Are we about to see (finally) the genuine Jo March?

18 December 2017

From Book Riot:

I don’t think we’ve had a good cinematic portrayal of Jo March yet. Katharine Hepburn and Winona Ryder are two of my favorite actresses of all time, but I simply was not sold on either of them as Jo.

. . . .

[Do we] get our first glimpse of a new Jo, one who—I hope—shines with the spirit I see in the book’s Jo[?]


Link to the rest at Book Riot
Here’s a bonus trailer:

Trademark Protection

9 December 2017

Cease and desist letters are used by trademark owners to give notice to those that are using an individual’s or organization’s trademark without authorization. This is part of policing the use of their trademarks and failure to do so may result in the loss of protection for their marks.

While there is no mandated form that these letters/notices must take, they’re generally form letters and pretty dull.

Americans (at least those who watch sports on television) have become accustomed over the last few months to seeing a commercial for Bud Light beer that uses the phrase, “Dilly Dilly”. (example below)



Anheuser-Busch delivered a cease-and-desist in an unconventional manner to stop Modist’s Dilly Dilly IPA, which it claims infringes its trademark for the phrase “Dilly Dilly”.



And here’s a copy of the cease-and-desist letter.


No Takeover for Barnes & Noble

7 December 2017


UPDATE: PG apologizes for the autoplay, but is informed that the transition of many web videos from from plugins like Adobe Flash (that Chrome and other browsers could stop) to HTML5 has changed the game a bit.

The video is not autoplaying on PG’s Chrome browser, but he has a zillion different extensions and isn’t certain which one (or which combination of more than one) is doing the job. Searching for “disable autoplay” on Google might help out.

But what about us?

6 December 2017

Rick: Last night we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I’ve done a lot of it since then, and it all adds up to one thing: you’re getting on that plane with Victor where you belong.

Ilsa: But, Richard, no, I… I…

Rick: Now, you’ve got to listen to me! You have any idea what you’d have to look forward to if you stayed here? Nine chances out of ten, we’d both wind up in a concentration camp. Isn’t that true, Louie?

Capt. Louis Renault: I’m afraid Major Strasser would insist.

Ilsa: You’re saying this only to make me go.

Rick: I’m saying it because it’s true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You’re part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.

Ilsa: But what about us?

Rick: We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.

Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you.

From Casablanca



How independent bookstores thrived in spite of Amazon

28 November 2017

From Quartz:

When burst onto the nascent online retail scene in 1995, the future seemed bleak for brick-and-mortar independent bookstores—which already faced competition from superstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders. Indeed, between 1995 and 2000, the number of independent bookstores in the United States plummeted 43%, according to the American Booksellers Association (ABA), a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the promotion of independent bookstores.

But then a funny thing happened. While pressure from Amazon forced Borders out of business in 2011, indie bookstores staged an unexpected comeback. Between 2009 and 2015, the ABA reported a 35% growth in the number of independent booksellers, from 1,651 stores to 2,227.

. . . .

Five years ago, [Ryan Raffaelli, an assistant professor in the Organizational Behavior unit at Harvard Business School] set out to discover how independent bookstores managed to survive and even thrive in spite of Amazon and other online retailers.

. . . .

Here are some of Raffaelli’s key findings so far, based on what he has found to be the “3 C’s” of independent bookselling’s resurgence: community, curation, and convening.

  • Community: Independent booksellers were some of the first to champion the idea of localism; bookstore owners across the nation promoted the idea of consumers supporting their local communities by shopping at neighborhood businesses. Indie bookstores won customers back from Amazon, Borders, and other big players by stressing a strong connection to local community values.
  • Curation: Independent booksellers began to focus on curating inventory that allowed them to provide a more personal and specialized customer experience. Rather than only recommending bestsellers, they developed personal relationships with customers by helping them discover up-and-coming authors and unexpected titles.
  • Convening: Independent booksellers also started to promote their stores as intellectual centers for convening customers with likeminded interests—offering lectures, book signings, game nights, children’s story times, young adult reading groups, even birthday parties. “In fact, some bookstores now host over 500 events a year that bring people together,” Raffaelli says.

Link to the rest at Quartz and thanks to Dave for the tip


PG is in favor of people being free to start and run businesses which they believe will provide useful products/services that customers will enjoy and pay for. According to the OP, that appears to be what the owners of Porter Square Books are trying to do.

Porter Square Books is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

For those unfamiliar with Cambridge, it is full of people who are those associated in one way or another with extremely expensive private universities – Harvard (estimated annual undergraduate cost of $63,025 for tuition, room, board, and fees) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (estimated annual undergraduate cost of $ $65,478 for tuition, room, board, and fees).

Harvard pays its full professors an average salary of $198,400 per year. The median price of a single-family home in Cambridge hit $1,675,000 during the first four months of 2016.

PG is not denigrating Cambridge or its institutions in any way. He has always enjoyed his many visits there. It’s a stimulating and active community environment and right across the river from downtown Boston which offers an even wider range of attractions and amenities for those who are able to afford them.

PG’s point is that the business environment in which Porter Square books operates is probably optimum for a physical bookstore in 2017 and also atypical of most US cities and suburbs.

The population of Cambridge is currently estimated at 105,162. Fargo, North Dakota, Charleston, South Carolina, and Green Bay, Wisconsin, have populations about the same size.

Green Bay has a median household income of $43,063. The median home price is $129,600.

PG wonders how Porter Square Books would do if it were operating in Green Bay.

A quick internet search found something PG had not expected, Readers Loft Bookstore in Bellevue, a suburb of Green Bay, which appears to be doing well as an indie. PG will leave his earlier remarks in place so you can see a failed snark setup in action.

This is a C-span video and PG apologizes for not being able to get it to embed.

The Tianjin Binhai Library

16 November 2017

From The Telegraph:

A futuristic library which has opened in China with 1.2 million books on display is something of a bookworm’s dream.

The library was built in Tianjin, a coastal metropolis located around 100km outside of the Chinese capital of Beijing.

Dutch architects MVRDV, in collaboration with local designers TUPDI, created the library to resemble a giant eye.

The five-storey building features a floor-to-ceiling bookcases cascade, which acts as “everything from stairs to seating”.

Link to the rest at The Telegraph and thanks to Jan for the tip. More photos at the link.

Why Competing with Amazon and Netflix is Impossible

27 October 2017


Do It/Don’t Do It

23 October 2017


Thanks to Christina for the tip.

PG notes that the message of the video changes after the short Charles Bukowski segment.

Phantom Thread

23 October 2017
Comments Off on Phantom Thread

For Daniel Day-Lewis fans:




14 October 2017

From The Wall Street Journal:

Fifty years ago this October a Swedish film, not signed by Ingmar Bergman, captured the heart of audiences around the world. “Elvira Madigan” was directed by Bo Widerberg, a full-blown romantic despite his trenchant essays on society and cinema, who by his mid-30s had established himself as a counterweight to Bergman’s massive influence in Swedish cinema. Widerberg had delivered a waspish attack on the Master’s metaphysical cinema, in which man is either humbled or exalted, and which Widerberg judged out of touch with the everyday reality of a Sweden struggling to assert itself as a modern democracy, an “experiment in welfare” as he termed it.

. . . .

The true story of Sixten Sparre and Hedvig Jensen, with embellishment through the years, had become almost legend in Denmark. She, a tightrope artist performing with her stepfather’s circus, had met the Swedish nobleman Count Sparre while on tour in southern Sweden during the late 19th century. Both succumbed to a coup de foudre, but their stricken affair proved stillborn, for Sixten was married and the gulf between their social classes unbridgeable. They committed suicide together on the Danish island of Tåsinge.

Widerberg worked from a mere 25-page script, without dialogue. He gave his actors Thommy Berggren and Pia Degermark their lines about three minutes prior to shooting, so as to endow them with an immediacy, if not spontaneity. The 17-year-old Degermark won the Best Actress prize at Cannes that year.

. . . .

At first look, “Elvira Madigan” appears a mere wisp of romantic agony, its tale too trite to bear the weight of analysis. But in terms of sound and imagery, it’s an abiding classic. Jörgen Persson’s cinematography catches the breath with its gorgeous, shimmering palette derived from a Swedish summer. Its textural grace is tinged with Scandinavian premonitions of death—the raspberries and cream signaling the intensity of happiness, the gurgle of spilled wine prefiguring the final loss of blood and vitality. Silence is used to great effect, and natural sounds, such as the buzz of bees or the soughing of wind in the trees, give the film an extra dimension. Widerberg’s use of the Andante from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major matched the dreamlike melancholy of Sixten and Elvira’s ill-fated journey.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

PG is surprised a DVD exists.


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