8824 NE Russell St.
Portland OR 97220

Black Lamb

ABOUT

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.

SUBMISSIONS

Black Lamb welcomes submissions from new writers. Email us.

QUESTIONS

If you have questions or comments regarding Black Lamb, please email us.

Archive for the 'Marshall' Category

Ask Millie

The top ten

June 1st, 2016

BY MILLICENT MARSHALL

The life of an advice columnist living in Big Sky Country is both bracing and sad. Bracing because the big sky gets me thinking big and gives my advice a heft that I believe other advisors’ columns lack. millieSad, because most of my ranch animals and neighbors don’t think so big. When I hear from other large-minded, cultured souls, I can go about my ranching feeling a little less like Elijah in the desert and a little more like an ordinary advice columnist living in Montana. Sometimes, however, I realize that the angst I feel out here is not limited by geography.

For example, the other morning, after clearing the sagebrush and enjoying my mountain-goat yogurt smoothie, I lifted the lid off the Black Lamb crate of goodies that arrives every month. Usually the crate is filled with letters asking advice, but this month, being the month of the “All-Book Issue”, the cris de coeur were all from my Editor. And they all boiled down to one thing: why would anyone buy this book, rather than Black Lamb? For he had packed the crate with the books holding the top ten sales slots in the country. The scary part was that, clearly, he had read them all. They were flagged, highlighted, and underlined. And beneath the scribbles was the existential cry, “Why?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Black Lamb Review of Books, Books and Authors, Marshall | Link to this Entry

Ask Millie

Pets

May 1st, 2016

Dear Reader,

I’ve written so often, and so well, about pets, that I take the liberty of reprinting two of my replies to letters on the subject of this special issue.

Dear Millicent,

What’s the best thing to do if you notice someone mistreating his pets? Three characters in our neighborhood fall into this loathesome category. One regularly whips his two dogs; their anguished yelps can be heard all down the street. Another refuses to have his many cats neutered, doesn’t feed them adequately, never has them vaccinated, and allows the kittens to die. The third insists on buying wild animals (a raccoon, a mink, an ocelot, among others) and caging them in his backyard, where his kids gape at the poor creatures until the animals eventually die of despair and loneliness.

Walter in Winnemucca

Dear Walter,

In recent years, new laws have been gradually enacted to protect innocent animals from cruel treatment at the hands of their “owners.” To my mind, these laws are not drastic enough. Rather than fines, abusers of animals should do real time in prison, where they can learn the true meaning of abuse. Furthermore, the trafficking in wild animals should be outlawed. It’s one thing to adopt a cat or dog or rabbit or hamster for a pet; these are domesticated animals that do better in homes than they would in the wild. But caging wild creatures is cruel and unnecessary.

As for your sorry situation, I would report neighbors one and two to the local animal authorities or the SPCA. As for the third, you and your neighbors should visit him en masse and point out to him the immorality of his habit of sequestering wild animals for his amusement. If this doesn’t work, sneak into his yard as often as necessary and uncage the critters.

Millie

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Animal Issue, Marshall | Link to this Entry

Ask Millie

Worse than sticks & stones

January 1st, 2016

BY MILLICENT MARSHALL

Dear Reader,

Just when I was about to give up writing this month’s column because I hadn’t received any letters related to psychology and didn’t have any bright ideas what to do about it, providence smiled. Twice.

millieFirst, I opened a copy of USA Today and found that according to a recent survey by Harris, schizophrenics feel that they are “always,” “often,” or “sometimes” treated as if they lacked intelligence, and that the people they talk to “avoid the topic of my illness.” Further, many citizens seem to regard schizos as violent, would prefer not to have bosses (or dates) who have been treated for schizophrenia, and think the schizophrenic have split personalities.

In short, the kind of ground-breaking “news” we’ve come to depend on from USA Today.

Much relieved, I then received the following heart-wrenching letter.

Dear Miss Marshall,

My younger brother, who is slightly retarded, goes to my school, and I’m always getting in trouble for sticking up for him. A teacher told me, “You can’t get offended at EVERYTHING people say.” Well, exactly what CAN I get offended by? People talk to him as if he were crazy, and it hurts his feelings.

Fighting Mad

Dear Fighter,

You’re right, of course. It’s amazingly cruel what people will say to the retarded or the mentally ill, and schools shouldn’t put up with it. They should simply ban such language as unsuitable and not in the least humorous. I think you’re right to take matters into your own hands if the teachers and school administration won’t do their job.

If some kids, for example, are calling your brother a cretin, an idiot, or an imbecile, or even a madman, a crackbrain, a bedlamite, a loony, or a noncompos, not to mention a fool, nut, coot, lunatic, dolt, dunce, bonehead, simp, energumen, queer potato, hocky puck, noodle, mooncalf, numskull, rattlepate, fruitcake, or retard — why then, let ’em have it!

By the same token, if some of the punks think it’s funny to use the terms insane, nutty, crazy, demented, deranged, or unhinged; if they say your poor brother’s touched, far-gone, cracked, raving, barking, babbling, blithering, dithering, burbling, driveling, half-witted, slow, or simple, you should give them five across the lip.

Worse, if they intimate that your brother’s off his nut or his rocker or nuttier than a fruitcake, that he’s sharp as a bowling ball or dumb as an ox; that he has delusions of adequacy, is not playing with a full deck, lost his marbles, is quick as a tortoise on Prozac, or was behind the door when the brains were passed out — a good punch in the snoot would do a world of good.

I would say the same holds if any of the little bastards even imply that your sib fell out of the family tree or has a screw loose, that the lights are on but nobody’s home, or that if brains were dynamite he couldn’t blow his nose, or that if he were any stupider you’d have to water him twice a week, or that if you stand close enough to him you can hear the ocean. Pulverize them!

Even if your brother is proof that evolution can go in reverse, even if he stands around at school as if he were a fried chicken short of a church picnic, there’s no excuse for the sort of language those boys are using. There’s nothing funny about mental problems!

Millie

Send your query to Millicent Marshall care of Black Lamb (blacklamb63@comcast.net). Letters may be edited for length. Replies not guaranteed confidential. •

Posted by: The Editors
Category: 13th Anniversary Issue, Ask Millie, Marshall | Link to this Entry

Radios and pedestrians

May 1st, 2007

BY MILLICENT MARSHALL

Dear Millie,

My husband and I recently relocated to a small town to spend our retirement years in peace and quiet. We made sure before making the move that we could get good radio reception for classical and jazz stations, which, along with National Pubic Radio, are broadcast from a big city not too far distant. The problem, though, is the DJs, who are rank amateurs. What can we do? Their annoying voices and stammering ruin our radio listening for us.

Miffed

Dear Miffed,

First of all, I guess I’d have to say that you’re lucky to find a place in America with access to both a classical and a jazz station. Plenty of huge cities in this country no longer have either.

As for the quality of what they call “on-air hosts,” we’re living in hard times.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

When to be serious

April 1st, 2007

BY MILLICENT MARSHALL

Dear Reader,

I’ve been saving a couple of letters from the Black Lamb mailbag for this All-Marriage Issue.

Millie

Dear Millie,

As a divorced woman left with two small children to raise, I find myself growing angry when my childless girlfriends want to cry on my shoulder over the breakup of their marriages. “Get over it,” I want to say. “At least you don’t have to deal with children permanently bruised by the failure of your romance.” What do you think?

Pissed in Pittsburgh

Dear Pissed,

I suppose you have a point, but I hope you and your friends don’t regard feeling pain as a contest. You’ve made your messes, and it’s up to all of you to try to fix them, or at least minimize their impact. I’d say comfort one another and get on with life as best you can. Friends can be— should be — a real help.

Millie

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Doggy dog world

March 1st, 2007

BY MILLICENT MARSHALL

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Use a little sense!

November 1st, 2006

BY MILLICENT MARSHALL

winkinggal.jpgDear Millie,

What’s with all the whining from cigarette smokers? They’re ruining their health (so much for respecting them) and poisoning the environment for others, yet they still howl about their rights, as if polluting bars and restaurants were guaranteed in the Constitution. Isn’t it really all about the tobacco companies making huge profits?

Stunk Out

Dear Stunk,

Sure, it’s about tobacco companies making money, but I have a question for you. Exactly how much do the smokers affect you personally? Don’t give me the second-hand smoke routine, because the only smokers you encounter nowadays are out of doors: one state after another has outlawed smoking in enclosed, public places. And the tiny bit of cigarette smoke you inhale outside is chicken feed compared to the endless supply of carcinogens circulating in the open air everywhere except the deepest wilderness. And you don’t have to let people smoke in your home. If they’re considerate, smokers don’t leave the residue of their habit all over the streets. Admittedly, many are not considerate and use the world as their ashtray, but people throw all sorts of trash on the ground. There are laws against it, and when someone starts enforcing them the smokers will have to put their butts in their pockets and take them home. So take it easy. You’ve won the battle. You don’t have to respect the smokers if you choose not to (certainly not for their smoking), but there’s no reason to have a cow about it. Pick your battles, honey. How about campaigning to outlaw the manufacture of weapons?

Millie

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Smoking & Drinking Issue, Ask Millie, Marshall | Link to this Entry

Yourself to blame

March 1st, 2006

BY MILLICENT MARSHALL

Dear Millie,

Our two kids are starting to raise hell because my husband and I restrict their television viewing to shows we can all watch together on our one TV set in the living room. This deprives them, they say, of a lot of the most popular programs. And why can’t they have winkinggal.jpgTVs in their rooms, they ask? After all, their parents watch TV after they’ve gone to bed. Any advice?

Generation Gap

Dear Gap,

I have to admit I have trouble imagining what the four of you, whatever ages your kids are, can watch together, without either the older or younger generation nodding off or stomping out of the room in disgust. But if you are able to find programs that satisfy all of you, I say keep up the good work. Anyway, the kids have plenty of opportunities to watch their favorite junk when they visit their friends’ houses.

One TV in your house? Well done.

Millie

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Dealing with Christmas

December 1st, 2004

BY MILLICENT MARSHALL

In the spirit of this special issue of Black Lamb, here are a few Christmas letters from my mailbag.

Dear Millie,

I have a point to make. Christmas is on its way, and once again my husband and I will have to put up with sermons in pulpits and newspapers about the horrible commercialism of this holiday. Don’t people ever give a thought to the thousands and thousands (perhaps millions) of people who, like my family, make their living supplying and producing Christmas-related consumer goods?

Holiday Spirit

Dear Spirit,

No, I suppose preachers in and out of church don’t give much of a thought to the makers of holiday fruit baskets, the harvesters of Christmas trees, and the manufacturers of tinsel, wrapping paper, and a million other holiday “necessities.” Why should they?

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Author profile

December 1st, 2002

Millicent Marshall, who lives in western Montana, began writing her advice column Ask Millie upon the sudden death of her sister Carol Wolfe, who had contributed a Q&A column during Black Lamb’s first year.

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

LINKS

  • Blogroll