Archive for September, 2004

Cool search feature

Friday, September 10th, 2004

Did you know that you can get excerpts from books and other material otherwise not online by searching on Google Print?

You can search using this feature of Google by adding the following bit to your search query:

Example: chocolate mousse

This query yields a list of resources with all sorts of excerpts from books that talk about chocolate mousse, including some full recipes.

It’s unclear how copyright owners are/will be reacting to this. You would think as long as the excerpt is just an excerpt and the page includes a link to online book retailers where users can then purchase the book they would embrace it. It may be a bit more complicated with magazines as copies of those for sale are usually not just a click away.

Favorite first line – music version

Thursday, September 9th, 2004

Matt Weiner over at Opiniatrety puts a musical spin on the question of favorite opening hooks by exploring “the greatest first lines of record albums”. Songs usually either grab me in their entirety or they don’t speak to me much at all so although there are lines I really like, they are rarely first lines. I guess by the time you realize whether you like the first line of a song you are half way through the entire piece so perhaps the effect of that first segment is not as important as it may be for a book. In any case, I thought you might enjoy heading over to Matt’s blog and discussing favorite first lines of songs. There are also a couple of people who comment about first lines of movies in response to the book post. Oh, the possibilities…:)

Favorite first line?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2004

I just came across an interesting site called Opening Hooks, “a collection of literary beginnings”. The creator of the site explains:

Chip Kidd once said, “A good book cover makes you want to pick it up. End of story.” More often then not, however, a gripping first sentence or paragraph prevents you from putting it back down. The opening hook. It’s a simple concept, reading is linear, time is finite. What keeps a reader reading is the opening hook.

I don’t have any particular memories of special opening hooks, but browsing through the site’s data base I came across this one: “When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.” – Yup. I think this one qualifies as a good opening hook. Unfortunately, when I first read Kafka’s The Metamorphosis I attempted to do so in its original. Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheueren Ungeziefer verwandelt. Perhaps understandably, words such as “Ungeziefer” – or insect – are not part of one’s basic foreign language vocabulary lesson so I’m afraid I had a hard time fully appreciating some of the nuances – huh, some of the basics! – during my first attempt at the novel. Let’s just say I probably spent more time flipping through the dictionary than the book. But reading the sentence in English on that site brought it all back and I do think it qualifies as a good opening hook. I suspect others around here who are much bigger literature buffs than I am will think of candidates for their favorite opening lines without having to go to their book shelves (or browse an online data base).

Hat tip: Matt Read.

Domain hosting services

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

It’s taken me quite a while to transfer the various parts of my online presence (my work site, my blog site, my photos, etc.) and a good chunk of it is still in the works. There are various reasons for this, but one unfortunate aspect has been the very unfriendly and complicated services offered by Yahoo! Domains who used to host some of my site (or at least the domain names and redirection). They have been a complete nightmare to deal with this summer.

In contrast, my experiences with Dreamhost have been great. I very much recommend them! (If you decide to sign up with them and wouldn’t mind listing me “eblogle” as the referrer, that would be great.)

Link to old Eszter’s Blog posts

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

For now the original content from Eszter’s Blog is still residing on Princeton’s servers. I will be moving them at some point when some other things get fixed. I will keep the link on this post updated.

A new home for Eszter’s Blog

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

I have moved institutions and states, and although that doesn’t mean I’d necessarily have to move my online presence, I’m taking this transition as an opportunity to start using a new blogging software. Although Greymatter served me very well and am still happy with it, I have decided to migrate to WordPress. This is my new blog home. Welcome.

Happy Arrival Day!

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

Today we celebrate Arrival Day, the 350th anniversary of the first Jewish immigrants’ arrival in New Amsterdam (today’s New York City) on September 7, 1654. The Head Heeb has been preparing for this event for over a year. He explains:

Arrival Day is a holiday of the American Jewish people rather than the Jewish religion – a celebration of the Jewish community and its contributions to the United States. As such, non-Jews as well as Jews are welcome to join in the celebration. In the wise words of Ikram Saeed, everyone is Jewish today, just as everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

A month ago I participated in a wonderful wedding that offers the perfect story for Arrival Day. I share with you the details of this wedding as a celebration of Jews from all over the world coming together in the United States.

In early August I returned to Princeton for the wedding of two friends. I had met both the bride and the groom even before they met each other. There is something extra special about friends coming together in that way. The bride had been an undergraduate Sociology major at Princeton (the department in which I got my graduate degree) and once started talking to me in the department’s mailroom after having heard me speaking in Hungarian with someone. Although she grew up in Manhattan, her parents are Hungarian from Transylvania (now Romania) and she, too, speaks the language. The groom and I started our graduate training at Princeton the same year and hung out in the same social circles from close to the beginning of our years there. He is from Australia. The two of them met as a klezmer band was forming at Princeton. They are both music lovers and amazing musicians. Music and their Jewish cultural heritage seemed to bring them together. And now they are a wonderful Jewish couple from different ends of the globe living a life together in the United States. The wedding was marvelous with friends and family of both the groom and the bride putting on amazing musical performances the night before the ceremonies.

There are several reasons why I live in the U.S. and although no one factor is fully responsible, one contributing reason is that no matter how people try to downplay it, anti-Semitism is alive and well in Europe. I prefer to live in a country where I do not have to be on my guard all the time about being Jewish. (I realize experiences must vary across the U.S., but this is my experience having lived in seven states in rural, suburban and urban areas and I appreciate it.) At my friends’ wedding, Jews and non-Jews of numerous backgrounds came together to celebrate in the joy of two wonderful people. In my mind, this story is the perfect tribute to Arrival Day.

The Head Heeb will be linking to posts that celebrate Arrival Day through the day to be sure to hop on over to his blog for pointers.

Stay tuned for more blog

Saturday, September 4th, 2004

I’m in the midst of transferring my Web site and concurrently I’ll likely start up a more active blog presence on my personal blog (as opposed to the great group blog Crooked Timber of which I’m a member). Stay tuned for information about new location and newly opened comments (with the hopes that I figure out a way to fight spam).

Political blogger who is who dinner

Saturday, September 4th, 2004

Thanks to Henry Farrell and Dan Drezner, those attending the American Political Science Association’s meetings in Chicago this weekend were in for quite a treat at yesterday afternoon’s session on The Power and Politics of Blogs. The session started out with two papers (one by Henry and Dan, the other by Laura McKenna formerly of Apt 11D and Antoinette Pole) followed by some interesting commentary from well-known political bloggers Mark Kleiman and Ana Marie Cox aka Wonkette and a final discussion with some good questions and thoughtful points by Cass Sunstein. The Q&A was interesting as well, congrats to Henry and Dan for putting together such a great panel! (As an additional treat, I finally got to meet (albeit way too briefly) another Timberite, Harry, so my CT number improved a bit again.)

Later in the evening, a bunch of us met up for drinks and dinner, which provided a nice oppportunity to chat with people whose blogs I’ve been reading for a while. I enjoyed discussing the topical versus ideological splits in the blogosphere with Cass Sunstein. I have a project that is attempting to test the latter (which I usually just refer to as the Sunstein thesis) empirically, and will certainly keep you posted. All-in-all, it was really fun to meet all these bloggers face-to-face and, again, thanks to Henry and Dan for organizing such a great blogger day!