The Real Life – Abraham Lincoln by George Alfred Townsend

SPRINGFIELD, III., Jan. 25, 1867.

When history makes up its mind to commemorate a place, no special correspondence can keep pace with it1. After Mr. Lincoln’s nomination to the Presidency—the most Republican of all coups d’etat—2the little city of Springfield ascended at a bound from the commonplace to the memorable. Caravans of patriots from all the other States wended across the prairies to visit it. From a market town,3 where eggs were duly exchanged for calico, and the father of the family reported himself twice a year to get stone-drunk, it rose to be the home of a President, and sent him across the continent to usefulness and martyrdom. His body lies near by it—shrine which any city might covet—and his prim frame residence,4 practical and mud-colored,5 I have walked around these two nights, to find my curiosity shared by a half-dozen couples, looking upon it as if the tall ghost of its former owner might possibly appear.

I came here to lecture;6 of two days leisure spared me I have passed one-half of each in conversation with a man who knew the great citizen of Springfield for twenty years anterior to his Chief Magistracy better and closer than any human being. Until very lately you might have read upon a bare stairway, opposite the State House Square, the sign of LINCOLN & HERNDON. A year ago it gave place to the name of HERNDON & ZANE.7 Ascending the stairs one flight,8 you see two doors opening to your right hand. That in the rear leads to what was for one generation the law office of the President.9 Within, it is a dismantled room, strewn with faded briefs and leaves of law books; no desks nor chairs remaining; its single bracket of gas darkened in the center, by whose flame he whom our children’s children shall reverently name, prepared, perhaps, his gentle, sturdy utterances; and out of its window you get a sweep of stable-roofs and dingy back yards, where he must have looked a thousand times, pondering Freedom and Empire, with his eye upon ash-heaps and crowing cocks and young Americans sledging or ball-playing.10. As simple an office,11 even for a country lawyer, as ever I saw in my life, it is now in the transition condition of being prepared for another tenant. In the middle of the room the future President sat at a table side, and in the adjoining front room this table and all the furniture of the place is still retained, while in its back corner, looking meditatively at the cylinder stove, you see Mr. Herndon, the partner and authority I have referred to.

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Excerpt from “Hole in My Life” by Jack Gantos

July 15: Today I took a photograph of Hamilton sitting at the wheel with the sun setting12 behind him. He frowned. “Now take a picture of me,” I said, and handed him the camera.

He flipped the camera over, unsnapped the back, pulled out the film, and tossed it over his shoulder into the ocean. “If I find any more film on board it will join that roll,” he said.

“It’s just a photo,” I replied.

“It’s evidence,” he snapped back. This is the first evidence I have had that he even thinks we could be caught.

“Let me see your wallet,” he said.

I gave it to him.

He threw away all my identification except for my fake Florida license. “Might come in handy,” he said.

 

July 16: Dead clam today. Hot.2  The sails hanging limply3  from the gaffs like sleeping bats. At one point I dove overboard and swam around the boat as if it were at anchor. Hamilton threw an empty bottle overboard and we bobbed along next to it for hours. By the end of the day we may have covered a mile. No more. Feel like a sitting duck. Said so to Hamilton. He drifted into a story about his biggest concern on the ocean being pirates, not police. Told me about friends in the business4 who were boarded by pirates who tied them to the masts, and then took their stash. Somehow I find this absurd and can’t stop thinking of Captain Hook and his crew of pirates in Peter Pan. Wish Hamilton would swallow a clock so5  I could hear him creeping.6  He stalks me like a mumbling crocodile.

Excerpt: “The Twelve Double-Hours of Night: Insomnia and Transformation in Gilgamesh” by Andrea Deagon

My ordeal, like most variations of personal hell, felt isolating, immense and unshareable. Some years later, when I reread the Gilgamesh epic7, it dawned on me that what I’d experienced was written there. In this ancient Mesopotamian poem, Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk2, expends vast energies in his city and in heroic ventures with his alterego Enkidu. When Enkidu dies3, the bereft hero, overwhelmed by the realization of his own mortality4, goes on an soul-purging, exhausting journey to the ends of the earth in a vain quest for eternal life.

What resonated with me was not the loss of a friend as close as a second self– though something like that had happened years before5; nor the terror of death, though I’m sure that such terror could take much the same form as what I experienced6. But the self-consuming energy, the vast exhausting world, the body as an engine driving toward final irremediable loss7 – that I understood. The epic of Gilgamesh came to represent whatever was wise and heroic in what I experienced at this great transition in my own life, as it speaks to many people about their own losses and transitions8.

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excerpt from Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors to love9, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others2, become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love; and such a man is Claudio. I have known when there was no music with him but the drum and fife, and now he had rather hear the tabor and pipe3. I have known when he would have walked ten mile afoot to see a good armor, and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet4. He was wont to speak plain and to the purpose, like an honest man and a soldier; and now is he turned orthography. His words are a very fantastical banquet: just so many strange dishes5. May I be so converted and see with these eyes6? I cannot tell; I think not7. I will not be sworn but love may transform me into an oyster; but I’ll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me8, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well9. But 10 till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace11. Rich she shall be, that’s certain; wise, or I’ll none; virtuous, or I’ll never cheapen her; fair, or I’ll never look on her; mild, or come not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what color it please God12. Ha13! The Prince and Monsieur14 Love! I will hide me 15 in the harbor.

Daredevil #10 by Charles Soule

Introducers: The two introducing phrases before the main idea of “it’s not very big.” This changes the connection that the reader makes between the two ideas and surprises them at the end of the sentence, because everyone considers New York to be huge. The introducers delay this unexpected statement for the readers and makes it more unexpected as Matt talks about how New York is important to the world.
Introducers: The two introducing phrases before the main idea of “it’s not very big.” This changes the connection that the reader makes between the two ideas and surprises them at the end of the sentence, because everyone considers New York to be huge. The introducers delay this unexpected statement for the readers and makes it more unexpected as Matt talks about how New York is important to the world.
“But the way the neighborhoods work” begins a sentence with a conjunction, “But”. Starting a sentence with a conjunction is much more colloquial and gives us the sense of this being his thoughts
“But the way the neighborhoods work” begins a sentence with a conjunction, “But”. Starting a sentence with a conjunction is much more colloquial and gives us the sense of this being his thoughts
“Until this guy” fragment. This fragment here builds the sense of Matt’s inner thoughts and personality. But since the fragment is separated in a different panel as well, creating more separation than just a period, the emphasis is stronger and the pause is strengthened.
“Until this guy” fragment. This fragment here builds the sense of Matt’s inner thoughts and personality. But since the fragment is separated in a different panel as well, creating more separation than just a period, the emphasis is stronger and the pause is strengthened.

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“New York City is alive. And living things change.” The decision to use a period instead a comma strengthens the separation of these sentences, while keeping the “and” connects the ideas. The overall effect is to create a sense of thoughts building off each other, connected but not thought immediately together.
“New York City is alive. And living things change.” The decision to use a period instead a comma strengthens the separation of these sentences, while keeping the “and” connects the ideas. The overall effect is to create a sense of thoughts building off each other, connected but not thought immediately together.
The ellipses that connect this panel to the last one from “For example…” to “…this flagpole” give the reader the pacing that Soule wants, as Matt starts the thought in one moment of action and finishes it after searching for an example in the next panel.
The ellipses that connect this panel to the last one from “For example…” to “…this flagpole” give the reader the pacing that Soule wants, as Matt starts the thought in one moment of action and finishes it after searching for an example in the next panel.

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Ellipses: this is one continuous thought that doesn’t require any punctuation in the middle, but the added ellipses draws out the thought and makes it more dramatic.
Ellipses: this is one continuous thought that doesn’t require any punctuation in the middle, but the added ellipses draws out the thought and makes it more dramatic.

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daredevil 15 daredevil 16

The repetition of “He didn’t” emphasizes the irony of the situation as Matt keeps his secret identity from Sam and pretends to not have the radar sense or his powers to keep the lie going, but the readers know that Matt and Daredevil are the same person.
The repetition of “He didn’t” emphasizes the irony of the situation as Matt keeps his secret identity from Sam and pretends to not have the radar sense or his powers to keep the lie going, but the readers know that Matt and Daredevil are the same person.

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Subordinating clause “when I introduced her to you” adverbial clause that reminds the readers why Sam had a cast while the prepositional phrase “in a fit of utter idiocy” adds Matt’s frustrations about the situation and gives the reader a sense of Matt’s personality and inner turmoil about helping Sam become Blindspot. "The hero game’s addictive": this contraction is uncommon in written text, but very colloquial in the spoken word. This contraction makes Daredevil’s thoughts more accessible to the reader and informal.
Subordinating clause “when I introduced her to you” adverbial clause that reminds the readers why Sam had a cast while the prepositional phrase “in a fit of utter idiocy” adds Matt’s frustrations about the situation and gives the reader a sense of Matt’s personality and inner turmoil about helping Sam become Blindspot.
“The hero game’s addictive”: this contraction is uncommon in written text, but very colloquial in the spoken word. This contraction makes Daredevil’s thoughts more accessible to the reader and informal.

daredevil 20

The participial phrase “training with Stick” specifies and explains what Matt means by being in Sam’s place, implying that “his place” is the state of being new to being a hero.
The participial phrase “training with Stick” specifies and explains what Matt means by being in Sam’s place, implying that “his place” is the state of being new to being a hero.
Starting conjunction: “But I didn’t like to listen,” connects the two ideas of Matt hearing but not listening while separating them in the mind of the reader so the fact that the second sentence came as an after thought triggered by the first is conveyed to the reader with the punctuation.
Starting conjunction: “But I didn’t like to listen,” connects the two ideas of Matt hearing but not listening while separating them in the mind of the reader so the fact that the second sentence came as an after thought triggered by the first is conveyed to the reader with the punctuation.

daredevil 23

“you want to break the rules,” is a subordinating clause missing the subordinating conjunction “if”. This missing word makes Matt’s thoughts feel more natural since no one thinks in formal, perfect grammar. The addition of the ellipses before the rest of the clause, (also missing a clause) dramatizes the irony of the statement and gives the effect of Matt delivering the punch line of a joke.
“you want to break the rules,” is a subordinating clause missing the subordinating conjunction “if”. This missing word makes Matt’s thoughts feel more natural since no one thinks in formal, perfect grammar. The addition of the ellipses before the rest of the clause, (also missing a clause) dramatizes the irony of the statement and gives the effect of Matt delivering the punch line of a joke.

My Ántonia by Willa Cather

Book I: The Shimerdas

I

The engine was panting heavily after its long run16. In the red glow from the fire-box, a group of people stood huddled together on the platform, encumbered by bundles and boxes. I knew this must be the immigrant family the conductor had told us about. The woman wore a fringed shawl tied over her head, and she carried a little tin trunk in her arms, hugging it as if it were a baby. There was an old man, tall and stooped2. Two half-grown boys and a girl stood holding oilcloth a bundles, and a little girl clung to her mother’s skirts. Presently a man with a lantern approached them and began to talk, shouting and exclaiming3. I pricked up my ears, for it was positively the first time I had ever heard a foreign tongue4.

Another lantern came along5. A bantering voice called out:6 “Hello, are you Mr. Burden’s folks? If you are, it’s me you’re looking for. I’m Otto Fuchs. I’m Mr. Burden’s hired man, and I’m to drive you out. Hello, Jimmy, ain’t you scared to come so far west?”

I looked up with interest at the new face in the lantern light. He might have stepped out of the pages of “Jesse James.” He wore a sombrero hat, with a wide leather band and a bright buckle, and the ends of his mustache were twisted up stiffly, like little horns7. He looked lively and ferocious, I thought, and as if he had a history. A long scar ran across one cheek and drew the corner of his mouth up in a sinister curl8. The top of his left ear was gone, and his skin was brown as an Indian’s. Surely this was the face of a desperado. As he walked about the platform in his high-heeled boots9, looking for our trunks10, I saw that he was a rather slight man, quick and wiry11, and light on his feet. He told us we had a long night drive ahead of us, and had better be on the hike. He led us to a hitching-bar where two farm wagons were tied, and I saw the foreign family crowding into one of them. The other was for us. Jake got on the front seat with Otto Fuchs, and I rode on the straw in the bottom of the wagonbox, covered up with a buffalo hide. The immigrants rumbled off into the empty darkness, and we followed them.

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“Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan

I fell in love with the minister’s son the winter I turned fourteen. He was not Chinese, but 12 as white as Mary in the manger. For Christmas I prayed for this blond-haired boy, Robert, and a slim new American nose.

When I found out that my parents had invited the minister’s family over for Christmas Eve dinner, I cried. 2 What would Robert think of our shabby Chinese Christmas? What would he think of our noisy Chinese relatives who lacked proper American manners? What terrible disappoint-ment would he feel upon seeing not a roasted turkey and sweet potatoes but Chinese food?

On Christmas Eve I saw that my mother had outdone herself in creating a strange menu. She was pulling black veins out of the backs of fleshy prawns. The kitchen was littered with appalling mounds of raw food: A slimy rock cod with bulging eyes that pleaded not to be thrown into a pan of hot oil. Tofu, which looked like stacked wedges of rubbery white sponges. A bowl soaking 3 dried fungus back to life. A plate of squid, their backs crisscrossed with knife markings so they resembled bicycle tires.

And then they arrived – 4 the minister’s family and all my relatives in a clamor of doorbells and rumpled Christmas packages. Robert grunted hello, and I pretended he was not worthy of existence. 5

Dinner threw me deeper into despair. My relatives licked the ends of their chopsticks and reached across the table, dipping them into the dozen or so plates of food. 6 Robert and his family waited patiently for platters to be passed to them. My relatives murmured with pleasure when my mother brought out the whole steamed fish. Robert grimaced. Then my father poked his chopsticks just below the fish eye and plucked out the soft meat. “Amy, your favorite,” he said, offering me the tender fish cheek. I wanted to disappear.

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It’s Stephen Curry’s Game Now

 

If you have somehow missed watching the Golden State Warriors this season, 7 you might have a quaint notion of how basketball is played. You might believe, for instance, that 3-point shots are difficult. Or that players should generally avoid hoisting jumpers 35 feet from the basket. Or that, in the N.B.A., a team cannot clinch a playoff berth in February, with six weeks left in the season. 2 None of that is true anymore, thanks to one player: Stephen Curry, a butterfly with a jump shot who is reshaping people’s understanding of the game 3. Jargon usually found on airport bookstore display racks has come to the hardwood, thanks to Curry. He is an outlier. He has caused a tipping point in basketball. The biggest disrupter in sports is on display in — where else? — the Bay Area. 4 In recent days, Curry has broken the league record for 3-pointers in a season — which he did for the first time three seasons ago — 5 and the Warriors (53-5) still have 24 games left to play, starting Tuesday night at home against the Atlanta Hawks. He has made 288 3-pointers this season, eclipsing the 286 he made last season. The Warriors could lose the rest of their games and still make the playoffs. They will not lose them all, of course, because they tend to beat nearly all of their opponents, and usually by large margins. The Warriors experienced a rare close call Saturday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder took them to overtime. Curry won the game with a looping shot from a few feet inside the half court line — once considered remarkable, now considered well within his comfort zone 6. As everyone, from players to coaches to fans, tries to make sense of Curry’s breakout performances, some context is desperately needed. To whom 7 can we compare this shooting master? Basketball has had other captivating stars like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James, who all streaked to lasting fame. But the Curry phenomenon 8 is different because of his size — he is a sinewy 6 feet 3 inches, 190 pounds — and because of the way in which he dominates games by scoring far from the basket, somehow stretching the court 9 beyond its conceivable limits.

Letter of Recommendation: ‘Pinky and the Brain’ by Jonah Weiner

“Pinky and the Brain,” a cartoon that aired for half of the 1990s 10, is a three-chord kind of show, as bound by formal constraints as they come. Before spinning off into its own half-hour slot 2, the series began life as the best thing about “Animaniacs,” an exuberantly unhinged variety cartoon executive-produced by Steven Spielberg and packed with non-sequitur punch lines, meta-level laughs and so many showbiz in-jokes that you could forget this was a show nominally made for kids 3. “Pinky and the Brain” stood out for its ingenuity and extreme economy. The show has only two recurring characters to speak of — the talking lab mice of the title — 4 and precisely one plot, set into motion in the opening moments of each installment with the same 23 words: “Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?” “The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world.”

 

That the mice will deploy some scheme for world domination is the lone narrative motor, and that their failure is guaranteed provides not only the inevitable third-act kicker but also the condition of the show’s continued existence: a reset button that returns the mice to the lab to plot again. The pair is at once idiosyncratic and archetypal, in a vaudevillian kind of way. Brain is a hyperintelligent, short-tempered straight man voiced by a guy doing a stentorian Orson Welles impression; Pinky is daffy and sweet and speaks in an over-the-top Cockney accent 5.

They are given no back story beyond a stray line in the theme song (“Their genes have been spliced”), and they learn no lessons by episode’s end. Characterization takes the form, instead, of kid-friendly, broken-record repetition 6. In every episode, while unveiling the plan at hand, Brain will ask Pinky, “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?”–a question so ritualized that fans refer to it by “AYPWIP”–to which Pinky will offer a reliably outré response. “I think so, Brain, but I can’t memorize a whole opera in Yiddish.” “I think so, Brain, but Pete Rose? I mean, can we trust him?” “I think so, but Kevin Costner with an English accent?”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/06/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-pinky-and-the-brain.html?_r=0

Don’t move to Canada. Stay and fight. by Michael Krikorian

No one’s moving anywhere. My friends Dahlia and Chris aren’t going to Mexico, and 7 Alexis is not going to Copenhagen. My gal Nancy’s not permanently packing up and moving to Umbria, and Duke is not moving to Thailand with his cousin Jake.

And2 you?  You aren’t going wherever the heck you say you are moving to now that Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States of America.

What we all do is this:3 We stay and fight.First, we wait and see. Even Hillary Clinton said Wednesday, “We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.”

But4 if we don’t like what happens, we fight it. We5 take to the streets and rekindle memories of the anti-Vietnam War protests and civil rights marches. We don’t run and hice.6 We don’t abandon America.

I feel, strangely, not what I thought I would “the morning after.” I’m more patriotic than I was yesterday. More in love with my country than I have since, I guess, Sept. 11, 2001.

As my old friend Aqeela Sherrills, a longtime Watts gang interventionist and community activist said in a Facebook post Wednesday: “There’s a gift in every tragedy…   A Trump victory is an opportunity, if your like me, I do my best work under pressure. Don’t go to Canada or where ever you thinking, The U.S. is ours! and no President, Senate, Congress or White House will tell me otherwise!… lets go to work!”

The country our parents,7 uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents fought for is sliding around a hairpin turn, but it hasn’t crashed.

Yesterday, a guy I know from the streets showed me a knife he had in his waistband. A killing knife.8 It made me think of “Saving Private Ryan”and a brutal, achingly sad scene:  room-to-room fighting, a German soldier slowly pushing a killing knife into the chest of an American soldier.

What happened Tuesday doesn’t compare to those days. Everyone walking around like it’s the end of civilization now that Trump is in? It’s not. We’ve been through far worse. A perceived threat is not as bad as a punch in the face.

I was on a text thread Tuesday night that included several millennials. It started with how wonderful the election was going turn out: the first woman president, the rejection of hateful talk.

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