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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 'Roberts' Category

It’s all true

April 1st, 2007

happysingingcouple.jpgBY GREG ROBERTS

Everything you’ve ever heard about marriage is true — the wonderful and the grotesque. The wedding itself is always a perfectly joyful event. As a violin player in my mothy tuxedo, a bottle of Argyle chardonnay pulsing through my fingertips, I’ve witnessed countless weddings, and each was a creation of beauty and goodness.
Then, tragically, this happy union is threated by the smallest, most insidious attacks — little arguments about money or dirty dishes — things that can destroy the marriage like microscopic spirochetes that insert themselves into the brains of giants and kill them.

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

Wal-Mart to the rescue

Marching gratefully, and greenly, into the future

March 1st, 2007

BY GREG ROBERTS

Under a spreading chesnut tree the village smithy stood. Thank goodness the unproductive lout is now gone, or we’d all be in the poorhouse.

blacksmiths2.jpgImagine it’s the year 1814 and you are a gravedigger who needs a new shovel. You ask the blacksmith to pound one out for you, which he does, in about six hours, and charges you three bucks. You earn a buck a grave, and you’re averaging one per day, so that means three days work to buy the shovel. And Longfellow is looking back fondly at this miserable economy? It’s fond, alright, in the ancient meaning of the word: idiotic.

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

Unhand that bottle!

November 1st, 2006

BY GREG ROBERTS

manreadytofight.pngWe have proof — undeniable proof, vast warehouses of proof, limitless citadels of it — that people are unthinking ignoramuses. So here’s one more fagot on the fire: the ignorant but ubiquitous belief that alcohol is bad.

True, drunks pull guns and drive cars that kill peope, but remember this: if it weren’t for alcohol, there wouldn’t be a country to pull a gun or drive a car in.

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

Golden age redux

March 1st, 2006

BY GREG ROBERTS

What’s that you say — you don’t have TV? You think it’s a waste of time? Well, I can go you one better. I haven’t been in a goddamn library in six years. They are an even bigger waste. The time spent walking around the Sydney Sheldon novels, Deepak Chopra mind rot, and the ten-year-old Lonely Planet guides to Big Sur and Nepal can now be spent watching television and bettering oneself.

But you have to do TV right. The person who wastes every night watching bad movies is no better than the reader who burns through a hundred Perry Mason mysteries. They should both be sterilized before they spawn more of their ilk.

To do TV the right way you have to sign up for the big package: a hundred or more channels, including foreign languages, panel discussions, college lectures, string quartets, and nature shows about turtles nesting on the beaches of Costa Rica. The cost is ridiculously low, about seventy dollars a month. How many new books could you buy with that much money, two?

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Television Issue, Roberts | Link to this Entry

Keep Christmas like Cratchit or die!

December 1st, 2004

dickenscaricature.jpgBY GREG ROBERTS

We sat in the airport lounge and ordered two seven-dollar draft beers. “I’ll be glad when this whole Christmas thing is over,” Dick said. “So senseless. I’m drained by all the fuss.”

“But Nat King Cole ways ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year,’” I told him. “Don’t fight it. Enjoy the celebration.”

“No, I can’t. I hate being forced to buy someone a goddamn electric fruit leather maker because it’s the only thing they don’t have.”

“You poor bastard, you’re doomed to live in a rich country where you’re overwhelmed with goodies. Instead of the fruit leather machine, maybe you should buy lobsters or a bottle of Armagnac. Nobody has Armagnac.”

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Christmas Issue, Roberts | Link to this Entry

A global embarrassment

September 1st, 2003

BY GREG ROBERTS

The film industry has been a global embarrassment for such a long time, it leaves me with one wish: I hope it gets even worse, until it reaches the final degree of worthlessness, at which stage I can forget about it completely, the way I’ve dismissed popular music.

robertsmanyelling.jpgWhat thrill of freedom will be mine, and soon, too, judging from the quality of recent films. Bin Ladin is right — this stuff is real crap. Watching modern movies makes one a dirty little peasant child digging through the vast garbage dump of Guatemala City, occasionally, rarely, finding a piece of string or a bone with some tissue left on it, just enough to keep him slogging on.

The cardboard characters, the lousy scripts, the moralizing that is so heavy-handed you feel like a stockyard calf getting hit straight between the eyes with a sledge hammer, and the perpetrators — people such as Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte — not only get rich, they get respect for their shameless dreck.

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

The man who couldn’t think straight

June 1st, 2003

thoreauBY GREG ROBERTS

Thoreau messed me up pretty bad. I read Walden at seventeen, and it turned me into a non-materialist for most of my life. As a result, I endangered my family by driving them around in a hundred-dollar Peugeot 504 with bald tires that were ready to blow any second. I thought I was saving the planet. I’m better now. We have a thousand-dollar Toyota van with new tires.

I’ve lost some respect for Thoreau. He’s a wonderfully clever writer, but he couldn’t think straight. The imprisonment at the pond, in a hell-hole of a cabin, slaving over a goddamn bean patch, would have driven anyone to suicide, except for one thing — he was writing the book. With the inspiration of his art, it didn’t matter where he was. Same for Beethoven. His drive to compose music made him oblivious to his filthy room with the many unemptied piss pots.

Anyone without a major artistic project had better stay away from a Walden situation. Better to exist in a studio apartment with a part-time job at Burger King and a basic cable package.

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

Author profile

December 1st, 2002

Greg Roberts grew up in Hiles, Wisc. (pop. 132) and has held dozens of jobs, been fired from most of them, and is left with fond reminiscenses of being a restaurant violinist, stand-up comic, and consultant to a Guatemalan fly-tying factory. He has worked as a magazine editor and, over the last forty-five years, has contributed to dozens of publications, many of which have disappeared from the face of the earth. Roberts owns and helps operate Equator Coffee Company in Eugene, Ore. He has had a three-toed sloth as a pet, caught billfish on fly tackle, and still subscribes to three philatelic journals. His Black Lamb column is called Blunderbuss Dilettante.

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

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