Sunday, December 26, 2010


One of my great pleasures is reading comics, cartoons, and other graphics. I have a whole bookcase devoted to this genre: everything from the Fantagraphics set of the complete Peanuts (the series is now up to 1978) to Doonesbury, from the graphic novels of Lynd Ward and Milt Gross to a graphic treatment of World War I by Jacques Tardi. I love political cartoons.

Here's a picture of part of my graphics bookcase.

Chuckbert introduced me to Liō. We carry the Liō books in the store and can't keep them in stock. They've become a great favorite of kids and adults alike.

When I opened Chuckbert's Christmas gift, a framed Liō print, I did a little happy dance around the living room. Thanks, Chuckbert!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our old neighbor David Jones passed away

David Jones, who lived across the street from us next to the Black Path, died recently. I used to babysit him, and he was a little scamp. Later he was on my team at LANL, and he was a little scamp then, too. Here is the article from the Los Alamos Monitor.
David Lance Jones of Pipersville, Pennsylvania, died peacefully at his residence on Sunday, November 7, 2010 following a two year battle with Melanoma. He was born October 10, 1956, in Los Alamos, N.M. where he was raised.

He is survived by two children, Mary-Carol Jones and Cody Jones, both of Denver, C.O. He is also survived by his two sisters Sandra Worth and Phyllis Mcloed and brother Clifford Craig Jones.

David, a dedicated security professional who has devoted his life towards the protection and preservation of National Security interests, most recently worked for URS Washington Division in Princeton, N.J. where he was employed as the Deputy Director of Corporate Security. Throughout his life and career, Dave had held numerous positions in security and intelligence where his talents and expertise had proven most beneficial in securing both domestic and international interests in the private and governmental sectors. Prior to joining URS, Dave had also worked with the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he was instrumental in safeguarding nuclear materials and projects of concern for a number of years. He was also an honorably discharged U.S. Veteran from the United States Army and National Guard, having served as a security specialist and as a Russian linguist and translator. He was a member in good standing of numerous professional security and intelligence societies and organizations and will truly be missed amongst the league of specialists. Dave’s devotion towards his profession was second only to his commitment as a father, however, as his true adoration was for his loving children.

He enjoyed many outdoor sports as hobbies, including hunting, fishing, and sport shooting. He also enjoyed motorcycles, cars, billiards, and reading.

Memorial services will be held at Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos, NM on Saturday, December 18th, 2010 starting at 2:00 PM with food and drinks following.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Deck the halls with vials of Prozac

We're in the home stretch of the holiday seizure season and at peak season for the odd requests and comments.

". . . with E. Power Biggs at the Hammond Organ."

Perry, one of our staffers, is most excellent at and delights in pulling customers' legs by taking their requests literally. Unfortunately he wasn't there when a customer asked whether we carried organs. I'm sure Perry would have said yes, we all carry organs, including heart, liver, lungs, and pancreas, right there inside us. Then, after the dust had settled, he would have led the customer over to the display of the 3-D anatomic models to show them the little hearts, livers, lungs, and pancreata.

I, however, was less creative. The customer asked me whether we carried organs. I said, "No. This is a bookstore." She said, "Well, I thought that since you carry science toys, you'd also carry musical instruments." She sighed with obvious disappointment. "Well, do you think the Hallmark store carries organs?"

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."—Randy Pausch

A customer told me that she had read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and loved it. I said that the book is very popular with our customers and has changed a lot of lives. She asked, "Did he write anything after that? I'd love to read the sequel!" I told her that Dr. Pausch died of pancreatic cancer in 2008 and the book was published shortly after his death. She said, "Oh. I didn't know that."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How to play teh banjo


Oh, hai. Today I tell u how to play teh banjo. First, u must find a comfy place to play teh banjo. Mommie Michele haz left a banjo on teh table. Are u comfy? I am!

Tehn u must get someone to ask, "Iz u in voice, Winstead?" Tehn u say, "I believe Im in voice." LOL!

Tehn u can scrape ur teeth across teh stringz or pat tehm with ur pawz. Oh, how pretteh iz teh banjo music!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lien to the left! Lien to the right! Stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight!

I've shared on Facebook some of the odd questions we've been asked at the store.
Phone customer: "Do you sell covers for the Kindle?"
Me: "Um . . . no. Kindle and its corporate masters are our competition and working actively to put us out of business."
Customer: "Oh. Yeah. Well, do you know where I can get one?"

Customer: "Do you carry fingerprint ink?"
Me: "Um . . . no. This is a bookstore."
Customer: "Well do you know where I can get it?"
Me: "How about the cop shop or a forensic supply dealer?"
Customer: "I don't want to go to the police. Are you sure you don't have fingerprint ink?"

Customer: "Do you carry baby clothes?"
Me: "No, this is a bookstore."
Customer (looking around): "Ohhhhh."
Today I got another query. A woman came in and was searching vigorously through the calendar display. I asked, "May I help you find something?"

She said, "I'm the treasurer of our neighborhood homeowners' association." She didn't say anything more, and I really didn't know how to respond. My first impulse was to say, "We don't carry homeowners' association calendars, but let me check my inventory to be sure." Then I thought I could have said, "Oh, you poor dear," but maybe she liked the job. Saying, "So what?" would have been rude. Should I have said, "Atta girl!"? Everything seemed inadequate.

So I just waited. She looked at me. I looked at her. Finally she said, "We're putting a lien on two properties." Again she didn't say anything more, and again I didn't know how to respond. We just looked at each other. After several awkward seconds, she said, "Where's your stationery?"

I said, "We don't carry stationery. We do have some nice holiday cards, though."

She said, "No, I need property lien forms."

"I'm sorry," I said, "but we don't carry legal forms."

"I was told you carry them."

"We don't have any legal forms. We're a bookstore."

"But I was told you have them. I need property lien forms. Don't you have any in the back?"

"No, ma'am. As I said before, we don't carry legal forms."

"Well," she said, "how are we going to place a lien on the properties without the forms?"

She had me there.