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Books for Everyone!

11 April 2021

Is That All There Is?


The title of this unforgettable song by the unforgettable Peggy Lee sums up a lot of what I’ve been feeling of late. It also sums up, according to my peers at the time (in 1970) — my attitude toward life.


At that time, I was a mere child, and still so unaware that my asking with a sultry tone of ennui, “Is that all there is?” composed my theme song of life. My friends, and even non-friends, stated that this song, written by the American songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, fit me to a T, as in Tanis (my maiden name).


I ought to have understood that aspect to my nature, that essential essence of my self. Instead, I envisioned my personality as one of boldly striving for excellence, daring to do better, refusing to settle for less . . . maybe more like “I Gotta Be Me”, another late 1960s tune, this one a show tune from “Sweet Charity” that was a smash hit for Sammy Davis Jr. and his big phenomenal voice.


Except that title and the lyrics are, in my opinion — idiotic.


I mean, who else are you going to be?

Evidently, being who you are not has gained quite a following, at least here in America. There are entire careers, professions, and industries based upon the premise of identity-fraud.


As the decades have clicked and clocked by, I have discovered that “being what you are” has increasingly become a private matter, especially for those of us with irrepressible selves. Granted, I am not a “group” person, and I do not even fit into the group of people who are not “group” people, the non-group group. The modern glomming together of conformists into ever greater concentrations, into their communal enclaves of misery, has almost taken on a force of nature. And those phonies run around in their clown masks, expecting to be taken seriously.


Is that all there is?


Yes, and in that dead-ender case, that is all there will ever be.


This basic nature of mine, the unrepentant individualist, fits into less and less of the world around me.

And the world around me, at times, does bore me sufficiently that I ask with a yawn:


“Is that all there is?”


The answer is NO, that is not all there is.


Because the public information machines, Media, Internet, even billboards, do not even begin to represent the majority of the people in America; and, I am starting to think, in the UK, or Europe, or Africa, or Asia, or Australia, or even Russia and all of those “stans” to its West.


The bulk of the media-hyped creations are pitched to an ever-shrinking fraction of the consumer market. It’s a lot of work, trying to find what you want to buy, anywhere!


If you came of age, as I did, during an era when the mass marketing was truly to a mass, then you might understand my drift. Simply finding certain brands of food has taken on the search for the Holy Grail. Does anyone, in California, know what happened to the delicious red rice farmed in the great Sacramento Valley in northern northern California — circa 2010?

Last night, I wanted to find a place — online or offline — to buy a customized rubber stamp for the blank front page of my newer books of recent purchase.


This opinion is purely a matter of speculation, but the machinery and the tooling used in the process of producing such a stamp is limited — severely limited — to a small circle or square of about 1.5 inches (3.81 cm). Manufacture of such an item is probably outmoded and the labor cost prohibitive, but I did not notice online any Foreign Mass-manufactured Cheap Rubber Stamps for Books (whose intellectual properties are likely no longer in the sole possession of the Author).


Perhaps the Rubber Stamps made in that Foreign Communist Country have all been requisitioned and hoarded in D.C.!


There is also for sale the grocery-clerk/stock boy flip-stamper, as in 59 cents per can. (I have spelled out “cents” since there is no CENT mark on my keyboard, but there is a function-key that I’ve decided not to learn since I do not “do” function keys).

My precious books are not to be treated like a box of granola or can of spam — which used to be something that people ate. I never tasted the stuff, but Taylor Ham was part of one of the 4 major food groups of my childhood, before that stupid pyramid emerged to ruin any dietary IQ.


(The sight of Taylor Ham just made me lose my appetite!)


Bookplates are the “in” thing, which are okay, I guess. I’d rather stamp my name & address onto the blank front page, but the bookplate is a fine tradition that is still around, and doing well. I am pleased about that modern state of literary affairs. In honor of my Annabella, I purchased 50 for $55 from the wonderful vintage company Bookplate Ink.


They are still in business and doing extremely well!

My search for American-made fabric with which to sew clothes remains a quest, a persistent and fervent quest. I have located online a fairly nice vendor of linen at Lithuanian Linen, and I ordered 2 yards of a striped fabric. Those women in Vilnius, Lithuania are wonderful seamstresses who seem to be in possession of the best linen in the world.


Irish linen is fine, very fine, almost too fine. The texture of the fibers makes for a more gauzy feel whereas the linen from Lithuania is more hardy, yet more supple, and it washes extremely well, becoming stronger with use. The sheen on the older linen is a most lovely sight!

The work of shopping has taken on newer meanings in this second year of the COVID-19 scare. Just being able to reach the merchandise behind the pop-up Mask Propaganda is becoming more and more difficult as the days grind by and the virus, and all of its variants, die.


My guess is that all of those fabric masks have been hastily stitched together from scraps, and, even then, the bulk of the fabric came from the Country of Origin of the Virus.


The stupidity becomes more circular that way.


When it comes to stupidity, yes, that’s all there is. If it is a matter of intelligence, real human intelligence, that’s just beginning. The challenge of our present time is to wait out the dull idiots and not lose our super-sharp minds!