m beyond frustrated with how many files i have, how impossible it is to find stuff, and the fact that i have duplicate copies of things like my itunes library (in various iterations) in multiple places. plus the fact that i need to deal with Frank’s vital records archive. aagh.
so i decided to do Network Attached Storage (NAS) and got a Synology. very reasonably priced. and two Western Digital reds in a RAID setup.
i took loads of pictures during the unbox and installation, which i hope to do in a more detailed blog post but for right now it’s broad strokes time until i feel less sour about stuff.
this is it, fast forward, up and running.
so that is one summer project.
the other summer project is that — from the hours of time i seem to be keeping my balcony door open lately — i was inspired to actually try to get some greenery out there on the balcony. i need to liven this joint up if i’m going to be home so much.
so i got an EarthBox Junior (organic). yeah it might be a nightmare / overkill but i wanted a kit and it looks sort of cool.
as a hedge — and just in case it looks to be a long-term project similar to the Synology (which is taking longer to play with than i expected) — i also got the following:
and for the EarthBox, couldn’t resist the idea of a non-controlled, semi chaotic bomb name….:
i like purple. and don’t mind the smell of lavender.
don’t have cats, though i plan on skilling up to them here chez moi hovel. but i read catnip retards mosquitos, which seem to mercilously bother me here at the hovel. so the smell will hopefully help mitigate that.
this pet grass should also help with greening up the joint and fill the EarthBox. it is an uncontrolled plan / experiment.
am feeling a little burnt out on the blogging, social media, screens, etc. so this is a brusque, less friendly blog post than i usually aim for.
i am trying to keep it on the road, stay in the driver’s seat, keep on truckin’, etc.
but this under-employment situation is not a comfortable fit for a workaholic, no-life person such as myself. i am pretty discouraged and yet at the same time i am not trying hard enough.
though i feel very strongly that the right fit is out there for me, the right position with the right team of people and please oh please god a manager / supervisor / mentor who appreciates what i bring to the table, can provide structure and guidance, and will let me, well, blossom.
i know, a tall order. we shall see.
On “A Case of You”…
“I remember playing it for Kris Kristorfferson. And he was kind of shocked by it. Said, ‘Oh Joni, you know, save something of yourself.’ I think he felt that I had gone to reveal too much of something. I’d laid myself too vulnerable.’
Enthusiasm, muddling through
Not to underline myself as a creator of the magnitude of Joni Mitchell — no Kanye West messianic histrionics here, thankfully — but the words and thoughts in this Joni Mitchell documentary really spoke to me today.
I watch this documentary (American Masters’ Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind) a few times a year, if not more often. I love the ideas of Joni Mitchell, of her creating, doing her own thing. This documentary has a lot to dig into, in Joni’s own words. Plus Joni Mitchell represents my childhood, that time of my life in the 1970s. She was so much about being an independent women creator, just being, just being brilliant, herself, ferociously.
I was one of those kids who sat with a headphones on, in the space between the huge armoire and the stereo cabinet, record sleeve and cover in my hands, parsing every bit of the lyrics and images possible. I felt this connection to the emotionalism of the songs Joni Mitchell sang. The melodies, her singular voice.
I err on the side of enthusiasm so much. And I live my life in a certain way that is very open (in many respects). I love to ask questions and have discussions about stuff. I forget all the time, because I get caught up or I don’t operate in any other mode, that other people are definitely not as enthusiastic. And they aren’t necessarily open — or most importantly, they aren’t interested in a conversation.
Or, more brutally, that they don’t see the world like I do. They have their own thing going on that may not correlate with my oftentimes clumsy, enthused, barreling through.
I forget this. All the time. I can guarantee I will learn from my mistakes with this kind of enthusiasm. But I can also guarantee I will screw up again and again going forward. It is a problem of boundaries, unclear thinking, and hard wiring.
At this point in my life I can learn from experiences — and I am glad I have the chance to continue to do this. But also some things are hard wired into who I am as a person. It is just how I am and I don’t think I can stuff my square self into a round hole to the extent that I could adjust this personality trait enough to “fix” it.
It is what makes me me. A flaw and an asset. I apologize. But I am not sorry. If that makes sense.
And in the end analysis: I can only admit my flaw, try and learn, and continue to move forward. And hope those around me can be patient, loving, and kind if at all possible. I write that and think, yeah, not other people’s problems. Understood. I sort of just have to throw myself on the mercy of the general good in others, I guess. And really, no one is really all that interested in going this deep (or noticing), thankfully.
capturing the smile
it is a sunny Sunday afternoon in May* and i have my balcony door open and my window blinds up. making sure i get my Vitamin D and fresh air fix. have exactly two weeks left on my internship at the Graduate Center Library. so decided to take a blog break from pulling together geographic references for the geotag portion of the excel extravaganza that is the metadata of the Activist Women’s History oral history project. whew!
*freaking Mother’s Day, a day i never love every year (RIP Mommy, 1984).
i feel like i am learning some good stuff.
i participated in the Global Women Wikipedia Write-In (#GWWI) and spent an intensive day (or two) forcing myself to learn Wikipedia editing (tutorials, helpful #IRC help desk, trial and error). it became pretty clear that if i dedicate my energies towards technical skill building i can learn things — or at least get a muddle-through adequately level of workability. but did i enjoy the process? not hugely. coding and stuff like this doesn’t come easy to me, but then learning something like this maybe never does? at least for me…. it isn’t where my natural skills lie. maybe this relates to how i approached math and science as a kid, and the phobias / lack of girls participating remainders from childhood. who knows.
late night boringness
saw on Twitter and the New York Times that Seth Meyers will be replacing Jimmy Fallon as the late night host on NBC. ridiculous. seriously, do we need another white man hosting a late night talk show? it is time for some changes. it would be so nice to see a woman — or a person of color, or god forbid, both — on TV in a position of authority and fun. i mean, really, it’s enough already. and in his tweet Seth Meyers thanked Lorne Michaels. yeah, here’s hoping Lorne Michaels won’t be part of the show*, because that can only be a bad thing. the limitations of the Lorne Michaels model are plentiful — as exemplified by the frozen in time and innovation Saturday Night Live.
wow. didn’t know i needed to get that out there like that. feel a bit better. well not really but at least i am not screaming at the computer and/or TV. just screaming on the internet via this blog.
*aaand, reading the nytimes article, Lorne Michaels will oversee the show just like he does for Jimmy Fallon and others. well, here’s hoping that it is minimal overseeing…
Frank and his legacy
my friend Frank has been sick. i get periodic updates but i worry about how he’s doing down in Australia. he has lived a very long life, is a survivor (literally, figuratively). but age is not a kind mistress (cliched but true). the comfort i can give myself is that we have done a lot of great work together, and no matter what, his legacy of materials will survive. i will do my best to continue to work on it, organize it, and make sure that it has the proper disposition and survives. take that Hitler and your killing machine. a big F U.
made reservations for the IAJGS Boston conference this summer — ah, Boston in August. the joy. prediction that will be 100% true: i will be schvitzing, actively and profusely. can’t wait to spend time with a bunch of grumpy Jewish genealogists, of which i am a card carrying member. these are my people. and now i am in my mid- (late!) 40s, i am getting closer to the typical demographic (of being an old grumpy Jewish genealogist). well i feel old. och.
interviewed for an interesting part time job not specifically related to library science, but something that i am interested in, thankfully. not sure if i blew the interview or not. i always feel very pessimistic about my interview experiences. am trying to follow the excellent Ask A Manager advice of moving on and letting go, as these types of things are totally out of your control. but it is difficult to follow this advice sometimes.
i could have been much more prepared, which i am peeved at myself about. that was a definite learning experience which i will not repeat. and interviewing for a position with more than one person is always non-ideal in my book. this was four people, which is nerve-wracking. i guess this is how job interviews are done nowadays but stressful. i don’t think i’m the best interview, but once i get into a workplace, well, that’s where i do well. semi-desperate (true, but not true) for a foot in the door. oh gads, i don’t know…
the folks involved in the project i would potentially work on are scary interesting and talented, have implemented a very cool technical interface. plus it has to do with CUNY, a place i have become passionately a fan of, so there is that… more smart people doing cool stuff. i hope it works out because it would be fun, interesting, and very cool.
in addition to feeling like i will never be able to earn a living again, which is obviously a ridiculous thing to even say, but at this point post-CS it is a very real experience. all the jobs in academia require a second master’s, which i would happily get if the institution would let me go for free AFTER hiring me… (yeah not very realistic) i loved grad school, love learning. but i am also very ready to complete this shift into a new career already.
i know a lot of folks have been working at getting a full time library gig — or any substantive library gig — for much longer than me, that i need to be patient and keep my nose to the grindstone of creative problem solving and hard work, but it is inevitable that i am questioning my efforts here. do i succumb to a money job in a good environment (if i can find something like that, hopefully)? or do i continue on this broken-down, unstable / sketchy path of cobbling together a library science career? which is going to take a lot of time and effort.
the conflict i feel is that i could continue to do what i did in my last money job (of 16 years). i could work on things i love, things like the work with Frank that have no financial compensation, that actually cost me money and my time. but make me soul-deep happy and satisfied. do i continue to do what is technically classified as “hobbyist” work for free, follow that passion and journey? or do i try and shove my square shape into a round hole of a library science job. it is very unclear right now.
SouthLAnd was canceled. not a surprise but damn.
not a lot to smile about there. sads.
okay, back to the grindstone of prep for geotagging locations. hopefully can use Leaflet, though i suspect the tech side of this Activist Women’s Voices oral history project will not be part of this journey / experience, is out of my hands. oh well, i will use it for Frank’s stuff maybe? or another project. oy.
thanks for reading, if anyone made it this far.
so i am blogging in multiple places right now, at the cost of only intermittently blogging here. which i suspect will be the way things will be for the Spring 2013 semester while i am working on this internship.
in addition to this SchmattaLUV blog….
i am doing a private blog (private due to permissions / rights issues*) that is my own personal process blog: Activist Women’s Voices
and i am doing a public blog via the CUNY Commons: Graduate Center Special Collections CUNY Activist Women’s Voices
the CUNY blog is going to be more formal, with less tangential forays into free associations (think less Library of Congress / public domain images, less YouTube videos, etc.).
so i’ll still have this one, and will post when i can. but feel free to visit the others, if you want.
*will try to unlock selected posts if i can get them approved to be public
Mark freaking Mothersbaugh
first off, i want his glasses. so aluminum and shiny!
second off, his office building is that weird circular building on Sunset i always drove by and wondered about when i lived in El-Lay….
it mystifies me that more buildings aren’t circular. it makes much more sense to me than square. i think circular, more pod-like, egg-like structures would create a more welcoming and organic work and living space. big fan of the circular.
it was white back in the day, but i love this color — lime green!
and then, thirdly, there is what Mark Mothersbaugh talks about when he talks about Devo. which totally blew my mind.
DEVO, when we were starting as a band it was right after a shooting and not just
at Kent but other campuses around the country there.
Students were saying, hey!
We don’t want to be part of this Vietnam War.
You know, we were watching it on TV and we are like who are we defending and
why and why are we attacking people over there?
They didn’t do anything to us.
What is the point to this war?
It’s not a good war.
During that time period Jerry Casale who I’d collaborated with on a few
visual things already that year, he came over and he started playing music
with me and he was a bass player and he was playing in a blues band to make some extra money.
I was a keyboard player but I was playing like synth stuff and it was more like
Soft Machine or something.
It was kind of like more acidy and we were trying to figure out what is this
sound we were thinking. Oh!
It’s like Flintstones meets the Jetsons.
You know, like I was playing kind of space age-y kind of sounds and he was
playing like kind of primitive bass sounds, blues, blues-y kind of things.
We started talking about what was going on around us and then what was happening
at school and what was happening in the world.
We came to the conclusion that what we were observing was not evolution but
So, that’s where we’ve got the name the De-evolution band and then the
De-evolutionary army before we cut letters off the end and turn it into DEVO.
De-evolution was sort of our platform.
It became a way that we could talk about things that we were curious about,
that concerned us and we could make fun of things and we could draw attention to things.
So, we looked at people like Andy Warhol for inspiration.
We saw– and not so much in his messages but in his techniques.
We saw that was the perfect.
He was about ideas and it didn’t matter what medium he worked in.
I’d liked the idea that he wasn’t just locked into like playing guitar or to
painting watercolors on a piece of paper, the same exact thing every time.
He was into solving problems.
So, we kind of wanted DEVO to be like that.
Devo came from the idea of de-volution, a reaction to the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings and trying to make sense of the world at that point in time. it’s just all sort of brilliant and so much more connected and much more meaningful than i ever imagined Devo to be. just love this, hearing such a smart man talk about the ideas behind what made Devo Devo.
and more to the point, the name Devo and the idea of de-evolution, and the ideas of doing things however they came to be (i.e., Warhol example) was also about parsing process and vision and intention in the most organic and revolutionary, naturally evolving way. as Mothersbaugh describes, it was about solving problems. and agitprop.
Agitation propaganda (commonly shortened to agitprop) is the systematic spreading and thorough explanation of political, philosophical, economic, historical, as well as scientific, technical, and other types of ideas by the political leadership of a movement, society or organization, advancing the effectiveness of political persuasion and training on the target, leading to rapid action, or mobilization. In a simplified sense, Agitation Propaganda is focused on causing an excitement of emotions in the target, with the aims of stimulating action.
it’s a great example. a great example of inspired thinking. makes me want to keep it on the road, keep going, keep at whatever i’m doing that’s working….
the history of my Devo-revolution
and on a more personal note, my earliest memories of Devo were their record (below) i think my brother Michael had.
and then of course i remember a high school performance of the annual Roadshow (i think that was it) by my sister Claud’s friends (including Saybert) where they did a song by Devo, wearing the same outfits and hats. it was so cool. i loved her friends.
this picture isn’t that but it captures how awesome these guys were.
some video awesomness. my favorite Devo song, “Uncontrollable Urge”.
i read about the Valmadonna Trust Library a while ago. then this week have had a bit of a crazy — wonderful really — connection to the library.
found this cool video over at Sotheby’s, if you are interested in an overview of this truly inspiring collection.
JewishGen psychic family connections!
so anyway, i get contacted periodically via the awesome resource that is JewishGen Family Finder.
for those not familiar with it, the JewishGen Family Finder is a database of searchble surnames and towns (in my case, shtetls) that you can search to try and find your Jewish ancestors.
i have listed the surnames and shtetls in my immediate family on the JewishGen Family Finder. if someone is searching for or has a similar surname and town listed, the Family Finder is a great way to connect with fellow genealogists and try to share share information. in many ways the Jewish community is much smaller than you would ever think, especially genealogically.
so a wonderful woman named Pauline Malkiel is the librarian at the Valmadonna Trust Library. she also happens to be a Segall relation from Nasielsk, Poland!
we haven’t quite worked it out how we are related — i am embarrassed to say i have done very little research on my grandmother’s mother (Rachel Segall) and grandmother’s (Sarah Segall) specifics. i stopped doing my own genealogy to help out my friend Frank and haven’t been focused on the Segall branch’s information at all. i haven’t really been able to focus on Frank’s work much either due to grad school, working too much, grad school burnout, job tribulations, etc. no good excuse really. and the guilt is pretty bad but i don’t seem to be able to harness it towards good right now. i hope to get it together soon. oy vey….
back to the wonderful story though. Pauline contacted me. i am going to send her the information that i do have. she will hopefully share her information too. and i am just absolutely thrilled to learn more about the Segall branch of my family. i love my Segalls dearly.
i fear that it may be an unbalanced exchange of information — seeing as i think she has more information than me (she has gone through the truly awful — and expensive — process of procuring Polish and Cyrillic records from the Polish State Archives and it sounds like she has gotten some of them translated). but i hope to reciprocate in some way.
the fact that Pauline is also a librarian is just a stunner. so excited, really blown away about that. librarians are GREAT people. i kvell!
the value of the hobbyist / collector
which got me to thinking about the Valmadonna Trust Library some more.
the Valmadonna Trust Library is another instance of a hobbyist / collector taking the time and energy and expense to create something that is so rich and deep that it rivals the holdings in traditional libraries and archives. and because the hobbyist / collector owns the works, the issues of copyright and use and access tend to be much less complicated than in traditional institutions.
another example of this is the David Rumsey Map Collection.
i mean really. the image above is insanely cool. plus it is usable via Creative Commons licensing. the Rumsey Collection is amazing database with crazy deluxe metadata. in a word: sublime.
i hope the Valmadonna Trust can do something similar to this.
my friend Debra Jane Seltzer has created something similar to this via her website, Roadside Architecture. based on a passion and moral imperative for documenting disappearing architecture that she loves, Debra Jane has spent countless time and energy and money on taking pictures, researching, and documenting disappearing mid-Century roadside architecture.
i love her blog. have learned what makes a good blog from the effortless way she writes and displays images, creating such a interesting visual stories. and Debra Jane’s flickr photostream is pretty incredible. of course the main resource is her website linked above, but all of these components make an argument for user-generated content, beautifully curated, displayed and shared openly.