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#10583 - 11/20/00 04:07 PM Re: Southall party?  
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FishonaBike Offline
veteran
FishonaBike  Offline
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Sussex, England
clap and cheer and hoot and whistle

Well, my sea-lion impression is legendary, shanks!

I usually reserve it for bad jokes (especially for appalling puns) but I'm sure I could make an exception.




#10584 - 11/20/00 05:14 PM Tom Wolfe  
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Father Steve Offline
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Father Steve  Offline
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Seattle, Washington, USA
Tom Wolfe is a most egocentric and occasionally outlandish fellow. How DARE he call John Irving, Norman Mailer and John Updike "the Three Stooges" in his recent "Hooking Up"? On the other hand, "The Right Stuff" is a significant book and Wolfe's description of the alcoholic reporter waking up with a hangover in "Bonfire of the Vanities" is one of the great scenes in all of English literature.

This goes to demonstrate, I think, that a fellow can be flaming brilliant and extraordinarily skilled with words yet still succumb to pomposity and appear an ass.



#10585 - 11/20/00 10:49 PM Re: Southall party?  
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belMarduk Offline
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Oooo, I'll go, I'll go. Sounds exactly like a movie I'd love to see/participate it. You will have to direct me as to where The Big Smoke is. I do not have a clue WHERE you are talking about.




#10586 - 11/21/00 12:26 AM Re: Big Smoke  
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tsuwm Offline
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this too shall pass
bel, I'd not heard this formulation before either; but having nearly asphyxiated in London one spring, I'd wager that's the place to which shanks refers.



#10587 - 11/21/00 08:05 AM Re: Big Smoke  
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shanks Offline
old hand
shanks  Offline
old hand

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London, UK
Indeed it is London. In a feeble attempt to ape the Big Apple, but finding nothing more salubrious than smoke to speak of... (and, no, it isn't my formulation either.)


#10588 - 11/21/00 10:13 AM Re: Big Smoke  
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jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
jmh  Offline
Pooh-Bah

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My father always calls London "The Smoke". Edinburgh is known as "Auld Reekie" for, I assume, the same reason.

Tsuwm, you must have been in your pram if you made it to London before the Clean Air Act of 1970.


#10589 - 11/21/00 01:32 PM Re: Big Smoke  
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tsuwm Offline
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this too shall pass
>Tsuwm, you must have been in your pram if you made it to London before the Clean Air Act of 1970.

'twas in the mid 70s -- must have been just another Act.
besides, the Big Diesel Fumes just doesn't have the same...
je ne sais quois.


#10590 - 11/21/00 02:41 PM Re: Tom Wolfe  
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xara Offline
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xara  Offline
member

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cary, nc, usa
On the other hand, "The Right Stuff" is a significant book and Wolfe's description of the alcoholic reporter waking up with a hangover in "Bonfire of the Vanities" is one of the great scenes in all of English literature.

Tom Wolfe, Ooh, don't get me started. Too late.

I only vaguely remember the scene to which you refer, and unfortunately, I don't actually have the book on hand to look it up. Regardless of any "great scene in English literature" that you might remember, Tom Wolfe infuriates me. That was the first of many books I have read on the American space program. When I read it I enjoyed it immensely for all its vivid imagery and exciting depiction of fighter jocks.

What irkes me now is that Tom Wolfe intentionally depicted these fellows as idiots. During his descriptions of the Mercury flights, he talked constantly about their ultimate goal of not 'screwing the pooch.' He very intentionally portrayed Gus Grissim (one of my personal heroes) as having completely "screwed the pooch." Now, there was some question about how that hatch blew prematurely. For a while Gus was assumed to be the culprit, but as NASA later learned, Gus was not at fault. Tom apparently didn't see that as a good story so he conveniently forgot to mention that after careful examination it was learned that a malfunction in the hardware, and not Gus's mistake, caused the loss of the spacecraft. I thought for a long time that Gus Grissim panicked and blew the hatch.

I'm sure that if I had a copy of the book, I could make my point more precisely. I could also cite a number of other passages in the book that are coloured to make a good story rather than present an accurate account of the history. I can't find the reference at the moment, but I know that one of those guys mentioned in his biography that Wolfe's portrayal of the events is full of exaggerations for dramatic effect.


#10591 - 11/21/00 06:11 PM Mea culpa  
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Father Steve Offline
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Father Steve  Offline
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Seattle, Washington, USA
Dearest Xara ~

I apologize to you and your entire circulatory system for providing an occasion for hypertension on the subject of author Tom Wolfe (who looks really, really good in a white suit, which is not easy to do). Perhaps his ignorance about the space program, coupled with his expertise about waking up hung-over, may lead one to the conclusion that he has much more experience getting drunk than flying in space capsules. The mentor's maxim is "write about what you know."



#10592 - 11/21/00 08:01 PM Re: Big Smoke  
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Marty Offline
enthusiast
Marty  Offline
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Melbourne, Australia
Isn't 'The Big Smoke' a widespread expression for the local big city, then? That's certainly the usage I'm familiar with here in Australia. I imagine it was used initially by people living in the country, referring to their state's capital, and thence by the city dwellers referring to their own city.


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