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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dealing with Stuff

Saw a couple people yesterday that reminded me about my war with stuff. There was a period, once upon a time, when I coveted stuff - new music, new books, pretty much what every good American has been trained to do. Yet at the same time, I admired people who had a better handle on stuff. I knew this couple from my former church who lived in a small house, and they had a rule that for whatever came into the house, something of equal size had to go out. Music, books, magazines were purchased, but something else had to be passed along.

This is why I have rules about playing music; if I own it and am not playing it, what's the point? To "have"? (Whereas I'm keeping my Warner Brothers' Loss Leaders LPs for a reason.)

Alan David Doane, noted comics blogger, and former FantaCo customer, came by my house yesterday morning and took a comics magazine-sized box of periodicals out of my house. It included early Amazing Heroes (back when it WAS mag size), about 30 Comics Journals, and various and sundry other bits of comics journalism from the early 1980s. As I looked through the box, I had a twinge of nostalgia, especially for a square-bound CJ featuring the Pinis and Elfquest. But an even stronger sensation was this: I will never read these magazines again. ADD will enjoy having them much more than I at this point. And, if he finds any FantaCo-relevant info in there, ADD will tell me, making it a win-win.

Less than an hour later, I had lunch with Mitch Cohn, who used to work at FantaCo and edited 2/5 issues of the Chronicles, Gates of Eden and Deja Vu. (Mitch says hi to Fred and Rocco.) In the course of catching up on our lives - he's teaching English in NYC - Mitch wondered whether Tom Skulan, former FantaCo owner, still had this copy of Abbey Road purportedly signed by all four Beatles. I said no, he gave it to me for Christmas or my birthday in 1984 or '85. Here's the weird thing about that; I often forget that I have it. There was a show of Beatles memorabilia to which I had contributed some pieces, but the Abbey Road, which was/is NOT with my Beatles' materials, totally slipped my mind. So,I'm thinking that I probably should just sell it. Of course, this would probably involve authenticating the signatures. The Beatles were notorious for letting their surrogates sign on their behalf. But having it to "have" it just isn't making sense anymore.

It's not that I'm immune to wanting stuff altogether. Sure I'd like a stereo HDTV some day. But my now 21-year-old, pre-SAP, pre-V-chip TV still works, and I'm not throwing it to the curb (probably not literally; there are rules in this city against that) for something I want but just don't need.
Things that are bugging me:
*the way the US Census discounts, or more correctly, uncounts married gay couples
*this cartoon featuring Barack Obama; I think it's racist. No, it's not the New Yorker cover.
*and I feel rather callous about this one, but after Martha Raddatz, the ABC News White House correspondent reported on the death of former White House press secretary, who died of colon cancer at the age of 53 earlier this month, anchor Charlie Gibson thanked her, adding "I know how hard this story was for you." Undoubtedly, some affection develops for someone one talks with on a near-daily basis, but hearing "how hard" it was for Martha, who was showing no visible signs of emotion, made me wonder how aggressively the network was in dealing with the Bush administration. (No, that's not the ONLY thing that made me question that.) And it made Martha's reaction part of the story, which made me uncomfortable.

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