Tag Archives: Jerry Bilek

Northfield Kindle owners: saving trees or destroying Division St. bookstores?

Kindle at the GBM I’ve owned an Amazon Kindle (wireless reading device) for about six weeks now. It’s been out for almost a year but I waited to see if there was significant industry and user momentum behind it before I ordered one.

There’s lots to like about it. Among my favorites: reading in the bright sun; reading a book while eating — no hands required; highlighting and making notes that can be exported; free sample chapters of new books.

There are two other early morning coffee drinkers I see who’ve gotten a Kindle lately. Hey, that’s almost enough to start a NKUP (Northfield Kindle Users Group.) Anyone want to organize it?

We Kindle owners contend that we’re saving trees, of course. But are we undermining the local retail economy? Northfield’s Division St. has three bookstores: River City Books, Monkey See Monkey Read, and Bookfellows.

Northfield retail sales support global cause

When roaming around for Crazy Daze this morning, I picked up a couple of books at Monkey See, Monkey Read and noticed the very cool bike proprietor Jerry Bilek had on the sidewalk.

No, he’s not going into the bike business; he’s going into humanitarian aid.

In his blog entry about the bike and the concept, Jerry says,

For every two bikes I sell, Kona will donate one to a home health worker in Africa as part of the BikeTown Africa program. This video explains the program better than I can.

This particular bike is a single-speed utilitarian model with “thorn-proof tires”. A three-speed model is also available. Go to Jerry’s blog to get to the tech specs of the bike; I just liked the idea that you can shop local and support an important humanitarian cause at the same time. Jerry, like many of our independent retailers here in Northfield, has a lot of interesting ideas.

Tom Swift’s book (Chief Bender’s Burden) a local bestseller

Tom Swift Tom Swift Tom Swift Tom Swift

chief bender's burdenNorthfielder Tom Swift has a book out titled Chief Bender’s Burden: The Silent Struggle of a Baseball Star. He did a reading last night at Monkey See Monkey Read where he works part-time. Owner Jerry Bilek posted a review to his blog a couple weeks ago. Jerry said last night that the book is his best-selling ever, with the exception of the recent Harry Potter book.

Tom also works part-time at River City Books (see the Tom’s top-ten page there) where the book is the store’s current #1 bestseller. Tom did a book reading at the store last week, too, blogged by The Raven on the River City Books blog. (Full disclosure: I did some contract work for RCB to help launch the blog.) The Raven also blogged about the book on Northfield.org.

Northfield News managing editor Jaci Smith wrote an article a month ago about Tom’s book titled, Swift tells story of oft-forgotten pitcher. (Tom was editor of the Northfield News for a few years earlier this decade.)

You can follow Tom’s adventures on his blog, Tom Swift Writer’s Notebook. (His classy website was designed by LoGroNo’s designer, Sean Hayford O’Leary, who also does contract work for me.)

Newbie questions: Who are these guys, what are they doing and why?

Mystery MenI know these are piece ‘o cake questions for many of you long-time townies and/or regular commenters here.

So for this post, initial guesses (until nailed correctly) should only be submitted by people who’ve not yet commented here on Locally Grown thus far this calendar year, 2008… hence my use of the word ‘newbie.’

Sooooooo…… click the thumbnail to enlarge and if you’re a (relative) newbie, make a guess at one, two, or all three of these questions (attach a comment):

Who are these guys, what are they doing and why?

3/8 update: Jerry Bilek (Monkey See Monkey Read) nails it. See this poster and the comment thread for details.


David Byrne and Dancing to Jazz

DavidByrne.jpgThere was an interesting article about David Byrne in today’s (January, 30th) Wall Street Journal. Yes, I get much of my information about the current music scene, or at least a portion of it, from the WSJ. Perhaps it says something about me, I’ll admit to being almost 50, but I will argue that I’ve never been mislead by this particular source.

At any rate, Byrne, the former front man for The Talking Heads, has recently released two albums, “The Knee Plays”, a collection of interludes that he wrote for the opera “CIVIL warS“, and “Live in Austin”, a concert CD from his 2001 tour. Although Jerry Bilek and other close readers of this blog know that I’ve been a big fan of that band since 1977, my senior year in high school, this post is not about Byrne’s impressive history of creativity.

Rather, I want to talk about his 1983 trip to New Orleans. He commented, “It was inspiring to hear great music that people were dancing to…”, including jazz classics, New Orleans funk, and vintage TV scores. He lamented that “jazz had been removed from the dance hall” and become “concert hall music”. He concluded, “It’s as if you were being scolded and told not to dance, and I thought that’s betraying part of what music is all about.” I thought it was a great perspective on jazz music, funky dancing, and barriers to expression.

Speaking of Jerry Bilek, and other crazy commuters, like Brian Kenknight of Fine Groove, he also talked about being a bike rider in New York City. Apparently, it’s become much easier since he started back in the ’70s. He doesn’t want to preach about the moral or political correctness of riding a bike, however. Byrne says, “I’d rather advocate something on the basis that it’s fun and feels good.” I appreciate that statement too.

A literary convergence of the triumvirate

Locally Grown TriumvirateShortly after lunch today, I paid a visit to Jerry Bilek at Monkey See Monkey Read to look for some xmas presents.

About ten minutes later, Ross stopped in to pick up an order. 

About ten minutes later, Tracy stopped in to place an order. 

We handed the camera to Jerry to take our photo, and we soon got to arguing over who got to buy the book.

We Iz Men Uh Ackshun

RealMenRead.jpgWhen Kiffi Summa suggests that we Men of Northfield are passing the time by lying around eating bonbons, apparently in a sugar induced stupor, I must declare, “It is not so”.

We fine specimens of Northfield Manliness are constantly striving for the betterment of ourselves, our friends and families, and our communities.

Taking her thesis that Bruce Morlan is “the most erudite of all” as a direct challenge to my Northfield Manhood (he is of DUNDAS, after all), and responding quickly and vigorously to Jerry Bilek’s offer of Anthony Everitt’s biography of Cicero, I wasted no time in advancing to Monkey See, Monkey Read and obtaining the aforementioned book.

Oh, prepare ye Bruce of Dundas, for a challenge on your knowledge of Cicero…in the very near future. And prepare ye Kiffi of the Westside, to reconsider your rankings of the most erudite in the Valley of the Cannon.

We Men of Northfield are not to be taken lightly…or, sometimes, too seriously.