Archive for 1999

More Apt To Buy From Personalized Reading List She Respected

28 Dec


Reading List


At 2:44 PM 12/28/99, Maria & Doug Storm wrote:

Gabriel, you answered my question, actually. But I'm a little confused now; are you solely using Amazon for it's data and ordering service? Why does a customer come to your site then, rather than just using Amazon?

Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 15:59:19

Gabriel, Thanks for taking so much time and effort to answer me. And to answer your question, I found you, as you say others due, in doing a search for some volumes of Emerson's Journals on Yahoo! My interest also stems from the fact that I am a sales manager for R. R. Bowker's online reference products—BIP, LMP, Ulrich's, etc. I'm always interested to find out where people are getting their data. The chain of connections is interesting.

You know that Amazon gets their bib. data from Baker & Taylor. I'll check the site out some more and maybe get back to you again. Thanks so much for the time. —Doug

Well Doug, that's a question I have asked myself repeatedly the past two and a half years since I signed up as an Amazon associate. But I had an elder female cousin recently give me an answer that complemented the one I had usually accepted as close to the truth. Fact is, I think people, mostly students, find my site through a random author search on one of the larger search engines such as Alta Vista or Yahoo, and because I have been in existence since April, 1997, have steadily been building up visitor hits one way or the other, and include a rather obscure (save to students) reading list, they tend to find my site near the top of the search returns, click, and either decide to buy a book on my virtual shelves, or else find something else at Amazon via a click through which still garners me a referral commission.

My cousin however suggested that she would be more apt to buy from a personalized reading list she respected than she would directly from a huge mega distributor.

So the combination of these factors is what drives a few dollars into my pockets, not much mind you, but after this past holiday rush, certainly enough to make the store efforts in the past, seem worthwhile. I think your own experience should help summarize this phenomenon. How did YOU find the Bookskellar?

My bibliography is merely one man's collection of personal reading projects and contrarian viewpoints centered around nothing more than the desire to run a little bookshop of my own. Of course I haven't put in as much time as I would like in expanding my shelves. It does take quite a bit of HTML clean-up to prepare authors for the Bookskellar site.

But thanks for asking,

Gabriel Thy
Creative Director/ Webmaster
Graphic Solutions Ink Systems

Parsing The Mystery Quinn

17 Dec


Steppenwolf Agonistes


Date: Fri Dec 17, 1999 1:21:22 PM America/New_York

Can you believe THIS? Does Quinn actually believe that I CAN or WILL design and host a site of this nature for the mere $561 that I quoted him as he was oohing and aahing over Richard's site? This guy's in the damned high end PR business, so he knows better than that since the search engine value of these sites are superfluous, and so are weak in concentrated text and heavy in splashy graphical content. What kind of sick game is this? Why can't I just once deal with a straight talker? These sites are expensive, bleeding edge, six to ten thousand minumum, family prices, and that's IF they know damned close to exactly what they want. Take a look at these rather illustrious URLs...

This is a particularly interesting page mapping the PR mind, as rich in Debordian evil via its shameless advocation of spectacular domination as it gets. But since I am not Bracken, I would love a chance to design and get paid well for an elegant job zinging with this much taste and technology. Finally a classy approach, but then, apparently he wants, what? a freebie, or is he simply mocking me? Hmmm. I don't think Quinn really wants to work with me. That's fine. If people can't step up to the plate, say what they mean, mean what they say, I'm lost in a universe I don't understand.

Ethel called, says we could reschedule for Christmas Eve, if we are still feeling poorly. I told her we really want to make it there this weekend to help kickstart the season, although Christmas Eve of course is always somebody's sentimental favorite. Told her I'd run it by you. She wasn't pushing any particular date I don't think, just wanted to be accommodating.

Love my baby...


In Stating The Obvious We Falter: Open Letter To The Swill

14 Dec


Ode To Manus


Purpose, strata, conformity! Samson agonistes! The turning of the screw, the churning of the Swill and by the time we get to Phoenix, just call me Ishmael I rumble on, still kicking the tires and fuming like US Steel from the last work stoppage, and yet, there is still a tongue in my cheek and a gleam in my twitchy baby blue eyes because that's just the way I am, having brushed up against small candles long enough to catch a fire of my own, catching my drift, yet?

Manus, I think once we have ripped past the communist manifesto negation phase of these chats, and accept the fact that capitalism with all its excesses is still a rather young pup and has a ways to go (fifty? a hundred? 200 years?) unless raped by a nuclear holocaust gangbanger before imminent global collapse, we should indeed strive to reveal to the group as a whole just what it is we as individuals strung across the marble as we are, find fascinating about dancing on the fringe with the faith that we among millions who don't give a damn, might be selected by history, fate, or hard work to make a big enough difference in the world we find so challenging, repugnant, lovable, just plain here, while so many try and fail (saving the Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" argument for a later discussion), and how we organize that plan.

I hope that we are now at that fulcrum, but I am not sure. Despite symbiotic desires to share my resources with a few good minds who just happen to appreciate said resources, I am not a communist, and have never been a communist sympathizer, except when it comes to a personal sharing of my own occasional windfall with those who have crossed my path. Unfortunately, I have been far too vigorous in displaying myself as an easy touch for hucksters and abusers of my time and generosity, and as a result, I began to grow bitter and abusive in return, groping for anything I could exploit with fingertips and gutfire since little in my opinion (and I'm talking about a 12-year stretch of woeful friendships) was being funneled my way in any kind of usable quid pro quo. After finally divesting myself of these dead-in social relationships one at a time I am only just now attempting to harden my resolve against these "communistic" tendencies of mine.

There's not much info on the sites right now, particularly for you folks across the high seas who may not comprehend the initial outline, but the ROCC project is very hot property and I've got to play these cards as soon as I can seize the opportunities, so I welcome anyone who wishes to contribute to the Scenewash Project pages in ANY capacity to climb aboard, state your skills, your preferences for contribution, and don't be shy or silly in offering insights about improving a particular hierarchy of thought (but I'll be on guard against frivolous changes, and still hold rank as editor of the Project).
As mentioned in an earlier note to you, Manus, I seek to wed theory with action. Until I change my mind I must admit I find intellectual masturbation counterproductive and truly boring, and need the grounding praxis of social purpose to give it that reality kick I need to sustain my interest at this point in my life (having no academic training since highschool graduation in 1973). That's why, I, in my panic to achieve something real right now rather than chase after publishing contracts which may never materialize, cannot return to the unreadable 900 page novel nesting inside my Macintosh.

Being a full-blooded child of inertia (body in motion tends to remain in motion, body at rest tends to remain at rest) my spectacle-thwarted psychology keeps requiring a return to the real sticks and stones I find out my back door, and I explode in a furious desire to help influence a change, make that unproven splash that requires the powers that be to grant us not only an audience but to recoognize that we speak the truth and must act now, not later.

Note in particular the early beginnings of the GASS & ROCC subsites. My wife works for a lobbying firm, hired guns, environmental and transporation concerns mostly, but will bank any paying client that can afford them. She has the ear of a rising young black woman in the office whom I want to amply politicize with my points on developing the Anacostia River stretch I live along primarily (she's warmed to the initial threads already), and refederalizing the District of Columbia, as a constitutionally pure but politically radical solution to the governing problem here.

This latter scheme will be a tough sell, but she's a politically perfect candidate to juggernaut the ROCC Foundation into the public consciousness with the express purpose of revolutionizing the urban landscape of the federal city in which I and half a million more intruders now reside illegally (according to my argument), if I can convince a constitutional law firm to pro bono the case. There's not a chance in hell these ideas will win favor in my lifetime, but I am certain the war is worth fighting.

The battleplans must be drawn, and the soldiers called. There's not much info on the sites right now, particularly for you folks across the high seas who may not comprehend the initial outline, but the ROCC project is very hot property and I've got to play these cards as soon as I can seize the opportunities, so I welcome anyone who wishes to contribute to the Scenewash Project pages in ANY capacity to climb aboard, state your skills, your preferences for contribution, and don't be shy or silly in offering insights about improving a particular hierarchy of thought (but I'll be on guard against frivolous changes, and still hold rank as editor of the Project). But there's no length I'll not go to accommodate a genuine effort, and no doubt depending on the level of cooperation we muster we may truly have to pass out menial tasks, so let's get rolling, there's more to the SWORG than this Swill...

I know we each have our pet projects. Time will rat us out, as to who is in this for the long haul, and who is merely coasting looking for a place to lodge a rant every now and then. No insults intended, but as Manus warned, a little caustic straight dope will be required if the SWORG is not to be back-burnered on a consistent basis. OK, Manus, how's that for putting on the ego and self-esteem? Ritz or no, I can puff up big time, brother, but the kindler, gentler side of this bull elephant is sensitive to disgusting extremes at times, and you tiptoed through some of that earlier.

He Died Believing This, Says Waller

10 Dec


Biting The Hand


Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 09:24:27 -0500

Editor's note: In Richard's defense he would be 73 years old on February 12, but the reason he was invited to join our list was to submit him to a dose of his own medicine in the only way I knew how—but only because I knew he would drop out after a few weeks, and he did. Richard had begun to become a major nuisance with his own long "look at me, aren't I clever" rejoinders, and as luck would have it, his long missives would arrive just as I would be jostling with hosting or other hardware and software problems and I had zilch time at all to deal with him, so of course, he became belligerent in letter and then on voice mail because none of my explanations comforted him. It got nasty, not vulgar, no, just strong in fact and follow-through, after a long bout of him berating me while I'm trying to deflect his rage and sense of propriety as a well-educated and well-traveled elder to whom all prestige was being resented or rerouted, he left without a hint of his own complicity in any ongoing crisis.

It wasn't like I was accusing him of anything, just that I didn't have time right yet to get to his long rambling anecdotes about Buddhism, vegetarianism, or meditation, or some other Richard Waller whimsy, and occasionally when I did follow up a note it wasn't what he expected, and thus, I failed him in that regard as well. When he couldn't get to his web site he screamed bloody murder, as if I weren't spending 21 hour days already trying to keep things running as they were supposed to run when it was ToadNet, our uplink—who was failing in their role as ISP provider—more often than not.

We would fall out to each our utter end of decency further down the road, but that was the price of peace. We both agreed good riddance was a strategy worth pursuing, but here we are again, the young having the last say once again as onlookers wince at the silliness of this long joking gesture, this hobbled parade of the horribles...

Gabriel Thy

Dear Gabriel, the kube's writing this morning is just really too much, too time-consuming for me to dope out and fathom. We have not begun to fully grasp the philosopical systems we already have. For instance, Schopenhauer said, "Subject to the limitations of human knowledge, my philosophy is the real solution of the enigma of the world." He died believing this. Nobody paid much attention until he died. And he was probably right. But each man wants to try.


Too Much Too Soon

Wittgenstein said the same thing in his Preface to Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, "...the truth of the thoughts that are here set forth seems to me unassailable and definitive. I therefore believe myself to have found, on all essential points, the final solution of the problems." If just a fraction of the members of the human race must each have an elaborate system, we won't live long enough to think about the millions. No one solution is ever enough. We must simplify.

I don't want to offend ANYBODY when I ask you to unsubscribe me to the Swill. I am beginning to have health problems and can barely keep up with the course of studies I already attempt—music, the poetry of others, the history of thought, and above all, this business of living.

Richard Waller

Sock It To Me If You Must, But Let Me Hear From You, Space

07 Dec


Cities Strive


Date: Tue Dec 7, 1999 8:32:10 AM

Space—hey man, wish I knew why it is you have written me off. You've ignored my phonecalls and quit responding to my email September a year ago. Being of paranoid mind and body I would have thought that perhaps that little BBM resignation crisis in some unintended twisted way sealed the vault, or even that Steve Taylor on the ride back to Philly might have said something to you to blacken my rep, but we, you and I, actually traded a couple more friendly notes after your flight back to Seattle right up to the time when I scooted for vacation, and while away, had my Internet pipeline severed which signalled a very hellish year where my ISP and Bell Atlantic were screwing me at every turn through absolutely no fault of my own, which translated means I had no two weeks of solid uninterrupted service for over a year due to a long series of unrelated, complicated and ridiculous snafus on their end.

But upon my return after a week in South Carolina visiting family, from you, nothing, nada, kaput. What gives? Did your computer get fried? This note is merely a dove looking for a twig. Perhaps you still have the same AOL address, perhaps you do not.

I'd just been sorting through some of the emails we shared back in 1995 with great fondness when whammo, the Seattle riots break into the news. I've been hosting on my computers a listserve of highly opinionated, aptly educated folks of various stripe scattered across the globe who have made it their business to rage against the capitalist machine, and I'd been talking your name up when this WTO thing exploded into our consciousness, and thus I grew doubly anxious to reunite with my old friend.

Please. Let's end this lockout, Space. Sock it to me if you must, but let me hear from you. This past year has been awful for me. I watched only pieces of a mere handful of baseball games, three, maybe four until the playoffs and Yankees, but finally in October my ISP and the telephone company finally delivered on a relatively inexpensive, somewhat fast fulltime connection, and yep, it's been stable, finally some relief from these 21 hour days monitoring my damned service. You wouldn't believe how cramped and crimped my life had become. And looking back, despite all my stress and imagined immobility, perspiration and stagnation, a lot has been accomplished, even if not as much as I would have hoped.

Meanwhile my neighborhood has become a warzone of drug dealers and self-confessed whitey haters. Blumstein has sold out, and lemme tell you, THAT is one long greasy story, but life is not ever as simple as it seems. You've missed out on some of my best writing, and I know I have missed out on yours. Can't we fix this?

Color me waiting to hear from you,

aka Fats Bullwinkle

How My Family Makes The News

01 Nov


How About Shoelacebooks?


Date: Mon Nov 1, 1999 12:40:17 PM

...and I don't know how to shake either of their trees for fruit.

I LOVE your natural ability to use analogies. What happened to my natural ability? I've had to struggle at everything I attempted to do. Not complaining, just "statin' the facts" as I see 'em.

But back to your site. You would need a domain name, or at least I'd recommend it. Have you hit on anything you like yet?

I plan to use a company name of: The Scholar's Press. What do you think about that? But as for a domain name, nothing yet. I have used the word "obviously" 3 previous times in this one post. When Steven tells me that something is "obvious", it always sounds SO VERY "smartie pants". I must find another word to use! Now, on to the family news....

Charlie appeared at my house Saturday. He will be moving in with Daddy in the apt. on Clyde and Meri's property in around 7-8 weeks. With Mother moving to Chicago, Dad will move in the apt. and Clyde will be renting his house on Lenora Church Rd to Joel, who works for him. He is selling his Mossey Creek house.

Later dude,


The Girl Is Sick, Sick, Sick

18 Sep


Gabriel's King Richard At MoCA DC


Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 16:24:19

As I told you, it is raining here for the first time in weeks. Nice talking to you. You asked me what I am doing & I forgot to say that I am reading Jay Parini's new bio of Robert Frost who I rank with Walt Whitman and Wallace Stevens as America's three greatest poets, besides me and Gabe, of course.

Just checked the mail—Mary Ann didn't send mother a birthday card. She hasn't called her in about four or five months just because she hates me. That girl is sick, sick, sick. Did I tell you that Mary Ann is sick? I've reached the point where I actually feel sorry for her. She has so many years to go not to get along with people. 

Lou's phone number in Greenville is 1-864-xxx-xxxx. 


Mother On The Streets Of Chicago

17 Sep


Chicago Gal


Date: Fri Sep 17, 1999 1:47:57 PM

Hey baby—I just called Mother to discuss offering my help in her move to Chicago, but her phone has "been temporarily disconnected" in a sad continuation of old habits. No email now either I'd presume. But hopefully she'll get reconnected here soon. I shudder to think of her traipsing up to Chicago all by herself without a clue of where to live, or how she'll unload her trailer, if things don't get stolen first. I think I need to take a pro-active approach to this, her move, and do what I can to help her out. But to migrate with near empty pockets to Chicago in January is asinine.

Meanwhile, there is news from the Dave & Jen front, just the highlights as the Hurricane Floyd to their credit is not really their concern. It should have already passed through on Thursday with minor charms.

We were not able to come to a satisfactory resolution with the Berkshire corporations, and have opted to MOVE THE PARTY. Their terms and conditions were much too restrictive, and the party would have either been a total disaster, or it would have been halted early by the babysitters they were going to send.

NEW LOCATION: Same place we had the three-year party. The Strand Cafe, 105 E Lombard street in downtown Baltimore City.

Hhat does this do to our hotel arrangements??? I guess Dave will now be forced to relax his "if you don't show up" policy of blacklisting for life. I mean, this is really a major screwup. On the other hand, I guess we can either drive home, or drive back up to Timonium to our $110 Holiday Inn room after the party. But there's no pint in that so I suggest we cancel our room...


Pissing At The Peephole

16 Sep




Originally published on September 16, 1999

Arthur - I have no burning desire to cull the herd of genuine interested parties, far from it, and I certainly appreciated your first response a while back, and now again, when pressed, it seems you have indeed brightened my day just in hearing from you. Smells like loneliness, doesn't it? Not really. It's just that sometimes my own sense of failure and frustration in building an active community where different voices can be counted upon to seed the common causes and indeed foster that notion of belonging to a focussed group greater than oneself, gets the best of me, and I plot yet another "situation" to stir the soup.

I mean, one does get tired of groveling for input. But I've had a rough year myself since this list was founded last November, and certainly do not crave the ax just to exercise some phony sense of authority. The peepholes you mention: Matt, Kubhlai, Michael, and Gabriel, none of us have met in the flesh. But Len Bracken, Steve Taylor, and Lynn Landry all have met me, and have each pleaded cases of personal friendship with the GT, but something is drastically lacking in these friends who hardly have a word to share with this project. Friends indeed, I say to myself. In full-bodied candor, their absence is my strongest resentment of the moment.

Rebunk down in Australia, well, I dunno where he's floated off to, and there is only one other new name (to respond to Matt's query) on the subscription list, but this person has NEVER piped in with a word, not once in the several months since signing on. This person has a UK address, but has remained mum. Again, there is no criminal breech of etiquette in this behavior, but I do interpret a slight rudeness I think for a list this small already.

To me, this present anxiety is not a matter of seeping paranoia over the content or stylings of these conversations, uh, falling into the wrong hands or some utter nonsense like that; as incendiary cant they barely make muster, but there is a pinching personal disappointment fueled by a periodic suspicion that perhaps the SWILL is indeed nothing more than a crass waste of time since there are many other lists out there which seem to attract all sorts of opinionmaking noise, of the feverish sort or the mundane, but here, uh, well you know what I mean.

And I really despise the fact that I am whingeing over this.


The Writer's Block

13 Sep




Originally published on September 13, 1999

KUBHLAI: Like me, he is markedly unimpressed with the intellectual sincerity of Man. Where he immediately impressed me was by identifying precisely that there is a distinct duality between *Worldview* (''weltanschauung'') and *Philosophy* or supposedly objective human reasonings in general. Now I have never clearly made this distinction between philosophizing and worldview—rather leaving it as an assumption I suppose, that thought (along with other attitudinal modes) is but the building bricks of the total Worldview. In Hulme however, they are at odds from the very start; philosophizing (by which is meant human thought and judgement in a wider sense) lays claim to the humanist value of ''Reason'', but all the while the Worldview, which is defined as the grand picture we have of where our "satisfaction" lies, is exerting a gravitational force tempting us to construct complex arguments which, by an amazing coincidence' as it were, arrive at a point which is ''satisfying'' , which provides an apparent justification for the often crude and simplistic desires which were there a priori.

GABRIEL: Here is an interesting piece I found somewhere under a napkin not of my own choosing, a piece quaintly reviewing Kundera's TESTMENTS BETRAYED: "Kafka, Stravinsky, Rushdie—the modern artist confuses and often outrages critics looking for the clarity of orthodoxy. Kundera, whose talents as a literary and music critic almost match his formidable gifts as a novelist, defends the artist against obtuse or perverse critics, disciples, and allies. Thus he rescues Kafka the artist from the embrace of disciples who want to remake him into a thinker. Likewise, he brings the genius of Stravinsky out from under the shadow of the misguided criticism of a close friend. Similarly, Kundera reclaims Rushdie's Satanic Verses as an imaginative work from progressive intellectuals who have never read it but have claimed it as a political symbol of the need for a free press. Discipleship, friendship, and comradeship can all turn into betrayal. Against such betrayal, Kundera insists upon the creative autonomy of the novelist and the composer, whose works live in an ambiguous sphere outside of all history except the capricious history of human creativity. Though he offers keen insights into music and literature, it is in his celebration of humor in the European novel that Kundera's genial brilliance burns most brightly."

The writer steps down from the podium.


"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""