Skip to main content

Going off the tangent: BART, East Oakland, Werner Pfeiffer and Rap music.

Today it took me three hours to get my reference shift as there was a "disabled" train stuck in West Oakland around 07:30 hours. While the frustrated passenger waited on the platforms looking for a ray or two of hope, I decided to take our wonderful extremely dirty and unmaintained no. 1 bus of the AC Transit. While the bus roared off the East 14th Street, I was busy watching how the scenery changed from the well-kept downtown San Leandro to wild unkempt houses of poverty-ridden East Oakland.  As I looked at all different ethnicities on that crowded bus, I found myself to be in my home. The Chinese senior citizens, Mexican day laborers, and mothers taking their children to the kindergartens, the African American children, and their mothers, and an occasional white face or two was the urban landscape that surrounded me. And yes, English is not my language.

As I dreamt for I too have a dream, my thoughts for some reason went back to the speech that our first African-American president Barack Obama gave. Yes, that speech about the hope and the change. For the past four years, I have seen East Oakland shining like a poverty stricken star of hope for the migrants-free, temperamental and independent. I wondered if he and Michele will ever ride number 1 bus with us? Or in their retirement, they will be busy finding the lost girls that Boko Haram had abducted forcefully...And for some reason, I thought about the artists books as an object of art. I thought about those who manipulate the paper medium into an art-form. I thought of Werner Pfeiffer and his creations that I had a chance to look during my short term at heavenly and manicured capital of American education-Princeton. I felt there as if I was a made-man. What had happened to me?  I shrug off the thoughts to oblivion.

As I was continued to think about that Mr. Obama's speech, I also thought about the European game of giving him the Noble peace prize. Did the world really change? Did we give hope in Syria? Or we continued to play our own population promising them to be made great again? I thought about Putin's Russia, the hacking and thought about Russia of those who opposed him. As I was thinking about the complex and unsolvable world problems, I also was thinking about how I as a librarian sweep my own office, cubicle, workspace to keep it clean and free of dust. I was thinking about the new "strategic plan" brainstorming sessions, where I was thinking about how dirty are the floors in one particular temple of books and digital objects.

I was thinking about the smelly toilets that also exist in the greatest super-power and the pot and potholes on our streets. While I was in this dreamlike state, a lady-citizen who was sitting next to me suddenly started to play loud music on her boom-box. I looked at her and she said- this life man, this is our east 14th. She asked me if I had any problem with her music. I kept silent...and continued to listen to her music. I felt that I am out of place and I have lost touch with America that surrounds me. I asked myself- am I supposed to have a serious face in our boring and non-ending meetings where we talk about information literacies or strategic plan? Should I pay attention to words that have lost meaning....or should I just doze off to the world of rap that was playing during that precise moment. The rap song that was playing had all sort of non-traditional language but it left playing in my mind as I proceed through the day. I felt like a hero of a Mexican novel by my dear friend Cecilia Magaña-"La cabeza decapitada." But the rap music continued interrupting my journey towards bibliographic nirvana. So here it is and please do not label I am not a rapper and I do not have any record label in mind.
I present you with E-40 and the lyrics can be offensive for some but it is what it is- a meditation in the urban jungle of East Oakland and this is a "kosher version" as today is Shabbos.
Yup, everybody's got choices? Do I have one? How can I contribute more to my field of Slavic and East European Studies librarianship? How can I come out of the la cabeza decapitada and hug my Mexican friends and family? Do I need to be like Eisenstein and travel to Mexico to create my own version of ¡Que viva México! (Да здравствует Мексика!)?

So Enjoy this clipe- and all copyrights belong to them. I am just sharing my learning experience. The lyrics can be offensive but I did not write them. I had never heard this song before today.


Popular posts from this blog


Web-comics: Some Links by Liladhar R. Pendse (UC Berkeley)

This exhibit also takes in consideration comics that are born digital. The webcomics represent a unique opportunity for their creators to provide outreach to multiple audiences. Below are some suggested webcomics that can make this exhibition more interesting to our visitors.The list below was adapted for use from, and other sites. Some of these comics might be sensitive to their viewers. I would advise viewer’s discretion. This is not a comprehensive list but it provides a meaningful insight into the mysterious world of the webcomics.

Nedroid Fun Times” by Anthony Clark.“Hark! A Vagrant” by Kate Beaton.“Hooray for Teamwork” by Owl Turd.“The Paradox of Choice” by Cat and Girl.“Spelling” by the Perry Bible Fellowship.“Lyme Disease” by Joy Ang.“Super Foods” by übertool.“Surreal Strokes” by ChaosLife.“The Future of Elections” by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.“Grrl Power”-A webcomic about superheroines.“A…

Call for papers: ‘Rethinking Revolutions’ - London School of Economics - 26th May 2017.

Call for papers
‘Rethinking Revolutions’ - London School of Economics - 26th May 2017

Over the past twenty years, the study of revolution has lost the centrality it once enjoyed. Yet the study of revolutions has never been so important: in thinking through the aftermath of the Arab uprisings, exploring the ideology of ISIS and other Islamist groups, understanding self-proclaimed revolutionary movements in the West, and interpreting the experience of states that continue to see themselves as revolutionary, such as China, Iran, and Cuba. The study of revolution needs to catch up with the actual experience of revolutionary movements and states.

One barrier to this endeavor is the fracturing of the study of revolutions into different disciplines and sub-fields. This workshop seeks to bring together scholars and students working on revolutions from different disciplinary backgrounds (e.g. Sociology, International Relations, History, and Political Science), sub-fields (e.g. social movements…

Job: Data research analyst for the project Golden Agents

Data research analyst for the project Golden AgentsInstitute for Logic, Language and Computation – Department of PhilosophyPublication date9 January 2017Level of educationUniversitySalary indication€2,552 to €4,028 gross per month, based on 38 hours per weekClosing date20 January 2017Hours30,4 hours per weekVacancy number17-009 The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is a renowned research institute at the University of Amsterdam, in which researchers from the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Science collaborate. The research carried out at Humanities forms one of the six research schools within this faculty. ILLC’s central research area is the study of fundamental principles of encoding, transmission and comprehension of information. Research at ILLC is interdisciplinary, and aims at bringing together insights from various disciplines concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, philosophy, linguistics, musicology, mathematics, compute…