"Crap! I wish I hadn't seen Ricky on the sidewalk."

"You will be fine for 31 minutes. You will be dead in 32 minutes."

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Well, I've been on the road. 

In between packing up the house and figuring out three different versions of my five-year plan, I flew off to a job interview in a part of the country I've never been and had no plans to visit.

It was a great trip. The people were lovely, the job sounds fun and challenging, and the one friend I have in the area gave me a great taste of the city.

As it happens, the city tastes an awful lot like honeysuckle sorbet and a fried oyster po' boy. 

My flight home was delayed by rain and additional bad weather in Baltimore, so it was close to midnight before I got to bed.

I spent all day yesterday packing boxes in slow motion. Some friends were visiting from Michigan and there was a small dinner party in their honor.

The evening was a blast, an absolute treat. I don't see most of my friends often enough (a personal failing, I know), but these particular people I'm lucky to see once a year. I would definitely make an effort to see them more frequently if we all lived closer.

I ended up drinking something from every branch of the alcohol tree (starting with shots of Dickel)and probably should have eaten more solid food. I guess I just got caught up in the moment.

People said good night and went home and others (the hostess, her guest) simply went to bed. There were three of us left. One minute we were talking and drinking and then my host was nudging me in the ribs at 2:30 in the morning asking if I wanted to sleep on the couch.

Feeling refreshed, I drove home without incident. No headache the next morning but I still felt badly dehydrated.

It was worth it.

Hangover by Alex Kenne (Farrar, Straus and Company, 1949)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


And so do I.

Here are some darlings I just dusted off, wrapped in newspaper, and plunked in a cardboard box.

I bought this robot in San Francisco in 1986
This beer can meant a great deal to my father (2003)

It's a monkey that plays the cymbals!
It's a monkey that plays the drums!

No musical ability but this monkey blows bubbles!

A classic McGill high speed four-barrel changer (purchased in Los Angeles, 1984)

A party-size Acme Beer (circa 1940)


Richard Matheson died the other day, which is a shame 'cause I would've happily scanned some classic Matheson covers. It's all gone--boxed up, stacked, stored--but my memories of Matheson and his work on The Twilight Zone are intact.

What puts the dink in co-inky-dink is that I tripped over this chestnut as I was boxing compact discs. I guess the presence of Chuck Heston makes it more of a "gun nut" than a chestnut.

The Omega Man  movie tie-in (I Am Legend by Richard Matheson)
What's even crazier is that folded up inside the book was a complimentary article about my bookstore from 1998.

The article is very nice and all, but I'm having trouble placing the shirt I'm wearing. Totally familiar but completely foreign. A real puzzler.

Maybe it'll come to me in a dream.


Nude Tomorrow #6 (Cougar Publications, 1968)
Plush Living for Men (Emengee Publications, no date)
Personal Romances (December 1954)

Joy  (Delilah Publishing Corp., 1962)
Personal Romances (December 1955)

True Crime  (September 1960)


Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases by Grenville Kleiser (Funk & Wganalls Company, 1917)
Well, Grenville Kleiser really knocked it out of the park with this one. The subtitle of this gem tells you everything you need to know:

"A practical handbook of pertinent expressions, striking similes, literary, commercial, conversational, and oratorical terms, for the embellishment of speech and literature, and the improvement of the vocabulary of those persons who read, write, and speak English."

Imagine, 15,000 useful phrases at your very fingertips, as fresh and vital today as they were in 1917! Truly an embarrassment of riches.

From the Literary Expressions chapter:

A nameless sadness which is always born of moonlight

A queer, uncomfortable perplexity began to invade her

The leaves syllabled her name in cautious whispers

jealousies and animosities which pricked their sluggish blood to tingling

From the Striking Similes chapter:

A glacial pang of pain like the stab of a dagger of ice frozen from a poisoned well

Men moved hither and thither like insects in their crevices

The old books look somewhat pathetically from the shelves, like aged dogs wondering why no one takes them for a walk

From the Conversational Phrases chapter:

I am anxious to discharge the very onerous debt I owe you

Personally I confess to an objection

You speak in enigmas

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ka-boosh! Grenville Kleiser just blew my mind.

I am anxious to discharge the very onerous debt I owe you

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Okay, the box count is mounting. Each day, I take another 20-30 cartons over to the storage space. The guy who runs the place waves at me every time I drive through the gate.

I had an ambitious pile of books to scan until it occurred to me I'd never finish packing. I quickly sealed several cartons and never looked back. 

Here are some things, some more favorite possessions. There's too much to take with me as it is.

Steve Allen's Bop Fables (Simon & Schuster,1955)
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene (Heinemann, 1958)

Snow White by Donald Barthelme (Atheneum, 1967)

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (J. B. Lippincott Company, 1939)


In the spirit of Casey Kasem, two long distance dedications to longtime friends named David currently residing in New York:

Mr. Nash: 
Shakespeare and Company (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1959)
I just packed up my first edition of Shakespeare and Company by Sylvia Beach. Ask yourself if Mr. Novak owns a copy, or Mr. Lin, and then get back to the business of your own writing.

I've always admired Milton Glaser's jacket illustration for this book. James Joyce is hidden on the spine, just out of view.

I think I own two copies, so this one is yours just as soon as I get my mitts on the other one.

And Mr. White, a longtime Beckett collector:

Three Novels by Samuel Beckett (Grove Press, Inc., 1959)
This book is going in the same box as the Sylvia Beach. 

It might tickle you to know I've never once considered wearing a turtleneck with a blazer. 

Not once.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Here's another relic I recently dug up.

Apparently, this is what 24-year-old me thinks is an acceptable method of telling friends and family you're moving.

It's more ridiculous than funny and there's nothing subtle about any of the jokes. I like to think I've grown somewhat in the intervening year, but I guess I'm a fraud. "Jim Nabors, OB-GYN" simply morphed into "Gilbert Gottfried, OB-GYN."

But c'mon.  No broads bra-ed? 



Gee whiz, I drew a lot as a kid.

Of all the stuff I've found in the last week, of all the art in my archives, I think I'm digging this lion the most.

Six months earlier, the Huntington Beach Public Library picked my bookmark design for distribution but it's a terrible picture. 

Apparently, the concept of perspective was completely lost on me.

My mother could be volatile, so I drew a bunch of pictures to keep her happy. Christ, what a suck-up!

I definitely remember this:

But not this. What is she, a character from Dickens? Tennessee Williams?

She did wear her hair like that, though.

I don't know what I was thinking with this picture, drawing my father as some kind of dandy.  And dancing with Snoopy, no less!
What a crazy kid I was.

I encouraged my own kids to draw and we spent a lot of time drawing together. I didn't save every drawing, but I sure have a lot of them.

This is one Sara did:


I promised Molly I would do my best to find out my name from Indian Guides. My dad was definitely Silver Fox, and I think my name must have been White Lion. 

As I cleaned out the garage I found this. My trusty headband, filled with holes!

A few boxes later, I located our father-son Indian Guide manual.

A bunch of papers were stuffed inside, but nobody (and I'm blaming you, Silver Fox!) thought to record our names for posterity.

One of the papers listed 48 specific activities, many of which I still haven't accomplished four decades later. 

Catch a fish?  Wouldn't even know where to start. 

Whittle something out of wood?  With a knife?  Surely you jest. 

Swim 50 feet? Why? What for?

Ironically, I'm finally cleaning out a garage (#19), but I still haven't made a leathercraft project (#12), I never went anywhere on a horse (#41), and if I could care for a lawn for 4 weeks I wouldn't have needed to hire a gardener this morning (#18).

I do remember the day we set out to cross #16 (saw a board in half) and #32 (nail 2 boards together)off the list. I will never forget my father's grimace as I lightly tapped the nail with my hammer. 

The kids on either side of me completed the task in a few moments. I think I took most of the afternoon. 

My father didn't say anything, but he kept checking his watch and shaking his head.

Looking at the list now, I like to think I eventually figured out what stuff was truly important to my personal development (brushing my teeth, telling time, reading a map)and what was slightly less essential.

I only participated in Indian Guides for a few months in 1974, but even if I'd stayed with it I doubt I'd have crossed everything off the list.

White Lion just doesn't roll that way.


Sunday, June 16, 2013


My son helped me move a bunch of boxes into storage yesterday.  Three trips, probably 250 boxes. Fixtures, too.

The garage is looking pretty good. Not done, but definitely getting there. I've actually thrown a lot of stuff out. The office is empty, and the bookcases from the guest bedroom are gone.  

The library doesn't look like the library. Three big bookcases are gone, the vintage paperbacks are boxed, and the spinner racks are in storage.

Goodbye, old friends. Goodbye.

It probably helps that it was so hot yesterday because it kept my mind off what I was doing. The nightmares will start in a few weeks, when I dream my storage space has been broken into (doubtful) or a monsoon has flooded the place (unlikely) or the tweakers who use the space next to mine for their meth lab have caused an explosion.

Here's some stuff I may never see again:



I have some old books in my collection, but antiquarian really isn't my thing.

Camp-Fires of Napoleon by Henry C. Watson (John C. Winston Co., 1854)

My Book House - Through Fairy Halls edited by Olive Miller (Book House for Children, 1937)

A Handbook of Short Story Writing by John T. Frederick (Knopf, 1928)

The Modern Devil by Rev. I. Mench Chambers (International Publishing, 1903)

Tess of The D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (A. L. Burt Company, 1893)

Lynch Lawyers by William Patterson White (Little, Brown, and Co., 1920)
Officer 666 by Barton W. Currie and Augustin McHugh (A. L. Burt Company, 1912)

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (John C. Winston Company, 1925)