Mooner Takes-On Barnes And Noble; A Pope Story


So. I was surfing around yesterday and somebody was wondering why the Pope is against same-sex marriages. To me the answer was patently obvious—jealousy. That’s right, the Green-eyed Monster has Her Royal Highness La Pope gripped firmly by the balls.

See, back in the 1950’s when the Pope was known as Joey Ratzinger of Marktl am Inn, Germany, openly-homosexual lifestyle options were limited to the Catholic clergy, Hollywood, a limited number of writer colonies, and the occasional big city bathhouse. Marking an exception for the bigoted fuckwad Christian right—who have their heads stuck so far up their asses it’s still 1959—today’s American populace both excepts and embraces gay folks simply as folks.

Gay people are in important elected positions as legislators and husbands of women running for President, they head giant corporations to be important members of the One-Percent Club, they cut our hair and work on our cars, and hold responsible positions in every aspect of American society.

Gay people are in every… single… place… in… America.

But back in little Joey’s time, openly gay lifestyles were not expectable. Gays were shunned and treated sometimes worse than blacks and Hispanics. Which reminds me. If we say Hispanics with a big H, why isn’t it Blacks, and even Whites for that matter?

Back in the day, almost every extended Catholic family had someone who joined the priesthood or a convent. Hell, my family is Baptist all the way back from before the family name was changed from Jones, and my third cousin from over to Virginia ran off and became a Catholic monk, or some fucking thing. That’s right, Bubba Jones become Brother Eusebius.

I didn’t know him well—just met him the one time at a family reunion—but I had serious questions about Bubba. I was but a tyke, but he seemed out of place at a Jones/Johnson family reunion with his bowl-cut hair and brown robe.

I had this great uncle who was an especially large asshole. My own daddy found cause to place a particularly tight left cross on his nose for how he spoke to a Mexican worker at our place one time. Uncle Herman was his name, and what sticks in my head most about my cousin Bubba was that Uncle Herman kept telling everyone that, “Bubba’s a queer,” or “That boy’s a sissy-queer.” My Gram’s the one who made him stop saying that, and did it with just a look.

Anyway, poor Joey must not have been a good actor or artist, and anyone who has listened to him speak knows the silly sonofabitch can’t write for shit. So, he joined the priesthood and became a member of that “secret” society. And now, dear friends, he’s mad as all hell that all of these other gay people can live openly and get married and shit.

Hell, I’d be jealous too. So would you if you had spent your entire adult life living a lie for the same thing that today’s gays are openly proud.

And look, all of you pious Catholics. Before you go getting all pompous and pissy with me, think about what the reason the Popester is down on gay marriage if I was proven wrong. He’s either jealous, or he’s a ranting, raving bigoted flaming right-wing fuckball. Take your pick, and I choose to give the boy the reasonable doubt.

Which reminds me of something else. I went to the Barnes and Noble over to the Arboretum—that’s the one my regular readers already know about. I needed a b-day gift for my daughter and she loves books more than me, so I always get her gift cards to B&N. There’s a B&N within walking distance of her apartment in the town where she lives.

Anyway, I’m walking out after making my purchase and it dawned on me that one, I’m standing in a bookstore, and two, I have written a book that is not stocked on the shelves of said bookstore.

I stood near the exit to the store while my ADHD-addled brain processed a few thousand ideas as to precisely what steps I might take. Long story short, the very nice woman at the information counter whose name I failed to obtain but I will tell you was nice, helpful, interested, and interesting, listened to my requests and turned me over to Charley, the store manager.

Holy shit was that a complex and confusing sentence. Maybe I’ll self edit later and fix that. Maybe not.

Now, I know that at least 87% of you have already jumped the gun on me and assumed that the manager was a man, because that’s what 87% of us do. But Charley was no man, and I found her as attractive as the woman whose name I failed to get, and for all of the same reasons. We had a discussion about her stocking my book there to my personal B&N, and although she was EXTREMELY helpful, she couldn’t help with this one. See, they don’t allow the store managers to make any decisions as to what books are stocked on the thousands of fucking feet of shelf space in a B&N store.

Charley gave me a few sheets of paper with instructions as to how I go about getting my book into position where they can “special order” it if someone requests one. “We can’t even have it listed in our computers if you don’t follow those procedures first,” Charley told me.

I went to the car and retrieved a copy of Full Rising Mooner, brought it into the store and signed it, “To: the store.” The woman whose name I didn’t get because I can be a thoughtless jerk said she needed something to read, and Charley agreed to place the copy in the break room as what I think she called a “reader”[,] but maybe she used a different word.

And that, dear friends, is the reason I sat down to write this posting. I could never be a big company boss because I don’t think their way. I could never be the boss of people that I hired, trained and paid big bucks to run multi-million-dollar retail stores without giving them some at least small measure of control over store inventory.

I’ll bet you that there aren’t a dozen local, Austin writers who would give that store the kind of service and support for one silly book the way that I would. I’d give them books on consignment, I’d visit the store for signings and stand outside on the sidewalks and invite people to come inside. I’d dust their shelves, for shitsakes.

I read all the time how the bookstore is a dying animal. Hmmm.

I love bookstores and buy every book I buy from one, and I buy many books. I read like a machine and I give books and book cards as gifts. So, I’m going to attempt to follow the procedures for getting licensed by B&N and see what happens. Whatever happens, you’ll hear it here first. OK, here first unless something happens and I accidentally get arrested on a visit to B&N. Again.

Manana, y’all.

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9 Responses to “Mooner Takes-On Barnes And Noble; A Pope Story”

  1. This is why most smaller artists go the route of Amazon and Kindle. Bypass the middleman, bypass the headaches, and go straight to the gravy.

    …tempted to make a coffee-table-esque book, even though not many people have coffee tables anymore…

  2. mel says:

    OK, the gay/Catholic thing…I am assuming that you read my comment from where you were surfing and the question was raised. If not, I sad that the most stable couple I know (and honestly, the only people I can think of that have been married longer within my family are my grandparents, and if they got married now a days, they probably would have been on the news because she killed him or something. ALSO, they have the whole Catholic thing going on, and they just always worked through everything. That, or Grandma is THE MOST TOLERANT PERSON ON EARTH! I love my Grandpa to death, but he can be a bit much at times…) is my cousin and his husband. They have been together for as long as I can remember and were finally able to get married a couple of years ago. I am pretty sure no kittens or cute babies were killed in the process. I think you may be onto something with the whole pope-jealousy thing….I think that the church as a whole needs to rethink their stance on a lot of things.

    As for books…I love them. My son adores them. He just turned 11 and got a Barnes and Noble gift card and he couldn’t get there quick enough. He was torn up when Borders closed. 11…yep. That’s my boy! (I like to take the credit for that aspect of him!) I am glad that you are taking the steps to get your book more out there. Honestly, were it not for my back and neck troubles, I would have bought your book and not downloaded the Kindle edition. I just can’t carry all the shit I need on a daily basis. and a book is part of what I need. And…I am honestly thinking about that cookbook. For real. (Look at me all chatty…)

  3. squatlo says:

    I’d join you in bashing His Papalness but we’ve sung that song in harmony far too often for regular listeners already. As a Recovering Catholic (damn near back to normal, and it’s only been 42 years since I last smelled incense and dusty candles) I still hear the Latin Mass in my head whenever I’m about to throw up… I have no idea why nausea and the Church are linked in my subconscious, but there you go. The odd thing is that I don’t think of the Church and THEN get queasy, it’s the other way around.

    But that’s not why I called you here today. Your Barnes and Noble deal reminds me of why Big Box Stores are cookie-cutting our individuality to shreds. If a store manager (for Christ’s sake, the fucking manager!) can’t make a simple autonomous decision concerning the content of her store, it’s no wonder they funnel everyone to the same authors book after book. You have to be a best seller to make the list, and you can’t become a best seller if you aren’t on it.

    On a personal note, we have a chain called Co-op here in TN. They sell farm equipment, fertilizers, seed, plants, and all things green and mulchy to the local farmers. They also have a HUGE birding section in their stores, with feeders, seed, suet, and all the things a birder might want for backyard bird watching. Since I have an extensive collection of bird related photographs on my website, I thought they would be a great place for a consignment deal. I offered the local store manager a box of matted prints like we sell on consignment at a local Wilderness Station, they could keep any profits beyond what I needed for each print. She told me they weren’t allowed to stock anything local without approval from CORPORATE HQs. So I asked what we needed to do (notice I asked WE? Again, trying to stress the ‘CONSIGNMENT’ aspect… no cost to you, only profit when you sell my work) and she said it wasn’t worth my trouble to even ask… they’d never agree to sell photography. Only, they were selling locally produced honey, and locally produced leather-works (bridles, etc).

    No autonomy. She loved my work, but couldn’t be bothered to bother corporate for permission.

    Give ’em Hell, Mooner!

  4. admin says:

    Brandini. There are many reasons brick and mortar retailers are going out of business. And I think you should do the book- you won’t regrest it.

    OK, you won’t have many regrets… too many regrets.

    Mel. I think that the Holy Roman Catholic Church needs to rething everything about their dogma that is bigoted, which just might be every fucking thing. (might just be?) Bless your son and he will be blessed by his love of books. And you really need to do the cookbook.

    Squat. OK, first, your quease-church alert system remains stuck at the alter boy stage of life. Since you left it, the church remains the nagging afterthought, rather than the lobotomy spike planted firmly in your pre-frontal lobe.

    Big corporations are like churches. They have their own sorts of dogma based on archiac philosophies passed down through generations of managements. Instead of hiring and training and paying people they can trust to make good corporate decisions, they trust only their “systems” and discount the employees.

    I found the three people I interacted with at Barnes and Noble to be the kind of people I would hire at my own businesses. While these people held the company line, they were not company monkeys. And this is a store of at least 10,000 square feet of space on the prime corner in Austin’s original upscale shopping center. I’m not talking about a tiny strip center slot twenty feet wide and fifty feet deep. This store has enough empty isles between shelves to build two more bookstores.

    But I’m going to give this one the old college try, and I’ll report each step herein. Step one: attempt to comply with “The Consumer Product Safety Act” and the B&N “Acceptance Criteria”[.]

  5. squatlo says:

    Hey, that Consumer Product Safety Act thing might be your undoing… just think about it: your book might encourage some youngster to shave his pubes for his very own moon-show and result in a school riot, or worse, a fad! What if kids everywhere started dropping trou instead of just lettin’ ’em sag! My god, think it’s bad now? Your book could be the undoing of society itself if widely published and marketed!

    Then again, it might make going to the bookstore fun again.

    Do carry on…

  6. mel says:

    Forgot to tell you….in my post yesterday evening, I let you know what I think about non fat cheese (and I linked back to you too, just because maybe I can get one of my readers to buy your book by sending them here. See how I am??) NOT only the cheese, but butter and pork meat too. I thought Reck was gonna stroke out…

  7. bj says:

    Well ….. I hate to be the turd in the punchbowl around here ….. BUT …… have you ever heard of Thunderclap Newman? They had a song called “There’s Something In The Air” ( Great song too! …. played it over and over again everywhere they went …. spent all their time and effort into publicizing and promoting that song. Great song ….. know it by heart and can hit all the notes. Great song …… Thunderclap Newman never recorded another album. One Hit Wonder …. “Call out the instigators
    Because there’s something in the air” ….

  8. admin says:

    Squat. You have planted the seed for a new product line. Seriously. I’ll get with you.

    Mel. This is why it’s love. Thanks, and also for the pork-wrapped pork recipe.

    Beej. I can always count on you to think things through for me, and subsequentially poke holes into my inflated ego. You are the brother I never had. But T’Clap Newman lacks the dogged determination and banal blind drive of my ADHD-fueled mania. I will conquer!

  9. mel says:

    nothin’ better than pork wrapped pork. i am making some bacon wrapped sausages for my mom’s surprise birthday party saturday (and perhaps some of the ice cream posted TODAY – you might like it…its got jalapenos in it). I will make the bacon wrapped sausages in honor of the super freak vegetarian who scared me when she showed up at my mom’s cabin for New Years. I was thinking of wrapping on in a cucumber for her.

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