Brickbat: OK, Just Take One


credit: jurvetson / photo on flickr

For years, Peter Cook donated books to the Palms Library in Los Angeles. Then he decided to create his own. He put up a book shelf on the grass strip between the sidewalk and street near his home, put a few books in and put up a sign reading "take one or leave one." He says that pretty soon it was a hub of activity, but then one neighbor complained. Now, a city inspector says if he doesn't remove the library from public property he faces fines.

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  1. I wonder how many people wander into the Palms Library thinking it’s a porno shop.

    1. I wonder how many people wander into my local library thinking it’s a homeless shelter with computers.

      1. I have an uncharacteristic soft spot for public libraries with internet access. It’s from where JsubD dropped his truth bombs on us.

  2. “Take it down or the city will,” said the writer, claiming that police and City Hall had confirmed that the sign was on public property, and that it was illegal. The note was signed, “a neighbor who hates you and your kids.” And if that wasn’t hostile and creepy enough, an expletive, “[blank] America,” was scrawled on the back of the note.

    What the article fails to make clear is that this monster Cook had a Dan Brown novel on his shelf.

    1. It gets worse, Fist.
      Mr. Cook’s real name is Peter Mackenzie, and he – brace yourself – starred in “Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?”. Clearly this hater of roads has it in for society. No doubt he stocked his illegal “library” with subversive anarchist clap trap.

      He put up his non-state approved and likely hazardous-to-children “library” in November and within four months had subverted nearly the whole neighborhood (as well as passing nannies and school children).

      If it wasn’t for one brave anonymous hero, who knows how far Mr. Mackenzie’s malign influence would have spread.

      1. No, his real name is Cook, but apparently that’d conflict with the better-known British actor.

        I was flabbergasted at reading the contents of the note. All that was missing was, “…and the horse America rode in on.” It’s like, “I’m being mean to anyone & everyone I can, because I can.”

        1. It’s a great lesson for the children: If you don’t like what somebody else is doing, sic the bullying power of the state on them.

          1. But this guy didn’t just like what was being done, he’s just a misanthropist, or sadist, or something. I’ve no reason to believe he particularly hates the guy next door or his children, he probably just hates everybody, and if he can bring any sadness into anybody’s life, he’ll do it.

        2. You are correct Robert; Peter Mackenzie is his stage name. I usually accept responsibility for my mistakes, but on this occasion I think I’ll dock the orphan who polishes my monocle a day’s pay (read: bowl of room temperature gruel).

          For napping on the job.

  3. Neighbours are sometimes retarded. It’s a shame the government goes to bat for such assholes.

    1. City property? Isn’t it a right of way? If it’s city property, then they can start landscaping it and mowing it.

      1. “Government is simply the name we give to the grass we choose to mow together.”

  4. Well, if it’s between the sidewalk and the street then it is city property. He should move it back on his side of the sidewalk….

    …..and either start sending the city a monthly bill for maintaining their property or stop mowing their grass.

    1. “Why yes, my bill for maintaining the margins does look suspiciously like the tax assessment for the entire lot. What a coincidence.”

    2. “Cook could resolve this if he chose to do so. He could relocate the library 6 feet or so to his private property, although even then he might need to satisfy city codes. But that is a 6-foot gulf he cannot bring himself to cross. Not in the names of Montaigne, Hawthorne, Thoreau and Wilde, all of whom he quoted to me in standing on principle.

      It’s not a private library he wants, but a public one.”

  5. Does Dudley Moore have a library, too?

  6. When is the Botard gonna fly in to shit all over this thread? Something something college degrees something SOCONZ something something disingenuous, shifting sands arguments!!1!

    Oops….I hope I didn’t just accidentally light the Botard signal – my bad…

    1. You have to type SOCONZ three times to summon the Botard.

      1. Just defending someone to the right of Liz Warren will bring out the Botard and get you labeled a SoCon lately.

        1. Yeah, anyone who doesn’t agree with Botard is clearly a SOCON!

    2. I don’t get it.

      1. People are finally figuring out that Bo-Bo is an elitist progressive concern troll.

  7. Looks like the enforcement office went…

    [puts on sunglasses]

    …by the book.

    1. I feel like a worse person for having laughed at that.


      Drums and guitar riff

      1. JINX!!!


      /Roger Daltrey

  8. Let me get this straight: this sick bastard was leaving books lying around? Where anyone could just take them or even possibly read them??

  9. Well, Devil’s Advocate — he put this up on property he doesn’t own. Move it back a few feet onto his own property and the problem goes away.

    That, or put it up temporarily each day on the medium strip, then remove it to his own property each night.

    Or maybe a whole bunch of feet — the city owned right of ways can be a significant chunk of what people regard as their front yard.

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