At the end of this entry (that you're reading now) I have included a link that will return you to the exact spot from where this entry originated. Here ya go ...
I've also mentioned how much I admire Egan on this page (Day #23).
Oh, it looks like Egan has taken over California, too.
Egan is versatile. He seems able to write about anything. (And make it look easy.)
He was not an asshole, but he had an older brother (Richie) who toughened him up.
» Lance & Egan & the Fabulously Ferocious Fastballs
Remind me to tell you my Egan story, about how I threw him the fattest fast-ball you've ever seen during the last game we ever played in Little League.
I pitched for 3 years during Little League and nobody ever hit a home run off me. Ever. But this was the last game of the year, of our Little League careers, and nothing would change no matter who won.
Egan batted second in their line-up. Lance batted third. I had struck out Egan before.
Lance was one home run away from being the home run king that year. Because he was tied with Wojo, who was twice his size.
And before the game he was working me to throw him a fatty so that he could claim the title of Home Run King solo that year (giving him 6 to Wojo's 5), his last year of Little League.
To which I agreed, when he said, "Come on, I'll give you 50 cents."
Egan was standing there with Lance and wanted in on the same deal.
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••• today's entry continues here below •••
June 26 » Here is Egan being Egan. Notice how an Egan column broadens your perspective .. to include elements that you didnt know were related.
I cant help but admire him and his writing. He has sharp knives in his literary toolbox and he knows how to use them. Most impressive.
How does he get his info? Where does he get it? Does he know this stuff as background info or does he research the details behind each of his columns?
When I heard about the 9 murders at the church in Charleston, it struck me how » the Confederate flag was an inspiration to a murderer.
Of all the subsequent articles that I've since read on the subject, Egan's most closely parallel my own thoughts. But he takes a step or two further. Like only Egan can.
Sometimes (not often) I read articles at the Times and my ego says, "You coulda wrote that."
But when I read Egan, the effect is just the opposite. Here is one such column that Egan does on The Donald (July 24, 2015).
I could not write that column. That is beyond my skill set.
Egan has these sharp knifes .. which he keeps well-sharpened. And I sometimes imagine him saying, when he see something that he doesnt like, somethings that offends his sensibilities ..
"Dont make me break out my ginsu knives .. because I will take this shit right down to the bone. I will slice-n-dice your ass into a salad."
Here is a good example [ Aug 14, 2015 ] of the ginsu man at work » "Scott Walker, the governor whose foreign policy experience is limited to breakfast at the old International House of Pancakes, threatens to start at least two wars upon taking office."
.. and I was wondering why some days I feel so good and why some days my ass is dragging ..
.. other than I do a lot more physical stuff when I'm feeling good .. which wipes me out and makes me tired the next day.
Or maybe it is the lingering anemia from chemo. Cuz I've noticed that I feel waay better after a swig of iron. (Tho it can be tough on the chemo'ed-tummy.)
» Laughing Out Loud in the Dark by Myself
Anyway, I am outside .. feeling like my ass has been dragging all day ..
.. and it was a super-relaxed moment .. where I am just trying to relax as deeply as I can .. kinda marvelling at the way the super-fine leaves of the pepper tree were silhouetted against the pink-n-blue sky. And how the backlit sky made the trees appear black.
And I thought about what you wrote. I wasnt trying to .. I just did. Like it floated into my mind unbidden. The part about his foreign policy experience being limited to the local IHOP down the street.
And I burst out laughing. Aloud. Sitting there in the dark. By myself. (Like a crazy person.)
And I thought, "That Egan is a funny fucker."
You could write for the John Stewart gang. You are that kind of good. The bleeding edge.
Oh, look .. here is another Egan-writer. Surely you must know her. (I like her, and not just for her name.)
» The Anti-Trump Cometh
Update Aug 28, 2015 » This was simply masterful. And you make it look so easy.
I sometimes catch myself wondering if other readers appreciate your gifts for what they are .. because, when you make it look easy (like you do), it seems easier to dismiss.
But I can feel myself striving to write the best, yet make it simple as possible .. which can often seem easy. I am waxing a little abstract, here.
Anyhow .. you had already written columns on both the Donald & the Pope, so it seems, in retrospect anyway, an obvious contrast to draw.
But it was not obvious before you drew it.
And when you draw this sort of contrast, it evokes and sharpens and brings out even more .. the qualities that each man possesses.
I especially enjoy when I read something that has an "of-course-ness" to it .. that you werent consciously aware of before.
"Thanks for showing my conscious-self something that my unconscious-self already knew." There is a confirming effect.
» Still Trying to Figure Out Why Some Days I Feel So Much Better Than Others
Tonight I was outside again .. tho feeling much better than last time. I really think it has something to do with iron.
Because I feel dramatically better after a shot of an iron supplement. The clinical trials girl told me that hemoglobin (which I am low on, due to the lingering effects of chemo) is an IRON-BASED molecule.
But she wouldnt say whether or not such a supplement should make me feel better. "That's beyond my pay-grade. You need to ask doctor so-and-so about that when she gets here."
My chemo doctor dismissed such a thing, because it takes a while for your body to make hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood.
But I really feel like I'm getting my shit back after a shot of iron supplement.
Anyway, I got distracted there .. because I have been thinking so much about this stuff.
The thing that I wanted to tell you .. the thing that got me this time .. the Eganism that made me laugh out loud ..
.. which floated into my consciousness unbidden (not long after sunset) was » "the orangutan-haired vulgarian."
That is such the apt description of the Donald's hair. Orangutangs have that coarse orange-tinted hair. Again, an obvious comparison to draw. But only in retrospect.
While calling out, "Look at the size of my schlong, Megyn. Have you ever seen such magnificence before? I mean, for a white guy. I doubt you have."
Did you see when he said that Jeb's brother was the reason Obama is prez? "And you can't be happy about that," he added.
That's when I expected the Donald to whip out his dick and piss on Jeb's feet.
I liked your column so much that I included a link to it at the end of my page on Kalief.
Did you see my Egan entry? That was so much fun. Very Prousty. Tho I need to polish it and add some representative images.
< end update Aug 28 anti-trump cometh >
<update Sept 24, 2015>
Dude, I am totally impresssed. Wow. I do not think I have ever read any Egan like that before.
You seem to operate in your own galaxy. I cant think of anyone who you remind me of. Or who reminds me of you.
Your writing has this elevating effect. I am waxing abstract, but it's perhaps the main distinguishing aspect of your writing.
If I had to give it a name, I would called it magic carpet writing .. because it seems to lift and transport you.
[[ Oh, speaking of which .. did you see this? (Pub Oct 30) I thought that was very clever, innovative.
The voice in my head said, "Dude, they are totally reading your shit. They are taking your crazy ideas and running with them."
That must be the voice of ego, no? ]]
What a beautiful, elegant, intricate thing you have done. Downright poetic.
» Egan Makes It Look Easy
I am still reading .. but I want to save some for later. Like it's too good to devour all of it in one sitting.
The thought passed thru my mind while reading » "If Egan did not agonized over every part of this, and each word selected, then I would be jealous."
That is how you throwdown. [ And make it look easy. ]
What does it feel like to possess and wield those gifts? Or have you just worked the developing and refining to such a high degree?
Are you conscious of a burden that comes with those gifts?
[( I have gone back and reread that more than a week later .. and it actually seems even better. Did you always have the gift? I find your skills impressive and inspiring. )]
<end update Sept 24>
<begin Egan update Oct 16, 2015 socialism>
Dude, you are on fire. Holy smokes. The compare-n-contrast .. my sense is that this is a muscular thing .. yet you make it look so effortless.
It's like you are wielding here both a mace and a scalpel. A sharp scalpel. And a big-ass mace.
If I were running Princeton or Columbia or one of these elite academic institutions, I would say to my head recruiter, "Get me this Egan dude. I want him teaching our students. Pay him whatever he wants. We want them to know how to learn what he knows."
<end update Oct 16, 2015 Egan on socialism>
Oct 23, 2015 » I know that I must be starting to sound like a redundant broken record .. but you are really kicking ass.
When I first saw the title to this column, the thought came to me » "What kind of people take a stand against nature?"
I have thought myself (more than once) about the Do No Harm concept. And there is much that goes along with that thought as it pertains to things today .. which I wont get into right now. (But you know.)
I can actually feel my admiration for your skills growing .. which I did not think possible.
.. how sometimes things can be right in front of you .. but for some reason or other, you can't see them .. the most obvious things (.. in retrospect).
Cuz that's kinda how I feel after reading some of your columns. It's hard to describe, but very cool nonetheless.
You know that David Carr taught college. If a person possesses super-duper skills (hypothetically speaking) do you feel that they have an obligation to pass on the inner-workings of their skill set? At some point, say?
I confess that sometimes, when I see a new Egan column on Thurs or Friday or even on Saturday .. I wont even open the page .. because I am not ready at that time to write about what I find there.
And the voice in my head says, "I am catching on to this Egan fella .. you cannot read his columns unless you are prepared to write about them." And sometimes I am in the middle of writing about something else.
Whatever the case, your columns are obviously giving my consciousness a nice torque.
Speaking of David Carr, did he know that he had cancer? Doesnt the timing of his death seem strange? Coming on the same day that did the Citizenfour interview?
I find that curious, indeed.
<end update Oct 23, 2015 Egan kicking inordinate amounts of ass and making it look easy>
Update Nov 20, 2015 » I am trying to focus on other things right now and not comment on any more Egan columns, but this is excellent on multiple levels, where you both reference Casablanca and quote Voltaire.
I caught myself analyzing your technique, and you seem to be moving already-familar [ better descriptive word goes here ] items closer together and you focus on them in clever ways, and then you draw these fascinating contrasts, such as:
"If only the two-year vetting process now applied to those seeking refuge were used to screen unstable Americans purchasing guns at the mall."
And the 'trick' seems to be in pairing and contrasting otherwise familiar things in unfamiliar ways.
I am checking out your ass, Egan, trying to see into (and behind) how you do this thing that you do. But, however you do it, my friend, it is a thing to behold. Because you continue to raise the bar.
I thought that Krugman also kicked ass nicely this week. He actually calls out Niall Ferguson on a point of history .. which is Ferguson's strength .. where he writes:
The historian Niall Ferguson, a right-wing favorite, says the Paris attacks were exactly like the sack of Rome by the Goths. Hmm: Were ancient Romans back in the cafes a few days later?
Does Krugman not have the largest cojones? I also admired this:
What explains the modern right's propensity for panic? Part of it, no doubt, is the familiar point that many bullies are also cowards. But I think it's also linked to the apocalyptic mind-set that has developed among Republicans during the Obama years.
Call me crazy (for laughing out loud in the dark by myself) but I will tell you, bro, that after I quoted you and Maureen together over on Blow's page with such surprising effects (.. for which I am totally blaming you and Maureen) ..
.. the nuclear-grade chemist in me can't help but wonder what might happen ..
.. if somebody like you and Krugman were to team up to craft a tag-team column. You know .. the way people once wondered what might happen if you mix nitro with glycerin.
When you combine National Book Award thunder with Nobel-grade thunder .. that kind of shit really gets me going.
We all have our dreams, dont we?
Later, I was thinking about some of the things you wrote, and the voice in my head said, "The Civilized and the Damned .. sounds kinda Anne-Rice-y .. doncha think?"
I said, "No, it's probably a Fitzgerald thing." Fitzgerald is My Favorite Novel Titler. (title-er?)
Speaking of good titles .. The Farce Awakens .. that is a good title .. beause I know that I would definitely need to read that column.
That title with Krugman'a name .. you just know that you are gonna have fun .. three minutes of sunshine.
I was fixin' to go get a bar of Haagen Dazs .. when I saw the title. "Haagen Dazs can wait."
Dec 11, 2015 - I have been watching you, Egan .. trying to figure out how it is that you do this thing that you do. ( "Watch-n-learn." )
I'm sure that folks who would have loved to sit behind Picasso or Matisse or even Rembrandt felt the same. "How are they doing this super-cool shit?"
When I read your column today, there was definitely a feeling of watching a master at work.
You throwdown so muscularly, yet it is not a reckless thing. It is not a boxer swinging wildly .. with hail-mary haymakers. It's like you have an ion-canon, with a laser scope.
The sense I have is that you sit at an orbit much closer to the sun than me. You are Mercury .. orbiting the sun of current events four times faster than the earth. While I am out here somewhere near the asteroid belt. Jupiter is not far.
You so totally rock, dude. Did Princeton call yet? I know they want you. They want you bad.
Dec 29, 2015 » I thought this column by Hector had that special something .. that I often feel coming from your columns. That feeling an especially well-written thing .. with a certain illuminating aspect to it. (Hard to describe.)
I see stuff by him printed in the Sunday LA Times that we get delivered to the house here. Very nice pattern-matching there .. both locally and globally.
I reference Hector's piece because I know you must be getting so tired of me jumping up and down at each new one you write.
Tho this one that you wrote for Christmas, where you mention that "Orcas, anyone of which is smarter than most of the Republican presidential candidates .." Dude, that was soo good.
It's not just how good you are .. that impresses me .. but also how easy and effortless you make it look.
[ Lance was very much about looking good while he was kicking ass. He was downright pretty to watch. Often elegant. At times even poetic.
And part of this looking good, this elegance, this poetry was » making it look easy. ]
I'm sure there are other writers like you .. but I have not found them.
I caught myself looking more closely .. at the art of the Egan zing .. and there is an (often unnoticed) element of truth to your best zings. They're not as outrageous as they appear at face value.
» The Rise of Donald Trump and the Unflattering Light This Casts on the Republican Party
But they have spent so much time and energy and money cultivating (exploiting) the baser aspects of human nature .. so they shouldnt be surprised now that those chickens have come home to roost. (You know.)
» The Republican Party in Crisis (Roosting Chickens)
She is so good that she elevates the column to an art-form. Multi-dimensional paintbrush action. Sometimes I feel sorry for the people she goes after.
I wonder what she thinks about Peggy's piece about witnessing the end of the GOP.
.. with those of the Donald saying, "Get them out!"
I bet you Trump gets a boner whenever he watches that video of Saddam. He probably hears himself saying something like,
"When I read your name from this list, that means your low-energy ass is fired. My security people will appear and escort you quietly off the premises. They will take you away and you will not soon return .. if at all. And Mitch, it looks like you're first on my list. For reasons that have become all too obvious. You were planning to retire anyway, right?"
A team of beefy security people, sporting gold badges bearing a large letter 'T,' appear where Mitch is sitting.
You can almost hear the other members of congress breaking into spontaneous shouts of, "Long live the Donald! The Donald is very great. May he live a thousand generations!"
A part of me actually feels sad. Tho not everybody feels this way.
Do you feel, by the way, as Russell Moore suggests here, that the very same people who have been most loudly accusing others of expressing national moral rot ..
.. have themselves become a living expression of moral rot? ]
Do you think that Trump really believes those crazy things that he says? Or that he is saying them because he thinks it is what the disaffected parts of the Republican party want to hear? (As Meg Whitman suggests and Andrew wonders about.)
I was particularly struck by one article I read that said, now that the demographics are turning against them, they no longer feel that democracy is really all it's cracked up to be. Reagan must be turning over in his grave.
What a graph of values there. Purity is more important than fairness and compassion? They would've fit right in in Nazi Germany. "Heil the Donald! He will make us pure again. Out with those who are different from me. Take them away. Get them out. Get them out now."
» Jimmy Carter's Cancer Treatment Represents the Future of Oncology
I also asked her once, while she was walking me out to the front after taking me to the lab for some of my blood after one of my CT scans had been denied, "If I had a better coverage plan, would I be receiving better care?"
"No," she said. "This is the standard of care that you are receiving .. plus the voluntary clinical trial."
Good for him.
During my clinical trials I would shiver and shake so hard for so long .. that I would go home and sleep like a dead man .. for 14 or 16 or even 18 hours straight. (They keep you there for 4 or 5 hours. To watch you .. before letting you go.)
And when I would wake, I would think, "Dang, I actually feel pretty good." Because I had slept so hard for so long.
But my tee-shirts would be totally soaking wet. And I dont normally sweat very much (.. unless I'm sitting in a sauna). I would change them every few hours.
I dont think I've ever slept that hard. For that long.
Shivering really wears out your ass like nothing else. It's like every muscle in you body is working hard.
After the first time, I started bringing along a heating pad with me. That helped with feeling so cold. But you still shiver.
It was almost worth it just for the dreams. "Wow .. I've never had dreams like *that* before." Dreaming in such vibrant colors.
Feb 5, 2016 » I felt for sure today that you were gonna write about the (results of) the Iowa caucus .. but then I remember that you already had. You make my point that no one can beat the Donald's own words.
Instead you wrote about dying rock stars. Seemingly immortal rock stars. I was not even out of the first paragraph when I caught myself saying, "Where does he get this stuff?" .. when I read » ".. had it all and then had nothing that could hold off the inevitable."
At one point there was a part of me that almost couldnt believe what I was reading. You seem unlimited in your scope of topics to discuss.
Later I was trying to figure out why your reading continues to impress me so .. and I feel that there must be some kind of literary optical illusion .. because surely, you can't really be that good.
I found it curious that you mention Neil Young together with Dylan .. because, while I make much of Dylan, I would put Neil Young in his category. In his orbit. (Who wouldnt?)
You can't be 20 on Sugar Mountain, you know.
And you finish with » He was so much older then. (He's younger than that now.)
Feb 20, 2016 » I want to share with you this piece by Lopez. I like Lopez. Whatever 'it' is, he has it.
"So awful you can't look away" .. that is a good title. Wish I woulda came up with it myself.
You almost feel like a WWF wrestling monster, dressed in florescent yellow and magenta, is going to run up and grab the political microphone at any second .. and start shouting threats and dares and obscenities in every direction.
I have some thoughts about your recent Paris column .. but I know you must be so tired of hearing it.
March, 11, 2016 » I see that you are in Iand of leprechauns. As if I werent already jealous enough.
"I am just here, researching my next award-winning novel. Pour me another Guinness, will ya? I got a lot of research that I need to get started on. Where did I put my Moleskine? How's the Irish stew here? And thanks for saving civilization. Why do I suddenly feel like singing?"
My cousin Diane ( 'Tunie' ) spent time there and said, "It's the most beautiful place I've ever been." And she's not even Irish.
She was there in summer, tho. It's technically still winter, so I bet you are feeling the chill.
My real reason for writing today, tho .. is that I want to share this other piece with you.
That struck me as real-deal writing .. the short, punchy sentences that somehow contain more meaning than the number of words can ever possibly convey.
That kind of writing costs you. You dont write like that without paying for it .. with your ass. You know.
Sometimes the writer delves deep into the details .. and sometimes they leave much unsaid between sentences.
I felt that this writer leaves much unsaid between sentences.
Sometimes the writer will just throw shit out there .. tantalizing shit .. with no explanation. Because it is beyond the current scope. Where the mind seems to fill in the blanks between here and there.
( 'There' being the tantalizing shit and here being where you wonder how they got there .. and then imagining how that might've happened. )
I am starting to wax abstract, so I'll quit.
March 16, 2016 » You never publish on Tuesday. You are full of surprises.
I was half-way thru when I read something that made me think, "I love Egan."
Shortly thereafter, I read something else that made me think, "Oh, he's a total ninja."
I am not going to mention individual things that spoke to me .. cuz then I would get carried away.
Tomorrow is leprechaun day. Keep at eye out for strange goings on.
If I were your boss, I would tell you to write a column titled » The Republican Party in Crisis, or perhaps » The Crisis of the Republican Party.
I'm sure the leprechauns will be glad to help.
[ The voice in my head says, "Dude, he doesnt have a boss. He just writes whatever he feels like writing and then he hits the 'publish' button .. probably while he's sitting in an Irish pub somewhere in Bublin .. while sippin' on a Guinness. Or maybe even a black-n-tan with Harp's." ]
[ Oh look .. Rattner did a nice WTF piece here on April 13. ]
Are there not valid parallels to be drawn between the post-WW1 society in Germany that bred Hitler .. and the post-2008 crash (Great Recession) that we have here now?
I am not talking about their respective magnitudes .. but rather the socio-economic factors that fuck up the lives of so many .. all brought on by inept, corrupt government.
How closely does Trump's rise mirror that of Adolf? How are they most similar and where do they diverge?
.. such as » "If enough Americans cower in hysteria, Trump might be able to pull this thing off."
The ideas however, that your sentences convey are .. greater than the sum of their parts. Much greater. Synergy is the word that comes to mind.
And this difference forms a contrast. A very cool contrast. You say big things, but you dont use big words.
When I read the following sentence, I thought, "This is why I love Egan."
Let's pause to behold a rare Trump acknowledgment of a bit of truthiness: The more people who are murdered by the savages from the Islamic State, the better it is for him.
You declare boldly. Nobody is ever going to accuse you of micing words.
Re » "Paris -- the slaughter of 130 people in November. In Trump's telling, it was a wonderful turning point for him." Here, you are sorta putting words into his mouth .. except you follow by quoting his exact words.
It's hard to beat Trump's own words, but I give you credit for doing so.
Re » "It gets tedious reminding people that Trump's ideas on how to stop terror have nothing to do with the problem, but let's give it another go."
When I read the above sentence, I did not even know why I liked it so much .. but I knew that I did, and that I admired it. The war against stupidity never seems to end.
Re » "The biggest wall in the world cannot prevent hatred from taking over a malleable mind, aided by Internet poison."
When I read that sentence, I thought, "Is he coming up with this himself? Or is he getting help?"
Which is probably my ego's way of saying, "This is so good that it cannot possibly be the work of just one person."
So many quotable passages. This is my way of expressing appreciation and admiration and offering encouragement.
I think this was the first Egan column where I actually felt a sense of .. I dont want to say despair, but something in that general direction.
That sense of resignation that can sometimes accompany the realization of some distressing reality.
Which is why I was so glad that Gail provided an extra dose of absurdist humor today. "This is why Kasich's the moderate." (obviously adsurd, yet somehow true)
You're definitely gonna need another Guinness.
But, the rot seems to be at a more-advanced stage .. than I thought. I think this is why I felt a sense of despair reading your column.
I saw this YouTube video with the Donald saying that he is not into violence. But then they show many examples of obvious blatant, and even reckless, urges for violence.
So .. when he says this .. when he says that he is not into violence .. is he straight-faced lying, as politicians are known to do .. or, is his personailty really that disjointed?
I mean, he could just say, "Look, these people should not be in there in the first place. They are free to protest all they like outside .. but stay outside. If they choose to sneak in and disrupt our meetings, and they get roughed up a little, then maybe they will feel less likely to disrupt our meetings in the future." .. and few Americans would find such a statement outrageous.
Let's hope he's just lying.
April 8, 2016 » Please tell me that you have a whole team of writers helping you to craft your columns.
I am still trying to figure out what it is about your columns that I admire so much .. other than obvious. After reading this week's entry I felt that your columns have the sting of truth.
You artistically set the scene with the distant historical frescoes in Siena .. and then quickly bring it home to a "..a do-nothing Congress controlled by Know-Nothing throwbacks."
This paragragh in particular .. when I read it, I thought, "Oh, he's a total ninja." »
Essentially, this Republican-controlled block has decided that it's better to be poor, sick and bigoted than prosperous, healthy and open-minded. And its defense is precisely that: The region is too economically distressed and socially backward to accept progress, so why change? Discrimination, as they see it, is just another term for religious freedom.
The image that came to me here was that of a scorpion, carrying around the sting-of-truth.
Allan touches on some of the same issues that you do. I thought his piece was particularly well written.
» When the Horse Wouldnt Stop Galloping
I am actually in the middle of flirting with this singer right now.
It totally reminds me of this time that I went horseback riding .. and the horse I was riding took off into a full gallop on its own .. when the girl who took me riding took off for a romp of fun.
"You just ride at your own pace," she said. "I'll meet you back at the barn. The horse knows the way."
Soon as she bolted, my horse took off after her. He obviously wanted to run. I was pulling on the reins, like they told me to, but the horse wasnt slowing. At all.
In other words, I feel like I am riding this writing horse at a furious pace with no signs of letting up .. making me feel a little outta control. Must be a seasonal thing.
I have become more willing to entertain these types of experimental endeavors .. to run with them, so to speak .. especially the ones that speak to me in an intriguing voice.
Does not your column paint a picture of the fracturing of American society?
The end. ■
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