Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Random Musings for a Rainy Wednesday

-I don't even know what this new thing called You-Tube is, and it's already brought down several politicians and entertainment stars. Man, am I falling behind the curve...

-It's ironic and sad that, under lock, key and armed guard, Saddam Hussein is probably the safest person in Iraq at the moment.

-Newt Gingrich is living proof that the Irony Fairy isn't dead.

-Ditto for John Kerry for the Fantasy Fairy.

-Of course, the Irony Fairy is pulling double shifts in Turkey this week, as Turkish Muslims riot, demanding that the Pope admit their religion is peaceful.

-Speaking of Turkey, say what you want against Genetic Engineering, a turkey with four drumsticks woulld be a handy thing.

-The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl this year, and they'll be playing the Bears. That's gonna be a helluva game.

-2008 should be a great year for the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

-Jerry Jeff Walker is an under-appreciated singer.

-Sara Evans isn't.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Our New Catalog-

Now that Thanksgiving is over the Book Elves are in full Christmas Mode, stringing lights, unpacking ornaments, and hiding my 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' cd. In fact, after they got done stringing about 300 strands of lights the little disk on our electric meter spun so fast it tore out of its bracket, went flying off through the air and decapitated the garden gnome.

But before they bought 900 life-size plastic Santas on Ebay and used them to recreate the Battle of Waterloo on the croquet court, they finished our latest catalog-

"RECENT ACQUISITIONS -Old & New Books on ANTIQUES & THE ARTS & Related Subjects for DECEMBER, 2006" is now available on our website. It features 220 titles on furniture, glass, ceramics, silver, interiors, metals, fashion, trades, color, and life in other times. We also have printed copies- please send us your mailing address if you would like one.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Holiday Cheer-

OK, Thanksgiving is over, so we know what comes next, right?

You got it- it's time to decorate the cat for Christmas!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Emily Dickinson. Vivacious redhead.

There's an interesting pair of articles in this morning's Springfield Republican newspaper about local poet Emily Dickinson, the 'Belle of Amherst'. The main article addresses her legendary reclusiveness, which some scholars are now casting doubt on. The second article reveals that Emily, known to us only through that famous black & white photograph taken when she was 17, was actually a redhead!

No, this is not the pronouncement of some 21st century revisionist-historian scanning her work for hidden clues and reading tea leaves- Amherst College actually has a lock of her hair which she sent to a friend.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday Funnies-

Comprehending Engineers -

Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said, where did you get such a great bike?"

The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."

The second engineer nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit"


To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.


A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!" The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!" The pastor said, "hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with him."

[dramatic pause]

"Hi George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"

The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."

The group was silent for a moment.

The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."

The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them."

The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"


What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?

Mechanical Engineers build weapons, Civil Engineers build targets.


The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"

The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"

The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"

The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"


Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the possible designers of the human body. One said, "It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints."

Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections."

The last said, "Actually it was a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"


Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet."
-- Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle


An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess". He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week." The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.

The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want." Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into is pocket.

Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Me! Me! Me!

Time for a rant, boys and girls. Our Society has gone completely overboard with its sense of entitlement and lack of sense of responsibility.

The latest examples were in yesterday's news and make instructive reading.

First, some assinine woman is suing one of the airlines for kicking her off an airplane because she refused to cover up when breastfeeding her infant (well, 22-month old). The airline allows breast-feeding, but asks pasengers to use a small blanket to, um, "cover". When the flight attendant gave the woman the blanket the woman informed her that she had a legal right to breast feed in public and would not use it.

That's two strikes right there- first, an airplane is not a "public" place, and secondly, passengers are not allowed to disobey reasonable instructions from flight crew. So, when she continued to refuse she got booted and is suing. She says she is being "discriminiated" against. Excuse me? The only possible scenario under which she could cry "discrimination" is if the airline had allowed all the other female passengers to whip their breasts out without blankets.

Now that would be a very popular airline.

The second story was on the radio. There is a popular new contraption in rural areas called an outdoor wood furnace. They burn wood pellets, and spew huge amounts of very bad smoke with lots of particulate matter. Some folks are using them to heat their houses these days, and they blanket their neighborhoods with dense smoke all day and night. As a result many towns are beginning to pass laws against them. This story concerned one neighborhood in a town where they are still legal, and all the medical problems a wood furnace there was causing the neighbors.

At the end of the story they interviewed the owners of the wood furnace, who were completely apologetic, but also completely perplexed. Why, they asked, were they being made out to be the villians? Why was everybody pointing a finger at them like it was all their fault?


Where do you go with that question?

Maybe I should ask Donald Rumsfeld...

Monday, November 13, 2006


This is courtesy of my aunt Carolyn...

This happened about a month ago just outside a little town in the low country of South Carolina, and while it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it's real.

This guy was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a real dark night in the middle of a thunder storm. Time passed slowly and no cars went by. It was raining so hard he could hardly see his hand in front of his face.

Suddenly he saw a car moving slowly approaching and appearing ghostlike in the rain. It slowly crept toward him and stopped.

Wanting a ride real bad the guy jumped in the car and closed the door, only then did he realize that there was nobody behind the wheel. The car slowly started moving and the guy was terrified, too scared to think of jumping out and running. The guy saw that the car was slowly approaching a sharp curve, still too scared to jump out, he started to pray and beg for his life, he was sure the ghost car would go off the road and in the marsh and he would surely drown, when just before the curve, a hand appeared through the driver's window and turned the steering wheel, guiding the car safely around the bend.

Paralyzed with fear, the guy watched the hand reappear every time they reached a curve. Finally the guy, scared to near death, had all he could take and jumped out of the car and ran to town.

Wet and in shock, he went into a bar and voice quavering, ordered two shots of whiskey, then told everybody about his supernatural experience.

A silence enveloped and everybody got goose bumps when they realized the guy was telling the truth and not just some drunk.

About half an hour later two Rednecks walked into the bar and one says to the other: "Look Bubba, there's that idiot who jumped into our car while we were pushing it."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Fun-

I was going through my archive of old illustrations from books we have sold and ran across this one today. It pictures the main street of a well-known American city as it appeared around 1850 or so. Any ideas what city that is?

Here's a hint- anyone see any bars anyhwere???

Hmmm, let's zoom in-

Nope, not a bar in sight. Some things never change...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Timely Thoughts-

It's the first Tuesday in November, so of course you know what I am going to blog about today. It's a topic that is foremost in all our minds...

"Where," you are asking yourself, "can I find a really good SPAM recipe for my Election Night Party?"

Well, go no further. Now you can find tons of Spam recipies all over the web, but they all take a long time to make. Today is a busy day, so I am sharing, as a public service, my own Special QwickySpam recipes-

Take an unopened can of SPAM; throw it at someone's head and yell SURPRISE!!

Take a cake. Turn it upside down. Open a can of SPAM and put the SPAM on top.

Take a can of SPAM. Use it to smash 4 eggs. Open the can and put the SPAM on the eggs.

Take an unopened can of SPAM and a box of Velveeta Processed Cheese Food. Put the can of SPAM on a plate, put the box of Velveeta on top of the can of SPAM, and put both in your neighbor's new microwave. Cook on HIGH for ten minutes.

Eat an entire can of SPAM while watching a Francois Truffaut film and singing "Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles"

Open a can of SPAM. Turn on an electric fan with metal blades to HIGH; throw chunks of SPAM through the blades. Collect and serve.

Open a can of SPAM. Drop a cinderblock on it. Scrape off and put in pan, cover with bread crumbs. Put on a layer of canned spinach. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Bake at 450 for 1 hour. Serve with 1 bottle of Ouzo. If serving two, serve with 2 bottles of Ouzo.

Open a can of SPAM and throw the SPAM as hard as you can against the wall. Scrape off the wall and serve.

Open a can of SPAM. Let it sit for 1 week on the counter. Serve.


Monday, November 06, 2006

An Interesting Shaker Image-

I came across an interesting woodcut over the weekend featuring an African-American Shaker. This is a woodcut from an 1831 issue of "Atkinson's Casket" and is titled "Shaker's Worshipping"-

It has many nice details, including hats and coats hung on pegs, a presumed “outsider” looking on, and, at the right side, an African-American Shaker. You don't hear too much about Afrian-American Shakers, or at least I never have. Here's a closer detail-

We put the print up for auction on Ebay last night -you can see the auction here, or click our Ebay Auctions link in the right-hand column.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday humor-

One day Mrs. Jones went to have a talk with the minister at the local church. "Reverend," she said, "I have a problem, my husband keeps falling asleep during your sermons. It's very embarrassing. What should I do?"

"I have an idea", said the minister. "Take this hatpin with you. I will be able to tell when Mr. Jones is sleeping, and I will motion to you at specific times. When I motion, you give him a good poke in the leg."

In the church the following Sunday, Mr. Jones dozed off. Noticing this, the preacher put his plan to work.

"And who made the ultimate sacrifice for you?" he said, nodding to Mrs. Jones.

"Jesus!" Jones cried as his wife jabbed him in the leg with the hatpin.

"Yes, you are right, Mr. Jones," said the minister.

Soon, Mr. Jones nodded off again. Again, the minister noticed. "Who is your redeemer?" he asked the congregation, motioning towards Mrs. Jones.

"God!" Mr. Jones cried out as he was stuck again with the hatpin.

"Right again," said the minister, smiling.

Before long, Mr. Jones again winked off. However, this time the minister did not notice. As he picked up the tempo of his sermon, he made a few motions that Mrs. Jones mistook as signals to bayonet her husband with the hatpin again. The minister asked, "And what did Eve say to Adam after she bore him his 99th son?"

Mrs. Jones poked her husband, who yelled, "You stick that dammned thing in me one more time and I'll break it in half and shove it up your ass!"

"Amen," replied the congregation.

Friday, November 03, 2006

To the Memory of What-??

Funeral cards were very popular in Victorian times- they would be sent to family and friends announcing the death, with the same sorts of particulars you might see on a tombstone; they were not invitations to a funeral, as such, but acted as an anouncement of a death and were saved as a remembrance of the deceased.

But some of them were not all that they seemed at first glance. While preparing our latest "Grave Affair" catalog I ran across a very interesting little piece (not for sale in the catalog) which appears to be a funeral card, but is not...

For a larger picture, where you can see the lettering better, go to this page on our Grave Affair website. You can see our new "Grave Affair" catalog here.