Lance Mannion’s Favorites

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Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) watches as his brother Mycroft (Rhys Ifans) blows up Sherlock’s cache of private papers for reasons not worth explaining here. But I’m hoping the fact that Mycroft knows how to build a bomb is a clue he isn’t just the playboy restauranteur he’s seemed to be so far on CBS’ Elementary. The writers of Elementary have introduced their versions of Irene Adler, Professor Moriarty, and Mycroft Holmes and the disappointment of the blatant revisions of their characters as they originally appeared in the Arthur Conan Doyle stories is nothing compared to the infuriation caused by... Continue »
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Like many who strive to write nonfiction I think often of Montaigne who I encountered first as a teenager--a solitary teen--one who spent considerable time alone with books. In this I am hardly unique for reading and the lives of... Continue »
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You can categorize your own brand of geekitude by whether the title of this post made you think of Herman Melville or Star Trek or both. Late this afternoon, after we’d set up our chairs and towels on a high spot on the beach at Nauset, I spotted a white-hulled sailboat far out on the horizon. The rest of our gang rushed headlong towards the water to throw themselves into the breaking waves but I stayed put with my binoculars, thinking that a closer look would show me that another Edward Hopper painting had come to life for a moment.... Continue »
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Drove over to Yarmouth Port to visit the one-time home of writer and illustrator Edward Gorey and if I was clever enough the following notes would be presented alphabetically and in rhymed couplets as an homage to one of Gorey’s most famous books, The Gashlycrumb Tinies , kind of like this: A is for ashes divided in thirds. B is for books that he drew and sometimes wrote the words. C is for cats who played with his ink. D is for Dracula that made him rich clink clink clink E is for Elephant House which he bought on a... Continue »
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Trapped in lies Like a boy among pirates I flip channels: A Jesus huckster Waves a bible Like a scalp; A loud man Claims He has a perfect knife; Batteries; Thinning hair; Miracle bra; Join the Army; “Help! I’ve fallen... Continue »
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I've always thought Shelley Long's been given a bum rap. Her name's become a synonym for really bad career move because of her decision to leave Cheers to pursue a movie career that never amounted to much, unless you think the two Brady movies are masterpieces of high artistic camp. But given the information she had to work with at the time, a good case can be made---and I'm about to make it---that hers wasn't a bad decision at all, just apparently unfortunate. In fact, all things considered at the time, it might have been the smart decision. It may... Continue »
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Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock in HBO’s Deadwood, looking an awful lot like various movie versions of Wyatt Earp. In real life, Seth Bullock was more like Wyatt Earp than the real Wyatt Earp was like Wyatt Earp. Seems I’ve had a lot opportunities to bring up Deadwood around these parts lately. My review of Howard Blum’s true-life western The Floor of Heaven. Last Saturday’s post on the loud and proud conservative playwright David Mamet’s very liberal life in the theater. A post I wrote while I was reading The Wilder Life, Wendy McClure’s memoir of her lifelong love for... Continue »
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Updated below. You might have heard. Friday night, here in New York State, our state legislature did a remarkable thing. Something good. In less than a month, we’re going to become one of the very few states where everybody is free to marry the person they love. Another way of saying this is that we are about to allow gay people to marry. We’re going to do this because four Republican state senators did the right thing. Jim Alesi, Roy McDonald, Stephen Saland, and Mark Grisanti. Mensches all. The final vote was 33-29. The thing to remember about those 29... Continue »
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For my brother Larry Mannion. Couple weeks back, I was driving down our street on my way home from a late night milk run and as I neared our house seven deer stepped over the mounds of snow at the foot of our front yard and out into the road. I stopped. They stopped. The eight of us waited. And waited some more. We waited long enough for me to wonder if we might be waiting there all night. I thought about giving the horn a quick tap. I thought about turning off the headlights. I thought about the fact... Continue »
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Bill Scher wants to know, "Will Ross Douthat argue that Sotomayor is unhappy today?" Bill's referring to Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court and the newest New York Times' op-ed columnist's brilliantly original regurgitation of an age-old conservative and patriarchal argument against allowing women to be full-fledged grown-ups. Having a job makes women unhappy. I'd agree, if Douthat means that it's no fun working as a cashier at Wal-mart or cleaning toilets at the local convenience mart. But he doesn't. Like many elitists, of the right and the left, in whose thinking about gender and work working class women... Continue »
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At one point, Right Wing pundits and Congressional apologists for George Bush, desperate to protect the President from having to take responsibility for his own failures, tried to blame the disaster in New Orleans on poor people. The problem was, they said, that those darn poor people didn't have the sense to get rich enough ahead of time to afford cars so they could flee the city. Poverty being always only the result of bad character, the poor of New Orleans suffered from their own bad character as much as from the hurricane and more than from the Bush Leaguers'... Continue »
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Michael Fassbender as Eric Lehnserr and James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, superheroic teammates at their best working together in X-Men: First Class. X-Men: First Class is good, the best of the franchise, I think, but I want to know. Who holds off Magneto for thirty years until Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, and Jean Grey show up? My question proves that I must have liked the movie because it shows that it made me care about the X-Men. I never did before. Not in the first three movies---I cared about Wolverine---and definitely not in the comics. In fact, when I was a... Continue »
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One thing Michele Bachmann has not demonstrated---besides a basic understanding of how the government and the economy work, a fifth grader’s knowledge of history, and a solid grounding in reality---is a sense of humor. Bachmann is not quick with a joke. She hasn’t even shown she has the ability to appreciate a joke or recognize one. Up till this past weekend, at any rate. Suddenly, she’s a comedian. And her favorite topics for humor are God and natural disasters. Check out this knee-slapper. I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've... Continue »
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Lake George Village. Friday. August 26, 2011. Continue »
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I’m rarely the smartest guy in the room. In fact, I’m only the smartest guy in the room when I’m the only person in the room. But Thursday night I knew for a fact I was the dumbest guy in the room. Note to ego: Never have dinner with scientists. Thursday night I was Pop Mannion’s guest at a meeting of his Torch Club. Torch is a national organization that brings civic leaders and civic-minded local high achievers together now and then for dinner and discussion and a general sharing of ideas and convivial spirits. The make-up of a given... Continue »
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Recently started reading The Shakespeare Riots , by Nigel Cliff, my new second-favorite book about Shakespeare, although it's not actually so much about Shakespeare himself or his plays; it's about the mania and passion for Shakespeare and the theatre in early Nineteenth Century America and how it led to mayhem and violence in the streets of New York in 1849. My favorite book about Shakespeare is about him and his plays. James Shapiro's A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 . So, at any rate, I'm reading along in The Shakespeare Riots and I came across a passage... Continue »
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The netbook Friday morning: Owner’s mood: Despairing. The mail Friday afternoon: Mail recipient’s mood: Suddenly hopeful. The netbook Saturday morning: Owner’s mood: Dejected but confident. RTFM Saturday afternoon: Owner’s mood: Reckless, cocky. So what if he has to strip the whole thing down to get at the screen? The netbook Saturday afternoon: Owner’s mood: Gathering doubts. The netbook late Saturday afternoon:* Owner’s mood: Frustrated, resolve weakening, confidence dwindling. The netbook Saturday evening: Owner’s mood: Hopeless, helpless, near surrender. The netbook Sunday morning: Owner’s mood: Suddenly serene. Has let himself go. Trusting his feelings. Using the Force. Radio voice from base:... Continue »
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Way back when, when we were desperately trying to figure out what the problem was that was making it so incredibly hard for a very smart, very conscientious, very curious,very creative, and very nice little boy to get through a day of school without a meltdown of some kind, I was continually surprised that none of the psychologists and social workers reached for the diagnosis I was prepared to reject out of hand. ADHD. Looking back, when we finally felt we had a handle on things, I came to two conclusions. One was that the professionals, deliberately or reflexively, had... Continue »
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Finished my morning explore at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow up in Orleans. As I’m pulling into the lot, young guy, in his twenties, with a tall cup of coffee, climbing into his pickup, getting ready to pull out. My cell happened to ring at that moment. “I want a pickup truck,” I said in what I’m told is my annoying habit of beginning phone conversations in the middle of a thought. “What are you talking about?” said the friend on the line. “What’s more. I want to be a young guy climbing into his new pickup with a big cup... Continue »
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Other day. Tuesday. I’m bobbing about in Oyster Pond, not exactly swimming, more like engaging in some directed drift, around the barrel-supported rafts at the farthest reaches of the roped in swimming area, lazily batting aside moon jellies, which I don’t see but feel on the backs of my hands as sudden and a subtle pockets of tautness in the water, ducking my head when the green head flies come find me, but except for the flies and the jelly fish all alone and mightily enjoying the solitude, until I realize I’m hearing voices. A young couple, a boy and... Continue »
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