Friday, March 31, 2006

Freaky Friday

It's been a beautiful Spring day here - temps almost 70, sunny. Had lunch on the deck and will have drinks out there in a bit. Some might say say that as the sun goes down it's a bit chilly to do that in March, but IT'S SPRING DAMMIT!

The first balloon of the spring almost touched down in the backyard this morning. FB heard the familiar "whoosh!" sound of the gas burner and we looked out the window and there was this ENORMOUS red and yellow and blue balloon coming down right over our heads. I couldn't find the damn digital camera in time to get a decent photo. It came down in the famer's field on the other edge of our woods. God knows how they got the trailer in to get it out of there... he'd just plowed.

Speaking of Spring, I have one more thing for Mike to watch out for when he gets the old riding mower started up. Which reminds me- does the mower have a name? All riding mowers should have names. The Lines are open for nominations.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Back to the Fray-

Karen has shamed me into rejoining the battle. Besides, I have to do something to erase the vision of that Satan Cat Mike posted from my brainstem...


Phoebe makes a good point when she notes that long-haired shagballs have an advantage over the sleeker, more elegant short-haired cats when it comes to cute photos (well, ok, that may not have been exactly how she put it). However you phrase it, it seems to me that since the dust-mop contingent of the species has such a Diaboliquely Unfair advantage, that I'll just raise the white flag now. I leave the fray with one last picture, not cute, but interesting. This is Pyewackett, who is so fascinated with heat that she once poked her head completely into one of the hurricane-glass candle holders, which had a candle burning in it at the time.

For the complete sequence of photos, go here. And that's all the cat pics for me.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Well ok...

it appears we are going to have a cute cat photo contest. Well, if they want war, let it begin here-

Happiness is spelled "accessories"

A few days ago Mike was blogging about using his riding mower and the attachments he could put on it. By the end of the discussion we had him with an umbrella, wireless connection and laptop holder, sipping gin from a sippy cup and blogging as he went. I suggested he might want to watch out for land mines around the flower beds, but could not quite describe the attachment he would need to adapt for his riding mower to do this properly.

Well, God Bless the Internet! A few minutes Googling found the webite of The Tank Museum in Britain, where they had an example of just what I was talking about.

This is the riding mower accessory for 2006. It's called a "flail" and look likes this-

[when in action the chains spin around at high speed. Takes care of land mines, as well as stones, sticks, lawn chairs, and most shrubberies.]

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


[as we all know, I have no qualms about lifting material from others and posting it here, for folks who might not have seen it. "Theft" is such an ugly word- I call it recycling. This was posted to Beekslayers by Beekslayer Karen yesterday.

The authors of a book called "Suggestions" put up boxes marked "Suggestions" at random places in New York City, this this is some of what they got-

"I suggest they put more fish in it"

"Why do guys bother calling at 11:45 pm and say they just want to hang out when what they want is to fuck. Just say "Can I come over and fuck"."

"Put a flower in your hair"

"My friend Jonathan should kiss me"

"There should be paper pennies"

"Rounded edges on all objects!"

"Get out of my way"

"No labels on fruit"

"Let's make tutus mandatory"

"Toilet seat warmers are very cozy. Check it out"

Monday, March 27, 2006

Monday, Monday

A good Monday Morning to all our compatriots headed off for another week in their cramped, stuffy offices, with the Happy Thought, it could be worse- some jobs suck more than others...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunday Night Musings...

For those negative souls not inclined to worry about the new ABE policies, we have something else to chew on-

Global Warming? We don' need no steenkin global warming to destroy us (though the recent news that the oceans will rise 20 feet within the century, destroying London, New York, Florida, et al, is fairly disturbing -well, maybe not the Florida part).

Instead, for you Global Annihilation fans, we have asteroids!

Yes indeedy, don't make any plans for New Year's eve, 2103.

Do you suppose my ABE "surface mail" package from Australia will have arrived by then?

The newsroom is winding down from the St Patrick's Day festivities, and has just one more joke in the old Mail Bag. Skip it if you've seen it before-

Actual "Personal ads" in the Dublin News:

Heavy drinker, 35, Cork area. Seeks gorgeous sex addict interested in a man who loves his pints, cigarettes, Glasgow Celtic Football Club and has been known to starting fights on Patrick Street at three o'clock in the morning.


Bitter, disillusioned Dublin man, lately rejected by longtime fiancée seeks decent, honest, reliable woman, if such a thing still exists in this cruel world of hatchet-faced bitches.


Ginger haired Galway man, a troublemaker, gets slit-eyed and shirty after a few scoops, seeks attractive, wealthy lady for bail purposes, maybe more.


Bad tempered, foul-mouthed old bastard, living in a damp cottage in the arse end of Roscommon, seeks attractive 21 year old blonde lady, with a lovely chest. (I didn't know booksellers advertised in the Dublin News)


Limerick man, 27, medium build, brown hair, blue eyes, seeks alibi for the night of February 27 between 8 PM and 11:30 PM.


That's a wrap for tonight. It's only 43 minutes until Marcia Cross appears on 'Desperate Housewives', so we have to go crank up the tv. I know CKW is doing the same. Hopefully Phoebe is ensconced in a hot tub somewhere, and Mike did not run into too many trees with the riding mower now that he's discovered you can put gin in a sippy cup. I'll have to try that with a certain nephew who has lungs the size of Pavarotti...

Saturday, March 25, 2006


It's funny, the little things that give satisfaction. When we moved into Foggygates last summer there was a small pantry in the basement that was more or less inaccesible. The door had warped so it would only open about a foot, and the hinges were held on by a combination of painted-over screws and nails that was obviously going to take more than a few minutes to get through. Inside the pantry there was about 50 years worth of dirt and cobwebs, anhd some of the shelves had fallen down, so there was going to be a lot of work to do before we could actually use it, even after we got through the door.

So, of course, I did nothing about it. But then this morning, while searching for a 3 lb bag of walnuts amid the piles and bags of canned goods, sacks of potatos and onions and all the other stuff that should be neatly organised on the pantry shelves, and instead is strewn all over the floor in the room outside it, I reached that "enough" point.

So, with shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, or, more accurately, a claw hammer and two oversized, industrial-strength screwdrivers, I went after the door hinges.

After about fiften minutes of hammering, clawing and other violent mayhem, I won. And the door is actually still in one piece, it's just not attached to the hinges anymore. After months of walking past it every day, being annoyed that I hadn't gotten to the task yet, it's amazing how much satisfaction one can get out of a little job, finally accomplished. Of course, it the pantry itself still has to be cleaned out. Maybe tomorrow.

I just need a hammer...


Well, posters on the Insider list are still having hissy fits over the new plan by the Advanced Book Exchange to process all customer charge cards themselves (instead of letting booksellers who chose to do it themselves do it). One poster did bring up a valid point, which is that a customer can always do a chargeback through their credit card issuer if they do not receive their books.

True enough.

So why all the flap-flap about the new ABE system and chargebacks? Fact of the matter is, the customer can ALWAYS claim non-receipt and get a chargeback. However it is easier for the customer to do it through ABE, and as retailers this game is all about the customer's convenience, not ours. To be frank, if their local supermarket or department store treated them the same way, and held them in the same contempt, that some internet "booksellers" profess to treat and view their customers, they'd be plenty sore about it.

While the situation I described with the $75 book was going on there was a parallel situation with a $500 book I ordered from Europe, supposed to be sent via Air. That book became long overdue also. I also got no response to email queries to the bookseller. Now in this case my credit card had been processed by the bookseller, not ABE. ABE's response to me was "please work it out with the bookseller".

Now, as a customer, which of the following responses makes you more comfortable? Which makes you more likely to buy another book from the ABE site?

1. We are so sorry your book has not arrived. We are processing a refund.

2. We're sorry your book has not arrived, but there is really nothing we can do. Please work it out with the bookseller (despite the fact that they don't answer your emails).

I know which response makes me feel better...

[The Mad Bookseller has been slogging beeks professionally for 25 years. He's been grumpy for 20 of them. He has no connection with ABE, beyond selling the odd (very odd) beek there. He writes several blogs, none of which are to be trusted much, except for Mulligrubbing Fudgenuts, which is the total, complete truth, swear to God...]

Friday, March 24, 2006


In other countries people have a much more realistic and relaxed way of living. We all know about Mexican siestas, which supposedly makes sense because nobody really wants to work right after lunch in the worst heat of the day anway, or at least that's what I was told growing up. But that explanation doesn't wash in Italy, where they also go home, closing shops and offices, between noon and four.

I always have a tought time getting back to work after lunch, apparently most everyone does, it's a body-clock thing. At this time of year, with sunrise early, I tend to get up with the sun and put in 6 or seven hours work before lunch. And then I crash. It's very unusual for me to get much done between lunch and 4 or so. The stupid thing is that I usually try. I'll sit at my desk fiddling, picking up books and putting them down, checking my email again, checking news headlines -trying to get back to work and almost always (unless I have some drop-dead deadline) failing utterly.

So my question at this point is why fight it? Why not just do yard work or read and relax from noon to 4, and then get back to work? Isn't that what being self-employed is supposed to give me, flexibility? The problem is I'm also Yankee born and raised and it just seems wrong to goof off in the middle of the day.


Thursday, March 23, 2006


Last October I bought a $75 set of books from a dealer through Advanced Book Exchange, a search site where thousands of booksellers list books for sale. ABE processed the card charge, as they normally do for dealers who do not process their own charges.

A month later the set of books had not arrived. I emailed the seller. No response. It was between Thanksgiving and Xmas and I was busy, and did not notice the set had still not arrived until after Xmas. I emailed the seller again. Again, no response. So a week later I emailed the seller a third time, and cc'd ABE. ABE immediately processed a refund to my card (a "chargeback" against the seller). As a buyer that makes me comfortable buying on ABE. Wouldn't it make you comfortable if you were buying books there? Of course it would.

What happened next? The seller contacted me the next day (which was, as you will recall, just after they got a "chargeback" notice from ABE telling them ABE had deducted the money from their account), and the dealer explained that they had been "busy", and promised the book would go out the next day... two and a half months after I ordered it. It did eventually arrive and I contacted ABE and they recharged my card.

I bring this story up because the Biblio and Insider bookselling discussion lists are all aflutter with booksellers angry that ABE is about to begin processing all credit card charges themselves (instead of letting dealers who are set up to do so do it), at a slight additonal cost to the sellers. In addition, sellers are upset that when a book is not delivered, ABE will now be able to "chargeback" the money from their account, which ABE could not do when the sellers themselves charged the buyer's card. From a buyer's standpoint, the new ABE credit card processing feature is a positive thing and will probably result in increased sales, which is to the benefit of dealers.

So what's the bellyaching about?

Frankly, as a bookseller you are responsible to deliver my books safe and sound. If you do not, I want my money back. I can see no reasonable objection to such a system, and no difference between ABE doing it and the bookseller doing it, except that the new system will protect buyers from folks such as the "professional" bookseller who got "busy" and waited two months to mail a book I had already paid for. Earth to booksellers- you are retail merchants, not godamned Higher Beings. You get to live by the rules just like eveybody else does. Like it or lump it.

[note: Col.Col. has been a grumpy professional bookslogger since 1985.]

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


We've been doing some eBaying lately. A few years ago I bought a big collection of Americana, and I long-ago made a profit on it, but there are, as always, still books hanging around that did not sell for one reason or another. Some are pretty good, but a bunch are mid-range non-fiction, the sort of thing that the big databases have made difficult to sell. I tried the usual methods- mark 'em down to half price, put 'em up in lots on the email lists and so on, and got rid of some, but there's still a few shelves left... so what do you do with them?

The logical answer would be donate them to a library sale. But the books are in that awkward range, not good enough to want to hang onto, but a bit too good to give away. So they've been sitting, getting on my nerves. There's nothing more demoralizing than staring at useless books day after day. That, in itself, is reason enough to eBay them.

The other thing is that we're thinking about doing more eBaying in the future, as a way to troll for customers for our core subject areas. The eBay buyer-profile has broadened a lot in the last few years, and there's some good anecdotal evidence that we might be able to pick up some good regular customers there. But a lot of things have changed about eBay since I last sold through it, and it takes a little time to learn how to use their new systems the best way.

So- we're putting the Americana stuff up there, a bit at a time. Kills two birds with one hammer- gets rid of the books and gets us familiar with how to use their new systems. Looked at on a profit-for-time basis the effort is not worth it- we could make more money just dumping those books and devoting the time to something else, especially since there never seems to be enough time in the day anyway. But it's an interesting experiment, and giving us valuable insight into how to use the system, so it's probably worth it in the end.

And it's a funny thing, how much satisfaction I can get out of seeing a 1945 Eastern Airlines brochure get bid up to $4.25... stupid, but hey, Life is about the little victories, isn't it?

You can keep track of our crap here.

Hey, everyone needs a book about Billy the Kid, right?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ken Burns is the Anti-Christ

NPR has been doing a series on Lewis and Clark which has been interesting to listen to, but brings up one of my favorite rants about documentaries these days.

Let me put it succinctly- Ken Burns is the AntiChrist.

My God and oily dishes- I cannot stand any of Ken Burns' documentaries. I well remember the first one, his epic saga on the Civil War. How I was looking forward to it. I anticipated it for months... and then turned it off within 35 minutes and have never watched more than five minutes of a Ken Burns documentary since.

Ken Burns is to history what McDonald's is to haute cuisine.

What am I bitching about? Documentation. Context. And the complete lack of them in Burns' work.

Burns' documentaries are all about period quotes- quotes from speeches, letters, books, whatever. As such they could be extremely interesting. But he has this maddening, evil conceit of having an actor read a quote and then only telling you who the hell you were listening to after the quote is done, and then he doesn't fucking tell you who the quoted person was.

How artsy. How fartsy. How completely, utterly useless to anyone actually interested in history.

That is the historical equivalent of cutting God's finger off the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and framing it. Who's finger is it? What's he pointing at?

The only relevance any quote has is if you know who said it, and who that person was. Without that information, all those wonderful quotes are a complete and utter waste of time. Was the person Union or Confederate? Military or civilian? Officer or enlisted man? Burns tells us nothing.

Ken Burns is the Barry Bonds of documentaries.

An apt simile, since he did a series on baseball I would have been pleased to watch, and did watch five minutes of, until I saw that he was still serving up his own conceited version of "art".

And the vile virus is spreading. Others are being infected with the absurd, obnoxious Burns' conceit. Fie on them and all their houses. We want context and documentation, not "art".

Yes, Ken Burns is the AntiChrist.

Monday, March 20, 2006

They Call it Beisbol...

It's the first day of Spring, and the last day of the World Baseball Classic, and we'll be tv-side tonight with chips and beer, rooting for the guys from Cuba as they take on Japan. Both Cuba and Japan have taken baseball from America and done great things with it, but the two countries stars and teams could not be more different. In Japan they play for the same reason we do here- money and fame. In Cuba they still play because they just love to play baseball.

Hey- let's play two!


My friend Zann's 20-year old son died very unexpectedly Saturday night. It's a tragedy for her and her family, all the more so, if such a thing can be, because she is such a good person and works so hard to make her life and the lives of those around her work. We all have some issues in our lives, things we'd change, and some of us have much more serious issues than others. Zann's had some pretty serious issues the last few years, and I have watched in admiration as she has dealt with them constructively and methodically.

I've learned a lot from her, about how to be realistic and allow oneself to feel anger and frustration while not allowing those emotions to become overwhelming, but instead to stay positive at your core and always move ahead in the end. She's not one of those maddening, always-cheerful people who deny that anything is wrong, and she's never one to tell others that she's found a great way to deal with life and they should try it too, really right now... but she has been willing to share to a remarkable extent, what goes on in her life, and the inspiring thing about her is that she is always able to look inside and outside and take stock, prioritize, and find a positive direction to move in.

That's actually a fairly rare thing.

So it seems just completely, utterly, unfucking fair that now her son should be taken away. Of course there is absolutely nothing fair about life- Life happens, and it's simply what you make of it that counts. But still...

So I just wanted to say that, and offer this thought from John Donne for Zann and her family, and her son Patrick, who died far too soon.

"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all...No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Where's Spring?

It's light earlier and earlier, and later and later, but it's fucking cold out there. Where the Hell is Global Warming when we need it? I was in Boston Thursday doing some house calls and bookstore visits and spent an hour or so outside the Brattle going through cases of auction catalogs. God it was cold. And windy. Nearly froze my nuts off.

Got about 100 pounds of catalogs though, a good haul. That's how I going to buy books now- by the pound.

Did I mention it was cold? And I had to stand out in it for nearly an hour?? God, I'm a whiny bastard.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

And one for the Road...

stolen from the Biblio list, with appropriate editing

McQuillan walked into a bar where Marcis Cross was a bartender and ordered martini after martini, each time removing the olives and placing them in a jar.

When the jar was filled with olives and all the drinks consumed, the Irishman started to leave.

"S'cuse me", said Marcia, who was puzzled over what McQuillan had done, "what was that all about?"

"Nothin', said the Irishman, "my wife just sent me out for a jar of olives!"

- - - - -

Two Irishmen were sitting at Marcia Cross's pub having beer and watching the brothel across the street. They saw a Baptist minister walk into the brothel, and one of them said, "Aye, 'tis a shame to see a man of the cloth goin' bad."

Then they saw a rabbi enter the brothel, and the other Irishman said, "Aye, 'tis a shame to see that the Jews are fallin' victim to temptation as well."

Then they see a catholic priest enter the brothel, and one of the Irishmen said, "What a terrible pity...one of the girls must be dying.

- - - - - -

Marcia Cross goes up to Father O'Grady's after his Sunday morning service, and s he's in tears.

He says, "So what's bothering you, Marcia my dear?"

She says, "Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night."

The priest says, "Oh, Marcia, that's terrible. Tell me, did he have any last requests?"

She says, "That he did, Father..."

The priest says, "What did he ask, Marcia?"

She says, "He said, 'Please Marcia, put down that damn gun!'

Barmaid, I'll Have Another...

lifted from BB on Beekslayers [with appropriate editing]

At a world brewing convention in the States, Marcia Cross was at the bar, serving the CEOs of various brewing organizations when they retired to the bar at the end of the first day's conference for a bit of refreshment...

Brucie, CEO of Fosters, shouts to Marcia: "In 'Strylya, we make the best bladdy beer in the world, - so pour me a bladdy Fosters, Miss Cross."

Bob, CEO of Budweiser, calls out next: "In the States, we brew the finest beers of the world, and I make the king of them all, - so gimme a Bud."

Hans steps up next: "In Germany ve invented der beer. Giff me ein Becks, - ya ist der real King of beers, danke."

Paddy, CEO of Guinness, steps forward: "Marcia, would ya be pleased to give me a diet coke, wit' ice and lemon. Tanks."

The others stare at him in stunned silence, amazement written all over their faces. Eventually Brucie asks: "Are ye not goin' to 'ave a Guinness, Paddy?"

Paddy replies "Well now, if you fookin' pansies ahren't a-drinkin', - t'en neither am I!"

Friday, March 17, 2006

Brotherly Love...

An Irish gent walked into a neighborhood bar in New York one evening and ordered three mugs of beer.

When they were served he took them to a back table, and sat by himself drinking from one mug, then the next until all three were empty. Then he returned to the bar and ordered three more.

The bartender told him, "Sir, I am happy to serve you, but if you order one beer at a time it will stay fresher than if you take three at once."

The fellow replied, "No, and ye don't understand. I'm one of three broithers, separated by the great sea. Me oldest brother emigrated to Australia many years ago. My youngest brother still lives with me mother in COunty COrk, and here I am in America. Still, we agreed that on every Friday, we would each order two beers apiece and drink them inmemory of the brothers who were not with us."

The whole bar had listened to this explanation.

For months each Friday the Irishman would show up in late afternoon. Order his three beers. Drink them. Order his three refills. Drink them. Then leave the bar.

Then one Friday, the Irishman walked to the bar and ordered two beers. The whole pub grew silent and watched as he silently drank the two beers.

When he returned to the bar for his refills the bartender said, "Paddy, I want to offer my condolences in your time of sorrow."

The Irishman looked puzzled, and asked "What do ye mean?"

"Well, you only ordered two beers. I assume something must have happened to one of your brothers."

"Oh, no, nothing of the sort! Me wife converted to Baptist, and I've had to give up me drinking. Didn't affect me brothers though."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bits n' Pieces

I'm going to be on the fucking road all day doing house and store calls, but a few things strike me from this morning's headlines I just had to share.

They're digging up that cow that died of Mad Cow Disease in Alabama. The Human Stain points out that the Administration and cattle/meat industry are in cahoots already, and since the brain-wasting disease caused by Mad Cow takes 10-15 years to develop, could it be that the government and industry are conspiring to keep a very serious problem under wraps? There have now been 4 documented cases in America... of course, to believe that you'd have to believe that this Administration would put the public at risk and lie to achieve its own ends/benefits. That just sounds way too wacky for me... But ten to fifteen years to incubate a brain-wasting disease... George has been eating burgers at least that long, right?

In somewhat better food-related news, capsaicin, the hot stuff in chili peppers, may cause prostrate cancer-cells to commit suicide. Pass the salsa!

Georgie is sounding off about Iran. I am getting so tired of telling certain friends and relatives "I told you so". sigh.

More on Mad Cow- there's a new story in that just as more cases are surfacing, the government is gonna cut back testing. They're going to rely on "private-=sector incentives" to monitor for the disease. That's smart. The Bush Administration is going to rely on the cattle industry to tell them when they discover the diease that could close down the cattle industry.

Chicken burgers, anyone?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia...

I guess you have to be a certain age to know that line... But anyway, this one is for CKW-

Perfectly Wintry

I'm not a big fan of winter, but we had the perfect winter day today- snow showers on and off, temp. around 31, and no accumulation whatsoever. So it was scenic and pretty, but there's no shoveling at the end. The yard does not end up looking like the picture on the left, a photo taken on December 9th.

Here's a spot of fun- you know those little RFID chips that are soon going to be in everything from your passport to your car, credit card and the lettuce you just bought? Well, they have just discovered that you can write a tiny little virus code that will actually fit on one (it had previously been thought they were immune).

We're gonna destroy ourselves yet, maybe sooner than later.

The Age of Plastics

The blog world is aghast this morning at the news that Nicolette Sheridan of "Desperate Housewives" is marrying Michael Bolton.

Well, okay. I mean, somebody has to marry Michael Bolton... I was much more upset when Connie Selleca married John Tesh. Now there's just no excuse for that.

But Nicolette Sheridan? As my wife says, she's had more bodywork than a '63 Plymouth and her breasts remind me of the sage advice given to Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate" -"get into plastics".

I agree with CKW- the really hot actress on that show is Marcia Cross.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Problem with Tommy

Phoebe was talking about ghost parties which made me think of this little ditty, which I found in my archives. I showed it to a few people and got some strange looks, but you all know I'm odd, so big deal.

The Problem with Tommy

The problem with Tommy is he's not really there.
He's not playing a fiddle while rocking your chair,
he's not dancing a jig as he tousels your hair;
or screeching with glee as he flies through the air.

For he died last October,
when the maples stood bare,
while taunting a knife thrower
at the West County Fair...

So despite how he protests, and howls and declares,
and races stark naked through the busy town Square,
and despite how he chills you with his icy-cold glare,
The real problem with Tommy, is he's not really there.

Monday, Monday...

Just a quick picture for our friends headed for the office this Monday morning. It could be worse...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Let's Play Two

This is my 100th blog post here since I began in late December. Isn't that frightening? I was wondering what to do to celebrate. I still am.

Maybe I'll go find a picture of Condi as Catwoman.

Meanwhile, it turns out that George Bush's former top Domestic Policy Advisor has been arrested for stealing from Target. When I first heard the story I thought, "oh, poor guy, shoplifting is often a cry for help", and all that crap. but there's more to the story.

Turns out what he was doing was very clever. He would buy an expensive item, pay for it with his credit card, and go home with the item, the bag and the receipt. He would then return to the store with the bag and receipt in his pocket, take an identical item off the shelf when nobody was watching and stick it in the bag. He'd then trot over to the Refund counter and "return" it, and get his money back. He eventually screwed Target out of about 5 grand.

Now I know some of you out there are going to make nasty comments about him just doing to Target privately what he and the rest up on Bush Hill have been doing to the country for years... well shame on you! I think this story shows the incredible zeal, originality and Post-Moral Consciousness the Bushies have brought to government. It's this kind of thinking that has got our country where it is today!

God Help, I mean God Bless, America.

And God Help The Beloved Leader.


Friday, March 10, 2006


It always happens. I am sitting here at 7:17 pm Friday night trying to find clip art to use for a catalog cover illustration for a catalog that has to go to the printer tomorrow.

The last 18 or 19 times I did this I said to myself -next week you have to go out and get some new clip art.

Good advice, eh? Did I follow it?

Well... I'm sitting here at 7:18 Friday night going back and forth thru my clip art folders getting more and more tense.

I need another beer. Clip art I rejected at 4 pm somehow looks better after another beer.


Freaky Friday -I

Just wanted to start everyone's day with a Beautiful Thought-

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Kitty Psycho-Drama

It's a gray, gloomy day in Happy Valley and I'm behind on the new catalog, so let's have a pick-me-up. A few years ago, a while after we got our two cats, they began to start trying to get us up earlier and earlier each morning for breakfast. First we closed the bedroom door. That didn't work. They'd gather outside the door at about 4 a.m. and begin leaping at the knob, bumping the door, rattling the knob, then thudding to the floor.

bump, rattle, thump...
bump, rattle, thump...
bump, - you get the idea. We gave that up pretty fast.

Then we bought one of those timed feeders. It's a simple idea. You load the food the night before, set the timer, and it clicks around until it hits "open" and a little flange flips and the lids pop up. What could possibly go wrong with that?

What indeed. The folks who designed that contraption had never met our cats.

To begin with, one of the cats (ok, it was Pywackett) started sitting -on top- of the lids, trying to pry the lid off with her paw. It was hard plastic, and she was sitting on it, weighing it down, so all she could do was lift a corner and then let go, and it would snap back into place with a whack.

So we started hearing this at about 2 a.m.-

whack! whack!

We didn't actually have to decide what to do about the timed feeder, because the second night Pie got down to business and this is what I walked in to the next morning-

I'm not sure how the paper towels got involved...

Oh, the problem with them getting us up earlier and earlier to be fed? It went away immediately when we discovered an interesting psychological fact about cats- if you don't feed them the minute you get up, they won't get you up when they want to be fed.

Who knew?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Are Your Ready for Some POETRY??? Part Two...

I am happy to present the results of our Poetry Gang Bang of last week. The usual suspects, er, I mean, those responsible, are Col.Col., Mike and Phoebe.

I want to go to Paris
And swim nude in the Seine.
I haven't got the dollars,
But I’ve sure got the yen.

There's nothing in my office
by paperwork and Death,
and the Blogosphere resembles
something written for "Macbeth"...

I've spent the whole night thinking
about lovely Laura's bush.
Now I think I'm going to
concentrate on her tush.

The Blogosphere is twisted,
but I just found the key!
And I'd tell you all the secret...
but I have to go and pee.

The blogosphere is fine
for pictures, notes and news,
but as for its poetry
it's best fortified with booze

The reason for this rule,
and upon this I've often thunk,
is that nothing rhymes with sober,
but plenty rhymes with drunk.

Name that picture-

This photo has always puzzled me. What exactly is The Beloved Leader doing here? Rubbing baldhead for luck? Did he see a spot that needed polishing? Was he engaging in a bit of foreplay best left between himself and Laura?

And I just noticed that the soldiers around Bush are not looking at his face, as you might expect, but at his crotch. What's up with that? Is the screen door open?

If anyone else wants to make a guess or write a caption, the phone lines are open...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dana Reeve, 1961-2006

Dana Reeve had a fierce grace. Under pressure, she embraced her personal struggles with dignity and humor. And always with the focus on the greater good. She filled her life with a love as clear and unflinching as her beautiful voice. Dana made the world a better place and we all shall miss her song terribly. -Susan Sarandon

Dana Reeve, widow of Christopher Reeve, has died of lung cancer at the age of 45. No, she didn't smoke.

Dana Reeve was an actress who married 'Superman' and they had a child together... and then suddenly he was paralyzed, and then he was dead, and then, a few months ago, she discovered she had lung cancer, and now she is dead. Sort of makes you think for a moment about the assumptions we all make about other folks' lives, and how good our own are.

I remember a few years ago, before he died, some "advocates" for the disabled were criticising Christopher Reeve for not "accepting" being paralyzed. Fuck that. The man fought. And fought and fought and fought. And good for him. In a time when most Americans are too immersed in themselves to fight for anything, and The Beloved Leader says we should all keep shopping to support the 'war effort' (and let's not talk about his own 'fighting' record), it was nice to see a man who, very publicly, refused to accept the cards he had been dealt and was willing to fight like Hell for more.

And after he died she continued to support the causes thw two of them cared about. There's not much more you can do.

But it does make you think, and wonder. At one point they were a "Golden Couple" -they had everything. And then, as it fell away, piece by piece, they maintained their dignity and sense of purpose, and it was a purpose that was meant to benefit others. That is strength and heroism. Compare it to hiding behind excuse after excuse blaming others, or going into hiding for a week after a hunting accident.

There are still heroes among us. It's just too bad some of them leave us so soon.

A Diamond is Forever

Alyssa sent this to Beekslayers last night and I opened it this morning before my second cup of coffee.

Big, big mistake...

Love. Life’s single greatest risk. Life’s single
greatest reward. Intangible and unexplainable, yet
ever so real and powerful. Love captures your heart
in a second and holds it for eternity.

What is a LifeGem®?

The LifeGem® is a certified, high-quality diamond
created from the carbon of your loved one as a
memorial to their unique life.

First they made Ted Williams into a popsicle, and now this... ain't technology grand?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Oh Good God...

Remember the old Bloom County cartoon series about Penguin Lust? Well...

The Chicago Tribune reports that a non-fiction children's book about two penguins at New York City's Central Park Zoo who adopted an abandoned egg in the late 1990s has been pulled from the shelves at the Rolling Hills' Consolidated Library's branches in Savannah and St. Joseph, Missouri.

The problem? The penguin's names were Roy and Silo -yes (GASP!!) they were BOTH MALE!!!

Obviously the book was a crafty part of the Homosexual Agenda, or at least that's what two parents and Rolling Hills director Barbara Read thought. Read said that she was removing the book so that it would not "blindside" readers.

I was going to write something else about this, but maybe not...there aren't enough words for "stupid" in the English language to even begin to do it justice.

They Really Are Out to Get You...

How would you like to live in a place where paying down your credit cards can make the government automatically label you a "terror suspect"?

How would you like to live in a country where, once this happens, the government freezes your money until it determines you are not a threat to the security of the country?

Well, congratulations, because if you are an American, you already live there!!

Lucky you.

Thank God we have The Beloved Leader to protect us.

Monday, Monday...

Our latest post for those of our compatriots office-bound on this beautiful Monday morning... it could be worse-

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Random Oscar Musings

Angelina Jolie is apparently as batty as a rabid wombat but, it's like... um, how shall I put this...

who the fuck cares?

Two of the five nominees for best picture feature gay folks- Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps can sputter all they like but the writing's on the wall...

Judi Dench is a wonderfully talented actress, but she's beginning to become the Jack Nicholson of the X-chromosone community- Jack now plays Jack overplaying Jack. Judi has started up that alley...

Philip Seymour Hoffman is the Michael Caine of our generation, and I mean that as a compliment.

George Clooney is the Alan Alda of our generation, and I do not mean that as a compliment.

Frances McDormand is a great actress.

As is Felicity Huffman.

I hope this is the last Oscar show that Jon Stewart hosts. It's not that I dislike him- I like him a lot. But my greatest hope is that he will say things completely offensive and outrageous about the Patriot Act and Bush and the state of the nation in general which will cause more of a furor than the SuperBlow's "Wardrobe Malfunction" episode and make the White House and FCC demand that he be yanked from the job, to much public furor...

Alternately, I just hope he's funny and I can stay awake.

Not Quite Time to Panic...

Booksellers spend a lot of time moaning about how bad business is these days. I was talking with a friend at a bookfair last fall and he asked "Ever notice how business is the worst for the ones who seem to be spending all their time writing to bookselling lists complaining about how bad their business is?"

Hey, you Bookseller! Time for a Perspective Check. My wife is connected to the photography business. Digital photography has simply eliminated certain parts of it. Film sales? Poof! Gone. Sure, camera stores sell cameras, but for many of them the profit base was film sales -I mean c'mon, how many cameras can you sell someone? But they come back week after week to buy film and have it processed (which is where the BIG profit was). Not anymore. If selling and developing film was your profit base, well, you're 'fuck outta luck', as they say.

And how would you like to be a record store owner right about now? There's a job that will make you lay awake nights wondering if Burger King is hiring...

Even the record industry itself can't win for losing. A story this morning was what made me think of this subject- the Justice Department is opening an investigation into wheether the major record labels have illegally colluded to fix prices on song downloads. Talk about an industry that can't get out of its own way. I swear to God, if these guys came up with a formula to turn shit into bacon, they'd wake up the next morning to find that the entire country had gone Kosher.

Bookselling is a Garden of Delight compared to many other industries right about now. So get over it. Have a bagel. Read a book.

Folks still do, I hear.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Are You Ready for some POETRY!?!?!?!!?

Once again I steal from others...

Mike was posting about poetry a few days ago, so I dug this one out. Let's do some group poetry. Fill in verses as you please...

I want to go to Paris
And swim nude in the Seine.
I haven't got the dollars,
But I’ve sure got the yen.

There's nothing in my office
by paperwork and Death,
and the Blogosphere resembles
something written for "Macbeth"...

"World" Series?

We finally seem to have an acknowledgment that the terribly mis-titled "World" Series we stage each year is nothing of the sort...and that of all the stuff America has exported- guns, bombs, election fraud, it's baseball that seems to be doing the most good worldwide. So why am I upset about the World Baseball Classic?

Because the way American baseball is going about participating is seriously fucked up.

They are taking our star professional players away from their teams for Spring Training? WTF is up with that? From a purely selfish standpoint, I don't fucking want guys like our own Jason Varitek playing in that tournament during Spring Training. Most of our guys have not had enough time to get in shape, and are risking injury by playing those games. That's all we need- Tek out with an injury in March! And he's supposed to be working with our new pitchers, getting them ready. This tournament is terribly bad for major league baseball teams.

Then there is the question of talent- there is no way that stacking the American team with our superstars can work out well. If they win, everyone just says "Well... duh." And if they lose??? My God, Bush will have to go bomb someone to regain American prestige. It would be far better to send a squad of Triple-A stars, the guys who usually hang out with the major league clubs at Spring Training time. It would get them a lot more work than they usually get training with the Big Clubs this time of year, and many of those guys are playing at or near Major-League levels already, so it would be a very competitive team.

Win-win for everybody.

The way they have it set up now, all I can say is that they'd better fucking return all the Red Sox in the same condition we sent them in... or, or, or- oh Hell.

It's all Bush's fault. If he was Commissioner of Baseball he'd never have let this happen.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Freaky Friday

Mike was filling our heads with images of George and Dik and cash-stuffed underwear yesterday... ugh. Then over at Phoebe's place he mentioned having an erotic dream about Luara Bush... so this is not my fault. You all have brought this on yourselves...

Bleepin' Beeks...

It's predictable like the Tides- there's been major blow-up on BookFinderInsider, and this was a two-fer: ABE and describing condition. This Morning After the Night Before, I kick-started the computer, rehooked the clothespins to the cables I run from the phone wires, and downloaded 8,249 messages all labeled "ABE's View of Redirecting".

[I won't even get into the Redirecting thread- it's boring. Suffice it to explain that it is when a bookseller listing their books on the Advanced Book Exchange website entices a customer to buy outside the ABE shopping-cart system, thereby cutting ABE out of a commission and making more money himself. It's theft, pure and simple].

There were two interesting ancillary threads that got entwined, though. The first was the justification some dealers used for screwing ABE- they are pissed about other things ABE has done, so it's ok. Gee, how very NeoConservative of them.

I still don't get all the whining about ABE- some dealers are genuinely, deeply offended that ABE a)wants to make a profit and b)might consider selling new books as well as old books. Get over it. ABE is a business, and a very well-run one from what I can see. They offer you a place to sell your books under your own banner, and they get a fee. The real problem is that too many "booksellers" spend far too much time whining about how bad business is and blaming ABE for it, rather than actually spending time selling books themselves.

The other group of folks who popped their heads up during the fight were the Condition Freaks. You know them- they take a $7.50 book and then spend three paragraphs describing, complete with measurements down to the millimeter, ever tear and scrape and nick in the dust jacket, and parse the fading on the spine. Hey folks -it's a $7.50 book. "Very good" is a good enough description. What's funny is that the Condition Freaks almost never actually tell you what the book is about or why you should buy it... but by God, they'll count the creases on the jacket for you!

One of them actually cut-and-pasted a bunch of perfectly decent listings from a dealer he was arguing with and accused the guy of being unethical for describing the physical condition of $10 books only as "Fine" or "Very Good". This is a classic case of people confusing busy-ness for accomplishment. Hey folks- it's a freakin' $10 book.

My own personal feeling, when I come across a Condition Freak listing, is that this is probably not really a professional bookseller. Think about it- a major difference between professionals and amatuers in any business is their ability to distinguish the important from the unimportant and have a sense of proportion. The Condition Freaks lack any sense of proportion, and spend all their time measuring rips in the dust jackets of $10 books -it's funny, though, that that's all they seem to have, most of the time -$10 books, and how little many of them seem to actually know about what they sell and why someone might want to buy it. And then they complain that business sucks.

Oh, right- it's all ABE's fault.

Sure it is.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

for CKW...

from MJT, a Canadian beekslayer who also yearns for a wet pussy...

My God, what have you all done to my morals???

Stupid #@%&%@#! Videos...

Oopsie! George Bush just got caught lying again, and this time we have videotape. Pesky things, those cameras that actually record your words and stuff. Damn.

The video was shot at a FEMA conference call the day before God told Katrina to flatten the Big Easy, and shows Bush on-line as officials are warned that there could be terrible loss of life and destruction, and that engineers are worried the levees might fail. Bush's problem is that a week or so later he is also on tape saying "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."

I suppose it all depends on what your definition of "think" is.

I'd always sorta suspected that UnCurious George wasn't on the same page as many of the rest of us on that one...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Somebody needs a hug...

First of all, let me say that I am totally on-line with Pat Robertson and others who pointed out that God smote New Orleans with a hurricane last year because New Orleans has Mardis Gras celebrations that feature all sorts of lewd, debauched, UnGodly behavior. That makes complete sense to me. I mean look at these people- do they look worried about God's Righteous Wrath to you?

Now I know some of you America-hating, liberal, intellectual secular humanists out there are asking, if God really wanted to flatten a city to punish it for bad behavior, wouldn't he do it while the city was being bad? Why flatten it six months away from the party?

There are some weak sisters in our midst who would answer that God can't smite New Orleans with a hurricane in February because there are no hurricanes in February. Well I have news for you pansy-ass bedwetters- My God is a Big Ass Muthafucka who can make a hurricane smite any fucking city any fucking time he damn well wants.

Yeah. Go God!

But that's what worries me. God's actions here are a little passive aggressive. It's sort of like God is saying "I'm mad at you, but I won't come out and tell you why -you should know."

I think God has some anger issues he needs to deal with. Maybe God needs a hug.

Maybe he needs some anti-depressants. I know if George Bush was going around telling everyone that I told him to invade Iraq, I'd need some.

Never ever?

Phoebe is gonna kill me, but I'm stealing her idea from the Beekslayer list, because it seems like the perfect blog game. The game is called "Well, I Never..." and each player says things they have never done. Everyone begins the game holding up 10 fingers, and any time someone says something you have done you have to put a finger down. Last one with any fingers still up wins.

I'll start; feel free to jump in here or on your own blogs. Hey, by the weekend we could have the entire Blogging Universe playing...

WELL, I NEVER- got really blitzed while doing shots and playing strip poker with Maureen Dowd and Ann Coulter and then went over to George Bush's place and pissed on his lawn after a totally wasted Maureen Dowd double-dog-dared me to-

[Now here's the kicker, for all the points]

BEFORE Bush was President.

I mean "after", well, if I had a quarter...