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Lance Mannion
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Updated below. Tuesday afternoon. Stopped at a long red light the other morning I had plenty of time to read the bumper stickers on the back of the aging and battered Chevy SUV in front of me. Not that it was deep reading. “Obama: The Quicker Fucker-Upper”. “Gun Control Means Using Both Hands” “LIfe’s A Bitch. Might As Well Vote For One.” This one featured a caricature of Hillary Clinton. And of course there was a Gadsden flag decal. My second thought---you can imagine my first one---was, “What’s it like to be married to this guy? Who would marry this... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Lance Mannion
Sunday. 8:07 A.M. 21 degrees. Heading off to Lowes. Voluble cardinal high up at the end of one topmost branches of the big maple behind the garage. Mostly silhouetted against the still rising sun but lit underneath, a ruby curve of breast and belly like a piece of hard candy. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Lance Mannion
Following up on a post the other day, The most romantic writer I know and the sexiest train ride of my life, reading a lot of fiction does mean reading a lot about love and sex, along with money and death. But reading the fiction I’ve been reading has meant reading a lot about the weather, which is fine---Hemingway liked to say it was important for a writer to get right how the weather was, and that’s something he always got right---and reading a lot of descriptions of landscapes. Jim Harrison, Peter Heller, and Thomas McGuane particularly are all very... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Lance Mannion
Ted Cruz is not a joke. He’s not a clown. He’s not going to laughed, snarked, Daily Showed, or hashtagged away. He’s a serious and dangerous demagogue. He may never be President but he’s trouble. He makes trouble. He likes making trouble. That’s his path to power. You probably recall how back in December Cruz’s troublemaking prevented the Senate from adjourning for the holidays when it should have and created an unlooked for opportunity for the Democrats. Cruz and fellow Republican Mike Lee of Utah wanted to introduce some symbolic gesture against the President’s plan to halt deportations of millions... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Lance Mannion
One of my favorite childhood memories---a general one, not a specific moment---is staying up late after my little brothers and sisters were sent to bed and sitting in the living room with Mom and Pop Mannion, usually watching a “grown-up” TV show but often listening to music on the stereo. Late, being until nine or so. Anyway, Mom and Pop’s musical tastes were on the square side, not the hippest side of the square---that would be Frank, a few of whose albums they owned but I don’t remember their playing them much---but not the unhippest---Pat Boone. They liked Perry Como,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Lance Mannion
Been reading a lot of fiction these days which means I’ve been reading a lot about love and sex. That’s what all fiction’s about, love and sex. Sometimes death. Sometimes money. But mainly love and sex with money and sex figuring into both of them or both of them figuring into the money and the death. And I’ve been trying to decide what are the sexiest and most romantic stories and passages I’ve read recently. Certainly not the scenes of Sunderson the retired state police detective spying on his sixteen year old neighbor in her bedroom as she does yoga... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Lance Mannion
…because I feel it on my own face regularly: We sat in silence while Johnson formulated an answer. He had the sympathetic look on his face that teachers use when they don’t want to discourage classroom discussion, even though the students obviously haven’t understood the assigned reading. ---from Meet Me in Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest to Find the Sunken City by Mark Adams. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Lance Mannion
Slowly but surely we're climbing out of the hole last year's hard times put us in, very much due to the generosity of readers like you. But it's often been a case of two steps forward, one step back. This week has brought another step back. An unxpected bill's come due on top of a bunch of other things, and we're coming up short. So we could use some more help. If you like what goes on around here and you can swing it, please consider making a donation. It'd be much appreciated. Thank you. And thanks to all of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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It’s hard enough to persuade people they’re wrong about something when how they make their money depends on their being right. It’s damn near impossible when, never mind their net worth, their sense of self-worth is tied up in it. Vanity, ego, and pride make people impervious to reason. An argument against something they believe to be true strikes them as an argument that they should stop believing in themselves, as if, if what they believe isn’t real, then they aren’t real. We all react like this from time to time. Try convincing a friend his favorite movie stinks. It’s... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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There’s an idea floating around that contested presidential primaries are good for the candidates and good for the party. Just like it was for the Democrats in 1988. And the Republicans in 2008 and 2012. Oh, that’s right… Go ahead, tell me the Democrats would have been worse off in ‘88 if the guy who was the presumptive nominee going into the campaign season, Gary Hart, hadn’t dropped out before just about all the seven dwarfs got it. Tell me that they’d have been worse off if the guy everybody wanted to run once Hart was out, Mario Cuomo, had... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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Started a post this morning with, “The only hope most Americans have these days of climbing back up to solid footing in the middle class, paying off their debts, avoiding taking on more debt, and securing for themselves a halfway comfortable retirement is winning the lottery.” I stopped there. I thought, “Well, that’s a cheerful way to begin a Sunday morning.” And what good would it do? You don’t need to be told that. The people who need to be told it don’t read the blog and wouldn’t care anyway because they’re the ones who’ve arranged the situation for their... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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‘The Embarkation of the Pilgrims’ (1857) by the American painter Robert Walter Weir at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City’ via Wikipedia. Kevin M. Kruse’s op-ed in the New York Times---A Christian Nation? Since When?---is interesting but I’m not sure I buy it. I think the idea this is a Christian nation was introduced a little before the end of World War II. Somewhere around 1620, in fact. And it wasn’t the brainstorm of desperate capitalists. The Pilgrims weren’t capitalists, at least not at the start. The Founding Fathers did not found the United States. The United States wasn’t... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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“Manners Maketh Man”: Colin Firth (center) as the super spy known as Galahad prepares to demonstrate that one can be polite, refined, and extremely well-dressed and still be deadly in Kingsman: The Secret Service, a heartless homage to James Bond and other light-hearted spy movies and TV shows of the 1960s that pretty much misses the point. Early in Kingsman: The Secret Service, when Colin Firth as the movie’s super-secret agent hero, strolls into a pub where danger awaits, dapper, well-tailored, obviously possessed of impeccable manners and taste, his grip light but ready on his furled umbrella, I applauded inwardly.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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Meanwhile, down in Texas, spring may have actually arrived. Courtesy of my sister, Lucy Mannion as was. Post title hers. A little west of Dallas. Saturday. March 14, 2015. Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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Meanwhile, north of Boston, another sign spring is coming. The weather has been warm enough the snow has melted enough that Uncle Merlin has finally been able to make progress clearing his walk and steps. The tenant is saved! He’s a superhero of a landlord. Monday. March 9, 2015. Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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This was Wednesday. This was yesterday. 38 degrees Wednesday. 55 Friday. Spring is coming. Both photos of Lake Erie looking out from Bay Village, Ohio by longtime Mannionville stalwart Bob Goddard. Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2015 at Lance Mannion
The Senate Republicans’ open letter to Iran wasn’t meant for Iran. I don’t believe the Republicans, particularly the ringleader on this one, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, are stupid enough to think the Iranians are as stupid as the letter makes them out to be. They think their own voters are stupid. And that’s who the letter’s meant for. The suckers back home. Always keep in mind: Everything the Republicans say is aimed at riling up the base. This is always the goal: Keep them mad, keep them afraid, keep them from thinking, keep them writing checks and coming out to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2015 at Lance Mannion
These days, journalism---political journalism, at any rate---isn’t the first draft of history. It’s the first drafts of a thousand novels that, fortunately, will never see a second draft. Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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DEATH explains something important to his granddaughter Susan in the TV adaptation of the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel, Hogfather. DEATH doesn’t say it, but humans need something else too. Humor. Pratchett gave us both. He helped readers be human more than any other contemporary writer I know. As many of you know, there are times---plenty of times. Well, most times.---when I believe the only real good I’ve accomplished with this blog is introducing readers to the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. Pratchett is one of my favorite authors of all time and I think the greatest novelist of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2015 at Lance Mannion
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Pass this church just about every day as I run various errands and every time I go by I feel a little tug. Some part of me wants to stop in and say hi. I’m not sure who to. I don’t know anyone who belongs to this congregation. I don’t know anything about the church. It appears to be non-denominationally Protestant, but whether it has any broader affiliations I can’t tell. Their website is as spare and unadorned as the church building itself with barely more information on it than is in this photo. Doesn’t even give the pastor’s name.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2015 at Lance Mannion
In truth, Oklahoma’s Senator Jim Inhofe speaks only for the oil industry that pays him to obstruct any attempts to address global climate change until every last dollar is made off of burning every last drop of oil on the planet. But he likes to pretend he speaks for God. I doubt he believes in God or cares if He exists. I think he’s just a cynical demagogue. But unlike most Christians he apparently reads the Bible and can quote chapter and verse. But it doesn’t matter what he believes himself. Inhofe knows the rubes and suckers he believes his... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2015 at Lance Mannion
People who love money don’t become teachers. People who do things because it will make them lots of money don’t become teachers. People who will become teachers because they might now and then win Andrew Cuomo’s proposed teacher lottery and pocket what only sounds like a lot of money are not people we want becoming teachers. Back in January, I wrote a post called Andrew Cuomo remembers he’s a Democrat and his father’s son. I thought about titling this post “Andrew Cuomo forgets he’s a Democrat and makes his father spin in his grave.” The January post was in praise... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2015 at Lance Mannion
Klausphotos, I see your point and, although I didn't want to get into in the post---the review's already long enough---along those lines my complaint is the same I had with ,The Social Network, a very good movie but all fiction. If you're going to make a work of fiction why use real names? I know, to sell tickets, but that's a cheap dodge. But here's the thing. The real Chris Kyle was a fabulist. I don't know if it was due to his PTSD or he always liked to make stuff up about himself. So there's good reason not to take his word for things and treat the book American Sniper as factual. One way to think of the movie's Chris Kyle is as the type of person who would write a memoir like American Sniper to avoid having to tell the truth about what happened to him over there. Still fiction, I know, but it's the kind of What If story historical fiction is licensed to tell.
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Lousy weather has caused delays and school closings around here all week. But this morning the sun’s shining and the roads are clear and all is merry and bright. Woke up at six-thirty and after checking the weather report and the Mannion guys’ school websites to see what was up, I immediately texted Uncle Merlin. “School day! Up and at ‘em!” He replied: “Ha! Got ya beat! Dog had me up at 5:59!” So I texted back: “Good for Art. Since he’s so energetic this morning ask him to make the coffee.” Uncle Merlin relayed the message. This is the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2015 at Lance Mannion