Family, friends recall Tonganoxie store owner, ‘storyteller’ | TonganoxieMirror.com

“I don’t want everyone to think I’m some damned old tooty,” he said then. “I’m not some old man playing a fiddle without a bow, you know.”

The 2008 story focused on Lenahan’s roll as local historian — he’d written three books about the history of Tonganoxie.

He was quite the storyteller, as daughter, Beckie Myers, recalled.

“He said he never lies, he only fabricates,” Myers said with a laugh.

Beyond the tall tales, however, were recollections of history.

via Family, friends recall Tonganoxie store owner, ‘storyteller’ | TonganoxieMirror.com.

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A Beautiful Friendship – why France matters to the United States and what Barack Obama can learn from Nicolas Sarkozy at dinner tonight – affaires-strategiques.info

At the end of the classic film Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart, the hard-bitten American saloon-owner “Rick”, says to Claude Rains, the French police chief, as they stroll into the mist to the strains of the Marseillaise : “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” The irony, of course, is that France and America had already been friends for centuries, but those two needed to rediscover the bond for themselves.

via A Beautiful Friendship – why France matters to the United States and what Barack Obama can learn from Nicolas Sarkozy at dinner tonight – affaires-strategiques.info.

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Insights into Academic Life via a Joanne Dobson Mystery

I have only just read Death without Tenure and The Maltese Manuscript by Joanne Dobson, literary mystery writer of the Karen Pelletier series from Doubleday.  I intend to read the entire series.  They are literary, academic mysteries of intriguing, suspenseful plot and excellent characterization.  They are also warm, sensitive and full of humanity. Brilliant Karen Pelletier, the sleuth, by virtue of stubbornness, determination, and professional passion pretty much asks for all the difficulties her curiosity brings upon her.  But she perfectly captures my ideal image of the teaching Ph.D. who really cares about her students.

As part of my ongoing desire to shed light on the realities of academic life to would-be English professors, I add Dobson to my collection of references.  Like the graduate students Pelletier teaches, I was incredibly naive many years ago.  I dreamed of the professor’s life, but many years later I wondered why.  All told I passed four years in the university, taking courses and notes in anticipation of  writing a dissertation and then leading an idyllic life teaching and writing; especially challenging the minds of my students.  Life in the university eluded me no matter how hard I deluded myself.

Certainly Dobson spins a great tale, but along the way her insights into academic life are lessons from which I might have benefited.  I’m not sure I would have dropped out of grad school because of  them — but I might have. How youth deceives itself!  She depicts truths that only the rarest of tenured faculty would convey to a graduate student.  One has to have the ears to hear and eyes to see.

Here’s one example of  Dobson’s satire of academic jargon. At a dinner party in the Maltese Manuscript(p.83),  Harriet, a member of the English faculty, asks of Sunnye, the famous detective novelist, “As a woman author suppressed by the cultural  strictures of partriarchal capitalism, do you find murder provides you with a transgressive symbol system for an anti-essentialist social critique?”

“Sunnye stared at her. ‘Murder?’  she queried.  ‘Are you asking me if I condone murder?’

“Only as a mode of hermeneutical rhetoric.”

“The novelist turned abruptly to me[Karen Pelletier].

‘What’s she talking about?’

‘I[Karen] translated. “I believe she’s asking if you write about murder in order to protest the male-dominated power structure of modern life.”

“She pursed her lips, annoyed. ‘Why doesn’t she say that?”

As far as I am concerned Dobson’s work and Karen Pelletier  meet the highest purpose of the best literature — to teach and delight.  David Milliken

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Steven Spielberg Hollywood imploding: How he predicted a disastrous summer at the box office. – Slate Magazine

Steven Spielberg saw it coming. In June, speaking at a University of Southern California event with George Lucas, the Lincoln director said, “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen mega-budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm”—forcing the industry to rethink its reliance on gargantuan spectacles. A month later, the first part of Spielberg’s prediction has already come true: The latest high-profile calamity at the box office is the ill-buzzed R.I.P.D., which followed such heavily marketed titles as Pacific Rim, The Lone Ranger, White House Down, and After Earth in failing to attract its expected audience. Meanwhile, The Conjuring, a smaller, Exorcist-style chiller from Saw director James Wan, more than doubled its production budget in just one weekend.

via Steven Spielberg Hollywood imploding: How he predicted a disastrous summer at the box office. – Slate Magazine.

I was pretty much bored with the latest Star Trek which was mostly loud and noisy full of mind-numbing decibel excess.  I loved the Lone Ranger when as a kid I lay on the floor in front of our big Wards Airline console( a radio!).  It was a piece of furniture full of vacuum tubes, a 78 record player and a big monaural speaker.  Alas, I didn’t even try the latest  Lone Ranger.  The previews were enough.  It wasn’t Depp’s more savage Tonto that got to me, but the locomotive taking flight and  plummeting into oblivion from a bridge.  And Trigger landing on top of a moving box car was the final cap for me.  Too much, too much. At my age I don’t need it nor want it.

I hope the small film returns, big time.  But then my “demographic” is totally irrelevant.  David Milliken

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Tour de France 2013 Review: Time to swoon for Froome | Blazin’ Saddles – Yahoo! Eurosport UK

He was heads and shoulders above the rest of the field and it is right that we are now talking about the possibility of a period of domination in the Tour – because he has all the attributes to go on and join the five-Tour club. Ironically enough, after all the finger pointing, gossip and innuendo, he may be the cleanest of that illustrious group.

via Tour de France 2013 Review: Time to swoon for Froome | Blazin’ Saddles – Yahoo! Eurosport UK.

Maybe the Tortoise is just envious of the speed.  No, I confess it.  I am a Francophile.  I love the place and freely admit to a respect for the way the French do things.  They’re not perfect, but the light show at the conclusion was simple, classical elegance.  I cannot think of another nation which has been so fortunate to have a three-week long,  “Olympian” event — and yearly, too.  I understand that the French had to be convinced of how epic The Tour is.  And more amazing is that the first stage in Corsica will be replaced by Yorkshire next year.  Quel rapprochement!   David Milliken

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Florida Democrat Alan Grayson is the most effective member of the House – Slate Magazine

The last time the media noticed Alan Grayson, he was a freshman Democrat, a member of the 2008 Obama wave, trying and failing to survive 2010. Grayson joked that Dick Cheney left a “torture rack” in the White House, said that the Republican health care plan was for people to “die quickly”—so on and so on, all very helpful to a press trying to prove that the Tea Party had an ideological match on the left. Grayson went down by 18 points to the blandly conservative former state senator Daniel Webster, or “Taliban Dan,” as a Grayson ad called him. The Washington Post eulogized him as “a controversial liberal icon that many in the Democratic Party weren’t sad to see lose.”

via Florida Democrat Alan Grayson is the most effective member of the House – Slate Magazine.

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