How To Get By at the Towson Book Sale on $3 a Day
A Tale of Horrid Hunters & Cloying Collectors
I splurged this weekend on gas, Boston Market chicken, and car repairs, so by the time I realized that Sunday was the last day of the Friends of the Towson Library Book Sale at (you guessed it) the Towson Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, I had but $3 to my name.
|Towson Library Book Sale|
I thought that the final day of the Towson Book Sale was one of those all-you-can-fill-a-bag (or box)-with book buffet deals like the (far superior) annual Enoch Pratt Free Library Book Sale, but no such luck in the 'burbs. They have some hokey "by the inch" thing - I think it was $3 for 6-inches or $5 for 12-inches - which sounds either like a male hustler solicitation rate or a Subway sandwich promotion.
But I have enough books, for God's sake, and I work at a library to boot. Besides, I'm trying to sell my house and need to de-clutter years of pop cultural detritus that built up within the rowhome I call "Townhouse Shabby" (to appeal to fans of Downton Abbey shopping for Rodgers Forge homes with, um, "character"!) And so I busied myself pouring over the spread of CDs, which were 2-for-$1. Given my limited math skills (in High School I took Algebra II literally - meaning I took it twice!), I counted my fingers until I finally calculated this would allow me to pick up six CDs with my three bucks.
Luckily, The library volunteer "Friends" had taken the time to roughly sort them by type (all the jazz was in one section, the pop/rock/soul in another, Christmas music here, world/folk there, and so on), and I soon found my six - though I wish I had worn my prescription glasses because I mistakenly picked up the soundtrack to Mel "Son of a Holocaust Denier" Gibson's Passion of the Christ after mistaking it for Peter Gabriel's gorgeous score for Martin Scorcese's The Last Temptation of the Christ, which borders on aesthetic blasphemy to my mind. (For my money, Gibson's only good movies are the ones where he's not acting but just playing himself, a savage yahoo retard. Hence his best work is in Tim , where he plays a retard, and Road Warrior, where he plays a desensitized savage with a muscle car).
My other, less controversial scores were:
1. The Graham Gouldman-Eric Stewart edition of 10cc Live In Concert, Volume Two, a mid-'90s release documenting what they sounded like during their 1993 Japanese Tour (and which includes two Beatles covers - three if you consider their take on "Slow Down" to be the Beatles version). Having just seen a live DVD of Graham Gouldman's 10cc touring band circa 2007, 10cc in Concert, it was good to pick up this edition with Eric Stewart singing most of the vocals.
|A live split-CD from the post-split 10cc|
2. 1997's eponymous fifth Blur album with "Beetlebum" and "Song 2," among many fine other songs from the London boys in their prime.
|Blur by Blur|
3. A 28-track various artists collection of indie bands on the Go-Kart label called called Go-Kart Vs. the Corporate Giant .
|Go-Kart comp features Balto bands Berserk, Buttsteak and Stress Magnets|
I already own a copy, but I figured I'd gift it to my girlfriend Amy so she could listen to our friends Dave Cawley and Skizz Cyzyk rock out on the two Berserk cuts on it: Brent Malkus's "Blue Hearts" - an homage to the '80s Japanese punk-pop band Blue Hearts...
|Japan's Blue Hearts|
- and Ultraman fanboy Dave's tokosatsu love song "Ultra 7."
Berserk - "Ultra 7"
Berserk - "Ultra 7" live at the Ottobar
The CD (which can currently be found "new" on Amazon for 71 cents!), also contains tracks by two more local bands, Buttsteak and Brent's old band the Stress Magnets. Deal!
|Stress Magnets - "Kendall Fell Asleep in the Corn"|
4. Four More Years in the Bush Leagues by local political satirists The Capital Steps because, well, the George W. Years were funny as far as logic and common sense goes, if not too funny as far as the economy, 9/11, and all those wasted American lives in the Iraq war fiasco.
|Capital Steps - "Four More Years in the Bush Leagues"|
5. And, finally,Toolbox Classics by Woody Phillips. The features "handyman" interpretations of classical compositions by the masters (Beethoven, Bach, Bizet, Strauss, , Greig, Wagner, etc.) using instruments you'll never hear at the BSO - like power drills, table saws, pneumatic nailers, hammers, anvils, and plucked jigsaw blades. (A good record to fool my neighbors into thinking I actually have some home improvement skills, though the oustide of my house surely doesn't fool them!)
|Maestro-craftsman Woody Phillips's Toolbox Classics|
Though I picked up Toolbox Classics on a whim and strictly as a novelty, it actually works as good, serious music (I call it "Powertool Pop") - albeit using shed tools in place of more traditional instruments. This is especially true of Richard Strauss's "Thus Spake Zarathustra" (excerpt from Op. 30), in which a drill press motor, table saw, 50-gallon drum, vacuum, and pipes perfectly recreate the dramatic tension of the original - and I'd saw the steady back-and-forth of the table saw even surpasses the original's pounding kettlebell drumming.
Listen to maestro Woody Phillips and his craftsmen orchestra perform Bizet's "Habernero" from Carmen.
But my shopping was disturbed by an ugly book sale incident between a roly-poly, bespectacled and balding Daniel Pinkwater lookalike and an ADD-addled, right-wing capitalist-vulgarian-nitwit who looked like Steven Spielberg and who was scanning every disc with his smart phone scanner to check it's value on the "open market."
|Spielberg with a Scanner Man|
Between the two, they had scarfed up most of the CDs on offer as if the discs were the Treasure of the Sierra Madre. These twin OCD shoppers were two prime examples of the collecting "feeding frenzy of excess" so typical of greedy too-much-stuff Consumer-Americans (I used to be one so I caught my reflection, briefly, in their eyes).
The latter had absolutely no taste, of course. When I saw that he had the 10cc CD in his hand, I asked Spielberg with a Scanner, "Oh, are you a fan?" to which he replied, "Nah, I only know the one song." That would be "I'm Not In Love," seemingly the only song anyone (at least this side of the Pond) knows by 10cc, and mostly known (if at all) by a today's generation only thanks to its inclusion on the Virgin Suicides soundtrack. But I can't complain because he gave it to me (thanks dude!) when I told him my girlfriend was a big 10cc fan.
When I looked at Scanner Man's piles my belief in his lack of taste was completely vetted: Eagles, Dr. Hook, John Tesh...I had to look away. It hurt too much. And why, by the way, would anyone bother scanning these CDs in to check their value? These are...rarities? Collectibles? WTF?
Anyway, Pinkwater Man suddenly addressed Steven Spielberg the Tasteless-Clueless Vulgarian with a Scanner, saying "I see you are one of those capitalist collector types who come to these events to try and make a profit and not for love of the music like me. That's why I only buy music to enjoy and not to turn it over and make a profit!"
Steven Spielberg the Tasteless-Clueless Vulgarian with a Scanner scoffed, "You sound like one of those Liberals to me!" Oh Lord, I thought, he's not only got bad taste in music but it extends to talk radio, as he started to sound like one of Rush Limbaugh's ditto heads.
And just like that - woo boy, it was on! Pinkwater should have bitten his tongue, because he didn't realize Spielberg Scanner Man's girlfriend was in "Talk to the Hand" mode and ready to bite his head off.
|Wal-mart Whoop-ass Whoopi|
She was a big gal who looked like a young Whoopi Goldberg and spoke with a West Indies accent. She immediately started yapping at her beloved saying, "It's a good thing he didn't say that to me. If someone say that to me at a Wal-Mart, that shit won't fly. You don't talk here any different from the way you talk at Wal-mart [??? The Library vs. Wal-Mart analogy lost me, I admit; did she think she'd be "Shhhh"-ed by a librarian if she started shit-kicking Pinkwater Man?]. No siree, not without getting in somebody's face and thems dealing with the consequences. You best be ready for a smackdown in that case, you talk like that."
My God, Whoop-ass Whoopi had major anger management issues, because she proceeded to go on until closing time at 5 about this poor, pathetic Pinkwater-esque busy-body with threats of an increasingly violent nature.
"Tell you what, I would stand a person like that on their head and then I'd give them their what-for, yesiree. Stand 'em on their head until the shit come out of their mouth!"
I closed my ears. Jeezus fuck, I thought, why can't people just get along? And why can't this Temper Taliban woman just get over it and let go of the by-now long transpired comment? This is why people get killed for flipping the bird in the highway - no sense of scale or proportion. We're talking about 2-for-a-buck CDS, for Christ's sake! GET OVER IT!
(By the way, her taste was just as atrocious; she thought she was cutting edge because she listened to Nickleback and Limp Bizkit!: "I dunno what the neighbors will think if I buy anymore Nickleback, hon," she cracked to her beloved; um, I would venture they'd think she was every bit as annoying and unimaginative as I found her after about 30 seconds!)
This is why I tend to avoid these book sales now. I like the books and audiovisual materials; it's the greedy OCD people I can't stand!
In closing, I'm gonna shit-can my Mel Gibson soundtrack. After all, the only people who'd probably want it would be Whoop-ass Whoopi and Spielberg the Scanner Man and maybe they can scan for it later at the county dump.