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What Are You Reading

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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I am really just riffling the deck with A. Scott Berg's MAX PERKINS, Editor of Genius now.
Caught the film Genius starring Colin Firth over Christmas and had to dive deeper into the flick;
all the more so because Perkins edited Thomas Wolfe, a cipher of a man and a ba***rd ill disciplined writer.
A favourite sonuvabitch of mine since schoolboy days. Wolfe ranks alongside James Joyce but a step
or two behind Stephen Hero.;)
 
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16,854
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New York City
I am really just riffling the deck with A. Scott Berg's MAX PERKINS, Editor of Genius now.
Caught the film Genius starring Colin Firth over Christmas and had to dive deeper into the flick;
all the more so because Perkins edited Thomas Wolfe, a cipher of a man and a ba***rd ill disciplined writer.
A favourite sonuvabitch of mine since schoolboy days. Wolfe ranks alongside James Joyce but a step
or two behind Stephen Hero.;)

I love that book. It is a neat look into the careers of several writers I grew up reading, plus Perkins himself is an interesting man. The movie is good, too, but the book is a gem.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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I love that book. It is a neat look into the careers of several writers I grew up reading, plus Perkins himself is an interesting man. The movie is good, too, but the book is a gem.
I found Genius by accident and loved it so rang Amazon then charged it to Santa. Next Christmas is the North Pole payback I guess but Perkins is definitely worth it.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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St John's Wood, London UK
Catching up reading thoroughbred racing online sheets since the Pegasus runs Saturday.
Pegasus kicks off my season; although this year I'm sticking to the American game where empirical data
leads the thoroughbred world and my winnings are commensurate. Australia is meager small stakes poker,
Hong Kong has its moments to be sure but quite mercurial. And home Britain horse is reined in by Brexit with
record analyses a complete bollocks. Ascot will always be class stage and good racing but the turf is greener
in bluegrass Kentucky. And the books here know that. ;)
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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St John's Wood, London UK
A wide open Pegasus wherein any number possess requisite speed to set pace and win.
However, Gulstream Park's track puts a sooner-said-and-done tight first turn into the mix that effectively
limits posts 8-12 celerity, which marginalize several contestants. First Mission #8; Grand Aspen #9; and last
but not least #12 Skippylongstocking were dealt dead post draw. This leaves a more favourably placed
National Treasue #7; Trademark #5; Hoist the Gold #4; with Dynamic One #3. National Treasure has failed
to ''hit the board'' at a mile and eighth distance in two attempts. A salient cold fact to reconsider First Mission
despite his draw behind the 8 ball. And once the disadvantaged post door is opened, invariably it swings
wide for Grand Aspen and Skippylongstocking. Nevertheless the lesser numbered posts are dangerous;
most prominently Hoist the Gold who can win with his drawn quad. And several mounts not named as lead
contestants can surely pull an upset. The trick here is to isolate two key horses-three at most-and structure
bets around these. Easier said than done.o_O
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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Well, a healthy exacta-#7 National Treasure paired Senor Buscador #6 restocked the drinks cabinet
and picked up some choice West End theatre seats with a few bits n' bobs, pizza slush fund pence left.
This suddenly reminds suggest to see Licorice Pizza, like Cripi #11 outside at dead post eleven just slipped by me.
I did give Cripi a look but passed. And contender Hoist the Gold at #4 was fourth.

Decided to give Milt and his economic primer Free To Choose a look and recall Netflex had his documentary
last year. Need to get organized with Max Perkins.
 
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16,854
Location
New York City
71WK90T5H8L._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_.gif.jpeg

The Stories of John Cheever published in 1978


At nearly seven-hundred pages and with nearly seventy short stories, The Stories of John Cheever avers he was a prolific writer in the middle of the twentieth century. It helps that he was writing at a time when there was still a profitable market for short stories.

Cheever is like a F. Scott Fitzgerald for the middle and upper-middle classes when America was predominantly a white Christian country or, to be more specific, when that was where its cultural focus often was.

He wrote about things he knows in these stories, which is why they are mainly set in New York City, its suburbs or the northeast, all places where WASPs and WASP wannabes worked, lived, played and competed for social status.

His families are traditional with a working husband, homemaking and committee-joining wife and a few kids who serve mainly as props for the parents' struggles and ambitions.

Recurring themes include living beyond one's means, not really liking one's neighbors, cheating on one's spouse - that comes up a lot for a supposedly "wholesome" era - alcoholism, and being disappointed, in middle age, with how your life turned out.

The businessman who looks successful, has a corporate job, a home in the suburbs, two-point-five kids and a nice car is usually the set up for a man about to lose his job, be overwhelmed with bills or to find his secretary too attractive to remain faithful to his wife.

Cheevers often takes his stories to some dark places as the post-coitus discarded secretary doesn't always stay discarded or the man facing bankruptcy might take to burglarizing his neighbors' houses.

Like all good writers, Cheevers has an eye for detail as he recounts the competitive nature of middle-class kids' birthday parties - I'll see your clown blowing up balloons, with a full marionette play - or the anxiety of the commuter in the train-station bar watching the clock.

Cheevers shows that the quote about battles in academia also applies to village councils in the suburbs deciding small zoning rules: "competition is so vicious because the stakes are so small." Suburbia often sounds like the Battle of Anzio in Cheever's world.

While the turf is similar, each story brings its own perspective, message or reveal. One marriage fails from boredom, while another seemingly on the way out is saved when a crisis reminds the husband and wife of what is really at stake.

All of this is out of favor now because it focuses mainly on white, Christian middle-class traditional families, which is one of the few things our culture doesn't provide a safe space for today. But that was Cheever's world and he wrote about what he knew.

The value of The Stories of John Cheever is his talented writing, which captured a period in America that existed whether today's cultural elites like it or not. They are smart snippets of the era with some timeless observations that make them still engaging reads.


N.B. Three out of four of my grandparents would be the "immigrants" or "foreigners" that float by as servants, day laborers or merchants in the shadows of Cheever's world. Yet I still somehow manage to find his writing relevant and engaging.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

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View attachment 585319


N.B. Three out of four of my grandparents would be the "immigrants" or "foreigners" that float by as servants, day laborers or merchants in the shadows of Cheever's world. Yet I still somehow manage to find his writing relevant and engaging.
Spitalfields was Irish immigrant enclave, low rung but eminently real with resonance. Books and wits carried me out and Cheever was early find. Later, he reappeared at Cambridge when shown a film of him interviewed by David Susskind, I believe, and the subject of literature as opposed simple pulp fiction came to fore. The professor endlessly drove Cheever's perspective home for the term. I am going to order this and The Swimmer to trace back those East End days.
 

Tiki Tom

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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Oahu, North Polynesia
“Hoo Boy” as Darryl Van Horne would say.
I just finished “The Witches of Eastwick” by the much celebrated John Updike.
I remember being in a break room long ago, listening to my female boss explaining to a friend how no male writer was even remotely capable of convincingly depicting a woman. Her unspoken subtext was that, of course, any female writer could write a male character, because men are so simple to understand in every way.
I had nothing to add to the conversation, being young and fairly unread. An older and wiser me would have asked “have you ever read the witches of eastwick?”
In setting out to write this book, John Updike was clearly —among other things— trying to answer the question “I wonder what it’s like to be a woman?” In the process, he also has some very astute things to say about men.
The plot circles around a coven of three witches in a small northeastern beach town. And they really do have magical powers, from influencing the weather to causing small accidents to occur. All three happen to be divorced. At the start of the book, we find them happily wreaking havoc in their small town. It seems that one of their powers is the ability to sleep with any married man in Eastwick.
Enter Darryl Van Horne, a quirky rich bachelor from NYC. Much fun is had as all four of them engage in wicked frolic. Yes, they all get naked together in a hot tub. When you are reading it, it does not sound so unbelievable.
The trouble starts some time later, when a pretty, young, blonde, virginal interloper arrives.
I won’t say much more as I don’t want to spoil the plot. Things get darker as the pages turn.
John Updike writes beautifully and the text is liberally sprinkled with wise and telling insights about human nature. I will say that sometimes his sentences tend to run on and on. He also uses adjectives a bit more than I would. But then again, he is the famous author. I am not.
So, is Darryl Van Horne the devil himself? Or just another wicked, opportunistic male? The argument can be made both ways.
Is John Updike able to convincingly get into the heads of three women? I leave that up to you as well. But you can’t fault him for lack of trying.
I was impressed by the end result. It’s a fun (slightly raunchy) tale that is also thoughtful about the human condition. Despite all the story’s mayhem and mischief, it left me feeling a bit wiser… and melancholy for my troubles.
Hey! I found it on the “classics” shelf at the local library.
 
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FOXTROT LAMONT

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^ Didn't read the book but caught the film which largely seemed inane Jack-dumb like Two Jakes stupid scata.
Nicholson is a strong actor with the proper script yet his weaknesses bore punch through crap to show a rather keen
shallowness, something unmistakably laid bare truth.

Updike himself I have absolutely no acquaintance whatsoever to my shame.
 
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FOXTROT LAMONT

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Shuffling the internet sites and sheets for this Saturday's Kentucky Derby preps. Fairgrounds track has a ripe plum
card which the Risen Stakes tops. A plethora thoroughbred talent and abundant milk and honey passed around incentivize solid time consuming handicapping herewith. Outside horse hobby, the economic bullwhip supply, demand, and available warehouse space jockey Red Sea ship shelling. So anything to flee all that for this respite is much appreciated.
 

Tiki Tom

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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Always wanted to attend the Kentucky Derby; if only for the hats. :) What are the KD preps? Who looks good for the big event? In May, yes? A friend of mine went last year and had a great time.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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Location
St John's Wood, London UK
Always wanted to attend the Kentucky Derby; if only for the hats. :) What are the KD preps? Who looks good for the big event? In May, yes? A friend of mine went last year and had a great time.
The preps serve Derby qualification with points awarded wire placing at finish. Too soon to tell for the big day but this
race is preeminent in the sport. Its betting handle is always tops with the winter-spring preps also lucrative play.
Unfortunately, this week proved my main profession a jealous mistress and I jettisoned all else including handicapping American horse. A professional horse player must be thorough and methodical in his approach to the game, and I seldom bet mere acquaintance with contestant entrants; however today's eventual results will prove most informative
for Derby analysis. You might read Steve Davidowitz' Betting Thoroughbreds in the 21st Century to traverse track terrain. Davidowitz wrote a number of track turf classics and his experience is invaluable.:)
 
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16,854
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New York City
Landfall_book_cover.jpg

Landfall by Nevil Shute published in 1940


Nevil Shute was a prolific author - and an aeronautical engineer - which gives his wartime romance and adventure novels, like Landfall, an insider's knowledge of a pilot's challenges. Yet Shute never lets technical details overwhelm his fun and engaging story.

Roderick Chambers is a pilot in the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of WWII. He guards the Channel Islands flying daily reconnaissance missions with one of the goals being to sink German subs that have been wreaking havoc with British shipping.

Chambers is a bit of a loner, but respectful of orders, diligent and extremely studied. He often relaxes at a pub near the aerodrome where, one day, he meets Mona, a barmaid not of his class, which was a real issue in that time and place.

On a flight, Chambers sinks what he believes is a German sub, but which the British Navy says was one of its own. Chambers asserts he identified the sub by its markings. He notes, too, he checked beforehand and there weren't supposed to be any British subs in the area.

A Navy court of inquiry finds that the sub was British, but it was off course, so Chamber is found not guilty. Still, the event mars his record as the court notes that it believes he was careless in checking the sub's markings.

The background to all this is a battle between the Navy and Air Force over control of flights like Chambers’, so he and his career becomes a pawn in this interservice rivalry. The Navy-Air Force battle is well portrayed here as you see and feel the vicious turf war.

Shute takes you inside the offices and conference rooms where command decisions are made. You see military leaders trying to do the right thing, but also balancing their career prospects and reputations. As in real life, so much of what happens is morally grey.

Chambers and Mona had been getting close, but after this event, Chambers asks for a transfer as he feels the chill from the Navy. He shares the sub story with Mona and then is ordered to a base far away in Northern England.

That is the setup for what becomes a romance and quasi detective story as Mona, regularly overhearing things from the servicemen at the bar, recognizes a random tidbit of information that has relevance to Chambers' sub sinking.

At the same time, Chambers is, once again, transferred when he volunteers for a dangerous test-pilot assignment. The transfer brings him back near his old aerodrome, which allows Mona and him to resume their courtship.

Shute seamlessly weaves the two threads - the romance and the sub sinking - together with Mona proving to be a resourceful heroine. She is smart and intrepid in pursuing the truth and pushing the Navy to reopen the investigation.

Shute, through the romance, also explores the nuances of the British class system. It's a time when an officer would hurt his career by marrying a barmaid, but not nearly as much as it would have a generation ago. He captures the standards changing in real time.

He also shows Mona to be an astute realist as she doesn't want to thwart Chambers' professional advancement. She resists his proposal as she wants to, first, learn what being an officer's wife entails to see if she can, through study, help, not hurt, his career.

Most girls of her young age would be angry at the class difference impinging their romance, but thoughtful Mona accepts what she can't change - Navy prejudices - and looks to change what she can - her speech, mannerisms and social skills.

Today, of course, even in a period novel, Mona would be written as an incredibly independent woman with a mindset and values almost perfectly aligned to today's rigid ideas of feminism. She'd be more a time traveler than a character from her era.

If that is the book you want, the good news is the publishing houses churn them out with regularity. But if you want to see what a strong independent woman looked like in the context of her day, Mona is the girl for you.

The climax, no spoilers coming, pulls the story's multiple threads together in a rapid and dramatic series of events. Shute isn't Hemingway, but he does write intelligent and engaging pageturners with characters you'll quickly come to care about.

If you are new to Shute, know this short, enjoyable book is not his best, but it is a good way to see if you like his style. Plus, Landfall is WWII history written in real time as, when it was published, the UK was still back on its heels hoping the US would join the fight.
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

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Caste and class is stillborn sentiment here but for some such rot will barnacle society forever.
Shute like the American Updike I've yet read though this spinner should be adapted for film to accord these
isles' literary parochialism and forbid the Americans grab hold of it first.

Milton Friedman's classic Free to Choose sits atop bedstand and stuffed inside brief when off to firm.
I still need glance internet for the Rebel Stakes and two or three other dirt races at Oak Lawn Saturday.
Caught the brawl inside the Commons last which spilt across extracurricular handicapping like a Rorschach ink blot test. Anything about government and global conflict hits my desk inbox and firm's bottom line. o_O
 

FOXTROT LAMONT

One Too Many
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The Sunday Times, London's premiere newspaper of record.
Yesterday I botched the Rebel Stakes with the Razorback and Honeybee after some rushed off the fly handicapping.
Nabbed three out of four horses in both the Honeybee and Razor superfectas though busted flush throwing the dice.
So today it's SUNDAY TIMES TEASER; a serious mental workout=Challenge Your Brain. o_O
 

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