Sunday, April 20, 2014

Unicorns Are Jerks

Kevin Coolidge

Here's the cold, hard sparkly truth. Unicorns are Jerks, not all unicorns of course. It's all how you raise them. That's why I recommend Raising Unicorns by Jessica s. Marquis.

As a potential unicorn farmer, you will face many challenges. It requires more planning than most businesses. It's a common misconception that unicorns are docile creatures. If a unicorns routine is disrupted, it's not pretty.

When unicorns receive the wrong training. They go bad and become jerks, really big jerks.They talk and text in the movie theater. They are judgmental of your taste in music, and they never replace the toilet paper roll.

When you point out their behavior, they act like you are the jerk. That's why you are going to need planning to make your unicorn farm profitable. You need this book, and some red licorice...

Unicorn meat, it tastes like happiness

As opposed to unenchanted bandages...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Things Overheard at the Bookstore

Kevin Coolidge

"There are too such things as vampires," says a young boy

"No. They are only in the movies and books," answers the father

"Then why is there a vampire hunting kit over there?"

"OK, you got me. I wasn't going to tell you until you were older...."

The night is dark and full of shadows, and some of those shadows are the thirsty undead. I grew up with vampires that had bite, not the type that sparkled in the sun and still go to high school? Remember high school? I couldn't wait to get out. I sure wouldn't go back.

I also know that it's a world wide problem. Sure, every culture has its demons, spirits, and drinkers of blood, even islands are infested. We sold this vampire kit to the Guernsey Islands in the English Channel. I hope it brings an end to a few fiends.

This kit comes with a big hardwood stake, two empty vials. You can either fill them with holy water, or with sparkles if it's one of those New Age vampires. There's also a diary so you can record your victories or the habits of suspected vermin.

Friday, April 18, 2014

We don't just sell BOOKS; we sell memories.

Read the Printed Word!
My first customer in the door this morning was a stylish, fifty-something tourist. She said, "I heard from the woman at the Diner that you sell used books."

I told her, yes, we sell new and used books, mixed in together.... they're organized by genre in the bookstore, then by age group and occasionally a few other subcategories.... and I asked her what she was looking for.

She told me she was looking for "an old book called 'Wynken, Blynken, and Nod'" .... I told her we don't have any used copies of that one; we sell it too often and no one trades it in. She looked crushed, until she realized I was going to show her where the NEW copies are.

Her son and his wife are having their first baby, you see. "I always read to my kids growing up, of course," she said. "But the last thing we read, every night, before bed.... oh, I'm going to tear up now," she apologized, although I don't know why. I get it. We all get it, here. There are certain books, certain stories or poems, that are woven with important memories and rituals in our lives, that they tug deep. And we want to share them.

The new grandma-to-be wants HER son to be able to read "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" every night to HER new grandson, and carry on this lovely tradition.

I love that Wellsboro has the statue of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, and has therefore helped to keep this wonderful poem-lullaby in print. But even more, I love that books have that power in our lives, and that, as booksellers, as owners and purveyors of an indie bookstore, we get to be a part of that passion, that power, that joy.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Splendor in the Grass

Kevin Coolidge

Don't judge a book by its cover. You might miss a good story. You've heard it before. We all have. Of course it's also a metaphor for life.

All kinds of people like to read. Maybe you think you know what somebody likes to read just by looking at them. Chances are you would be wrong.

When Hobo, our bookstore cat, died in January, we received several heartfelt sympathy cards, but perhaps the one that touched me the most quoted a stanza from "Intimations of Immortality," by William Wordsworth more commonly known as "Splendour in the Grass".

It was sent by a man who enjoys the classics. Many might not think a younger man with visible tattoos would enjoy reading, let along appreciate the romantic poets. You would be wrong.

There's no escaping death in our world, but we look beyond the loss. Perhaps we will remember the sunshine, the wind, and the splendor in the grass...

“What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.” – William Wordsworth

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Your Heart on your Sleeve?

Kevin Coolidge

Several weeks ago, we had a senior couple visiting Wellsboro. They browsed around, asked about the area, bought a couple of the classics, and left.

The woman came right back in. She saw something in the window on her way out that she just had to have.It was this insulated lunch cooler that has "Human Organ for Transplant" on it.

I was curious. I had to ask if it was for her. It was. She couldn't wait to use it.

I would have never guessed, but you just don't outgrow a sense of humor, that is if you're lucky...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kevin Vs. the Frost Giants

Kevin Coolidge

I've been watching Vikings on the History channel, and I wonder if I wasn't born into the wrong age. Is it too late to pick up an ax and invade England? I think I would have made a great berserker.

I've always liked mythology, and one of my favorites is Norse mythology. I find it more colorful than most. I prefer the Norse version of Armageddon, which is called Ragnarok.

The gods will fight at the side of men, and there will be mead and meat served afterwards. Much better fare than those other end of the world scenarios.

That's why I was happy to find out that the Valhalla Project is recruiting--excellent pay with no questions asked. Age of Odin written by James Lovegrove will give give hope to those who feel they were born out of place and time. It's never too late to get your Götterdämmerung* on...

*German version of Ragnarok

If you'd like to buy this book, why not buy it where you tried it? Simply click on the photo below, or the title, highlighted throughout this post, to purchase the book at From My Shelf Books & Gifts, and to support the writers of this fine blog ;) We thank you!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Huck and the Easter Rex

Kevin Coolidge

It's April and spring is finally here. Huck, one of our new store cats, is sitting beside our Easter Rex waiting to ambush the Easter Bunny. Finn, his brother is getting caught up on his reading with Here Comes T. Rex Cottontail

It appears that Peter Cottontail is out sick, and there's only one dinosaur who's up to the task of delivering his eggs on Easter: T. Rex! All T. Rex has to do is work on hopping--without the wiggle. He keeps breaking all the eggs!

Join T. Rex and his friends as he saves the day in a very special way. Will practice make perfect? Will T. Rex save Easter? Will Huck get all the chocolate bunnies?

If you'd like to buy this book, why not buy it where you tried it? Simply click on the photo below, or the title, highlighted throughout this post, to purchase the book at From My Shelf Books & Gifts, and to support the writers of this fine blog ;) We thank you!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wanted: Dead or Damn Near

Kevin Coolidge

Crime takes but a moment, but justice an eternity-- unknown

She wears a blindfold. Some say it helps her be objective. Innocence or guilt should be determined without bias or prejudice, but the law isn’t always justice. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. Sometimes you need a good strong look to see the right or wrong of a situation, and sometimes Justice might as well be blind.

It’s blurry when it comes to the Molly Maguires. The “Mollies” were an alleged secret society of Irish mineworkers in the mid-1800s. Among the few jobs available to the Irish was dangerous work in the coal mines. Owned and controlled by old enemies, the Welsh and English.

The mining companies owned everything. They owned the towns where the miners lived, even their shacks. They owned the stores where the miners were forced to buy overpriced goods. By the time the company deducted rent, groceries, and equipment from a miner’s pay, he might have nothing left. It was damn near slavery, and grudges and vendettas flourished.

When wages were cut, threats, assaults, and sabotage exploded. Bitterness between Irish and English/Welsh factions escalated and people were brutally murdered on both sides. The Pinkerton Detective Agency was paid to infiltrate. Testimony of an agent sent over twenty men to the gallows, and the Mollies were eliminated.

On June 21, 1877--known as “The Day of the Rope”—ten Mollies were hanged. Before his death, Alexander Campbell placed his hand against the cell wall, declared his innocence, and claimed the print would remain there forever as proof. Attempts have been made to paint and plaster over the print, but it remains today. I’ve seen it myself.

Pennsylvania may have been settled by peaceful Quakers, but it’s a state with a violent past. America’s first school shooting took place around Greencastle, Pennsylvania in 1764. It was shortly after the French and Indian War, and tensions were still high.

Three Lenni Lenape braves raided a log cabin schoolhouse, shot and scalped the teacher, and all eleven children. Only one survived. Archie McCullough crawled away and was found by local settlers. The braves were admonished by elders for cowardice and killing children, but were never brought to justice.

The countryside may appear idyllic, but The Crime Buff’s Guide to Outlaw Pennsylvania by Ron Franscell and Karen B. Valentine reveals Pennsylvania’s darker side and secrets. Do you want to visit the birthplace of outlaws?* The scenes of horrific crimes? How about the graves of the innocent, and the guilty?

With the magic of GPS, you can stand in precise historical locations, or as close as imagination and modern technology can get you. This book can get you within inches of the past. Remember, many of these sites are private property. Don’t be an outlaw. Get permission.

Pennsylvania is so full of history that you can’t go outside without stepping on it. Slow down and take a look around at the places and events—good and bad—that have helped shape America, and get in touch with the past…

*John “Doc” Holiday was born in Philadelphia. Elliot Ness died in Coudersport Pennsylvania.

Outlaws? Or In-laws? Drop me an email at and let me know. Miss a column? It’s not a crime. Just go to when you have the time. Keep the streets safe, and keep a writer off them. Buy a book and save a life. It just may be your own…

If you'd like to buy this book, why not buy it where you tried it? Simply click on the photo below, or the title, highlighted throughout this post, to purchase the book at From My Shelf Books & Gifts, and to support the writers of this fine blog ;) We thank you!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

How to Fight Presidents

Kevin Coolidge

America, the land of the free because of the brave—where you can grow up to be anything you dream, including the president. You know this is true, because your teacher told you so. Well, I hate to rain on your 4th of July, but you will never be the leader of the free world.

You need charisma, nerves of steel, and a fundraising network, and that’s just to get in the game. You also have to be at least thirty five years of age, born on US soil, and live for at least fourteen years in America. Don’t worry, your parent’s basement counts.

Don’t feel too bad. You’d have to be foolish to want the job anyway. Only someone with a giant ego and blind self-confidence would want it. Slandered, scrutinized, shot at, you’d have to be a lunatic.

Our founding fathers were passionate, reckless, and nutcases. After reading about the men American chose to lead, Daniel O’Brien knew he didn’t have the specific version of crazy required to be one. They were just too passionate, too tough and too crazy. Instead he chose to write How to Fight Presidents.

He started thinking about what it would take to defeat a president mentally, psychologically or physically – should he have to travel back in time and face one of these mad men. Hopefully, one of those men would not be George Washington. America’s first president rather enjoyed being shot at.

The idea that Washington enjoyed being shot at isn’t conjecture. In a letter to his brother, Washington wrote, “ I heard the bullets whistle and, believe me, there is something charming to the sound of bullets.” He would return from battles unscathed, but with bullet holes in his clothing. He actually believed he could not be killed in battle…He was never proven wrong.

Andrew Jackson was a wild eyed, hard-fighting man, but he didn’t wait for adulthood. In 1780, at the age of thirteen, he was captured by the British. He was ordered to shine the shoes of his captors, but refused. He was rewarded with a long gash by a sword across his cheek.

He was then forced to march shoeless, without food or water, for forty miles from one prison camp to another, with small pox. He also participated in thirteen duels* that we know of. He lived to duel, and there’s only one way you can participate in multiple duels…You’re really freaking good at them.

Teddy Roosevelt is without question the wildest and craziest president we have ever had or will ever have. He was sickly as a child, and complained of upset stomachs, headaches, and asthma. His fathered wanted him to toughen up, and told young Teddy that he had “the mind but…not the body, and without the help of the body, the mind cannot go as far as it should.”

TR took up boxing, wrestling, hunting, running, and fighting. He beat his sickness, even the asthma. He forced himself to take the harshest, toughest path available. He summed up his philosophy simply: “Man does in fact become fearless by sheer dint of practicing fearlessness.”

Roosevelt was never injured in battle, but he was shot while campaigning for a third term. Instead of treating the wound, he delivered his speech with an undressed, bleeding bullet hole. Lesser men might have used this as a excuse to cut the speech short, but he spoke…for an hour and a half.

In How to Fight Presidents, Daniel has gathered the most interesting, exciting and bizarre facts about the psychopaths who have declared themselves the protectors of life, liberty, and the American way of life. You’ll know to watch for Van Buren’s left hook, what JFK’s weaknesses are, and to not make any sudden movements around Teddy Roosevelt…

*Some historians dispute this number, but they all agree that Jackson loved him some dueling.

Lead? Follow? Or get out of the way? Email me at and let me know. Miss a past column? Let me lead you to and you can cast your vote. Join me in making “Bring your Claymore to Work Day” a national reality. Keep strong America. Keep sharp.

If you'd like to buy this book, why not buy it where you tried it? Simply click on the photo below, or the title, highlighted throughout this post, to purchase the book at From My Shelf Books & Gifts, and to support the writers of this fine blog ;) We thank you!

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Law of Superheroes

Kevin Coolidge

Long hours, little recognition, and forget dental—it’s tough being a superhero. Things just got tougher. I’m writing my memoirs from a jail cell, instead of my super-secret hidden fortress. I’m surrounded by walls I could smash with my bare hands, but I won’t break the law, at least not willingly.

I never meant to kill Dr. Faustus. He’s always been invulnerable. I thought slugging him with the Statue of Liberty would distract him from vaporizing New York City. Yes, it was a national treasure, but freedom isn’t free, and neither is being a superhero. Someone had to pay*, and the judge ruled it was me, Captain Sparrow.

I was branded a vigilante and striped of my secret identity. According to the law, I had every right to fly around in my costume**, just not to fight crime. Hummmph, I didn’t see anyone else stepping up to eradicate that army of robotic velociraptors. I needed that plasma cannon. Limits to the Second Amendment? My astrophysics…

Haven’t you always wondered if Superman could sue someone for exposing his identity? Is the use of telepathy by Dr. X an invasion of privacy? Is the Joker legally insane? Who pays the bill when a superhero destroys a skyscraper or two while defending New York City?

James Daily, J.D. and Ryan Davidson, J.D. are comic book geeks, and lawyers, and in The Law of Superheroes, they explore the hypothetical legal ramifications of comic book characters, and the powers they possess. You’ll learn about basic principles of law through comic books.

The Law of Superheroes grew out of the blog Law and the Multiverse, which applies real world legal principles to comic book story lines and characters. The authors know by experience that legal educational materials can be a little boring. Batman is exciting, and even if you aren’t a comic nerd, you probably know who Batman is.

There are decades of comics, and an enormous amount of material. Superman has been running almost uninterrupted since 1938. Comic book writers have created complex and detailed worlds with their own unique histories, and a variety of legal situations that aren’t going to appear in most works of literature.

Comics are fun, and can invite creative thinking. What Civil Rights would mutants have? Would the Second Amendment apply to Wolverine’s claws? Could Superman be elected President of the United States? Comic books can be analyzed as any other work of art or literature.

The goal of the authors is not to provide a legal reference, but rather an introduction to legal reasoning through the weird and wonderful world of comic books. Maybe the next time you read about a Supreme Court case, you can wonder how the decision would affect your favorite superhero.

Thirty-three consecutive life sentences? Isn’t that cruel and unusual punishment? I haven’t aged a day in eighty-three years. I’m not even sure I can die of natural causes. I could live forever, and rumor has it that Dr. Faustus is still alive and scheming. He never does stay dead. I wonder if I could get my lawyer to sell my supercomputer and raise money for an appeal???

*Taxis are transportation for citizens to get to work. No cars, no job, and insurance companies don’t cover vaporization?

**With a flight plan filled out in triplicate of course…

Law? Or Order? Email me at and let me know. Miss a past column? Never fear, you can read them all here and save the day. You can be a real life superhero and buy an author’s book. Keep those crazy writers off the street.
Would you like to purchase this book? Why not buy it where you tried it? To purchase it at From My Shelf Books & Gifts, click on the photo below, or on any of the places the title is highlighted in this post. Thanks!!!!!