Coming in November!

6:05 pm July 3rd, 2015

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What if Rhode Island horror writer H.P. Lovecraft didn’t just imagine the “resonator” in his 1920 short story “From Beyond”? What if Henry Annesley actually built the machine that allowed him to see into the Sixth Dimension -– and allowed creatures from The Other Side to invade us here?

Facing Draconian prison sentences, their Cthulhian Church banned by the federal drug warriors for employing holy sacraments that actually work, Windsor and Worthington Annesley turn to a desperate search for their great-uncle’s resonator, hoping it may be the game-changer they need.

Does the secret lie in a lost Lovecraft notebook? Can rare book dealers Matthew Hunter and Chantal Stevens find it in time? If they do, the Annesley Brothers vow to finally ask the question that victims of the Drug War have been waiting a hundred years to hear:

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Gun control, which never worked, loses more ground

5:29 pm July 3rd, 2015

As of July 1, Kansas residents are again be able to lawfully carry concealed handguns without a permit.

Introduced in the state Senate in January with an impressive 26 co-sponsors, the Sunflower State’s new “Constitutional carry” bill swept the senate 31-7 and cleared the house in March by a bipartisan 85-39 margin, reports Chris Eger, an NRA-certified firearms instructor, at guns.com.

In keeping with the federal Second Amendment, Vermont has allowed its citizens -– and even visitors -– to carry concealed weapons without a permit for as long as anyone can remember. For just as long, Vermont has also been one of the most peaceful, violence-free states in the union.
(You’d think members of any group supposedly devoted to “stopping gun violence” would want to give that a little thought.)

In recent years, Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas and Wyoming have joined Vermont in trusting their adult citizens to go armed, as was common nationwide during the nation’s first century-and-a-half, when most communities didn’t even see the need for a police department . . . until the rise of the socialists.

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‘Background checks’: Trojan Horse for registration

7:15 pm June 7th, 2015

What’s the big deal about requiring background checks for private firearm sales? If you want to sell your gun to your neighbor, you just telephone the National Instant Check hotline and ask to have your potential buyer checked out . . . right?

Wrong. Although it’s reported the Nevada state Legislature, in its semi-annual scramble to close as required by midnight June 1, has just enacted a measure allowing for (but not requiring) private parties to access the Silver State’s state-run “background check” apparatus, that’s a first so far as I know, and it’s still not clear quite how it will work. I’m told the state police will apparently be given five days to respond to a written request.

Up till now, no such “background check” bureaucracy, state or federal, would accept or respond to any such call from a private party, so far as I’ve been able to learn. In fact, such legislation is yet another Trojan Horse, designed to eventually channel every gun sale through full-time, federally inspected gun stores with Federal Firearms Licenses, at the very time the BATF now violates decades of past promises that “anyone can get one just by applying,” with their ongoing campaign to systematically strip the FFLs from law-abiding citizens who they now deride as part-time, “basement dealers.”

Why route every transfer through a federal licensee? So that a paperwork record will be created of who owns every gun in America.

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Book-buying 101: What does ‘good’ mean?

10:29 pm June 6th, 2015

I sell books both online (www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sortby=0&vci=51238921) and in our brick and mortar bookstore, inside the Charleston Antique Mall in Las Vegas.

For the seller, selling Online is a much better deal — which is why I reluctantly predict the free-standing “used and collectible” bookstore will be a thing of the past in about another decade, outside a few large cities, a few pleasant rural communities that draw seasonal tourists in the specific hunt for “antiques,” and the mega-campus towns (Berkeley and Cambridge, Boulder and Chicago -– along with Bologna and Paris and Oxford and that other Cambridge, I presume.)

But -– aside from brand new titles — this shift creates considerable hardships, hazards, and a general decrease in the quality of the experience for book buyers.

Bookselling through a store no longer “pencils out.” The overhead to keep the place open, lighted, heated or air conditioned -– not to mention insurance, utilities, and keeping all your local municipal “inspectors” happy -– is absurd, given the glacial “velocity” at which the stock moves. Any bookseller can tell you it takes literally years to sell most books.

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Going after the green-tip

9:31 pm May 2nd, 2015

(A version of this column appears in the May 10 issue of “Shotgun News.”)

Back in mid-February, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives announced it was considering a ban on the popular M855 variety of .223 rifle ammunition — the popular “green-tip” fodder for the AR-15 rifle — by re-categorizing the round as “armor piercing.”

If they did that, sales of the M855 rounds could be restricted or banned under language in the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), which limits possession of ammunition to stuff “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.”

The ammunition guidelines in the GCA were intended for handguns, but are now being applied to ammunition used in AR-15 rifles — the semi-auto clone of the military M-16 — because AR-15 pistols use the same fodder.

(“Pistols” firing .223 and Russian short aren’t particularly useful as holster- or concealed-carry guns, and manufacturers were warned this was going to happen when they brought them out. Though of course no such concerns would arise if the G-men just obeyed the Second Amendment.)

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Does it matter if we’re oppressed for what we ‘do,’ rather than what we ‘are’?

5:17 pm April 29th, 2015

Vin’s latest post at https://www.academia.edu/s/965353a49d , where Nese Devenot invites members of the psychedelic community to “come out of the closet”:

I believe a false dichotomy is being embraced by some correspondents here, a dichotomy which is beneficial to the oppressors, but not to the oppressed — who would be better advised to form common cause, rather than arguing “I’m more oppressed than you are; you insult me by comparing the threat of jail under which YOU now labor, to the disabilities which the law sought or still seeks to impose on MY group.”

Otherwise, we risk falling into the trap so memorably summarized by Pastor Niemoller, who summarized the cowardice of the German intellectuals in his famous speech (there were many versions) ending: “When they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. When they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

It’s asserted that threatening to jail people for possessing or ingesting mind-altering plant extracts or derivatives is not “as bad” or “as objectionable” as threatening to jail people for being gay, transgendered, lesbian, whatever. Oppression is somehow worse, according to this theory, when the oppressor threatens to punish, jail or otherwise restrict the freedoms of people because of who or what they ARE, but somehow less bad, less objectionable, when they (we) are only threatened with having thugs burst into our homes late at night, drag us out in our bedclothes, show video of us shackled half-naked on TV, and jail us for an act we DO, which of course we are free to decide to refrain from doing at each occurrence.

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‘He killed that guy and he didn’t have to’

8:54 pm April 4th, 2015

John Geer was killed a year and a half ago, but it wasn’t until a judge ordered officials in Fairfax County, Virginia, to release 11,000 pages of documents earlier this year, detailing their 17-month cover-up of the case, that details of his homicide by police became known.

Owner of a local kitchen design business in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, John B. Geer, 46, stood with his hands on top of the storm door of his Springfield, Va., townhouse in broad daylight and calmly told four Fairfax County police officers who had their handguns pointed at him: “I don’t want anybody to get shot. . . . And I don’t wanna get shot, ’cause I don’t want to die today,” reported Tom Jackman of the Washington Post on Jan. 31.

How and why Geer died that afternoon in August, 2013, after police responded to a reported domestic dispute at his home, remained a mystery for 17 months. But the documents released Jan. 30 “paint a vivid picture of a tense 44-minute showdown,” Jackman of the Post reports, after officers were called by Geer’s live-in partner of 24 years, Maura Harrington, another woman who has now learned what can happen if you seek police help with a non-violent domestic dispute.

The files also reveal for the first time why the Fairfax prosecutor shifted the case to the U.S. attorney’s office: an internal affairs investigation into a loud, angry “meltdown” suffered earlier by the shooter, officer Adam Torres, in the Fairfax County Courthouse. In that incident, five months before the Geer shooting, Torres repeatedly cursed an assistant county prosecutor who said there were problems with Torres’ investigation of a drunk-driving case, and stormed out of the courthouse.

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A few recent listings — ‘The High End’

10:17 am March 22nd, 2015

So, there you are at the yard sale, confronted by boxes of old books, records, and miscellany. What do you look for?

“Buy what you like,” has long been good advice. Until you learn to grade for condition — and to tell a first edition from a later reissue or even (God forbid) a book club — please don’t go paying more than pocket change on the assumption you can “get rich on e-Bay.”

And of course, even when you learn to do more targeted research (online and even in those dreaded “reference books” — because there are a lot of “learners” online), always remember that an asking price isn’t a realized price. At Cat’s Curiosities we mark our books down every six months or so, and lots of books that start at $100 (even though we think that’s a fair market price) may not sell till they creep down into the $60 range. Everybody wants a bargain.

All that said, here are a few of our recent finds & postings that may indicate there are still some treasures out there:

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‘Entheogenic-Religious Fiction’

3:22 pm March 14th, 2015

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Thomas B. Roberts, professor emeritus at Northern Illinois University, edited the books “The Psychedelic Future of the Mind” and “Psychoactive Sacramentals: Essays on Entheogens and Religion,” the latter of which was acknowledged as a valuable source in my latest novel, “The Testament of James.”

Dr. Roberts (no known relation to the Beatles’ Doctor Robert) was kind enough to post a four-star review of “Testament” to Amazon this week, titled “Entheogenic-Religious Fiction,” also posting it to a number of addresses on his “psychedelics” list, which is also much appreciated.

Dr. Roberts writes: “A new member of the psychedelic literary genre, The Testament of James appeals to readers who share an interest in the roles that entheogens may have played in the founding of Judaism and Christianity. A manuscript apparently written by James, brother of Jesus, is smuggled out of Egypt and offered to the book’s hero, Matthew, who is a bookseller near a college in New England. Matthew, a highly respected dealer, specializes in collectors’, scarce, and rare editions.

“Along the way, someone dies. But Testament isn’t primarily a murder mystery. It’s about the struggles Matthew and his staff have with the Egyptian brothers who delivered the book; they want to be paid. Representatives of the Egyptian government want the book repatriated as a stolen national treasure. Roman Catholic monks want to obtain it to ‘bury’ in Vatican vaults. And a rich reverend from California wants to make its contents widely available.

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‘Well, there’s nothing artificial about it’

11:25 am March 5th, 2015

The book “The Archaic Revival” (HarperCollins 1991), which is a compilation of writings by and interviews with the late entheogen pioneer Terence McKenna, concludes with an interview conducted by Nevill Drury as it appeared in the Autumn, 1990 (Vol. 11, No. 1) issue of the Australian magazine “Nature and Health.”

An excerpt of the most relevant portion (for our purposes) can be found at http://www.salvia-divinorum-scotland.co.uk/quotes/mckenna/prejudice.htm :

ND: What then is your answer to people who continue to dismiss psychedelic experience as artificial? Surely your view is the exact reverse of that?

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