Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Coat for a Chilly Morning

It was 62º this morning. The Orphan Reds don't actually feel the cold, but Red Hair Girl loves her new (vintage, handmade) pink corduroy jacket:

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Books Into Movies, One Very Bad

I finally had a reason to feature this Very Bad Book at work--I set up a display, Books Made Into Movies:

I am curious to see if the bad publicity will entice someone to buy Battlefield Earth--it's been on the shelf since I started in June, two and a half months ago.

The other time I featured a book with a note, it sold right away.

But it was Naked Lunch--
a book the buyer probably actually wanted to read.

The thing that made it notable was the entire spine was mended with duct tape.

I wish I'd photographed it---
it was this early edition by Grove Press>
I'd written:
"Naked Lunch repaired with duct tape?

This should cost double!
But it's yours for only 49¢."

Here are the other books-into-movies on display:

For me, Patrick O'Brien's Master & Commander books ^ are rare examples of the movies being way better than the books. But that's just me.

And To Kill a Mockingbird is a rare example, I'd say, of a book ^ and a movie being equally good (my reservations about it being a feel-good "get out of racist jail free" card for white people aside). 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

More light!

Oh, happy day! 
This month my home owners/neighbors have been getting the house fixed up a bit--it's 100 years old and there's hardly a straight line in the place––and yesterday my new full-glass door went in. 
(The door leads out to the porch/landing where I'm sitting at my new café table, and the outside steps––
I've got 2/3rds of the 2nd floor of a moderate house.)

I loved the door immediately. In the late afternoon light, the room didn't seem much brighter for it . . . but this morning!
It fully illuminates my mess. 
A three-quarter screen door is being made––when that goes in, it will block some light. It's still a million times better than the old door, which was literally rotting in spots.

The biggest difference will come this winter when I don't have to stuff old wool sweaters in the cracks around the door, and kick ice off the door step.

I want to stay home and clean up, but I must go to work.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Haruspex sheep is divine!

The lamb I adapted for a professional role as an actor in Roman Comedy (for a Latin/Classics high-school teaching friend) is done and ready to go, divination liver buttoned up in a back pocket.
I will miss this sheep, but I know there's a bright future ahead for such a talented actor--and eager volunteer (as you can see in first photo: "CHOOSE ME!").

Showing the other side of the liver:

My idea was to use modern symbols that the students will recognize but that will be as hard to decipher in 2,000 years as the symbols on the bronze Etruscan liver are to us.

This is sheep at tea-time yesterday, carefully considering buttons.
We ended up with ones that looked like symbols---the top black-and-white one (in set above) is like the Harry Potter deathly hallows symbol.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Francis and Clare: The Haircut, A Reimagination

SweePo as Clare and Red Hair Girl as Francis reenact the hair-cutting scene from Brother Sun, Sister Moon.

The poster for the 1972 movie, which, you can see, they re-imagined as more of a 1970s desert scene:

Selling, Sold

Doing FB & Ebay for the store is more involving than I expected---not all the time, but there are moments. Last night someone messaged on FB asking where they could get help with medical bills.

I forwarded the question to my boss.
I don't know anything about that side of SVDP--they do help financially in certain circumstances--or can give referrals to the right place to GET financial help... 

We really could use a social media policy! I've learned a lot, doing our FB & ebay for 2 months now---I may write one up, even if only for myself. 

Selling the Saints
A funny thing I've noticed:
posts about the man himself, St Vincent, and His Friends get very few "likes".

I'm experimenting.
Aug 11 was St. Clare's Feast Day, and I put up a still from the romanticized 1972 biopic of Francis & Clare, Brother Sun, Sister Moon; (the link being, Vincent was taught as a boy by Franciscans)–– 

and then a mock-up movie poster (from vinformation.com) for St. Louise de Marillac's birthday, on Aug 12
–– Louise was to Vincent as Clare was to Francis.

They each got about 4 likes, compared to an average of about 14.
Too Catholic? Not Catholic enough? Too pop-culture? I don't know.

I knock myself out with some of these because I LIKE THEM, but my most successful post was a quick snap of a lurid raspberry-pink velvet couch--the sort you'd see in a movie brothel. I was surprised how much love and attention it got.

I do post a lot of fun or interesting objects on the store's FB.

Yesterday I tried a little Mystery Quiz, using that silver-plate tea caddy I'd
posted  here
A customer knew the answer right away, and several others commented. So, "Mystery Item" may become a regular feature.
Here's the thing:
I love researching the history of SVDP, so I will continue to sprinkle in posts about that.

Sold Stuff
Meanwhile, four of the fourteen items I listed on ebay last Thursday sold within 48 hours--each for around $30––including the silver tea caddy, to a collector.

And a Fisher Price tea tray & set (1982):

And a pair of Sacred Hearts (stamped 1954 on back)--nice prints, but maybe someone just wanted the creamy oval frames?

And my favorite object--that folding oak box for sewing attachments... [also already posted here]. I'd thought about buying it myself... so I was glad to see it go because I don't need one more thing, even a wonderful thing.

I do wish someone at work was interested in this stuff–– or the history of things in general––so I could chat about it, and have help with it too. But in fact, I'm always pulling cool old stuff out of the garbage barrels. 

Some customers are hunting for vintage, of course, for themselves or to resell––one resaler in particular is fun to talk with. That's a good thing.
We need to recruit some volunteers who want to work with stuff.

Of course we have no volunteer recruitment. 

As I'm always saying, the FREEDOM I get from working at a place with no big-picture plan is paid for by the LIMITATIONS of working in a place with no big-picture plan.

It's like we're always putting out little fires and rarely taking the time to back up and say, How might we change the conditions that give rise to these fires? Some of this is simply because we are (the store is) POOR and OVERWORKED.

Being in constant crisis mode is a hallmark of Poverty. All your resources go to the current crisis, and you never get ahead. 
I see some of this at the store--though not in every aspect:
our food redistribution program, for instance, is only 3 years old, so there is forward movement:
Flying by the seat of your pants can take you places!

I love my job and the place, and I'll take the freedom, but sometimes... could we employ just a little more foresight?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sketch of the Orphan Reds

Sketch of the Orphan Reds by bink, at coffee this morning.
That's me in the background.
They are very pleased with themselves about it.

P.S. I love this comment (from a friend of a friend) on Facebook:
Its a wonderful portrait. I am happy whenever I see these three beaming girls gracing the pages of FB. Gives me a shot of hope between posts of angst-ridden memes."

Penny Cooper Popsicle

Six-month-old Neighbor Baby came to visit. Her aim-and-grab capabilities are improving by the day.

 Luckily Penny Cooper thought it was a lark. She needed a hair wash anyway.

Cool As a Cucumber

I'm sitting on my back porch on this cool August morning, listening to cicadas and, in the distance, sirens. Although I don't like the heat of the days, I do like this ripe time of year, knowing we will cool off overnight.

Speaking of cooling off, it took a cucumber to put out my smoldering resentment of the Development Director. 
(She never replied to my suggestion that someone write up a social media policy. If I were her, I'd have written back, "Would you be willing to write it?" What kind of developing is she doing? (OK, so maybe I'm still banking some warm coals...))

I. The Cucumber

I was biking home on the Greenway bike path on a scorching afternoon a couple days ago, when a young man in the high grassy shade of a bridge called out weakly, "Do you have any water?"

I could barely hear him. I didn't have water, but I had a juicy cucumber, (free from work), and because it's strange that someone would ask for something so elemental, I turned around, biked back and offered it to him.

He looked bad---eyes glazed, and dried white saliva around his mouth. He was barefoot, wearing only wearing a pair of shorts, and you could see his extensive tattoos. 
He'd fallen asleep in the hot sun for hours, he said, and become so weak from lack of water, he couldn't get up.
"No one stopped and gave me water," he said.

I told him I'd go get water and come back, but first I flagged down a passing biker with a water-bottle full of orange liquid.
"Can you help?" I said.

Gatorade! It was like watering a drooping coleus, the effect was almost instantaneous.

And then a man came walking up with a bottle of fruit-flavored water--(he looked like he maybe came from the encampment of homeless Hispanic folk under the next bridge)--he'd gone to get it for this dehydrated young man.

I said I'd stay a few minutes until the young was sure he was OK. He said thank you, but repeated,
"No one gave me water. I was here for an hour."

"Now two people have stopped to give you water," I said. 
But I knew this didn't erase the fact that he had sat there a long time alone. 

There is so much need out there (and in here)––I don't want to waste my emotional energy fretting about stupid administrators.
I want to find things (people, words . . . toys) who help me withstand sadness and fear and lack so I can help, or at least be present (which is a kind of help), and still see joy in life too.

II. Saints

I got a great dose of help with that when I researched St. Clare of Assisi yesterday––it was her feast day (d. Aug 11, 1253).

BELOW: "St. Clare and St. Francis", by Francis Cunningham. 1983-84. (You know it's the '80s by the Hutch-like pornstache.) 

This in particular:
Clare & Francis believed peace comes through giving people MORE than they deserve, not through justice. 
(It's like that hard story in the Bible where the workers who come late to the field get paid the same as the ones who worked all day. Mercy is not fair!)

This recalled me to my self, and away from the hierarchy. 

I wouldn't say most of my coworkers think like Clare.
I overheard one church lady complaining to the others about a man who came in with a voucher entitling him to free housewares––he had wanted some plates of a more expensive brand.

"Of course we should help the poor," the woman said, "but they don't need Noritake." *

I've heard a lot of this sort of judgment at thrift stores--
resentment of people who get something––something nice––for nothing, even if they're in dire need. Mostly it comes from hardworking people who are or have themselves been not well off--but not poor by choice, like Francis & Clare, (who both came from well-off families and chose holy poverty).

The coworkers I'm talking about haven't chosen poverty in imitation of Christ, as a path of spiritual liberation.
Quite the opposite: I see that they have been caged, restricted and diminished by poverty and lack.

And that can be spiritual and intellectual poverty too. Like, who knows what's going on with the Development Director. She certainly was lacking basic information about social media... 
I really don't think I was unkind in what I emailed to her, but I was in what I thought about her!

I don't want to waste my energy carrying resentment around. 
It's heavier than water.

*Re Noritake china. 

This church lady is in her 80s and grew up in a hardworking farming family,
 in a poor, rural part of the state. 

I think Noritake would have represented "making it" into a better economic and social class in the 1950s: 

nice chinaware you didn't  inherit from your grandmother or get free as a gas-station premium.

The poor have not have earned this kind of nice china, and therefore do not deserve it as charity, in this church lady's eyes.

Friday, August 10, 2018

More Stuff (Puppet Photography)

What a relief---taking an extra day off has worked magic.
I'm still annoyed at the general ineptitude of the marketing director (I guess she's in "development" not marketing, but same difference, for the purpose of my annoyance)---BUT I am restored to balance--
I am there for the donated books & their friends, 

not the organization. That is . . .

Speaking of circuses, I listed online a Fisher-Price toy circus train for the store yesterday. 
Remember these? This one's from 1973.
The Toy Lady told me that when she puts these FP sets out for sale, people rip open the bags and take the figures they want, so she wanted me to post them online,
where they also go for waaay more money than $1.99 thrift-store prices (more like $25–$50)––FP being one of the Recognizable Desireables of the Moment,
along with Pyrex and Steiff, etc.

I gather Antiques come in and out of fashion like that. Not to say these aren't nice brands. They all are:
Fisher-Price toys are great---still solid and bright, at forty, fifty years old.

My parents wouldn't buy these because they were plastic--tacky, in their eyes. I don't agree--I think they are good, imaginative toys--YOU, the player, come up with the stories and actions & all.

Anyway, I want to record here some of the other cool things I listed. Since I do this mostly volunteer (I get 10% in store credit of things sold), and it's a lot of work, I can list what I want. And that's  the quirkier things--and toys, and books. 
I ignore the piles of donated boring things, like electronics and expensive clothes and new items. 

I like things that are a bit of a mystery too.

This, for instance:
It's lined with velvet, so it's meant for a trinket box, but I had no idea what its original purpose would have been. 
As I was photographing it, a passing customer who collects antiques told me.
Do you know?
I'll put the answer in the comments. 

(The silver-plate box is held on the stand with a locking mechanism, underneath.)

Mostly I know what things are, generally, but enjoy researching and learning more about the what and the why of them.
Sometimes they surprise me.

This is obviously a glass jar with a lid, for instance >

It's stamped "Fire-King Over Ware" on the bottom.

 I've deal with Fire-King before--
sort of a low-end Pyrex, their stuff was given as premiums at grocery stores--
but now is collectible.

I LOVE the polka-dots, but I was surprised to learn this darling bowl was made as a grease jar--part of a stovetop set--for putting bacon and other cooking grease in.

Lids often get broken or separated, so this is a desireable set--they go for around $75! 

(That's what I priced it. We shall see...)

What else is in my goodie bag?

My personal favorite is the puppet photography by Shiba Productions, (Japan, 1968) of Thumbelina--part of a set of books illustrated with toy photography (pre-
I remember these books--I hated them when I was a kid. Now I love these toy tableaux:

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Haruspex Stuffie Says, "Let It Go"

Communications have been kinda weird the past couple days--in this, that, and the other way––and then last night I got a condescending message from the Regional Marketing Director (whom I've never met) cautioning me about my FB postings. 

But the MD gave me legal information that was wrong: that we had to have written permission to post people's photos on FB.

It was like a missive from someone who'd studied Marketing in the 1980s and hadn't revised since. Color Me Beautiful.

I found the correct information ("no, we don't even need verbal permission in many cases, but I always get it, because I'm nice that way"--took me 30 seconds to google it), and emailed it back...

Aaaaand... right on cue, up popped my little angry friend, Resentful Bear!
I was SUPER annoyed half the night about this incompetent Marketing Director, who, I fumed to myself, I'm sure is not making minimum wage like I am.
Hey,  I should sew a Resentful Bear!

Brief break to report that yesterday I starting sewing the divination liver for Haruspex Sheep!

Here, at a nearby café >

Photo by Julia

The sheep's for a high school class on Roman Comedy, taught by a friend I met while studying Classics in college.

I decided to stitch modern symbols on it so the students could use it for their own divination purposes--
like those old Magic 8 balls.

(This liver here will be folded in half and stuffed.)

I could have asked the liver, "Should I send this snarky email to the Marketing Director?"

BIG SQUARE = Stop, no.

Luckily, I'd re-read my email before sending it and removed all snark.
(I think... It was hard to scrub all the lingering disdain stuck in the serifs of the "and's" and "the's".)

It's interesting and helpful to try to observe myself as if I were a scientist: 
"Observe the adrenaline coursing through our subjects veins in response to a receiving misinformation from a marketing director--our subject is reacting as if she were under threat, and yet objectively there is none..."
Silver Lining:
I woke up thinking we should have a Social Media Policy. 

I'm the one doing 95% of the FB postings this summer, but it'd be great if others posted too. Having legal, ethical, and even marketing guidelines spelled out makes sense.

I wrote to the Marketing Director and asked if such a thing existed or if was in the works (as in, Maybe YOU are writing it?).
As if.

Haruspex Sheep says, hit the "Forward" button and MOVE ON!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Frank Lloyd Wright too!

Potter Miller commented she prefers F. L. Wright to Russel Wright (heh), and I just so happen to have posted about FLW & Star Trek design too--oh, yeah (in 2009??---feels like just recently!)---
specifically how Wright's Guggenheim museum looks like the starship Enterprise (or, the other way round, in time):

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Sweepo & Angry Red

Sweet Potato reads* to her new friend, Angry Red Panda, at Mojo Coffee this morning.
Photo by bink

*The other Reds have been teaching her, but I'm not sure how well SP reads. She may have been making up a story to match the pictures.


Sunday mornings I go out for coffee with bink (in 20 minutes), which is great.

With my new schedule, tomorrow will be my first day in a long time with NO social plans. 
I will create the haruspex sheep (sew a velcro opening in back and construct a liver for divination), and (maybe not on the same day) stitch up Tulip the Golden Bear to send her to Krista, who requested her.
I can do that at home, alone--nice.

My happy Book Room news is that the set of 1898 travel books sold––all to one person.
The buyer took the two pages of information I'd printed up too, so maybe s/he's someone who loves them for themselves alone and not their leather spines.
Not my concern... but I like to think so.

I went out for Happy Hour after work with Julia and her father, Tank.
They had come to the thrift store, and Julia had helped me sort donated beads. (Someone had donated a bin of them-- I had no idea how to price them, but Julia had worked at a bead store.)
Tank sat at my desk and read while we worked, and we walked a couple blocks to the brewery afterward.
He just turned 98 a couple days ago. He can't walk the long distances he used to, nor as quickly, but he enjoys being out and about, same as ever.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

"Perhaps you will have to change your ideas of charm and beauty."

Oooh---I unpacked an exciting donation to the thrift store:
the orig 1951 ed. of 
Mary & Russel Wright's Guide to Easier Living, a classic of mid-century modern (MCM) design!
 I got interested in MCM when I was researching the roots of Star Trek design--including Russel Wright's dishware. I forgot, I'd even blogged about this very book.

BELOW: a scene from "Amok Time" (1967), and Russel Wright's spun aluminum cheese server.

I brought the book home to read before selling. I'll put it in our glass case, for $25– (no dust cover, a bit worn). 

You know I've been writing about the furniture in our brain---this is about actual furniture, and it's very related:it's a guide to changing your entire way of thinking & living--and reorienting yourself in history.

Man-oh-man, the Wrights are not shy about making judgments! 
Discussing the bedroom, they write [bf mine]:
"Perhaps you will have to change your ideas of charm and beauty.For many generations the bedroom has been considered the sentimental core of the home, and through the dictates of fashion and etiquette, has become a veritable Valentine chock-full of all the feminine goodies... Victorian, Colonial, and French...
"If you are so enamored of the charm of other centuries that you can stand the gruesome, tawdry look of such rooms... and do the work of other centuries to restore order––then have such a room.
But if you really want to save work, and to have a room that properly fulfills its intended functions, you'll have to give up your dreams of living in another age and enjoy your own twentieth century. [None of the
traditional heart-warmers . . .]"

Friday, August 3, 2018


Not much time to write before I leave for work, but I'm liking this, blogging a bit in the mornings, getting some of my baby duck thoughts in a line. 

I'm thinking I am going to rearrange my work days--I am supposed to work 4 hours, five days a week. 
But I NEVER work just 4 paid hours--I always put in an hour or two (or even four) more, unpaid. And then I put in MORE volunteer hours doing ebay. 

I am going to shift my schedule to working four days/week, 5 hours each. 
Then, even if I work 8-hour workdays, I'll have three days off and can get to some of my own stuff I love.

In theory I don't mind working almost full-time for half-time pay, but in reality, I sense resentment starting to flicker around the edges... 
Resentment. My trusty barometer of feeling out of control...
Much as I love my job, it's physically and emotionally tiring, lugging books around and laboring to understand coworkers, who don't reciprocate in kind--though they are nice to me:
One guy, for instance, gave me cornmeal mix for battering fish! And Furniture Guy rearranged the furniture to give my books area a couple extra inches!

So that's great, and I feel appreciated and liked at work. But not exactly understood, ya know.

That's fine, but I've gotta cultivate the things that help me recognize myself--like doing stuffed animal repair.

Covers of Favorite Books: What do we carry?

I want to save my posts about Favorite Books from Facebook.
The original invitation is to post the covers of your favorite books, with no accompanying writing. I don't see much point in that--except to get more people to play, since writing a mini-review would be offputting to a lot of people.

But some do write about their books, and I decided to, too.

This, copy-and-pasted from FB, is my first---
not because it's my top favorite book, but because ....

I unpacked this copy of The Things They Carried at work yesterday.

It inspired me to jump on the "Post the Covers of Your Favorite Books" game on Facebook. 

So, here is 1/10.

(Hm. The Red Hair Girls photobombed my photo... )

Below: Author Tim O'Brien in Vietnam

Vietnam is the war of my childhood, as WWII was for my parents, and I read about it to try to get behind the wallpaper. 

O'Brien is great for that--but also his question, 
applies to life every which way.

Walking the 500-mile pilgrim route across Spain, I was curious about what other pilgrims were willing to carry. A bottle of apricot body scrub stands out. Also, donuts & Dante... 

Me? On day 3 I jettisoned EVERY extraneous scrap--even one (1) piece of paper with train times. 

After the trip I wrote, "You can have what you want, but you have to carry it."

Thursday, August 2, 2018

"Do people keep books?"

I. "Do people keep books?"

I was unpacking a box of donated books and groaned when I saw another set of Stieg Larsson's Millenium series.  

The Girl with Dragon Tattoo is the first of these crime books.* 
Its original title in Swedish was The Man Who Hated Women. >
(The original cover is not pretty in any way.)

One of my managers happened to be nearby when I unpacked them. 
I commented that for some reason we've gotten several sets of these books donated in the past couple months. 

I showed him a cover.

"Wasn't that a movie?" he asked.

It was, I said.
Everyone must have bought the books at the same time, and then decided to get rid of them
at the same time too.

"Do people keep books?" he asked.

It took me a second to even register the meaning of that question. I just said, "Yeah!"

That question better than anything else illustrates what different worlds my coworkers and I live in.
But there are others.

II. What's Normal

Also yesterday, I asked a coworker who is something of a lay Christian minister (I think?) if he wanted a book about Catholic ministry. 
He said yes, he was interested because he didn't know anything about Catholicism.

I asked him what religion he was, and he told me he's Pentecostal.

"I'm Catholic... sort of," I said.

"Sort of?" he asked.

"Well, yeah, I'm Catholic, but I don't go to church or anything."

"You don't go to church?" He seemed surprised. "Why not?"

Now, this guy and I have a pleasant working relationship, but he has never asked me a personal question. 

Not one.
So, trying to explain my religious worldview out of the blue, it just felt too much. 

"Oh, I just got out of the habit," I said.

"Missing church is like missing work," he said.

That seemed a little odd to me at first--comparing church to an onerous duty... Like, as if you said seeing a friend was like going to work. 
But I think he just meant it's something you do without thinking, "Should I?"

III. Eye Level

Oh, and also yesterday [what was yesterday?] one of the old, white church ladies who volunteer on Wednesdays [is there something about Wednesdays?] came up to me quietly in the books section to discuss something serious with me:
Would I consider moving the Bibles from the bottom shelf, where I'd moved them?

"It's a matter of respect," she said. "Some of us were talking about it, and it doesn't seem respectful that they're down there by the floor. Could they be at eye level, where they used to be?"

My instant reaction was TOTAL ANNOYANCE.
 Luckily I kept it inside. I explained my reasoning:
some of the Bibles are big and heavy, altogether they're easy to spot, and I'd rather keep religious books with narrow, harder-to-read spines at eye level.

This did not wash. She repeated it was a matter of respect.

My brain was playing a FURIOUS game of Ping-Pong, making up things I could lob at her... ["Is it OK if I put the Talmud and the Quran down there?"]

But you know, I caught myself.
She wasn't attacking anything. She was respectfully asking me to take care of some books she loves and honors. Did I need to make it a problem?

I thought, What the hell? Why not take her request at face value.
So I gathered myself and said, "Well, I do have this empty shelf higher up over here, on this wooden bookshelf..." 

Marz happened to be there and helped me move the Bibles. They did look nice on the wood shelf.

IV. The Eye of the Beholder

A couple weeks earlier, however, I'd had a very different call to respect the Bible. An old black lady who browses the store regularly took me to task for putting out some broken Bibles for free, in the entryway. [I mention race because it seems to be aligned with different religious attitudes & affiliations, in these cases.]

"Those Bibles are no good," she said. "You shouldn't put those out. It's disrespectful!"

I explained that I put them out for free rather than throw them out.
"I thought it would be worse to put them in the garbage."

She didn't think so. "Would you want one of those old Bibles? You wouldn't! It's not respectful." 

(By the way, there's no scriptural or doctrinal reason you can't throw out a Christian Bible. I gather it's different with the Hebrew Bible, the Torah.)
I was baffled until it dawned on me that she didn't locate respect in BOOK, the object of paper and ink; the insult was to PEOPLE--I was disrespecting them by offering them shoddy Bibles.

Half the Bibles had already been taken, but I went and threw the rest out. I don't care--they are paper and ink, and God knows we get a TON of them--way more, even than copies of Scandinavian crime novels. 

V. An Angel on My Shoulder

Yeah, so... sometimes I leave work feeling wrung out.
It reminds me of how tiring it is to speak a foreign language.  

Luckily there are those at work who speak my language.

*Side note: Looking up the correct spelling of the author's name, I read that Larsson based his main character, Lisbeth Salander, partly on Pippi Longstocking.

From an interview in the Washington Post: [published, as were all his books, after his death]:

Henning Mankell [author of Inspector Wallender series] dislikes talking about a Swedish crime fiction genre, saying that above all he has been inspired by Sherlock Holmes and classical Greek drama.
"Of course, I also read Sjowall-Wahloo but one must not forget that they in turn were very influenced by Ed McBain, and who influenced Ed McBain? He was absolutely influenced by Sherlock Holmes," Mankell says.
As for Steig Larsson, he primarily drew inspiration from British and American authors such as Sara Paretsky, Val McDermid and Elizabeth George. Salander's character, however, was inspired by the strong-willed redhead Pippi Longstocking in the children's books by the late Astrid Lindgren.
"What would she have been like today? What would she have been like as an adult? What would she be called? A sociopath?" Larsson told book store industry magazine Svensk Bokhandel in the only interview he ever did about his crime fiction. "I created her as Lisbeth Salander, 25 years old and extremely isolated. She doesn't know anyone, has no social competence."
I found several images of Lisbeth as Pippi online. Here's one by Grobi-Graphik from Deviantart:

What would my Orphan Red Dolls grow up to be like? Luckily, they have not been abused, unlike Salander--at least not while they've been with me...

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

"Winter Is Coming"

I thought I was so clever to make a 
sign to advertise my Gardening Books Sale at work

––(50 cents each! we've got boxes full, and they've barely sold in the 2 months I've been the Book Lady)––

turns out none of my coworkers recognized the meme, or even the show when I told them what it was from.

Do you know?
It's Sean Bean as Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, the HBO show that's been on 7 (8?) seasons now.

Bean also played Boromir in Lord of the Rings, where he spawned another meme: 
"One does not simply [______]."

I expect some of the customers will know, even though my coworkers didn't.
As I wrote about yesterday, I work with people who have different furniture than I do--in this case, different cultural references.

For instance, a bunch of the guys refer to sports I know nothing about--US sports. 
The only sporting event I've paid any attention to is the World Cup(s--women's too), but none of the guys watch that, though a couple of the women do--women with ties to Mexico or Africa.

I work with a lot of black guys who grew up, as one of them said, "thuggin' and druggin'". They know an entirely different body of music.

The store doesn't play hip-hop & rap, it plays a lot of Motown, Stevie Wonder, even gospel, all of which I like, but one day I was tired of the same old CDs and snuck a Counting Crows CD on.

AS SOON as the first notes started to play, the lead guy in the furniture room called out,

Furniture Guy and I get along well now, but at first he was wary of me because the previous Book Lady disdained our coworkers for not reading––or so she thought. 

"She was mean," he said.

I'd hope a book person (one of my tribe) would be MORE empathetic, but of course that's a ridiculous hope. (Pre-WWII Germany was plenty culturally literate.)
I grant that she was in pain from ill health,
but she actually expressed her cultural disdain.

Anyway, Furniture Guy does read.

In fact,
he asked me if I could find a copy of Black Panthers Speak, which he read when it came out in 1970.

I immediately found the very edition he wanted on ebay (left).
I placed an order for him. 
(He paid cash.)

Then another guy wanted to order a book--something like, The Bible for Ministers
I had no idea, he's kind of a lay minister, I guess...

Trouble is, a lot of my coworkers, including the old, white Church Ladies, are not computer literate.
So their access to information is limited that way, as that's the key these days. Even to use the library, it's all computerized.

I am curious to go into work and see if gardening books have moved. I have hopes:
When I left yesterday, the cashier told me a woman had just bought six. 

These are just a few of the ones I've displayed:

P.S. I've never watched Game of Thrones, and when I started to read it, I thought, Lord, spare me from Nordic-ish/Celtic-y fantasy.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Furniture of God

Monday morning, having coffee outside on my little porch again, sitting on my new comfy chair with my new beautiful bee-&-ginko handmade mug. 

After years of not using this porch much, I realize having the right furniture makes all the difference.

I've been thinking about how we have furniture in our minds, and how much that influences how we see & interact with the world.

I'm thinking a lot about this because I work with people who have very, very different mind-furniture than I do.

Dramatic example from a couple days ago:

Twice a week, I share my workspace with a coworker––I'll call him Larry––whose section is tucked behind mine.

(Sidenote: speaking of furniture--the work flow of this space is about as awkward as you could get. I can't see anyway to rearrange it that doesn't involve moving tons of heavy things--so we just work around it.)

I like Larry--he cares about people and isn't shy about speaking up for what he thinks is right. When a coworker made a [mildly] homophobic comment, for instance, Larry told him he was wrong.

We're about the same age, but our lives have been polar opposites (as is the case with me and most of my coworkers.)

Larry's a poor, black guy from the Chicago who got his GED in prison just a few years ago. Normally we chat together pretty easily--partly because, unlike most of my coworkers, Larry takes an interest in people and asks them questions.

The other day he asked me if I believe in God.

Like most of my coworkers, Larry is a Christian––grew up Baptist, he told me––so I hesitated to go into my song and dance about being a culturally Catholic Humanist who "believes" the stories of religion contain truths, but doesn't believe in God.

I wanted to find some shared furniture to hold my answer.

Like, I thought, the Bible.

So I said, "In my way... I like what Jesus said: 'He who dwells in love dwells in God, for God is love'."

"That's bullshit!" Larry said.

I was stunned. "What?" I said. "JESUS said that."

"But do you go to CHURCH? Do you worship God?"

"No," I said. "Jesus didn't say, go to church."

Larry thought a moment. "There wasn't church then. You had to wait a while."

I laughed.
Worlds collide.

"But you don't go to church, Larry."

"No, but I'm a hypocrite," he said.

The furniture, having entirely deflated by this point, lay silently on the floor.

And––ha!––it turns out my furniture has wobbly legs. I just looked up that Bible passage, and Jesus didn't say it--John did, at 1 John 4:16.
I guess Larry doesn't know his scripture all that well either.

But another favorite passage I often quote, Jesus did say, at John 13:34 (reported by the same John who wrote "God is Love") :

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
And, in Mark 12:30, Jesus said, 
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”"

Jesus gives his stamp of approval to his questioner adding, "to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

I'm not going to get into a debate about this with Larry, but I like figuring this out and I wanted to get my mind-furniture in line.
I am confident that I can rest on this:

Jesus does [basically] say that loving one another trumps going to church.

And I'd add that it's harder to practice love than to go to church. Larry might not agree, but I think he's a better Christian because he speaks up for others than if he went to church every day.