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Lance Mannion
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Posted Sunday morning, August 13, 2017. In case there was any doubt, our President is a moral monster. “Best regards?” “Best regards?” “BEST REGARDS?” The animatronic figure of him in the Hall of Presidents at DisneyWorld is capable of simulating human emotion more convincingly. Notice the way he equates Heather Heyer’s murder with the cuts and bruises and scraped knuckles the Nazis, Ku Kluxers, neo-Confederates, and the other assorted racist thugs “protesting” with them suffered in the fights they instigated with counter-protesters and the roughing up the far too few who got arrested might have gotten when the cops finally... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Lance Mannion
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Posted Saturday morning, August 12, 2017. Detail from official White House portrait of Theodore Roosevelt by John Singer Sargent. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, via Wikipedia. Feels like this blog is becoming All TR, All the Time. But I happen to have just finished reading The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire by Stephen Kinzer---in which TR doesn’t come off all that well, by the way---and I’ve been re-reading chapters of The Statesman and the Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism---Roosevelt doesn’t appear at his best in that... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Lance Mannion
Walter, thanks for the catch! I fixed it. Believe it or not, this is the first thing by Everett I've read. Glad I started with such a good one.
Posted Friday night, August 11, 2017. My notebooks are bursting with posts about politics, but all I want to write about is how sad and lonesome I am. This means instead of writing a post, I should write a short story, or a poem, or a country western song. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Lance Mannion
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Posted Friday night, August 11, 2017. Sam didn’t know what the old man’s death had been like. Apparently he was walking one minute and not the next. Sam had not known Old Dave Wednesday very well, for only a few years, but once, while Sam was out examining the horses at the tribal ranch, the two sat together on a hillside. I am an old man, Dave said. I suppose, Sam agreed. How old are you exactly? Ninety. That’s old. My mother didn’t live to be that old. They had hiked up the hill to look down at the ranch.... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Lance Mannion
Crprod, He had it taken off the coins: "My own feeling in the matter is due to my very firm conviction that to put such a motto on coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, not only does not good but does positive harm, and is in effect irreverence which comes dangerously close to sacrilege. A beautiful and solemn sentence such as the one in question should be treated and uttered only with that fine reverence which necessarily implies a certain exaltation of spirit. Any use which tends to cheapen it, and, above all, any use which tends to secure its being treated in a spirit of levity, is free from every standpoint profoundly to be regretted. It is a motto which it is indeed well to have inscribed on our great national monuments, in our temples of justice, in our legislative halls, and in buildings such as those at West Point and Annapolis - in short, wherever it will tend to arouse and inspire a lofty emotion in those who look thereon. But it seems to be eminently unwise to cheapen such a motto by use on coins, just as it would be to cheapen it by use on postage stamps, or in advertisements."
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Posted Friday morning, August 11, 2017. Our Mr President Trump isn’t the only one on a “working vacation” this week. Our old pal actor212 is at his favorite island getaway, getting away. He’s taking a working vacation in the sense he’s working on having a great vacation. Nice work, if you can get it. Here’s his note: “It's been a long day, up at 3:30 (17:30 now) two plane flights, carting heavy dive gear but I'm here on my favorite island at my favorite bar. Here's my view.” Bonaire. Tuesday, August 8, 2017. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Lance Mannion
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Posted Thursday morning, August 10, 2017. He did see him coming. He saw him there! All around him. Trump is a type and the type has existed since the first human decided he was entitled to whatever treasure he could take however he could take it from anyone he wanted to take it from and live in luxury and ease off the work and effort of others. It’s a type TR would have been familiar with in the political and social circles he traveled in. It’s a type he worried he himself might become and worked against becoming all his... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Lance Mannion
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Posted Wednesday night, August 9, 2017. Theodore Roosevelt as Gulliver carrying his big stick. Cartoon by William Allen Rogers. 1904. Via Wikipedia. Our Mr Trump invited it himself with his “fire and fury” improvisation, and lots of people have taken him up on it and invoked Theodore Roosevelt’s adage, “Speak softly and carry an big stick” to criticize and ridicule Trump’s reckless bombast. It was one of TR’s stock lines. He sometimes called it a “West African proverb,” but there’s reason to suspect that that was a bit of poetic license intended to make audiences focus on the saying and... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Lance Mannion
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Posted Tuesday night, August 8, 2017. We all are, sometimes. But it seems I’m experiencing these moments constantly lately. But maybe that’s a delusion. But delusion can produce bad moments. And I don't just mean moments that, in retrospect, are obviously delusional, like horrible nightmares. I also mean moments that you might not think of as delusional, such as lying awake at night with anxiety. Or feeling hopeless...for days on end. Or feeling bursts of hatred toward people, bursts that may actually feel good for a moment but slowly corrode your character. Or feeling bursts of hatred toward yourself. Or... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2017 at Lance Mannion
Posted Tuesday evening, August 8, 2017. This will make you so happy he was here, and so sad he’s gone… Glen Campbell: April 22, 1936-August 8, 2017. Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Sunday night, August 6, 2017. My father can strike up a conversation with anybody. If a workman comes to the house, my father knows his life story by the time the project is finished. Once, a plumber repaired our bathroom, and he got along so well with my father that they still go deer hunting together in northern Missouri. During my childhood, if my father and I happened to be sitting somewhere with nothing to do---a bus station, a hotel lobby---he would pick out an individual and ask me what I noticed about him. Is there anything interesting about... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Sunday morning, August 6, 2017. Father Tom Babiuch, pastor at St Joseph’s Church in Fort Edward, New York, saying mass. Photo illustration by David Blow, courtesy of the Post Star. There’s some grim and mirthless satisfaction to be taken in all our Mr President Trump’s “winning.” He can’t seem to do anything right. Which is lucky for us. Imagine if he knew how to do his job and actually worked hard at it. But as sorry a spectacle as he’s making of himself in the eyes of most of the country and the world, he’s still dangerous and destructive,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Sunday morning, August 6, 2017. “In Uganda, most coffee farmers are smallholders who rely on the sale of their beans for most of their annual cash income.” Photo by Sven Torfinn, Panos Pictures, courtesy of National Geographic. This story about how climate change is hurting Uganda’s coffee crop by Tim McDonell at National Geographic touches informatively on a bit of everything, meteorology, geography, sociology, economics, politics, agriculture, and, most crucially---to me, caffeine addict that I am---coffee. It’s a good long read to enjoy with your morning coffee, although you may not enjoy your coffee as much after you read... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Sunday morning, August 6, 2017. Took this outside our front door half an hour ago. I didn’t have to zoom in. It let me get practically nose to nose. There are a pair of them who have made our front yard their home since spring. They were pretty bold when they moved in and they’ve been growing bolder. Yesterday I had to wait five minutes for one of them to get out of the way before I could back the car out of the drive. Day before that, one of them was taking a siesta in the shade by... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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No, sorry, I didn’t join the dance line. Still not up to dancing. But I’m stopping back later when they start serving the food… Jamaica Day. Greater Grace Church of God. Newburgh, New York. This afternoon. Saturday, August 5, 2017. Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Saturday morning, August 5, 2017. Detail from The Falling Angel by Marc Chagall. Courtesy of MarcChagall.net. From time to time over the years, my routine travels have taken me through the not-quite nearby hamlet of High Falls. Through not to. Yesterday, as it happens, I drove through four times, delivering Oliver to an event in the hamlet of Stone Ridge, a few miles north of High Falls and bringing him home again, with a couple of trips in between to get myself where I needed to be and then back again to fetch Oliver. High Falls looks a pleasant... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Friday night, August 4, 2017. Appropriate this character lived in the Mark Twain National Forest, because Twain would have appreciated the final sentence of this passage. Heck. He could have written it and been pleased with himself for the effort: When I was growing up, my father occasionally brought us kids along to interviews. He was a medical sociologist at the University of Missouri, and his work took him to places that seemed exotic to me and my sisters: prisons, mental institutions, rural health clinics. Once, he met with the scion of an extended family that lived in the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Friday morning, August 4, 2017. This one comes to us from Cheryl Rofer, chemist, photographer, one-time aspiring astronaut, blogger at Nuclear Diner, and Twitter friend who shot this while on vacation out West back in July: “Yellowstone Lake from a small hydrothermal area on its shore. Absaroka Mountains in the distance.” July 17, 2017. Copyright Cheryl Rofer 2017. Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Wednesday night, August 2, 2017. Updated and slightly revised Thursday morning, August 3. The juvenile senior adviser to the President and chief deputy white nationalist Stephen Miller’s bratty and pedantic attempt to scrub Emma Lazarus’s immortal lines from the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty as he announced yet another Republican stab at making America for Americans official policy made me want to watch Ken Burns’ documentary on Lady Liberty again. But I wondered when I last watched it and if I’d blogged about it. Turns out it was in September of 2012, at the height of the Presidential... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Tuesday evening, August 1, 2017. Oh for the good old days, when political discourse was civil. Take the presidential election of 1896, which pitted establishment Republican William McKinley against the populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan, for example: [Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt] were doubtful of their own political instincts, which meant that in spite of their confident public pronouncements, they were terrified that William McKinley was headed for defeat. This made the two men, [Lincoln former personal secretary and McKinley’s eventual Secretary of State John Hay] noted, like much of the moneyed class in those days. “The election... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Tuesday morning, August 1, 2017. AS HE WAS brushing his teeth on the morning of July 17, 2014, Thomas Royen, a little-known retired German statistician, suddenly lit upon the proof of a famous conjecture at the intersection of geometry, probability theory, and statistics that had eluded top experts for decades… Royen hadn’t given the Gaussian correlation inequality much thought before the “raw idea” for how to prove it came to him over the bathroom sink. Formerly an employee of a pharmaceutical company, he had moved on to a small technical university in Bingen, Germany, in 1985 in order to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Monday morning, July 31, 2017. Editor's note: I had this written and ready to post at the beginning of the month, but the news that began snowballing was such that writing any more about our Mr President Trump's Twitter spats with Mika Brezinzki and then with CNN felt like a game of Trivial Pursuit. His embarrassing trip to Europe already pushed it to seeming irrelevance, then Junior's self-incriminations wiped that from the collective online-on air-on the page commentariart's minds, and that was forgotten during the health care debacle, which was rendered yesterday's news by his reprehensible speeches to the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2017 at Lance Mannion
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Posted Sunday afternoon, July 30, 2017. Saturday night. Nine-forty and nearing closing time here at B&N. The littlest but most energetic barista is sweeping up and putting the chairs up on the empty tables. The only customers left in the cafe are me and a thirty-something guy and his mother leafing through magazines at two tables pushed together at the rail. The magazines are devoted to cars and racing. He's fairly nondescript, brown-haired in a blue t-shirt. She looks to be in her late seventies, heavy, with big rounded shoulders and a strong square jaw, white hair that still holds... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2017 at Lance Mannion
Updated Tuesday morning, August 1, 2017. New posts below. But before scrolling down, please read. As I've bothered you with to many times, the end of the month is usually a hard time here in Mannionville, but this time is a bit harder than usual. Having paid the mortgage, the electric bill, another car repair bill, and other bills, we're totally tapped out. And, in addition to gas and groceries, Mrs M has another doctor's appointment (our co-pay for specialists is $40 an appointment) and needs to buy her bus tickets. So once again I'm asking for your help. If... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2017 at Lance Mannion