Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This isn't about books. It's about ...

Back to Literary Criticism. Today I completed the letter H. Victory will be mine! I got a lot of entertainment out of the stuff Doug brought in today and yesterday, though, so I can't complain. Most of it wasn't books -- in fact, almost none of it was books -- so I'm going to do a revolutionary thing with this bookstore blog: there'll be no books on it today! I promise I'll go back to rhapsodizing about books next week, but I just had to talk about these non-books today ...

... before more of them vanish. Earlier, we had far more to talk about: an 1800s jewelry box, a porcelain book-shaped flask. Unfortunately these things were bought so quickly that I hardly registered them. At least we still have the 200-800 A.D. Peruvian textile samples, the late 1800s telescope*, and the following.

Let's start with the Collector's Item:

This old coal-burning stove from the 1850s is still decorated with its original paint, which Doug says is quite rare. While trying to confirm this and find out more about antique stoves from the Internet, I came upon The Antique Stove Hospital's website. At the Hospital, a qualified "paleostovologist" (or perhaps "stove whisperer")** can see to all your antique stove needs. (He's based in Rhode Island, but can refer you to an Indiana stove whisperer if necessary -- perhaps if you buy this stove and decide to get it restored?) The site also tells me that more and more people are buying antique wood- and coal-burning stoves for their original purpose rather than as a historical curiosity. I must admit that this does seem like the kind of thing I would like to have by my side if the Apocalypse comes and all the power grids go out; you too could prepare for such an eventuality for a mere $750.00!

In the Affordable and Interesting corner this week, we have assorted canes!

Having recently secured dozens of wonderful high-quality canes recently, Doug has resolved to bring them in ten or twelve at a time (prices start at $20.00, though some are $30.00 or $40.00). They're dramatic, stylish, and possibly even costume-appropriate for Halloween! This first batch contains some beautifully patterned canes, some uniquely headed canes (one with little frogs!), and one very spiky cane:


Doug even mentioned that he managed to acquire a sword-cane! However, he wants to check up on Illinois laws about concealed weaponry before he considers selling it in the store.

Still, though we may never see the sword-cane, I was inspired to read up on various stories of sword-cane derring-do. The most famous appears to be that of James Bowie, an early 1800s gentleman who survived both a gunshot wound and a sword-cane stab to claim victory in a duel and chase his enemies off a sandbar. Ah, such stories stir my red American blood. Perhaps I shall secure my own sword-cane and go on adventures. (If sword-canes turn out to be illegal, I never said that.)

My Favorite might be the sword-cane if we had it, but right now it's this incredibly beautiful piece. I could have spent all afternoon photographing it:

Considered by some to "ground a person and clarify one's version", desert roses apparently form when gypsum-laden water crystallizes in the desert's heat. These mineral formations are so beautiful, I'm astonished that I've never heard of them before.

I like cropping pictures.

One can purchase small desert roses (I didn't see any larger than palm-size) for $5.00 and up at sites like this one (click here), but we didn't find any other examples of such a large and elaborate formation as ours. Its (doubtless magnificent) clarifying properties could be yours for $125.00, though such healthful emotions might be hindered by my envious gaze!

I'm tempted to cover the shadow puppet I mentioned last entry, but I think I'll leave that a mystery (unless you come in and see it, gentle readers!). Don't get into any sword-cane duels accidents, and I'll see you all here next week.

* Over the course of writing this blog entry, someone purchased the 1800s telescope. (I'm not trying to be a tease, really!)

** I did not make these terms up. They're on that site, I promise. The Stove Whisperer also calls his golden retrievers "velocigoldens" and has named them Ptolemy and Magellan. I like him.


Anonymous said...

Ooo, this blog is fun! Thanks for showing us these neat things! I should stop in sometime soon...

Cate said...

Would it be possible for you to keep your eyes pealed for a cane I would like? Especially one that's very tall?

chicago pop said...

Are you sure that stuff isn't ambergris?

O'Gara and Wilson said...

Anonymous -- Thanks!

Miss Cate -- I'll keep an eye out. Next batch should be in soon.

Chicago Pop -- Pretty sure. It has no scent and it matches all the photos I've seen of desert roses, whereas it doesn't look much like the ambergris photos that turn up on Google Image Search.

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