Sunday Morning Open Thread: Master of the Shelves

I think I speak for a not insignificant portion of the Balloon Juice community when I ask: Can I be this guy when I grow up?:

The oracle of the Strand Book Store can be found back in the fiction section wearing a name tag that reads: “Benjamin. Ask Me.”

In the 35 years that Ben McFall, 64, has managed the vast section, many customers have: for that elusive first edition, for a good poetry recommendation, for relationship advice.

“If you really need to know, you go to the Strand and ask for Ben,” said Llew Almeida, a book collector from Southport, Conn., who was part of a group of customers and staff members buzzing around Mr. McFall on Wednesday afternoon at the mammoth bookstore at Broadway and 12th Street that has a staff of more than 170 workers and an estimated two million books in its inventory.

Mr. McFall is the dean of the clerks and the institutional memory of the fiction section, where he sorts, prices and shelves hundreds of books a day. And he is often the one pulling books off the shelves for customers…

Apart from the President officially starting his second term (Washington Post: The constitution mandates that inauguration take place on Jan. 20, but because Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday this year, a small private ceremony will be held on Sunday ahead of the public ceremony on Monday”), what’s on the agenda for the day?

85 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    Mali: Franco-British involvement.

  2. 2
    redshirt says:

    Pshaw. Books?! Relic of the past. Do you care about books, comrade?

  3. 3
    redshirt says:

    That said, my dream room has always been a library. With shelves 20 feet high, and a rolling ladder system constructed across the room.

  4. 4
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @NotMax: My aging, just awoke eyes originally read that as “Mail: British-Franco involvement”, and I wondered how the congress had screwed the USPS this time.

  5. 5

    Today is day 2 of the Art Deco Weekend festival on Miami Beach, so I will be out there helping to put on the classic car show. Yesterday we had about 60 cars show up in the drizzly morning, but it cleared up and we had a good show. Today we are looking for over 100.

    (I’m watching the Weather Channel. They’ve got heavy lake-effect snow warnings up in Michigan. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, moved to Florida.)

  6. 6
    Raven says:

    Go Falcons!

  7. 7
    amk says:

    This crowning must take place on Jan 20, come hell or high water, nonsense (as sane as the we gotta arm our citizenry to the teeth for freedumbs stupidity), has it happened before to anyone other than the kenyan soshalist muslin?

  8. 8
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Good morning, folks. I have a story to tell.

    The VA, through their VRE, has graciously offered to send the Daughter Unit to school. She said she’d like to study civil engineering and they said Fine. Go for it.

    So we’re looking into the local universities and the Greater Philly area has lots of them. The ones that are close and also have good civil engineering schools are mainly private schools.

    And the tuition is OBSCENE! Yes, I know we won’t be paying for it but the fact remains: Tuition in this neck of the woods is ridiculous!

    Dunno where she’ll go. Penn doesn’t have what she wants. Drexel has a stuffy atmosphere. Temple has good programs but the intake people don’t seem eager to work with her. Villanova is nice and has a great reputation. Widener doesn’t enjoy such a good reputation but Daughter might actually be more comfortable there.

    And every one of these schools is asking for enough to support a family of four. Every year. Plus fees. And we won’t even talk about housing.

    Jimminy Cricket!

  9. 9
    Raven says:

    @Linda Featheringill: What about starting at a two-year? I started at Illinois on the GI Bill, flunked out, went to community college and eventually finished at Illinois. That is where my undergrad is from, no one knows or cares where I went for the first two years.

  10. 10
    Raven says:

    @Linda Featheringill: RE: Tuition. In Georgia we have have had record enrollment and record budget cuts for TEN YEARS running. I’m sure it’s the same in Pennsylvania.

  11. 11
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    The ones that are close and also have good civil engineering schools are mainly private schools.

    Mainly private schools.

    I think I see your problem. That’s not a location-based tuition issue. In-state tuition FTW.

  12. 12
    amk says:

    @redshirt: You mean libraries like these ?

  13. 13
    MikeJ says:

    @amk: In 1957 and 1985 January 20th fell on a Saturday.

    Eisenhower was sworn in in a private ceremony in the East Room on Sunday, and again at the capitol on Monday. Reagan did the same.

    I much prefer to have the president’s term be defined down to the day and require the swearing in on the proper day.

  14. 14
    c u n d gulag says:

    FSM, I love The Strand.
    One of the greatest bookstores, EVAH! ! !
    I used to spend a lot of time there, hunting for hidden gems.
    I haven’t been there in at least 20 years, and that makes me haz a big sad… :’-(

    I also miss Shakespeare & Company – another great bookstore in Manhattan.

    And, Five Continents – a great bookstore to get books by international authors, and books in other languages. I used to buy Russian, Ukrainian, and German books there, and read them when I got home (I needed dictionaries for the Ukrainian and German ones).

    It’s so sad that so many great little bookshops disappeared, once Barnes & Noble, and Borders, and others of their ilk, made the scene.
    Amazon, too – sorry, Amazon accolytes.
    Nothing beats a great little bookstore!

  15. 15
    WereBear says:

    I love bookstores. All of them.

    Nobody set out to murder them.

    However, I would point the finger at the Publishing Industry. Right before the rise of the eBook, I was shopping around my own work, and I got back “We no longer have a slush pile. You have to go through the agent.” The agents said, “Why are you already famous? Please send us a list of your recent media appearances.”

    When books turn into reality shows, nothing good will come of it.

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    @amk: Last week the NYTimes had an article on the 46 Places to go in 2013. I’d rather travel to the 25 libraries you linked to. The one in Colombia was built with stone and recycled lumber.

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    Last week a 5 year old girl was suspended from school after she threatened to shoot another girl with a pink little kitty gun. (We can discuss why there are guns with the little kitty logo another time.) What I’m curious about is whether or not there will be charges against the people who owned guns that accidentally discharged and injured people at gun shows. The five year old was questioned by police for three hours without her parents present.

  18. 18
    Linda Featheringill says:


    If we were paying for it, we’d never even consider these particular schools. Some of my shock may stem from my working class roots.

    And wait until you hear my screed about colleges established by old money, derived from trading in live humans and dead wales. And original buildings built with slave labor.

    Makes me feel like I’m walking on the graves of people long gone.

  19. 19
    mai naem says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I know its not in Philly but Carnegie Mellon is supposed to be a really good engineering school. Also too, what Raven said but make sure that she has signed stuff from the school she wants to transfer to that all the courses she’s taking will be accepted for credit. I have a friend going to a christian university who had to retake the bible class at the university because the bible class she took at CC was the New Testament and the uni one is the Old Testament. Not kidding here and BTW it is not her core course. They also made her retake a prereq class because she had taken it over five years(just over 5 yrs) before she graduates even though she has taken higher level classes within five years for which the class shes retaking was the prereq for. College is all about $$$ anymore. It’s got nothing to do with learning.

  20. 20
    mai naem says:

    So because I am a masochist, I was watching On the Money with Maria Antoinette Bartiromo on the local station this AM. She had Whole Foods CEO John Fascist Sosulist Mackey on. She just should have had Mackey turn around and moon her so that she could kiss his ass for real for the 10 minutes she wasted on the interview. “So you are a vegan, Wow!, You treat your employees very well, You make so much money, You look great for 59, Hell, if I wasn’t screwing around with my Citi MOTU I would be screwing around with you, Obamacare is expensive, that’s what my CEO friends say so it’s true, You are rich” Ugh. I detest this woman. Michelle Caruso Cabrera has a long way to go for me to dislike her as much as MAB.

  21. 21
    hep kitty says:

    Okay, this is an open thread so, here’s what drives me crazy. For the umpteenth time, I watched the Lion in Winter.

    For years, I have been fascinated by the stone heads carved in stone rafters that appear as the beginning credits roll. I have tried to find out exactly where they come from. Some kind of primitive, 13th century cathedral, perhaps? There is no indication in the beginning or closing credits and I can find nothing on the intertrons.

    Any historians here who know where they come from? It’s been bugging me for years.

  22. 22
    danielx says:


    But this is the Kenyanislamofascistsoshulistimposter, so…cue the wingnut paranoid conspiracies about why there will be two inauguration ceremonies in 3…2…1…

  23. 23
    Xenos says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Will the VA pay for tuition at universities outside the US? Might want to check out Waterloo.

  24. 24
    Randy P says:

    @c u n d gulag: I *still* spend a lot of time at the Strand. I tell myself “Don’t go in there, you have too many books already and half a dozen you’ve never read”. But it never works. And the 50-cent bins outside are starter drugs that just pull you off the sidewalk and into the store…

  25. 25
    Richard Fox says:

    Talk about a blast from the past. I worked at the Strand with Ben McFall in 1982 when I was just out of college. I thought of him last time I was in the Strand in December and he must have been off that day. Lord it is a small world. Ben is a great guy. Still acerbic and seems the same sort of fellow as he always was.That is comforting to see.. The owner of the Strand–Fred Bass is also a character. Not unlike a scholarly version of Fred Mertz. The kind of guy who would order a series of classics to sell bound in really cheap imitation leather, hold up one fondly and intone “my these are SUCH handsome volumes!” –expecting them to fly off the shelves based on their luxurious packaging.Those books were forever known in the store as “handsomes.” I am sure some are still on the shelves.. Ah, good times…

  26. 26
    PurpleGirl says:

    I haven’t been to The Strand in years. During college and my first job (I attended and worked at NYU), I’d go there during lunch; I usually bought something. I stopped going there when at one point their security desk wanted me to give them my handbag — claiming it was too large — and saying I’d have to carry my wallet, check book, eyeglass case, etc. in my hands. (Good way to make sure I couldn’t look at books!) I walked out.

    When I finally did go back, they had remodeled the store. It may have looked nicer but somehow I liked the old dusty version more.

  27. 27
    Elizabelle says:

    @hep kitty:

    Hoping this list of “Lion in Winter” filming locations will have a link that shows your stone heads.

    Do let us know where they hail from.

  28. 28
    evodevo says:

    @Linda Featheringill: No one cares where you do the undergraduate degree – go for cheap at a state U …. then you can think about where to do the Masters at, because there won’t be any jobs for a 4-year grad. (Unless the economy changes A LOT in the next 4).
    I have experience working at the state U level and advising those suckers who paid out the nose for those first 2 years at a private school.
    It’s the graduate degrees that count.

  29. 29
    MikeJ says:


    But this is the Kenyanislamofascistsoshulistimposter, so…cue the wingnut paranoid conspiracies about why there will be two inauguration ceremonies in 3…2…1…

    Already had one of my acquaintance tell me that they should just skip the private ceremony because he’s technically president until someone else is sworn in. Sadly if he weren’t the Republicans would try to grab power. The only question would be if they would use impeachment of say you can only use that against a president and since he isn’t really….

  30. 30
    hep kitty says:

    @Elizabelle: Thanks for that link! I will have to check out those various locations. Will let you know if I find out anything.

  31. 31
    hep kitty says:

    @JPL: I do know they make pink guns for the ladeez. Cute, huh?

    I heard the NRA recently put out a nice little video game where you shoot at little coffins, post-Sandy Hook.

    I had no idea they put out video games. The lack of self-awareness and tone-deafness of the NRA is absolutely mind-boggling.

    Also heard about the ad targeting the President’s daughters.

    I’ve been staying away from politics but I did hear about those two which only makes me want to retreat even more.

    Aside from the obvious fact that the President and his family are required to be protected by the Secret Service, those little girls are likely to be in greater danger than any other President’s kids in the history of the US.

  32. 32
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @hep kitty:

    The sculpted stone figures appearing during the main title music were a lucky, unexpected find by the director while shooting scenes in France. They were filmed along the artist’s driveway and later edited to create the title sequence where they appear to be on interior walls of the castle.[citation needed]

    From the Wikipedia entry on The Lion in Winter.

  33. 33
    MikeJ says:

    @hep kitty:

    those little girls are likely to be in greater danger than any other President’s kids in the history of the US.

    Wingnuts will tell you that this proves how evil Obama is, subjecting his children to them.

  34. 34
    hep kitty says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Thank you! Driveway is puzzling, however. What exactly does that mean? Were they part of a stone walled structure of some kind? They certainly look like part of an interior, a church is what I always thought. Where in France? Were editing techniques that advanced in 1968 to be able to make them look as if these figures were interior?

    The mystery continues.

  35. 35
    hep kitty says:

    @MikeJ: It was sort of like, how dare they get protection, on our tab, while our defenseless little white children have to run around unarmed.

    The crazy, lord knows, I’m crazy enough as it is. I’ve decided I can’t handle much more crazy from the outside. Just a pinch here and there. And then I have to turn it off.

    We’re targeting children here. Yes, Rush even went that far, saying the President was using the Sandy Hook children as “human shields” YES, he did.

  36. 36
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Not Philly, I know, but the Virginia Tech and U of Maryland grads I work with (branches of Civil) all seem to know what they’re doing. They’re both public schools, should be cheaper. UMBC has a good reputation, along with College Park.

    For public schools, SUNY maybe? I don’t think the PA state system is particularly strong in engineering.

    Lehigh and Hopkins turn out a few also, but they’re probably in the same price range as the ones you’re talking about.

  37. 37
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @Raven: I’ve got a neighbor in mechanical engineering who did the same thing. 2 years at community college, finished with 2 years at Penn State.

  38. 38
    Chyron HR says:

    Call me a grumpy cat if you must, but can’t the President just get his real inauguration today and let everybody go about their business tomorrow?

  39. 39
    Maude says:

    I went to Strand years ago. If that happened to me, I’d never go back.

    ETA we’re going down to the 20s and staying there.

  40. 40
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @hep kitty:

    Can’t answer any of those! (I know you didn’t expect me to.) And note that the Wikipedia article says “citation needed.” That information has to be documented somewhere, right? Is there a library somewhere that serves as a kind of repository for film scripts complete with directorial and technical/production notes? Maybe Roger Ebert would know.

    FWIW, I also adore that opening sequence, as I adore the entire film. One of my personal “Desert Island” movies.

  41. 41
    burnspbesq says:

    What’s on the agenda today? Football!

    Chelsea-Arsenal and then ManU-Spurs.

    As much as I despise Piers Morgan, I have to draw the line at rooting for Chelski. Unless and until he actually signs with LA, Frank Lampard is disgusting blue scum.

    Re Strand: it’s a cool place, but it’s not exactly one-of-a-kind. Powell’s in Portland is better.

  42. 42
    donnah says:

    I’m gearing up to watch the big Inaugural events tomorrow. During Obama’s first Inaugural, I sat with my middle son who was 19 at the time and we saw all of the monumental moments. I cried with joy the entire time, so proud to witness Obama’s triumph. I expect I will cry again, in spite of knowing the obstacles ahead in this term.

    My youngest son and I have been watching The West Wing on Netflix. It’s both comforting and appallling because ten years ago the same events were going on. Republicans were still being assholes, PBS funding was under attack, gun control was too hot to handle, and the President wasn’t able to lead as he saw fit. One would hope that ten years later the story could be written with more hope and happy endings, but it seems we are locked in a loop of Us vs Them.

    I say let Obama be Obama.

  43. 43
    burnspbesq says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Civil engineering? Lehigh! It’s only an hour away from Philly.

  44. 44
    MomSense says:

    I want to see Ben right now!! The damned frothy man just came on my tv screen. He is a vicious person–the hatred and arrogance just ooze out of his face when he talks.

  45. 45
    mir13 says:

    I’m watching Petunia and Pals on Faux (minus the real Petunia – wherefore art thou, Gretch? Couldn’t miss the White Sabbath, eh?), and seriously enjoying their lamentations. They’re like a puppy after the rolled-up newspaper, though not nearly as cute or smart. There’s no arc of knowledge here, just flatlines and that annoyingly shrill sound that always accompanies it.

    It’s fucking awesome!

  46. 46
    El Caganer says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Most Philly-area schools will accept transfer credits from CCP (I’m pretty sure that Temple has a very close arrangement with CCP), so that would be one way to save money for the first couple of years. Unfortunately, none of the local Penn State campuses nor West Chester U. have what you’re after. How about Rowan, in NJ?

  47. 47
    quannlace says:

    But this is the Kenyanislamofascistsoshulistimposter, so…cue the wingnut paranoid conspiracies about why there will be two inauguration ceremonies in 3…2…1…

    Yes, but you forgot to add how they’ll insist he’s shredding the constitution, either way.

  48. 48
    Steeplejack says:

    If eemom stops back by here, I think she needs to reconfigure the D.C. meet-up this afternoon. Currently it’s scheduled for 5:00 at Bailey’s Pub at Ballston Common. I was the one who suggested the venue on Friday, but it completely slipped my mind then that this is a huge NFL Sunday–conference title games–and Bailey’s will likely be packed with rowdy football fans. Oops! My bad, as one obnoxious coworker used to say (a lot).

    There are many places near the Ballston Metro station, but I don’t know a lot of them. Rock Bottom Brewery is also at Ballston Common, and it is good, but I can’t remember how much of a “sports bar” it is and whether it’s likely to be crowded.

    Note: I am not running this show and will be unable to attend, but I wanted to head off a potential fiasco.

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I’m almost afraid to ask, but who is the damned frothy man? Or maybe I should say, to which specific damned frothy man among the many damned frothy men on teevee are you referring?

  50. 50
    Amir Khalid says:

    The bookstores of my childhood in Kuala Lumpur were cramped, musty old establishments run by Indian Muslim gentlemen. They had comprehensive selections of textbooks from primary school to university. Fiction, not so much. There are better bookstores now, but I do miss those old places.

    On another topic: Is there not going to be a front page post on the SHOCK!HORROR! SCANDAL! of Subway’s 11-inch “foot-long” sandwiches? It seems an Aussie kid took a picture of his just-purchased sandwich alongside a tape measure, and the sandwich didn’t measure up to expectations.

  51. 51
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @evodevo: A Civil Engineer can make a perfectly good living without a Master’s, particularly working in design. No college courses teach you anything about putting a set of plans together that a County reviewer will accept.

    Stay away from the PhD though. This is one profession where it’s useless overkill and might get you less job offers.

  52. 52
    Maude says:

    If the BJs meet there, you’d have to feel sorry for the footballers.

  53. 53
    quannlace says:

    I’m almost afraid to ask, but who is the damned frothy man?

    I’m afraid to say, that I think it’s Santorum. ‘Afraid’ in the sense that anybody is still giving him any kind of legitimate platform.

  54. 54
    El Caganer says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Just my too-scents worth, but all the Villanova grads I know are delighted they went there, and its engineering department has an excellent rep. (Full disclosure: my only connection with Villanova is that I worked on a project with some folks in that same engineering department back in the 90s.)

  55. 55
    Svensker says:

    Just saw on Gex’s FB page that Kate died this morning.

    Holding them in the Light.

  56. 56
    MomSense says:


    Santorum. He is sooooo bad he almost makes me like George Will.

  57. 57
    Amir Khalid says:

    I’m sad to hear that.

  58. 58
    mir13 says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: It’s probably Grand Inquisitor Santorum trying to gnaw his way back from irrelevance by bigfootin’ all over Bama-lam’s big day.

    What a snob.

  59. 59
    Baud says:


    but I wanted to head off a potential fiasco.

    I think you’re on the wrong blog.

  60. 60
    Steeplejack says:


    True, but they have to establish a beachhead first. The football will have been going on for a couple of hours by the time they arrive.

  61. 61
    Maude says:

    LOL and true.

  62. 62
    NotMax says:

    @hep kitty

    Were editing techniques that advanced in 1968 to be able to make them look as if these figures were interior?


    Film techniques were advanced enough in 1928 to do that.

  63. 63
    Steeplejack says:


    I dream the impossible dream.

  64. 64
    Johannes says:

    @c u n d gulag: The Strand is a bit better organized than you remember it, and the prices have gone up a little, but it’s the same place you remember. I’ve been a fan since I was 18, aback in 1984, and bought my second printing of Mark Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad,” which I still have.

    Ben’s right; he was the first nice person to work there; some of the other clerks were bloody terrifying.

  65. 65
    Maude says:

    Maybe the BJers will float in on a sea of booze.

  66. 66
    S. cerevisiae says:

    Of course the Kenyan Usurper needs to have a secret swearing in so he can swear on the (Koran, Satanic Bible, Necronomicon – take your pick). /wingnut

    I will bet good money there is already a thread like this in Freeperland.

  67. 67
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Maude: It was a good 20 years before I went back. I was with a friend and we were killing time before going to a movie.

  68. 68
    Scamp Dog says:

    @c u n d gulag: it’s easy to get all verklempt about small bookstores and the big soulless chains, but I also remember Young’s Reading Center across the street from my high school, where old man Young would grump at you for taking a moment to read a bit from one of the paperbacks. Walden’s was a huge improvement, and I can’t tell you when Young’s went under because it didn’t matter a bit.

  69. 69
    RaflW says:

    I worked at the Strand in the summer of 1984. It was a fantastc and strange experience. Artie, my boss down in the basement, was a gruff, cigar-chomping NY Jew, but by no means terrifying.
    I basically worked basement, but also drove the bookstall run to Bryant and Central parks most days, so wasn’t on the main floor much.
    I wonder, though, if this is the Ben I remember as the intimidating* gay man who would give me the head-to-toe eye scan and head tilt one the occasions I’d ask for a light? I seem to recall the name as Ben?
    *Intimidating only because I was a nervous 18 y.o. whio would take six more years to come out. Who ever that guy was, he was one of the very first I knew as “out,” a concept that terrified at the time.
    Also, yes, I was 18 and drove deliveries in Manhattan 5 days a week. I l.o.v.e. loved that job!

  70. 70
    Elizabelle says:


    Very sorry you can’t attend, as hoped to meet you. February, then.

    Agree that Rock Bottom would be a way better venue.


  71. 71
    Richard Fox says:

    @RaflW: that’s the guy. In 1982-85 I worked on the 5 th floor in the building next door with the inventory, would run orders to the main floor and do guard duty in the rare book room. Dealt with Ben fairly regularly. He was definitely a character, in a fun way. Ah I can see that head tilt in my mind when I read this. I was 22, gay, nice looking kid, and managed to keep on his good side. That was the important thing. Best thing at the time for me was I got so many great art books at a discount. Salary went right back into the store’s coffers of course. But I got a DEAL so all was right with the world. :-)

  72. 72
    Valdivia says:


    that makes me very sad. Love to Gex.

  73. 73
    Walker says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    I do not understand. The VA is sending her? Then who is picking up the tab? Unless they are paying for the lions share, their support sounds irrelevant.

    The reason why this is important is because you are looking at sticker price. Back-end (after financial aid) is often very different. Students from a family earning less that $75k will graduate with less debt if they go to an Ivy than if they go to a state school.

    But financial aid happens after they gobble whatever external support you get. The unfortunate moral of the story is that external scholarships are often worthless (I learned this in college 20 years ago, and it is even more true now).

  74. 74
    Johannes says:

    @RaflW: Terrifying in that I was very young, and had very old-fashioned tastes, and many on staff had the “REALLY?” glare down for when you asked to find more stodgy, conventional books . Even Ben would shake his head at some of my lighter choices.

  75. 75
    Thlayli says:

    Clint Dempsey hits the 93rd-minute equalizer for Spurs.

  76. 76

    I think I speak for a not insignificant portion of the Balloon Juice community when I ask: Can I grow up?

  77. 77
    Anoniminous says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    When I was in my late twenties I thought it was time to grow up so I tried it for a couple of years.


    Wasn’t worth it.

  78. 78
    burnspbesq says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    I think I speak for a not insignificant portion of the Balloon Juice community when I ask: Can I grow up?

    You can, but what do you hope to gain by it?

  79. 79
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Drexel has a stuffy atmosphere? I went to grad school at UPenn, sig other went to both UPenn and Drexel, and we both found Drexel to be super down to earth. Maybe the engineers are a different culture than the design-school people?

  80. 80
    Anon nyc strand customer (this time) says:

    @Sorry Al @ top & c u n d gulag: Sorry folks, just ask Richard formerly the Art book buyer. It’s not some worker’s paradise

  81. 81
    Anoniminous says:


    At the time asking for a light was a gay signal that you wanted to be picked up. Basically, you were hitting on him.

    I know this because I am an olds.

  82. 82
    Anon nyc strand customer (this time) says:

    @Svensker: that’s awful, thanks for letting us know

  83. 83
    J R in WV says:


    Sorry for your loss! We hope you can take some time to recuperate in the near future – that’s very important right now. Rest up, socialize, take long walks, eat well, nap in the afternoons. Take care of yourself now.

    We’ll be thinking of you!
    Best of luck!


  84. 84
    Rex Everything says:

    I wanna go in & ask him “Yeah, why’d the Strand change from being a real used bookstore where you could get a $1.50 paperback or cheap Modern Library or Everyman’s like it’s no big deal, cause it isn’t, & become a piece of shit that deals in mostly new $14 oversized newsprint garbage just like Barnes & Noble, where when you find something that even approaches the ‘out of print’ category (which absolutely DOES NOT, in & of itself, make a book at all rare or collectible), you get charged through the fucking nose for it, & where most of the floor space is devoted to coffee-table book displays and overpriced NYC-as-theme-park branded memorabilia?”

    If he’s the kind of guy they describe, there’s a good chance I’d get a straight answer.

  85. 85
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    @Chyron HR: Tomorrow is MLK day. It’s a federal holiday anyway.

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