new mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar book store opens in redmond

THE U.S. CENSUS of 2010 uncovered several dozen full-time book-lovers among the 59,000 residents of Redmond, Washington. Like most such readers, these residents required a regular intake of new and old books, and while some of their needs were filled by the King County Library System’s branch in Redmond, other needs have gone sorely lacking.

People want to get together and talk about books—that’s what


posting online ain’t the same as being in print

REGARDING POSTING ONLINE, in response to having the official Elvis Presley website at Graceland picking up one of my articles—which I trumpeted loudly to family and friends via Facebook and email—my friend Stephanie Locke posted a nice comment on my
A Touch Of Gold site: “Good to see Umphred back in print.”

Instead of simply accepting the comment, I responded with, “Call me old-fashioned, but CONTINUE READING

some (piss) poor writing about hillary’s “role” in the attack on benghazi

THE LAST WORD ANYONE would use to describe me is “conservative”—at least not regarding most issues related to politics. But there’s more to life than politics: I remain old-fashioned on the issue of prescriptive versus descriptive dictionaries (strongly believing in the former) and the misuse of the designated hitter in major league baseball (not at all what you think). And I am adamantly conservative about CONTINUE READING

pangur bán and the nameless monk

EVERYBODY KNOWS WHAT A COINCIDENCE IS: “The occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection”—at least according to Merriam-Webster. But of course it’s not that simple: ‘real’ coincidences not only catch our attention, they resonate with us.

If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should


philosophical mutts and zen master cats

GUARDIANS OF BEING is a collaboration between Eckhart Tolle (words) and Patrick McDonnell (pictures). I have enthused over it since its publication in 2009, and have recommended it to everyone! The book describes beautifully and playfully how philosophical mutts and zen master cats help in grounding human beings—call us out of our reveries, our worries, and our self-absorption, and plant our feet back on the CONTINUE READING

the slaughter of our wolves (a little less action, a little more conversation)

SOMEWHERE TO THE EASTWARD A WOLF HOWLED; lightly, questioningly. I knew the voice, for I had heard it many times before. It was George, sounding the wasteland for an echo from the missing members of his family. But for me it was a voice which spoke of the lost world which once was ours before we chose the alien role; a world which I had CONTINUE READING

on those pesky dashes as punctuation marks

USE OF THE DASH FOR PUNCTUATION is a lost art in contemporary American English (AmE) and British English (BrE) for many writers and apparently many typesetters. It’s a shame, as a well-placed dash or ten can ease the flow of reading and therefore lead to increased understanding and pleasure. Here I address the way that I—who use the dash with a near promiscuous disregard for CONTINUE READING

art spiegelman’s very strange comic strip

I SAW THE ADS FOR WITZEND in late 1966 or early ’67, probably in the Rocket’s Blast Comics Collector. RBCC was the first fanzine that I bought in the ’60s; it was an adzine that featured articles on comics and ads from dealers and collectors offering stuff for sale. I sent my dollar bill off to some strange address in New York and eagerly CONTINUE READING

brain picking a few essential books on typography

WELL, I’VE NOT DONE THIS BEFORE, but what the hey! To have additional information tied in with my other posts on typography, I have copied and pasted an entire article from Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings website. I have edited it so that you can read just the reviews here and move on certain books, or you can do the smart thing and click on over