Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cyber Monday Blues

Remember what I said about some books being out of print and very hard to get?  Well, you can put China’s Destiny by Nationalist China President Chiang Kai-shek at the top of that list.  In late December 1943, or early 1944, he published his views on China’s future.  No fan of communism, or capitalism (if we’re to believe Wikipedia) for that matter, he wanted China to control its own destiny.

It would be very interesting to read his book.  Only it’s rather hard to come by.  There are much older books, written in the 1920s that are easier and less expensive to purchase.  Wikipedia doesn’t list China’s Destiny in its article about him.  The best or even Barnes & Noble can do is come up with used versions of the book.  The least-expensive volume sells at about $80 and the price goes up from there.  I finally settled on a reprint version, not quite as costly as the $80 original, but at least it’s some version of Chiang’s writing.

Another work that was difficult, if not impossible to locate, was Churchill’s World in Crisis – his history of World War I.  World in Crisis is even more prohibitively expensive than China’s Destiny.  The best one can do is order an abridged paperback edition of the work (which is five or six volumes in length unabridged).  Churchill writes in The Second World War that he considered the two wars all of one piece and that if the Allies had been more vigilant when Germany was secretly building up her arms, the second set of books might not have been necessary at all.

The shipping was free, per Cyber Monday rules, though given the cost of the books, it would have been free anyway.  This will be my last order of books for a long time.  For one thing, I’ve run out of room to store any more books.  My job also officially ends at the end of next month, for another.  I have the good luck to remain employed by my company until the end of March, giving me plenty of time to read and study.

Meanwhile, Christmas is coming.  The latest war with the Nosey Neighbor is weeding and Christmas decorations.  I’m obliged to weed my garden, which I hadn’t done in about a month, so I didn’t mind complying.  However, she also demanded to know why my Christmas decorations weren’t up.  The date was Nov. 28th.  I could have made a reply of, “It’s none of your darned business when or if I put up decorations.”  However, I chose the more diplomatic response, “It’s too early.”

She and another neighbor (they’re both renters) complained how the neighbor upstairs never decorates.  I could have told them that those residents are Jewish.  However, if this nosey woman wants to display a little discrimination, a little anti-Semitism, and consequently give the association one more reason to order the condo owner not to renew her lease, I shall not stand in her way.

There seems to be no limit to this woman’s bossiness.  She doesn’t like the idea of paying a fee for grounds maintenance; she thinks we should do it ourselves and save money.  What’s more, she intends to crash the association board meeting (to which renting tenants are not admitted) and give them a piece of her mind.  I look forward with great anticipation to that meeting, though I never attend the meetings myself.  The treasurer lives upstairs above me.  A Scottish lady with a slightly brusque brogue and burr, I’m sure she’ll be thrilled, too.  This woman lays in wait for her every morning and afternoon, whenever she goes and comes home, to register some new complaint or piece of gossip.

What good thing about her is that I’ve become better friends with the Jewish residents up above her.  We don’t say anything about this hypocritical woman with her garbage can right outside her door, her dog (which I love dearly but is ruining the grass in back), and all the junk she herself has piled up right against the water heater in their basement (I saw it when she showed me what a state of disrepair the Jewish residents’ half of the basement is in).  I’d must remind the treasurer before she goes after the Jewish people that while they’re messy they don’t pose anything like the danger the Dog Woman does.

We used to be so peaceful before she came along.  No one’s nerves were on edge.  We all got along pretty well and left each other alone.  Wonder if Hagrid from Harry Potter could spare some of those unicorns in the Dark Forest to drag her away?


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