||This old house was only a few blocks from the state Capitol in Madison,
Wisconsin. All the neighborhood cats lived in the basement during the
winter. The house has long since been torn down, but in 1972 there were
AR2ax speakers in the front room, and a lot of good music was heard there.
In the 21st century I am just as opinionated as ever,
and I now have an outlet. I shall pontificate here about anything
that catches my fancy; I hope I will not make too great a fool
of myself. You may comment yea or nay about anything on the
site; I may quote you here, or I may not. Send brickbats etc.
May 10, 2012Retired
I have quit Barnes & Noble after 12 years, mainly because Ethne is working harder than ever and is extremely successful as editor-in-chief of Organic Gardening magazine, and traveling a lot, and doesn't want to be alone on evenings and weekends (you can't pick and choose your hours in retail), and she increasingly needs my help and support around the house. Tomorrow from 9 AM to 3 PM will be my last shift.
So now I will be a kept man (there's a lot to be said for that) and a house-husband. I'm already getting into it. Of course it's the same-old same-old day after day, which is why I haven't written anything here for a week. Every day there is a new chore, a new problem, a parcel that hasn't arrived, something broken down, but I'm getting on top of it and I will soon have a few hours a week to do what I want to do.
We've been talking about me quitting for some time. Part of the reason I resisted is that it's sad, giving up the store and all my mates. From helping to open no. 2928 in Sunset Valley (Austin) Texas in 1998 (there's none of the original gang left there now), to store no. 2220 in West Des Moines, and now leaving 2323 in the Lehigh Valley, I have never met anybody at Barnes & Noble I didn't like, and of course I love books and I enjoyed waiting on customers who are buying books. Yet when I made up my mind to quit I was relieved. I will have more to say about Barnes & Noble and retail in general when the dust settles.
Today I did two loads of wash, and now it's back to straightening up my man-cave.
May 10, 2012Books
The Dozens was (is) an African-American game in which players insult each other's mothers. Elijah Wald has now written The Dozens: A History of Rap's Mama, published by Oxford, this week I guess. The book started out as a chapter in another book, and just grew, like Topsy, taking in everything from a filthy insult in ancient Egypt to a modern vulgaity imported from France. Feminist critic Susan McClary said, "This has got to be the dirtiest scholarly book ever!"
And I have been asked to read the manuscript of Larry Birnbaum's Before Elvis: The Prehistory of Rock 'n' Roll, for the University of Chicago Press. I'm looking forward to that, and it's a good thing that people are still writing books, even if the world is going to hell in a basket.
Speaking of books and going to hell, one of the stack of tomes now obscuring the view in my living room is Time To Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent, by Edward Luce. I saw Luce on Charlie Rose last week, when in my new capacity of chauffeur and chief bottle washer I had to stay up late waiting to meet Ethne off a bus from New York. Luce struck me as so clear-eyed and down to earth that I looked at his book in the store the next day and bought it on the spot. Luce is a Brit, covering the USA for the Financial Times, and like de Tocqueville 175 years ago, he is a foreigner who admires America and can see us in a way we can't see ourselves. Again and again he puts his finger on why we no longer innovate and apparently cannot compete. More about that later, too.