You now have access to five historical newspaper resources!
Calling all genealogists, researchers and scholars! See our eLibrary for first hand accounts and coverage.
The Channel Islands are home to the most well-preserved archeological sites on the Pacific coast, with more than 10,000 years of continuous human occupation recorded. They contain the oldest dated human remains in North America—Arlington Springs Man (13,000 BP).
While the islands themselves are accessible only by boat or aircraft, the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitors Center is right in the Ventura Harbor. Located at 1901 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura, it features a display of marine aquatic life as well as exhibits reflecting the unique character of each island. There is a 3-dimensional map of the islands outside the bookstore that gives an idea of the shapes of the islands. If you go up to the 3rd floor, you get a beautiful panoramic view of Ventura and the harbor.
San Nicolas Island, part of the Channel Islands, is the setting for Scott O’Dell’s novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins”. Foster Library has many copies of the novel along with other items to help you plan your journey to the Channel Islands.
Did you miss storytime? The Library Fairy and storytellers can now be seen reading and signing on CAPS-TV and at vencolibrary.org.
Hear Pete The Cat by Eric Litwin, Neville by Norton Jester, The Napping House by Audrey Wood and more read by your favorite storyteller. Also join the Story Fairy with fingerplays and songs.
We love seeing you at storytimes on Tuesday mornings at 10:30, but if you can't make it, don't miss out on the fun. Check the listings at CAPS-TV for show times and log onto vencolibrary.org anytime.
Please help us Stuff the Bus. We are helping to collect back to school items for homeless children returning to school. Drop off pencils, pens, notebooks, crayons and other school supplies within the next two weeks so there is time to distribute them in time for school. You can find a bus on both floors of the E.P. Foster Library.
We really enjoyed putting on our Summer Reading for Adults program. We had so many entries, and so many winners! The grand prize winner was Christina, from Ventura.
Thank you to everyone who participated! We love our readers and we are already making plans for next year. We had many local businesses contribute prizes, and as always, we thank our Friends of the Library for sponsoring our events and contests. Happy reading!
THE POLITICS OF WAR: Absurdity and Economy continued.
CATCH 22 by Joseph Heller
“It was love at first sight”. This is one of those famous opening lines of a novel, if only because it is written about Yossarian, An Army Airforce B-25 bombadier, recovering from a battle wound while based at an island west of Italy in the Medetaranian. It is in reference to his surgeon, a man Yossarian has high respect for.
There are many avant gaard comments and scenes within the book like this one, designed to both amuse and confuse. In fact, the novel is rife with paradox. For this is the way the U.S. Military is run, you see. The phrase, Catch 22 , is a military rule, the self-contradictory circular reasoning that, for example, prevents one from avoiding combat missions. And it is a general critique of beaurocratic operation and reasoning.
Here then is basically the catch in Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. The character, Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and thus didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.
Catch-22 says, as one of the other characters would state, “that they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing”. And it becomes illicitly used to maintain a profiteering enterprise by a grass roots elite, who can keep the Base in check with lots of recruits utilizing this Rule while fighting the Germans, especially when missions were added on to a Airman’s schedule, forcing him to stay at the Base longer than his rotation was meant to . The whole point of this was to profit from his pay by giving him shares in the syndicate run by Milo Minderbinder, the squadron’s mess officer. The war thus kind of loses sight to the grander sceme of those who would profit from it.
Yossarian comes to realize that Catch-22 does not actually exist, but because the powers that be claim it does, and the world believes it does, it nevertheless has potent effects. Indeed, because it does not exist, there is no way for it to be repealed, undone, overthrown or denounced.
Meanwhile, the syndicate, which is run like a communist/capitalist enterprise, feeds off its shareholders with product they are able to buy on the open market at a higher price but sell at a lower price to the airmen and still make a profit, because they are collecting money from the airmen’s pay for each share of stock they receive. Its kind of like a reverse Ponzi Scheme.
Milo is one of the most complex figures in the novel, and the syndicate that he heads is one of its most elusive symbols. On the one hand, the syndicate gives Heller an opportunity to parody the economic activity of large-market capitalism. The extraordinary rationalization by which Milo is able to buy eggs for seven cents apiece and sell them for five cents apiece while still turning a profit is one of the most tortuously sublime moments in the novel. On the other hand, it can only be done through this Socialistic Collective.
Yossarian comes to fear his commanding officers more than he fears the Germans attempting to shoot him down and he feels that "they" are "out to get him." Key among the reasons Yossarian fears his commanders more than the enemy is that as he flies more missions, Colonel Cathcart increases the number of required combat missions before a soldier may return home. He reaches the magic number only to have it retroactively raised. His paranoia is considered irrational by the Base psychiatrist. As he states, “The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on, and that includes Colonel Cathcart. And don't you forget that, because the longer you remember it, the longer you might live.”
The lines become blurred as to who the enemy really is when Milo employs German airmen to bomb the encampment at Pianosa because it will be profitable for the syndicate to do so. This predicament indicates a tension between traditional motives for violence and the modern economic machine, which seems to generate violence simply as another means to profit, quite independent of geographical or ideological constraints. Heller emphasizes the danger of profit seeking by portraying Milo without “evil intent." Milo’s actions are portrayed as the result of greed, not malice.
This is one of the most hilarious novels to read because it is full of paradoxical pranks. Yossarian soon discovers that he is one of two men who are truly sane at his base. The other is a man named Orr he will not fly with, even though invited to on several occations, because the pilot has a tendency to crash land in the Mediterranean. They share a tent and both are considered to be crazy.
Orr's motivation throughout, however, is to escape the squadron and the war. He plans to crash land in the sea and make his way to a neutral country where he can wait out the war (which he eventually does). He practices this goal by getting shot down every mission he flies, and so becomes an expert in crash landings, without losing a single crewman. But he is considered crazier than Yossarian because of it. Thus, Orr is the only character in the book who understood how to defeat the law of Catch 22.
Yossarian, upon hearing that news, grabs an inflatable raft and paddles out into the Medeterranean to finally make his escape. One is left with a sense that there is more to the absurdity of war than just the violence and the killing. It includes a rationale of isolation, greed, sex, opportunism, victimization, abject fear and a growing inability to differentiate between good and evil, madness and sanity.
-Resident Philosopher Doug Taylor
The story of Brandon Reese,
a Ventura High School student with a secret life.
Geek by day, bird by night, Brandon risks his life
for the girl he loves.
Tim Pompey is a news writer and poet. He was awarded the Still Waters Press Winter Poetry Award 2000 for his chapbook,
Getting Through the Fog.
Two documentary films focusing on Korea will be shown. The first film illustrates the artistic and cultural achievements of Korea's past, and the second shows Korea's industrial achievements since the Korean War.
A reenactment of a traditional Korean wedding will follow the screening.
RSVP is preferred, please call 641-4414.