Saturday, August 29, 2009
Hot late August sunlight through the open door, leaf-shadow on the grey title floor and the black keyboard before me. Upside-down sun reflected in the display case at the end of the counter. Yellow leaves scattered here and there among the green leaves on the little tree outside the door, a few browned remnant leaves scattered on the sidewalk this morning, a reminder of summer swiftly drawing down to a close. Ray Charles' Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Volumes 1 & 2 on the deck, the horns' slow lazy huh huh huh huh huh. It Makes No Difference Now. Hot enough that sweat stands out on my forehead, on the coarse black hairs frosting the back of my neck and upper shoulderblades. Not much here lately due to not much to say. The busiest month in the store's history. Last Sunday morning: ten people waiting at 11am, one with twelve boxes. New books, special orders, school lists, phone ringing and then it's 8pm and dark. Cool wind and stars. I carry in the bargain books, flip the table sideways, collapse its folding legs to fit it through the door.

Great warm wind tossing the trees outside. Main Street momentarily deserted, gently baking in the sun.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

(Via Peter Culley, with thanks)
Monday, August 24, 2009

Now comes a chance to find ourselves
And quiet reigns behind our doors
We think about posterity again...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Anodyne Inc.

Staggering back up onto my feet in Main Street's front room, still swinging. Updated mostly for the three of you out there who care.

Current portfolio:

Dominion Citrus Income Fund (DOM.UN): 12,346 units
E-L Financial Corporation (ELF): 7 shares
Hart Stores (HIS): 1769 shares
Loblaw Companies (L): 217 shares
Norbord, Inc. (NBD): 1820 shares
North West Company Fund (NWF.UN): 600 units
Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 4114 units
TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 1109 units
Amerigo Resources, Inc. (ARG): 1895 shares

Distributions and dividends:

Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN):4114 units x .105/unit = $431.97 (15 June, 15 July, 15 August). Grand total, $1295.91.

E-L Financial Corporation (ELF): 7 shares x .125/unit = $1.76 (29 June) <--!!!!!!

TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 1109 units x .0275/unit = $30.50 (29 June)

Loblaw Companies (L): 217 shares x .21/share = $45.47 (1 July)

North West Company Fund (NWF.UN): 600 units x .32/unit = $192.00 (15 July)

Current portfolio value (as of Friday): $73496.45. Cash balance, $6216.78

Sale: Dominion Citrus Income Fund (DOM.UN): 12346 units x .30/unit = $3703.80, less $25 transaction charge = $3778.80

Sale: Loblaw Companies (L): 217 shares x $33.07/unit = $7176.19, less $25 transaction charge = $7151.19

Sale: E-L Financial (ELF): 7 shares x $400/share = $2800, less $25 transaction charge = $2775.00

Cash balance, $19921.77

Purchase: Amerigo Resources (ARG): 13650 shares x .55/share = $7507.50 + $25 transaction charge = $7532.50

Norbord, Inc. (NBD): 5000 shares x $1.50/share = $7500 + $25 transaction charge = $7525.00

Purchase: TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 3000 units x $1.50/unit = $4500 + $25 transaction charge = $4525.0o

Current portfolio:

Hart Stores (HIS): 1769 shares
Norbord, Inc. (NBD): 6820 shares
North West Company Fund (NWF.UN): 600 units
Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 4114 units
TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 4109 units
Amerigo Resources, Inc. (ARG): 15545 shares

Cash balance, $339.27

Disclaimer: this retooled portfolio might not make any money for a while and is resource-heavy. Amerigo, TerraVest, Hart and Norbord are all trading at attractive discounts from my appraisals of their intrinsic value. North West Company and Parkland are high-quality businesses I will be glad to hold semi-indefinitely.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

ART (Aesthetically Rejected Thing): Seven Essential Fantasy Reads

One of the worst articles ever printed by the New Yorker -- if a long email list from a friend can even really be considered an "article" -- with a number of tart rejoinders from readers, including me. Best line goes to contributor Jacob Corbin: "I have a fantasy of my own; it involves the ghost of William Shawn slapping the people involved in writing and printing such a singularly useless list."

Here's my version of the same list:

Ursula K. LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea (& sequels)
George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (& sequels)
Mervyn Peake, Gormenghast trilogy
M. John Harrison, Viriconium trilogy
Diana Wynne-Jones, A Tough Guide to Fantasyland
Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker
Gene Wolfe, The Shadow of the Torturer (& sequels)

and three extras, for good measure:

Tove Jansson, Comet in Moominland
Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora
Jonathan Carroll, The Land of Laughs

Update, 8/14/9: as of 930am Pacific time, the New Yorker has silently removed a number of reader comments critical of the article, including mine.

New PDF transcript of the 2009 Wesco AGM.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Brad Phillips, True Story, 2009
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Keyed-up wide-eyed but polite guy with neck tattoos wants to talk to me:

KUWEGWNT: How long's this bookstore been here?

CJB: About ten years.

KUWEGWT: Yeah, I've been in prison for ten years, so that's about right.

[Wanders around]

KUWEGWT: I've got a lot of cool books. I was in San Francisco, back in the day, when the Height was closing down. This one bookstore, I broke into it. Got a lot of good stuff there, yeah. [LOST IN MEMORY] Haven't seen that stuff again.

CJB [TOTALLY AT A LOSS AS TO HOW TO CONTINUE CONVERSATION]: Yeah, some of that small press San Francisco stuff wasn't widely distributed here in Canada.

KUWEGWT [NODDING]: Yeah, man. yeah. You have yourself a good night!
The cat goes out, comes in. In darkness. Tenative sleep. Grey cloud and cooler. Scratches at the second-floor window. Out, in. Until dawn.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Jeff Wall, Hillside, Ragusa, 2007
Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The author in repose, protected from late night rodent assault by sophisticated organic weapons system.

(Photo courtesy L.)
Sunday, August 02, 2009

Barbara Mason, You Better Stop It
Saturday, August 01, 2009

Louis wanders the neighborhood with us now after dark. He walks off-leash, trots, like a small, intelligent dog, executes a series of ever-widening circles around L. and I as we move in the cool breeze, occasionally slipping off to investigate a particularly appealing driveway or yard and then galloping along to catch up. Basement apartment neighbors who've met him on one of his 5am getaways -- apres chewing through the window screen, or its duct tape and chicken wire replacement -- come up to say hello. He chirps; briefly suffers being stroked and/or scratched behind the ears; is gone again in a flash.

A local rat flies up a garage drainpipe and perches in the rain gutter, gazing over the edge like a shipwreck survivor in a life raft anxiously examining a big grey fin in the distance.

The bright stars overhead, the same Big Dipper we saw in Nevada in January, half wheeled around the sky.

Sweet warm blackberries.

L's strong hand, the gentle pressure of her ring's rough face against my fingers.

"He considered the stars and was moved by their distance." (Probably misremembered Cormac McCarthy line)

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