Friday, April 15, 2005
Are You Experienced?

Evidence of "retail experience" provided in a resume submitted across the counter:

"The Columbia Renaissance Festival, Columbia, MD
Counter Help / Peasant
Cooked and sold 'Knave Sandwiches,' turkey drumsticks, and frozen treats at an annual renaissance festival -- whilst speaking with an old-English accent."
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Day off yesterday. Express bus to Richmond, several hours spent wandering round empty Steveston Village, then a stroll past the decommissioned cannery to Garry Point Park, a long spit of land arrowing out into the Fraser River and Sturgeon Bank. Snow-squalls over Georgia Straight, the North Shore mountains dark behind steely clouds, sunlight coming and going over the artificially landscaped rolling dunes and the manufactured bird habitat ("marsh") in between the perimeter trails. A tiny, very nicely landscaped Japanese garden tucked away in one corner of the park, too, screened by shrubs and almost possible to miss if you didn't look closely enough while passing by. Some guy flying a kite, or, I should say, attempting to fly a kite, Charlie Brown-style, by running with the wind, dragging his rainbow-colored payload behind him like an unhappy dog on a short leash. Tonk, tonk, crunch.

A pleasant day in a landscape made for people and animals by people who knew what they were doing. (Richmond is full of little environmental flourishes like this -- even the city's award-winning civic hall (Hotson Bakker, Architects) is adorned with waterfalls, stepped terraces, and native plantings).

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Fake vs. True Art -- got 30 seconds for this helpful ambush-interview of a quiz? Of course you do.
Thanks, Brad Feld!

Since 2000, I've been looking for the Buffett Partnership letters: the semiannual reports Warren Buffett wrote, circa 1957-69, to his earliest investors. Roger Lowenstein's excellent biography occasionally quotes from them, speaking highly of their "pimply honesty" and a "self-searching quality" that Lowenstein likens to their being written late at night, after everyone else in the house was asleep.

Several photocopies have shown up on ebay since 2000: all expensive, all obviously hawked by sharks, and all incomplete, with one or more years' worth of correspondence missing. I kept my wallet zipped.

Last night, running the same Google search I've been running ever since installing ADSL in the office in 2002, I ran across this post on Brad Feld's blog. My pulse jumped accordingly as I composed and emailed a polite request regarding the letters' availability as a MS Word file or as a PDF.

Less than 6 hours later, friendly return email from Mr. Feld and 140 pages of text, which I'm just about to dig into.

One proviso: I will not be posting material from the letters to Anodyne, as Warren Buffett has indicated that while samizdat-style trading is perfectly OK with him, republication or resale is not. (Another strike against those ebay sharks!)

Anyone who would like a copy of their own is welcome to email me, subject to the restrictions outlined above.

Thanks, Brad Feld! Thank you very much.
Happy Birthday to Mosses From An Old Manse

Cudos to South Wellington's Peter Culley, whose 2-year-old blog is never less than interesting (film 'n music notes) and often superb (art-crit, new poems, miscellaneous "landscape notes"). One of the few essential daily reads here at Main & Broadway.

From Pete's "Book of Hugh," a few lightly-reformatted-by-Blogger's-terrible-WYSWYG-interface lines compacting all the above together:

an unseasonal squall, a 'gesture'
(as in painting ca. 198-)--
a runny mustard splat, a pig's
black tail, a little silver
hurricane, an omni-browed
Kali-- though
sleeve notes tell
a different story: puppyish
prospects considered
beneath sugary eastern elms,
exalted sleep, smeared mountains beyond
the desk, foreground's
heap of sulphur bestrides
the bridge's sexy parabola,
grainy against an edge
that is no edge
at all. Would seek therefore
a motive for its use, would
attempt unbidden
a tunnel
through the thick mantle
between us, the branch's
shadow on the shade moves
and is a bird
or isn't--too big
for a leaf certainly, though
similarly launched; inattention
fluid also, subject to
accumulation, massed
hesitations, blanks
aphasic interludes."
Cranky Proprietor

Day off. In a used bookstore somewhere in the Pacific Northwest (geography deliberately obscured so as not to identify or offend CP, who I know as an otherwise bright and knowledgeable guy).

CB + CP: Gossip, gossip, gossip. Shoptalk, shoptalk. Gossip gossip gossip.

PHONE: Ring, ring.

CP: (apropos of nothing, grabbing phone and hurling it against the wall hard enough to crack the receiver, as casually as you or I might pick up a coffee cup) I'm...not...answering...that fucking thing!
Monday, April 11, 2005
The Oracle of Omaha's Latest Riddle -- NYT writer Timothy O'Brien checks in from Omaha, with some thoughtful analysis of the ongoing AIG scandal, and some local color.

"The offices of America's second-richest man are at the corner of 36th and Farnam Streets, overlooking this city where he was born and educated and where he married, raised his children, mourned his wife's recent death and still resides.

Upstairs, on the 14th floor, a hallway in Berkshire's modest headquarters is adorned with wildlife photographs taken by Mr. Buffett's son Howard. Trinkets from Berkshire companies and investments fill a glass case in a small, quiet waiting room: a toy dog with a copy of The Buffalo News in its jaws; two dolls dressed in Victorian clothing and holding See's candies; toy race cars stamped with the logos of Geico Insurance and Fruit-of-the-Loom; a small bottle of Coca-Cola; a Wells Fargo stagecoach. One shelf displays a red and white University of Nebraska football helmet, signed by the players. A little plaque on another shelf advises that, 'A fool and his money are soon invited everywhere.'"

Sunday, April 10, 2005
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Exchange at the counter:

STAFF: Okay, that book's on its way up from Kits for you. What's your name?

CUSTOMER #1: Sunshine.

CUSTOMER #2: Is your name really Sunshine?

CUSTOMER #1: Uh...yep.

CUSTOMER #2: I'm Rain, like the weather. Pleased to meet you, Sunshine.
Stephen Shore at Houk Gallery, NYC -- 4 pages of thumbnail images from Uncommon Places, not the world's best reproductions, but a representative sample of this terrific extended series.

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