Used Book Vending Machine: Random Awesomeness at $2 a Pop

November 27, 2012

Every Book A Surprise!

No Two Alike!

Collect All 112 Million Titles!

Go into The Monkey’s Paw used bookstore in Toronto and you’ll see this vending machine that dispenses books for $2.

Owner Stephen Fowler came up with the idea on a fishing trip with a friend. Originally, he thought an actual person would sit inside the box. But his pal convinced him he needed an actual working vending machine, and then built it for him.

Fowler told the magazine Quill & Quire that, “…[o]f the people who have used the thing so far, almost every person has been pleasantly surprised and completely amused. I can think of two people who were dissatisfied with the book they got, but I can only assume they were people lacking in imagination and enthusiasm. In fact, this is something I’ve observed in the used-book trade: people are always looking for meaning. They’ll get a book and feel as though it was psychically selected for them.”

Fowler said the machine forgoes profit, but fits the business model of used book stores. “…[T]he nature of the second-hand book business is that I end up with a lot of books that are interesting and worth keeping and disseminating, but have no practical retail value. Historically in the used books trade there has always been the dollar cart in front of the store. This is just a spin on that.”

His bookstore isn’t necessarily for readers, says Fowler. It’s a place to find “printed culture” and “printed artifacts with text.”

To emphasize his point, the store keeps a blog where it posts a sampling of their ever-changing window displays. But, you cannot buy any of the books online. Only in the store. Road trip!

“Bibliographic recursion: a printed and bound paper artifact that describes the technology of printing and binding paper artifacts.”


Bill O’Reilly’s Nightmare

November 25, 2012


Roger Ailes Says What He Does Is Called Journalism

November 20, 2012

The CEO of Fox News recently renewed his contract to stay on as head of the conservative propaganda machine another four years.

Ailes said he, and his organization, are the only true journalists, and the others are just sycophants of the Obama Administration. By way of illustration, Ailes described  a White House Correspondents’ Dinner and told TV Newser:

“When I saw the President say, ‘I know you all voted for me,’ and a thousand people stood up and cheered and applauded and then when the applause died down, he said, ‘Oh probably except you guys at the Fox table.’ I thought, ‘Am I the only guy in this room doing his job?’ They set up Freedom of the Press. The press is supposed to watch the powerful. And not throw in with them. And when I watched a thousand people stand and cheer and applaud I thought, ‘Uh oh. Somebody better do this job.’”

The problem with Ailes’s anecdote is that that’s not what happened. Here’s the video of the occasion Ailes described:

See? No one stood up and cheered. President Obama was making a joke. He also joked about his wife Michelle’s “right to bare arms” (the dinner is traditionally a light-hearted affair).

Maybe Roger Ailes isn’t a liar, but is completely delusional? He was there. He doesn’t remember what actually happened. He based his argument on a fantasy. Just as all of Fox News bases their version of the news on their CEO’s fantasy.

Fox News Ignores Facts on Hostess Bankruptcy To Further Ailes’s Anti-Union Agenda

The “Fair and Balanced” Network’s latest bs is to totally ignore the well documented history of the slow demise of the Hostess company and blame the troubles on the members of the Bakers’ Union.

Media Matters quotes the Fox program, “America’s Newsroom:” to illustrate the Fox spin:

Co-host Martha MacCallum introduced a segment on the Hostess bankruptcy by saying the company is “blaming a workers’ strike for crippling their ability to make and deliver their products.” At the end of the report, co-host Bill Hemmer blamed the coming job losses at the company on “a labor dispute,” suggesting that the union had put “18,000 jobs on the line.” MacCallum said the employees were “paying dues to the union and then the union won’t make a deal.” [Fox News, America‘s Newsroom, 11/16/12]

Media Matters dot org has documented the true unfolding of events to counter the Fox News lies. Here’s a small sampling:

Reuters: Hostess Filed For Its First Bankruptcy In 2004. In March, Reuters reported that Hostess “filed for its first bankruptcy in 2004, citing declining sales, high food costs, excess capacity and worker benefit expenses.” [Reuters, 3/6/12]

Forbes: The Company Exited Bankruptcy In 2009. In July, Forbes reported that “Hostess was able to exit bankruptcy in 2009” because of an “equity infusion of $130 million” from a private equity firm, as well as “substantial concessions by the two big unions” and lenders that “agreed to say in the game rather than drive Hostess into liquidation.” [Forbes, 7/26/12]

Huffington Post: Hostess Re-Entered Bankruptcy In 2012. In January, The Huffington Post reported that “Hostess Brands is hoping to cut its high costs as it heads back into bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than a decade.” [The Huffington Post, 1/11/12]

Reuters: Hostess “Spent More Than $170 Million On Professional Fees” In Its First Bankruptcy. Reuters further reported that in its first bankruptcy, Hostess spent more than $170 million on professional fees.

Each time a company goes bankrupt, it must pay for lawyers and advisers not only for itself, but for its major creditors. In its first bankruptcy, Hostess spent more than $170 million on professional fees, based on its monthly operating reports. [Reuters, 3/6/12]

Check out the entire time line here

Hostess also upped their executives’ pay by millions of dollars during their “restructuring.” But hey, don’t blame the millionaires for sucking the company dry.

photo: Fox News owner, Rupert Murdoch, with Fox CEO Roger Ailes

Together at last

Together forever

We’re tying a knot

They never can sever.

We don’t need sunshine now

To turn our skies to blue.

I don’t need anything but you.

–From the musical “Annie” – revived on Broadway, playing now.


Bloomberg News Helps the Business Community by Stating the Obvious

November 14, 2012

This cover says it all. The article itself very smartly says more.

And, it needs to be said because historically the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as an organization are climate change deniers.


Bradley Manning May Plead Guilty to Lesser Charges

November 9, 2012

Breaking news from Amy Goodman, and Democracy Now. Goodman writes: “Accused U.S. Army whistleblower Bradley Manning has offered to submit a partial guilty plea on charges of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks in return for the government agreeing to pursue lesser charges. Manning’s attorney David Coombs says he is prepared to plead guilty to some of the charges, but not the entire case as a whole. Manning is reportedly ready to admit to leaking the documents to WikiLeaks but is refusing to plead guilty to the charges of espionage or aiding the enemy. He has been held in military custody since May 2010, following his arrest while serving in Iraq. We are joined by Denver Nicks, author of the book, “Private: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History.”


Mitt Romney’s Storm Tips

November 5, 2012

(thanks t.c.)