Friday, March 16, 2012

Shaq: Uncut... or is he?

I often forget how special Books & Books is.  Every bookstore is not minutes from South Beach or Venetian Pool.  Every bookstore does not get shoppers like Sir Paul McCartney, Michael Moore, and Shakira.  Every book store does not host author appearances with Bill Clinton, Barbara Walters, and Shaquille O'Neal.

Does Clinton do candid shots?  Of course not. . . only if you're Becky Quiroga.

Yet there's a dark side to the celebrity-studded bookselling lifestyle, one you've probably never heard about but which claims the good moods of half a dozen booksellers a month.

Don't see it?  Let's take a closer look.

Yes, that's right: autograph theft.

If Shaq knew people were doing this to his books, he'd go Punisher.
I first came across this phenomenon when Gina and Dann Gershon visited for their book Camp Creepy Time in 2007.  For a few years, selling signed copies online became a lucrative business for us (if you're interested in a signed copy, email me; I'll hook you up).

I can't find my picture of Gina Gershon dressed as a naughty nurse for the appearance, so enjoy this instead.
Apparently, Gina Gershon's autograph is worth money on its own and paying $16.99 for the hardcover children's book would blow the resale margin all to hell.  It's much easier to take a razor and slice her signature out, making the book unsellable and killing our sale in one shot.  Thanks, asshole.

Since then, we've found slashed copies of Jerry Rice's Go Long, Alonzo Mourning's Resilience, Elizabeth Berkley's Ask Elizabeth, and Condoleezza Rice's No Higher Honor.  Apparently, sports figures, people with the last name Rice, and people from the movie Showgirls are high-risk groups.

Why not just steal the book altogether?  Sure, it's easier to sneak a piece of paper out the door but I think the real reason is that the thief likes to rub our faces in it.  There's a place in hell reserved for this perpetrator (perpetrators?) wherein paper-thin slices of skin are removed from portions of his/her body over the course of years.  S/he will plead for death but find none.

But that's just my opinion.  In the meantime, I'd like to catch this asshole in the act.  It would almost be worth him doing it, just to catch that asshole doing it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Meet the Babies

Becky and I were not supposed to get new cats.  We were just visiting the Humane Society, seeing what was out there.  Great plan, no?  Like visiting a pizza parlor when you're starving.  We went to the Miami Shores Humane Society, where the second floor is all cats, all the time.  Rooms and rooms of purring fuzziness.  If not for the fact that some of the rooms were under quarantine due to skin diseases, it might have been heaven.

Becky and I walked around the corner and saw this:

Her name was Mojo - not what Austin Powers has but what you marinate chicken in.  She has beautiful markings, mostly tiger-striped but with leopard spots, and gorgeous, gold-colored eyes.  We fell in love instantly.  Like, we couldn't leave without her.

We felt that way about one other cat, a blue-eyed white cat with fingerprint smudges of gray named Jingle.  Jingle never took her eyes off  us.  She had a sister named Jangle.  Jangle never woke up.  Slept in the litterbox, in fact.  We didn't want the other sister, we wanted the good one, but the Humane Society gave us a guilt trip for attempting to break them up.

Three cats is one cat too many but we had to get two (they charge $50 for the first cat but only $10 for the second), so we "settled" for this:

Frankie wore that same look the entire time, a look that said, "My family might leave without me?  They wouldn't, would they?"

Newly dubbed Dr Seuss (stripey) and Hugo (black and white), they have become playful siblings, night time cuddlers, and best of all, friends with Dylan.  It's fun watching him get over his fear of cats.  He's slowly realizing that he can play with, pet and kiss, and pick up a cat without it turning into a hissing bundle of claws and teeth.  In fact, I don't know that I've ever heard Seuss or Hugo hiss.

Dylan named Hugo after Hugo Cabret.  Me?  I just liked the name "Frankie" on a female cat but I didn't want to go with the Humane Society's tag, so we arrived at Hugo after gentle nudges away from suggestions like Cutey Pie and Fuzzy Face.

Hugo has a little quirk; she likes to suckle.  It started with collars (moist) and progressed to necks (ticklish) and has settled mostly on ears (very loud, especially at two in the morning).  In an updated version of the water bowl picture above, Hugo would be the bigger cat.  But she still hasn't outgrown this urge.

Fair warning: this video is cute overload.