Saturday, May 02, 2009

sempre crolla ma non cade

Another week of life's rich pageant here on Mud Ball 1, and what have we got to show for it?

Have the heavens rained golden manna into our upturned mouths? Have they legalized "it"? Have people all over the world joined hands and started a love train? They have not.

And why do people refuse to start this love train? Why are we inflicted with these ever-grudging heavens? What is "it," and where can we buy some? Good questions all, but sadly, this is just a stupid bookshop newsletter, not an all-expenses-paid trip to Answerstan.

Off the cuff? Bomb the sky. Just bomb it. It's too damn bright today anyway. Then criminalize NOT having "it". See how they like them apples. Finally, burn all trains, love or otherwise. Burn them! Then rip up the tracks! And burn the tracks! Crack the earth with fire because there is... no... LOVE TRAIN!!!

But that's just off the cuff.

Coming up with real answers takes consideration, introspection, and time. It takes a looooong view, which we don't favor on Mud Ball 1. Some people are trying to change that- to which we say, "Good luck!" But you may want to check them out, anyway.

Long Now Foundation, meet Spine and Crown blog audience!

Founded by Stewart Brand and Brian Eno (yes, that Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno), the foundation seeks to encourage long-term thinking in all aspects of life. One of their projects is to engineer and build a clock that, once wound, won't need tending by human hands for 10,000 years. Absolutely bonkers!

Authors Michael Chabon and Neal Stephenson are allies. Chabon wrote a great piece about the clock, called "The Omega Glory." You may download the pdf here (Clicking the link will download a pdf file onto your computer. Do not be alarmed!):

The Omega Glory


Another question which seemingly has no answer is, "How do you keep a bookshop running in these spectacularly panic and pandemic-ridden times?" One helpful fellow suggested renaming the shop Swine and Crown. What a card! Really, there is just no end to some people's creativity! Taken under advisement, buddy!

But what recourse if rebranding fails? Maybe we'll just swallow hard, be brave, and beg all of you to help promote us on Yelp. It's probably pointless, but you could make it fun, if you tried really hard. You think writing newsletters is a trip to the race track? It ain't! Big us up, you lazy apes!

But maybe you don't know about Yelp. They're one of these website things that's filled with people's opinions about local businesses. We're told that people actually read it and actually, sometimes, believe what is said there. You have to register with them to post something, but you're welcome to give them false information if you don't like them knowing about you. Anyway, here's our page on Yelp. If you have something to contribute, that would be grand!

We used to have 10 reviews, but two were taken down. Written by Mark and Ula, they not only praised the shop, but also managed to use filthy language, put down all other bookshops in Seattle, and advocate excessive drug use. We're not saying you should use their example as a template, but... you could do worse.


This week:

All items mentioned below are first come, first serve. If you want something, let us know post-haste (because they're also for sale on the interweb)! All new items sell for cover price, used items as marked. Sadly, trade credit cannot be used for new items.

Our books are always searchable via ABEbooks.


Brought to Light, Alan "Watchmen" Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz.
(Paperback, out of print)

Whacked out in every sense of the term. Imagine a non-fiction graphic novel about CIA drug-smuggling narrated by a coke-snorting talking eagle, and you're getting there. Aimed right at the black hearts of the miserable bastards who wrecked this country. So successful were they at rooting out the bad apples, the twenty intervening years have been filled with peace, light, and good governance. Thanks, boys!

This is the only major work of Moore's high period that's out of print... so maybe they stepped on somebody's toes, after all. ($65) [Sold]


Cities of the Plain
, Cormac McCarthy.
(Hardcover, first edition)

Border Trilogy, round three. First edition, so that's great. But, you say, this is the most common of McCarthy's firsts- it was remainder table fodder ten years ago. What's it doing in the newsletter? To which we respond: Oh yeah? Well, why didn't you buy it then? 'Cos it goes for twenty bucks now, smarty pants. Oh, and this a review copy, with publisher's slip laid in- and there ain't too many of those around. Only one online at the moment, going for $150. That's a ludicrous price, we all agree, but we'll be dipped in the Rio Grande if $50 don't sound about right.


Everything is Illuminated
, Jonathan Safran Foer.
(Hardcover, second printing)

Everything is Pretentious. "I spleen her." "He dubs me." "She licks my chops for it." Horse shit. Cynical, self-satisfied trash. Maybe it improves after the first page, but who can be bothered? You wanted off the cuff; you get off the cuff. It is signed by the author. ($45)


The Collected Later Poems, William Carlos Williams.
(Hardcover, first edition)

This is your chaser. Following the above overblown crap, you are rewarded with the sublimely minimal:

The Great Figure

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

Painter Charles Demuth was sufficiently fired up by the above to paint his famous "I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold," about as harmonious a communion as exists between poem and image.

So, WCW. Nothing to sneeze at.



Star Wars: A Pop-Up Book, Wayne Douglas Barlowe.
(Hardcover, second printing)

It's 1978. You're in Wal-Mart. You need a pop up book. Are you gonna reach for Cookie Monster, or are you gonna reach for Star Wars? Is there really a decision to be made here? The only thing really in question is, "Why isn't the entire store made of Star Wars shit?" "Why isn't this Star-Wars-Mart?" The desire for Star Wars branded merchandise is a flame burning fiercely within... It still scorches you today, 31 years later. Feed it. Feed the flame. Hey, most of the pop-ups still work!

($15) [Sold]


Top 10 Grimoires of all time:

Collect them all!


Everything's turning into a pile of shit.

Except this.


The Official Spine and Crown Art Exhibition:

Machines that Almost Fall Over from Michael Kontopoulos on Vimeo.


# of weeks since Spine and Crown inception: 182

# of weeks since inception that no mention of Spine and Crown has appeared in the print edition of The Stranger: 182


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