Do that in a designated area.

I do apologize for flaking last night. I had an evening thing, followed by a drinks-with-someone-I-haven’t-seen-in-a-while thing, and by the time I got home it wasn’t going to happen. However, I had a great time catching up with my buddy, and so. I walked in the house in time to turn on the TV and see the most important news of the night — the crowning of Banana Joe as Best in Show at Westminster.

Sorry, I don’t do States of the Union; if I wanted to listen to speeches that long I’d move to Cuba. The next day’s news will give me the highlights and bullet points and spare me the million applause breaks. However, I do see that the Nuge was there, as promised, and from the photos, it looks like he wore one of his best outfits. I remember reading some Bush 43 hagiography about how deeply respectful the man was about the White House, because he enforced a suit-and-tie dress code in the West Wing, and conservatives believe in proper attire at dignified occasions and blah blah blah. I’ll be remembering Ted Nugent in his Wranglers the next time I hear that one.

Speaking of which, every time he opens his mouth, someone digs up the I-pooped-my-pants-to-avoid-the-draft interview. It’s been a long time since I read the relevant passages, and I did the other day. I don’t understand why it took me so long to see it, but this is obvious bullshit. I’ll bet anyone $50 that he had a pilonidal cyst, like Rush Limbaugh.

So, Richard Lugar made his first speech since leaving office. I don’t think anyone will be surprised by any part of it, although I’m sure the usual suspects will do their RINO RINO RINO ululations:

Republican opposition to the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as President Obama’s secretary of defense is “another example of the politicization of national security policy,” Lugar said.

Hagel’s “main transgression is that he is a Republican who has questioned policies that are sacred among most conservative senators,” Lugar said. “These include whether the surge in Iraq was worth the lives lost, whether the current high levels of defense expenditures make strategic sense, whether nuclear forces can be reduced further and whether there are non-military options in dealing with Iran.”

Some conservatives “regard his independent thinking as political blasphemy for which he should not be rewarded,” Lugar said.

Hoo-boy, them’s fighting words. Well, Richard Lugar need fight no more.

How about a change of tone? An amusing blog item I stumbled across today, via Nancy Friedman, contains a roundup of amusing neologisms, including “despertainment,” “dwell time” and “fart patio,” the latter a bit from “Portlandia” (clip within). I’m not the world’s biggest Portlandia fan, but having had raw food inflicted upon me within the past year, I thought this sketch was pretty dead-on, and the fart patio idea is genius.

Finally, whenever one grows envious of the New York City intellectual life (and in this case, its extension into New England), read this review of Jamaica Kincaid’s new novel, look at your ordinary partner sitting there scratching his or her belly, and count your blessings. It is Valentine’s Day, after all.

Posted at 12:21 am in Current events |

78 responses to “Do that in a designated area.”

  1. MaryRC said on February 14, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Banana Joe looks like Fedor Jeftichew, the Dog-faced Man.

    Thanks for the link to the Wordkin blog which looks like an interesting place to poke around in. Who knew that Dickens invented the phrase “the creeps”? I was a little surprised, though, to see that “gaslighting” needed an explanation. I thought its meaning was fairly well-known.

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  2. Deborah said on February 14, 2013 at 3:32 am

    Fart patio, my new favorite phrase.

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  3. ROGirl said on February 14, 2013 at 6:16 am

    I was glad to see hogcock on the word list. Alec Baldwin said it so quickly I think they were trying to get it in around the censor.

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  4. David C. said on February 14, 2013 at 6:55 am

    I just went out to bring some stuff to the compost pile and I heard a saw-whet owl in the arborvitae. They’re pretty reclusive so I’ll likely never see it, but they are so adorable that knowing it’s there is enough.

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  5. basset said on February 14, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Must be owl day, I heard a hoot owl in the treeline behind the house as I was letting the dog out just now. No arborvitae, we do have a few cedars in among the maples and hackberries though. And a water oak we got as a seedling at Earth Day a couple years ago… and a white pine I brought down from the farm in Michigan last deer season.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 14, 2013 at 7:16 am

    It’s more than a little irritating to see, in an era when less and less fiction is being published, what gets published. I guess the NYC publishing world has always been a rarified incestuous hothouse, but you’d think that some windows would have been opened by now. Philip Roth may have been right after all (with apologies to Elizabeth Gilbert, and that waiter with the bialy and his new book).

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  7. Snarkworth said on February 14, 2013 at 7:34 am

    I just went out to bring some stuff to the compost pile and I heard a saw-whet owl in the arborvitae.

    It’s lovely non-sequiturs like this that keep me lurking here. Such detail! But I want more. What kind of “stuff?” Coffee grounds? Prunings from your nematanthus? Was it night time?

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  8. alex said on February 14, 2013 at 7:46 am

    There’s one local eatery that needs a shart patio, one with water features so you can hose it down out of courtesy for the next customer. Says the guy who had it coming out both ends Friday last. Involuntarily. Simultaneously. And, no, they don’t make a toilet equipped to handle such a circumstance.

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  9. adrianne said on February 14, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Jamaica Kincaid is one bitter woman. I remember in Syracuse, she was brought in as one of the writers featured in a cool library program. A Syracuse University student was reduced to tears when she tried to ask Jamaica a question, and Jamaica’s response was along the lines of “what a stupid question!” What a jerk.

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  10. nancy said on February 14, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Some great books — or at least, some fun-to-read ones — have grown out of an urge to get even, but I draw the line at dragging one’s children into things. The Kincaid/Shawn son is named Harold; the fictional kid in this book is Heracles, and so we get passages like this:

    Mrs. Sweet imagines that Mr. Sweet hates their son, here named Heracles, so much that he imagines killing him and presenting him for supper. These dishes might include “a soufflé of a young baby with no name; poached new baby with no name; a saddle of Heracles with lemon and thyme.”


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  11. brian stouder said on February 14, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Well, let me just say – purely from my own provincial perspective, that I attended a lecture by Ms Kincaid at good ol’ IPFW, and found her refreshingly different from many other speakers; vastly and genuinely superior to some (Mitch Daniels, for one, was underwhelming; and David Balducci – who has the altogether annoying habit of referring to himself in the third person – actually annoyed me. But an all-time favorite from that series? – Christopher Buckley! He was tremendous!). I didn’t buy her book, but only because the lines were long and it was time to go home.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on February 14, 2013 at 9:48 am

    It doesn’t sound like a book I’d enjoy, but I guess you can’t blame her for trying. After all, Nora Ephron jump-started her career with Heartburn.

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  13. alex said on February 14, 2013 at 9:56 am

    More fun with etymology. “Where mofo got its mojo” is the clever hed. I think the author fails to consider the fact that “fuck your mother” is a common insult in Europe and Latin America and that’s probably mofo’s motherland, not the Victorian-era south.

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  14. Dorothy said on February 14, 2013 at 10:04 am

    At the bottom of the wordnik blog page is a link to their Downton Abbey Word Soup page. I’m enjoying them tremendously and discovering some words that went by me the first time, and I never gave them a thought.

    No owls spotted or heard at our house recently, but we get the coyotes howling and chattering almost every night now around 7 pm. They raised a ruckus three times last night between 7 and 8:30. We always wonder if that means they just made a kill, or if they’re just happy to see each other. I was at the ready with my iPad, so I could record the cries to convince my skeptical brother Joe that we really do have them on our property. I posted it on Facebook last night (I only got about 8 seconds of audio – by the time I hear them, grab the iPad and enter the password, then turn on the camera, I lose about 10 seconds.) One of these evenings when it’s a little warmer I plan to just plant myself on the porch at the ready so I can get a louder and longer recording.

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  15. Prospero said on February 14, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Comparatively speaking, Portlandia is the sociocultural criticism icepick to Girls’ blunt object. And Carrie Brownstein seems a helluva lot sharper than Lena Dunham to me. I mean really. Dunham’s whiny Little Furniture or Sleater Kinney’s The Woods.

    Wonderful TeeVee news. The Americans got way better suddenly last night when the protagonist KGB couple needed a new handler and Mags Bennet showed up. Of course, Margo Martindale’s character’s first act was to convince people to trust her with the life of an innocent and sympathetic woman, who she, naturally, immediately murdered. This woman is a great actor that enhances every cast she joins. Nobody does grandmotherly evil as well, although I’d like to see Anjelica Huston in roles like this.

    And last night’s epsode of SVU was an amazing and pulled something original. Marcia Gay Harden has played a recurring role over the years as an FBI agent. In this episode, an entirely different past was revealed, and Harden’s performance was electrifying. I’ve been a fan since she played the corporate fixer on Damages, but this one was extraordinary.

    I have no problems with revenge by roman a clef, but if there is a third party involved, particularly a kid, it’s pretty transgressive. Still, the Shawns, pere et fils sound like assholes it’s hard to feel sorry for.

    You will have to back up and reread many of the sentences here just to be certain that she isn’t, in some regard, attempting satire.

    That’s about as elegant a boot up the ass as a reviewer can land.

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  16. Prospero said on February 14, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Dorothy@14: Have you read Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf? Excellent book, and you might get some tips for Dances With Coyotes.

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  17. coozledad said on February 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Damn. When the New York Times wants to sabotage a product (and horf some petrodick), call the president uppity, or advocate an illegal war, it sure goes balls out:

    Via Atrios.

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  18. Joe K said on February 14, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Just realized I received my pilots license 33 yrs ago today.
    Pilot Joe

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  19. Jolene said on February 14, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I couldn’t figure out why Kincaid’s book merited two NYT reviews. If you click on the link to the left of the article, you’ll see that it was reviewed on February 3. Then we get the review Nancy linked to on February 12. Why? Does the Times regularly do this?

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  20. Dorothy said on February 14, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I have not read that book, Prospero, but thanks for the tip. I’ve put it on my to-read list.

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  21. brian stouder said on February 14, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Congratulations, Joe; and if I ever am tempted to say “go take a flying leap!” – you’ll know I mean it with the greatest affection!

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  22. Joe K said on February 14, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Thanks Brian
    Pilot Joe

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  23. Judybusy said on February 14, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I’ve tried to read Kincaid in the past, and just couldn’t get into it. She did write a lovely introduction to a gardening book, “My Favorite Plant” which inspired me to seek her out.

    Today was on of the most beautiful this winter: 2 inches of snow fell, sticking to the trees; the sun shone as my pup and I walked the wooded, riverine dog park. It was all white and brown and pale, pale blue. Woodpeckers and chickadess were out and I heard the cry of a pileated woodpecker. No barred owl today, though; it can usually be seen in one particular spot, gazing down at the humans and hounds, noticed only by those who know to look.I remembered that I will see bluebirds, scarlet tanagers, orioles, herons, egrets, and if I have very good timing, the occassional bald eagle at this gem of a park.

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  24. DellaDash said on February 14, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Let me second Prospero’s recommendation of ‘Never Cry Wolf’. Also excellent by Farley Mowat: ‘People of the Deer’ and ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.

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  25. Bitter Scribe said on February 14, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Prospero: Meh. I bailed on that SVU episode halfway through because I could either see what was coming, or didn’t care. That show is circling the drain, due in large part to that lump of crabmeat they brought in to replace Christopher Meloni.

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  26. Prospero said on February 14, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Congratulations on an impressive achievement Joe.

    Never Cry Wolf was made into a very good movie, with spectacular nature photography, with Charles Martin Smith (who was also in Starman), directed by Carrol Ballard, who also directed The Black Stallion and Fly Away Home.

    So much for the Pistorius worship from the last Summer Games. He’s turned into Phil Specter.

    Talk about embarrassed animals.

    Started the Woody Guthrie novel House of Earth, last night. Finished the long and beautifully written introduction by Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp. Woody was obsessed with the idea of adobe houses as a way of circumventing villainous banks and robber timber barons.

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  27. MichaelG said on February 14, 2013 at 11:49 am

    It’s supposed to hit 70 here for the next couple of days. Whopee!

    Congrats, Pilot Joe.

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  28. Connie said on February 14, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Do check out the Google doodle today which combines Valentine’s day and a celebration of the inventor of the Ferris wheel.

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  29. Dorothy said on February 14, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Charles Martin Smith is one of my favorite character actors.

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  30. beb said on February 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Joe K., Time sure flies when you’re having fun.

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  31. Charlotte said on February 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Never Cry Wolf is a terrific read — and very bad science. First thing our field biology profs told us when I spent a summer in the BWCA … he made big swaths of it up and its a classic example of the slipperiness of genre. Ages ago, when I was still an academic, I went to a ASLE (Amer Society for Literature and Environment) conference in Missoula where a whole panel of English profs were aghast! aghast that it wasn’t all true! but it says nonfiction right here on the cover! Sigh. no wonder I left …

    Nature notes from Montana this morning — unexpected snow this morning, coyotes just over the hill chattering as I brushed the snow off my car, and new baby cattle at the bottom of the hill. Love the new babies every year — they actually cavort and play for a few months before sinking into bovine torpor … And knock on wood, the coyotes/wolves that live on Emigrant peak seem not to eat Alvin’s baby cows which are right there. At least not in the 4 years I’ve been hanging around up there …

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  32. MarkH said on February 14, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Prospero, I actually enjoy it when I find we agree on some things (of course, they’re not politically oriented):

    Margo Martindale. What a treasure. Just when you think she would or should be typecast just because of her appearance (Million Dollar Baby), she comes up with a turn like Mags on Justified or last night’s The Americans. I saw the previews but missed the episode so I hope they’ll repeat it. Wasn’t sure The Americans would have legs, but it appears it does. Do remember the A&E vehicle for Alan Arkin from about 11 years ago called 100 Centre Street? Very underrated show. She had a very good touching performance in a story arc where she was a clerk improbably pursued by Tom Wopat. That’s what made Mags all the more memorable for me.

    SVU: Sorry to disagree, BitterScribe, but that episode was a sure cure for ADD for me. Marcia Gay Harden better get an Emmy for that performance. In her ealier appearances, you knew there was something bigger lurking in her flawed FBI character’s background. Too bad it turned out to be murder. I miss Meloni as well, but Amaro and Rollins have kept me tuned in, as Munch and Fin are getting a little stale and I’m still waiting for Olivia to get an effing life. Though it would happen with Harry Connick, Jr., but…Next week, Rollins apparantly takes a trip to police hell.

    Also, Prospero, what you said about Never Cry Wolf. Excellent book AND film.

    Can’t believe I said all this.

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Jolene, the NYT reviews in the paper weekdays, and the NYT Book Review on Sunday is its own thing entirely. So two reviews are not uncommon.

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  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Read Mowat’s “The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be.” Plus “And No Birds Sang” about his WWII experiences. I believe Farley is still with us, though quite elderly and not doing public appearances.

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  35. Heather said on February 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    The only wildlife I’ve seen lately is the dead rat outside my condo building’s communal woodpile last night. In a rare display of bravery in the face of yuckiness, I disposed of it myself. I suppose I am truly a homeowner now.

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  36. Mark P. said on February 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    When I read this post, I saw “fart piano” and was having a real hard time figuring it out. It came almost as a disappointment to realize that it was patio and not piano.

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  37. Danny said on February 14, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Mark P. you may not know this, but we at NN.C. already know what “fart piano” means.. it’s when you sit down at a piano and play loudly dissonant notes with great sustain to cover personal gaseous emissions. It works better with brass instruments like tubas or french horns, but Arthur Fieldler and Adre Previn were proponents of this practice on any instrument.

    Beethoven would have invented the practice, but he was deaf and unaware of the issue as it were.

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  38. DellaDash said on February 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    ‘Mags’ (Margo Martindale) can also be seen on a cable series from 2007 called ‘The Riches’ starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver.

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  39. Prospero said on February 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I could see what was coming in the SVU ep, but knowledge of the Dana character from past episodes kept me watching. She had been to hell and back with Benson and Stabler a few times, inluding getting Elliot blowed up. The “interview” scenes between Hargitay and Harden were very well written and acted, and the twist was unusual for network primetime, especially what was on opposite. Dogass comedies and disgusting Survivor. (And who in God’s name still watches that inane, repulsive reality shit?) SVU is past its tipping point, but its still capable of delivering the goods sometimes. One surefire way to ignite an episode is to focus on the gifted actor Tamara Tunie. And the writers do great work with high profile guest actors, like the Martin Short as evil psychic murderer episode, and the cople with Marlee Matlin. I’ll always be thankful for the pleasure afforded by seeing Adam Beach and Mary Stuart Masterson in serial TeeVee. No mythology, no JJ Abrams flashbang, just solid writing, excellent acting, and intense characterization over a very long time.

    Canadian national treasure, Farley Mowat: an entertaining interview.

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  40. Jolene said on February 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    MarkH, 100 Center Street was, at least initially, a great show. I’m a big fan of Alan Arkin and thought he was perfect in the role of the judge. After a while, I thought the show got too complicated–too many minor characters, each with his or her own subplot–but for a while, it was terrific. Really liked the look of the show as well as the stories. Everything was sort of muted in a way that added to the dreariness of the world they were operating in.

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  41. Dexter said on February 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Since we have some book banter going, I’ll tell you I bought John Irving’s 2009 book, “Last Night in Twisted River” last night in a bargain bin for a buck-fitty. I enjoyed “A Prayer for Owen Meany” last summer, and I thought I’d give this one a go also. I read “…Garp” years ago, but that’s the extent of my Irving reading…he has nine other novels as well…we’ll see.
    I remember I was dissed here a year or so ago for enjoying Irving’s writings, but I forgot why I am such a moron for reading “that idiotic trash.” Now I can’t remember who it was that attacked me-maybe I dreamed it. 🙂

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  42. Connie said on February 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    I am reading Homeland by Cory Doctorow, a sequel to his YA bestseller Little Brother. If you haven’t read Little Brother you should, it is about teenagers in the Bay Area getting into trouble when Homeland Security clamps down after terrorists blow up the Bay Bridge. Homeland opens with the characters at Burning Man and I really enjoyed the closeup look at Burning Man.

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  43. Prospero said on February 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    I meant to mention that Della. I loved The Riches (I’ll watch anything with Minnie Driver, even that heart transplant tearjerker with David Duchovny), and Martindale was terrific in the show. The only two show cancellations that ever bothered me more were Damien Lewis’ detective series Life, and the late great Terriers, with Donal Logue and the best TeeVee theme song ever:

    On the subject of Alan Arkin, he made a great movie in the very late 60s called Popi, which hardly anyone has seen or remembers. It’s about a widowed immigrant father of two boys who pulls a scheme to improve their chances in life: convince the world they are heroic Cuban refugees. And of course, the classic, The In-Laws:

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  44. Dexter said on February 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    missing Carl Sagan

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  45. Dorothy said on February 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Drat, Never Cry Wolf is not available via Apple (I have an iPad). I am, however, downloading The Outpost right now. I will read it with a mixture of dread and fascination, I’m certain.

    Back in early January one of our regulars (it was a lady, and I’m embarrassed to say I cannot recall her name) said she would not be commenting here very often, and might not even be stopping by to read, as she was facing some rather serious and time-consuming personal issues if I’m remembering correctly. I wanted her to know I think of this from time to time and hope she is doing well. And I’m wondering if things have settled down for the time being. Whoever you are, you don’t have to comment but rest assured, I’m sending positive thoughts your way.

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  46. Dorothy said on February 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Ooops, I missed the comments about The Riches. I loved that show, too! Other series that got cancelled prematurely, imho, were Boomtown, Luck with Dustin Hoffman (HBO) and EZ Streets, which had Jason Gedrick in it (he was in Luck). Boomtown was only on one year and I own a set of the DVDs. I wish that had found a home at another network like Southland did.

    Bob and weave, Shell! Bob and weave!! My husband says this ALL the time.

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  47. DellaDash said on February 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Corey Doctorow is fun.

    “Idiotic trash” does sound like the signature rant of someone who hangs out around here. I can depend on Irving for a good read when I’m in a particular frame of mind, Dex. Michael Chabon is in that category as well.

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  48. adrianne said on February 14, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Other signs of spring – my son, Matt, spotted foxes frolicking in a snow-covered field today in the Hudson Valley.

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  49. Bitter Scribe said on February 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    “Idiotic trash” is going too far, but I’ve always been annoyed by John Irving. To me he’s a violence nerd, like Quentin Tarantino—someone who uses meaningless violence for cheap, easy shock value. Irving is (to borrow someone else’s description) like a bored cat, toying with his characters and seeking ever more kinky ways to devour them.

    I guess today I’m really living up to my nom de blog.

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  50. Prospero said on February 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I certainly never called John Irving’s books idiotic trash, if anybody is suggesting that. I think Owen Meany is a great book. I’ve read Garp several times, and occasionally read the Bensonhaver section by itself. I’ve also read Setting Free the Bears more than once, and really enjoyed Son of the Circus and A Widow for One Year. I did find Hotel New Hampshire disappointing, after the sheer brilliance of Garp and the Bear Called State O’ Maine chapter that opened the book. As far as Irving and violence are concerned, my view is that he effectively casts violence as a character, the “undertoad” if you will, always lurking as in real life.

    I was also pained by the demise of Boomtown, which was an introduction to a bunch of good actors: Donnie Wahlberg, Neal McDonough (the Mags Bennet surrogate in Justified’s last season), Mykelti Williamson. Boomtown writers were also adept at doing the Rashomon thing, which is always a treat when done well. There was a great CSI episode a few years back about a murder of the mother of the bride at a wedding don Rashomon style that was mordantly hilarious. Southland is a worthy descendant. Excellent show.

    I particularly liked Shannon Woodward and Noel Fisher who played DiDi and Cael in the Riches, and Aidan Mitchell, who played their artistic cross-dressing little brother. Sam’s mural was a superb exclamation point as the plot developed. And who was the guy that played Wayne’s dissolute, loutish boss? Todd Stashwick, who played the evil Dale Malloy shows up in series TeeVee all the time, and had a particularly memorable role in Heroes.

    I would wish for more seasons of Dead Like Me, but it’s hard to imagine the quality of the stories could have been maintained. Final Destination, but with 3-D characters incisive writing, and good acting. Ellen Muth as George Lass was delightful. Great series.

    Frolicking Foxes would make a good name for a tribute band for Jethro Tull, or Pentangle, but who could do Ian Anderson or Richard Thompson?

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  51. DellaDash said on February 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Farley Mowat got me fixated on Dian Fossey for awhile, to the extent that I read everything I could get my hands on about her; including her own rather dry, academic works. Leakey sent her untrained, with no previous experience, into the mountains of Rwanda to study the vanishing Silverbacks. It was her experience with austistic (children and/or adults) that eventually allowed her to approach and eventually bond with the gorillas (discovering that they wouldn’t tolerate humans to look at them directly, but would lower their chest-beating defenses for someone exhibiting submissive behavior). All became individual personalities to her, and she grieved over them when they were killed. Her murder in 1985 was shocking, but not inexplicable, in light of her global crusade to stamp out poaching…and effectiveness in getting many of the native poachers, who must’ve been Hutu or Tutsi, arrested. We know how THEY roll.

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  52. Catherine said on February 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Dorothy @45, it was Sue.

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  53. John (not McCain) said on February 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    “I remember I was dissed here a year or so ago for enjoying Irving’s writings, but I forgot why I am such a moron for reading “that idiotic trash.”

    Then put me down as a trash-lovin’ idjit too. Loved Garp, Owen Meany, Son of the Circus, Cider House Rules and Hotel New Hampshire, and I’m not really sure why I haven’t gotten around to reading the others.

    Recently finished Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys, am now in the middle of Yiddish Policemen’s Union, and downloaded Telegraph Avenue this morning. I bet when I die I’m found with my kindle clutched tightly!

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  54. Dorothy said on February 14, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you, Catherine.

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  55. Dexter said on February 14, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Yeah, it must have one of the other blogs I frequent where I was accosted by the John Irving hater.

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  56. MichaelG said on February 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I read Garp a long time ago and enjoyed it.

    Also a long time ago, before I was married to T even, I dated a woman who had gone to Cornell. Turns out she was a very close friend of Carl Sagan’s wife. I heard many juicy stories about Sagan. None of them favorable to him.

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  57. Prospero said on February 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    John@53: Gentlemen of the Road is another very good Chabon, similar to a Kipling adventure. Yiddish Policemen’s Union is a hoot. But his best so far is undoubtedly Adventures of Kavalier and Klay. Amazing book. First one I read was Mysteries of Pittsburgh, which led me for years to think Chabon is gay. (He’s married to the writer Ayelet Waldman, who is female.) I thought it was funny when somebody here said she confused Michael Chabon with Armistead Maupin. Good book.

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  58. Peter said on February 14, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Congrats Pilot Joe! Think of all of the airlines you’ve outlived. Yipes.

    Every cloud has a silver lining: One side effect of the Pistorius story is that my in box is jamming up with the best sick jokes I’ve heard since the Challenger exploded. It’s gold Jerry, gold!!!

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    • nancy said on February 14, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      So, share a few. We can all handle it.

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  59. brian stouder said on February 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    . I’m reading American Tapestry, which is a fine book about Michelle Obama’s great grandparents and grandparents and parents – including a (male) slave owner in the family tree. Tangentially it addresses many other American undercurrents, including the great migration of American blacks out of the south and into the north and east – which will be the major part of the next book up for me, The Warmth of Other Suns. I’d make a terrible book critic, because I read at a glacial pace, and because nonfiction is pretty much all I choose to read.

    And, to me, “non-fiction” absolutely precludes anything by – for example – Bill O’Reilly. The fact that the National Geographic and Tom Hanks have collaborated on a film inspired by O’Reilly’s Lincoln book is a demerit for both NG of them. And indeed, Tom Hanks is distantly related to Lincoln’s mom, Nancy Hanks…(but then again, lots and lots of folks from Kentucky can probably make the same claim…)

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  60. ROGirl said on February 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Charlie Martin Smith will always be Terry the Toad on his white Vespa to me.

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  61. Sherri said on February 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I loved Yiddish Policeman’s Union. Adventures of Kavalier and Klay is on my TBR list.

    I read Garp way back in college, and while I didn’t think it was idiotic trash by any measure, I’ve never been moved to read any more of Irving’s books. A friend recommended Owen Meany to me, but so many books, so little time…

    I’m trying to decide whether to start reading Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford before the HBO miniseries starts at the end of the month. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Christopher Tietjens, and Tom Stoppard adapted the books.

    I just finished reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers for my book club, and it deserved every bit of the praise it received last year.

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  62. MarkH said on February 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Prospero – Almost forgot, also agree on Tamara Tunie, under-used on L&O, in my view. Remember her face-morphing terrorization of Charlize Theron in The Devil’s Advocate?

    Jason T. – You know where Tamara Tunie is from, don’t you?

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  63. Bitter Scribe said on February 14, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    ,,,Tom Hanks [has] collaborated on a film inspired by O’Reilly’s Lincoln book…

    Oh GAG!! You gotta be kidding!!! Does Hanks even know who O’Reilly is?

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  64. Prospero said on February 14, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I was remiss in mentioning Ayelet Waldman without pointing this out:

    Now I’ve never read either that I know of, but I’ve seen Katie Roiphe spouting her jackass anti-feminist shit about “no such thing as date rape”. And it seems to me you can admire Norman Mailer’s books without denigrating the manhood of other authors, as Roiphe did of Chabon. Lastly, Michael Chabon wouldn’t marry a novelist whose novels weren’t pretty damn good, I don’t think. So, slip some rohypnol in Katie Roiphes Bartles & James, and Fuck Her.

    I wish Yiddish Policemen’s Union had been around 25 years ago to be made into a movie with Elliot Gould (in multiple roles), Alan Arkin and Woody Allen. That could have been hilarious.

    I looked it up, and Farley Mowat wrote two biographies of Dian Fossey. The first is called Woman in the Mists, the second Verung: The Passion of Dian Fossey. Both books provide source material for the Michael Apted movie Gorillas in the Mist, with Sigourney Weaver a perfectly cast Fossey. Excellent movie. Mowat had access to Fossey’s private correspondence, journals, camp records, personal papers and interviews with her colleagues, friends and enemies in writing the books.

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  65. Sherri said on February 14, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    One of the things I’ve missed since leaving Silicon Valley is reading the Atherton police blotter, so Gawker to the rescue:

    My absolute favorite from the past: the report of a strange car entering the driveway late at night. The police arrived to discover that the strange car contained guests of the homeowner.

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  66. MarkH said on February 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    No, Scribe, I’m sure Tom Hanks has no idea who Bill O’Reilly is. Someone needs to clue the National Geographic Channel in as well. Tell them before it airs Sunday night at 8:00 PM EST.

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  67. brian stouder said on February 14, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    MarkH – I guess everyone needs a paycheck; and if you press me, I’d agree that – if O’Reilly gets a few more Americans to appreciate the greatest president we’ve ever had (Lincoln, not Reagan!) – then that’s a net-good thing.

    But Bill-O is still a (insert epithet here), even despite that, compared to the other lunatics at his TV network, he looks like the sane one

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  68. Prospero said on February 14, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    epithet insert: dickhead liar.

    Asshat shit that passes for journalism when they aren’t scooping the paleo-press.

    O’Reilley already won a Peabody Award for that NatGeo movieie. Just ask his fat loofah ass. Here’s a cool web page for the movie:

    I missed Spinmeister O’s name on a quick scan.

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  69. Danny said on February 14, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    … and compared to MessNBC, they all look fair and balanced.

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  70. Danny said on February 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Okay, jokes from Twitter twits on Oscar P.

    Pistorius is so guilty, he hasn’t got a leg to stand on in court

    Welp, Oscar Pistorius’s Valentine’s dinner plans are shot

    I take it Oscar Pistorius’ girlfriend bought him shoes for Valentines.

    We shouldn’t be so quick to judge Oscar Pistorius. Maybe that’s just how couples break up in South Africa?

    If Taylor Swift ever dated and broke up with Oscar Pistorius, she wouldn’t be alive to write a song about it

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  71. DellaDash said on February 14, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Good catch, Prospero…I THOUGHT it was ‘Woman in the Mists’ by Mowat, but went with the movie title. Sigourney did fine by Dian, as did the rest of the cast & crew. The books are better.

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  72. alex said on February 14, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    My guess is that Nat Geo is trying to appease all of the Luddites who dropped their subscriptions over being confronted with the truth about global warming. Sort of like NPR doing the strange acrobatics it now does for the folk who demand false equivalency if not falsehood outright. I have no idea what Bill O’Reilly ever wrote about Lincoln nor do I care, but it sounds like a cheap way to buy off some boorish critics, so give the man his due.

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  73. brian stouder said on February 14, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    I missed Spinmeister O’s name on a quick scan.

    It’s the Spielberg effect; have you noticed that the folks at Ford have started featuring evocative glimpses of Lincoln (Lincoln-Lincoln!) in their Lincoln (the car) ads?

    Dunno if it’s helping sales, but I like it. Hell, if they take the stove-pipe hat and the cape away, and put an axe in the man’s hands, they could sell those Lincoln Navigator trucks (or whatever they are)

    And similarly, the O’Reilly-Killing Lincoln movie commercial has the Spielberg look…so much so that I froze the (overtly fast screen-shot?/i>) of the movie credits at the end of the ad (gotta love dvr’s, if only for that feature – where small print cannot escape us), and that’s where I saw O’Reilly’s name – and wrinkled my nose.

    And Danny – I’ll grant you that MSNBC is to the left of Fox; as is pretty much every thinking citizen.

    Today’s big push from Fox seems to have been to continue unleasing the hounds of Hagel, while Uncle Rush seems to have decided to plop his ass and his pilonidal cyst onto the (altogether delusional) effort to tie your crazy California cop-shooter cop to “the left” (and msnbc, and cnn, et al).

    I think his theory might make more sense, after a few unprescribed doses of oxycontyn; but then again, maybe not.

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  74. Danny said on February 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Brian, both are biased and have their share of loonies, but MSNBC is more deranged and nasty in it’s bias… and they don’t get called out on the carpet for it by other media outlets with anywhere near the regularity that Fox does.

    And it’s somewhat comical that there are probably more than a few people here at NN.C who would axiomatically denigrate Fox while having no problem getting their news from MSNBC.

    Oh, irony…wherefore art though?

    Umm.. here I am.

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  75. Danny said on February 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm


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  76. alex said on February 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    And Danny – I’ll grant you that MSNBC is to the left of Fox; as is pretty much every thinking citizen.

    And some who aren’t even all that bright, just not unrepentant racist, sexist, bigoted fucks who need validation from an ersatz news outlet. Even Murdoch is shitting himself over the Frankenstein’s monster he’s created.

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  77. Sherri said on February 14, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Fortunately for Deadspin, Prospero, the paleo-press continues to provide:

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