Memorial for Jerry Lang

Long Time Manager of Cliff’s Books in Pasadena

Jerry Lang

Jerry Lang

A touching memorial for Jerry Lang was held in the beautiful town of Sierra Madre, California on August 14th, 2016.  Jerry passed back in February, as reported on this blog. Jerry’s family and friends had the opportunity to get together and celebrate the life of this kind and gentle man.  His sister Cathy Seal, his beautiful daughter Brittany, and his brother Tim, all gave heart felt remembrances of Jerry.  A slide show presented photos of Jerry throughout his lifetime.

His nephew Don Lang, who is a musician in Portland, Oregon, wrote and performed a powerful song about Jerry, called Welcome to Heaven.  Don said that since Jerry loved books, he thinks of him every time he sees a paperback.  “Paperbacks are going away, just as our dear Jerry has gone away.”  We managed to video his song, which you can hear by clicking on the box below.

Here is the direct link to the song, on youtube:

Check out the interview with Jerry that I posted on this website, just before his terrible stroke.  The closing of Cliff’s Books was a disaster for the employees.  It happened without notice and had severe consequences for many of us.  Having worked with Jerry at the store, on and off for a period of years, I can say that he was a first class human, a kind and caring man.  He also had a great sense of humor, and we had our share of laughs.  Jerry was there at the store through thick and thin, he was the only employee who stuck it out during the time the store was closed down by the City of Pasadena, hanging in during the day so that Jack and I could work at night correcting the building violations in order to get the shop open again. I don’t know how he did it, there was no pay for any of us as the doors were shut. Really, I don’t know how any of us did it, it was like being in the lost brigade of WWI.  Jerry was a rock for us, and if he hadn’t been there during the day for those 3 months we would not have been able to do our work. I will have more to say about the closing, and more video to post later.

The Memorial was held here in Sierra Madre

The Memorial was held here in Sierra Madre

The Gardens

The Gardens

Memorial Service

Memorial Service






Brittany and Jerry

A Bookman’s Ghost Story

Strange Tale of the Incident That Took Place in Cliff Gildart’s Front Yard

by Paul Hunt

I admit it, I believe in ghosts, and all the strange things that go with it.  Baseball players and writers can be a superstitious bunch.  Usually, this kind of stuff is something that someone tells you about – you know, something that happened to an old aunt.  It never seems to be something in the now, something you saw for yourself.  This time it was plain as day, and I want to get it out before I forget about it, or get into a superstitious funk and lock it out of my memory.

IMG_0170The incident had its beginnings some time ago at the now defunct Cliff’s Bookshop on Colorado Boulevard in downtown Pasadena.  The big store, chock full of 150,000 books, was a long time resident on that eastern flatland of the City. Most folks who work in used book shops are, well, a little unusual.  I include myself in that observation.  They tend to be eccentric in often odd ways, rejecting the “normal” jobs that society has to offer.  One of the fellows who worked at Cliff’s for some time was Paul Johnson.  He was a regular employee, working the front counter, going out on book buys, pricing books, doing all the necessary jobs that needed to be done.

Cliff had a long term friend and employee named Mark Sailor.  He was Cliff’s right-hand man, taking care of not only store tasks, but also helping Cliff with personal matters.  When Mark died suddenly in 2011, Paul Johnson stepped up to take on the job.  That meant a change for Paul, who now not only worked at the store a couple nights a week, but also was tasked with getting books listed on the internet at Cliff’s secret “Annex”, which was a dilapidated building surrounded by metal shipping containers, all packed with thousands of unsorted books that poured in on a daily basis.  Add to this was helping old Cliff out in personal matters, which meant spending time up at Cliff’s cottage in North Pasadena.  The cottage, surrounded by trees, sits on a private lane that runs perpendicular to one of those charming streets that are famous for craftsman period homes. Cliff, during the last few years of the bookshop, had pretty much become a hermit, sleeping days and waking nights, like an old wizard deep in the forest.  Really, the only thing missing was a huge pot hanging over a pile of kindling, boiling all night in his front yard, with gremlins and goblins dancing around it, quoting passages from Hunter Thompson and Andy Warhol.

But that wasn’t all that Paul had to deal with.  If you think that the many booksellers you know are a little off center, how about the strange folk who don’t work at the book store, they just live there, burrowing into some upstairs crevice that has slowly, over a period of twenty years, become filled with oddball stuff retrieved from the trash cans of the finest Pasadena estates:  scorched pots and pans, expired can goods filling up a dented file cabinet with only one working drawer; a bare-wired hot plate with the dried crust of the drippings of a thousand delicious cans of soup adorning it’s side; piles of used clothing worn many times but never laundered;  half-working, flickering, fuzzy sounding television sets;  stacks of cd’s, a few of them unscratched, but most out of their plastic cases and heaped into silver towers; boxes of dishware, none of it matching; heaps of interesting looking electronic devices, for some reason all missing something like the plug, or the broken cover, or the rusty battery compartment.  And let’s not forget the five gallon containers full of perfectly good meat, kept fresh and wholesome by being soaked in a bath of water for a couple of years.  All this and more was the upstairs nightmare on Elm Street where Nicholas “Nick” Meier had claimed as his territory, with the same fervor that Columbus claimed the New World for the King of Spain.

Nick, the rumor went, had once literally saved Cliff’s life from some drug-crazed, knife-wielding maniac one late night at the shop.  Cliff was forever grateful for that, and allowed Nick to nestle into the upstairs lair.  Of course, first Nick had to build it.  He was handy with tools, very hard working to accomplish a task, but a bit short on engineering ability. He build an impressive looking mezzanine in the west storefront.  You can view this by going to the video that is the interview with Jerry Lang.  Nick, however, forgot the most important thing, to attach the posts securely to the floor. They were entirely loose.  An earthquake would have brought it down. He also built a mezzanine in the center storefront, one that was so bad that the City of Pasadena shut the entire store down for months until it was removed. Another story for another time.

Nick, a hulking man about 6 foot 6 inches, with a bright shock of white hair and a white beard, would sometimes suddenly appear downstairs in the shop, barefoot, wearing a tee shirt that was long past its prime, and maybe 3 weeks past its laundry appointment that somehow never occurred, and go on a loud rant, colorfully laced with words that were heard frequently at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.  It could be an awkward task to quiet the customers who would usually try to stampede to the door in terror. As far as Nick went, he was quite useful around the shop, vacuuming the carpets, building shelves, building all kinds of interesting things.  The problem was that there were no boundaries placed on him. Only Cliff could tell Nick what to do.  And Cliff never did.

After the 2008 financial meltdown, or maybe even a decade before it, harder than usual times hit the used book business.  Times were tough, and as Nixon’s old veep Spiro Agnew declared, “When the times get tough, the tough get going.”  This was a quote that someone living covertly upstairs at Cliff’s castle could sink his teeth into.  Nick was a master dumpster diver, and years of living on the fringe of society, including many years spent in upstate New York, gave him a head start over the rest of us. Nick got going, raiding market dumpsters all over Pasadena, hauling in trash bags full of yummy veggies and anything else he could find.  Cliff. pretty much a vegetarian, loved the stuff. The staff also delighted in the apples and fruit that Nick brought in. Paul Johnson, however, was not amused, especially since no one ever bothered to daily sort out the rotted stuff, and a strong smell always emanated from behind the Science Fiction section of the store, which was where Nick had cleverly cut out some pieces of wood to install a second refrigerator for Cliff, as the first one was small and so obnoxious that a gas mask was required to even be around it, much less open the door.

The hidden danger, one that would manifest itself soon enough, and lead to this ghost story, revolves around the second refrigerator.  Directly behind the Science Fiction section was a stairway that led up to the illegal loft- mezzanine installed by Nick.  The stairway itself had been moved from an original position, and gerry-rigged to work with the new loft. When Nick chopped out some boards to push in the refrigerator, he had removed the posts that were holding up that section of the stairway, which was now resting on the refrigerator itself, with the help of a few odd scraps of lumber.

Paul Johnson, 2013,

Paul Johnson, 2013,

After a year of smelling rotted veggies, Paul had also noticed that sales of science fiction books had plummeted, due quite logically to the fact that standing in that fantasy nook would overwhelm customers with the smell of stinking compost.  Even Arthur C. Clarke had not envisioned a Martian attack like this.  Paul had had enough.  In a rage one night, he ripped out the refrigerator and the surrounding mass of dead vegetation, and heaved the lot of it into the dumpster.  This caused some fracas, because Cliff didn’t have a dumpster, Paul had used the bin belonging to the next door neighbor, a Mexican Restaurant.  The refrigerator filled up the bin, and the neighbors had no room for their trash and bitterly complained to Cliff, who was already under the gun from these same amigos, who suspected that Cliff was stealing their water.  This was true, (although Cliff didn’t know about it,)  as the main water line to the bathroom had broken, so Nick had simply tapped into the Mexican’s water, but had cleverly concealed it, evading discovery for a couple of years. It became somewhat evident when Paul had to work on the toilet or the sink faucet, because we had to shut down the incoming water from the main which was running through the Mexican Restaurant.  Paul had to work fast before their ice machine ran dry from lack of water, which would burn it out. That, would be open war.

Paul replaced the hole where the refrigerator had been wedged with a sturdy shelf, thus holding up the back stairs, and at the same time giving more space for books, certainly more important than food, at least to a bookman.

Nick moving shelves

Nick moving shelves

When Cliff sold the contents of the store to internet dealers, he excluded from the sale all the books that were upstairs on the loft of the “rare” book room.  So after the internet group had removed all the 150,000 books sold to them, Paul had the job, with his friend Henry, and a couple of others to box up the 10,000 rare books and take them up to the secret Annex.  As Paul was working upstairs boxing up the books, Nick the gorilla was downstairs, knocking apart the hundreds of shelving units and stacking the lumber in piles.  When Nick came to the now abandoned and bare Science Fiction section, he removed the shelves that were holding up the back stairs.  He could see that the stairs were on the verge of collapse, and went looking for a 2 x 4 to shore them up, but had somehow been distracted and forgot to do it.

Meanwhile, Paul was starting to haul the boxes down the stairs from the loft, oblivious to the missing supports on the stairway.  Carrying a heavy 50 pound box of books, he stepped on to the stairs, and promptly crashed through, collapsing the stairway.  Paul Johnson narrowly escaped death, but was injured.  The video interview with Jerry shows Paul’s injuries, and he says he thought he chipped a bone in his leg.  I advised him to go get x-rays, but I doubt that he ever did.  Paul kept working that day, October 4, 2013, and continued through the month until the store was cleared.  I doubt that he ever forgave Nick for being so damned careless.

Fast forward to February, 2016. On Sunday night, the 14th, Johnson stopped over to Cliff’s cottage and had a couple glasses of wine with Cliff.  Paul died the next day, Monday the 15th. Cliff’s little cottage was in trouble (and still is).  A huge branch of a tree had split and crashed onto the roof of the cottage.  When rain comes, Cliff is going to have flood conditions on the inside of his house.  All the trees in Cliff’s forest were overgrown and in need of trimming.  Nick, who had lost his free loft more than two years before, had been basically homeless, living on the streets of Pasadena.  It’s a tough life, especially in a cold, wet winter.  Nick, now about 75 years old, was, and is, having a rough time of it.  He is still able to get food for himself and dumpster dive in the same successful manner, but there’s no place to stay except living rough in a sleeping bag, constantly being harassed by the cops, moving frequently from doorways to nooks in buildings.  Day times are often spent up at Cliff’s cottage.

Last year, he foraged around and found enough paint to completely paint the cottage.  He also cleaned up Cliff’s yard, removing a dead lawn and putting down large stones and gravel between the trees.  On February 17th, 2016, Nick was high up on a ladder, trimming dead branches with a chain saw.  A little gust of wind came up, wind that I believe somehow sounded like Paul Johnson’s laughing chortle.  Nick lost his balance.  A witness told me that Nick did a slow motion somersault, arms outstretched, and crashed onto the recently deposited stones he had so carefully spread across the soft sod in front of the cottage.  Luckily, the whirring chain saw bounced a few feet away, and the large tree limb, with a crook in the center, landed on either side of Nick, but did not touch him.  Nick did not entirely escape injury, he was taken to the hospital with a broken collar bone, and a whole lot of bruises.

I saw Nick two days later, up at Cliff’s cottage, his arm in a sling, and possibly troubled by a cracked rib.  As I talked to a witness to this mayhem, I thought that it was entirely possible that Paul’s spirit was still in the area.  He had died on the 15th.  Maybe he was around two days later, on the 17th, when Nick climbed up the ladder with the chain saw.   Paul was not the kind of person who would do anything to harm anyone.  But standing out there in Cliffs front yard, listening to the wind blowing softly through the trees, I swear I could hear a faint sound of Paul Johnson laughing.  I would know that laugh anywhere. I think Nick would know it too.


Death Claims 2 Booksellers From the Now Closed Cliff’s Books in Pasadena

Both Jerry Lang and Paul Johnson Were Longtime Employees of Cliff’s Books

A Few Notes

by Paul Hunt

Jerry Lang

Jerry Lang

Two former employees of Cliff’s Books in Pasadena have died unexpectedly.  Jerry Lang was the Manager of Cliff’s until the last days when Cliff Gildart, the owner, suddenly closed the shop and sold the stock to an online bookdealer in September, 2013.  Jerry passed on Saturday, February 13, 2016. I am not totally sure of this date, so anyone who has more exact information please contact me.

Jerry Lang Interview4 (3).Movie_SnapshotThe closing of the store came without prior notice to the employees (or the landlord for that matter).  One day we came to work to find a crew of guys boxing up books, and were told that Cliff had sold the stock and closed the store.  You can imagine the shock to the employees.  The buyer of the books kept a couple of the employees on for a few days while unwanted stock was reduced and sold off, pretty much paying for the amount that he paid Cliff for the whole stock of 150,000 books.  More on all this later, but this post is about Jerry Lang and Paul Johnson.

Jerry Lang Interview4 (2).Movie_SnapshotJerry tried to find another job, but the suddenness of the closing made it almost impossible. He was, like most of us, “one paycheck away from being on the street.”  More so because working at a used bookstore is financially 3 steps lower than working at a taco stand in Monrovia.  And that is what happened to him.  Without a job, he was unable to pay his rent and had to give up the apartment.  The stress of all this hit him like a bolt of lightning, and he suffered a massive stroke. He ended up in a hospital and made a valiant fight to recover, but died this month undergoing surgery for an unrelated matter.

A few days after the store closed, in October of 2013, I filmed an interview with Jerry as the store was being demolished, books being moved out, and shelving knocked down. You can see the edited interview by clicking on the box below. Jerry was a great guy, a really good self-taught bookseller, and I loved working with him.  We made super-human efforts to keep the store going, and Jerry would be just the guy you would want to be in charge of saving your business. I consider it an honor to have known him.

Paul Johnson, 2013

Paul Johnson, 2013

Paul Johnson was basically Cliff’s right-hand man.  When Mark Sailor died around 2011, Paul filled in, working at the store a couple nights, helping Cliff in personal matters, and running the Annex warehouse where Cliff kept a huge overstock of books.  After the store closed, Paul supervised the moving of Cliff’s mail-order and rare books up to the Annex.  He was working at the Annex listing books for sale on the internet up until his death on February 15th.  He was 59 years old.

Jerry Lang Interview3.Movie_SnapshotIt’s always shocking to hear of a middle-aged person dying.  Paul was as strong as an ox, and seemed to be in pretty good health, but both he and Jerry smoked, which did neither of them any good.  In addition, Paul had hypertension due to a number of problems that I won’t go into, and smoked pot to keep down his blood pressure.  Both he and Jerry were really good bookmen.  Paul went to numerous book buys and estate sales and often came up with some rare and choice books for Cliff.

A couple of funny incidents might be in order to lift some of the death pall that settles in over these types of articles.  As I mentioned, Paul, or “Short Paul” as another member of Cliff’s book family, Nick Meier called him, to differentiate him from me, did partake of the gentle leaf of mary jane.   This lowered his blood pressure and probably kept him alive for an extra few years, but led to a lot of absent-minded behavior.  He was always misplacing his cel phone and/or his car keys, or both.  Once, when I was tending the store late at night, Paul came down to bring some books from the Annex.  He unloaded the car, which was Cliff’s old Mustang that Cliff couldn’t drive any more for some mysterious reason, and then puttered around the shop for a while

Just before he was to drive off he started to dredge around the shop for his cel phone.  I started calling the number and then listening, walking around the shop, you know the routine.  No luck.  After calling the number over 30 times I gave up.  Paul went out in front of the store for a smoke.  I joined him to get some fresh air, and for some reason of immediate habit dialed his number one more time.  His phone was heard ringing, outside the store on Colorado Blvd., resting on a tiny ledge, right where Paul had left it an hour earlier during another smoke break. This was astounding, because nothing survives the eagle eyes of passing thieves on Colorado Blvd.  A bicycle not locked will last 2 minutes max. I could hardly believe his luck, because although it was dark out, it had been ringing continuously for at least a half hour.  Maybe all the thieves were snuggled into their sleeping bags by then.

IMG_0170Another time, again late at night about 11:30 pm, Paul had come in to drop off something. He didn’t stay long, but called back to the store a few minutes later from the land line phone at the Annex.  He had lost his phone again and asked me if I could call the number and walk around the shop and listen for the ring.  It was a big shop, with three storefronts, back rooms, a paperback room, and an upstairs office where the “rare” books were kept. Believe me, it took a while just to walk around the place, and 30 or 40 dials to Paul’s cel produced nothing, not a peep.  I called back to the Annex and asked him to come in and help me look for it.

About 15 minutes later Johnson pulled into the back lot of Cliff’s, still driving the old Mustang.  He was not in a good mood, angry at himself for once again (for the seven hundredth time in a month)  misplacing the damned phone.  I started dialing his cel number right away, and was startled to hear it chirping back just a few feet away, laying in the groove of the hood of the Mustang.  I have no idea how it stayed perched there as Paul had driven all the way up to the Annex, about 3 miles away, and then all the way back to Cliff’s.  I inspected the thing so see if there was some glue on the back of it or something, and then realized that Paul was so stoned that he probably drove really slow, like you do when pot paranoia takes over, and every passing cop car is a potential threat.

Aside from the daily cel hell that Johnson had to endure,, I remember another incident of forgetfulness that was even more startling. Unnerving really. One night, on his shift, he decided to consolidate the fiction section.  So he started to snug all the books up to each other, and when he was done, he had created a space of two entire shelving units.  This was a lot of space at Cliff’s. where even a mouse-hole would have a book blocking the entrance.  He had something in mind for the space, but forgot what it was.  The two empty units were sitting right near the front of the store, prime space.  I for one kept asking him what he was going to put there, but never got much of a coherent answer.  After 4 months he didn’t even remember that he had done it, and asked me one night who had emptied the two units in the middle of the store.  I stared at him, stupefied, and was going to yell at him that he was the one, but upon instant reflection of what it might do to upset his fragile psyche, and the fact he was my friend,  I decided to blame it on Nick, the homeless guy who was crashing upstairs and told him I would see to it that some books were put in the empty space right away.  He said that would be really great, and went outside for a smoke. What ever it was he was smoking was powerful stuff, the kind that makes you dream in technicolor.

The Send Off

St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church

St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church

On March 3, 2016 a Memorial Celebration for Paul Edward Johnson took place at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Altadena.  It was a beautiful and touching ceremony.  Paul’s friends and family were present, including an honor guard from the U.S. Army to present an American Flag to his family. Deacon Charles Mitchell  conducted the ceremonial, along with his wife Mrs. Cynthia Mitchell. Soloist Peter Vecchio with his accompanist Sydney Gullaume performed lovely songs. For those who didn’t know much about Paul’s personal life, I am reprinting the biography that was in the memorial folder handed out at the ceremony:


Paul Edward Johnson of Altadena passed away February 15, 2016.  Paul was a lovnig father, grandfather, son, brother and a good friend to many.  Paul was born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Pasadena, California on June 7, 1956, to Lloyd and Margit Johnson and grew up in Altadena.  He attended St. Elizabeth Elementary School and St. Francis and John Muir high schools.  He was a military veteran who served in the U.S. Army.  Paul loved camping and fishing in the mountains and was especially fond of Kernville.  He was also an avid antique book collector.  Paul will be remembered for his generosity and kindness to his family and friends.  He had a big smile and big heart and will be dearly missed and forever cherished in our hearts.

He is survived by a son, Skyler Martinez; daughter, Bryana Miller (Thomas); grandchild, Daniel Paul; sister, Anita and brother, Carl (kathleen).


Paul and his grandson Dan

Paul and his grandson Dan

The Christian church, for some 2,000 years now, marks with ceremony the passage of humans through their lives at important times.  Birth, baptism, marriage, death, these all mark places in our journey.  None of us know when that final marker will take place, and it is sad for us when someone as young as our friend Paul passes.  If anyone reading this has any memories of Paul and his activities in the book business, please send them along, so we can make this a part of the record.  Paul had a great sense of humor and would himself want us to think of him in laughter and good times.

“Don’t Worry about a thing, “Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”  – Bob Marley singing Three Little Birds, Paul Johnson’t favorite song.

Strangely, Paul had purchased an expensive bottle of wine which he shared a couple of glasses with Cliff Gildart only a day before he passed.  Did he have a premonition and want to have a final toast with Cliff, his friend?  Cliff said he was glad that he could share those last moments with Paul, who had really become Cliff’s right-hand man.  Cliff, of course, is very saddened about this, and although he is not a religious person, please say a few prayers for him, along with Paul’s family.

Both Jerry and Paul were good bookmen, both loved books and served the Pasadena community.  They were both men of good temperament and good will, and we will miss them for their humor, as well as their tremendous knowledge.  Rest in Peace, my friends.




I may have some more entertainment about Clliff’s and other bookshops and booksellers in the future, if I can bring myself to do it.  Letters, emails, brick-bats encouraged.  Please consider everything on this website to be a massive work of fiction.  I’m not really sure, in my advanced dotage that any of this actually happened.  I swear under penalty of perjury that I wasn’t smoking anything during those years.  Well, at least pretty much.  Maybe a little wine now and then.  Really.  Swear it.

Is This The End for Cliff’s Books?

Rumors are swirling – Is This The End?

Is this the end for Cliff’s Books in Pasadena, California?  Cliff’s has been around for about 24 years, but Cliff is about 80 years old, and the scuttlebutt is that the rent just jumped up 40% to a huge amount.  Owner Cliff Gildart hasn’t been in the store reportedly for over 2 years, hiding out somewhere in a little cottage in the wilds of the Pasadena foothills.  The shop has been run by a skeleton crew, trying to cope with the recession-depression, an old building full of problems, an absence of foot traffic on the street, the decline of brick-and-mortar stores, the rise of internet bookselling, the Nook, the Kindle, the lack of money to make any big book buys, the vanishing collectors, the cultural meltdown, the decline of reading, the horrible educational system in Los Angeles where 50% of the students in high schools supposedly drop out (Pasadena itself has a much better school system than L.A.), the high price of gasoline, and possibly a decline of interest in the book itself, replaced by an electronic device.

Cliff’s is one of the last of the big used bookstores in Southern California.  We have already said good-bye to most of the giants: Book City Hollywood, Berkeleuw (Hollywood), Book City Valley, Book Castle (Burbank), Book City (Burbank), Book Baron (Anaheim), Acres of Books (Long Beach), Wahrenbrocks (San Diego), Pickwick (Hollywood), and others we can’t recall at this time, much less the scores and scores of small and medium sized shops that are gone with the wind.  What’s left in the World of Giants if Cliff’s goes out?  The only one we can think of is Brand Bookshop in Glendale.  That’s it for large general used bookstores in Southern California. A big store has opened in Downtown LA, but this writer hasn’t checked it out yet. It does have a fitting name: The Last Bookstore.

With a population of nearly 10 million in Los Angeles County alone, we will be left with one large general shop.  And that one is shaky because the owner, Jerome Joseph, a great bookman and a funny, cheerful fellow, is himself well into his 80’s.  So what is the problem?  Is the population of Los Angeles just getting stupid?  Brain-dead from TV?  Overloaded with immigrants who refuse to learn English? There are certainly some big hurdles for any retailer, especially book shops.  Real estate prices have soared, rents have skyrocketed.  There’s a recession, but tons of empty buildings and storefronts have not stopped the onslaught of high rents.  The greed seems never ending, even to the point of self destruction.  Down the street from Cliff’s used to be a newstand-paperback joint called Bungalow News.  The rent went up so high that the long-time proprietor had to call it quits.  The storefront has been vacant for many years.  Across the street from Cliff’s was a shop called Book Alley.  This outfit started about 20 years ago in Old Town Pasadena, as a little shop in an Alley in the Old Town maze.  High rent drove them out to settle in on East Colorado, almost across from Cliff’s.  Eventually the rents bloated up and out, so Book Alley, under a new owner, moved farther east, to its new high rent spot 9 blocks or so east of Cliff’s.  That storefront across from Cliff’s has also been empty for years.  The landlords must be so wealthy that empty stores for years has absolutely no effect on their bank accounts or lifestyles.  Some cities across the country have started to tax landlords who keep their buildings empty.  Will that happen in Pasadena, where empty storefronts abound?  Construction of new buildings is still brisk, the old one-story buildings wrecked and 4 and 5 story monsters now are lining East Colorado, with more to come.  Billions spent in construction costs.  The developers and banks have seemingly unlimited funds to spend, but where’s the retailers?  A lot of the stores remain empty.  As long as the U.S. Treasury is printing money, (now over 40 billion every month), the banks and developers will have a field day. Some say that at some point in the future, when the interest on the debt reaches the edge of the solar system, the big collapse will come, sucking the entire civilization into the void. By that time the population may be too ignorant and stupid to even notice.

Stay tuned here for the latest news on this drama and the heartbreak story of Cliff’s Books.