I am a fan of hockey, swords, and manly sitting posture.

As I was looking through my blog history, I realized that my last two Monday posts went from “I am not a Manly Man” to “I am a Disney Princess“. So, I feel the need to say that this was an unintentional trend.

To set the record straight, I’d like to reassert my manhood by stating a few things clearly.

griff1. I enjoy attending live hockey games. I recently had the opportunity to attend a Grand Rapids Griffins game courtesy of some friends. The seats were right next to the ice near the goalie and couldn’t have been better. The Griffins scored the first point of the evening. It was glorious. And though they lost the game to the Hamilton Bulldogs, as far as the fights went, I believe we gave as good as we got.

Hockey is my favorite sport to watch in person. Unlike baseball or football where ten seconds of play is followed by five minutes of whatever else, hockey is a game that is always in motion. The time doesn’t even stop when players trade places on the bench. The puck flies from one end of the ice to the other and can be back again a few seconds later. Plus, what other sport features fighting like hockey? It’s the best.

2. I own a sword. Some guys are gun guys, sure. That’s fine. If you want to kill from a distance without watching the light of life leave your victims eyes, that’s between you and your maker. Me? I like the sword. It’s like a knife, only bigger. (Again, be intimidated future suitors of my daughters.)

legs_crossed_man3. I only find it comfortable to cross my legs as I sit by placing my ankle over my knee, creating a flattened table-like area on my lap. I’ve tried other forms of crossing my legs when I sit and find them all excruciating. How does a man sit in such a feminine way without injuring himself? I don’t get it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tend to my beard, wrestle a grizzly, and chop down a tree. Have a great week!

Friday 5 | Click-worthy Links

Wireless Computer Mouse with Wheel

Here are 5 more places online worth checking out:

  1. Have you ever been invited to a party just after picking up a new book? You don’t want to be rude to the people throwing the party, so you go, but in the back of your mind, you wish that it wasn’t rude to pull out your new book and dive in. Right? What if you could have the best of both worlds? Introducing the Silent Reading Party.
  2. As you probably already know, time is relative. But did you know that time passes differently between mountain tops and valleys? Here are some cool facts about time dilation.
  3. What happens when you read 100 years of bestselling books? Not only do you increase your reading street cred, you learn a thing or two.
  4. Tolkien fans, rejoice! Here’s a sneak peek of the long-awaited Tolkienian translation of that old Viking saga, Beowulf.
  5. Ever wonder why we love the smell of old books? Here’s the answer.

Enjoy!

100 Word Challenge | Time Marches On

I talked about it yesterday. Here it is.

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The police called it an accident, but witnesses knew it was an act of God. What else could cause the decapitation of the drum major?

Some blame the tuba player with the faulty spit valve. Others the percussionist.

Bitter cold knocked out four of the parade’s scheduled bands. The doomed drum major was secretly glad for the lack of competition.

He had no way of predicting the cymbalist’s loose grip, the deadly arc of metal disc, or the slip on the spit that took him down, then out.

Friends and family agreed that he died doing what he loved. His tombstone: “Time Marches On”.

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Bored Wisdom from Catch-22

I’ve been desperately trying to think up a story using the phrase “Time Marches On” for the most recent Julia’s Place 100 word story prompt. And though I’ve been failing miserably, I was reminded of a share-worthy quote from the book Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. It is one of my favorite books precisely for the type of writing you’ll see below.

Enjoy!

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catch_22“Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it and the time passed so slowly. He had figured out that a single hour on the skeet-shooting range with people like Havermeyer and Appleby could be worth as much as eleven-times-seventeen years.

“I think you’re crazy,” was the way Clevinger had responded to Dunbar’s discovery.

“Who wants to know?” Dunbar answered.

“I mean it,” Clevinger insisted.

“Who cares?” Dunbar answered.

“I really do. I’ll even go as far as to concede that life seems longer i—“

“—is longer i—“

“—is longer—IS longer? All right, is longer if it’s filled with periods of boredom and discomfort, b—“

“Guess how fast?” Dunbar said suddenly.

“Huh?”

“They go,” Dunbar explained.

“Who?”

“Years.”

“Years?”

“Years,” said Dunbar. “Years, years, years.”

“Do you know how long a year takes when it’s going away?” Dunbar asked Clevinger. “This long.” He snapped his fingers. “A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you’re an old man.”

“Old?” asked Clevinger with surprise. “What are you talking about?”

“Old.”

“I’m not old.”

“You’re inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow time down?” Dunbar was almost angry when he finished.

“Well, maybe it is true,” Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it’s to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?”

“I do,” Dunbar told him.

“Why?” Clevinger asked.

“What else is there?”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Do you find that time passes more slowly when you are bored? And if so, which is better a long life of boredom or a short one of happiness?

Would you pay top dollar to keep a bookstore in business? France does.

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I love books. I love reading them, writing them, and being around them. That’s why I also love bookstores.

Sadly, more and more independent bookstores are closing up shop because they cannot compete against Amazon and the like. In fact, I just got news that my bookstore’s former sister store, Pooh’s Corner, is closing after a 38-year run. Loyal customers remark that when a bookstore closes, it feels like a funeral. It’s true.

But while America is giving eulogies for purveyors of the printed word, the French are reveling in a bookstore paradise. Why the difference? Price-fixing.

According to an article in the New York Times, the French government stepped in and laid down some laws specific to the sale of French language books. Bookstores, even online giants like Amazon, are not allowed to discount French language books lower than 5% below retail. Amazon did win the right to provide free shipping in order to be competitive, but that is nothing when compared to the deals offered in America that make even publishers wince at the lack of profit margin.

The balance between discounting and paying the bills is a tricky one to master. The topic has often come up among the employees of my bookstore, Baker Book House, as to whether we are hurting ourselves by offering deep discounts on specific titles. Often, we discount anyway because we know that while American customers may get warm fuzzies by supporting local bookstores, those warm fuzzies only last so long before they are tempted by the rumored convenience of online retailers. And so we try to compete, not only in the personal touch and knowledge by which good indie bookstores are known, but in price as well.

But what if that isn’t enough? I’ve seen too many good bookstores close to think that it is impossible for it to happen to mine. Is there a way to retroactively adopt some French bookstore reform on a National level? And what would people say if that happened?

If you had to pay near full-price for all of your books, would you continue to buy them? And would you buy them from local bookstores or would you order them online?

I’d love to hear some responses.