A Fascinating Place to Work

Rick once made a comment on one of my posts that Chapters seems like a fascinating place to work. As part of my attempts to increase my job satisfaction, I’ve occasionally thought about that. Rather than giving you a whole philosophy surrounding Chapters and part-time jobs for large corporations and books, here are some of the interesting things from today in particular, adapted from a scrap of paper I carried in my pocket to write in . . .

I learned from a pair of customers what carbon credits are (we have no books on them, though). Now, you may notice that some companies out there are behaving themselves (somewhat) and have reduced their greenhouse emissions and whatnot in accordance with Kyoto. But others, alas, have not. What they can do, though, is trade “carbon credits.” When a company has been good and exceeded expectations, they can give carbon credits to a different company that has not–thus, although not every company will be up to standards, this way industry as a whole can be viewed as generally up to standards. I’m not sure it’s entirely logical. And I may be wrong, but this, as I understand it, is the deal with carbon credits.

As I spread intellectual enlightenment through the written word today, I came across this book on a display in my section (which is the kids section)–Mother Goose Unplucked by Helaine Becker. On page 78 of said book, one finds a two-page spread about dragons. I like both dragons and words (especially Greek ones), so the following quotation caught my eye:

The word “dragon” comes from the Greek word drakon, meaning “that which sees” or “that which flashes.” It may have originally referred to a type of snake with shiny scales.

This etymology for drakon (δράκων, for any who care) fascinated me. According my Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell and Scott, this word simply means “a dragon, or serpent of huge size, a python,” and is found in Homer, et cetera. Most translators, et al., whom I’ve noticed tend to go for the serpent definition. But the Liddell and Scott has failed me. Nonetheless, A Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect by Richard John Cunliffe does state that δράκων probably comes from δέρκομαι, the aorist (simple past) participle of which is δρακών (note the accent difference). Δέρκομαι means a host of things: to see clearly, see; to be alive, living; to look terrible, with the word for fire it can mean flashing fire from the eyes, it can mean to look on or at, and generally can mean to perceive.

I’ve a feeling that our friends in Mother Goose Unplucked were barking up the right tree with the wrong definition, as the only way the word can mean “flashing” is if there is fire involved–and would involve eyes, not scales.

Moving along. The pocket book edition of the first book of The Great Tree of Avalon series has a double front cover. The inner of the two covers has a picture of one of the characters. This character happens to look pretty much like Orlando Bloom. I’ve known this for almost two weeks and showed it to my co-workers today and proceeded to chortle. Orlando Bloom…

Finally, any Happy Days fans out there will be pleased to learn that Fonzi has found a life beyond getting killed in Scream. That’s right, Henry Winkler writes children’s books. Today I shelved Book Eleven of his series about Hank Zipzer, “The World’s Greatest Underachiever.” This tome is titled, The Curtain Went Up, My Pants Fell Down.

That’s all for now. Happy reading!

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