...

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunday, Sunday...

Well, I certainly hope that Phoebe is having fun in Vegas this weekend- I love Vegas. Well, that's not entirely true - I mean, I hate Vegas, but in the same way Arlo Guthrie hated the Neutron Bomb- with a sort of awed wonderment at the concept. FB and I always joke when we fly in on our way to Utah that it's the only city where you can see all the wonders of the ancient and modern worlds without having to speak odd languages or put up with non-American plumbing.

The problem with Vegas lately is that they wised up- you used to be able to get cheap drinks and good food for a pittance because they wanted you happy and well-lubricated before you hit the slots or tables, and now they realize that folks will get happy and likkered whatever they charge. So, for us non-gamblers, no more free ride.

Well, fuck that. I can get that in Utah, and they have a prettier desert.

We did some yard work this weekend, and the debate about when to start cutting the grass started. This being a farming community, we don't have Mike's advantages regarding lawn mowing and roving strippers, but being the new kids in town, we want to do it right. No point in having older town residents drive by and mutter "city slickers, can't keep the yard up".

Had several family members up for Birthday Weekend and tried to take them on a tour of our 4+ acres of woodland, but quite a few trees came down this winter, and it's quite a mess back there. Also, there's poison ivy coming up, so we headed back to the house. Anyone with a chainsaw who doesn't have a Jack Nicholson Complex should know that we have a nice guest room and plenty of work to do...

It's only half an hour 'till Disparate Housewives, and on the theory that's there's never a bad time to show a picture of Marcia Cross, I think we'll end with this (besides, she has a book, which is very topical)-

Friday, April 28, 2006

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Helping out-

Mike has been looking for pictures of Marisa Tomei, and out of the goodness of my heart I thought I'd help out. Well, actually, the reason he was looking in the first place was that I said he should post a few.

What does this has to do with books? I'm not sure. It's almost Friday, isn't that a good reason?

Here's one that sort of makes you question her fashion sense, which as far as I can tell is usually pretty good. It's a sort of artistic pic though, so I included it.

Lies...


Why do public figures lie?

It's always amazed me when a CEO, politician, or sports or movie star tells a blatant, obvious lie in public and expects to be believed. What are they thinking? Do they really assume that everyone will believe that black is white simply because they say so?

The question came up again last night on, of all things, 'American Idol'. Yes, we watch every week. Hey -some people watch Bill O'Reilly every night. You tell me which is a greater threat to rational thought.

Anyway... last night Simon apologized, very nicely, to Katherine McPhee for dissing her Tuesday night performance. It was a needed apology- Kat had sung the Holy Hell out of a Whitney Houston song, but all three judges evidently got pissed because she had dared to presume to perform something by The Great Whitney. I like Whitney too, but gimme a break.

So last night, during the judging, Simon said he had to apologize for being so negative. He had watched a tape of the show, and realized that Kat did a very good job. Randy muttered something about his being "too harsh" as well. So Rancid Ryan turned to Paula Abdul and asked if she had any regrets about being negative the night before.

"I wasn't negative," she said. Then she turns to Kat and says "You know I love you."

Now I've always been a Paula Abdul fan, but what the Hell was that all about? We all saw her be negative, on live television no less. It was all the more shocking because Paula is never negative about anyone. She'd probably tell George Bush he was doing a good job in Iraq.

So why lie?

Sure, it doesn't really matter whether Paula wants to fib or not, but as a larger issue, it is important. When CEOs, Presidents and others who do have influence on our daily lives think that they can lie, cheat and steal with impunity and then make everything better later by denying that that's what they did, that affects their behavior. Perhaps if we held these folks more accountable when the lies are revealed, someone else will think twice about doing something they need to lie about next time. When it's Paula Abdul it probably doesn't matter. When it's the CEO of Enron, or the Secretary of State, it probably does...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

God Bless America!

I stole this from somewhere or other...

Day In The Life Of Joe Republican

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some America-hating liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - so now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some wacko liberal environmentalist fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal commie pinko bastard wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist, chardonnay-swilling liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Monday, Tuesday...

Sigh.

I've not been very communicative here the last few days. It started last Friday when FB and I went down to New Yak for a weekend at the book fair, and then this week we have the new Spring catalog out, and folks are actually buying books -go figure. You come up for air and it's 9:30 Tuesday night.

It doesn't get less frenetic from here- this coming weekend everyone descends on us for February Birthday Weekend. It's like this- my birthday, my mother's birthday, my unlce and cousin's birthdays (on my father's side) and two nieces and aunt's birthday (on FB's side) all fall in February. Hence February Birthday Weekend.

Yeah, I know, I know, but we always hold February Birthday Weekend in April or May. HayZues Fucking Cristos, have you got any idea what the weather is like around here in February? Think anyone wants to drive then? I don' think so...

So everyone is here Saturday, and the house is a mess. The yard looks nice, though. It's our first spring at Foggygates, and we've got God's ownshitload of flowering trees and shrubs. I have to take some photos. When it's not raining it's quite spectacular.

So, I gotta go and get some more work done.

Hang in there, everyone.

Monday, April 24, 2006

New York, New York...

Another nice thing about our new digs at Foggygates- we're a good hour and a half closer to New York than we were before! So FB and I went down to The City Friday morning to spend a few days. I had to go, because I had my last two meetings as a BOGGY (Board of Guv'ners member) of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, and of course there's the ABAA books fair at the same time- reason enough for a trip. Actually, the best reason for the trip was to visit with FB's aunt and uncle who live there and who took us to dinner Friday night at a great Turkish restaurant. They also told us about a wonderful little Irish pub called Emerald Inn at 205 Columbus which features the best burgers in New York (quite literally- it won a New York Times "Best Neighborhood Pubs" award, or summat like that). But aside from awards, it's a small, narrow, dark pub with a friendly bartender, good beers on draft, and real Irish barmaids. And great burgers. We spent quite a bit of time there Saturday afternoon...

Where was I? Oh yeah, books. The Fair appears to have gone well for many dealers, which is a good sign, and reports indicate that visiting dealers were buying heavily, another good sign for the trade. It's always nice to start the Book Fair Season, as the NYBF does, with good reports (I heard some really good reports privately, with quite astounding numbers mentioned, but that's another story).

Saturday night was the annual ABAA Dinner Meeting, this year held at the Grolier Club, which they do about every 5 years and is always fun. This year's meeting was to honor Past Presidents, of which almost all were there. FB and I sat at a table with 2- Rob Rulon-Miller and Tom Congalton, among my favorite booksellers anyway, even if they were not so damned influential...

And as of today they swore the new Board in and I am free to resume non-BOGGY life, and I can concentrate full-time on bookselling again. Being a BOGGY was an eye-opening experience, because most of what they do, the work they put in, and the fires they put out, is not apparent to the rest of the bookselling world. The time spent by some volunteers on committees is daunting. God knows I did little enough, but there are many who do spend a lot of time on it, and for very little, if any reward, except the personal satisfaction of a 'job well done'.

Of course I was in it for the glory, the booze, and the hot bookie babes who flock to all the book fairs and follow the booksellers around as if we were rock stars or something. Bono, eat your heart out!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Extreme & Terrible Power of Auctions-

Well well well...

a few weeks ago we sold a small pamphlet on Ebay- the program to the 1983 St. Botolph Club Award Dinner, which was honoring poet Richard Wilbur.

Yesterday Richard Wilbur won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, worth $100,000...

That's not bad money for poetry. It's almost as much as you can make selling books on the internet (or so I am told).

We congratulate Mr. Wilbur, whose talent and continuous hard work over the past four decades obviously had at least a little to do with this latest honor, but we'd be remiss not to point out our pathfinding, nay, **Groundbreaking** work on his behalf by auctioning that 1983 program on Ebay for $4.25 two weeks ago.

Ah, the Awesome and Terrible Power of Auctions!

I am awed and humbled.

We have some other auctions running, in case you want to get a first-look before they appear on ther CBS Evening News or in the Times or somewhere.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Can I see the menu again?

OK, I was going to write about something else this morning, but then I was reading Mike's blog and they got to talking about duck soup last night, and for some reason this photo came barging into my mind and it seemed an appropriate way to start the day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Happy Holiday!

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath for this day to roll around. I'm very surprised Mike hasn't mentioned it -mebbe they don't celebrate it in Ohio. But that cannot be true- such an important holiday must be celebrated everywhere. Yes, campers, it's National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day!

How cool is that? This is the one day a year I wish I worked in the White House... hmmm. Oh wait, I just got an odd mental image. Eewww....

Monday, April 17, 2006

Patriot's Day

It's Patriot's Day here in Massachusetts, a legal holiday not familiar to many folks outside the Bay State. It commemorates the Lexington-Concord Battle of 1775. Patriot's Day now means the traditional 11 a.m. Red Sox game, the Boston Marathon, and services and re-enactments in many towns which have companies of volunteer Minutemen who dress up in colonial-era garb and march on their town greens. The Lexington-Concord area has the whole bunch of celebrations, including a local company of the British 10th Regiment of Foot, the soldiers who were among the companies that marched to Concord that day. As a kid growing up in Concord, I always wanted to be one of the Redcoats. My illusions were shattered one day when I was walking down by the post office and saw a lanky Redcoat take off his tall tin hat and squeeze himself into a tiny VW parked by the curb.

Today I actually thought twice before putting up anything about Patriot's Day on the bookstore website, because I've found over the years that in other areas of the country most folks have no idea what Patriot's Day is, and now it sounds a bit like a Bush Administration stunt, or something a militia group would come up with. That annoys the crap out of me. The biggest mistake the Liberals made was to let the Conservatives co-opt Patriotism. What's up with that?

Peope who are upset with the way the country is going these days have got to show everyone that Patriotism does not equal unquestioning support of everything this or that political party does. Show people that you can be Patriotic without checking your brains at the door, and that you can fly a flag proudly without disengaging your brain from all critical thought processes. Liberals and Democrats have to fight back. Fly a flag, for crying out loud. I do every day now. Now that we've got a nice wrap-around porch, on the 4th of July we'll put red-white-and-blue bunting on it too.

The co-opting of Patriotism by a single political party is not healthy for the country. It's time to fight back. Wave your flags, boys!

And happy Patriot's Day!

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.


-Concord Hymn, Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sung at the Completion of the Battle Monument, April 19, 1836

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Happy...

It's my friend Phoebe's 40th birthday today. 40 is a big number for a lot of people. For Amy's (10th pre-anniversary) of her 40th birthday we went to Switzerland and Italy. We drove up a mountain across from Mount Blanc with some friends who were living there and drank wine on the slopes of the mountain while listening to the carrilon-type music of the cowbells and watching the sunset cross MO-Blow, as our friends called it. Then we went up the mountain further and had Swiss fondue at a mountainside restaurant.

It's all just a number, and it has the power you give it. Live it up and celebrate, and many there be many more!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Of Buses and Nunneries

Muriel Spark's desk)



Sad news this morning- Muriel Spark, perhaps best known for writing "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie", but also the author of many other slyly funny and satiric novels, died at age 88 in Italy. I've always loved "Loitering with Intent", "A Far Cry from Kensignton", and "The Takeover". An often-neglected Spark novel well worth reading is "The Abbess of Crew", a wickedly satiric resetting of the Watergate debacle in an English nunnery. Muriel Spark was in many ways the female Evelyn Waugh of the Vietnam generation. She died Thursday in Italy, where she had lived for the last 30 years in a little village in Tuscany.

Another death in the news today (gee, isn't this cheerful?) is that of retired Los Angeles bus driver Arthur Winston, who died this week at age 100. That would probably not have made the national news this morning, if not for the fact that Mr. Winston worked as a driver for 76 years. He finally retired in March, and a month later he dies.

Food for thought.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Dreaming


(Eric Bogle & "Dolly Parton")

Ever wake up late at night, or find yourself working or reading or just fucking off, with a song going around in your brain? I always do that. Especially the late-night or early-morning thing.

If it's a nice, peaceful song, fine. A couple that seem to recur in my brain are "Don't Walk Away, Renee", (or whatever the actual title is) and "Meet Me in September". But lately they've been, well, not depressing exactly, but not cheerful songs, by Scots-Australian folk singer Eric Bogle. Now I am a lifelong fan of Eric Bogle. Amy and I got to see him live in Northampton at the Iron Horse pub, with John Munro, late last year when he was on one of his infrequent American tours. For a very humorous synopsis of the tour, go here. But imagine waking in the middle of the night to hear this going around and around and around in your head-

I know I won't see peace again,
for what's left of my life.
I know you'll keep on blindly killing,
and that many more will die.
I grieve for all the innocents,
and feel anger at their fate,
but I must not, I can not, I will not-
-hate.

Oh I wish I could be there,
The day you go to meet your God,
when you hold up your bloody hands and cry-
'I did it all in your name, Lord!'
That age-old lie,
lifted upwards as a prayer,
when your God looks deep inside your soul,
Oh, I wish I could be there.

For thou shalt not make me hate.
Thou shalt not make me kill.
This mind is my own,
this heart, this soul, this will.

If I've learned anything at all,
it's that love, not hate endures.
I'd rather live just one day in my world,
than a thousand years in yours.


- -

whew!

I dunno. I haven't been sleeping well lately. Well, ok, since Bush got elected the first time... but especially badly the last few months. Actually, a late-night musing brought on today's Mulligrubbers post. I woke up last night, after reading the first half of Sy Hersh's piece in the latest New Yorker, with the vision of George Bush looking out over a vast, devastated, radioactive Middle-Eastern wasteland and saying to me, "Well, we showed them Iranians, anyway. I think it was worth it."

I'd just like a single good night's sleep...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

No Irony Here...

Remember how the Internet was going to make our lives easier? Boy, I'll bet the Irony Fairy is having a big laugh about that one. Today I went on line to renew our Costco membership. Now Costco is a great company -unlike Walmart they actually treat their employees like humans, for instance. So, as I looked at the renewal card and saw the promise -"renew online -it's easy and fast!" I must have been lulled into some sort of alternate-universe hallucinatory state, because I actually believed it.

Somebody, quick, sell me a bridge.

I won't go into the various little things that kept popping up that made my experience less than celebratory; suffice it to say that after twenty-five minutes I was frothing at the mouth and screaming obscenities at the computer, and I never did get the membership renewed.

Interesting, I hear you say, but what's it got to do with bookselling? Well, it occurred to me, as I was ricocheting around an exceedingly badly-designed web process, that this is why a lot of people approach e-commerce as if it were a live bomb, just waiting to go off in their faces. Which brought my thought process, such as it is, inexorably around to the latest set of bookseller bitching about the new credit card policies at the Advanced Book Exchange. I won’t go back over the whole thing here, but for me the most important point is that the new policy, which is to have ABE charge the customer’s card for a purchase instead of the bookseller charging it, makes the whole process a little easier and more trustworthy from the buyer’s viewpoint, and that’s the name of the game, isn’t it?

And as long as I’m on the topic, try this on for size- the latest bookseller’s gripe about ABE doing the credit card processing is along the lines of “well, how do we know that ABE will still be around a month from now to pay us our money? What if they all run off to Mexico or something?” Gimme a break- that’s a level of paranoia I have always had trouble dealing with. I find it especially amusing, though, when it comes from the same people who simply cannot understand that perhaps a customer might possibly be a little apprehensive about sending their credit card info to a third-party bookseller they’ve never heard of.

I suppose that brings us right back to our friend, the Irony Fairy. My, she’s a busy bee, isn’t she?


UPDATE: Last week I wrote about a new bookmark being issued by ABE that some folks construed as making fun of the President. The Freepers and others worked themselves into a lather over it, and when I tried to order some I got a message saying they were out of stock. I doubted it at the time, but apparently it was true- the bookmark was so popular that they did run out, but they're making more, and this time I'm gonna get me some!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

C'mon Over!

I find it interesting that people get all hot and bothered about immigration. Call me stupid (you won't be the first, nor will you be alone), but I don't see the big deal. I say open our borders to whoever wants to come here. Open borders are, as far as I can see, much less of a threat to American's economy than so-called "Free-trade". All "Free-trade" means is that the big multi-nationals can use 10-year olds in Sri-Lanka, who work 12-hour days for a few pennies, to make sneakers that they can sell in America for a hundred bucks a pop, and not have to worry about paying an import tarif. We bitch that American jobs are going overseas and then go buy those sneakers. You cannot convice me that opening our borders to hard-working immigrants could be worse for our economy that that.

If you look back at our history, America's greatest economic booms and greatest expansion and innovation periods came during high-immigration eras. Chinese immigrants built our railways. European immigrants cut the stone and built our cities, and staffed the army that cleared the Great Plains (ok, they cleared them of the native Americans who were there at the time, but that's another issue). Immigrants worked the textile mills in New England and broke and tilled the sod in Nebraksa. Frankly, new blood is good for the country. You have folks who feel strongly enough about working hard to imrove their lives that they are ready to pack up and move themselves and their families to a foreign land? Send 'em here!

You also hear about the "security" issue from some folks who want to control immigration. I'm sorry, but that makes no sense to me whatsoever. What are they worried about, that a bunch of Mexican immigrants are going to poison our tacos? Close the doors to immigrants and people who want to come here for evil purposes are going to get here some other way-we still allow tourists, don't we? Unless you want to become North Korea, you simply can't seal the borders to terrorists who are determined to get into the country.

So like it says on the Statue of Liberty- come on over!


It's Wednesday, so there's a new Mulligrubbers post up today. Ever wonder what would happen in George Bush went on American Idol? So did I.

What's Barbara Bush got to do with all this? Nothing good, that's for damn sure...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Just in Case-


apropos of absolutely nothing (swear to God...)

Useful Military Warnings

"Aim towards the Enemy." - Instruction printed on U.S. Rocket Launcher

"When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend." - U.S. Army

"Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed to always hit the ground." - U.S.A.F. Ammo Troop

"If the enemy is in range, so are you." - Infantry Journal

"A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what's left of your unit." - Army's magazine of preventive maintenance

"It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed." - U.S. Air Force Manual

"Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo." - Infantry Journal

"Tracers work both ways." - U.S. Army Ordnance

"Five-second fuses only last three seconds." - Infantry Journal

"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid." - Col. David Hackworth

"If your attack is going too well, you're probably walking into an ambush." - Infantry Journal

"Any ship can be a minesweeper .. once." - Anonymous

"Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do." - Unknown Army Recruit

"Don't draw fire; it irritates the people around you." - Your Buddies

(And lastly)

"If you see a bomb technician running, try to keep up with him." - U.S. Ammo Troop

Monday, April 10, 2006

Gin & Tulip

It's Spring, and time to worry about those droopy daffodils and too-tall tulips. A horticulturalist from New York has a new solution for the home gardener whose bulbs get leggy and fall over- invite them in for cocktails.

Or, as one newspaper put it, a jigger of gin makes your daffodils grin. Not too much now; you want to have some left over for yourself.

Whiskey, vodka, and tequila will also work. Actually, I'd use vodka -I've always thought it was better poured on plants than drunk anyway.

Ok, gotta go do some, uh, "gardening"...

Monday, Monday...

Friday, April 07, 2006

And You-all Have Nice Day Now!

from the archives-

[Prominent Economy Hotel Chain Name Deleted]

Dear Fukwad,

Thank you for letting us know about your experience at our property in [deleted], Pennsylvania. Please accept the fact that we don't really give a flying fuck whether or not your experience was less than satisfactory. We got your credit card number, and we will pound, incinerate and julienne your credit record if you attempt a chargeback. While it is our goal to give at least some of our guests an adequate lodging experience, what you were expecting for $24.99 is, quite frankly, a mystery to all of us here at the Main Headquarters. It is disappointing to learn that we fell short of your expectations in this instance, but hey, life sucks and then you die.

A copy of your comments and of our records will be kept on file here for the next twenty years, in case you try something like this again. I can assure you that corrective measures will be taken if you do. We are committed to making a profit, and even bothering to answer your stupid letter is cutting into our Chairman's beach time in Bimini. Neither his wife nor his mistress is especially appreciative of that either, so if you don't want a pair of screaming, deranged, coked-up blondes on your doorstep using language that would make a Marine Corps drill Sergeant blush, I suggest you drop the matter right now.

Please know that we don't give a rat's ass whether your bed was clean or there was soap, or even a few used condoms, in the bathtub. Turn on the fucking shower and wash it out. It's a TUB, get it? Thank you for giving us the opportunity to take your money, now please leave us alone.

Sincerely,

Guest Relations

Lesbian $$$?

I was going to post about something else, but while searching for an image I came across a very cool website. Mike Seery collects currency that has been altered by people with rubber stamps to send various kinds of messages. Check out the 'I Grew Hemp' bills... I was going to picture one of those, but the lesbian dollar seemed more in keeping with the theme Mike is running this week.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

No Singing Here-

LONDON (April 5) - British anti-terrorism detectives escorted a man from a plane after a taxi driver had earlier become suspicious when he started singing along to a track (London Calling) by punk band The Clash, police said on Wednesday.

[with apologies to Arlo]

What if one person walked into an airport, sang a verse of 'London Calling' and walked out?

Why, they'd think he was a terrorist and they'd shoot him.

And what if two people walked into an airport, sang a verse of 'London Calling', in harmony, and walked out?

Well, they'd think they were faggot terrorists and they'd shoot both of them.

What if three people, three people, walked into an airport, sang a verse of 'London Calling' and walked out?

Why, they'd think it was a terrorist cell, and they'd call in the CIA and send them all to Gitmo.

And what if fifty people, fifty people a day, walked into an airport, sang a verse of 'London Calling' and walked out?

Friends, they'd think it was an invasion, and they'd shoot, and kill, and mutilate all of them, and their families and friends, and anyone else who has a Clash record.

Welcome to BushWorld, 2006.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

ABE Fun

[Non-bookies keep reading, you're going to like this in the end.]

Advanced Book Exchange, the Canadian company which runs bookselling database www.abe.com, has run afoul of the Freepers, a bunch of ultra-Conservatives over at a website called Free Republic! How the heck did they manage that, I hear you ask?

Well for their 10th Anniversary they are doing promotional bookmarks featuring the slogan "If you can't find it here, it doesn't exist". One of the bookmarks features a mock up of a book titled "Making Marriage Work" by Henry VIII. And here's the other one-



Some folks have said that ABE is crossing a line with this, but I don't see it. If you can make fun of an Engish monarch, why not an American President? Democrats would find a bookmark with the book "Fidelity for Idiots" by Bill Clinton funny (well, I would), so Republicans can just go out and buy a sense of humor. Funny is funny, and if you can't laugh at yourself I feel really, really sorry for you.

UPDATE: Well, the Politically Correct have again won, and destroyed a good bit of fun. I tried to order some bookmarks and got a message saying they were all out. Yeah, right. A great pity. I mean, God forbid anyone should actually be forced to think about anything. Or maybe the Freepers phoned in a bomb threat or sumthin'. I dunno, but I do know that once again free expression takes a hit, and that sucks.
.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Monday, Monday...

And a gracious Good Monday Morning to all our office-bound compatriots with this cheery thought- however bad you job sucks, it could always be worse...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Silly Sunday...

From our archives, original origin unknown. This may help to explain the basic difference between men and women.

Let's say a guy named Rob is attracted to a woman named Carol. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Carol, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"

And then there is silence in the car. To Carol, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Rob is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Carol is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward...I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Rob is thinking: ...so that means it was...let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means...lemme check the odometer...Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Carol is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed--even before I sensed it--that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Rob is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a damn garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Carol is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. God, I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Rob is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say, the scumballs.

And Carol is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Rob is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a damn warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their....

"Rob," Carol says aloud.

"What?" says Rob, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have...Oh God, I feel so...." (She breaks down, sobbing.)

"What?" says Rob, thoroughly confused.

"I'm such a fool," Carol sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Rob, perplexed.

"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Carol says.

"No!" says Rob, glad to finally know the correct answer.

"It's just that... it's that I... I need some time," Carol says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Rob, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.) "Yes," he says.

(Carol, deeply moved, touches his hand.) "Oh, Rob, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" asks Rob.

"That way about time," says Carol.

"Oh," says Rob, "Yeah, sure."

(Carol turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

"Thank you, Rob," she says.

"Thank you," says Rob, unsure what else to say.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Rob gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Estonians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it. (This is also Rob's policy regarding world hunger.)

The next day Carol will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.

Meanwhile, Rob, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Carol's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: "Ross, did Carol ever own a horse?"

Saturday, April 01, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: ABE Acquires Ebay

San Jose, CA: Internet auction site Ebay today announced that it was being acquired by Victoria, British Columbia internet bookselling database Advanced Book Exchange for 3 billion dollars in gift certificates.

Ebay spokesman Itsa H. Oax told reporters at the firm's San Jose headquarters, "we really think this sale makes sense from a financial standpoint. The folks at ABE called at 11:30 last night and made us an offer we couldn't refuse".

When asked if the fact that the entire sale is to be financed with gift certificates presented a risk, Ms. Oax said "well, why not? ABE is a stable company with a terrific relationship with its dealers. What could possibly go wrong?"

ABE officials were not available for comment, though one company spokesman did respond to an email by saying that ABE values its relationship with reporters and someone from the company would get back to us.