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Man Booker: Is this the year of the sure thing?

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2015 at 9:16 am

I shall be bold and announce that this year, for the first time ever, I will agree with the Man Booker judges when, on October 13, they decide which book wins the annual literary prize for novels published in English. I am just that sure, and not only because everyone is betting on the same favorite. Frontrunners often lose. But I’m declaring the American Pharoah effect in honor of the horse that brought home the Triple Crown for the first time in 37 years. That seems an omen for frontrunners. I dare the committee to prove me wrong and pick anything other than A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

Although A Little Life has a reputation for making grown men weep, it’s a story built on the warm friendships among four men
who met in college. From the start, Yanagihara’s unadorned prose transmits the inevitability of tragedy, with the gradual A Little Liferevelation of the horror-filled childhood of one character, Jude St. Francis. Yanagihara’s characters are, as adults, people of privilege and remarkable success — there’s an Oscar-winning movie star, a powerful attorney, a famous architect, and a celebrated artist. But that bit of unreality recedes in the face of Jude’s suffering, as he tries to manage a life plagued by childhood demons.

Why I’m right: It’s reported to be a 2-to-1 favorite, and who doesn’t like a good cry? The characters are likeable, the relationships deep and worth exploring, and the plot moving, unflagging and unforgettable.

Why I might be wrong: It’s a fairy tale of friendship among people who have it all.

(Doubleday; 720 pages; $30)

Another pairing of tragedy and the bonds between males, in this case boys, is my No. 2 pick for the prize, The Fishermen, a first novel by Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma. Four sons form a tightknit tribe who do everything together. The story, told from the perfectly tuned perspective of 9-year-old Benjamin, feels like a slow motion tumble, where every possible rescue comes into sharp focus The Fishermenjust as it slips beyond reach. The brothers are warned to stay away from the nearby river, but when their father has to leave his family behind to work 1,000 kilometers away, the river calls. They go fishing, and it’s fun. They declare themselves “The Fishermen,” even making up a song to accompany their labors. Returning from a fishing outing one day, the boys encounter the local madman who prophesies the death of the oldest boy. “Ikena, you will swim in a river of red but shall never rise from it again,” he shouts. The boy will be killed, the man says, by a fisherman. The malignant words burrow into the 14-year-old’s thoughts and take over. Ikenna tries to protect himself from the prophecy, and by doing so, unravels all. (304 pages; Little, Brown and Company; $26)

Why I might be wrong and this could win: It has the power of a tragedy and the vividness of a boy’s voice.

A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Jamaican author Marlon James, is No. 3 on my Man Booker list. To read it is to be A Brief Historybombarded with violence, assaulted by a horde of voices, and buried in stories—stories that left me desperately searching for a narrative. Several characters act as narrators—a dead politician, a CIA agent, an obnoxious Rolling Stone reporter, several Jamaican gangsters, young men transformed into coke-addled bloodthirsty thugs, and a woman caught in the storm when she shows up just as gang leader Josey Wales and company shoots The Singer. The book is based on events in Jamaican history, including the shooting of reggae star Bob Marley in 1976. It also incorporates the rise of a Jamaican gang that, by the 1980s, controlled the crack trade in New York and Miami. Reading it is a challenge. It’s exasperating and confusing, raw and violent, and overrun with wicked, empty people. It’s also smart, daring, and as things finally — mostly — come together, breathtaking.

Why I might be wrong and this could win: Few writers take such gambles. Fewer still can pull them off.

My No. 4 pick for the prize, The Year of the Runaways by British novelist Sunjeev Sahota, is about men living on the margins, and one woman, Narindar, whose act of compassion ruptures her tranquil life and destroys her faith. The men, Tochi, Randeep,Year of the Runaways and Avtar, are illegal Indian migrants in Sheffield, England. They live in circumstances so desperate, friendships are too costly to keep. The men run the hopeless treadmill of underpaid, physically brutal or menial jobs, for employers who view them as interchangeable pieces, and sometimes, property. The litany of hardships is awful and riveting. Yet the book lacks a sense of intimacy for much of its length, and does not find its heart until its final chapters, when Narindar and Tochi, an “untouchable” whose family was brutally slaughtered in sectarian violence in India, are forced together by circumstances, an event that marks the turning point in both lives.

Why I might be wrong and this could win: Well-developed characters with wrenching stories make an almost political statement about what it means to be a migrant in the West.

I won’t lie. I have no idea what my No. 5 pick is about. In Satin Island, author Tom McCarthy, who was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2010 for his novel, C, is telling us something about modern life. He says many clever things, and explores several intriguing Satin Islandobsessions — parachute accidents, oil spills—to no clear end. I’m so uncertain about all this, I’m going to tell you how the book ends: His character, U — and there’s really only one character — decides not to take the Staten Island Ferry. That’s it. Staten Island is —have you guessed it? — Satin Island. It came to U in a dream, appearing as a giant and beautiful trash incineration plant amid mountains of garbage, representing the true expression of our culture. I think. U makes this discovery while working as an in-house ethnologist for a big, anomalous company where he’s assigned to write, “The First and Last word of the Age,” as his contribution to the firm’s nebulous project of earth-shaking importance. And then other things happen. If I’ve given away too much, I apologize.

Why I might be wrong and this could win: Many, many people are much smarter than I am and may understand this. It offers all kinds of tidbits to think about, and some moments buzzing with insight.

Anne Tyler’s characters don’t change so much as dig themselves deeper in A Spool of Blue Thread, my No. 6 pick for the Man Booker. The story revolves around an unexpected homecoming by misfit son, Denny. Denny has skipped years of holiday Spool of Bluegatherings, blames his parents for most everything wrong in his life, and resents his siblings. No surprise that no one quite believes him when he announces he’s returned to help the folks, Red and Abby. Red recently suffered a heart attack, and Abby’s memory is on the fritz. The problem is, Denny’s brother Stem has already moved in. Family tensions bubble along until boiling over in a fistfight between the brothers. Tyler is a master at finding the unhappy underside of family life and portraying the loveable, or in Denny’s case, the unlovable, loser. Yet somehow these parental anxieties, sibling resentments and sly observations of both don’t add up to much. Tyler’s familiarity with family foibles feels just too familiar, and there’s not much new to say about the fact that Mom liked you best.

Why I might be wrong and this could win: Tyler is admired as a deft observer of the intricacies of the American family. More compelling to me, for the past two years, Man Booker judges have picked the book I liked least as the winner. They could do so again, American Pharoah be damned.

Here is a selection of articles I wrote for Medscape Medical News

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2013 at 8:58 am

Here is a selection of articles I wrote for Medscape Medical News

The Medscape stories are directed towards a medical audience. If your PhD or medical degree is at the cleaners this week, you might not find them the most scintillating stuff. They’re heavy on statistics and jargon, and the titles of researchers and physicians go on forever, per Medscape style.  I like writing them not because they challenge my writing chops — chops don’t seem desirable here — but because they challenge my brain and demand a lot of care to execute. Since my PhD has been at the cleaners for — well, forever — I dare not mess around with them or take shortcuts. Writing them is a regular lesson in careful thinking.

Oh, and I keep getting a little message from WordPress that there might be an ad on this page. I doubt that will happen, unless there’s an advertiser out there who wants to reach my five friends. But let me know if you do see an ad; I’m curious who would be desperate enough to use this space.

Easy to Swallow

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2013 at 8:31 am
GULP:
Into the Bowels
of Bowels
with Mary Roach

MOUTHIf someone took a notion to ask author Mary Roach to perform, say, stomach surgery, she would probably also remove much of the large intestine, the gall bladder and at least one kidney, all with the excuse that it was just so interesting.

That’s the kind of crazy logic that holds together Roach’s newest book, “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal,” as it comfortably slides from a meditation on cat food tasters (“The average rating, I am gobsmacked to report, fell between ‘liked mildly’ and ‘neither like nor dislike’ “) to accounts of explosive colonoscopies, to a discourse on cow farts (they don’t), to a product that keeps flatulence from smelling, which somehow also manages to include the story of how the photograph of a friend’s 1980s band reemerged on a greeting card years later with the heading, “Greetings from the Dork Club.”

Like the perfect dinner guest full of entertaining conversation — or wait, given the subject, lets delay this until dinner is over — Roach rolls out one surprising story after another. She matches the dinner wit’s great timing with her impressive mastery of the comic footnote. Take a discussion of megacolons, a phenomenon caused by something called Hirschsprung’s disease. Hirschsprung’s robs the lower digestive tract of its ability to keep things moving, forcing the organ to distend to painful proportions. The megacolon of a man named J.W. grew so large that, upon seeing it at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, Roach thinks, “It wears the same size jeans as me.” It left poor J.W. looking like “the bastard offspring of Humpty Dumpty and Olive Oyl,” she says.Roach tells us J.W. spent part of his life as “The Balloon Man” in a freak show exhibit in Philadelphia’s old Ninth & Arch Museum, alongside such oddities as the “Minnesota Wooly Baby.” Then this footnote: “Oddly, the exhibit chosen for billboarding on the building’s exterior was ‘Young Women Basketball Players.'”

 Here’s the rest of the review.

Ourfathead.com

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2013 at 5:41 pm

New post today on my other blog … “It Ain’t Weight Lifting.”

Get Smart!

In Get Smart Quest, Uncategorized on January 25, 2013 at 7:14 am
A Quest Is Born
Shoes were smart long before phones caught up.

Shoes were smart long before phones caught up.

You are stuck with the smarts you are born with. That’s what most of us were taught about our intellectual capabilities. The only way to change your IQ is to damage it. Sniff a little glue. Suffer blunt force trauma. Experiment with oxygen deprivation.

Beyond that, your cognitive inheritance is fixed. You are born with an IQ number and you will die with that IQ number, and your only hope is persuasive self-delusion. If you are among the lucky ones, you are born with a high number representing a brain that spills complex calculations and creative deductions as numerous as the offspring of promiscuous fruit flies. If you are like everyone else, you satisfy yourself with the hope that you are above average, even if just a little. And, if you are one of those who know your IQ score, the number you tell your friends is definitely higher than 120. (Did you ever meet anyone who knew her IQ and said it was 101? People with 101 IQs are not smart enough to know their number.)

But for the last several years, neurologists have been talking about something called brain plasticity — the idea that your brain has wiggle room in the smarts department. At first, the claims were modest: Rats kept in a cage with lots of toys and friends had more connection points between their neurons than rats kept in a cage with sawdust. Great news for all you cage dwellers. Since that study, the promise has grown beyond consideration of your cage mates. And money-making schemes have grown apace, working to leverage any optimism against the desperate boomer fear of losing one’s marbles.

I decided to see if any of this adds up. Starting this month, I will be locked in a cage with toys and friends. No, OK, not really. Rather, I will begin my Get Smart Quest. I’m undergoing testing to find out just how smart (or not) I am. (I never did know my IQ number. Not a good sign.) When the tests are done, I’ll start trying to improve my brain power.

Of course, I can’t really be totally scientific about this, and n = 1 is just the start of my problems – n being the number of individuals in the study, and 1 being too low to reach statistical significance. Despite the barrier, I intend to try everything, and talk to the folks on the front lines of this research.  Let’s see if it does me any good.

So stay tuned.

Oh, and by the way, do you know your IQ score? What is it?

Not quite the Smart I'm looking for...

Not quite the Smart I’m looking for…

The Tao of Poodle

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2012 at 9:15 am

 

Tula was a black standard poodle who embodied the notion of irrational exuberance.

For her, everything was exciting and worthy of comment. A ride in the car was the most fun thing in the whole world. A walk in the neighborhood was the most fun thing in the whole world. The chance to catch a tennis ball was the most fun thing in the whole world.

You get the picture.

If I had her out for a walk, and she saw someone she knew, it was pointless to try to hang onto her. I’d let go of her leash and she would race to her friend and greet them like the last time she saw them they were dying and she had not expected them to make it. She loved our neighbors.

She knew our names and if I said, “Go get Joey,” she knew to run to my husband. “Go get Gramma” sent her to my mother-in-law.

We took her on trips and she would spend five, six hours or more standing in the back of the SUV, looking out the window to see what was coming next. She greeted cows with a lowing sound. Horses too brought an excited moo.

She loved to make noise. No salesman ever remained on our front stoop when she answered the door with her deep bark and long white canines. Had the visitor simply stepped inside, she would have brought him a tennis ball. But she looked intimidating.

Her only enemy was UPS, and she would sound the alarm not only when the brown van came to the house, but when we passed a UPS van in the car.

Near the end of July I noticed a funny wheeze in her breathing. I figured I was over-reacting when I took her to the vet.  I was not. He sent us straight to the animal hospital. There Tula stayed, the victim of a hole in her lung that allowed air to leak into her chest cavity. Trapped there, the air compressed her lungs to the size of paperback novels. The vets put in chest tubes so the air could escape, and we waited for her to heal. Every day they would measure the air in her chest cavity. Each day there was a little less. She was getting better. I was glad she was in good hands, but leaving her in the hospital was wrenching.

She wanted the family together at all times. I called her our Family Values Dog. If I left her food bowl in the living room, and Joey and I were in our offices, she would run out to the living room, grab a mouthful of food, and pick an office to chew in. She didn’t like the separate offices.

I am an early riser, and my husband sleeps later. So she’d get up with me, and when she heard sounds of stirring from the bedroom, she’d stand at the bedroom door to be let in to see Joey. If I didn’t go in with her, she’d stand in the bedroom and stare back at me in my office until I got the message.

A week into her hospital stay, the air stopped escaping. When no air accumulated two days in a row, they let us take Tula home. I had to keep her quiet, so I kept her in the office was me, where she couldn’t see out the window. One day she started barking and growling, begging to get out. Puzzled, we walked to the front door together. Parked two doors down? The UPS truck. She had heard her enemy approaching. No question, I thought, she’s getting better.

But by the end of the week, she was wheezing again. This time our vet withdrew the air with a syringe. “Take her home,” he said. “Maybe this will do the trick.” In a day, I could tell it wasn’t working. The next morning, when I didn’t follow her into the bedroom to wake Joey, she came back to my office, grabbed me by the wrist, and led me to the bedroom. We should be together, she said.

Two days later, the wheeze was back.

That evening we took her for a ride in the country to see the horses and cows. At bed time we put couch cushions on the floor and slept beside her. I called the vet in the morning, but before we took her in, we went to the park where she and I spent so many Saturdays and played a little fetch. She still wanted to play. Nothing could stop her. Then we took her to the vet and said goodbye. She would have been eight in October. We are still grieving.

But I’m also conscious of the lessons this large-hearted dog taught me with her unmatched joie di vive. I want to share them with you.

The Tao of Tula

1. Everything is funner when everyone is together.

2. Making someone else very happy is the best way to make yourself very happy.

3. Each morning, remind everyone around you how special they are to you.

4. Greet all friends with great enthusiasm.

5. Sometimes, when everyone else is busy, it’s nice to just sit and feel the sun on your back.

6. Drop everything if you might catch a bunny.

7. When you love someone, you can say anything with just a few gestures and sounds.

8. When choosing between toys, always select the one that makes the most noise. Everyone will want to hear you enjoy yourself.

9. Running is better than walking. Walking is better than sitting.

10. Don’t miss an opportunity to play.

11. Now is everything.

On September 7 we adopted four-year-old Phoebe from Carolina Poodle Rescue. Like Tula, she’s a black standard, but a good fifteen pounds smaller. Unlike Tula, she is quiet, and loves to wind her body around my legs like a cat. She has her own spirit, her own rules for living, her own lessons to teach us.

I just hope we’re smart enough to learn them quickly. We’re working on it. I’ll let you know.

(photos by Joey Harrison)

Man Booker Predictions

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Here’s a link to the story I wrote for the Chicago Tribune with my Man Booker predictions. I’ll know in a few minutes how wildly off-base I was.

By Jenni Laidman10:28 a.m. CDT, October 16, 2012

Some literary awards are like Christmas presents. They simply appear under the tree. We’re all thrilled by the surprise — or in the case of the 2012 Pulitzer for fiction, not so thrilled by the missing present. The Man Booker Prize — for books written by citizens of the U.K. Commonwealth, Ireland or Zimbabwe — is different. No one need run downstairs on Tuesday when the winner is announced to see what’s waiting and hope it fits and isn’t hideous. It’s more like the Oscars. The judges announce the dozen or so books considered prize contenders in July. A month before the award, the Man Booker folks release a short list of finalists, the half-dozen books from which the winner will be selected. It’s a reader-participation opportunity. I could use another month to read them all, but if I’m diligent, I can be part of the process. I don’t get a vote. God help us, we do not need a People’s Choice Award for literature. (We already have one — the best-sellers list.) But I do earn debating rights and the smug satisfaction of being in the literary know. In England. Where they have those smart accents.


(the rest of the story:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/books/ct-prj-1014-man-booker-20121016,0,5097917.story?page=1 )

Start with Narcopolis

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2012 at 11:01 am

Jeet Thayil, author of Narcopolis, a Man Booker longlister

OK, I need to quit moping about the low number of Man Booker longlist books available in the United States and start reading.

Here’s what we’ve decided to read thus far, and the order in which we will read them:

1. Narcopolis
2. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
3) Skios

Not providing a longer list is a stall tactic, while we anticipate the MASSIVE CLOUT of my MIGHTY BLOG will SHAME THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY into setting these books free in the United States. We are also arguing about whether we will buy the few physical books one can quaintly send away for, but which are unavailable for download.

You’ll notice Bring Up the Bodies is not yet on our list. Expect it to show up as late as we can push it. Dan Campbell and I have both read it already, so I want to wait until the last possible minute before rereading it.

Now onto …

NARCOPOLIS by Jeet Thayil
Is there a trend here? Aren’t there a growing number of books about India? I can easily think of a half dozen I’ve read in recent years, most recently the nonfiction narrative by Katherine BooBehind the Beautiful Forevers. And did you notice the number of Man Booker winners with Indian themes or about India, including the Best Man Booker Winner of All Time as Decided by a Prestigious Panel of Judges?


Not that the winner’s list of past years predicts anything …  but I had to laugh when Jake Goretzki tweeted yesterday, “My tip for a dead cert #ManBookerPrize victory? Call your novel ‘The Sea, the Sea, the Sea.”

It would complete the trifecta, like Pluto completed the solar system for awhile there. There was John Banville’s The Sea in 2005, and Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea in 1978.

 

I think Goretzki is onto something.

 

Anyway, here’s are a very few thoughts on Narcopolis so far.
Don’t worry, no spoilers here:

 

Me: Dan, did you feel breathless after reading the prologue?
Dan: I did….talk about breakneck pacing!! I kept looking for a period, whilst gulping for air.

 

So, we’re waiting. Read the book, tell us what you think. Really. We want to listen.
 

8 Reasons Why Reporters Should Think Twice About PR

In Journalism, Uncategorized on May 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine who had left journalism for public relations scolded me when I said I wouldn’t apply for a PR job she knew about.

“Journalism isn’t a holy calling, Jenni.”

“Sure, sure,” I responded, but I was thinking, “You just didn’t get the call.”

So when I read the recent blog post by Dave Parro, director of communications for Aurora University, in Aurora, Illinois, suggesting that journalists should get over their aversion to public relations and join his happy crew, well, I had to respond.

Sure, the skills are almost the same. But I would argue that public relations might not be a journalist’s best choice.

Let me start with the standard disclaimer:  I have some dear friends in public relations. I love them and respect them. But, I’m sorry, what they do is not what I do, although they have at times made my job much easier. When I work with them, I forget all the PR people who obstruct, disassemble and, well, drink whatever Kool-Aid their employer is serving.  (Forgive the cliché. It seemed fitting here.)

Further disclosure: since becoming a freelancer, I’ve done some writing for public relations shops  because, let’s be honest, the pay is way better. Way way better. And I’m trying to keep a roof over my head. But is it journalism? Is it what I love to do? Is it something I’m comfortable with? Will you be comfortable with it?

I think my answer to Parro’s blog will answer those questions:

Parro wrote: “As someone who came over to the dark side, I’d like to give my noble-minded friends eight reasons why they should consider selling out.

“You still get to tell great stories. Sure, you have to abandon objectivity, but that doesn’t mean clients don’t have compelling stories. Discovering and articulating a brand’s story can be every bit as challenging and rewarding as penning that 100-inch masterpiece.”

Laidman answers: Make sure you only have clients you respect, or face spinning stories in ways stories should not be spun. Hope you are comfortable with leaving out the unflattering bits. Feeling good about that will be “every bit as challenging” as reporting and writing. In fact, it will be more challenging. And how about making up quotes? Will you be comfortable with that?

Parro: “You get to shape the story. It’s like a game of chess trying to anticipate what reporters need and which direction a story will head next. And seeing your pitch turn into a placement is every bit as satisfying as seeing your byline in print.”

Laidman: Please compare the above to, “You’ll get to tell people what really happened, and if you work hard at it, you’ll tell it in a nuanced fashion that helps people live better lives and make wiser choices.”

Parro: “You get to be an advocate. Though you might occasionally have to smile and make the BPs of the world seem like good corporate citizens, quite often you’re helping advance the agendas of reputable companies and organizations with missions you can embrace.”

Laidman: Does this really need a response? I guess if you can smile and make a careless company seem like a good corporate citizen, then, well, ick. Let’s return to my first point: Make sure you work for someone you can respect. Otherwise, money better be very very important to you, which suggests you probably made a wrong turn in life when you landed in a newsroom.

Parro: “You still get to regularly learn something new. I might not get to dig for mastodon bones as I did when I was a reporter, but public relations does require becoming an expert in clients’ industries and products.”

Laidman: I’ll grant this is often true, and the very smart PR people I’ve met prove it. I even know a few who have done the equivalent of digging up mastodon bones. They usually cover research for universities.

Parro: “You don’t have the emotional baggage. When I left journalism, one of the things I soon realized was how jaded I had become. There were days when I came home emotionally exhausted, perhaps after visiting a mother who just lost her teenage son to a gang war. Like cops, reporters often make light of tragedy as a coping mechanism. The unfortunate result can be a loss of compassion.”

Laidman: If you’ve lost compassion, it is definitely time to go. Somewhere. Into counseling would be best. If you are no longer emotionally accessible, your writing reflects it. Without empathy, you can’t tell anyone’s story well. So, yes, if that’s you, it’s time to move on. PR may be be too demanding for you.

Parro: “You get to be optimistic. This one goes hand in hand with No. 5. Instead of being an eternal pessimist, PR pros get to focus on the positive. Journalists will call that spin, but it’s an overall healthier worldview.”

Laidman: Eternal pessimists, like eternal optimists, make lousy reporters. The job requires skepticism, not cynicism.

Parro: “You still have constant deadlines. Let’s face it: Journalists thrive on them. Don’t worry; PR people still have them. We just don’t have a hole to fill in tomorrow’s paper.”

Laidman: Whatever. I’m not sure how this is an argument for anything. Most jobs have deadlines.

Parro: “You understand what makes a great story. Developing solid news judgment comes from experience. So you can help us prevent those awful PR pitches that result in newsroom laughter once you hang up the phone.”

Laidman: I guess if you feel called to save the profession of public relations from itself, have at it. But I bet you will still make a few pitches you think are stupid if your boss wants you to. Everyone works for someone, and perfect agreement isn’t possible.

So, PR is not evil. Its practitioners are not wicked. But let’s not kid ourselves, it’s not journalism, and it may not be the best choice for a second career if you’re at all in love with reporting.

Derby Diary #5

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Well, they broke a record — 165, 307 people, and all of them were in my way.

The big race is coming and I still haven’t seen a single one. I need to fix that.

I’m in the funereal press room. Mary J. Blige just sang the Star Spangle Banner. Surreal. Lots of feedback, which makes the performance even more remarkable. Singing without accompaniment is not for the timid. I’ve come to expect a few missed notes. But she killed it, feedback and all.

The guy next to me starts talking about the Teleram. I have not heard that word in  years, but my legs immediately started to ache. They were the first “portable” computers to show up in a newsroom. About the size of a sewing machine case, they weighed 40 pounds if they weighed 5. I remember carrying two to the Medina County Board of Elections and ending the night with huge bruises on both legs.

Anyway, a guy down the aisle used one to fend off a mugger in the parking lot after a ballgame. Wonder he didn’t kill the guy.

OK, I must go.

BTW, I got a drink. They’re free up here. No wonder they limit access.

 

 

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