Monkey employee writes a book!

February 20, 2008

chief-benders-burden.jpgTom Swift not only works at Monkey See, Monkey Read, he is also a writer. His first book has just landed at the store.

Chief Bender’s Burden: The Silent Struggle of A Baseball Star is published by the University of Nebraska Press. The book is currently 20% off the cover price. We will sponsor an event sometime this spring. I look forward to reading this book. It’s next on my list. Here’s a taste of what you’ll read:

The greatest American Indian baseball player of all time, Charles Albert Bender, was, according to a contemporary, “the coolest pitcher in the game.” Using a trademark delivery, an impressive assortment of pitches that may have included the game’s first slider, and an apparently unflappable demeanor, he earned a reputation as baseball’s great clutch pitcher during tight Deadball Era pennant races and in front of boisterous World Series crowds. More remarkably yet, “Chief” Bender’s Hall of Fame career unfolded in the face of immeasurable prejudice. This skillfully told and complete account of Bender’s life is also a portrait of greatness of character maintained despite incredible pressure—of how a celebrated man thrived while carrying an untold weight on his shoulders. With a journalist’s eye for detail and a novelist’s feel for storytelling, Tom Swift takes readers on Bender’s improbable journey—from his early years on the White Earth Reservation, to his development at the Carlisle Indian School, to his big break and eventual rise to the pinnacle of baseball. The story of a paradoxical American sports hero, one who achieved a once-unfathomable celebrity while suffering the harsh injustices of a racially intolerant world, Chief Bender’s Burden is an eye-opening and inspiring narrative of a unique American life.

Bikes-Why I ride mine

February 16, 2008

I usually reserve this blog to write about books or the store. But today it’s all about bikes. I love riding a bike. It’s fun. It provides great exercise and it gets me to work and back inexpensively. Living in a small town with two colleges means there are a fair number of bikes in town. During a recent discussion of transportation issues on, the former president of the Northfield Chamber of Commerce stated:

“Let me be explicit: Motorized transportation is the Chamber’s priority. All this discussion about bikes and sidewalks does not further a complete transportation discussion. The Chamber would like a full discussion of vehicular traffic, especially on Highways 19 and 1. These are significant “commerce” roads that need attention before significan78datsunb210.jpgt funds are spent filling in the gaps in bike trails. ”

Now I’m not militant about biking. I own a car, in fact, I have owned four cars in my lifetime including a 1978 Datsun B210 GX. Mine was orange like the picture at the right only it had a lot of rust. I do believe the city of Northfield needs to improve our roads, particularly highways 1, 3 and 19. If we are going to encourage businesses to locate here, these arteries are essential. But I also think all changes to our transportation system should be comprehensive and include non-motorized options like cycling and walking.

As a business owner, non-motorized transportation is critical to the success of my business. Walk by traffic drives a healthy percentage of my sales. The bike racks downtown are usually full, especially in the summer. For the Northfield Chamber of Commerce to take up a position that is so opposed to bikes and pedestrians is absurd in my opinion.

Lance Armstrong is opening a bike shop in Austin TX called Mellow Johnny’s. I’d like to see more stories about Mellow Johnny’s and fewer about how cycling detracts from serious discussions about transportation. Bill Ostrem writes about bicycling on his blog. Bill hajerrysbiketires-001-tn2.jpgs more expertise with regard to these issues than I do. He chairs the Northfield’s Non-Motorized Transportation task force.

I just like to ride and I prefer to have safe roads where I ride. Here is a picture of me and my bike. Ross Currier wrote this story about my bike tires. I believe the more people ride bikes, the safer the roads will be. published a story explaining this rationale recently.

Let me know what you think. Am I nuts?


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