Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Used Bookstore Lives

Today I found a used bookstore over by George Washington High School that is unusual in the sense that it was well-stocked, organized, and the prices were reasonable. Well, mostly reasonable, but I'll get to that in a moment.

The place is called Two Buck Books and you can find it between the Chipotle and the King Soopers off Monaco and Leetsdale. Paperbacks are two bucks, hardcovers $4. I browsed for my favorite fiction authors but didn't find any volumes missing from my collection, so I went to the history section, looking for anything on Ancient Rome, Mesoamerica, Colorado history. Rome and Mesoamerica are longtime subjects of interest, but these days I'm keen on learning all I can about the labor wars.

Alas, I was only able to find some self-published chapbooks, the kind of books you see in gift shops of museums. I snatched all three, in addition to snagging a book called The Art of Mesoamerica (score!), Ancient American Cities (score!), and a heretofore unknown volume by Charles C. Mann called Ancient Americans. (He's the guy who wrote 1491, a book about the Americas before Columbus, and it's sister volume, 1493, a book about the Americas after Columbus. I highly recommend both volumes.)

When I was checking out, with my little stack of books, I asked the guy if he had more Colorado stuff. He answered that he had a couple of volumes in the back that were listed on the internet. Would I like to see those?

Of course!

So he brings me out three books. One is about a park in Cherry Creek, another about an unfamiliar Denver neighborhood, and the last one was called Military Outposts of Colorado. Ah yes. That's the kind of stuff I was looking for. I flipped through the pages and saw chapters on Fort Garland, Fort Sedgewick, and Fort Logan. Score!

So how much?

The guy looks at his computer screen. "$17.50."

Ouch. I turn the book over in my hands, flip through the pages. I really want it, but for $17.50? I'm the type of guy who can take $17.50 and turn it into a stack of books, all of them eminently as readable as this one. I had just demonstrated that by snagging the Colorado chapbooks and the Pre-Columbian stuff.

The clerk read my reluctance. He really did want to help me. Before I could say no, he dropped the price. "How about nine dollars?"

Still steep, but a nice discount. I looked at the book. Looked at the bookshop. Looked at the nice guy behind the counter. Some places, nine bucks will get you a cup of coffee and a newspaper. It's not a great deal of money. So what the hell, I bought it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sexy and I Know It

It's not often that I can pinpoint the time and place where I first heard a song, but for LMFAO's I'm Sexy and I Know it, I got it. I was riding around Lawrence, Kansas with my brother, listening to the radio. I could probably even tell you the date if I wasn't up all night.

Truth is, I pay zero attention to popular music. It's just something I've outgrown as my own tastes have calcified and the snobbery has set in.

But I liked this song. I also happen to like variations on a theme, and after telling all the guys at work about how much I liked the song, they told me about this.

It's Big Head Todd (sorry, no Monsters) doing a blues version.

And it works.

Radley Balko Is Mostly Useless

Radley Balko is a pretty prominent libertarian blogger who does good work when it comes to police misconduct. But he's still a libertarian, and libertarians are mostly weasels.

Here he is writing about the Trayvon Martin case:
None of this is to say Zimmerman didn’t commit a crime. I still really have no idea. But what’s happened in the last couple weeks doesn’t feel like justice.
Total endorsement on the "doesn't feel like justice" part, but the "I still really have no idea" bullshit?

Of course, Balko spends most of his time criticizing the media and the prosecutor, and even lefty commentators, while completely missing the reason why this doesn't feel like justice.

Is it because some lefty said something dumb on CNN or because NBC didn't play the whole 911 tape? Or is it because a confessed killer was kicked loose without charges?

Monday, April 16, 2012


Boulder is shutting down the CU campus this year to stamp out the 4-20 celebration that's become a kind of pilgrimage for the area's stoners. Glad I made the Hajj last year.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dumbest Thing I Heard All Day

"Investigators say more and more senior citizens are turning to drug trafficking as a way to make extra money after retirement."
O Rly?

Movies I Saw Recently

J. Edgar

Crap. Nothing about this movie works. The story, the casting, the not-believable-at-all aging make-up. Seriously, the make-up is awful, especially on Armie Hammer. Probably should have cast older actors who can play young... DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover? That doesn't even work on paper.

Make another western, Clint. Please. These biopics aren't your strong suit.


I approached this one with a grain of salt, considering its yet another sword and sandal flick shot on green screen. But I like Tarsem's work so it was a very small grain. Unlike Tarrantino, who references other movies, Tarsem almost always references paintings or sculptures, stuff you would see in a museum not a theater. It makes his work visually stunning, but he's never quite been able to pull off telling an emotionally engaging story. In this one, he almost succeeds. Mickey Rourke is that oh-so-stereotypical kind of villain who shows his villainy by killing his minions when they disappoint him. It makes for great scenes of villainy, but c'mon...if you really operated like that, you'd soon run out of minions. Still, his gravelly voice and imposing frame are perfect. Henry Cavill surprised too.

When he was giving his rousing speech, I wanted to start banging my sword on my shield too.


I came into this one with high hopes, which were all in pieces by the end. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as brothers, Nick Nolte as their dad, MMA, family conflict. Promising right? But no. It follows the formula, deviating only slightly in some respects, and then completely devolves into an implausible mess. I don't mean to spoil anything, as these things are kind of made clear in the trailer, but in the last match, it's not only revealed that Tom Hardy's character is AWOL from the military (and will be conveniently allowed to finish the fight before his arrest) but they're brothers! And they're going to fight each other!

Could have been much better, and should have been. Bastards.

The World's Tiniest Violin

Plays for George Zimmerman, confessed killer of Trayvon Martin. Here's his lawyer, playing for sympathy:
"I think he's stressed. He's certainly nervous," O'Mara said of Zimmerman. "He is frustrated he was charged at all."
Awww, poor widdle Georgie. So stressed and nervous and frustrated.

Meanwhile, Trayvon Martin is dead.

Oh, I know, I was self-defense when he chased down an innocent kid and shot him to death. You know, couldn't stay in the car. Couldn't wait for the cops.

George Zimmerman is just another idiot doing stupid shit with a gun, who is then surprised to find himself in a life-threatening situation. Shocker.

May that prick live in jail and rot in hell.