Book Report: Coffee Is Cheaper Than Therapy by Ann Conklin Unruh (2015)

Book coverI bought this book almost two weeks ago (already?) when we visited Old Trees during our vacation and promptly read it since it’s a collection of short, what, essays? A woman in late middle age or early later age meets friends for coffee, and she captures some of the things they talk about into these brief paragraph or so musings. They’re kind of grouped by topic, but mainly they’re just musings on life, the goings on in the world, and family by a local author.

It clocks in at 102 pages with room in the back for discussion questions (and To and From on the frontspiece) that indicates this book is not supposed to be heavy literature but rather something to perhaps trigger other discussions. But, you know, discussions between people, not “discussions” that are Serious Political Messages You Must Present Strenuously Until Your Family Agrees Just To Shut You Up. The entries are not Political, but sub-political. That is, real life, but which percolates up into the political these days, unfortunately.

And I liked the–voice? The paragraphs are a little thin to really have a narrative voice. But I agreed with a lot of it, which kind of worried me: Why am I, so very young-thinking and -acting (why, I just this week showed off a bit in martial arts class by doing a set of ten push-ups as clapping push-ups which I impressed my sainted aunt with on one of my visits to the St. Louis area in 2019), why am I agreeing with a woman of a certain age so much?

Because I guess I am getting to that certain age, albeit reluctantly. And, as this blog attests, I was a curmudgeon in my relative youth.

The author is a toastmistress, she mentions in the book, and the book came with a the top of Toastmasters Item 163 which is a ballot/evaluation form for speakers at a meeting. Given that only the top remains, I have to wonder if this book was used as part of the discussion at a Toastmasters event and then found its way to the Webster Groves Book Shop. As you know, gentle reader, I once thought about (and created) a blog called Found Bookmarks (now a category on this blog, and the sparse entries in that category indicate why it never went anywhere. This stub would not warrant a full entry in that line, but it did make me look up the local Toastmasters clubs–and there are five entries in Springfield, Missouri, in 2021. So now I am thinking about maybe sitting in and seeing what it’s all about.

So, definitely worth my time in reading on my vacation. Better than an encyclopedia of disasters, truly, but that’s a lower and lower bar to clear.

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Where Life Intersects Again With Lileks, Again

Yesterday, Lileks’s Bleat included an image of a Modern Woodman lodge in Mineral Well, Texas:

As you might remember, gentle reader, I inherited a box of my grandfather’s old books when my aunt passed away a little over a year ago. They have remained in the box as they include a fourteen volume (plus index) set of The Classics in Greek and Latin from 1909 that I really don’t have shelf space for as a unit. Although I did get the books that I stacked on it during the great ABC Books ordering frenzies during the lockdown of Spring 2020 moved up into the shelves, the box has remained on my office floor the whole thirteen months. And I’ve had to move it around to keep it from the background of video computer calls during that period. The number of which has been increasing as I’ve been interviewing for other work and presumably will continue once I accept an offer since everybody does video calls now.

I recently ordered a small roll of clear book-covering to put over the covers of some of my older works, especially the ones I hope to read some day–I recently covered a nineteenth century collection of poetry with an old paper bag the way we did old text books back in the days when public school kids learnt something instead of playing computer games all day on suddenly imperative expensive school budget line items (get offa my lawn).

So I cracked open this box and contemplated covering these books first and making room for them somewhere on the read shelves, when I discovered that the box also included a 1915 edition of The Official Ritual of the Modern Woodmen:

I don’t think my grandfather was a Woodman; the book itself contains a note indicating the acceptance of the presumed previous (to my grandfather) into the organization into 1891–given this is in a 1915 edition of the ritual, the fellow must have been in it for a couple of decades at least.

Wait a minute–upon further review, the name on the note is a family name, so this came from a relative somewhere along the line, but not my grandfather’s side. So I inherited this book from my grandmother through my aunt.

But, yeah, life intersects with Lileks.

Life, apparently, also intersects with ABC Books, as the book also included a copy of Pope’s poems, Illustrated:

This, although smaller, will go nicely with the Longfellow and Tennyson. I have a couple of reading copies of Pope, some younger only by about 20 years but in better shape for reading, so I will likely shelve it before or after covering it.

I kind of hedged my bets. I ordered 10 yards of covering material from Amazon, where apparently sellers there take an industrial roll of Brodart wrapping and cut it into smaller pieces to sell at a lower price than a whole roll–but the sum of the cut pieces will add up to more than the whole roll, natch. But I’m not sure that 10 yards will cover all the Greek and Latin classics–there are fourteen in all, and I have not done this before, so maybe a yard per book is not so outside my skill level (that is, incompetence).

Maybe I should bit the bullet and buy one or more of the $150 rolls and a roll dispenser or two if I’m going to do this seriously on my collection or just the better bits of it.

More likely, though, I will attempt to cover the Pope and maybe the Woodsmen book and leave the box on my office floor for another year or two and the remainder of the roll on my desk for almost as long. After all, although my life sometimes intersects with Lileks’s Bleats, my habits more often intersect with Andy Rooney’s.

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Someone’s Personal Time Capsule

You know, once upon a time, I was going to have a blog dedicated completely to found bookmarks, the things I have found in books that marked previous reader’s places in books they apparently never completed. Of course, once I got the notion and started writing rather long-form posts researching the things, I stopped finding interesting things in books. At some point, I think I imported the posts from that blog into this one, and the Found Bookmarks category here before today only numbered three items. Hard to make a living as a blogger with a bunch of obscure blogs when you can’t frequently update them.

I seem to go through spurts of it; I read a lot of books that do not have someone else’s place markers in them, and then suddenly I have stuff falling out of all sorts of books. The type of book I read probably determines this a bit–I don’t find a lot of found bookmarks in Executioner or short paperbacks, art monographs, collections of poetry, or nice editions of Great Literature. Readers probably finish genre fiction, and they either don’t pick up the others to read or finish them. Some books, like nonfiction, probably get abandoned more than others. The source of the book probably also matters: I think the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library goes through the books for personal effects before they mark them, and book stores might, too, so my best source for found bookmarks is probably garage sales and maybe church or more amateur book sales–neither of which I have been haunting recently.

But I recently picked up Abridged Treasury of Prayers, a collection of prayers published by Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis. I knew it had some things tucked in the front cover (meaning what I found was not, technically, a bookmark). To be honest, I am not sure where I got the book–I thought I inherited it, but maybe not.

What I found WILL SHOCK YOU! CLICK HERE FOR MORE: Continue reading “Someone’s Personal Time Capsule”

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Found Bookmark: Brogans Restaurant and Bar Flier

So, within Vancouver: A Year in Motion, I found a flier for a restaurant. A restaurant in Vancouver would have made sense.

But this restaurant, Brogans, is in Ennis, Ireland.

The restaurant is only only 35 years old, which is about the age of the book, and the traveler could have picked it up and put it into the book at any point since then, but I suspect it would likely have been in the 1980s. The flier is on brown card stock and looks like something that would have been pasted together by hand and not by computer.

So, likely, whomever would have put this flier in the book visited both Vancouver and Ireland in relatively short order. I would be envious except I’m generally reluctant to travel, and I have visited Poplar Bluff, Missouri, St. Charles, Missouri, and Washington, D.C., in the last couple of months, so I seem to be easing into a little travel anyway. Also, envy is for the small minded.

So what do I do with this now that I’ve read the book and scanned the flier for posterity? Shred the flier and use it as kindling for a fire in the Nogglestead fireplace? Tuck it back in the book now atop the shelves at Nogglestead? Or simply let it float around on the jetsam on my desk for a year or two so that it appears on a Five Things On My Desk post in a couple of years (after all, I’ve already scanned it, so that will make it easier for that latter-day post)?

Probably the latter followed by one of the former when I get around to it.

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Recovery at Texas City! Article Reprint

Within an omnibus edition of Clarence Day’s work, entitled The Best of Clarence Day, I found the following:

Recovery at Texas City! article reprint
Link goes to PDF

The book itself is a 1948 edition, and the article-as-bookmark was about a third of the way into the book, part way through Life with Father, Day’s best known work and the one that earned his keep and became a Broadway show.

The article details how the General Adjustment Bureau handled claims swiftly after the Texas City Disaster and how it overcame challenges in logistics, staffing up its office–a converted liquor store–in Texas City, and how it housed people as well as how it conducted its insurance adjustment business.

General Adjustment Bureau was not an insurance agency; instead, it was an organization commissioned by insurance agencies that did not want to spend on claims adjusters of their own. Instead, they hired General Adjustment Bureau to do that field work and paid for the service out of premiums.

General Adjustment Bureau is still in business, although through the divisions parted out of the GAB Robins company in the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011.

The article originally appeared in The Rotarian, the magazine of the Rotary club.

See what you can learn from these abandoned bookmarks?

Find out what I thought of the book The Best of Clarence Day.)

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Kansas City Royals Ticket Stub

About of the third of the way into a Gold Eagle book, Point Blank (SOBs #17), I found a ticket stub for a Kansas City Royals game:

Kansas City Royals ticket stub found in Jack Hild's Point Blank

Given that the book itself bears the stamp of a Kansas City used bookstore within it, I can assume that the ticket stub came from a Kansas City fan and not an Orioles fan.

On May 10, 2003, the Royals were in first place in the American League Central, not that I would have known then. I lived in the St. Louis area, and if you’re in the St. Louis area and think about Kansas City+baseball, you think one of two things, depending upon where you were in 1985. You think They have baseball in Kansas City? or you think Effin Don Denkinger! Lest you wonder where I stand, let me tell you I alone in Busch Stadium (II) booed Don Denkinger when he called a game in 2000.

The Royals beat the Orioles, 8-4, that night. The manager was Tony Peña, a former Cardinal catcher. The center fielder that night was Carlos Beltran, a player who would worry Cardinals fans in the coming years when he played for the Astros and Mets. You see, if you’re a Cardinals fan, it becomes all about the Cardinals.

Section 408 lies on the third base side; I assume row U is the top of the nosebleeds such as they are. Note the price of the ticket, even in 2003: $2.50. Tickets to Milwaukee County Stadium were higher than that in the 1980s.

The ticket lie closed in that book for over eight years before I bought that book (in June) and read it (in August).

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