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Lance Mannion
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Never mind last night’s post, sometimes friends send links to things you’re glad to click on. This landed in my mailbox this morning from Uncle Merlin who for some reason feels intense pressure to join what he calls the Keurig Cult. I can’t help suspecting a lot of that pressure’s coming from within and he’s really trying to resist the temptation to buy a Keurig coffee machine for his shop. Whatever’s the case, I think he sees this video as science fiction in the sense that the original The Day the Earth Stood is science fiction. What I want to... Continue reading
Posted 2 hours ago at Lance Mannion
You know the feeling. Friend posts something on Facebook, links to an article or post or a poem or photo on Twitter. A relative or co-worker sends you an email and there’s a note: “Nails it.” “Hits it out of the park.” “The writer is on fire.” “This is beautiful.” “This made me think.” “Read this and immediately thought of you!” If you’ve gotten enough of these you click on the link with dread. Because you know. You’ll open it up, read whatever it is, and think, “What the---?” You can’t believe your friend thought this was a home run.... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Lance Mannion
God as seen from the ground in Nebraska: It was farther into the local countryside than Lara had ever been. On the way back he drove a country road, partly unpaved, that ran through Harrison County’s scrubby hills and sunken meadows. The days was sunny, snowy and bright. “My God,” she said. “It’s so desolate. Desolate, desolate. So far from anywhere.” “You’re in Flyoverland, my dear.” “In what?” “You’ve never heard the middle of the country called that? Flyoverland. That’s what they call our little corner of nothing much. On the coasts.” He shifted down as they approached dirt. It... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Lance Mannion
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Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon Baines Johnson and David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr in Selma. The scenes with Johnson are some of the weakest a generally fine movie, badly written, perfunctorily staged, and, on Wilkinson’s part, unconvincingly played. Click on the photo to see how much more interesting and dramatic looking the reality was. As I was saying Saturday, David Oyelowo didn’t have the same advantages playing Martin Luther King in Selma that Daniel Day-Lewis had playing Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln. In particular, for several reasons, Day-Lewis was given a better script. But he also had a stronger... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Lance Mannion
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Art the Wonder Dog waits for the blizzard to really get going. Melrose, Massachusetts. Eleven thirty Monday morning. January 26, 2015. Photo by Uncle Merlin. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Lance Mannion
Yastreblyansky, you'll be happy to know that even though Mrs M is willing to give him credit for the spirit of the speech, she's less of a fan of Andrew than I am and can proudly boast of voting against him three times. There'll be no tears in her eyes if the Silver business brings him down. Of course, the sad irony is Silver's a better liberal than Cuomo. But a thief's a thief.
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Not a simple matter of impersonation: David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. (second from the left, although you probably don’t need me to point that out) with the actors playing members of King’s inner circle---(from left to right) Colman Domingo as Ralph Abernathy, André Holland as Andrew Young, and Stephen James as John Lewis---in Selma. Click on the photo to see the real King with some of the same real men. Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance as Lincoln in Lincoln was transcendent to a level that no actor, not even one as good as David Oyelowo, playing any character, never mind... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2015 at Lance Mannion
A problem for democratic societies is they need a thoughtful citizenry to succeed. They need a critical mass of people who think for themselves and, generally, people don’t think for themselves. They don’t think at all. Mostly what they do that they call thinking is feel and remember. They remember what they were told to think when they were kids by their parents, by teachers, by preachers, priests, and rabbis, by other kids, by characters on television. As kids they took all this in and never forgot it and never doubted it. They still accept it without question, without thought,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2015 at Lance Mannion
I haven’t made a secret of the fact I don’t like our governor, Andrew Cuomo. I’m still disappointed I missed my chance to vote against him twice back in the fall. But the truth is I’m not sorry he won. My vote for the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins wasn’t entirely a protest vote. I want the Green Party to become a viable third party and their candidates need to show they can get votes for that to begin to happen. But my vote for Zephyr Teachout would have been. And I don’t waste my vote on a protest if it’s... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2015 at Lance Mannion
So, pick up truck in front of me, bumper sticker on the gate, that poke-in-the-eye Gadsden flag yellow with two coiled rattlesnakes, one in each bottom corner: “I’m the Colonial Revolutionary Your Hippie Friends Warn You About” Common enough mistake. Very human really. Imagining our political enemies see us as we see ourselves and take us as seriously as we take ourselves. My liberal heart bled for the guy. I didn’t see him but the driver had to be a guy. I was hoping he was going where I was going and would pull into the parking lot next to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Update: Saturday afternoon. Welcome to all the folks coming over from Lawyers, Guns & Money. Thank you for looking in and thanks to all who've donated. I'll try to get out individual thank you notes today. Meantime, new posts below. If you like what goes on around here and you can swing it, this would be a very good time to consider making a donation. It'd be a real big help and much appreciated. Thanks to all of you for reading the blog. Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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Ice storm. Hastings woods. Westchester County, New York. Saturday. January 18, 2015. By long time visitor to Mannionville M. George Stevenson who comments on his own photography skills: “Scary what you can do with a phone these days.” Scenes like this always put me in mind of poems by Robert Frost which is natural since Frost wrote his poems to put readers in mind of scenes like this. Out walking in the frozen swamp one gray day, I paused and said, 'I will turn back from here. No, I will go on farther—and we shall see.' The hard snow held... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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The movie should settle forever what that goddamn Confederate battle flag really stands for. Of course the people who currently need to see that, like the idiot who drives around town here with the Stars and Bars flying from the bed of his pickup, won’t see Selma. Most of them know what it stands for, anyway. That’s why they like to wave it. But maybe the movie will make it harder for them to lie about it, and maybe coming generations of schoolkids, who will almost certainly be shown the movie by their teachers, will get it. Photo: Tim Roth... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2015 at Lance Mannion
6:33 A.M. Still dark, although the sky is lightening. 19 degrees. Trash pick up day. Maybe it’s my mood or the time of the year but listening to the garbage trucks making their rounds isn’t lifting my spirits the way it usually does. Instead of feeling hopeful and energized by the thought of a new day beginning with work to be done that I’m raring to do, I’m just feeling sorry for the garbage guys and gloomy and anxious on my own behalf about going out in the cold and gray to begin the same old dreary routine. No snow... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Are we still at this? Of course we are. Some of us are anyway. Those of us who can’t get past the thought that somebody somewhere is getting something for nothing. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is claiming that there is widespread fraud in the country’s disability system because most people who get benefits merely suffer from anxiety or sore backs. At a meeting with legislative leaders in Manchester, NH on Wednesday, caught on tape by American Bridge, Paul told the room: “The thing is that all of these programs, there’s always somebody who’s deserving, everybody in this room knows somebody... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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Meryl Streep should do just one movie next year and she should find the worst script in her agent’s slush pile, team up with Hollywood’s most hacktacular director, ham up her part or phone it in, and then laugh when the Academy nominates her anyway. Is there a California law that says Streep must be nominated every year no matter what she does or who else is deserving or is it just a county ordinance? Streep was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for playing the Witch in Into the Woods. Emily Blunt wasn’t nominated for Best Actress in a Leading... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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Uncle Merlin has many fine and noble qualities but he also has a cruel streak when it comes to food. Way back when, when he was living in Boston working in the restaurant biz and I was way up north at the boondock college I was longing to transfer to Boston from, subsisting on pizza and the little cafeteria food I could choke down, he used to send me menus from the many fine dining establishments in and around the Hub. He told me he did it to encourage me to make the move, but I knew the truth. People... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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We do. Just arrived in the mail, courtesy of Uncle Merlin. Want your own? Then ADME to Your Clothing. Uncle Merlin will handle all your embroidery needs. Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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There are a couple of reasons I’ve re-posted below my reviews of three Marvel comic book movies, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and X-Men: Days of Future Past, reasons besides I’ve fallen behind on the blogging again and I’m desperate to fill space while making it look like I’m still here and still at work. The first is today’s the first day of my movie reviewing class or, as it’s more portentously known in the college catalog and on my students’ transcripts, Media Criticism in a Wired Culture. This means a new crop of students is... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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“I’m going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy!”: From left, legendary (in his own mind) outlaw Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), vengeance-obsessed rage-aholic Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), bounty hunter and genetic experiment gone awry Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), warrior and assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and sidekick, muscle, and walking houseplant Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), in their first act as a team of heroes-in-the-making, escape from a high-security space prison in a scene full of thrills, chills, spills, and laughter typical of the new Marvel comic book movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. Guardians of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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Everybody sing: “When Captain America throws his mighty shield/All those who chose to oppose his shield must yield!/If he’s led to a fight and a duel is due/Then the red and the white and the blue’ll come through…” Chris Evans as Cap being Cap in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There’s a moment in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that when I saw it in the theater made my heart soar. It comes as the inevitable last big, noisy CGI mess of a battle begins. We see Cap, in extreme long shot, make a running leap off an aerial runway... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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Once and future friends and and once and future enemies Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) re-establish their old rivalry while a character conspicuously not called Quicksilver (Evan Peters) waits for them to notice his handiwork with a roll of duct tape in the, never mind best X-Men movie, very good superhero movie X-Men: Days of Future Past. X-Men: Days of Future Past includes a slow motion action scene set in the Pentagon kitchen that’s one of the most thrilling and funny set-pieces yet filmed for a superhero movie. It also includes one of the best ads... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Circa 1970, “adult” was no longer quite being defined as in times previous. Among those who could afford to, a strenuous mass denial of the passage of time itself was underway. ---from Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon. Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Applies to more than just a futile, rain-soaked search for weed: What Sortilege had tried to point out about Ouija boards, as Doc later learned back at the beach, while wringing out his socks and looking for a hair dryer, was that concentrated around us are always mischievous spirit forces , just past the threshold of human perception, occupying both worlds, and that these critters enjoy nothing better than to mess with those of us still attached to the thick and sorrowful catalogs of human desire. “Sure!” was their attitude, “you want dope? Here’s your dope, you fucking idiot.” ---from... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Mitt Romney did not have a cause. He did not have a plan. He did not have any substantial policy goals. He was running for President just to be President and his platform was basically Vote for Me Because I’m Me! The economy would improve simply in reaction to his taking his seat at his desk in the Oval Office. He had no vision for America or of America except as a workplace where the right people get rich and stay rich. His view of life was coldly reductive: We’re here to make money and our worth as human beings... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2015 at Lance Mannion