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The most interesting part of Tom Hiddleston’s recent (February 14, 2017) interview with GQ magazine was the relevation that a photo of him and interviewer Taffy Brodesser-Akner had inspired a false news story. Briefly, Hiddleston and Taffy had been photographed hugging on the street after their interview and the photos had been published in the Daily Mail with some nudge-nudge-wink-wink-know -what-I-mean kind of captions e.g. “Hiddleston is seen embracing mystery brunette.” In a confluence of old and new media, the story then spread via social media with Taffy getting inquiries about her “relationship status” with Hiddleston from colleagues and family. [For the record, Taffy is happily married to fellow journalist Claude Brodesser].

Naturally, I had to compose a song to commemorate the event. Here is my effort set to “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon.

If you’ll be my internet boyfriend,
Can I be your mystery brunette?
The affair that never happened, baby,
That’s the one that’s hardest to forget.

Somebody took our picture and
Those photos got a million views.
Posted them up on the Web
My, how those Twitter rumors did ensue!

Husband saw the pictures
Asked me what was going on.
No worries, babe, I just hugged
Tom Hiddleston in London.

Fear? What has a man to do with fear? Chance rules our lives, and the future is all unknown. Best live as we may, from day to day.

–Queen Jocasta (Oedipus Rex by Sophocles)

You leave the office for day and the whole place falls apart. I was off yesterday and returned to work to discover that another one of my archival colleagues, ground down and burnt out from trying to keep things running while the Arnorian government visits endless cuts on the university library, has given notice. That means that the Archives unit now only has two staff members to run the show which is completely impossible.  The impending shutdown of the Archives Research Room puts my Oral History unit in a quandary because we share space in the same area of the library. If the Research Room is closed, our patrons can’t reach us. We could move our operation, but where in the library would we go, space being at premium? And what will happen to the miles of manuscripts and millions of historical photos housed in the Archives itself which the university is legally obligated to care for? Unit heads meet next week to see if they can cobble together some sort of solution. If not, the day of reckoning will fall in about two weeks.

Of course, if the Arnorian State Legislature continues to shrink the university’s budget, the entire library will collapse in the new fiscal year thus rendering our operational crisis moot. The saga continues …..

Here’s my little shout out to all women everywhere in honor of Women’s History Month. This is Malvina Reynolds’ song, “It Isn’t Nice”, which I thought was very appropriate. Malvina was a singer-songwriter and political activist who began her songwriting career when she was in her 40s.

 

This jukebox is going out to the members of the Women’s March and to all protesters everywhere fighting the good fight. Your strength inspires and encourages me.

Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” is a classic. I like the way the video draws parallels between the protest marches of the past and those of today.

A new classic for our time, “Quiet” by MILCK (Connie Lim). Performed at the Women’s March in Washington (Jan. 2017) and then on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

And my favorite protest song of all time, “Step by Step,” a 19th century union song popularized by Pete Seeger and here performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock. A great marching song.

Re: Inauguration Day

Re: Quotable Quotes

ernest-shackleton

“Optimism in the face of overwhelming odds is the truest form of moral courage.”
–Ernest Shackleton

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My colleague, Angie in the Film Archives, shared with department staff this lovely and articulate thank you letter that she received from a homesick patron, Aurora Lang, formerly of Alaska, but now living in Washington state. The letter is reprinted here with Aurora’s kind permission. Over the past four years, our library has lost half its staff and half its funding with more potentially to come as the state is buffeted by budgetary winds. Aurora’s letter lifted our hearts. Library work can be tedious, grinding, and, more often than not, underfunded. Knowing that what we do is appreciated by the public makes it all worthwhile.

Here is the clip that Aurora refers to:

The clip was put together by Dirk Tordoff, the former head of the Film Archives, now retired, and was designed as a spot for our local public TV station. The music playing is the “Bravura Variation on Alaska’s Flag Song” by Paul Rosenthal.

Dear Angie and the entire Alaska Film Archive Department,

This is a letter of gratitude for the work you do.

In the time since the election I have found enormous comfort in the 80
Years of Alaskan History film clips you compiled. I have watched it often
in the last few months, and at least a dozen times over the past few days.
It makes me tear up with pride and love each time.

Those five minutes remind me that our state is resilient and resourceful,
our friends and neighbors are our greater family, the boroughs our extended
community, that we value our wild places, and even though our state has
seen its fair share of ugliness and inhumanity, as a state we have worked
towards justice and, I believe, will continue to right our wrongs and work
toward a better Alaska.

Those five minutes remind me to be proud of the place I came from, and in
these past few months I had forgotten to be proud. It reminds me that our
state, like our country, has overcome seemingly impossible hurdles before
and will again.

Alaska is home, where I was born and raised, where my family and best
memories live. It’s the place I identify with and is what makes sense,
even during these past couple years when I’ve been down in Washington.
Those five minutes are invaluable when I’m homesick and overwhelmed with
freeways and people. I’ll move back, probably sooner than later, because
it’s home.

But in the meantime, as I’m trying to maintain hope for the future, belief
in humanity and justice, and draw upon wells of courage that feel dry right
now, I lean on those five minutes. Inevitably I feel better, more
courageous, and more hopeful.

Thank you for the work you do to preserve our history, to celebrate our
state, to inspire the future. Your work is necessary and invaluable.

With gratitude,
Aurora