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Lance Mannion
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From the Department of Communications: Thought I'd be able to hold out until I was well into my 60s, but this morning I'm feeling as if I'm only one more warmish day with a cool breeze away from adopting cardigans. Continue reading
Posted 2 hours ago at Lance Mannion
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Rotterdam, New York. Thursday morning around nine. April 24, 2014. Posted from the road. I’d never seen one of these before. Wonder how much business it does and who’s using it. There are probably companies and government agencies in the area with fleets of vehicles that run on natural gas but I’d expect them to have their own filling stations. But are there private cars out there running on natural gas? Who makes them? What’s their range? How do they work? Do they work? Guess I’ve got some googling ahead of me when I get home. Continue reading
Posted 2 hours ago at Lance Mannion
My problem with all the violence and bloodshed on Game of Thrones is that the nobles, who apparently can kill with impunity, never take their swords to people just for being annoying. Nobody gets it for talking during the movie, trying to buy 30 items in the 10 items or less line, passing on the right, coming to church with a hacking cough due to a cold, tweeting in all caps, waiting until getting right up to the counter before even thinking about what to order. Civilization protects these irritants. We don’t do much of anything about them because it’s... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Lance Mannion
There are those who believe knowledge is something that is acquired---a precious ore hacked, as it were, from the gray strata of ignorance. There are those who believe that knowledge can only be recalled, that there was some Golden Age in the distant past when everything was known and the stones fitted together so you could hardly put a knife between them... Mustrum Ridcully believed that knowledge could be acquired by shouting at people... ---from Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Lance Mannion
It's amazing how good governments are, given their track records in almost every other field, at hushing up things like alien encounters. One reason may be that the aliens themselves are too embarrassed to talk about it. It's not known why most of the space-going races of the universe want to undertake rummaging in Earthling underwear as a prelude to formal contact. But representatives of several hundred races have taken to hanging out, unsuspected by one another, in rural corners of the planet and, as a result, keep on abducting other would-be abductors. Some have been in fact abducted while... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Lance Mannion
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"Jesus, portrayed by Juan Machuca, walks through the streets of Newburgh on Friday. Congregants of Saint Patrick's Church hold an annual Stations of the Cross procession on Good Friday every year." Photo by Steve Borland. View the whole gallery of photos from the procession at the Times Herald-Record. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Lance Mannion
If you lose your job, it doesn’t matter how you lost it. It’s your own fault. The company went under. A Bain-like hedge fund bought it and looted it and pumped up stock prices by kicking you and half the other employees out the door. You got sick. You got injured. You used up too much time in your bosses’ opinion taking care of a sick spouse, sick kids, a new baby, elderly parents. Whine all you want. It’s your fault. Now go away, loser, and leave the rest of us winners alone to enjoy our winnings without guilt or... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Lance Mannion
Barnes & Noble. Thursday. April 17, 2014. Six forty five p.m. Steve, A hundred less than solitudinous years ago when I was in Boston working in a bookstore and in charge of our literature section, Avon Books was publishing a series of paperback editions of the great Latin American writers of the day. Jorge Amado, Julio Cortazar, Mario Vargas Llosa, many others. The covers were white with fragmented paintings on the front, all in a similar style, maybe by the same artist. They were bright and rich with lush greens and sugary browns dominating the motifs, calling up images of... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Lance Mannion
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Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower and Going Clear, has written a play, Camp David, which is being performed at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see who’s playing Jimmy Carter. Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2014 at Lance Mannion
There’s an irrationally hopeful part of me that keeps expecting that one of these days Paul Ryan will pop up in front of a camera and instead of announcing yet another version of his basic Starve the Little Children budget he’ll say, “Hey, folks! Guess what, I’ve been kidding all along. These ‘budgets’ of mine are jokes. I just wanted to see how appalling I could make them before the Political Press Corps noticed they don’t add up, they don’t even make sense, they certainly aren’t intended to be helpful and that rather than being the serious, thoughtful, center-right grown-up... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2014 at Lance Mannion
At the diner. Woman at the counter regaling three old guys and the waitress with tales from her high school days, which I’d estimate at about thirty years ago. “That’s what they called me in high school. Ass and Elbows. They all called me that. Ass and Elbows. My best friend got me a t-shirt that said that. Ass and Elbows. ‘Wear that proudly,’ she said, ‘Wear it proudly, cause that’s all any guy’s gonna see of you. Ass and elbows.’” Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at Lance Mannion
Coming to the bitter end of Peter Baker’s Days of Fire. Lots to think over. Hasn’t changed my mind that George W. Bush should never have been President. Wasn’t Baker’s intention that it should. But I’ll tell you what it has done. Made me hope that if I search through the archives here I won’t find any posts in which I called Bush stupid or an idiot. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at Lance Mannion
Post by Long Lake. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at Lance Mannion
Another reason to keep reading Days of Fire is to be reminded that there was a time when someone who sat out the War in Vietnam to devote himself to ratfucking political opponents of Richard Nixon could stand up in public and question the courage, resolve, and patriotism of men who had not only volunteered to serve in that war but had been wounded in country: In the midst of the discussion, Bush got more good news. Karl Rove received word that he would not be indicted. Rove was on a plane around 4 p.m. about to take off for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at Lance Mannion
In case you were wondering, I'm still reading Peter Baker's Days of Fire and passages like this are why: What Bush did not describe was exactly what the “alternative set of procedures” were. He did not disclose that [Khalid Sheik] Mohammed had been waterboarded 183 times and [Abu] Zubaydah 83 times. Nor did he describe ho Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the Saudi accused of directing the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, was waterboarded twice and threatened with a power drill and a loaded handgun in a mock execution; if Nashiri did not talk, he was told, “we could get... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at Lance Mannion
Tuesday. April 8, 2014. Two or so in the afternoon. Outside the convenience store, four old men well past retirement age, three in ballcaps, one, the one who still has a full head of hair, bareheaded, all four with hands dug deep inside the pockets of their windbreakers, standing on the sidewalk enjoying what is passing for the spring weather. Out the door bursts a young man, no more than thirty, swinging a gallon of milk and singing. Billy Joel. Piano Man. Strolls by the old men towards his mud-spattered SUV. Just as he reaches for his keys he reaches... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at Lance Mannion
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Lots to lament and deplore in this series of pictures showing various storefronts around Manhattan as they were ten years ago and as they are now, especially in the lower sets of photographs which are records of decline and decay and not gentrification. But up higher it’s not all lamentable and deplorable. It’s a good thing when failing and failed businesses are replaced with going concerns, even if the going concern is a Subway franchise. But of course it’s not good when a going concern makes way for nothing in the way of an improvement because the rent’s gotten too... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at Lance Mannion
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To some the young Mickey Rooney will always be Andy Hardy fumbling his way towards adulthood and getting laughed at by love along the way or a babe arm in arm with Judy Garland singing and dancing and putting on a show. But to me he’ll always be working his way towards inventing the phonograph and the light bulb. Rooney and Virginia Weidler in Young Tom Edison. The real fun in this post is in following the links. To honor Mickey Rooney tonight, do not watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Instead, try The Black Stallion or Carl Reiner’s often overlooked The... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2014 at Lance Mannion
Remember, the basic corporatist conservative premise is that the country exists for the care and feeding of millionaires and the driving economic principle is that it’s better to make one rich person one dollar richer than a hundred working people a penny less poor. School “reform” with its attendant push towards privatization, union busting, and standardized testing administered for a hefty profit by private corporations encapsulates both that premise and that principle. Simply put, they want all the money! Then, in January 2013, teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School announced they would refuse to give their students the Measures of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Lance Mannion
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Heading up to Syracuse this morning. Taking Potter’s Avatars to see the mantinee performane of the drama department’s production of Brecht’s The Good Woman of Setzuan. I’ve seen a whole lotta Brecht in less than a year. Caucasian Chalk Circle back in May. A Man’s a Man just a couple months ago. And, psst, don't tell my students, but once you've seen one Brecht, you've pretty much seen them all. The Caucasian Chalk Circle with Christopher Lloyd was a lot of fun, but in that Bertolt Brecht was balanced off by some Chekhov---Pavel, not Anton---and a little Rocket J. Squirrel.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2014 at Lance Mannion
S McCoy, I've never been able to understand the logic of this. You seem to agree that the people I'm talking about are out there, that they have their hands on our money, and they're up to no good, but your answer to the trouble they cause is to let them go on making as much trouble as they want because somehow, somewhere the destruction they cause is balanced out to someone's benefit? This is like saying to a family who've lost everything in a house fire, Cheer up, there's a contractor building two houses someone else will get to live in across town. And how do we improve our morality and become more noble-minded in a system that rewards selfishness and wanton destruction of others' lives with gobs and gobs of money? Besides that, we've had the kind of unbridled capitalism you think is all to the good, from, oh, around 1820 to 1930 and the result was sweat shops, children working in mines, starvation wages, six day workweeks, fourteen hour work days, the poisoning of rivers and lakes and the air over every city, frequent economic collapses and mass unemployment, for a long time all of it happening hand in glove with slavery and he genocide of Native Americans, and you want to bring that back why?
At the theater. Pretty, wide-mouthed, big-lipped strawberry blonde working the box office window. Noisy in the lobby. To hear and speak to customers picking up tickets she leans in close to the glass, bending low, her pointed chin almost touching the counter, and puts her mouth to the opening of the window, an image worth painting and probably putting a lot of young playgoers in mind of a kissing booth. A few wistful old play reviewers too. Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2014 at Lance Mannion
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Quick dinner before the play at the Brazen Fox. A hundred and twenty hipsters and us. Mrs M and I the oldest couple here by twenty-five years at least. I thought the young bohos had been priced out of New York. All these bright young things can’t be lawyers and stockbrokers. Uniform for employees appears to be whatever you want to wear as long as you wear a blue plaid flannel shirt over it. Individual style encouraged. Host wears his baggy and untucked. Our waitress has made a vest of hers, rolling the sleeves up to her shoulders and leaving... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2014 at Lance Mannion
New York City. Rush hour. As we crawled off the GW Bridge and onto the Henry Hudson Parkway, a police van rolled up behind us, letting us know it was there with a quick blare of its siren. “Does he want us to pull over?” Mrs M worried. His lights weren’t on. “Doesn’t look like it,” I said. After a few more minutes of stop and go traffic I looked up and saw he’d dropped back a few car lengths and moved over into the other lane. His siren sounded again but again just a quick whoop and no lights.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2014 at Lance Mannion
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Back from the play. Reviews are embargoed until Wednesday night so look for mine to post by Thursday morning. Meanwhile…the play is The Heir Apparent an adaptation of a 17th Century French Farce by Regnard. The adaptation’s by David Ives whose brilliant reworking of Moliere’s The Misanthrope, retitled The School for Lies, I saw and reviewed back in May of 2011. Hamish Linklater as Frank and Jenn Gambatese as Elainte wrestle with their conflicting emotions in The School for Lies. From time to time during the Classic Stage Company’s production of The School for Lies, David Ives’ verbaliciosly hilarious reworking... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2014 at Lance Mannion