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1. This Blog has MOVED. Please follow:

Blogger has stopped supporting FTP and, as a result, I have had to move to Wordpress (for which, frankly, I am pleased). I will keep this live until I am able to move the entire archive to the new architecture. Please bookmark and begin looking for me over at the new site.

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2. The end of an era. Blogger is dead, long live Wordpress

Blogger has stopped supporting FTP and for that we must part ways. I've installed Wordpress so that I can continue hosting my blog at my own domain. The new blog can be found here. I am going to try to keep on top of the various technological glitches that will doubtless arise. Please bear with us during this transition.

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3. Hugh Hefner-Teen Cartoonist

Steven Gertz has posted a very nice article at BookPatrol on the rather amazing collection of Hefner material I spent several weeks cataloguing. Steven focuses on one elements, Hefner's brilliant cartoon. Hefner, as a young man, wanted to be a cartoonist (and did the early cartoons for Playboy).


During high school, Hugh would take notes on what his friends were wearing during the day so that he could sketch them accurately in the evening for his remarkable "School Daze" (approx. 33 volumes that are part of his private collection). Jane told me that she and her female friends would check School Daze to find out which of their boyfriends were fooling around behind their backs as Hugh would document *everything*. The cartoons in this collection are the only copies I know of that are not in Hefner's personal library.

I knew very little about Hefner before cataloguing this collection. 60 years of personal correspondence later, I have to admit that I am amazed by the man.

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4. Mark Dimunation to speak at the Baxter Society in March.

The Baxter Society is very pleased to announce that Mark Dimunation will be speaking at our March 10th meeting. Mark is Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress. His talk is titled: Good, Bad, and Indifferent, Old, New, and Worthless: Thomas Jefferson and the Mind of the Eighteenth Century Collector.


The Baxter Society is Maine's only bibliophilic group, open to all those with an interest, passion, and/or love of books.

On a personal note (and as Program Chair for The Baxter), I can not tell you how excited I am that Mark agreed to come speak. I want to thank the many restaurants in town for their efforts in drawing Mark to town (and the NYC Times, too). With luck, we'll do some damage at eateries about town.

While I'm blathering about such things, I should also mention that in April, Bill and Vicky Stewart of Vamp & Tramp will be speaking and in May, Tom Horrocks of Harvard's Houghton Library will wrap out the year.

Finally, a teaser for next fall: while at the LA ABAA book fair, Michael Suarez, the newly appointed Director of Rare Book School, agreed to speak at a fall date to be determined.

I am, needless to say, going to retire from the Program Committee...I am not certain I can really improve on my recent run...

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5. A Belfast Poem - Things Granddaddy left me...

I found this today as we continued to sift through my grandparents papers. Granddaddy was born on Orby Drive in Belfast, Ireland. Though he came to this country at 21, a bit of his heart was forever in Belfast. I found the following on a typed sheet...and older and better iteration that I've found elsewhere. I remember Granddaddy reciting this (more than once)...and feel sorry that you'll never hear it in his voice...
A Belfast Poem
I'll speak to you, dear stranger, if you really want to know,
So listen , and I'll tell you why I love this city so.

Belfast is an Ulsterman with features dour and grim,
It's a pint of creamy porter and a Sunday morning hymn;
It's a grimy little cafe where they serve you dainty teas.
It's fish and chips in paper, or vinegar with peas.
It's a banner on July the twelfth, a sticky toffee apple,
A righteous little Gospel hall, a Roman Catholic Chapel;
It's a Telly boy with dirty face, a piece of apple tart ,
A fry upon a Saturday, or a coal breek on a cart.

It's a Corporation gas man, complete with bowler hat,
It's wee shop at the corner, a friendly bit of chat;
It's an oul lad in a duncher, a woman in a shawl,
A pinch of snuff, a tatie farl, a Loyal Orange Hall;
A tobacco smell in York Street, a beg of yella man,
It's an easter egg that's dyed with whin, a slice of Ormo pan,
A youngster with some sprickly backs inside an oul glass jar,
It's a meeting at the Customs House, or an old Victorian bar.

It's mudbanks on the Lagan when the tide is running low,
It's a man collecting refuse, bonfires in Sandy Row;
It's a bag of salty dullis, a bowl of Irish stew,
A goldfish bought in Gresham Street, a preacher at the queue,
It's a portrait of King Billy upon a gable wall,
A flower-seller on a stool, outside the City Hall;
A half moon round the door step, a pollis man on guard,
A man whose crying "Delf for Regs", a little whitewashed yard.

It's the market on a Friday, the ships lined at the docks,
It's a shiny polished fender, a bunch of green shamrocks;
It's herrings fried in oaten meal, with a drink of buttermilk;
It's a snowy linen handkerchief as soft as finest silk;
It's a bap with country butter, a dander round the zoo,
A climb up tough Ben Madigan to get a splendid view;
It's a bunch of savoury scallions, a plate of buttery champ,
The hopscotch on the footpath, a swing around a lamp.

It's delf dogs on the mantel piece, the wee man from the Pru,
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6. Irene Marie Sommer Gamble (1915-2010)

My grandmother passed away this morning. We had a great time visiting Friday and Saturday, telling her all about our trip CA (us), school (Eli), and FL (mom & dad). She was among the last of a dying breed...the product of finishing school and Columbia...she was simply elegant. I recall her using a swear once in my life, and that to scold a table full of men (dad, Dr. Weaver, Granddaddy and Uncle Milton) who were discussing *very* disgusting things (she said, as I recall, "Damn it, I will not have this language at the dinner table").

When I was very young, she tried to get me to call her "Grandma Reenie". I promptly shorted it to Greenie and that is what she was for the rest of our lives. She, and my grandfather, lived a quite remarkable life. I offer one quick story, as I think it sums things up nicely. They went to Mobile, AL 1938-1943...this young Irish immigrant and his new bride from NYC...to be the principal (Granddaddy) and a teacher (Greenie) at Lincoln School. Granddaddy was the last white principle of this famous black school that produced a remarkable number of leaders. Coretta Scott King would write Greenie, many years later, that her later college work "never taught me anything you didn't teach me at Lincoln School" (Greenie taught public speaking/drama classes). [The photo, to the left, shows the 25th reunion of the class of 1943, Granddaddy is at the left, standing directly behind Coretta and Greenie at the far right with the purse.)

Greenie called me Go Bragh...as in Ian Go Bragh (nee Erin Go Bragh). I'll miss a lot of things about my grandmother. I'll especially miss Go Bragh.

My mother crafted a lovely obit. I offer it here for friends and family:
Irene Marie Sommer Gamble

Tenants Harbor – Irene Marie Sommer Gamble, 94, widow of Wilfred Gamble, died at Quarry Hill after a long illness.

Born on May 20, 1915, she was the daughter of John Sommer and Marie Haantz Sommer of North Bergen, New Jersey. She was educated at Hoboken Academy, Centenary College for Women in Hackettstown NJ, and New College at Columbia University in New York, where she received a Masters Degree in education, speech and dramatics.

She met her husband, Wilfred Gamble, at Columbia when he tried out for a play she was casting. After their marriage in 1939, she joined him as a teacher at the school where he was principal, the Lincoln School in Marion, Alabama. This was a private school for black children, with a biracial faculty, run by the Congregational Board of Home Missions. She maintained close contact with both staff members and students throughout her life.

Upon Wilfred’s discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1945, the Gambles moved to Southbury, Connecticut, where they were involved in town, church, and school activities for over thirty-five years. Irene taught fifth grade for many years in nearby Woodbury. Towards the end of her career she became speech therapist for the Woodbury school system.

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7. I've no more grandparents, but I've some extremely dirty limericks....

My grandmother passed away today (more on this in another post), 12 years and one day following my grandfather. We have spent the day going through her photos, letters and the bits of ephemera that swirl around you after 94 years. It has been, pleasingly, great fun...reveling in her life (and that of my grandfather's) rather than mourning. Best of all, we found some things that she more or less hid to protect us.


For example, my grandfather was born and raised in Belfast, Ireland and had a quick and rollicking wit (among his many talents). Certain people, however, brought out his wicked streak and he their one. One such lifelong miscreant was Tommy Panzera. The two of them fed of each other's antic personalities and the results are the stuff of family myth and legend. We found a letter that Tommy wrote the Granddaddy in 1938. Greenie had hidden it in a dark, back corner as it is full of wildly dirty limericks. Quoting in part [N.B. seriously dirty words, etc. following...you are warned]:
Whereupon I explained that my best pal is a goddam Irishman and therefore there is no foolin' around. He retaliated or reiterated (I forget which) and gave me the following:
There was a young Chinese named Rhoda
Who kept an immoral Pagoda;
Festooned on the walls
Of the halls were the balls
And the tools of the fools who bestrode her.

Meantime his pal was thinking hard and having thunk sprang this one upon us (the dirty slob):
There was a young man of Bombay
Who modeled a cunt out of clay;
But the heat of his prick
Turned the clay into brick
And wore all his foreskin away.

Followed almost immediately by the young man from Thermopylae,
Who found he couldn't pee properly
He said, "Pax vobiscum
Why the hell won't my piss come?
My semen must have a Monopoly."
In my life, I heard my grandmother swear *once* that I can remember (she said, "Damn it" when scolding "the men" at a dinner). She and Granddaddy were so wonderful together. It has been great fun to laugh as much as we have today...

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8. Of books, dirty pictures, great titles, and a great event...

Just a quick, richly illustrated post today (I'm exhausted). It was a
great day. Lots of people, what seemed to be people buying. A few nice
sales. Great fun.

Pictures from the day:

1: Wonderfully bizarre dirty picture-it seems highly difficult to
achieve.

2: Great title - like we haven't all had *this* conversation before.

3: LA from a balcony at The Getty.

4: Best dress I've seen in ages. Made by a friend. Just wonderful.

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9. Set-Up & Day One at the LA ABAA book fair

This was a long, long day. We started at Clementine for breakfast.
Suzanne had "the best apricot ginger scone of [my] life". I had a
Citrus Puff Pastry with Almond Frangpane (pictured). Amazing. And good
coffee.

Registration started at 9am (though we all registered and at our booth
by 8:30, thankfully). Our cases were waiting (pictured) and other than
a bad light in a trophy case (rapidly replaced), everything started
smoothly.

Approximately 7 hours later, the booth was done and looking pretty
good (pictured). We are sharing a 15 foot booth with our friends Josh
& Sunday of B&B Books fame. They arrived much later and were finished
much earlier. They are evil. We have a great location, easy to find
and surrounded by great friends/dealers (J. Windle on one side, B.
Shapero on the other and B. Quaritch across the aisle).

The show opened at 4pm with a pretty good surge of people and it
stayed steadily busy all evening (pictured). I sold a few things to
the trade and a few things to real humans. The best and most fun sale
(in some time) was a rather nice book to an utterly charming 14 year
old young lady (with her dad's assistance). Dad asked if she really
liked it, she did an amazingly longing upward eyesweep while saying,
'oh, yes'. Utterly brilliant. You have to love a passionate young
bookwoman.

The show closed at 9pm. We kibitzed for a bit and Suz posted some
images for a client. We finally staggered out around ten, intent on
calzones from Johnnie's. We arrived to find them closed. After a bit
of pleading sign langague (I am never above begging for a good
calzone), they *actually unlocked the door* and let us in. The
calzones were excellant (pictured).

Show opens to dealers at 9 and to the public at 11. We have been told
Cementine does Eggs Benedict on Saturday. Tomorrow is looking good.

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10. Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog (...& we're in LA)

We made it to LA, returned the car and are all settled in. Tomorrow
should be ugly: registration/setup starts at 9am-the show opens at
4pm. This is barely enough time for me to set up a booth...let's hope
all goes smoothly.

On the plus side, here is the coolest blog I've seen in a long time:
http://houseoffame.blogspot.com/

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11. Driving down from Monterey to Shell Beach (cameo by Henry Miller

Too exhausted to do a proper post, so I offer some sights along Big
Sur. The sea, cliffs, a humming bird, Henry Miller Library (follow-up
shortly), elephant seals, and sunset at Shell Beach. See you tomorrow.

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12. SF to Monterey-Great Food, Friends and a few books...

We checked out of the Carriage Inn (think typewriter carriage, not horse and...). It was as it has been previously, nice, clean, quite inexpensive and very well located for the shows at the Concourse. We look forward to returning in 2011.

Our luck on this trip continued (twice) today. When I went to pick up our rental car (in theory, a "mid-sized") for the one-way trip to LA, I was asked "if I minded" driving a larger/nicer car down. I said, "No...I really wanted the small POS car I had requested". The clerk, however, was charming and persuasive, so I finally relented and accepted the Ford Flex (it is the bastard child of a Ford Bronco and station wagon...largish and squarish). Interestingly, as soon as I plugged the my iPhone and iPod, the car synced my playlists to the car's system (not expecting this, surprised when the car spoke to me that it had synced ). It also effortlessly paired the car system to my phone. Very slick in a rental...

Thus we were off to Woodside, CA to visit old, dear friends and have an outrageously good lunch. We pulled into Whit and Mary's around 1 and immediately headed off to lunch (though, sadly, Mary could not join us as one of their wonderful Tibetan Mastiffs was just back from the doctor and she needed to baby her).

We returned to the scene of last year's gastronomic excess, The Village Pub...this time for lunch. The volume might be different for lunch, but the style, substance and flair is every bit as wonderful. We each ordered...with the agreement that we would all share...I love foodies. For lunch we had:

Delicata Squash Soup / Brown Butter (this was a gift of the house)

Rabbit Boudin Blanc / Braised Cabbage and Pancetta / Sautéed Pink Lady Apples (Ian)
Wild Nettle and Goat Cheese Agnolotti / Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce (Suzanne)
Slow Grilled Leg of Lamb / Mint Pistou / Chickpea Fries and Sauteed Rapini (Whit)

Pear and Frangipane Tart / Vanilla Ice Cream (Ian)
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta / Huckleberry Compote / Sour Lemon Meringue (Suzanne)
Trio of Gelatos (Whit)
(and)
Bottle of 2005 Mas Doix "Salanques" Priorat (mostly Suz and Whit...Ian driving)
Tanzanian Peaberry coffee (French press) (Ian)
I am not going to go into further detail. Suffice it to say, The Village Pub is one of my favorite places to eat and I am very grateful (both re girth and wallet) that I am only in the area once a year or so. Do not miss an opportunity to eat there.

We had a nice visit, as always, with Whit talking about tech, crypto, food, wine, books, dogs, other bits of this and that (being nearer to Whit and Mary would be one of the few compelling reasons to move to the west coast). We made plans to meet in the east when Whit is over to speak (Bonus: Short TechReview Interview re Security & Cloud Computing). We also met the newest (and shyest) of the dogs. Though we missed Mary, we had a wonderful time.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
We then headed down to the B&B recommended by our friends Dan and Susan, The Jabberwock Inn in Monterey. Here our luck (on several fronts) continued. Having booked their smallest room (and been pleased to be extended a winte

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13. Return to Serendipity

Suz & I are digging through the shelves (& countless bags) the
afternoon.

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14. Changes afoot here...please bear with us...

Apparently, I am one of the .5% of Blogger users that posts using FTP to my own domain. I've just learned that Blogger is going to stop supporting FTP as it is used by so few and is rather resource intensive for them.


I am in the process of deciding if this means I am going to shift to a different Blogger product/service or switch to a blog client that still supports FTP. The old school geek in me likes the idea of having all my bits on my own domain...but I must say I like some of the widgets, etc that would be available if I stick with Blogger.

Regardless, I'll do all I can to maintain things as they look and feel. Hope springs eternal.

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15. Day Two in SanFran, Packing up, & another reason I am fond of Phillip Pirages

It was a quite a day. We started a bit late...arriving shortly after opening this morning. I think we both thought it opened at 11am...and we were good and early for that . Once there, things were great fun. We bought a lovely book this morning for a client...always nice when you can make a friend happy buy buying a good book and make one's clients happy for selling them a good book. Met some interesting folk during the day and sold a few more.... Happy book folk all around...


The show wrapped up at 5pm. We packed up our cases and turned them over to Caladex, a logistics company that specializes moving books, art and the like from point A to point B. In this case, the value of having them put my cases on a pallet, wrap them in plastic and take them down to LA where they will magically be waiting for me in my booth is of great value... We made it back to the hotel, had a nice, quick dinner with friends (and a very decedent desert: "funnel cake sunday"...every bit as healthy as it sounds).

A special thanks to Philip Pirages. At the end of the day, I changed into comfy cloths (and, most importantly, comfy shoes). When I changed in the men's room, I placed my iPhone, hotel key, a check or two and various other bits of brick-a-brac on the wee shelf. When I did this, I *consciously* thought, I must not forget these things. ... In the ensuing minute or two, I completely forgot them... Philip came by the booth about 15 minutes later, my wayward bits in hand, and asked if I was missing anything. I am very grateful to have friends and colleagues who try to save me from myself. Philip Pirages, purveyor of beautiful books and finder of misplaced critical items. Thank you, again.

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16. Set-up for (and a great dinner in) San Francisco...

Well, we have made it safely...our books made it safely and all is well. We arrived on Tuesday and had the afternoon to have a wonderful late lunch at House of Nanking. I was lucky, several years ago, to have the person who first recommended it tell me to ignore the menu completely and ask that the chef just send out little things (the functional equiv. of dim sum). They ask how hungry you are (very) and they send out the right amount. We also discovered that they have a newly opened sister restaurant (see below). I also picked up three new books...woohoo.

Wed. Suzanne worked while I, too, worked...however, her work involved phone calls and reports and cogent mental efforts, whereas my work involved going out to North Berkeley and visiting one of the few truly great experiential shops in the US. It is difficult to say how much I
love Serendipity Books, Peter B. and the nature and spirit of the shop. I found a few things and took home something that has hung in the shop as long as I can remember...more on this at some point in the distant future.

We had a very nice dinner Wed. night at Miss Siagon with Brad and Jeniffer (of The Book Shop). The food was good, the company was better. We went back to the hotel (our strange and pleasing little literary themed inn down the road from the hall)...I catalogued for a bit but mostly rested up.

We were at the hall at 8am. I left at about 5pm. To be fair, I kibitzed a fair bit and even did a bit of shopping. Thee booth looks pretty good...amazing what having nice books to show will do for a booth . It is always amazing what comes out of the woodwork at fairs. Strong contingent of UK booksellers, all of whom will head down to LA next weekend. Really just a great group. It is shaping up to be a good show...now we just need humans to come wanting to buy books.

A pretty big group of us (10) all traipsed over to Fang, the recently opened "sister restaurant" to House of Nanking. We were able to do the same thing...that is, ask the chef to bring out surprises for us and he did a remarkable job. All told, about 13 dishes were brought out (including some alternatives for the two vegetarians in the party). The two standouts for me were the "duck bun appetizer" (think peking duck slider...very interesting and wonderfully flavorful) and the "Lettuce Beef" (no lettuce, wickedly good). I had a nice unfiltered sake. We finished with a complimentary little desert and a chinese liqueur that was a lovely, simple finish.

I've a few new slips to clip and then to sleep. Show opens at 10am. Come join us if you can.

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17. Poem: Why I Take Good Care of My Macintosh

From NYT PersonalTech: Digital Muse for Beat Poet:

Why I Take Good Care of My Macintosh

By Gary Snyder

Because it broods under its hood like a perched falcon,

Because it jumps like a skittish horse and sometimes throws me,

Because it is poky when cold,

Because plastic is a sad, strong material that is charming to rodents,

Because it is flighty,

Because my mind flies into it through my fingers,

Because it leaps forward and backward, is an endless sniffer and searcher,

Because its keys click like hail on a boulder,

And it winks when it goes out,

And puts word-heaps in hoards for me, dozens of pockets of gold under boulders in streambeds, identical seedpods strong on a vine, or it stores bins of bolts;

And I lose them and find them,

Because whole worlds of writing can be boldly laid out and then highlighted and vanish in a flash at “delete,” so it teaches of impermanence and pain;

And because my computer and me are both brief in this world, both foolish, and we have earthly fates,

Because I have let it move in with me right inside the tent,

And it goes with me out every morning;

We fill up our baskets, get back home,

Feel rich, relax, I throw it a scrap and it hums.

[Copyright Gary Snyder, used by permission]

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18. Recommended Inappropriate Books for Kids

Curious Pages is dedicated to recommending inappropriate books for kids. Their selections are wonderful, as are their images. I promise you will waste a good part of your day and, most likely, add it to your rss feed. It is my favorite recently discovered blog.

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19. ETAOIN SHRDLU - New Fine Press Edition

As many of you likely know, the letters on a Linotype machine are organized according to frequency, thus "ETAOIN SHRDLU" are the first two vertical columns at the left side of the keyboard. This famed nonsense term is the title of Frederic Brown's short story about a sentient Linotype machine, first published in Unknown Worlds (1942). Several years ago, I tracked own a copy of Unknown Worlds, because this story was one of the very few that blends spec fiction and the world of letterpress. Imagine my surprise and pleasure when Ivy Derderian decided to bring these two worlds together with her brilliant reprinting of Brown's tale.


This is Ivy's first book, printed at Wolfe Editions. Her execution is simply brilliant. Printed in Linotype Bonodi Book (created on an Intertype, the Linotype's successor), she printed it in the style of the 1940's pulps, including period adverts. From the prospectus:
“Frederic Brown’s entertaining short story about a sentient Linotype, titled Etaoin Shrdlu, was originally published in 1942 in the magazine Unknown Worlds. While Mr. Brown was well known for his science fiction short stories and novels as well as his award-winning detective fiction, it is clear that he knew his way around a Linotype and a print shop.

Ivy Derderian, with the help of Wolfe Editions, announces a new publication of Etaoin Shrdlu, designed in the manner of pulp magazines of the 1940’s. The text type is Linotype Bodoni Book, titles were set in Ludlow Ultra Modern. Text is printed on acid free Dur-o-tone Aged Newsprint, cover is acid free St. Armand Colours. The two engravings used are from a 1923 issue of The Linotype Bulletin.”

There is a nice review of the book and quick interview with Ivy here. It is nice to see a great biblio-centric speculative fiction story reproduced as a fine press piece. It has been printed in an edition of 40 copies. Email me if you would like one (or more). Perfect for the holidays if you have a bookish sci-fi lover in your life.

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20. Finding Lobster in a Blizzard, or The Continuing Story of Why I Love Maine:

Today is T2's birthday and the joint party for both boys. The main(e) course of the dinner was to be lobster. This is usually not a problem, as there are a couple of places here on the Tenants Harbor peninsula that are open pretty much all the time (read, even Sundays). This Sunday, however, we have had at least 6 hours of steady, near white out snow...and it has been cold enough for the last 4-5 days that very few of the lobsterman have been going out.


Dad and I set out, four-wheel drive equipped and driving slowly, only to discover that all 4 places that we "counted on" were closed. I called a local disty who told me that he hadn't had anyone bring in lobster for the last few days due to the cold. Things were looking bleak.

As we stood in the General Store, pondering what we would do instead of lobster (e.g. clam spaghetti, scampi or the like), Bill I. pulled in with his plow to get a cup of coffee. The sales clerk asked him if he knew anywhere we might find lobster today and he said, "Sure, me." He warned us that we would have to be willing to pay "blizzard prices" for it and we agreed. Though we offered to follow him to the pier, he said he had to come back for his coffee, and we should just wait. He returned, 10 minutes later with 10 lobsters that had been in the harbor moments before...he charged us $4/pound.

The boys are writing him thank you letters. I love living in Maine.

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21. Child's Christmas in Wales - Holiday traditions...

Every Christmas eve, after we all get new jammies (kids and grown-ups), we sit and read Dylan Thomas' Child's Christmas in Wales. Usually we read it...sometimes we listen to a recording of Thomas reading it. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. If you have not read it, do so. It is simply brilliant:

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared.

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows - eternal, ever since Wednesday - that we never heard Mrs. Prothero's first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or, if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor's polar cat. But soon the voice grew louder.
"Fire!" cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong.

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room.

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, "A fine Christmas!" and smacking at the smoke with a slipper.

"Call the fire brigade," cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong.
"There won't be there," said Mr. Prothero, "it's Christmas."
There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his slipper as though he were conducting.
"Do something," he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke - I think we missed Mr. Prothero - and ran out of the house to the telephone box.
"Let's call the police as well," Jim said. "And the ambulance." "And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires."

But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt, Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked

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22. Little Rare Book Room...My favorite holiday carol...

From the brilliant HP Lovecraft Society, please enjoy a favorite of mine, "Little Rare Book Room" (Lyrics by Sean Branney and Andrew Leman, based on 'Little Drummer Boy,' written in 1958 by Katherine Davis, Henry Onorati, and Harry Simeone):

Come, they called me
The special book room
The rarest books to see
Librarian's tomb
Kept under lock and key
In terrible gloom
To save man's sanity,
It's pointless, we're doomed, thoroughly doomed, utterly doomed.
Necronomicon
The first I exhumed
From the book room.

Book of Eibon
So frightfully old
Vermis Mysteriis
A sight to behold
The Monstres and Their Kynde
With edges of gold
Could make me lose my mind
All covered with mold, fungus and mold, poisonous mold.
Kitab al Azif
Its horrors untold.
Still I am bold.

King in Yellow
Left me feeling glum
The Ponape Scriptures
I'd stay away from
And then The Golden Bough
My brain had gone numb
I read them all out loud
Well that was quite dumb, terribly dumb, fatally dumb.
Freed the Great Old Ones
Mankind will succumb.
What have I done?

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23. Ulysses as you've never Seen...

Can anyone truly doubt that had the technology existed, James Joyce would have written Ulysses as an illustrated web comic?

I didn't think so... To our great relief, Robert Berry has done a brilliant job adapting Joyce's tome to web-comic form at Ulyesses, "seen". It is worth every minute you spend with it.

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24. Of Rare Books, Emerging Technology, and Social Networking...

There is a well-known curse, "may you live in interesting times". For the rare book world, times have seldom been more interesting (and here I speak only of the book trade, though the worlds of librarians, archivists, curators, etc have been similarly afflicted). The book trade has seen the death of book arbitrage, regional scarcity, and several of our beloved journals/institutions...we have seen a radical shift in the previously rather caste system of dealers and the emergence of a vast class of hobbyist "dealers"...we are in the midst of a radical shift from how the trade used to function to a newer-if not better, different-state of being (e.g. open shops dropping off droves, print catalogues becoming less common, the emergence of other venues for data transfer, etc).


At the same time, there are some really interesting elements emerging. As we seem to be losing one of the *critical* venues for the transfer of bibliophilic passion...the open shop...other venues finally seem to be emerging. The lose of the open shop has been worrying me a great deal for, as one who hopes to be wandering the stacks for many decades, I've been worried where the next generation (or two...or three) will be bitten by the biblio-bug. The primary petri dish has historically been open shops...you could go and hang out...handle books...talk with the owner(s) and similarly afflicted. You had a place you could *be* where you could handle books, listen, and learn. The loss of open shops has meant, in a real way, the loss of one of the primary gateway drugs that hook those so inclined and lead to more sophisticated distractions.

We are finally beginning to see some interesting and potentially important alternatives. As social networking sites have come into their own, we are seeing vibrant bibliophilic communities emerge. Facebook has dozens and dozen of Pages and Groups dedicated to authors, specific books, broad genres, periods, booksellers, printing, binding, etc. (Lux Mentis can be found here). Twitter has vibrant communities of librarians, booksellers, book lovers and, well, any number of other interest areas (Lux Mentis can be found here). Even "business networking" focused LinkedIn has interesting bibliophilic groups emerging (I can be found here). There is also the rather brilliant LibraryThing, a social networking site for booklovers where, among other things, you can post your collections, find others with similar interests and engage in any number of other distractions (I can be found here).

As one who spends a lot of time thinking about and exploring how to find/reach/engage the next generation of collector, I've spent a lot of time exploring these venues and am beginning to be pleased with what I'm finding. I've had dozens of "first contacts" by young (in the collecting arch, if not chronologically) collectors, asking interesting, engaged and/or curiosity questions and established collectors/clients tell me how much they enjoy the sense of community and ease of contact.

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of leveraging modern technology in an interesting way in the sale of a collection of Sommerset Maughan photographs. Not long ago, I'd have had to pack them off to the California dealer who I knew had a sophisticated collector of such material and then wait for him to be available and view the collection. Instead, she and I had an iSight based video conference...I held up each of the 110 photos, she did a screen capture of each one and threw them up on a unique webpage of thumbnail images. She then emailed her client a note saying she had so

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25. Best recipe in years: Corn Soup with Candied Bacon and Chives

The brilliant and deranged mind of Portland Food Coma is to be thanked for this. I've made it several times now. Far and away the best soup I've made/had in years. Candied Bacon...it's not just for breakfast anymore:

Corn Soup with Candied Bacon and Chives

1 Tbl. Olive Oil
1 Small White Onion, Diced
2 Shallots, Diced
5 Garlic Cloves, peeled
3 Fresh Chilis - Preferably Cherry Peppers, Sliced
3 Cups Fresh Corn Kernels
1 lb. of good, thick slab bacon (grey salt and rosemary is nice).
Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 Quart Whole Milk
1 1/12 Tbl. Ancho Chili Powder
1/2 Stick Butter or more........
Salt + Pepper
Chives, chopped for garnish
Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
1. Make the candied bacon. Lay all of the strips on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Sprinkle each with brown sugar and bake until golden and crispy. Remove to a paper towel to drain and chop up. You'll probably eat most of it before the soup's done.
2. Heat half of the oil and butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add Half Of the onion, shallots, and garlic and cook for 4 minutes.. Then add Half Of the corn and fresh chilis and cook for 3 minutes more - stirring frequently. Transfer contents of the pan into the food processor and add 1 cup of the milk. Process to a smooth puree. Now pour the puree through a mesh strainer to remove the skins of the corn (I like to use the back of a ladle to work it through [or a Foley Mill]). Repeat this step with the other half of the onion, garlic, shallots, corn, and chilis.
3. Return the pan to medium heat and pour the puree in, whisking frequently as it comes to a simmer. Be careful not to burn it at this point like I often do. Stir in the remaining milk, as well as the smoked chili powder, and simmer for a few minutes more. Add the cream, taking care the soup doesn't get too hot or it will break. Season with salt (I like alot of it but maybe that's why I have such high blood pressure) and pepper. Garnish with the candied bacon and chives. Serve.

Note: All soups get better overnight - and candied bacon is good for everything.

N.B. I used a wand to puree everything and a Foley Mill for the processing of the soup and thus could do it in a single batch. Seriously, buy a Foley Mill...outstanding kitchen tool.

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