Sunday, August 28, 2011
An acoustic guitarist in a park.  Late afternoon, lazy summer sunlight.  Folding chair on the grass.  Evergreens behind him; little romping dogs at his feet.  Make a picture of this.
Pulpfiction Books, Vancouver's largest independent used & new bookstore, is hiring for a full-time (40 hr/week) position, available immediately, and two part-time (20-30 hr/week) positions with flexible start dates later on in the fall.

Successful candidates will have:

• AT LEAST 2 years of used/new bookselling experience, with additional experience warmly welcomed.  Please note that bookselling experience is ESSENTIAL for these current positions; while we *theoretically* welcome resumes from folks with no bookstore experience at all, we're super-busy at the moment and have no time to train new staff from scratch.

• The ability to think quickly under pressure in an absurdly busy retail environment, and abundant common sense.

• Deep familiarity with relatively obscure authors and micro-genres.  If Kenneth Patchen, the Strugatsky brothers, Jack Ketchum, Tucker Coe, Maureen McHugh and Victor Serge are familiar to you, you'll probably get along just fine with us.

• Previous cash handling experience and basic familiarity with a variety of record-keeping systems and databases (Book Manager; Word; Excel; Filemaker)

• Patience in the face of endless requests for books you've never heard of (every day, guaranteed!).  And bibliographic research skills, that will help you educate yourself, your co-workers, and customers about the same.

• The ability to work a variety of rotating shifts, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

• The willingness to accept responsibility, and the ability to work unsupervised for long periods of time.

• A positive, upbeat, non-Type A personality.

• No serious physical ailments.  All of our positions involve standing on your feet for long periods of time, plus frequently lifting 30-40 pound boxes of books.

• A minimum time commitment of one year.

We offer:

• Competitive compensation.  None of our positions are minimum wage.

• Fully paid extended medical benefits, including dental, for full-time staff.

• An unparalleled opportunity to work in a creative, entrepreneurial, non-corporate environment.

• The opportunity to take on increasing responsibilities, and to be compensated accordingly.

If interested in either full- or part-time work, please send a detailed resume, including the names and contact details of at least three current references, to  Please, NO phone calls or walk-in requests for work.  Please also note that our part-time positions are a MINIMUM of 20 hours a week, and probably not suitable for those enrolled full time in school.

We thank all applicants in advance for their interest, but regret that we will be only able to contact selected applicants for interviews.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
"The businessman I met 25 years ago violated every rule of management. He was not a consensus-builder but a dictator who listened mainly to his own intuition. He was a maniacal micromanager. He had an astonishing aesthetic sense, which businesspeople almost always lack."

(Norcea on Jobs, though broadly applicable to present company, too)
Friday, August 26, 2011

View From Whalley, B.C.
Monday, August 22, 2011
PFB is looking for a candidate for a full time, 40 hour a week position.  The successful applicant will have substantial new and/or used bookstore experience, or will be able to fake the same under pressure. Perks: above-average compensation, health plan.  Disadvantage: eccentric manic-depressive boss.  Resumes in any format to  Please, no phone calls or walk-in requests for employment.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
This is a pretty accurate description of my political beliefs, such as they are.  I still often feel like a Smart People's Club outsider.

"'I don't know' is not an apology. There's no shame. It's a simple statement of fact. When Richard Feynman didn't know, he often worked harder than anyone else to find out, but while he didn't know, he said, 'I don't know.'"


"I sure don't know what to do about an AA+ rating and if we should live beyond our means and about compromise and sacrifice. I have no idea. I'm scared to death of being in debt. I was a street juggler and carny trash -- I couldn't get my debt limit raised, I couldn't even get a debt limit -- my only choice was to live within my means. That's all I understand from my experience, and that's not much."
Friday, August 12, 2011
"Corporations are people, my friend."

Uh, no.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jonathan Gold, my favorite food critic, reviews Laurent Quenioux's run at LA's Starry Kitchen, a restaurant (& chef) after my own heart.  The "LA Gastronaut" meal described doesn't really do it for me, though, beaver and bear, however legally and "humanely" sourced, properly belonging to the "octopus and cat" category of non-edibles.

"When the skewers of sauteed lamb sweetbreads came out, they instantly disappeared from the communal platters of crushed peanuts on which they were resting, and I noticed that nobody pushed the roasted duck gizzards and duck hearts away from the endive salad. There was a raw plate of cod eggs, thinly sliced poached monkfish liver, tongues of local uni and a raw quail yolk buried in its shell under fat salmon eggs. The composition was marred only by chewy wisps of undercooked sea cucumber. (Sea cucumber should be served either raw or cooked into full submission.) A stack of bone marrow, calves' feet and rare, seared sea scallop tasted like a marine take on pieds et paquets, dominated by the softness and stickiness of the foot's developed gelatin."

Depicted: Summer vegetables, hamachi, meyer miso curd, black sesame soil.  Photograph by Anne Fishbein.
Monday, August 08, 2011

Metropolitan (36), 2011
Sunday, August 07, 2011

Metropolitan (35), 2011
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Stocks Are Still Expensive, by Dave Leonhardt

"[S]tocks would have to fall another 6 percent from their current level to return to the 50-year average.

This version of the P/E ratio is not the most popular one. You’re more likely to see a ratio based on one year of past earnings or on a projection of future. But the 10-year measure has several advantages over the other versions.

It was first recommended, as far as we know, by Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd, in their classic 1934 textbook, Security Analysis. Mr. Graham was an important mentor to Warren Buffett. More recently, Robert Shiller, who correctly called both the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble, has argued for using a measure like the 10-year ratio."

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