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Black Lamb

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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 the 'Patton' Category

Mighty Marcel

You've either read it or you haven't

June 1st, 2016

BY JIM PATTON

Call me a Proust snob. Whatever. I’d rather be that than one of these “well-read” people who’ve never had the experience of A la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time) or who tell you they’ve read “some of it,” meaning three of the thousands of pages.

No. You’ve either read it or you haven’t. Reading “some of it” is like reading “some of” a James Patterson novel, or watching “some of” a movie or a World Series game. You might have a sense of it, but that’s all. In the case of Marcel and A la recherche, you’re nothing but a poseur. Hey, it offends me. And I feel bad for you, because you don’t know what you’re missing.

proustcartoonNot that no one’s read it, not by a long shot. In the Book of Lists, years ago, A la recherche du temps perdu was voted one of the ten greatest works of all time, as well as one of the ten most boring (boring for people who like bombs, blood, and bimbos). All the scholars have read it, as well as millions of lowbrows like me. Well, thousands, maybe. Because, like I say, you don’t count unless you’ve read the whole thing.

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

In perspective

March 1st, 2013

BY JIM PATTON

Sports? Where do I even start? Me and sports have been an item since I was six years old, maybe earlier; I know for sure that my birthday presents when I turned seven were a blue batting helmet and a new mitt, so that’s well over fifty years. Like most relationships, we’ve had ups and downs, fits and starts, more and less passion. The nature of the thing changes, but we’re still on, and I figure there’s a good chance that as I lie on my deathbed, half-deranged, I’ll be muttering stuff like “Mickey Mantle came from a speck on the map called Commerce, Okla., and he always deadpanned that it was just before Resume Speed. His dad was called Mutt.” I’ll babble useless facts that have been etched in my brain forever: Babe Ruth 714 (home runs), Ty Cobb .367 (lifetime batting average), Bill Russell 11 (NBA championships). Heck, I usually can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I can give you stats on guys most people have never heard of. And the visual images in my head: I see not just the incandescent Russell, Koufax, Sayers, Jim Brown, Ali, Bird, Magic, Mays, but also most of the guys they played with.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Sports Issue, Patton | Link to this Entry

Beats the alternative

April 1st, 2007

BY JIM PATTON

Great girl. (I met her in high school, then let a near-lifetime pass before I located her again.) Great woman. Real woman, with myriad strengths and what she’s always called her numerous “foibles.” (Which she’s hard pressed to name except for “bad cuticles.”) She claims a mean streak, though she’s as mild as they come. Maybe it does exist and she stifles it because, admittedly, she doesn’t like conflict or confrontation. More likely, her idea of a mean streak is getting irked about some little something every few months. What do I know?

How well does anyone know anyone? My wife knows I’m a writer at heart (though my production waxes and wanes), knows I’m inclined to substances (though I promised not to introduce them into our life together, and haven’t), knows I don’t think highly of myself (though others see it differently), knows I can be mean (though rarely when I’m sober), knows I can be a softie (and promises not to tell). But what does this amount to? My real inner life is secret. Even when we went to counseling last year and bared plenty, to save the marriage, I held back (to save the marriage) — and I’m not one to hold back, so imagine what she leaves unsaid.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Marriage Issue, Patton | Link to this Entry

Can’t imagine why

November 1st, 2006

BY JIM PATTON

Ah, smoking. “A custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless,” according to King James I of England.

To which I could respond that nothing was ever less loathsome to my eye than beauteous Lisa Wilhelm smoking Gauloises cigarettes across a little table from me at a café in Brussels a few days before Christmas, many years ago; that plenty of people enjoy the smell of pipe tobacco and cigars, if not cigarettes (and a few enjoy even cigarettes); that Sir Winston Churchill lived to ninety-one despite smoking monster cigars (the type now known as Churchills) for decades.

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

Hail Caesar!

September 1st, 2003

BY JIM PATTON

What can I tell you, if you haven’t seen Little Caesar? How about (to paraphrase the inimitable Edward G. Robinson as Rico/Little Caesar, an Al Capone-inspired gangster): Get your butt out and rent it, or my gun’s gonna speak its piece. Grrr.

edwardg.jpgTough talk? Well, I learned my best tough stuff from Edward G. in this 1930 blockbuster, commonly known as the grandfather of the modern crime film. He went on to great things, including priceless performances as the suspendered insurance-fraud investigator in Double Indemnity and as Johnny Rocco, an updated Rico, in Key Largo. But if you want pure, perfect Edward G., go all the way back.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Movie Issue, Patton | Link to this Entry

Mighty Marcel

June 1st, 2003

BY JIM PATTON

Call me a Proust snob. Whatever. I’d rather be that than one of these “well-read” people who’ve never had the experience of A la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time) or who tell you proustcartoonthey’ve read “some of it,” meaning three of the thousands of pages. No. You’ve either read it or you haven’t. Reading “some of it” is like reading “some of” a James Patterson novel, or watching “some of” a movie or a World Series game. You might have a sense of it, but that’s all. In the case of Marcel and A la recherche, you’re nothing but a poseur. Hey, it offends me. And I feel bad for you, because you don’t know what you’re missing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Book Issue, Books and Authors, Patton | Link to this Entry

Author profile

December 1st, 2002

Jim Patton is the author of two non-fiction books, Il Basket d’Italia: A Season in Italy with Great Food, Good Friends and Some Very Tall Americans and Rookie: When Michael Jordan Came to the Minor Leagues; two much-praised crime novels, The Shake and Dying for Dana; and a story in the 2006 DC Noir collection. He is currently at work on his long-awaited meaning-of-life opus. His Black Lamb column is called A La Recherche.

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

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