Bristol’s Bibliophile BookBarn Bargain Blowout Boffo Bonanza!!!

See!? The economic crapper does have a good side!

Thousands in scramble for free books after Amazon supplier abandons warehouse
By David Wilkes
28th February 2009
Bibliophiles have travelled from far and wide to the old Bookbarn site on an industrial estate in Brislington, Bristol.
The warehouse, whose lease recently ran out, once contained as many as five million books destined to be sold online.
After the lease expired, he firm running the secondhand book business moved out, leaving it full of books.
Managers of the industrial estate invited people to help themselves so they can free up space at the site.

What I want to know is how the place came to look like such a tip. Did the company, skeedaddling out of town, do this? Or did the “locust swarm” of crazed shoppers do it?

William Hope’s Spirit Photographs

The National Media Museum has a whole set of William Hope’s “Spirit Photographs.” From the intro to the set:

These photographs of ‘spirits’ are taken from an album of photographs unearthed in a Lancashire second-hand and antiquarian bookshop by one of the Museum’s curators. They were taken by a controversial medium called William Hope (1863-1933)…

…By 1922 Hope had moved to London where he became a professional medium. The work of the Crew Circle was investigated on various occasions. The most famous of these took place in 1922, when the Society for Psychical Research sent Harry Price to investigate the group. Price collected evidence that Hope was substituting glass plates bearing ghostly images in order to produce his spirit photographs.

Later the same year Price published his findings, exposing Hope as a fraudster. However, many of Hope’s most ardent supporters spoke out on his behalf, the most famous being Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Hope continued to practice, despite his exposure. He died in London on 7 March 1933.

Obvious fakes, time has rendered them spooky in different, much more interesting ways. The “female spirit” he uses is a bit odd looking, and Hope’s use of her just floating there shows at least he knew how to freak people out.

The Onion on form again

Barack, you’ve always been the caretaker.

Sasha Obama Keeps Seeing Creepy Bush Twins While Riding Tricycle Through White House
February 23, 2009

WASHINGTON—A little more than a month after the first family’s move to the White House, reports of strange happenings have continued to surface, with Sasha Obama confirming Tuesday that she had once again been visited by the eerie specter of the Bush twins.

Sasha, who was playing in the East Wing of the executive mansion so as not to disturb her busy father, reported seeing the former first twins while riding her Big Wheel tricycle down the Cross Hall corridor. The frightening apparitions, the 7-year-old said, emerged out of thin air and were dressed in identical outfits consisting of spaghetti strap tank tops and denim skirts.

New York Magazine Profile on Film Critic Armond White

I don’t really read Armond White, but I do like to read about someone who is uncompromising and drives mainstream critics nuts. (On the other hand, he thinks Spielberg is America’s Greatest Director. (Really?)) I was interested in his statement here:

“We always went to the movies, every Saturday at least,” White says. “I used to love to see stuff like The Long, Hot Summer and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. To me, this was a window into the adult world. Now people watch movies so they can stay kids, which proves how infantilized the culture is. I wanted to see how grown-ups acted, in CinemaScope. Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, the most beautiful people ever, on that giant image: It filled my head … Detroit was a great movie town then. We got Canadian TV, so I got to see stuff like La Dolce Vita, Jacques Demy’s Lola, 8½, all of them dubbed. Boccaccio ’70—these shorts by Fellini, De Sica, and Visconti—I must have seen that one twenty times.

One of our problems as a culture is that a lot of our movies are made by men (mostly) who haven’t grown up. That’s why we have a lot of crappy superhero films and big-budget B-movies, but it’s hard to find films about what life is actually like for most of us these days. (On the other hand, I liked “Iron Man.”)