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This whole monstruousity was originally conveived February through March 2001 by the members of The Big Note - a Frank Zappa YahooGroup. After an arduous gestation period, this site was birthed on April 11 2001. True to the essence of collaborative effort, these people are held responsible.

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Hello Conventioneers!

One of the great things about attending conventions of on-line bookdealers (besides commiserating at the absurdity of actually having them) is hearing the reasons that the more thoughtful among them give for keeping their stores on-line instead of in "meat-space". Fortunately for me, the last convention for O.B.O.E. (On-line Bookstore Owners of Earth) was held two weeks ago here in Seattle, so I didn't have to travel far.
(Note to the OBOE organizers: couldn't we have opted for some other theme than the Darth Vader thing? I know Lucas gives us a discounted price, but I still prefer the jauntiness of the "sailor look." It makes the traditional carousing in peepshows after a day of hearing riveting speeches a lot less conspicuous.

I still smile fondly at the thought of all the "OBOErs" singing and dancing in the rain in their sailor suits. It's just not the same - twirling around in the rain, singing your heart out - when you're dressed as Darth Vader. Besides, a lot of WTO protesters got us OBOE bookdealers confused with the Seattle Police who were sporting similar costumes.)

Surprisingly, the number one reason most on-line bookdealers give for not having a physical store is the concern over hygiene - more specifically: the finger prints left on and around the light switch to the bookstore bathroom. Now, I've never had "hard 'n' fast" reasons for, or against, selling in meat-space, but I've got to admit - if this is your primary reason for staying exclusively on-line - you're deluding yourselves.

I used to have this same problem at home. Relatives from out-of-town would come and stay with us. Our guest bedrooms have their own bathrooms and I couldn't help but notice all the fingerprints and scuff marks left around the light switches (which were located - as per the rules set aside in the last Uruguay-round of GATT - just inside the bathroom doors).

Looking into the matter further, I discovered that ALL the light switches in ALL the bathrooms had fingerprints and scuff marks around them! We live in a huge, Tudor house with eight bedrooms and ten bathrooms. Obviously, eliminating this problem was going to be no easy task.

Then one night, I got fed up with all the advertisements on network television. (If I see one more ad for on Suddenly Susan, I'll squeal like a stuck pig in a James Dickey southern gothic!) Anyway, I padded off to the library and picked up a copy of Erland Fenn Clark's "Truncheons: Their Romance and Reality." (Published in London: Jenkins, 1935. 242 pages with 102 b/w illustrations, most full-page.) While flipping through the book, lovingly admiring the black and white photos of staves, portreves, leets, and ceremonial bludgeons, I found myself wistfully envisioning a world where there were never any marks left on the light switches of bookstore bathroom doors.

Fondling an imaginary truncheon, (was that a truncheon, or was I just happy to see me?) I drifted off to sleep. When I awoke, I knew I had the answer - install the sink outside the bathroom! Guests and residents wash their hands outside the bathroom before they touch the light switch inside the bathroom.

$30,000 later, the plumber is happy, but I notice now there are marks on the light switches in the halls that lead into the rooms with the bathrooms. This, at least, is one headache meat space dealers DO NOT have. One sink outside the bathroom door and their problem is solved.

Frank Zappa

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