Yes, Virginia there is a blog

Our country tis of thee has finally slid over the edge, and has become the evil empire our parents warned us about.

theocracy
n 1: a political unit governed by a deity (or by officials thought to be divinely guided) 2: the belief in government by divine guidance

“But apparently we liberal, secular fags here at Comedy Central have fired a devastating year-old 6-second long joke, that doesn’t barely even make any sense to us any more, across the bow of Christianity. When you think of Liberals, your thoughts naturally turn to others who’re fighting against Christmas, like the Puritans: the first white Americans who banned Christmas celebrations for 22 years in Boston because they deemed all of them unseemly.” – [Jon Stewart from The Daily Show]

and “You know what? It’s OK. If Bill O’Reilly needs to have an enemy, needs to feel persecuted, you know what? Here’s my Kwanzaa gift to him… Are you ready? All right… I’m your enemy. Make me your enemy. I, Jon Stewart, hate Christmas, Christians, Jews, morality! And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together at Osama’s Homobortion Pot-n-Commie Jizzporium.” – [Jon Stewart from The Daily Show]

In the future we will all have blogs

WTF? are our lives so vacuous that we feel the urge to scream into the ethernet wilderness?


What I AM reading:

What I am listening to:

What I am watching:

Google is a cruel Santa

Cruel Santa gives you everything you ever wanted – problem is he gives it to everyone else too. Such is life. I was miserating with Forrest Proper and Judith Tingley the other day, that sure, the internet makes buying the book you want easier, but it hasn’t done that same with browsing. You can easily find what you want, but you still don’t know what you want, you know? Thus the function of old bookshops may have a hacking cough but it’s charm still prevails. Besides, it’s the only place you can get off on that ‘old book’ smell. (kinda like fresh baked cookies, if those cookies happned to be made of old cardboard and dust with a hint of mildew, you get the idea) The argument going round and round at present is whether Google’s Book Search feature is good or bad. Is it the death of circulating libraries and used bookstores? are copyright laws being violated like a drunken prom queen? who the hell knows? It won’t be stopped by silly little lititgations like Perfect 10 porn and publishers v. libraries. There’s too much money involved. Like the internet it just IS, everybody is just fighting over profit sharing.

As I always like a little naughty with my corn flakes I took Google’s Book Search for a test drive. I typed in “Richard Gehman”, a dead writer I particularly like, and I got 347 pages of results. The cloud of results include Gehman’s own books, anthologies where his work has been reprinted, books he is mentioned in personally, and books where his books are referenced. Some give you the entire page or more, some only show the text occurence, but for the most part you get the gist of the book in question. I did get to add a few books to my to-borrow-from-the-library list which is my precursor to the buy-when-I-have-the-money list. GBS did a better job of indexing book contents than the system my library uses. So it has made title browsing much more enjoyable for me, and is head and shoulders better than depending on Amazon’s title suggestion system. My personal opinion is enjoy it while it’s free….cause anything this popular and free won’t be for very long.

evil henchmen
– a peek at the machines that DO the scanning.

DIY – and if you want to build your OWN book scanner we have plans.

any day above ground

“I am but mad north-north-west; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.” – William Shakespeare

“Did i wake up in an alternate universe?”
That’s a little question I ask myself almost every damn day. Today I found out that Henry Rollins, your average loudmouth, ex-rocker, talk show host cum whatever…was reading Ahmed Rashid’s Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia on a plane to Brisbane, and the guy next to him phone up the Aussie version of Homeland security and reported him. Hence he was classified as a ‘person of interest’ – Now no one in this room is that naïve, let’s say 50% of this incident is exaggeration, paranoia and just plain showboating, but somewhere in that story a book was involved and someone didn’t like it being read. What is up with that? This new world order is SOO getting out of hand.

saving face
– a death mask found in a junk store 163 years ago may be Shakespeare’s puss which would make it REALLY old.

packrats – the Royal Society wants back a 17th-century manuscript worth £1 million which until recently was being stored in the bottom of a cupboard by a Hampshire couple who claimed to have inherited it.

naughty naughtyspiderman robs Culver City comic book store & Phila Books N’Things was robbed.

very naughyPotty Time with Elmo is being recalled, the recording is saying something completely inappropriate for the situation at hand.

obits worth readingTheodore Draper 93, freelance historian.

carrying chargesHungary finally got their books back.

mixed mediaLawrence Block is adapting one of his novels for long time fan actor Tony Leung.

deadhorses
– ok, now this is overkill, frey sued left and right for abuse of literary license. this will not end well.

banktoaster – John Updike short story “My Father’s Tears” online @ the New Yorker

“Cudgel thy brains no more about it.” – William Shakespeare

day in the life

“Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

one book, one world
Chicago will join with All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow to create an Internet book club, moderated by CPL librarians to discuss One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich which is the first selection of the “One Book, One Moscow” program in Chicago’s sister city. Patrons do not need a library card to join the discussion.

old world orders
market for foreign literature becoming more sophisticated in the Russian book market.

all at sea – the good book ship Doulos arrived in Doha Port in Qatar yesterday.

cookies – Doctorow’s The March Wins Pen/Faulkner Award

worth a listenNPR’s round table discussion of the past, present and future of black literature.

coupleting
NPR interviews Ted Kooser who paid a call on the Hallmark folks while out touting his new book The Poetry Home Repair Manual.

a little research
interesting discussion on NPR’s Talk of the Nation on the rampant internet infection of Cut and Paste Plagiarism

fitted suitM.H. Clark is being sued by an obscure unproduced screenplay writer for having the same plot in one of her novels.

autogenesis – the literary precedents of Margart Atwood’s Long Pen.

illustrator bashingthe illustrator for Madonna’s English Roses was attacked outside of the Crobar.

plastic arts – China prints world’s first env-friendly plastic book.

bilateralism The Benjamin Franklin Library is an actual circulating library in Mexico City which is apparently highly unusual in a country where books are one step up from being a luxury item.

3-day eventing – New York Comic-Con Feb 24-26th

mixed media – TV’s Lost has caused a run on surrealist author Flann O’Brien books.

banktoasterThe Font Thing a free font management software, for those of us with a font fetish. I literally h
ave thousands and this is sweeettt.
No, not all installed at the same time but just in case I need them.

Bullpen Book Club vols 2 & 3

” The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” ~ St. Augustine

Literary Trips: Following in the Footsteps of Fame,,
ed. Victoria Brooks, GreatestEscapes.com 362 pages, 0968613705 –
Literary Trips 2: Following in the Footsteps of Fame ed. Victoria Brooks, GreatestEscapes.com 400 pages, 0968613713

True confession. I hardly ever go anywhere. I have elderly humans and a plethora of 4 legged dependents, so for the most part I am a huge armchair traveler. I adode those anthologies of misadventure tales, i’m a sucker for those. I found these two little goodies like everything else, while I was looking up other things. As far as straight travel books I guess they would be considered out of date as they were pubbed in 2000 & 2001, but hell it’s not like I’m gonna be making reservations from these things. Anyways, each chapter is devoted to a aparticular writer who is well known for a particular place: Steinbeck & Central California, Thoreau & Massachusetts, Kafka & Prague, Lowry & Vancouver, Bowles & Tangier, Hemingway & Cuba and so forth and so on…You get nice travel essays about the author and his homeground and some following in their footsteps directions for those that aren’t on the no-fly list. Fascinating stuff for a homebody like me. The travel webzine that published them has more indepth coverage, but don’t buy them from there. No offense to Miss Brooks, but they can be picked up off Marketplace for well under a buck, so with shipping they cost about 6 or 7 bucks for the pair…and we all know what cheapasses booksellers are. So pour a glass of white wine, dig out your flipflops and raybans and lets play anywhere-but-here shall we?

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

addendums

a little nosh The Mobile Library: The Case Of The Missing Books, by Ian Sansom £6.99 Israel Armstrong has just arrived in Ireland to take up his first post as a librarian. But the library’s been shut down and Israel ends up stranded on the North Antrim coast driving an old mobile library. There’s nice scenery, but 15,000 fewer books than there should be. Who on earth steals that many books? How? When would they have time to read them all? And is there anywhere in this godforsaken place where he can get a proper cappuccino and a decent newspaper?

nothing new In 1729 Jonathan Swift had a modest proposal and a brilliant idea to deal with right to life. A win/win situation.

cossack attack Victor Kamkin, Inc Maryland Russian book distributor evicted 400K books left out in the cold.




technophobes there was a marvelous flash performance of a cell phone symphony at The Strand, which only goes to prove . . . these guys have no f*ing sense of humor.

San Diego Fire: intentional or not the Wahrenbrocks fire was most likely arson.

meet the autopen

“If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia.” – Margaret Atwood

stupid author tricks agoraphobe author Margaret Atwood has designed a telepresence book signing robot to avoid glad handing pesky fans. We also have some directions if you would like to build one of your own.

packrat Robert Giroux (91) the G of FS&G was cleaning his apartment and stumbled over 3,000 pages of documents from Thomas Merton who died in ’68. So he donated them to Bellarmine University where they will no doubt be misplaced for another 35 years.

ironic author of Fast Food Nation speaks at Rice. What? like i was gonna NOT post something that silly?

moronic British historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison for denying the Holocaust.

oh puhleese TN school district considers banning To Kill a Mockingbird.

ransom notes Remember those books that Russian Troops sort of borrowed from Hungary in 1945? and are just now offering to return? yeah well the thing of it is they want Hungary to pay $400,000 in storage fees to get them back…and get this…they Hungarians are PAYING it.

multi-media Roger Ebert compares the terrific hyper-film Crash to a Dickens novel.

speaking in rubles (no, i am not below punning).…here’s a nice little piece on Dostoyevsky and Russia 125 years on.

routine bypass NPR essayist Sarah Vowell is now a regular on NYT Times Select premium content (read: PAY-to-read) Monday’s Pessimism Deficit.

banktoaster Bigfoto.com is a fantabulous site to get free quality images for use in whathaveyou. Now us ADDers can change our wallpaper everyday.

gettysburg 90210

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” Abraham Lincoln

Other booksellers have always advised me to specialize, and they are probably right, but I never could decided on ONE specific subject that fascinated me right down to the ground. I guess if you carve out your own little niche, people will have to come to you – well that’s what supposed to happen. And so far so good for Chicago’s the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, who specializes in . . . you guessed it ol’ Honest Abe hisself. Hmm…when’s the last time we called a US President anything but “that dirty rotten bastard”?

BTW The National Gallery is having a lovely Dada exhibit, no it’s not bookish…but the longer I live the more I think Dada was profoundly prescient.

wicked cute idea the Reading Olympics of Hoboken

shopping news: Bonhams & Butterfields auction house managed to get $15K for a 1943 complaint letter from William Faulkner.

leftover:
NYRB a review of The Letters of Lytton Strachey edited by Paul Levy

smutpeddling? Are African-American authors padding out their books with smut to increase saleability? I don’t really care personally…but this NYT op-ed piece by Nick Chiles from last month posed the question. Professor Brenda Greene seems to agree in her letter to the editor. Philly journalist Jeff Guinn has a reply.

banktoaster:
Haruki Murakami has a new story available online in the New Yorker A Shinagawa Monkey

There’s hope for us all: Allan Guthrie,
40 year old bookstore clerk resigns after getting £50,000 advance for hard-boiled novels.

“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.” – Abraham Lincoln

having a lie-in

“Cards are war, in disguise of a sport.” – Charles Lamb

U.S. Games, Inc. not only still sells Authors, (yes that 1880s card game is still in print) continually updating the authors depicted, but they also have American Women Authors, which includes Emily Dickinson, Pearl Buck, Edith Wharton, Zora Neale Hurston, Dorothy Parker, Harriet Beecher Stowe as well as American Author which includes: Melville, Whitman, James, Dreiser, Frost, O’Neill, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Baldwin, Wolfe, Cather, and Hemingway. The actual GAME is basically ‘Happy Families’ so it can be played by people who aren’t even old enough to read the cards. the cards also now contains numbers and pips, so they can be used as regular playing cards – for when you get tired of teaching the kids about great literature and move on to

audio
Letters of a Portuguese Nun – Myriam Cyr
In Lucia’s Eyes – Arthur Japin
Atlas of North American English Phonetics, Phonology and Sound Change – William Labov

reviews
The Amalgamation Polka – Stephen Wright
Family Secrets – Maile Meloy
Club George: Diary of a Central Park Bird Watcher – Bob Levy
Brooklyn Follies – Paul Auster
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon – Daniel C. Dennett
Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power– Richard Carwardine
Escape Clause – James O. Born

NYT feature on New York novels

reminder: Bullpen Events Calendar now contains literary events as well as antiquarian book fairs. Please feel free to submit anything that may be interesting to the rest of us. This morning I added the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament just for the hell of it. I’d like to have something listed for every state and at least every week, so that there is always SOMETHING interesting going on.

DYK? you can listen to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me on the internet?


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