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celebrating random acts of Lardner


Updated 03 February 2006

This Issue:

Joplin & Lardner | Boxing Lardner| Lardner Lamb
Ghost of Lardner |
Quotable Lardner
Good Haircuts |
Gutenberg Lardner | Wally Pipp

 

 

 


 

 


Take another little piece of my Lardner

 



Lardner and Janis Joplin:  Ok, this one is a stretch.  But it didn't begin in my mind.  A Cleveland journalist, reviewing a recent play based on the life of Janis Joplin asks if an artist's drug addiction invalidates the art.  If this is true for Janis, he says, we should "throw out the plays of Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams, the novels of Leo Tolstoy and William Faulkner, the short stories of O. Henry and Ring Lardner, the poetry of Dylan Thomas and Charles Baudelaire" and so forth.  Always good to see Lardner in such good company.   See the whole story here.

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Boxing Lardners

Boxing, "the cruelest sport," has attracted some of the greatest literary artists:  that's the main point of an interesting piece in a British paper.  Loads of attention is lavished on writers like Hemingway who liked to hit people, but Lardner also makes the cut.  I should say Lardners.  After a brief mention of Ring, the writer also singles out Ring's son John for praise as a boxing writer.  He says one of John's opening lines is the best in any boxing story, if not any sports story:  "Stanley Ketchel was 24 years old when he was fatally shot in the back by the common law husband of the lady who was cooking his breakfast."  It is catchy.  See the whole story here.

 
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Damn Lamb

Yet another article in January (2006) in the South Bend Tribune reiterates what I have heard from two previous directors of the Fort Saint Joseph Museum in Lardner's hometown of Niles, Michigan: the most popular exhibit at the museum is the two-headed lamb. The current director, Carol Bainbridge, says "It's part of Niles' history, but it doesn't fit with what museums do now."  She is disappointed that it draws more attention than exhibits on Lardner and other important historical subjects.  My idea is to sneak Ring on the lamb.  Since there are two heads there is room for both him and his son.

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Phone Calls from the Dead Ring Back From the Dead!

An article from the Knight-Ridder syndicate discussing the current balloting for the baseball hall of fame, quotes Lardner:

Or, as Ring Lardner famously said after winning the Spink Award in 1963, "Nothing on Earth is more depressing than an old baseball writer."

If the quote is Ring Lardner, it may be "There isn't anything on earth as depressing as an old sportswriter."  Even if that is the case, Lardner, of course, died in 1933.  Perhaps his acceptance speech was delivered via sťance.

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Quotable Lardner

This story is slightly immoral, but so, I guess, are stories based on truth.

The family you come from isn't as important as the family you're going to have.

Both from en.thinkexist.com

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The
Gutenberg Lardner
I've reported before about Project Gutenberg--years ago when accessing their site and works required a degree in computer science and a steady typing hand.  Now it is much more user friendly.  It is also Ring friendly.  Two of his books, The Real Dope and Treat 'em Rough can be found on their pages.

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Good
Haircuts
In an article about the futility of trying to determine "the best short story of all time," Arthur Saim, a man of taste, offers his personal favorites in the San Diego Union-Tribune (20 February 2005):  first is Lardner's "Haircut" (though he says "Alibi Ike" and "The Golden Honeymoon" are close).  His number two and three?  Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener" and Judy Troy's "Mourning Doves." 

On the Eastern Washington University website, I found that a student named Angela Schwendiman was third place winner at the third annual American Gem Competition for her screenplay Mayfield Jester, an adaptation of Lardner's "Haircut."

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Footnotes
in History:  Wally Pipp
Lardner is a footnote to a footnote in history.  Lou Gehrig got his break, taking the place of Wally Pipp, who, as legend goes, had a headache.  An interesting article on snopes.com, gets to the bottom of this "headache."  At any rate, when Pipp (after whom headaches have not been re-named "Wally Pipp's Disease") went to the hospital with a head injury, the nurse remarked that his room must be a baseball room, because he had just replaced baseball writer Ring Lardner.

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