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Black Lamb


Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.


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Archive for March, 2007

Back in Bloomsbury

March 1st, 2007


I am leaning on the railings in Queen Square in the cool dusk, staring at the building opposite me and thinking how different a place can look according to why you’re there. The building is the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and six years ago I spent some stifling summer weeks driving regularly and anxiously round the oblong “square” looking for a parking space en route to visit a friend who had just had two lots of emergency brain surgery. If I’d been asked to draw the area during that time, I’d have sketched a huge hospital with a small undistinguished patch of greenery outside it.

Now, though, my friend’s recovery long established, the shrunken building opposite, its legend obscured by the dusk, is not even distinguishable as a hospital (ambulances come and go out of sight behind it). It’s just one of the buildings round a rather festive London square with people criss-crossing it as they head home from work or seek out the warm interior of one of the nearby homely Italian restaurants, while others can be glimpsed eddying and animated in the lit windows of the adult education centre to my right.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Wilce | Link to this Entry

Family dog: take three

March 1st, 2007


puppydog.jpgFinding our dog Rusty at the Animal Shelter in Wenatchee turned out to be a lucky event for us as well as him. When our twelve-year-old black lab, Babe, had to be put down the year before, both Connie and I were uncertain whether or not we wanted another dog. Babe was dearly loved, and a truly beautiful pure-bred with highfaluting papers confirming a grand, prize-winning ancestry, but she was a terribly neurotic and anxious animal, who for god-knows-what reason was always wary of me, no matter what I did to show my honorable intentions and affections, and afraid of all men in general. That was particularly hard on me, as I’d had dogs around all my life and had great relationships with them.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Gardner | Link to this Entry

Les neiges d’antan

March 1st, 2007


Snow in Italy is a must in the mountains, which depend on the ski industry for survival, but is a no-no further down the peninsula, where the tourist trade is geared toward “Sunny Italy.” Now, living in Milan, I find myself halfway between those two realities. Still, snow in Milan is rare. Fog is common. Rain is common. Snow is rare.

But, as happens in life, when it decided to snow in Milan in January of 1985, the elements did not go halfway. The basketball team I was coaching, Olympia Milan, had a European Korac Cup game one Tuesday night with Stade Français of Paris. That day it snowed like it often does in my home town of Chicago. Well, Evanston, but right next to Chicago.

When I say the snow banks were well over one meter high, I am not kidding. The town was paralyzed. Traffic in Milan is a hassle any time, as Milan has more cars per kilometer of street, some 750+, that I don’t even have a car. As I’ve said before here, you can’t drive in Milan and you can’t park here. So why should I bother with a car?

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Peterson | Link to this Entry

Brokeback chasm

March 1st, 2007


I’ve never considered my strong back to be my strongest qualification for employment. That is, not until I had the dubious distinction of being trained as a holiday mail clerk at a large postal transfer station near my apartment. Having endured unemployment for far too long to mention, I simply wanted someone, anyone, to offer me a job. So when I saw their recruitment banner for the Christmas rush, I made a dash for HR, where I was handed reams of paperwork to complete and instructed to return at a later date.

As the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Bartlett | Link to this Entry


March 1st, 2007


sunset.jpg“With a kid,” my brother said, “you know it’s going to get better, but….”

That was during Dad’s last years with Alzheimer’s — although my brother might as well have been talking about all of us old fogeys down here in Florida, where the theme song is “What’s next?”

While our friends up north get all excited about the latest symptoms of global warming, we listen to ambulances race by, wondering where, exactly, they are going to stop. Florida may well submerge again, but we’re not worried about it.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Albright | Link to this Entry

Living below the radar

March 1st, 2007


When I was a little girl facing one of the endless Important events du jour that inevitably went Terribly Wrong, my father would say to me, “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

My father knows many things. I have collected his gifts of wisdom as a kind of spiritual dowry. He has much to say about pain, truth, energy, healing, love, and kindness. But it is this aphorism about experience that has been my little lifeboat of truth, helping me navigate the farthest waters of disappointment, the darkest hours of alone.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Cohen | Link to this Entry

Honorary Black Lambs

March 1st, 2007


As always in this space, we present new entries to the The Ultimate Literary Calendar, which will appear later this year. Here, then, is your handy thumbnail guide, with a selected bibliography, to another preeminent figure of literary history.

Ada Louise Huxtable, b. March 14, 1921

The architecture critic of The New York Times for twenty years, Huxtable is a rare, clear voice against the appropriation of the American cityscape by modern schools of architectural practice. Her Pulitzer Prize for “distinguished criticism” was the first such award, and she subsequently enjoyed a MacArthur “genius” grant. She has been simply the best we’ve ever had in her field, and her cautionary books repay careful rereading.

Books Will They Ever Finish Bruckner Boulevard? 1970. Kicked a Building Lately? 1976. The Tall Building Artistically Considered: The Search for a Skyscraper Style, 1984. Architecture, Anyone? 1986. Goodbye History, Hello Hamburger, 1986. The Unreal America: Architecture and Illusion, 1997. Frank Lloyd Wright, 2004.

Other March Birhdays & Events of Note 1st Polish composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849), American novelist William Dean Howells (1837-1920), English biographer Lytton Strachey (1880-1932), American novelist Ralph Ellison (1914-1994), and American poets Robert Lowell (1917-1977) and Howard Nemerov (1920-1991). 2nd Bohemian composer Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884), Yiddish writer Shalom Aleichem (1859-1916), German composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950), brilliant children’s book writer Theodor (Dr. Seuss) Geisl (1904-1991), and American novelist and journalist Tom Wolfe (b. 1931); D.H. Lawrence dies in 1930 at age forty-five of tuberculosis.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Honorary Black Lambs | Link to this Entry

Consumerism run amok

March 1st, 2007


Again we present an unparalelled opportunity for Black Lamb readers and would-be consumers: exclusive access to a superb gift cornucopia, the Whole Whog Catalog, first published in 1980. Take advantage of the original catalog prices by ordering today.

Here’s a fashion idea that somehow didn’t catch on, but it’s never too late!

Leisure Wet Suit

leisurewetsuit.pngThis handsomely tailored leisure suit is equally at home on land or in the water. Traditional polyester foamfill double-knit burgundy blazer sports white top-stitching, deep center vent, and waterproof pockets. Flared slacks in lime and canary check pattern with white leather-look polyurethane weight belt. Reversible ruffle-front rubber dickey in solid lime or canary is coordinated to slacks. Black vinyl bow tie. White vinyl flippers with stay-on elastic insteps. White face mask. High-glare sharkskin-finish serves as an example to sharks and keeps them at a distance. Sleek surface will not snag on jagged coral branches. Full terry-lined for underwater comfort. True wash-and-wear action: washes itself as you wear it; then tumble dry on shore. Lean cut, regular, or porcine. State waist and inseam. Breathing gear not included.

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Order today, with check enclosed (shipping is free!), through Black Lamb, P.O. Box 4531, Portland OR 97208-4531, USA. Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery.

All entries are from the Whole Whog Catalog, by Victor Langer, Leslie Anderson, and Bob Ross, with a preface by Chevy Chase (New York, Times Books, 1980). •

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Wretched Excess | Link to this Entry

Doggy dog world

March 1st, 2007


winkinggal.jpgDear Millie,

We recently installed a small “dog door” for our six-year-old terrier. We have succeeded in teaching him to open it with his nose and go in and out without being pushed. The only problem is, he waits patiently for a signal from us — either a verbal command such as “come on in” or “go on out,” or a hand signal pointing him the way — before either entering or exiting. This rather defeats the purpose of the whole thing, which is to enable him to use the back yard facilities when we are away from home and, having done his business, to be able to return to his warm, dry bed. I seem to remember that you have dog training experience. Do you have any suggestions?

Doorkeeper in Duluth

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Ask Millie, Marshall | Link to this Entry

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