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Posts from the ‘News and Notes’ Category

Say Hello To Pottsville

Ever heard of Pottsville, Pennsylvania?

Until last week, the answer to that question, for me, was a firm “no.”

Pottsville is the hometown of author John O’Hara, who wrote Appointment in Samarra. In the literary community, O’Hara is either loved or scorned (but mostly scorned) for being a brutal self-promoter. Though he’s widely disliked, his novels are impressive and played a major part in making him famous.

So when a famous author is from small town USA, you might think he might be the reason said town gets “put on the map.” But, in this case, you’d be wrong.

In fact, John O’Hara might only be the third most famous thing to ever come out of Pottsville. What are the two others? Read more

Thomas Pynchon WILL NOT Make Fun of Homer Simpson

As I mentioned while reading Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 (Gravity’s Rainbow is still waiting), Pynchon has appeared in a couple of episodes of The Simpsons. He’s a fan of the show, and producer Matt Selman is a fan of him, so it’s a perfect fit.

Selman tweeted a photo of Pynchon’s edits to a script from one of the episodes he appeared in. He took issue with his cartoon representation making fun of Homer’s weight: Read more

Richard Ford Meets Stephen Colbert

Richard Ford appeared on Stephen Colbert’s show a few years ago to promote his novel, Canada.

Colbert, as only he can, talks about how offended he is that the novel isn’t named America.

It’s a pretty humorous exchange between the two about Canada, guns, writing, and being famous. Colbert’s awesome, and Richard Ford does an outstanding job of staying with him the whole time. Read more

If It Bleeds, It Leads

“The cheap drama artists of my profession are…specialists at nosing out failure: hinting a fighter’s legs as suspect once he’s over thirty and finally in his prime; reporting a hitter’s wrists are stiff just when he’s learned to go the opposite way and can help the team by advancing runners. They see only the germs of defeat in victory, venality in all human endeavor. Sportswriters are sometimes damned bad men, and create a life of lies and false tragedies.”

- The Sportswriter by Richard Ford

Grantland Rice is perhaps the most famous sportswriter in history. He wrote in the first half of the 20th Century, and he most famously coined the name of Notre Dame’s “Four Horsemen” in 1924.

In fact, he likely penned the most famous lede in sportswriting history. Read more

The One Book You Shouldn’t Carry In Thailand

Apparently, it’s a bad idea to read 1984 in Thailand.

If you’re heading to Bangkok, leave your George Orwell at home.

An in-flight magazine for the Philippines Airlines recently published its 5 tips for traveling to Thailand. The article says, “Despite being under military control, Thailand is very safe for tourists. If you want to blend in, try these for good measure.”

In addition to offering advice about passports and selfies with soldiers, the magazine says, “Don’t carry George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. You don’t want to be mistaken for an ‘anti-coup protestor.” Read more

The Time Robin Williams Read Narnia To His Daughter

When I heard Robin Williams died the other day, I probably responded the same way as a lot of people. Shock. Surprise. Sadness.

Hardly a day goes by anymore without catching word of some celebrity somewhere who passed away, but this one is different. It’s Robin Williams.

Who doesn’t like Robin Williams?

From all accounts, he was one of the most well-liked actors in Hollywood, just an all-around good guy. The characters he played in Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting are some of my all-time favorites.

So I was reading a little more about Williams yesterday when I came across something he said during a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) last year. It’s applicable to this blog, so I thought I’d share. Read more

Stephen Colbert Is A LOTR Fanboy

Stephen Colbert is LITERALLY one of my favorite people on television.

The man can talk about the weather and make me laugh. Plus, he’s brilliant. His Colbert character is one of the best forms of satire I’ve ever seen.

Remember that time he dropped some Dr. Seuss knowledge? Or that time he trolled George W. Bush at a correspondent’s dinner?

But recently, Colbert led a panel at Comic Con about the Lord of the Rings, and it’s as good as you would expect it to be. The panel included Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett and other stars from the trilogy. When Colbert talks about The Lord of the Rings, two of the best things that ever existed join together in wondrous harmony.

A couple of his quotes from the panel, which I posted a video of below: Read more

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