More Trying Questions

From The Conspiracy Theorist: "Who owns Oxford University?"

From a frequent Trivia Caller: "In Africa, there is a tribe of tall people called the Watusis. What are the short people called?"
Me: I believe you must be thinking of Pygmies.
She didn't believe me. I tried to explain that the designation of "pygmy" encompassed many different African tribes of short people and because of that original term, "pygmy" in the English language has come to be used generically of anything small. I don't think she ever believed or understood me, but when people don't want to do their own research, well, that's what they get.

Incidentally, this link supports my original explanation. Thank you very much. [For the record, I did read her a sampling of the names on that site, but I knew she would not recognize them, and they were not the answer to her question anyway. She was writing the daily trivia question for her "residence home" and I was pretty sure none of the elderly there would come up with Bambuti or Bagyeli.]

From the Whiney Butt Woman: Can I ask you a question? ...I'm sure you know the answer to this...I have this problem all the time when I try to go to a web page and I type it in up at the top, frequently I make a mistake...I know there is a way to correct the mistake without erasing everything I have typed...can you tell me how to do that...


I did not feel capable of verbally explaining the process of backspacing; well, I tried, but she was not too familiar with the keyboard, so I took her back to the Ref Desk to proceed with my lesson. I had to cover the basics, such as "The blinking line is the cursor. The spot where the line is, is exactly where your letters will appear when you type them." She seems to think the library staff are her free tutors in the skill of computing. Except that she never remembers what we tell her. Crap.

Why I <3 Amazon.com

Lady calls with several book requests. She would like to reserve Black Music. "Black Music?" I question. Yes. I search our catalog, but find nothing at least in a novel format. I try Amazon.com. My first few tries yield no results. I use the author's name and come up with Beach Music. Her: "Oh. That must be it."

Next request: Marcy Dobbs Investigator. Thanks to Amazon again, I finally determine that she means Maisie Dobbs: a novel in which Maisie, presumably, is an investigator.



Caller: I need to know what branch of the government is responsible for Indian affairs.

Me: Do you mean Native Americans or Asian Indians.

Caller: American Indians

I do a web search for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as I attempt to clarify the question. I was wondering if she expected an answer of Judicial, Legislative, or Executive. Fortunately the answer "Department of the Interior" satisfied her.


Hard to Tell

The Conspiracy Theorist had two very difficult questions for me the other day. He wanted to know who supported Israel; not which countries, but which people.

Next, he wanted to know which people were Communists.

Osmosis is overrated

My husband visited me for the first time at work. He found a DVD he liked and asked me if it cost money to rent it... MY HUSBAND!!


No Manners

A guy asked me a question (did we have the Sound of Music on VHS) and then stood there thumping the desk impatiently. THEN he walked around the desk and took a book off the cart next to me. Without asking. Then he carried it away. All without asking. I was only "de-new-ing" them, so it didn't matter in this case, but it could have. In what alternate reality is that considered OK?



Without preamble a mail carrier in a dirty uniform says:
"What I'm looking for is a 2007 calendar showing the full moons."
Here I have a list of the dates. Will that work?
"Well, I really need a calendar. Don't you have anything like that in the library?"
Most likely, everything we have will just be in a list form like this. We don't have our 2007 calendars yet.
"What I really need is a calendar."
[The other librarian suggested he go buy his own calendar and write in the dates we had given him.]

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