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Lance Mannion
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…and why he baulks at “imprisonment for life” for himself. From Our Kind of Traitor by that great comic writer John le Carré: In the term-time, when he isn’t teaching, he distinguishes himself as a cross-country runner and sportsman. On his spare evenings he helps out in a local youth club. In vacations he conquers difficult peaks and Most Serious climbs. Yet when his college offers him a permanent Fellowship---or to his present soured way of thinking, imprisonment for life---he baulks. Again: why? Last term he had delivered a series of lectures on George Orwell under the title ‘A Stifled... Continue reading
Posted 4 hours ago at Lance Mannion
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Mining the notebooks again. January 7, 2016. Posted February 8. Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), the night manager of a famous European hotel and a tough but sentimental man about to be drawn into intrigue and adventure by the arrival of the femme fatale mistress of an illegal arms dealer (Elizabeth Debiki) in the upcoming BBC adaptation of John le Carré's (comic?) novel The Night Manager. When did John le Carré become a comic writer? Or has he always been and I'm just finally getting attuned to the joke? The wig, the immortal wig: Herr Kaspar’s one-hundred-and-forty-thousand-franc crown, the pride of... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Lance Mannion
Thanks for the catch, Prof. I made the fix. Made a few others I wouldn't have caught if you hadn't pointed that one out, so thanks for those too. Always appreciate copy edits.
Joe Namath was a hard-liver with a (well-earned) reputation as a drinker. But some of that was self-medication. He got banged around a lot during his career, played hurt week in and week out, and finally finished with a career of unfulfilled promise because he was just plain worn down. That’s the subtext of this quote, although it was still only January of 1969 and he didn’t know what a hard and disappointing road lay ahead of him. He was only celebrating the Jets AFL championship victory over the Raiders and looking forward to beating the Colts in the Super... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Lance Mannion
Is Twain on record as having an opinion on football? The Melbourne Cup is the Australasian National Day. It would be difficult to overstate its importance. It overshadows all other holidays and specialized days of whatever sort in that congeries of colonies. Overshadows them? I might almost say it blots them out. Each of them gets attention, but not everybody's; each of them evokes interest, but not everybody's; each of them rouses enthusiasm, but not everybody's; in each case a part of the attention, interest, and enthusiasm is a matter of habit and custom, and another part of it is... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Lance Mannion
January 11, 2016. Posted for Super Bowl Sunday. February 7. There’s a reason political reporters long to be like sportswriters and a good reason they shouldn’t be. Good sportswriting is a form of fiction. Sportswriters are allowed to read minds, attribute motives, pass off pure guesswork as insight, and not only take their sources---players and coaches, at any rate---at their word but encourage them to make those words...colorful. Basically, reporters and players collaborate in creating stories based on embellishments, exaggerations, and out and out lies. The best liars give the best quotes. Sure, certain facts have to be reported. The... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Lance Mannion
January 6, 2016. Posted February 7. 9 PM. Wednesday night. I think half the drama club from the local high school is working the counter at this McDonald’s tonight, and the star just finished her shift. With a big, heavy canvas purse slung from her shoulder and her black McD’s cap pulled low over her eyes, she’s leaving the place amidst raucous and comical goodbyes from co-workers. She's out one door and less than a minute later back in another. "I'm back, everybody, I'm back. No need to fret. I'm back." A dramatic scene of welcoming her back is staged.... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Lance Mannion
Mining the notebooks. January 14, 2016. Posted February 6. Better question: Why would you expect them to? This is called giving the game away. [FDR] could do as he pleased with the dollar, and the South would utter no protest---rich and poor, white and black alike, the citizens of Dixie wanted cotton prices to rise. But if Roosevelt used federal dollars to hire poor people---especially black people---at a higher wage than the one that prevailed in the cotton South, white politicians would protest. Governor Eugene Talmadge of Georgia passed along a constituent’s complaint about [Civil Works Administration] wages summing up... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Lance Mannion
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Sometimes there’s nothing more rebellious you can do than just try to be yourself. Namath was always miscast as a hippie, his long hair mistaken for a social statement rather than the simple matter of style that it was. He fits some concepts of hippie-dom---he’d disavowed his Catholicism, he was sexually promiscuous, he didn’t accept orders blindly, he liked beads. But he had little in common with Columbia protesters or Village drug users or West Coast flower children. When asked if he were a rebel, Namath scoffed. “That’s not true,” he said. “If I don’t believe in something, though, I’m... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Lance Mannion
February 5, 2016. So, we're arguing over who's a real progressive? Know what? I don't care. This is one of those angels dancing on the heads of pins arguments of interest and import only to pedants, prigs, and priests. If the word has any real meaning, it's an historical one. Otherwise, it's a fad term that's used as cover for liberals and leftists who for one reason or another are embarrassed to call themselves liberals and leftists. It's also popular with people who want to claim credit for liberal Democratic successes while disdaining the dirty work necessary to achieving those... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Lance Mannion
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February 3, 2016. “Colorado Demoncratic Senator Gary Hart at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, California. Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm and Gloria Steinem are at the table. Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder is standing at right.” Photo by Nancy Wong via Wikipedia. Gary Hart was running for President when I was at the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1984 and he came to the University to speak sometime before the caucuses. I went to hear him. I can still picture him in my mind: his big brown head above the heads of all around him, his long-jawed face deeply tanned, his... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Lance Mannion
The Revenant pic.twitter.com/2RRCpAA2yj — Daniel (@dilsexia) January 26, 2016 Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2016 at Lance Mannion
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January 24, 2016. (Posted January 31.) When he’s right, he’s right. "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?" Trump remarked at a campaign stop at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. "It's, like, incredible." Folks, he was making a joke. And the joke wasn’t on his supporters. It was on us. And on the media. And on the other Republican candidates. And his supporters get it. They get that in a way he was calling them stupid. But they also get that they’re being flattered. “Sure, maybe we’re... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2016 at Lance Mannion
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Saturday morning. January 2, 2016. Back at McDonalds. King of Prussia, PA. As you can tell by the uniform, that’s not Mr Met over there at the end of the line of players on the right. That’s his Aussie cousin, the mascot for the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball Leauge, which is in mid-season way down in the Land of Down Under. Photo by Wendy D’Souza, courtesy of the Perth Heat. Via the New York Times. Old Father Blonde assumes that because I went to the University of Iowa for grad school, I’m loyal to Iowa’s football team and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2016 at Lance Mannion
January 1, 2016. (Posted January 29, 2016.) From American Vandal: Mark Twain Abroad by Roy Morris Jr. Between three performances in the siege towns, [Twain and his wife and daughter] found time to visit another famous Indian site, the Taj Mahal, at nearby Agra. Twain pronounced himself disappointed in the palace. “I knew all the time, that of its kind it was the wonder of the world, with no competitor now and no possible future competitor,” he complained, “and yet, it was not my Taj. My Taj had been built by excitable literary people; it was solidly lodged in my... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2016 at Lance Mannion
January 28, 2016. I’m not saying Donald Trump is like Idi Amin. I’m just saying this description of Amin reminded me of Donald Trump. Minus the charges of cannibalism---although that could change when the other Republicans get a little more desperate. A former heavyweight boxer -- six feet four inches tall and stout -- Amin was a larger-than-life figure who divided opinion: in the eyes of many black Africans, his willingness to stand up to his former colonial overlords made him a hero; to those in Israel and the West, on the other hand, he was seen as a political... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2016 at Lance Mannion
Pluto had its chance. It failed at being a planet. No second chances in this solar system. https://t.co/cSVsWa3y1k — Matt Duss (@mattduss) January 20, 2016 People have been suggesting that the new planet---if it is a planet---be named in honor of David Bowie. I agree, except I'd like it called Major Tom. Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2016 at Lance Mannion
There's a guy in this coffee shop sitting at a table, not on his phone, not on a laptop, just drinking coffee, like a psychopath. — Jason Gay (@jasongay) September 22, 2015 Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at Lance Mannion
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Photo courtesy of the Gotham Coyote Project. Via the New York Times. If coyotes and deer are surviving and thriving in the city, you’ve got to expect that raccoons are there and making a go of it too. After all, they’re wilier than coyotes and more dexterous and adaptable than deer and they like being around people. Not because they like us. They like our garbage. All that food we throw away makes any place where there are humans an all-night diner for raccoons. All night, please note. Raccoons are mainly nocturnal. See one out and about in the daylight,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at Lance Mannion
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Getting there. December 8, 2015. Posted January 25, 2016. Muralist Jane Kim at work painting a Saddle Billed Stork for the Wall of Birds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Photo courtesy of Ink Dwell. "Ornithologists are not an easy audience." Truer words, etc, from what I've heard. All you regular readers who kindly and patiently indulge my fancying myself a bird blogger from time to time know how dependent I am on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s terrific online field guide All About Birds. Won’t surprise you then that this story and the accompanying slide show at the New... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2016 at Lance Mannion
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Still trying to catch up. December 30, 2015. Posted January 25, 2016. Image from The Book Hitler Didn’t Want You to Read, written by Rafael Medoff and drawn by Dean Motter; produced by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. Via the New York Times. Depends on how well it’s done, but I’m not sure I want to read a comic book version of this story. I want the story in depth as only a real book can tell it. Still, this is fascinating and I’d never heard about it before now: The 70-year copyright on Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2016 at Lance Mannion
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Mined from the notebooks. December 24, 2015. Posted on January 24, 2016. Two Musketeers: Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) are a likable pair of supporting players in search of an adventure to call their own in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Stories within stories. That’s what I enjoy most about the Star Wars movies. The old stories. The kind Sam Gamgee likes. …the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2016 at Lance Mannion
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Now mining the old Twitter feed. December 5, 2015. They're being very cagey about hiding someone's superpowers. Very Luke Cagey. Not talking about Luke Cage himself. He hasn’t appeared yet. Talking about Jessica Jones. I'm sure they'll get around to having her strut her stuff pretty soon, but for the moment the show's writers are busy establishing her character and situation by forcing her to live through every trope of every film noir two-bit private eye.That's not me being critical. That's the joke. A grim joke that Jessica herself gets but doesn't find funny. Jessica Jones is ok so far... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2016 at Lance Mannion