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Showing posts from September, 2014

Alan Pardew: In the wolf's mouth...

I'll tell you the full story sometime, but...somehow early in the English Premier League season I committed the woeful blunder of becoming attached to the Newcastle United Football Club, a miniature obsession that has already caused me nothing but pain and frustration and--like the underdog-loving, guilt-ridden, glutton-for-punishment that I am--the more pain and frustration the club cause me the more steely becomes my resolve to keep rooting for them.

In five games, they've lost two and drawn three. Not a single win to their credit as yet, and with a -6 goal differential, they're even positioned below Burnely FC, who've only managed a single goal in five games. At least I was treated to a three goal fist-clencher against Crystal Palace a few weeks ago and a 2-2 draw today with Hull City....so unlike Burnley supporters, I at least know my club can be coaxed to rise to the occasion with a few goals, but shit...
The Magpies finished 10th in the league last year and if al…

New Yorker Fiction Review: "Last Meal at Whole Foods," by Said Sayrafiezadeh

Issue: July 28, 2014

Story: "Last Meal at Whole Foods"

Author: Said Sayrafiezadeh

Review: This is officially the first time this has happened, but I'm covering this story out of order. Apparently I skipped over this one amid the raft of NYer issues that have piled up on my nightstand since late July. I could make a dozen excuses here, but why bother...

Frankly, I could've lived the rest of my life and never known or cared that I'd skipped over this particular dose of pabulum. But for my eternal vigilance and unwillingness to falter in my NYer reviewing quest, I probably wouldn't have even bothered to write a review.

This story covers a young man's final days with his mother, who is dying of cancer. That's an interesting enough premise (who knows anymore), but this author completely mis-handles it. First off, his mother is a cipher; I spent 3,000 words in this guy's head and I still don't know jack shit about her. Secondly, this is one of those st…

New Yorker Fiction Review: "Action" by Paul Theroux

Issue: August 4, 2014

Story: "Action"

Author: Paul Theroux

Review: I am fantastically un-enthused by this offering from Paul Theroux, which is a bit of a bummer cause I usually like his stories with their exotic locations and undertones of darkness and sexuality. Not only was this story not that engaging, but it seemed like half a story and the resolution was just a complete let-down.

The plot...a sheltered, working-class kid in mid-20th century Boston has an older and more mischievous friend who introduces him to his girlfriend, who may or may not be a prostitute. One day the sheltered kid goes back to visit the sort-of prostitute and gets roughed up by one of her male callers. He returns to his father, who seems to know that his son has been up to no good.

Hey...it seems like an okay premise for a story. But somehow Theroux manages to prevent any real emotion or suspense from seeping in here. The depiction of the boy's over-bearing father was lukewarm, and only got slight…