Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Cissy Strut was writing about the view out her window in Sidney last week (and a great view it is). That made me start thinking about various places I've lived and the views I could see from them. I've been pretty lucky in that all but one or two had decent views. Of course, that wasn't simply chance, it is something I tend to seek out.

Our current house, "Foggygates", is sited so that we get nice views at both ends of the day. This is the view looking east- sunrise is often spectacularly-hued, and this is also where the fog comes from when it comes up from the river and rolls across the fields. This is that view after a snowstorm last year.

The silent winter fog steals in,
River’s breath, the color of gin;
Creeping, peeking,
Oozing, sneaking,
Stealing through the iron branches;
Icy water drip drip drip.

The barn was there,
And now it’s gone;
Smothered, swallowed, by the gauze.
Silvery, silken puffs just linger;
Cottony death,
with ice-cold fingers.

Now up above
The sun cracks through,
Shooting golden, molten hues
Cotton ghosts dissolve and flee,
Barn and tree and I are free
To see the last cold fingers die.

While overhead
the first hawks fly.

At the other end of the day, the sunsets are almost always worth watching-

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Whose at Bat?

So- I'm walking by the living room door fifteen minutes ago and I hear some odd noises- so I go in and find both of our cats happily dismembering a live bat* in the middle of the oriental rug.


The week's going to get better, right, Batgirl?

*yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Rabies. Here's the thing about rabies- it will kill you. Quick. A year and half ago we moved from the city (where the only live bats are in the hands of the Boston Red Sox) to the country, with loft and a barn, where we have hundreds of them all over the fucking place. So wthin six months I had an "encounter" with one. Rabies shots. Here's the thing about rabies shots these days- no big deal. Back when I was a kid we all heard the stories- they come at you with a 5-foot needle, 3 inches around. Not now. They are no sweat at all. If you think you need one - get it. It beats the alternative.

However, this being 2007 Amerikkka, that's not all. Here's the REST OF THE STORY-

Here in America we are not a civilized nation, so you buy your own fucking health insurance. Just a freaking MONTH before my "encounter" wid' de bat, I had changed my plan from the "gilt-edged" (to quote our Resident Asshole) plan, to one with a deductible, for a savings of $200 a quarter, or $800 a year. Hey, what the Hell? I'm 44, never use it anyway, what could go wrong?

So, a month after saving $800, it turns out that rabies shots (you need 5) cost $3000 each. Ok, that's not my bill, but I get hit with deductibles for about $1200... net loss on the year- $400.

You see- this is why I sell rare books. Books, I have a clue. Can make you money. Anything else to do with money- chuck it down the toilet.

And as I write our cats (rabies vaccinated) are chewing the remains of the bat on the rug.

I think we'll get that cleaned tomorow.

Breaking News! Jesus, with Extra Cheese...

I don't want anyone saying you don't get the latest news here. You may have thought the latest news is that James Cameron claims to have found Jesus' tomb last week. Well phooey on James Cameron. Here's some real news-

from Metro.co.uk-

Devout churchgoers have begun worshipping a pizza pan - after claiming the Virgin Mary has appeared amid the melted cheese, tomato and pepperoni.

Dinner ladies at a school in Texas discovered what they took to be Mary's image on the base of a cooking tray. Sceptics may say it looks like little more than a random, formless stain.

But after fevered scrubbing failed to shift it, rumour spread of a divine apparation - and now pilgrims have been flocking to a makeshift shrine in the tray's honour.

School canteen worker Guadalupe Rodriguez, who first spotted the mark on Ash Wednesday, said: 'On the third rinse I started watching it, trying to discover what it was. 'It showed to me like it is the Virgin Mary.' Pupil Anel Villareal said: 'They said, "The Virgin is in the cafeteria" and I ran over there to see. 'My God, it was the Virgin. I cried when I see her with my own eyes.'

A shrine, with the tray at its centre, has now been set up outside the home of a parent teacher association member, but others are claiming they should have custody.


(2/26/07 - KTRK/HOUSTON) - There's a custody battle underway over a pizza pan that some says bears a vision of the Virgin Mary. The pan has attracted national attention, and brought in hundreds of faithful from around the area hoping to see a miracle. But the pan has returned to where it originated -- Pugh Elementary School in east Houston.

This was to be the day the cafeteria worker from Pugh Elementary was to be given the pan in question -- the one that she discovered with the image on it. That's what HISD had planned to do, but late Monday afternoon things changed a lot. Now the pan is back under lock and key at the school until a solution to a very sensitive issue can be worked out.

Since Ash Wednesday, a pan has been on display outside a Denver Harbor home. The school baking sheet is ordinary except for the image that some people say is the Virgin Mary. Behind the scenes, though, there was a tug of war. The cafeteria wanted the tray back and the PTA mothers wanted it left in the neighborhood. On Monday afternoon, HISD called.

PTA President Dora Otero said, "Taking it back to the school. They want it back to the school, so we're going to take it back to the school." And so they did -- marching through the street, women singing and carrying roses. They reluctantly delivered the tray to Pugh Elementary.

The tray, we're told, is being kept out of view in the school office. A local church is said to have been asked for guidance on where the pan belongs. For now, though, the tray is out of view and that bothers at least one parent.

"Then nobody sees it," worried parent Fabiola Salinas. "They already locked it up in the office and they were asking, 'Can we see it again?' They were told no. So that is my concern."

Technically the tray is HISD property. The school district would not appear on camera to discuss the sensitive situation.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday Morning Wake Up-

I can never resist a good dust jacket or piece of cover art. Here's something from my shelves to wake you up a bit on a sleepy morning after we all stayed up too late watching the Oscars-

The book was published in 1939, and the cover art is by Walter Frame [1885-1957], a commercial artist who did dust jackets, magazine advertisements for RCA radios, and so on. But what about the book itself? Damned if I know... well, "Francis Bonnamy" was the pseudonym of used by Audrey Walz, a prolific murder-mystery writer in the 30s and 40s. Frankly, I've never been able to get past the first paragraph-

"We saw it that Wednesday afternoon just as our horses came over the hill and looked down into the valley where the ranch lay. It was just something shapeless lying on the grass beside the ranch house then, but I think we all felt evil in the crumpled mass that showed directly before us through the jack pines as the trail bent over the last hill. It was as if the light of that brilliant summer day had been cut off, as if the mountains had reached up their red fingers to shut off the sun."

It may just be me, but I feel a dark and stormy night coming on...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Marty, Marty, and Lenny D

Well, it's Oscar Night, and in just a few hours we'll get the answer to the question that has been on everyone's mind all week- will all the actors and actresses shave their heads in solidarity with Britney Spears?

OK, maybe not.

We're rooting for The Departed to win awards, not only because it's a good movie, but because my wife actually saw some of it shot. A few years ago, when they were doing the Boston filming, they used the alley in back of the building her photo studio was in for several scenes, including the one where Martin Sheen gets shot and falls off the roof of the warehouse.

These scenes were shot in Boston's Fort Point Channel district, an area of 19th century brick warehouses which used to be Boston's "Photo District". Today it's all going upscale-condo, and my wife and all the other photo people and artists have been kicked out.

Anyway, one day I got a call from her- "You'd never guess who's having coffee in the alley below my studio," she said. I told her she was probably correct, the only people I'd ever seen there looked like they didn't "do" coffee... "Martin Scorsese, Martin Sheen, and Leonardo DiCaprio," she told me.

So the crew shot there all week, with all the photo people watching from their windows, and me getting minute-by-minute updates on the phone.

The scene that impressed my wife most was the one where Martin Sheen, having been shot and fallen off the roof, lies dead in the alley and Leonard DiCaprio runs around the corner and comes to a stop over him. Apparently Martin Sheen spent an entire day lying on his back in that damn alley (in a puddle) as they did take after take. And let me tell you- I've been in that alley many times, and I don't care how many cleaning crews have been through- I wouldn't lie down in it.

On one take Leonardo came racing around the corner, missed his mark just a bit, and stood on Martin Sheen's hand. Sheen didn't even wince, he just lay there until the take was over, and then they got him up and took him over to the medical person who worked on his hand for a while.

The whole week was like that- I'd get phone calls from Amy with updates- "Martin Sheen's got the dreamiest blue eyes", and "Lenny DiCaprio is leaning over and I can see his ass crack". Then a few gunshots would go off in the background.

So we'll be tuning in tonight to cheer the cast and crew on. Go, Departed, Go!

Friday, February 23, 2007

There Was a Young Lady from Harvard...

The Reverend and Catalyst have both been posting interesting old signs over the last few days, so I thought I'd put this one up. I bought it at a book fair a few years ago, and the moment I saw it I knew I had to have it. We actually lived just a few blocks from Harvard at the time, and kept it on the wall in the living room. Now it sits on a bookshelf in my office. I've no idea when it was printed, but my guess would be the 1920s.

So remember- Don't be dirty! Don't be dirty! Don't be dirty!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cat Cam-

I've managed to get myself a bit behind the 8-ball today, with the new March catalog due to be shipped to the printer tomorrow by 5, and me still cataloging books this morning, with set-up, cut & paste, cover design, & proofing all still to be done (well, I can always say I proofed it, and the Book Elves snuck in later and retyped that entry to read "dust jacket lightly oiled".

Anyway, the point of this all is that I'm going to let one of our hardworking book cats, Pyewackett, entertain you. So I've set up a web-camera, and you can just keep checking back, because she does all sorts of interesting things.


I know it may look like this is just a .jpeg, not a live webcam, but I assure you, it's refreshed every 1/10th of a second.

Just look at her go.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Are You Ready for Some Chiiiili???

This story caught my eye last week-

The Associated Press - 2/15/2007. Who says food fads can't last? Thousands of years before the advent of Tex-Mex, ancient Americans were spicing up stew with red hot chili peppers. New fossil evidence shows prehistoric people from southern Peru up to the Bahamas were cultivating varieties of chilies millennia before Columbus' arrival brought the spice to world cuisine. The earliest traces so far are from southwestern Ecuador, where families fired up meals with homegrown peppers about 6,100 years ago.

I love hot peppers and I love chili, so I went and dug this story out of the Archives-


Includes notes from an inexperienced chili tester named FRANK, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast. Frank notes: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking directions to the beer wagon, when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy, and besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting - So I accepted."

Here are the scorecards from the event:


JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.

JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

FRANK: Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could use it to remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.


JUDGE ONE: Smokey, with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.

JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

FRANK: Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.


JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.

JUDGE TWO: A bean less chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers.

FRANK: Call the EPA, I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now- get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my back bone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all the beer.


JUDGE ONE: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds?


JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very Impressive

JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

FRANK: My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage; a barmaid saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off? It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw those rednecks!


JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.

JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb!

FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. Can't feel my lips anymore.


JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should take note that I am worried about Judge Number 3, he appears to be in a bit of distress and he is cursing uncontrollably.

FRANK: You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a damn thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. At least during the autopsy they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing, it's too painful. Screw it, I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach


JUDGE ONE: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare it's existence.

JUDGE TWO: This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor Yank, wonder how he'd have reacted to a really hot chili?

FRANK: (Not available for comment.)

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Washington Candlesticks Which Killed G.D. Smith

Reposted from last President's Day, but still a good tale.

On this President's Day we turn to the tale of a pair of "George Washington's" candlesticks which killed a leading rare book dealer.

In early 1917 a man named William Lanier Washington showed up at the doors of Mitchell Kennerly's Anderson Galleries, a leading New York auction firm. A “direct descendant of two of George Washington’s brothers”, William Lanier Washington arrived with cartloads of Washington-family memorabilia at an opportune time.

The craze for all things Colonial-related was reaching new heights, and in the first auction of this material, held in April, 1917, he offered many interesting and rare Washington busts, portraits, mourning items and other Washington-related memorabilia. He also offered personal relics, including George Washington’s shoe and sword buckles, wine glasses, snuff boxes, coat buttons, pants, a pair of Sheffield candlesticks from Washington’s Mt. Vernon desk, and many more items.

These relics were eagerly snapped up by the preeminent collectors of the day, including William Randolph Hearst and G.D. Smith, the man who single-handedly helped Henry Huntington assemble the famous Huntington Library and one of the greatest American book dealers of all time.

All seemed well until William Lanier Washington showed up at the Anderson Galleries with yet another cartload of Washington relics, at which point Mitchell Kennerly had the sense to send him packing. Not to be so easily discouraged, William simply switched venues and took his “relics” to the American Art Association, through which he held another sale in February, 1920.

He also sold his offerings door-to-door, and it was this which brought about the premature demise of G.D. Smith. On March 4th, 1920, William Lanier Washington arrived at Smith’s door, attempting to sell him yet another set of Sheffield candlesticks used by George Washington on his desk at Mt. Vernon. Smith, who had already bought “the” pair at the 1917 auction (lot 27), questioned just how many candlesticks George Washington kept on his desk, got into a heated argument with Washington, and dropped dead on the spot.

Thus ended the career of one of America’s greatest booksellers. William Lanier Washington would hold one more Washington-relic sale at the AAA, in February, 1922, which finally seemed to exhaust his supply. He died in 1933, but the legacy of his auctions, which contained at least some authentic memorabilia, and a whole lot else, continues on through the auction catalogs and an interesting tale.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Whatta Race...

Godness Goddess and all Her Little Fishes- that was about the most exciting finish to a Daytona 500 I've ever seen. You gotta admit- when the winner beats the loser by the width of his front bumper, there are cars ricochetting off the walls behind them, and the 8th place finisher slides across the Finish Line on his roof, in flames, that's a Helluva race!

And I'd be remiss in not noting today's sad anniversary-

April 29, 1951 - February 18, 2001

Saturday, February 17, 2007

They're Out There... Part 2

Here's another title from my UFO collection. "Space, Gravity and the Flying Saucer" was published in 1954.

Leonard G. Cramp is still alive, and unlike Gray Barker, was, and is, quite serious about the subject. An aerospace engineer who has been working on anti-gravity theory for decades, he has quite detailed theories about how 'saucers' are powered.

Again, I could not resist the cover.

Leonard G. Cramp's website.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Nuns on the Run...

My friend Zann saw this in the news-

Nuns on the run as their big knitting debts unravel
January 30, 2007

FIFTY-FIVE nuns have fled their convent in northern Greece after running up more than $1,000,000 in debts when their in-house woollens factory went bankrupt. Unknown to the rest of Greece’s monastic community, the nuns of the Saints Kyrikos and Ioulite convent at Sidi-rokastro near the Bulgarian border had been doing a brisk clothing trade since installing six large knitting machines in the convent ten years ago. They sold to some 25 clothing chains around Greece and often travelled to European capitals to keep an eye on fashion.

Dionysios Pelekis, the nuns’ lawyer, said that they intended to move south, to another convent near Athens airport. They have asked their ecclesiastical superior, Metropolitan Makar-ios, to settle the debt out of the Church’s own resources — by selling 16 convent-owned properties, worth at least 750,000 Euros. But the Metropolitan has refused, saying that the nuns must pay off their debt in full before being given release papers that would allow them to move to a new convent.

Although Mr Pelekis appears to be in touch with the nuns, he is not disclosing their whereabouts. There are no legal proceedings against them at present, but they could face action if the debts are not paid. They could also face church sanctions if they are eventually found guilty of wrongdoing.

Mr Pelekis said that the nuns carted off their knitting factory equipment and furniture in three lorries days before their own disappearance.

“They are entitled to keep anything they have purchased with their own money, which includes furniture, equipment and automobiles,” he said. His clients also had a candle-making and icon-painting business on the side.

Forty-two, you say??

I stole the joke from an email list yesterday; I'm not sure why I chose a picture of The Decider to illustrate it, it just sort of popped into my head...

- - -

Professor Sphincter was giving a lecture on involuntary muscular contractions.

"A sphincter is a structure, usually a circular muscle which normally maintains constriction of a natural body passage or orifice and which relaxes as required by normal physiological functioning. There are at least 42 different sphincters in the human body, some of them microscopic in size," he droned.

Realizing that this was not the most riveting subject, the Professor decided to lighten the mood slightly.

He pointed to a young woman in the front row and said, "Do you know what your asshole is doing while you're having an orgasm?"

"I dunno," she replied, "probably deer hunting with his buddies."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Late, As Usual...

Well damn, I missed Valentine's Day! You'd think with a year to prepare a post, it wouldn't catch me by surprise like that. We had a Valentine's Day blizzard here yesterday, which is a lot better than a Valentine's Day Massacre, but was still a pain in the ass.

And allow me to bitch for a minute- since when did the godamned card companies decide that all the damned cards are suddenly musical?? An entire aisle of cards in the store, and about 6 of them didn't burst into fucking song the moment I peeked inside. If I wanted to hear some lame-ass sappy song butchered by oversinging I'll tune in to American Idol, or put on a Celine Dion cd.

Sidenote- did you know that Wikipedia has an entire entry on the soundtrack to the movie 'Titanic'? I don't know whether to be proud to live in the 21st century, or scared out of my socks.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday, Tuesday...

The subject of LEGOs came up over on The Joey Polanski Show yesterday, and it brought to mind a Lego pic I found somewhere a few years ago. I don't remember where it came from; that's my story and I'm sticking to it...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Suggestive Weather-

Alternate Title: "More Proof that God's a Dirty Old Man"

Actually, this photo, and a number of others of something called a 'mammatus' cloud formation, can be found on the website of Jorn Olsen, a photographer who took the pics a few years ago.

For some reason they reminded me that Anna Nichole Smith is dead.

I know everyone else is looking for pills and drugs and a dissipated lifestyle as the cause of her death, but hey, Keith Richards is still around, so it's probably not that. Here's what came to my mind- the woman had just lost 75 pounds in a very short time. Paint me red, white and blue, roll me in sesame seeds and call me a barber pole bagel, but I hafta think that losin' that much weight that fast can't be good for you, especially if you've done other things (pills, drugs, etc.) to compromise your system. I'm not casting asparagus at the fine folks who make whatever diet plan she was on, I'm just saying, sometimes a little medical supervision doesn't hurt.

But what do I know. Probably she was hit by a chunk of the Space Shuttle.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Cupid's Got a Gun...

Not sure what to get your loved-one for Valentines day? How about the window that Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy through? It's now up for sale on Ebay, having been passed down in the family of the owner of the Texas School Book Depository building, who had it removed from the building shortly after the assasination.

Sure, it's a bit pricey ($600,000 at the moment), but how can you put a price on the happiness of your loved one?

Coming next week on Ebay- the stitches from Lyndon Johnson's surgical scar.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

They're Out There...

Among the things I collect are old UFO books. Some of the books published in the 1950s and early 1960s are real treasures. I'm not necessarily a believer in UFOs- though I'm not necessarily a skeptic either. Above all, I love the cover art and the dust jacket blurbs. Here's one of my favorites-

If you can't see it, the subtitle is "The true story of what happened to certain researchers and investigators who found out where the saucers come from".

The jacket blurb starts-

"One by one, the leading figures among flying saucer researchers, who have challenged the government denial that saucers come from outer space, have been silenced. Outwardly, nothing seems to have happened to these men. They are still alive, still living where they used to. But they no longer publish saucer research material and they will not talk about saucers or why they no longer will speak of them. Three men in dark suits have visited these saucer researchers. Nobody knows what they said, but it was enough to reduce their hearers to silence."

I have to admit, I have not yet read the book, but when I found it at a book fair some ten years ago, at the height of the X-Files craze, I had to buy it. Later it apparently helped provide inspiration for one of my favorite movies- Men in Black.

Interestingly, there are 37 copies of this listed on a popular database and, as usual, most of the booksellers listing it make no comment on the content at all- not a single word. The few booksellers who do say anything mostly simply quote all or part of the subtitle. Nobody, not one, out of the 37, has bothered to do a single second's research and provide any interesting information about this book- and there's plenty of interesting info out there. Has anybody ever heard of Google? Here's some interesting information about Gray Barker and his cohorts.

More to come...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

February Icicles-

It was an odd January here at Foggygates- lots of cold, but no snow. That, however, was not going to stop the Book Elves from enjoying themselves, so after a hard day in the Cataloging Cave they planned to hit the “slopes” in the neighbor’s field, making snow with the help of two garden hoses, 300 feet of heavy duty extension cord and a dozen old industrial fans they picked up cheap at a local farm auction.

I’m not sure how the ski areas make snow... but I’m betting it’s not like that.

However, after blowing every fuse in the house out twice, the Book Elves got everything set, started the fans, turned on the hoses, and then left for Mama Maria’s bar & grill just down the street for a quick dinner and a few beers before some late-night sledding.

If only they’d remembered to anchor the bases of the fans… But before they encased the neighbor’s house in 3 inches of solid ice, the Book Elves finished our new catalog-

"RECENT ACQUISITIONS for February, 2007" is now available on our website or in printed format. It features 231 books and catalogs on furniture, silver, ceramics, glass, textiles, art, architecture and related fields, with highlights including-

-A rare 1840s Italian woodwork design book.

-A nice 1905 auction catalog of Japanese arms & armor, featuring items collected by noted dealer Bunkio Matsuki.

-An unusual 1873 book on soluble glass.

-An uncommon 1881 exhibition catalog of modern tapestries.

-The scarce original 1908 edition of Henry Mercer's guide to the tiles of the Pennsylvania state capitol.

-A rare 1824 biography of Jacques Louis David.

-A copy of Ure's important 1821 Dictionary of Chemistry with the 1850 ownership inscription of an American dyer.

and much, much more!

Our February Catalog.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Time to Sell That Starbucks Stock-

As part of our never-ending quest to bring you some of the really important news of the 21st Century that the Networks or FauxNews might have missed, here's a tidbit from the Associated Press-

Baristas show skin, stir up business
Hot competition brews in Wash.

By Gene Johnson, Associated Press | January 30, 2007

TUKWILA, Wash. -- Coffee stand owner John Cambroto could not compete against the beautiful bikini-clad women selling espresso up the road. "We had a much better atmosphere, good coffee. Unfortunately, they ran around half-naked and we didn't," said Cambroto, who finally threw in the towel last spring and sold his business to his rival, the operator of six Cowgirls Espresso stands in the Seattle suburbs.

The baristas of Cowgirls Espresso represent a new trend in and around Seattle -- perhaps the most caffeinated city in America -- and illustrate how cutthroat the competition can be in the hometown of Starbucks, which has multiple coffee shops competing on the same block.

Among the other coffee stands that are showing some skin: Moka Girls in Auburn, The Sweet Spot Cafe in Shoreline, Bikini Espresso in Renton, and Natte Latte in Port Orchard.

One recent afternoon, there was a long line of cars at the tiny, black-and-white, cow-painted Cowgirls stand in front of a Tukwila casino. Candice Law, leaning provocatively out the drive-through window in a black bra, and Toni Morgan, wearing a skimpy halter top, see-through red lace panties and chaps, seemed to know every customer.

Most of the customers declined to give their names or be interviewed -- "Nobody wants to admit to their wives that they're here," Law said. One who did, a 25-year-old diesel mechanic named Mike West, said he comes every day for the coffee. "I could care less what they wear," he said.

Lori Bowden, the owner of Cowgirls Espresso, opened her first stand, by the entrance to the Silver Dollar Casino, four years ago. Law and other employees suggested doing "Bikini Wednesdays." Bowden approved, and her stand immediately doubled the amount of money it was taking in -- from $200 to $400 -- on Wednesdays. "Fantasy Fridays," "School Girl Thursdays," "Cowgirl Tuesdays," and "Military Mondays" followed.

The stand now takes in about $800 a day, Bowden said. The baristas make minimum wage, plus $80 to $150 a day in tips. Steve McDaniel, chief operating officer at the casino, saw the line of vehicles and knew there was money to be made. He opened Moka Girls last summer. Like Cowgirls, it features theme days and racy lingerie.

"Most guys like to see pretty girls when they get their mochas," said Sarah Araujo, who opened The Sweet Spot two years ago. "We just figured we'd be honest about it."

As long as the employees' breasts and buttocks are covered, they aren't breaking the law. And the owners of the stands say they get few complaints.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Buddy, Can You Spare a T-shirt?

Well, tonight is the SooperDooperBowl, and my one wish is that the Indianapolic Colts do unto the Chicago Bears what the Bears did to the Patriots back in 1986. That is, shred, dice, slice, humiliate and destroy them, on live national television. Not that we harbor any sore feelings about that long ago, horrific, evening...

For the rest of you who are not hobbled by such ghastly memories, here's an interesting story about tonight's game-

Far Away, Super Bowl’s Losers Will Be Champs

New York Times, February 4, 2007

MIAMI, Feb. 3 — In some parts of the world, the Seattle Seahawks are the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Buffalo Bills are the last great football dynasty and Tom Brady is some frustrated quarterback from New England who can never win it all.

Minutes after the end of the Super Bowl, every player on the winning team will get a cap. The loser’s logo could end up on heads in Uganda.

The Super Bowl will end about 10 p.m. Sunday, and by 10:01 every player on the winning team — along with coaches, executives, family members and ball boys — could be outfitted in colorful T-shirts and caps proclaiming them champions.

The other set of championship gear — the 288 T-shirts and caps made for the team that did not win — will be hidden behind a locked door at Dolphin Stadium. By order of the National Football League, those items are never to appear on television or on eBay. They are never even to be seen on American soil.

They will be shipped Monday morning to a warehouse in Sewickley, Pa., near Pittsburgh, where they will become property of World Vision, a relief organization that will package the clothing in wooden boxes and send it to a developing nation, usually in Africa.

This way, the N.F.L. can help one of its charities and avoid traumatizing one of its teams.

“Where these items go, the people don’t have electricity or running water,” said Jeff Fields, a corporate relations officer for World Vision. “They wouldn’t know who won the Super Bowl. They wouldn’t even know about football.”

The gear is flown, along with school and medical supplies, into a major city. It is then driven to one of the villages where World Vision staff members work. They distribute the shirts and caps at a community center, about two per family.

Beth Colleton, the N.F.L.’s director for community ventures, worked for a month at a World Vision service area in Ethiopia. One day, she saw a boy in the village wearing a Green Bay Packers 1998 Super Bowl champions T-shirt.

Ms. Colleton might have been the only person in the village to do a double take. The Denver Broncos were the 1998 Super Bowl champions.

After she returned home, she watched a documentary about Romanian orphans. One of them was wearing a Buffalo Bills Super Bowl champions T-shirt. “I almost fell out of my chair,” she said.

The Bills, losers of four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s, at least have a following in Romania. [more]

Friday, February 02, 2007

Counting Down...

Well, it's official- the last Harry Potter book, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows', will be available for sale at midnight, July 21st. Aside from proving that J.K. Rowling is reaching far down into the depths of the Unfathomable Title Barrel, the release of the new title raises a few questions in my mind-

-given that we're all going to buy it, is anyone planning on shutting themselves off from all media from midnight of the 21st until they finish it? Guaranteed, that by 12:01 somebody will have flipped to the last page, found out if Harry lives or dies, and it will be on the web and the news.

-are you going to flip to the last page first yourself, or will you plow through the, oh, probably 1,200 pages to find out?

-call me nasty-minded, but with all the hands the manuscript is going to go through, from editors to printers to binders to deliverymen to bookstores, can the publishers really keep this one under wraps until midnight of the 21st? I'll bet "no".

-J.K. Rowling has dropped what I think is the biggest hint already regarding Harry's longevity- she has said that this book wraps up the series, and it represents a fully-realised concept which she does not wish to see expanded upon. So I bet she kills him. Not that this will really matter- the history if literature is full of characters who rose from the dead later. Not even Sherlock Holmes stayed dead, and Harry is at least as talented as Holmes. Not to mention that he's a damned wizard. Who would be easier to ressurect than a wizard? So maybe she'll realise the futility of it all, and not kill him. She'll certainly 'kill' the 7th movie, not to mention future sales of all 7 books, if he dies.

Well, we'll see. And I'm betting we see before July 21st. If you really don't want to know, I'd say cut yourself off from all media by July 10th. And if you don't care either way -why the hell did you read this far?

Thursday, February 01, 2007


This was posted on the Biblio list a few days ago; I'd never seen it before. I don't think you have to be a bookseller to find it funny, but I've been wrong about that before...


'Twas potter, and the little brown
Did simon and schuster in the shaw;
All mosby were the ballantines,
And the womraths mcgraw.

Beware Jovanovich, my son!
The knopfs that crown, the platts that munk!
Beware the doubleday, and shun
The grolier wagnallfunk!

He took his putnam sword in hand,
Long time the harcourt brace he sought -
So rested he by the crowell tree
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in harper thought he stood,
Jovanovich, with eyes of flame,
Came houghton mifflin through the wood
And bowkered as it came!

Dodd mead! Dodd mead! and from his steed
His dutton sword went kennicatt!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went quadrangling back.

"And hast thou slain Jovanovich?
Come to my arms, my bantam boy!
Oh, stein and day! Giroux! McKay!"
He scribnered in his joy.

'Twas potter, and the little brown
Did simon and schuster in the shaw;
All mosby were the ballantines,
And the womraths mcgraw.