Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Ah, violence in literature — you can't tell me that squishing a little plastic man between your pages won't feel fulfilling. As far as bookmarks go, I think it's rather impractical: too much sticks out, thus getting caught on the edge while dumping into your bookbag, which will pop it out and cause you to lose your spot. Deadmarks seem more suited for coffeetable books:

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Recommended To Me: The Children's Blizzard

Last weekend I had the opportunity to chit-chat with KFYR's morning weatherman from Bismarck, and the discussion turned to the always-exciting subject of homesteader mortality on the territorial prairies of the 19th century. Romanticism of time-travel aside, neither of us have any interest in trying to live like they did, when a fall from a horse or a bad tooth could result in death. In fact, so much was unknown, everyone was so on their own, that it is hard to believe anyone lasted more than one winter. he recommended a book he is reading called The Children's Blizzard, an account of the Blizzard of 1888. The weather was mild, there were no warnings on the horizon, no NOAA weather service to break into daytime television, and as children were preparing to walk the few short miles back home from school, a whiteout blizzard hit. A surprising number survived, but the hundreds that didn't make it was enormously tragic to the families and communities that were struggling against enormous odds to begin with. Sad stories don't always appeal to me, but when a wheatherman is reading a book about a snowstorm, it must be worth the read.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

...Nearly All Good Bookkeepers

The Wifey and I just bought a whole bunch of ephemera and paper from a local dealer's estate, and we've gone through most of it, rather quickly, and now we're looking inside everything. One small booklet, "Common Trees and Shrubs of North Dakota", came with this pseudo-bookplate, rubber-stamped on the cover:

This book belongs to James L. Helm, and please return it. You may think this is a strange request to make, but although many of my friends are poor arithmeticians, they are nearly all good bookkeepers.

Ah, the droll wit that insults friends' math skills and then accuses them of thievery! History attributes the quote to Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish novelist who penned Rob Roy and Ivanhoe. The quote has been in use for quite some time — Google Books' ambitious digitizing project includes numerous bookplates that quote Scott's "strange request."

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