Reading Challenge

I just want to make it perfectly clear. I may – or I may not – participate in and/or successfully complete the 2016 Reading Challenge, shown below.  Since reading is always good for you, I suggest you consider trying it.  Next year, I may or may not tell you how I did.  For now, I’ll tell you how it would have turned out, applied to 2015.

Reading challenge

A book published this year

Since the year is still very young, I’ll list ‘The Fold’, an alternate dimension Sci-Fi by Peter Clines. It was released late in July/15.  I received it from the Library on January 3/16, and returned it on January 7/16 because there was another person with a reservation against it, waiting to read.

A book you can finish in one day

‘Refuting Evolution’ was only 132 pages. I could have finished it in a day, but since I often read three books at a time, I didn’t.  As a tween, pre-television, I once took out two Hardy Boys mystery books from the library at 7:00 PM, and had one of them finished by 9:00.

A book you’ve been meaning to read

At any given time, I have 20+ books ahead of me. I (eventually) mean to read them all.  I read one book by Faye Kellerman, but possess a hard-cover book by her husband Jonathan Kellerman, which I’ve had for almost 15 years.  Maybe I’ll get around to it this year.

A book recommended by your librarian or book seller

Both my regular book-lady at the market, and librarians, see my eclectic choices and know better than to suggest anything. Book-lady just makes me aware if any books from my preferred-authors list have come in.

A book you should have read in school

I read them all in school. I had my 6 yearly book reports in by the end of September.  I read sections of English Lit texts that weren’t even assigned.

A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child or BFF

Nobody chooses for me.  I inherit the occasional book from the son’s overflowing library.  Ted @ SightsNBytes told me about the ‘Repairman Jack’ series.  Jim Wheeler recommended ‘A World Lit Only By Fire’.  BrainRants suggested ‘Guns, Germs And Steel’, which I am currently reading, now that the Library finally notified me that it was ready to pick up.

A book published before you were born

Are you kidding?? I have an autographed, first-edition of The Ten Commandments.  In 2015 I read ‘Malleus Maleficarum’, and ‘Cymbalum Mundi’, both written around 1500.  I own The Collected Stories of Sherlock Holmes, from the 1880s.  In 2014 I borrowed ‘The Bible Unmasked’ from a local university library.  The hardback was dated 1906.  I have 1960s, paperback copies of Ralph Milne Farley’s ‘Radio Planet’, written in 1914, and the original Buck Rogers novel, published as a serial in 1918.

It is possible, though not likely, that another such old book may arise in 2016, but I’m not going out of my way, just to fill an online quota.

A book that was banned at some point

Banned where? Boston?  USA?  Iran?  I read books which hold relevant interest for me.  Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Satanic Verses just don’t do it.  See ‘Quota’ above.

A book you previously abandoned

Again with the kidding! Any book I choose must hold at least some value.  Even if I find I’ve chosen poorly, I slog through to the end.  The only book I’ve ever abandoned, unfinished, was L. Ron Hubbard’s ‘Dianetics.’  After a month, still not done, I said, Fun’s fun – but this ain’t it.  He didn’t take it seriously, why should I?

A book you own but never read

I hereby solemnly swear to finally read Jonathan Kellerman’s 2001 hardback, ‘Flesh And Blood’ this year – probably around June. Take me to task if it doesn’t show up on next January’s list.

A book that intimidates you

The 1200 page size of ‘Hell’s Gate’ was a bit intimidating, but I stuck with it to the end. Both ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ and ‘Cymbalum Mundi’ were written in Bible-style English.  ‘Mundi’ was also allegorical, and almost indecipherable.  My thanx to the female scholar who added pages of notes to explain.  Manchester’s ‘World’ was dense.  If I can understand them, they don’t intimidate me.  If I feel I won’t understand, I simply don’t read.

A book you’ve already read

It would have to be science fiction. All other books are traded in for newer ones.  With so many ahead of me, I seldom go back.  In 2015, I reread Heinlein’s ‘The Door Into Summer.’  I may pull out a couple more this year.  I’m considering downloading a $2 Kindle version of ‘The Dark Light Years’, by Brian W. Aldiss.  It’s easier than digging into the storage area under the basement stairs.

I’ve got a shitty memory, but I don’t understand those who reread, and re-reread books.  Like the neighbor who boasted that he’d seen ‘Titanic’ 8 times – the boat sinks, everybody drowns, the hero ain’t gonna make it this time.  Didn’t you get it the first time?

Read me! Then go out and read something else – and tell us about it.

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Things That Make You Go –WTF?!

A woman, duck-hunting in Indiana, shot a duck, set down her 12 gauge shotgun and urged her retriever to fetch the bird. He galloped over the gun, shooting her in the foot. The dog’s name was Trigger.

Locally, a car pulled out of a side street in front of another car, which swerved to the left, sideswiping an oncoming car, forcing it over the curb. That car violently struck a Canada Post mailbox, driving it into a 76 year old man, out for a walk, and killed him. The man killed was a retired Postal worker.

A letter to the Editor complained of waiting till the last minute and not being able to get tickets to an Oktoberfest hall. It was so personal and trivial, I don’t know why The Record even printed it. When I read the writer’s name, it was Steve Whines. Will Rogers said, You don’t have to make things up, just read the newspapers.

Searching for an image of a rainbow, I found a nice one, captioned – Niagara Falls, Toronto, Canada – Zou Zheng.  Apparently it’s been moved over next to Canada’s Wonderland, to make it more easily accessible by tourists like Zou.  If this was one of the Chinese picture-takers from Batavia, I’m surprised he didn’t just move it to Buffalo.

I recently received an email from a bookstore, that a book I’d ordered, had come in. I went to the store, and handed a male clerk my order receipt, indicating that it was paid for, and giving my name and address, the name of the author, and the name of the book.

He glanced at it, handed it back, and said, “I’ll get it from the storeroom. I’ll be right back.”  I waved the receipt and asked, “Won’t you need this?”  “Oh no, I’ve seen it.”  “What?  You have eidetic memory?”  (Big smile)  “Yes, I have eidetic memory!”  You’re lucky.  I have to look at it just to remember my name.

A couple of minutes later he showed up with an oversized Trade Paperback. I had time to say, “I wanted the regular size, but if that’s what was ordered, I’ll take it.”  When I looked at it, it was a kids’ book, like ‘The Bobbsey Twins Do Carnival In Rio.’  Mr. Eidetic Memory had brought me the wrong title, by the wrong author, for the wrong customer.

When he returned a second time, he brought a CD Audio Book Version, but that’s a complaint about a different clerk.

Celine weddingCeline wedding 2

Celine wedding 3Above are a couple of photos from the wedding album of Empress Chanteuse, Celine Dion, and her pet monkey Consort, René.  Somewhere, Katherine the Great, of Russia was looking down (or was it up?) in envy.  Not bad for the youngest of 14 children of a poor redneck Quebecois sharecropper butcher.

Now that she has her children, her fame, her hand firmly clutching her considerable fortune and ‘Uncle René’ busy dying of cancer, she’s more than willing to divorce him and drop him by the side of the road. If Disney/Pixar ever does Frozen II, I know who can do the part of The Ice Queen.  This woman is colder than a Quebec winter.

 

Invasion Force

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Look out USA, you’re under assault. The Meet-The-Blogger Tour went very well last year, beginning with Cordelia’s Mom, in Buffalo. She even invited us back. This year, the son booked a week of holidays early in October, and we’re going to spend a couple of days getting to know Buffalo, and CM, better.

We’ll tell the border guards that we’re jelly-bean salesmen, on our way to a sales conference. One look at our waistlines, and they’ll probably tell us to stop sampling the merchandise.

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Last year, CM sent us home with some ‘Buffalo’ merchandise, so I asked her if there were any Kitchener-area items that we could bring with us. I was thinking of Oktoberfest sausage, sauerkraut and sweet German mustard, but none of those agree with her digestion.

Football

There is a penalty to be paid for not having any interest in sports. We had planned this trip for the weekend of Oct. 3rd and 4th. I even told CM that we would be staying at a Red Roof Inn a bit closer than the one we used last year. Two weeks before launch date, I called to confirm a room, and found that high school/college/NFL football is in full swing.

I dialled 1-800-rent-me-a-room RedRoof, and the booking clerk told me that all three of the Buffalo area inns were fully booked. She managed to find me a room out in Batavia. I thought it was a further 30/35 mile drive, but on checking, I realize it’s almost 50. The clerk, who claims to live just over in Dayton, Ohio, pronounced it batt-uh-VEE-uh. There’s no sense trying Super 8, or Scottish Inns. If Red Roof is full, they’re all full.

I should have remembered. Years ago, on our way home from Charleston, SC, in October, I missed a turnoff and a Red Roof tucked away off the Interstate, just west of Pittsburgh. “Oh well, we’ll just go up to the next exit and pay a bit more.” We drove another 7 hours, through Pennsylvania and into New York. I must have stopped at 40 hotels/motels, before we got one of the last two rooms in a motel just west of Buffalo that wasn’t even officially open, at 1:30 in the morning.

I jokingly asked if CM had any suggestions for two unchaperoned males. She apparently has no knowledge of strip clubs or bars, but sent me links to Niagara Falls, the Buffalo zoo, and the Art Museum. Larry Lowbrow and his kid, Bart, were looking for something more like large bookstores, both new and used. We could get lost for a day at a decent mall, but none of us could find a Buffalo equivalent to Detroit’s Gibraltar Trade Center.

I had hoped to meet Cordelia, the inspiration who got CM into the blogosphere, but she’s transitioning from self-employed to a cube-drone, and won’t be available, dashing my hope for a father/son/mother/daughter blogger lunch. CM has threatened promised to try to bring along one of her other gorgeous, intelligent daughters. All I have to offer is a lumpen and surly son. She thought about asking her husband to join us, but apparently he’s the reason she doesn’t find me all that much of a Grumpy Old Dude.

CM has located a great restaurant for our lunch meeting, this year Italian, instead of last year’s Greek. If the border guards possess a bit of humor and pity, food and drink will be consumed, pictures will be taken for later online display, much conversation, socialization and frivolity will ensue, and themes for future blogs, both CM’s and mine, will occur.

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Last year, the wife and I took along a stuffed lamb, for identification. CM should recognize me, if not son Shimoniac. Since he is big enough to be known as The Bear, I felt we could take along the wife’s McDonalds Coca-Cola Bear, who is so cool that he has his own stuffed teddy bear. 😎

If this blogsite is quiet for a couple of days, you’ll know we’re in jail Buffalo….BattuhVEEuh??!

Dear Abby

Dear Abby, and her twin sister Ann Landers have both retired, and later died.  Abby’s daughter, Jeanne, was (is?) carrying on the advice column her mother penned.  Other yentas, both Jewish and not, have come, and some have rapidly gone.  From one of them, I give you the following question and answer.

Dear Abby; I recently discovered that my son, who is 17, is a homosexual.  We are part of a church group, and I fear that, if people in that group find out, they will make fun of me for having a gay child.

He won’t listen to reason, and he will not stop being gay.  I feel as if he is doing this just to get back at me for forgetting his birthday for the past three years.  I have a very busy work schedule.

Please help him make the right choice in life by not being gay.  He won’t listen to me, so maybe he’ll listen to you.

Feeling Betrayed

 

Dear Betrayed; You could teach your son an important lesson by changing your own sexuality, to show him how easy it is.  Try it for the next year or so.

Stop being a heterosexual to demonstrate to your son that a person’s sexual orientation is a matter of choice – to be dictated by one’s parents, the parents’ church, and social pressure.

I assume that my suggestion will evoke a reaction that your sexuality is at the core of who you are.  The same is true for your son.  He has the right to be accepted by his parents for being exactly who he is.

When you “forget” a child’s birthday, you are basically negating him as a person.  It is as if you are saying that you have forgotten his presence in the world.  How very sad for him.

Pressuring your son to change his sexuality is wrong.  If you cannot accept him as he is, it might be safest for him to live elsewhere.

A group that could help you and your family figure out how to navigate this is pflag.org (In Canada, see pflagcanada.ca.)  This organization is founded for parents, families, friends and allies of LGBT people, and has helped countless families through this challenge.  Please research and connect with a local chapter.

***

Advice columnists have to be well-mannered and respectful.  Me??  My reply would probably started with, “Really, Bob??!  Do you think you could possibly make this any more about you?”  In this day and age, it still amazes me how powerful the religiously-driven willfully-blind syndrome can be.  Bad enough that he still thinks that being gay is a choice, and one made just to spite him and his ego, but even worse, that he thinks some advice columnist can, or will, do, what he as a parent, cannot.  There are none so blind, as those who will not see.

***

A man walks into a bookstore….

Sadly, this is not the opening line to a joke – at least not intentionally.  The “man” is the well-known, powerfully connected pastor of a large Protestant New York church.  After thundering from the pulpit about an attack on the Christian faith, he calls all his political buddies and complains to them, to the point that he is contacted by the TV show, The View, where he gets to complain an national television about how Christianity don’t get no  respect.

What was the trigger for all this, “Alas, woe is us?”  While he was in the bookstore, he saw some Bibles which were on sale.  That would seem to be a good thing for Christians….except, the shelf tag, advertising the sale, also listed them under “Fiction.”

As a minor addendum, after he finished whining to Elizabeth Hasselback, he finally admitted that it might have merely been an inattentive clerical oversight.  I think that, like above, the It’s All About Us button was pushed too soon and too hard, but, if it’s good enough for Brittany Spears and Lady Gaga, it’s good enough for the Bishop of New York.  I say, only change the tag when he can prove they’re not.

***

The pastor of a fairly large suburban Philadelphia Methodist church has been suspended for 30 days, to reflect on his actions and attitudes.  It was not said that he was suspended without pay, merely that his pastoral powers were temporarily removed.  He cannot perform weddings, or offer Holy Sacrament.

What was his crime, you ask?  He married his son, two years ago.  No, no!  Not like that!  He officiated at his son’s wedding.  I still see some confused faces, although that’s common on this site.  I’ll give you a hint.  Psst, his son is gay, and the Methodist Church don’t allow no equal rights, gay marriage ‘round here!

He was invited to a private little Star Chamber meeting by the ruling synod, who chastised him for marrying gays, in defiance of Church doctrine.  He fired back, rebuking them and the Methodist Church for not being more loving, acceptant, and inclusive.  That, at this late date, is what actually got him censured, this lack of blind faith and obedience, and of course, a tendency to think for himself.

This man has not been afflicted with the trials of Job himself, but I find it ironic, that, in a Denomination which does not believe in gays, three of the four children of this pastor, are gay.  It’s no wonder he’s fighting for their equality.

I love Jesus; it’s just many of his followers that I hate!

300 – The Rise Of Curmudgeon!

So, here it is, ten months later, and we meet again at Insecurity Junction. I made it to my 300th post, and all you lovely people accompanied me.

Despite it being intended as an ongoing retirement project for me, when I began this, I never “thought” that it would go on forever, because, as usual, I didn’t think about it at all. I just unconsciously assumed that I was full of snakes and snails, and rants and tales, and could blather forever.

LIFE HAPPENS

Being retired, whether I publish or not, there will be no great changes in my life, until something other than life, happens. I’ll keep you posted on that. Maybe I should get at that obituary blog, just in case. Perhaps I could bare my soul to Benzeknees, and convince her to format one for me, or at least provide an outline.

I’ve plodded my way to the 300 mark, much slower and more markedly than many bloggers whose posts I read (semi)regularly, but I am finding many of them slowing down, some from lack of further inspiration, but many, because life has happened.

Sparklebumps is on her third job since I met her. She started a bit before I did, and posted more often, though now they’re farther apart. Her blog count must near 400, and she just mentioned that her followers finally equalled her posts. I guess I eventually learned how to attract attention – and followers. Mine equalled out at number 273, and are now well above 300.

BrainRants lacked bandwidth, and personal time, for a year in The Suck, and has been spotty since his return. An impending transfer, and the possible need to find financial support in the civilian sphere will do that to you. We’re all gonna miss him greatly, if he has to go dark.

H E Ellis’ big promotion, and the need to keep writing on her several books, has her posting far less often, and often reruns, and others’ work. Life seems to keep Sandylikeabeach off the grid for a month at a time, and John Erickson drifts in and out of medical and weather-induced blog-coma.

On the other hand, I have recently discovered, not one, but two, bloggers who have been at this for ten years. Not posting every day, mind you, but ten years! I asked one lady how many posts she’d published in that time. She didn’t reply, but I know it’s a lot more than my paltry 300.

New bloggers continue to make the scene, and old reliables slow down, or disappear altogether. AFrankAngle commented that the number of his followers continues to rise, but the visits, likes and comments don’t seem to increase.

I was set on this course by my wife and daughter, who saw it as a way to keep my aging brain sharp through composition and curiosity – that, and keeping me out from underfoot during my retirement. I have vapidly ranted and rambled about so many different things, that you, my beloved followers and readers, must be almost as addled as I am.

I don’t have the oomph and pizzazz to have things like being invited to join Stuphblog, or Long Awkward Pause, happen to me. I have been polluting Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site by submitting little, hundred-word stories, based on her weekly photo prompts. I’ve surprised myself, if no-one else, with my concise brevity, and have attracted several new readers and followers. It’s been fun.

New thoughts slowly form. New viewpoints, sometimes of old happenings, are found. Occasionally, old vignettes, or pieces of my childhood history, are dug out of the memory vault. I continue to enjoy assembling chunks of the language to offer them to you, and I very much enjoy when you visit, and read, and comment, and discuss.

Like Erickson, sometimes I am distracted and don’t do the visiting and reading that my interest and good manners says I should. I am very happy that so many of you forgive that, and make my self-imposed seclusion less secluded.

If you good folks feel that you can continue to follow in my doddering footsteps, I am pretty sure I can get to 400, my next plateau. 400??! Pah! The sky’s the limit. Onward and upward. Excelsior!

Do not use with alcohol. May cause dizziness, confusion or blurred vision. Your senility may vary.

We’re Not QUITE Hoarders

I previously published a post titled Something For Nothing, where I listed several of the things I do to conserve or make a little bit of money, to help us, and others, in our retirement.  This one shows another facet, with some ideas some of you might want to think about, and maybe try, for a couple of reasons.

Less garbage = more money!

Reduce, reuse, recycle — and reap rewards. Really!

Hoarding gets a bad rap from many.  Some are joking, but many are serious.  Some of my behaviour could raise eyebrows among the non-frugal.  I even prefer to use the word frugal, instead of cheap or miserly.

I save or scavenge things like egg cartons, coffee cans, plastic containers, cardboard boxes and large envelopes. The difference between me and a true hoarder is that I use them, instead of letting them pile up — and they save me “a significant amount of money.”  In fact, such tactics save money in several different, interrelated ways.

For example:

  • The less waste  you generate, the fewer garbage bags you have to buy, and the lower your  disposal bills might be.
  • Buying in bulk  to reduce packaging waste means you get a lower cost-per-unit price.
  • Putting  leftovers into a pickle jar or bread bag reduces the need for foil,  plastic wrap or food-storage containers.

Repurposing used to be common. Outgrown clothes were cut down for younger siblings or reborn as quilt patches. Old buildings were torn down to provide lumber for new projects. My mother poured homemade jam into peanut-butter jars (which used to be made of glass) and sealed them with wax.

These tactics work

In a post on the Silent Springs blog, Vincent Smith suggests that “more thoughtful living” could greatly reduce waste. Why do we throw away an old shirt but buy cleaning rags?  Whether your motive is saving money or saving the planet, slashing waste is a giant step in the right direction.  We do things like buying in bulk to eliminate individual packaging, packing a lunch to cut down on fast-food waste, and bringing our own water and coffee containers.  You don’t need to contribute to that trash can outside Starbucks, overflowing with single-use paper cups.

I do many of these things myself and can attest to their cost-effectiveness. A roll of aluminum foil can last us a couple of years.  A used piece is often not “dirty.”  Wipe it with a damp cloth, to clean and flatten it, and fold it, ready to hold the next sandwich, or piece of pizza. Produce and bread bags get re-used until they shred.

We repurpose empty jars for storage, buying things like spaghetti sauce in Mason-mouthed glass jars, which later hold things like bulk cornmeal.  Wide-mouth plastic jars which held cheap crackers when we bought them, now hold bread crumbs and potato flakes, for cooking.  Not that we attend them anymore, but I have found Tupperware in the free-box at yard sales. A pile of reusable shopping bags lives in a plastic shopping basket in the car trunk.

We buy in bulk when we can, and choose large sizes the rest of the time. We make our own jam (sometimes using foraged fruit).  I’ve mentioned about buying condiments like ketchup and mustard in gallon cans or jugs, and repeatedly refilling the small squeeze bottles, for a fraction of the cost.

Adding less to the problem 

Not that I’m a green saint, mind you. For example, we drink a lot of Pepsi, and buy individual yogurts, both for the wife, who has a small eating limit, and for the son to pack in his work lunch. However, we do recycle the cartons and the plastic containers.

The municipal recycling committee recently complained about the cost of sending around a truck to pick up “air.”  I stomp flat, any plastic bottles or other containers.  As three adults, we often put out less than a Blue Box full of recycling.  The two adults, and two small children next door put out three, or even four boxes every week!

Recycling is not mandatory here in Kitchener, but I can feel it coming.  All allowable organic matter goes into our composters, but the Committee is also bitching that residents are not putting out enough in the City-issued Green Bins, to cover the cost of the disposal contract, so I guess I’m not the only cheapo in the city.  Compost includes tea-bags, coffee grounds and filters, citrus rinds and banana peels.

Bananas contain magnesium.  It’s good for you, and good for plants too.  The tea and coffee contain tannic acid, which also feeds plants, and breaks down the paper to produce good, rich loam to be used in the gardens.  We buy unpeeled shrimp (when we can afford a bit), for considerably less than pre-peeled.  The wife peels them and the casings also go into compost.  As the Indians taught the Pilgrims, seafood makes rich plant food.

We use cloth bags where we can, because local cities allow stores to charge five cents each, for plastic bags. We used to use those in the cupboard-door-mounted garbage container, but recently purchased a new model, and the wife prefers to use the ones specifically intended for it.  I save bags from trips to stores and vendors who do not charge, and use them for kitty litter waste, or carrying newspapers to the crazy cat lady for flooring in her kennels.

Clean ones are flattened and folded and given to our bookstore lady, to cut down on the number of new ones she must purchase.  Soiled or torn ones are accumulated and put out with the blue box, so that someone else can melt them down and re-use the plastic to produce new products.  One of our shopping bags has a little sign on it that says, “I used to be a milk jug.”

While I don’t kid myself about saving the planet single-handedly, there is a fair amount of satisfaction in not adding to the problem any more than we must. Also, it’s nice not to have to shell out cash for things like more aluminum foil, or sandwich bags, and reduced retirement income goes a little further.

Information Retrieval

This will not be a computer tutorial.  I started with a bitch about certain website set-ups, but, in my best shit-hit-the-fan tradition, I’m going to touch on a couple of other things that sour my milk, and attitude.

I have Loi Vo’s, Style and Home magazine….actually, probably his wife’s.  Last month, I had his Business Quarterly magazine.  The month before that, I got his bank statement.  Are you sensing a pattern here?  At least once a month I get mail for him.  In the meantime, I’m waiting for my knifemakers magazine.  Once it just didn’t show up in the mail at all, another time I received the next month’s issue two days before the late one showed up.

The central city gets door-to-door mail delivery.  To save money, out here in the ‘burbs, they put up Super Mailboxes every block or so.  Forty or fifty individual boxes, one for each house, and a couple of larger package boxes.  You walk, or drive to the box to get your mail.  I hear you ask, “Is Loi Vo’s box right beside yours?”  If only!  He lives 4 blocks, two super mailboxes and a postal code away….but his house number is the same as mine, so I can see how the nuclear physicist, who moonlights as my mailman, could make that mistake….over and over and over.

Instead of hand delivering to his house, I finally decided to complain to head office, and went online to CanadaPost.ca.  What a piece of milquetoast.  They already have answers to every question you might possibly ask….except mine.  Want to buy stamps online?  Need a postal code?  Want locations of Canada Post outlets?

Every decent site does much the same.  It saves you time, and them money and manpower.  However, most sites also include a spot where you can drop an email to cover concerns not listed.  Has the Post Office got one on their site?  Uh uh!  Probably to discourage irate customers like me from actually getting service.  Well then, I’ll just take Loi Vo’s magazine, go to the main office, and complain.

The main branch used to be right downtown, then they moved it way out to an industrial plaza, how wily.  I know where it is, within a block or so, but thought I’d use their Find-a-Branch service for an exact address.  I opened it up, and they list every pharmacy and corner store which contains a postal outlet – but don’t list the main office.  I think I’ll format a letter to take with me, to list my complaints, and that will be one of my bitches.

A movie based on one of author Lee Child’s books, has come out, and he has just released another in the series.  His character, a huge man who needs a Dolf Lundgren Viking to play him, is being portrayed, some fans say betrayed, by a Tom Cruise pipsqueak.  Books I might like, which are part of groups of 20 or more, interest me.  With the number of books I read, a series like that could keep me reading for several years, so I went online to do some research.

My orderly mind doesn’t want to start in the middle.  With character development, I want to begin at the beginning.  I went to the Chapters/Indigo site.  This is the big book purveyor in Canada.  Chapters merged with Indigo some years ago, and they bought up Coles Books.  Coles used to, and still may, provide Coles Notes.  These are like the American Cliff’s Notes.  They were banned at my highschool.  You were supposed to do your own learning.  That didn’t stop them from being used at home.

On the book site, I chose advanced search, and started to type in Lee Child’s name.  I got a prompt which read, “Lee Child books”, so I clicked it.  Now, I know he’s published about 20 books, but the top of the page read, 493 Items.  493??!  Okay, there will be hardcover and paperback and large print and audio books and trade-size softback, but 493?

This is Chapters own sorted listing.  They claim this is “Lee Child books”, so I started to scroll down.  The first listing is a Regency romance called The Agency, by Y.s. Lee.  I loved the, one capitalized/ one lower case, initials.  Is she a friend of k.d. lang?  Well, it does have an author named Lee.  A couple of books by Lee Child, then, Just Like Me, by Jan-Lee Music, then a couple more by Lee Child, then Quinlan B. Lee, then Robert Lee, (no middle E.), then John Lee, then Chris Higgins and John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series.  Wait, what??  How did Higgins and John D. MacDonald get into this list?  McGee does rhyme with Lee.

I managed to sort out only Lee Child books.  Since I’m looking to start at the beginning, I sorted again for date of publication.  Yeah, that worked so well!  Since the movie just came out, that book, which is at least five novels old, is at the top of the list.  All the others were chronologically scrambled too.

I think I found the first in the series, a book titled Killing Floor.  I clicked on its image for more information, including cost.  Along with the hard cover, large print, and audio, I found two paperback editions, identical, as far as I could see.  One offered an online price of $12.95, or used from $15.65, the other online price was $10.44, and used from $10.80.

I am confused by all this.  Why is one online price $10.44, and the other $12.95?  Even if these are not exactly the same book, why would I pay half again, or better, to buy a used copy, when an original is available.  I’ve reserved a large-print copy at the library for free, with one person ahead of me.  I prefer the tactile sensation of print.  The library is only authorised to issue 6 E-books at a time, and there are 56 people on the waiting list.

Wikipedia dispenses comprehensive free information.  These other sites just hand out free question marks.