Thursday, July 24, 2008

Adventures in Bookselling

Today something odd happened. Which in and of itself isn't odd--strange things happen around here with alarming frequency. However this doesn't make them any less bizarre.

This morning a customer handed me book which she claimed was defective. The title: You never Call! You never Write!: A History of the Jewish Mother. I glanced at the cover, the binding, no scuffs or tears or anything that might suggest botched manufacturing. I began to think the lady was pulling a fast one on me, trying to get another 10% knocked off the price for no good reason. I was about to skim through the pages but was intercepted by the somewhat impatient costumer, "It's on the inside," she says.

Hidden between pages 224 and 225 was a thin card with this inspiring, no so subtle bit of proselytizing 'literature' on it:

Jesus answered and said unto him, "Most assuredly, I say unto you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3, 10:1, 14:6, 6:47-51; Acts 10:38; Rev 1:8)

I have to admit, it made me chuckle. That someone would go this far for so little. Really? A born again advertisement/condemnation in a history of Jewish mothers? This type of book sabotage is unfortunately not uncommon. I once had to go through the entire History of the Middle East section and fix every title having anything to do with Islam because some kind soul had turned each book around so that the spines were facing inward. A stupid prank all in all, but a bunch of the books were actually mangled in the process, probably not a big concern of the prick who did the job. So yeah, I was now a bit concerned other books would be very lazily vandalized.

But upon further exploration I found that the card wasn't simply stuck in the book, wedged down so it wouldn't fall out. It was actually pierced by the threads of the binding. Apparently the printing facilities for this particular press have at least one passive aggressive anti-Semite working very not-so-hard to get their message across to as small as segment of the population as possible. People sure have an odd way of following the edicts of their God. I just wish so many of them weren't so annoying about it.

Labels: ,

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lost in the Sound

I'm in the middle of the greatest music Summer of my life. No, it's not because of Miley Cyrus or that song about girls kissing girls that has Moms and politicians frothing with fake outrage across the country (because impressionable young girls should avoid the pitfalls of fake lesbianism, no doubt). It also has nothing to do with any actual new music coming out, or albums I've been waiting for years to finally arrive (although the recent Wolf Parade album does fall in that category). No, it's because of Chicago.

Chicago brings the music. Earlier this year I saw Gogol Bordello for the Nth time. Then the aforementioned Wolf Parade at the surprisingly stodgy House of Blues. Now it's festival season as Pitchfork and Lolla come to my city to entertain me. That's right, its a personal favor. Others that will benefit from this, you're welcome. Having grown up in Buffalo and schooled myself in Syracuse, having all kinds of crazy big artists knocking on my door was something of a rarity. Now, I have to beat them away with a stick. yes I'm talking about you, Vampire Weekend.

In little under 2 weeks time I get to see my two favoritest bands in all of creation. One is largely responsible for recalibrating my musical taste from exactly nothing (I didn't really listen to music before going to college) to something, the other broke my head and showed me what music could be if you filled it with equal parts fun, art, and noise. I'm talking about radiohead and les savy fav respectively.

The latter is performing this weekend on the final day of Pitchfork and they are bringing all kinds of great music along with them. the Hold Steady, Spoon, the Dodos, '!!!,' are just a few. Of course being Pitchfork I don't know most of the bands performing, but that just means more new stuff to see and experience. Also possible sun poisoning. But you take the good with the bad. And seeing as Les Savy Fav put on the greatest concert of my life (back when Pitchfork Fest was the Intonation fest 3 years back) I am a little bit excited.

Then on the first day of August i get to see Radiohead in Grant Park. With like a billion other people, but who cares. I saw them in northern Ontario in the middle of nowhere 5 years ago and it was wonderful. there wasn't a town for miles let alone a city, and as the show crept towards its conclusion a gigantic reddish orange harvest moon rose up in the sky as a back-drop to the stage as if scripted. This time there will likely be less moon and more frat guy, but the band will have twice as many songs to chose from, so there's that.

So yes, lots of standing around in the sun with strangers, listening to music, and having fun. And seeing as this might be the last full Summer spent in Chicago, it couldn't have come at a better time.

Labels: ,

Monday, July 14, 2008

Because it's the Law (and sometimes even when it isn't)

On Sunday morning, freshly yoga'd and slept-in respectively, Croftie and I were making our way to the Jeepie Jeepie when we passed by one of our unsettlingly friendly neighbors who had some bad news.

"Looks like you got a ticket," he says, among many other things, he's unsettlingly friendly after all. The saving grace, he has a cute dog named Hemingway who is sort of in love with our cat Pickle. Their torrid 'through the window-pane' love affair should be categorized among the most passionate of all time. But I digress.

upon hearing those unfortunate words, I'm like 'No." Croftie gets quite rattled, but to her credit she does not let it show. We move along to the Jeep and sure enough, there's the ticket. Croftie inspects the note and finds that it is for an "Out of Date License Plate Registration Sticker." Sure enough, down below is a JUN 08 sticker on the plate.

But lo! a few months back Croftie got a letter in the mail with a new registration sticker. One designed for the front windshield instead of the plate because too many folks were going around stealing them. CT, it appears, is one of few states to do this, seeing as every other out of state plate in our neighborhood, and there are surprisingly a great many, had them. But Mr/Mrs. Chicago Beat Cop was not aware of this, and issued us a ticket, because our possible violation is something that really must be curbed and spent time on, not, you know, actual crimes or anything.

Does it make me sleep a little bit better at night knowing our neighborhood's parking transgressions are being vigilantly curbed? No, no it does not.

Labels: , ,