My apologies to Bruce Willis. No wonder your latest movie is set in Russia. Of course the librarian's favorite action hero would be drawn to the country with the most public libraries.
Yes, you read that correctly. Russia is number one for public libraries in the world, with over 33,000. I was shocked, flabbergasted, my jaw was literally dragging on the floor when I discovered this. On the one hand, it makes sense, given the country's Communist history. The philosophy that decrees the abolition of private ownership in this case would read: no one owns the books, everyone owns the books.
Apparently, the United Kingdom is second on the list with well over 23,000 public libraries and Germany takes a close third with over 20,000.
I know what you're asking in a jingoistic fever: okay, where's the good old US of A, that bastion of democracy and education for all? Well, we are fourth, but a very distant fourth, considering the size and population of our nation. According to the latest statistics from the American Library Association, there are just under 9,000 public libraries in the U.S. We are not very far ahead of the Czech Republic and Romania.
National tradition apparently plays a large role in determining the ratio of libraries to population. In Japan, borrowing a book is not a commonplace thing to do and hence, the country has just a smidge over 1,000 public libraries. However, in Finland, book swapping must help pass the long winter nights that last into day (and the long summer days that extend into night) because, although Finland has a population just a bit over 4% of Japan's, it has over 900 libraries.
As if there weren't enough problems in here in the homeland to kick some a** over!
Disclaimer: I haven't actually seen the latest installment in the Die Hard series, "A Good Day to Die Hard." Readers of this blog will, of course, understand Bruce Willis'/John McClane's status in the pantheon of librarians. He is the librarian's action hero. Given the preponderance of negative reviews, I will wait for the flick's appearance on Xfinity On Demand. However, my lack of first-hand knowledge won't stop me from weighing in on how the mighty have fallen...
Oh Bruce --- and to think you neglected your intern duties last summer for this... swill. This is absolutely no way to end the franchise - bored and boring in Moscow. And so I propose a sixth installment, to redeem the series and go out on a high note, "Yippee Ki-Yay!" as only John McClane/Bruce Willis would, if properly advised by his agent.
As Soren Anderson of the Seattle Times put it: It's "A Good Day to Die Hard," aka "We've Got No Story To Speak Of But We Do Have an Infinite Special Effects Budget and We're Not Afraid To Spend It."
Stay Tuned for Part II: The Pitch - "Die Hard(cover)"
Since the 4th of July parade and fireworks were cancelled in my town in the wake of a powerful storm that rolled through last Sunday, causing major damage, Intern Bruce threw together a presentation to cheer me up! (Who knew the librarian's Action Hero would have a flair for Powerpoint?)
Summer means book shilling-and-signing, which is a terribly exciting prospect, but an exhausting one for an introvert. Just like teaching! Introverts who toil in a profession that favors extroverts need downtime to recover. While writing is a very introverted activity, selling is not. So I have taken on a passel of extrovert interns for the summer to "pinch blog" for me when I am in recovery mode.
Dedicated or intermittent readers (or late arrivals who have surfed the categories) will recognize these faces...
Intern Bruce: Though he is in Budapest, Hungary filming his latest Die Hard flick, "A Good Day to Die Hard," (the title is enough to make one swoon in the stacks) he eagerly agreed to contribute posts... something about lots of downtime waiting for the cinematographer and gaffers and best boys to get their, er, stuff together. Don't laugh! He's surprisingly erudite for an action hero. And he has already contributed a post, History of Hair: Part I, on The Mullet, a 'do which he swears he's never worn... and I confess I have been unable to find any photographic evidence to the contrary.
Intern George: Although he is in the middle of a European tour re-imagining his hits with the assistance of a full orchestra, writing new songs, and soon to enter rehearsals as one of the acts in the Closing Ceremonies for the August 2012 Olympics in London, he graciously offered to pen a few posts. The man is simply indefatigable!
50 Shades of Gosling
Intern Ryan: the Librarian's favorite pin-up volunteered to whip up some new memes, although I told him that cat-centric submissions would be perfectly acceptable. Ryan has been dashing around his native Canada lately, visiting Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, last week to see his mother, Donna, graduate with a bachelor's in education. He also visited Niagara Falls (on the Canadian side) with gal pal Eva Mendes. He promises to send a post with pix on his "Ya-hey-der" adventures.
I tried to coax James Franco into contributing a few poems, but unfortunately he feels that he is just too over-committed to do right by the task, as he is finishing up some short stories, directing dance pieces and exhibiting multimedia art, including an exhibition this month at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles called "Rebel," based on the James Dean movie Rebel Without a Cause, all while working on degrees from Columbia and Yale. I'm exhausted just contemplating that schedule!
I'm with the band... in Tel Aviv.
Madonna volunteered to scribble a few posts (most likely driven by self-interest in promoting her MDNA tour), but I turned her down... alas, one diva is more than enough for this blog.
This semi-vicious attack appeared in the inbox this morning, contents slightly redacted:
"Yo --- you two-timing, book-shelving [********]! I thought I was your sweetheart of the rodeo. Yippee-kay-ay [*********]!
I must admit, it was rather thrilling, in an E.L. James sort of way!
This JPEG was attached:
Apparently, the librarian's action hero, Bruce Willis, took offense at my previous post in which I proclaimed George Michael as our favorite prom date. And I confess that Bruce never entered my mind as a prom date, given the fact that I usually see him in various stages along the way to becoming a bloodied, if triumphant, hot mess. Alas, I did forget entirely about his Moonlighting phase, in which he spent plenty of time investigating crimes in a finely tailored suit or tuxedo, and he does indeed look rather dashing when he's cleaned up. (Or am I confusing Moonlighting with Remington Steele!?!?)
But can he dance?
Given the fact that I work with elementary school students, I turned at once to the beloved Venn diagram!
Hmmmm, not a lot of overlap there. I guess it all depends on what kind of an evening you are looking for...
Monday, March 19th is Bruce Willis' 57th birthday... and given his status as a kick-ass, get-it-done kind of guy among librarians (sort of a librarian's librarian), we couldn't let it pass without a proper tribute. So here are just a few reasons why we love and emulate Bruce... that excellent bald man with the smirk... followed by a tasty compilation of the man-of-action in action.
Because a librarian will do what it takes: "Sorry, baby, but I had to crash that Honda...." as Butch Coolidge Pulp Fiction (1994)
Because a librarian always has a back-up plan -- when one resource fails, we always have another: "And this is the best that you c - that the-the government, the U.S. government can come up with? I mean, you-you're NASA for cryin' out loud, you put a man on the moon, you're geniuses! You-you're the guys that think this sh-t up! I'm sure you got a team of men sitting around somewhere right now just thinking sh-t up and somebody backing them up! You're telling me you don't have a backup plan, that these eight boy scouts right here, that is the world's hope, that's what you're telling me?" as Harry Stamper Armageddon (1998)
Because librarians always maintain their cool under the most trying circumstances: “Play some rap music” as Joe Hallenbeck (context: Willis is held captive and mocked by bad-guy-in-chief Milo, who threatens him with a knife and chortles about wanting to hear Willis scream. But Bruce just wants to hear some gangsta tracks. BAD ASS with capitals! The Last Boy Scout (1991)
Because, contrary to popular belief, librarians do have a sense of humor: “Now
I have a machine gun, HO HO HO”-- Hans Gruber reading John McClane's joke written in blood across a dead man's chest, Die Hard (1988)
Because librarians do wear sensible shoes (to work, anyway): "Nine million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister." as John McClane Die Hard (1988)
Because librarians answer the same questions, day after day after day, with a smile: "Oh man, I can't f---ing believe this. Another basement, another elevator. How can the same sh--t happen to the same guy twice?" as John McClane Die Hard 2 (1990)
Because this is what a librarian says when FBI agents ask for a patron checkout history: “This is the ’90s. You don’t just go around punching people. You have to say something cool first” (and have a subpoena) as Joe Hallenbeck, The Last Boy Scout (1991)
Because librarians understand the pure joy derived from helping our patrons solve problems (whether or nor they involve the use of a machine gun): “Yippee ki-yay mother!@#$%&!r” (If you’re looking for instruction as to how to be a good guy, I suggest John McClane as the ultimate mentor. Basic human kindness and wanton destruction are not necessarily mutually exclusive. By studying him, you come to understand that you can do anything, even run through broken glass without shoes, and that a smart-alek attitude will get you everywhere, especially if you’re dispatching terrorists left and right while cursing like a sailor.) as John McClane, Die Hard (1988)
So, happy birthday, Bruce! Feel free to turn in those books late.
Just this once. ;-)
Video runs a bit long -- but hey, it's Bruce!
To find out more about me, click on the Not Your Average Jo tab.